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Offline Dossta

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Novel Writing Group?
« on: May 29, 2013, 09:13:58 AM »
Anyone here interested in forming a writing group to workshop each others' novels or longer works?  I have gotten a novel about 40% of the way through the second draft but am really starting to need a few other pairs of eyes on it, mostly so I have someone to bounce ideas off of.  Would be happy to trade the favor with anyone else here :)

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Offline Elbin

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Re: Novel Writing Group?
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2013, 03:45:44 PM »
I'd gladly help with that. I've thought about writing something bigger for a long time, but it seems I haven't found the right approach yet. I think I do nice short stories though :P
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Offline Moonlake

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Re: Novel Writing Group?
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2013, 05:47:19 PM »
I'm in (hey, isn't this then a Weaver Guild collaboration?  :) ) Haven't really tried my hand at any official story-telling pieces but always dreamed of writing up my own fantasy trilogies..... eventually (I'm blessed by Mathom a lot so....)

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Offline Dossta

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Re: Novel Writing Group?
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2013, 05:56:52 PM »
Hey, I knew that the Weavers would eventually end up attracting some of the best people on the site :)

I have the first ~35K words of an 80K novel (2nd draft), but would like someone to read what I've got and let me know how its going.  Mostly I want to know what would be most interesting for me to develop from this point onward (from a reader's perspective).  I do have an outline for the rest of the book, but I'd rather get your ideas before I share it.

It's a Science-Fantasy novel with a female MC.  Some adult language, some violence, and some death implied.  If you're willing to look it over, PM me and I'll send you the .PDF (or a different format, if you prefer).

Do either of you have a work-in-progress (novel/short-story) that you would like to workshop or brainstorm?  I'm happy to chat or email-chain ideas back and forth, or to alpha/beta read your stuff.  I genuinely like reading other people's stuff (one of the reasons I spend so much time on this site).  Of course, any non-Weavers are welcome to join in as well.

Thanks in advance, guys!
« Last Edit: May 29, 2013, 05:59:22 PM by Dossta »

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Offline Moonlake

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Re: Novel Writing Group?
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2013, 06:27:51 PM »
Well, I have my Dragon Empire setting to play around with (not to mention that I've started the Kalimon setting). At this stage, I'm mainly working to make my Dragon Empire setting worthy of being made into a region (I've tagged all the related sub under the freetext Dragon Empire, more comments on them are always welcome). Actually, my strength in writing tends towards argumentative/informative writing rather than descriptive/story telling. Anyway, in terms of writing a fantasy novel, I'm really at the beginning stage when I'm just trying to build up the setting (or the foundation for the iceberg, who knows when the tip will rise up to be visible?). 

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Offline Moonlake

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Re: Novel Writing Group?
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2013, 08:54:50 PM »
Okay, guys, I need some help with the most recent sub I'm writing up for my Dragon Empire setting. In particular, I'm writing up a mythical creation tale abt the Dragon (this is Chinese Dragon as opposed to normal fantasy Dragon) and its Nine Off-springs. The basic gist of this sub is that the Dragon is one of the First (i.e. part of the first creations by a pantheon) and somehow its death has resulted in its essence being scattered into exactly 9 parts. Then somehow, these broken-up essences have bonded with exising life-forms to form Kaijus (as in huge Gozilla-style monsters), known as the 9 Off-springs. I've already got 6 of them but I need ideas for 3 more (and more details to fill out some of the 6 as well). In particular, I was hoping that someone will throw me mix-match body parts of different animals (as that's the basis of my 9 Off-springs).

The current 6 I've got are:
1. typical Chinese dragon- Serpentine body, two frontal appendages ending in claws, with horns of deer but can fly 
2. Upright beast (bearlike) [need fillers]
3. Tiger-like beast, with a saw-teeth tail [more fillers welcome]
4. Eel-like but with a long pointed horn curving downwards sticking out of her forehead
5. Giant rabbit with horse legs and ears being more membranous as opposed to flesh
6. Water serpent [need fillers]

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Offline Dossta

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Re: Novel Writing Group?
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2013, 10:21:01 PM »
Well, let's take a look at Chinese astrology for inspiration.  You haven't used monkey or rooster yet, so those could make good bases to start with.  Maybe a giant ape-like creature with a rooster tail and claws?  I don't get much from horse, sheep or dog, but maybe pig would work.  That's all for me right now though.

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Offline Moonlake

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Re: Novel Writing Group?
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2013, 10:49:20 PM »
I thought abt the gorilla at one stage but then immediately I thought of the movie starring a gorilla Gozilla-style and I stayed away from it. But your suggestion of an ape-like creature with rooster tail and claws could fit in well. I'll think abt it some more and see whether I want to use as-is or maybe tweak it a little but thanks for the suggestion. I double-posted this and I've gotten a suggestion from Caesar on a Platpus (the duck-billed mammal native to Australia) creature that I'll be incorporating as is.

By Chinese astrology, I presume you mean the 12 animal thing. I haven't systematically thought abt them since I'm writing them up as Kaijus and so I was thinking abt wild beasts more. But thanks for the suggestion, it is worth thinking abt it along this line.

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Offline Moonlake

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Re: Novel Writing Group?
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2013, 09:27:04 PM »
Jumping topic again- Dossta, I'm up to abt p.37 of your novel. So far so good. Just want to give 2 pts of feedback based on what I've read so far:
1. Character development on Vash is somewhat slow (up to what I read so far, she's mainly an observer rather than actively driving the story flow but I'm sure that would come later) but not a major problem considering you said what you sent was only 40% of the planned length. I also see hints of more to come wrt her background that might round out the character more.
2. This is not actual feedback but just a random thought that jumped into my head: at the pt where it was revealed that Terry still had his logout btn and didn't go, I had anticipation of some kind of conspiracy in which Terry might play a role (i.e Terry might be in league with the hacker). It didn't turn out that way (up to the pt I read) and I wasn't particularly disappointed but yeah, just thought I would mention it.

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Offline Dossta

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Re: Novel Writing Group?
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2013, 10:05:39 AM »
I completely missed this post!  Thanks for the feedback, Moon.  Let me know how if you still feel that Vash is too passive by the time you get to the end of what I've got. 

I had completely forgotten about Terry's button, and I think I was considering a conspiracy at first, but decided that it wouldn't fit his character.  He's the straight-laced, paladin-esque guy (or at least that's how I imagine him).

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Offline Moonlake

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Re: Novel Writing Group?
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2013, 06:40:10 PM »
Actually, now there's only abt 20 pages to go for me and I can already see Vash's transition coming into place so I think it's fine.
On Terry, actually, I was still wondering whether there will come a plot twist later he's revealed to be in league with the hacker right after you reveal him to be staying cos of his responsibility (it's a personal thing but I'm sort of past the age when I like my protagonist to be all noble and have others-first-me-last type of mentalities). But then when I got to the section abt Horde Day and how Terry was in hiding cos he's afraid of losing his GM sword and dying appeases me in this respect (makes Terry human again with human failings so I like that bit)
Ah, I see, yeah, that happens with creative writing, first you think one way and then you changed your mind. I had the same thing happening in my Dragon Empire setting, I think when I first started on the Fengshui sub, I had it in mind that it was a system in use purely among the Tuner Mages but then I realised in a stub that I released later, I said that it was a system that every mage uses in the Dragon Empire so that's why I still have a scroll on the Fengshui sub that I need to fix.

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Offline Forganthus

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Re: Novel Writing Group?
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2013, 01:21:06 AM »
Who else is writing novels?

@Moonlake:  What about the classics?  A giant insect kaiju.  Or a giant mole with a drill on its head.  (Maybe you want at least one of them that can burrow?)  You've already got the water serpent.  I feel like one of them should be hooved, so maybe the kirin or else the forest god thing in Princess Mononoke? 

Your current list seems pretty mammalian.  Giant turtle, a la Gamera?  What about a plant, a la Biollante?  Or have the Formless Dragon, which was formed last from the leftovers and is a blob that can form any other parts.  Maybe the Formless Dragon is bitter and jealous of its better formed siblings.

I know that some of this stuff doesn't seem very traditional, but some good writing could spin the story so that it all makes sense.

And why not inject some foreign mythologies so that your dragons are less Chinese remixes and more weird?  The Thunderbird from Native American mythologies.  Sleipnir from Norse.  A giraffe neck from Africa.  Sobek from Egyptian.  Camazotz from Mayan.

You might get some inspiration from the Tailed Beasts in Naruto http://naruto.wikia.com/wiki/Tailed_beasts, since they're a bunch of giant animal kaiju with a common, mystical origin.
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Offline Forganthus

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Re: Novel Writing Group?
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2013, 01:27:47 AM »
Aw, I just remembered that you already typed up the nine dragons.  I'm living in the past.
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Offline Moonlake

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Re: Novel Writing Group?
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2013, 06:17:13 AM »
No worries with living in the past, Forganthus. Well, currently Dossta's the only one writing a novel. I'm in world building phase with regards the Dragon Empire setting and not yet ready to start on a novel on it. An idea had flitted past on turning one of my few plot subs at the Citadel into a RPG book (you know the paperback RPG books by Livingstone and someone else? I'm thinking of writing sth in the same format) but then Mathom loves me so....
 

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Offline Forganthus

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Re: Novel Writing Group?
« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2013, 02:02:59 PM »
I wonder if we could write a story.  Not a novel.  Just a random journey through some subs.

A person grabs a sub, writes a few sentences about.  Another person writes the next paragraph, which may or may not include another sub.  And so on and so forth.

Because there's a bunch of authors and no overarching plot, we probably can't do anything grandiose or complicated.  But I think this format would be perfect for, say, the Labors of Hercules.  We'd reflavor it, of course.  It might start off with a less-hasty version of this:

Mal-Theron was the mightiest warrior of his tribe.  His arms were like knotted oaks.  The fists of his opponents broke upon his chin.  He was a wrestler, and when he won the tournament in Vervok they made a bronze statue to celebrate his victory.  Mal-Theron carried the statue upon his back, all the way to his hometown, a journey of 200 miles. . .

One day, after much wine and disagreement, Mal-Theron slew the nine nephews of Great Ioz, who was the High Priest of the Calliopine Temple.  In penance, the mighty Mal-Theron was sentenced to perform nine labors for the Great Ioz. . .


So, I'd write that section (the first section).
Strolenite A would write about how the Great Ioz gives Mal-Theron a deadly or disgusting task, thinking it to be impossible.
Strolenite B would write about how Mal-Theron accomplished this task, with muscles and cunning, and then returned with news of his success.
(and then it repeats)
Strolenite C would write about how the Great Ioz gives Mal-Theron a deadly or disgusting task, thinking it to be impossible.
Strolenite D would write about how Mal-Theron accomplished this task, with muscles and cunning, and then returned with news of his success.
(et cetera)

It's not a novel, but it could be fun because everyone gets to write.  And we incorporate a bunch of our subs into it.  And it's the Labors of Hercules, a plot device that's so cheesy and simple that there's no way anyone can mess it up.
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Offline Elbin

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Re: Novel Writing Group?
« Reply #15 on: June 06, 2013, 03:53:46 PM »
I'm sorry, but that sounds boring. How about we go freestyle on the general idea but without Hercules, and every contribution has to link a new sub? This way we're guaranteed diversity and we will not be repeating some cycle of action and reaction. It can be a scroll and each new idea will add to the story of all previous ones. The rules will be explained in the initial post.
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Offline Dossta

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Re: Novel Writing Group?
« Reply #16 on: June 06, 2013, 05:08:59 PM »
I'm game.  I like giving each author the freedom to incorporate new elements and link in new subs.  We still might want to impose a very loose, very general structure to help gauge our progress.  With a single protagonist, I'd suggest something like the Hero's Journey or Dan Well's Seven-Point Story Structure:

Hero's Journey Outline
Seven-Point Story Structure


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Offline Moonlake

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Re: Novel Writing Group?
« Reply #17 on: June 06, 2013, 10:51:28 PM »
Actually, there was a very old attempt at the Citadel to do an open-ended plot whereby everyone adds a scroll (it's similar to what Forganthus suggested and actually it turned okay, wasn't too restricting), I think the sub is called Continuous Plot but it died out. I don't think Forganthus really meant the 7 labours of Hercules but changing person, setting and context (he only uses it as an example to illustrate what he meant and what his idea could be applied to, that's my take on it).

In actual fact, I would say this format would work as well for journeys of multiple people adventuring together like a normal game if we can get submitters to coordinate on when likely openings for conversation and mutual actions are (insert a que to the next person or sth). But for starters, I agree with the idea of a journey by a single protagonist b/c it makes life so much easier. If someone wants to spice up things, they can always insert ppl met along the way.

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Offline Forganthus

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Re: Novel Writing Group?
« Reply #18 on: June 07, 2013, 01:31:06 AM »
Yeah.  With a single character and a roughly agreed-upon plot, everyone knows sort of where they are in the arc, and what they should be writing towards.  We're all creative people, and we can weave a million storylines if you let us.  I think that's the biggest risk, so I imagine we'd need a little bit of structure.
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Offline Moonlake

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Re: Novel Writing Group?
« Reply #19 on: June 07, 2013, 02:13:53 AM »
Well, then I think a random journey as you suggested would work as a easy but flexible central theme. u know, protagonist leaves home for whatever reason and then get dragged into things. Or a more fancy way is someone picks a random sub and then insert single character in it and that's the starting pt of the journey.
If we want structure, I guess Dossta's linked templates would work. Granted, reading thru them, they appear to me like templates that could be applied to a large majority of the popular fantasy trilogies out there eg. Lord of the Rings, Raymond E. Feist's books, David Eddings' Belgariad etc. But I'm not too averse to this structure myself.

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Offline Dossta

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Re: Novel Writing Group?
« Reply #20 on: August 11, 2013, 09:50:27 PM »
Just posting a quick update.  I've finally found a tool that has gotten me to write every day, without fail.  I'm on Day 52 of consecutive writing, which translates to about 35,000 more words for my second draft.  Passed the 3/4 mark at around 77K words and have just another 20-30K left.

The downside, of course, is that I've had less time to keep up with the Citadel lately.  But I *am* still alive, and still writing :)

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Offline Shadoweagle

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Re: Novel Writing Group?
« Reply #21 on: August 12, 2013, 01:29:02 AM »
What's ya secret, Dossta?
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Offline Dossta

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Re: Novel Writing Group?
« Reply #22 on: August 12, 2013, 12:48:40 PM »
What's ya secret, Dossta?


This: http://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AoK7WzmhEcBUdE15cmlHdHY3alBrQndURENyS0xVelE#gid=0

It's called the Magic Spreadsheet.  First heard about it on ISBW (a writing podcast), and found that it provides exactly the right kind of motivation for my inner gamer.  You get points for every day you write, based on how long your current chain is.  You level up after about 30 days, and the minimum number of words you need to write to get your full point tally goes up from 250 a day to 300.  At level 3, you need to write 350 a day, etc.  Plus, you can see how everyone else is doing (and they can see how pathetic your word count was last night, too).  I find that the social works really well.

I've hesitated to promote it too much, since the Google doc is getting full enough that there are sometimes significant delays and trouble with processing formulas.  If you're interested, I'd suggest adding yourself to the GPlus sheet (post a note here if it's full -- the moderators will add more tracks upon request).  The creator is apparently working on a database-driven replacement for it, but that's still in alpha.

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Offline MysticMoon

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Re: Novel Writing Group?
« Reply #23 on: August 14, 2013, 12:30:08 PM »
Anyone here interested in forming a writing group to workshop each others' novels or longer works?  I have gotten a novel about 40% of the way through the second draft but am really starting to need a few other pairs of eyes on it, mostly so I have someone to bounce ideas off of.  Would be happy to trade the favor with anyone else here :)

Once I get settled and back in the creative groove, I would love to get in on this. I'm better set up to write than I was several months ago and I have some really really rough ideas I need help on. Not a novel so much as serialized short fiction (short story to novella length work) based around a couple of character and setting concepts I've had in the back of my mind for several years now. Err, 10 years. Ouch.
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Offline Dossta

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Re: Novel Writing Group?
« Reply #24 on: August 19, 2013, 10:55:39 AM »
Once I get settled and back in the creative groove, I would love to get in on this.

Always happy to trade longer pieces of work, and I'm glad to see you back on the site!

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Tale Spinner - Weavers Guild
Level 3
STR: 4 | END: 4 | CON: 3 | DEX: 6 | CHA: 3 | INT: 5
"The omniscient have no need for beliefs and no room for delusion."