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Writing a Book


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Drew Linky
Wizard
Joined: Jun 12 2009
PostPosted: Jul 10 2012 01:40 am Reply with quote Back to top

It's a quirky little thing. It's dystopian, and deals a lot with discovery. I call it "Colors", for reasons which will be made evident later.

I already have the prologue complete--they're pretty short, though, so it's only about two or three pages long.

Would anyone care to see it?


https://discord.gg/homestuck is where you can find me literally 99% of the time. Stop on by if you feel like it, we're a nice crowd.
 
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Sehkmaenzo
Joined: Jun 29 2010
PostPosted: Jul 10 2012 12:25 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Sure Smile
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Drew Linky
Wizard
Joined: Jun 12 2009
PostPosted: Jul 10 2012 04:21 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Not sure if I should post it straight on here, though, seeing as there's so much text. I'll write it out and think of a way to post it here.


https://discord.gg/homestuck is where you can find me literally 99% of the time. Stop on by if you feel like it, we're a nice crowd.
 
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Klimbatize
2010 NES Champ
Title: 2011 Picnic/Death Champ
Joined: Mar 15 2010
Location: Las Vegas, NV
PostPosted: Jul 10 2012 04:48 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Put it in a spoiler tag.


Pretty much the greatest thread of all time: http://www.sydlexia.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=14789

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username
Title: owner of a lonely heart
Joined: Jul 06 2007
Location: phoenix, az usa
PostPosted: Jul 10 2012 04:55 pm Reply with quote Back to top

or link it to a PDF you have hosted elsewhere.


Klimbatize wrote:
I'll eat a turkey sandwich while blowing my load

 
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@om*d
Title: Dorakyura
Joined: Jul 10 2010
Location: Castlevania
PostPosted: Jul 10 2012 06:22 pm Reply with quote Back to top

I want to read it. I like to read. Words are cool, especially when used in sentences. Even more so if it makes sense.


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Drew Linky
Wizard
Joined: Jun 12 2009
PostPosted: Jul 10 2012 07:17 pm Reply with quote Back to top

@om*d wrote:
I want to read it. I like to read. Words are cool, especially when used in sentences. Even more so if it makes sense.

I like nonsense better sometimes, though.

At any rate, I'll put it in spoiler tags like Klim said later tonight.


https://discord.gg/homestuck is where you can find me literally 99% of the time. Stop on by if you feel like it, we're a nice crowd.
 
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@om*d
Title: Dorakyura
Joined: Jul 10 2010
Location: Castlevania
PostPosted: Jul 10 2012 08:06 pm Reply with quote Back to top

I wrote a book once and most of it was nonsense. Well, it appeared that way to most readers. It wasn't really all nonsense.


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Preng
Title: All right, that's cool!
Joined: Jan 11 2010
Location: Accounting Dept.
PostPosted: Jul 10 2012 08:25 pm Reply with quote Back to top

I will take a peek at this if it develops, Linky.

Reading a book from our good 'ol @om*d would be...interesting. I would imagine it to be a mix of the Necronomicon and a Goosebumps Choose-your-own-Adventure, except that there is no victory condition.
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Drew Linky
Wizard
Joined: Jun 12 2009
PostPosted: Jul 10 2012 09:34 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Once I have it up, keep in mind that it's pretty much a work in progress. I'm open to suggestions on how to make it more coherent and flow better, or if I may need a bit of detail in one area or another. Just tell me what you think would improve it, and I'll think about it.


https://discord.gg/homestuck is where you can find me literally 99% of the time. Stop on by if you feel like it, we're a nice crowd.
 
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Drew Linky
Wizard
Joined: Jun 12 2009
PostPosted: Jul 11 2012 01:31 am Reply with quote Back to top

Alright, the first chapter in its entirety. I'm not gonna bother with Spoiler tags. Like I said, I'm open to criticism.

Prologue

In The City, all woke from another period of dark and dreamless sleep. There was no noise; there were no creatures from which the sounds of dawn could emanate. If there was such a thing as dawn in the eternal half-light of The City. There was no talking; what was there to talk about in the colorless, music-absent and monotonous City? Certainly not such mundane things as the weather--there was no such thing. The Shell had seen to that. There were no books to discuss, either. All such things had not been seen by any who dwelt in The City. Nor had their parents, or their parents' parents.

Upon waking, each member of The City would don white attire: white shirts, white pants, white socks and white shoes. They were never cleaned, as there was never a reason to. There was nothing to dirty them with, dirt not being found in The City. They were never stained with sweat, blood or juices. Temperature was constantly kept below a point where one may sweat. All surfaces were kept smooth without exception, so no one could be cut on a sharp edge or corner. There were no juices to spill, either. Fruits (and food in general) were unknown to the citizens of The City, and water was their only drink.

After dressing, the citizens walked to their respective destinations, be they jobs or otherwise. They neither rushed nor stalled; there was never any reason to do either. One could not say they were relaxed, as it was not a pleasant stroll. It was simply something they must do in order to get where they were going. One would observe that this was how all of their proceedings were. Links in a chian, connecting one event to another. Nothing new or out of the ordinary occurred in The City; no births, no crimes, no celebrations, no deaths.

Birth had been completely taken over by the Caretakers of the city, machines that created future citizens and taught them basic knowledge required to do their jobs. Every person's reproductive organs were removed as soon as they reached the time in their lives that gives the gift of birth, the Caretakers harvesting what they could from the organs before disposing of them. As soon as one denizen of The City died, they would artificially create another to take its place, passing whatever role the previous occupant served to the new one.

Crime was non-existent because, quite simply, there was nothing for which one would commit a crime. No vendettas or covetousness, no lust or money. There were no political factions (indeed, no politics) or religions. No qualms or quarreling.

No happenings of any sort.

Similarly, holidays did not exist, for obvious reasons.

Death was just as fixed an affair as birth. None lived past 60 years; they are considered to have outlived their purpose at that point (whatever that purpose may have been) and are quickly disposed of in a manner similar to excrement and the organs taken from them years before. The homes of the deceased remain empty until the one inheriting their occupation, upon reaching the age of ten, is placed there.

This cycle was never-ending, and none knew, or ever had the capacity to care, how long it had been since its inception.

But the creation and maintenance of The City is not what will be discussed here--that is for another time, if indeed it is meant to be explored at all. Instead, the focus of attention is upon a specific member of The City.

This citizen was male. Fairly tall, he had black hair and was pale skin, as did every other citizen. His eyes were hazel (although no one could notice in the dim lighting under The Shell). He was in his prime, and in decent physical condition. His job required this; he was a mechanic, and required slightly greater physical prowess to perform certain tasks. The importance and complexity of his job required a greater basis of knowledge than most. In addition to basic skills like language and simple math, he was afforded knowledge of the fundamentals of electricity and hydraulics by the Caretakers. He regularly came into contact with the underbelly of The City, which many spent their lives dwelling over without the slightest awareness of its existence.

And yet, for all of this, the man had no name. No one did, as there was no one to name them.

It is this man that this story is about.

For almost two decades, this man woke up every morning--or what passes for morning--left his place of residence, and arrived at a terminal in the middle of The City to learn what he must repair or replace that day.

For almost two decades, this man would complete his tasks, return to his residence, consume a dinner of gray nutrient paste and water and then sleep.

For almost two decades he did this, with no change in routine. No music or art to distract him, and no loved ones to come home to. No fun or games, no news of deceased family to mourn for or stolen items to be angry over.

For almost two decades he remained a husk. A shell devoid of the emotions and experiences that define humans and their lives.

This story begins with a break in this never-broken lifestyle.

End of Prologue


https://discord.gg/homestuck is where you can find me literally 99% of the time. Stop on by if you feel like it, we're a nice crowd.
 
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JoshWoodzy
Joined: May 22 2008
Location: Goshen, VA
PostPosted: Jul 11 2012 12:38 pm Reply with quote Back to top

If the character is a mechanic and does physical labor, he's gonna sweat no matter what the temperature is. Have you never broke a sweat outside in the winter time while walking around? He'd surely get dirty working with hydraulics.


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Klimbatize
2010 NES Champ
Title: 2011 Picnic/Death Champ
Joined: Mar 15 2010
Location: Las Vegas, NV
PostPosted: Jul 11 2012 12:57 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Those are some mighty clean cars if he can work on them and never have to clean his clothes. Also, doing physical labor will cause you to sweat even if if it's 20 degrees outside. There are several other factual issues with the story.

I get what you're going for (a sterilized, monotonous society), but making it /too/ far out of reality creates a disconnect with the readers. If that happens, they'll either stop reading because they simply can't buy the story, or at the very least they won't care much about the characters because they'll be completely unrelatable. You have to create a dystopia that could actually exist.

Unless you're going for pure metaphor with this story, which I highly doubt.

Also, I know this is a rough draft, but whenever possible avoid telling the reader something when you can show them instead. This method will help a reader become more invested in the story because they're figuring things out as they read. It makes the reading process much more enjoyable when they are experiencing something rather than just reading about it like it's a textbook. Some exposition at the beginning of the story is almost always going to be necessary, such as explaining how this society operates on a grand scale, but why just tell us what his day is like in a paragraph or two? Instead, write about this in a non-expository way. Show him coming home from work and show us prepping his meal. Write about it as if it's perfectly normal. As the scene unfolds, the reader will figure out for themselves just how mundane this guy's life is. And certain lines like "It is this man that this story is about" is obviously unnecessary.


Pretty much the greatest thread of all time: http://www.sydlexia.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=14789

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Drew Linky
Wizard
Joined: Jun 12 2009
PostPosted: Jul 12 2012 03:26 am Reply with quote Back to top

Hey, thanks for the advice. I have zero experience with actual story writing--I'm better used to writing papers and essays, so it's hard not to explain every detail in full. I like the idea of describing his day in more detail a lot--that'll also help people "figure things out for themselves", like Klim said. I'll change his profession so it's not very labor intensive: the important part is that he works in the Underbelly. And since it's supposed to be a smoothly functioning city, he can simply run system checks for the Caretakers so they know what to fix, instead.... unless that seems too unreal.

I should have mentioned this, but the majority of the story doesn't even take place in The City. Just the exposition, and the very beginning of the rising action. I want it to be as bleak and boring as possible to contrast with the rest of the story--the details of which will remain obscure until later, but you may have guessed at this point that it deals mainly with the discovery of everyday occurences and features that people like us take for granted.

Once again, thank you both very much for the criticism. Hopefully my writing will improve as time goes by. As soon as I rewrite the prologue, I'll post it again.


https://discord.gg/homestuck is where you can find me literally 99% of the time. Stop on by if you feel like it, we're a nice crowd.
 
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Preng
Title: All right, that's cool!
Joined: Jan 11 2010
Location: Accounting Dept.
PostPosted: Jul 12 2012 08:55 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Another tip you may wish to consider is to get comfortable with a thesaurus. Expanding one's vocabulary is always super bueno!
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Drew Linky
Wizard
Joined: Jun 12 2009
PostPosted: Jul 12 2012 08:59 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Preng wrote:
Another tip you may wish to consider is to get comfortable with a thesaurus. Expanding one's vocabulary is always super bueno!

See, I've heard of that. But I've also heard that depending on a thesaurus too much can make a book ugly to read.


https://discord.gg/homestuck is where you can find me literally 99% of the time. Stop on by if you feel like it, we're a nice crowd.
 
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Preng
Title: All right, that's cool!
Joined: Jan 11 2010
Location: Accounting Dept.
PostPosted: Jul 12 2012 09:33 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Well, you don't need to litter your writing with thesaurus-based words. I recommend using it if you ever get into a rut with word repetition. So, don't camp out with it or anything - just take a peek if you hit a wall.
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Beach Bum
Joined: Dec 08 2010
Location: At the pants party.
PostPosted: Jul 12 2012 10:36 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Drew Linky wrote:
Preng wrote:
Another tip you may wish to consider is to get comfortable with a thesaurus. Expanding one's vocabulary is always super bueno!

See, I've heard of that. But I've also heard that depending on a thesaurus too much can make a book ugly to read.

It definitely can, just learn how to use it when needed and not for every sentence. I've read a few books that seemed to go out of their way to use obscure words and they feel like reading a text book on tax law or something. Your readers shouldn't need a thesaurus or Google to know what the hell you are trying to say.
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Drew Linky
Wizard
Joined: Jun 12 2009
PostPosted: Jul 13 2012 10:54 am Reply with quote Back to top

I'll keep that in mind. Thanks guys.

At any rate, I almost completely rewrote the prologue (and even devised a titling scheme for the different chapters, to boot). Hopefully it's more readable.

Prologue: Curiosity

In the City, all awoke from another period of dark and dreamless sleep.

As their single window was opened automatically, most immediately left their bedsides, not bothering to savor the last dregs of rest. A few lay a minute longer, trying to recall... something. What it was, they could not say. But it did not matter--they too were soon up and dressing for another day.

One man in particular lay longer than all the rest. As the tendrils of sleep slowly crept away from his body, he could not shake the notion that as he slept, he had also seen something. He thought it looked like a light turning off, but he could not be sure. A bright white bulb dimming into blackness...

But ultimately even he decided it was unimportant, and got out of bed.

He pulled the usual articles from a drawer next to his bed: a pair of white shoes, white socks, white pants and a white shirt. Donning each, he walked down a short plain hallway to a door, and through that to the outside.

He was greeted with silent shuffling; he saw dozens of people silently walking, traveling to their individual destinations. None of them were talking. Neither did they reluctantly lag behind others, or hurriedly hustle in front. They all moved at the same pace, bridging the gap between departure and arrival.

The man joined them, matching their speed instantly. They all traveled down a street lined with white identical houses. The only thing that set them apart from each other was a number printed in black against the face of each house next to the door. The road itself was black.

As such, there wasn't much to look at. No one's gaze wandered very much. The man glanced up only once, at the Shell. The dome put out the same amount of light as it always did, bathing everything beneath it in a soft white glow. Looking forward again, the man suddenly turned left into a small alley between work buildings. No one noticed as he left the stream of people walking down the road.

He quickly came upon a hole in the ground, with a ladder descending into it. He quickly clambered down, having done this almost his entire life.

At the bottom of the ladder was a different world: apart from the shaft of light shining through the hole he had just climbed down, everything was caught in a blanket of semi-darkness. The mans eyes quickly adjusted, pausing over the familiar sites of various pipeworks and meters on the otherwise blank walls.

The man was one of the very few who had knowledge of this place. As far as he knew, he was the only one who came down here for any reason.

As his sight recovered, he picked out the faint and far-off glow that was his destination. He navigated swiftly around emerging pipes and other structures, walking towards the glow. His feet made gentle booms as he walked; the floor was made of metal plates suspended over... more of the Underbelly, the man supposed. He did not know. Nor did he wonder. The thought rarely crossed his mind.

Coming upon the source of light, he made out the round edges and monitor of a computer terminal. Like so many times before, he tapped an icon on screen signifying that he had arrived, then picked up a small data pad and stylus. He turned away from the terminal and walked further down, into a corridor. Very soon he he came across a stretch of small lights built into the wall.

By each light there was a small name. Each name corresponded to a machine somewhere in the City. The man took the stylus and began marking tiny boxes on the data pad, besides each of which there was a name from the wall. If the light above a certain name was on, he would leave the box empty. If it was for some reason off, he would fill the appropriate box and continue. He would do this for the next four hours, as there were an incredible amount of lights to be checked.

As he performed his task, his mind turned again to what he had seen in his sleep. He also remembered what the fading light had been--the very bulbs he was now studiously checking. He understood then why he had wondered about it as he lay in bed that morning.

Every once in a while, as he was checking the lights, one would go out nearby. He would notice out of the corner of his eye, and look just in time to catch a dim glow of... something, right as the bulb faded. Soon it became lost amidst the sea of lit bulbs, and by the time he could look closer, he found no reason as to why it would draw his attention. He then returned to his job, although his inner thoughts were consumed by what he had thought he might have seen for the rest of the day.

As he finished checking the last row of lights, the man returned to the terminal and uplinked the data pad, transferring what he had found to a network of information that would dictate who did which task the next day. The data uploaded, he disconnected the two. Tapping the same icon on the screen of the terminal to let it know he was finished, he turned around and walked back to the ladder. Skirting the same obstacles as before, he fell under the ray of light he had left earlier that day, and climbed out into the City alley.

Walking to the street, he noticed significantly less people walking back. This was normal; some finished their task earlier than others and some later. He joined them again.

Still no one talked, and the shuffling was quieter. Someone coughed lightly, but no one slowed or looked.

Some trickled out and into their own homes, and finally the man did as well. He walked down the short hall into his bedroom, removing his shoes and clothes, putting them away in the drawer. He then walked into another room where two tubes hung from the ceiling. In one was water, and in the other was a gray, goopy looking substance.

Walking up to them, the man took the tube of water and stuck the end in his mouth. He created suction in his mouth and the water began to flow into it. He pinched it shut for a moment and the flow stopped. He then put the tube with the gray paste in his mouth and did the same. A tasteless substance filled his mouth, and he began to swallow the nutrient filled, plaster-like material. Once his belly felt full, he stopped the flow and took a small draw of water to wash his mouth clean.

Walking back to his room, he pushed a button closing the window in his room. Closed again in darkness, he slipped under the blanket on his bed and lay his head down on the pillow. Briefly he wondered again about the dimming lights and exactly he saw. Soon enough, however, he was asleep again and drifted through a black void, resting so that he may repeat this cycle again.

End of Prologue


https://discord.gg/homestuck is where you can find me literally 99% of the time. Stop on by if you feel like it, we're a nice crowd.
 
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nelsonwilliam
Joined: Sep 03 2013
Location: india
PostPosted: Sep 03 2013 07:48 am Reply with quote Back to top

Many people ask me how I go about writing a book. I have a very simple philosophy about how to approach the writing process. It's called the Butt To Chair Philosophy. Here's how it works: You put your butt in the chair and you start writing. You stay in the chair and keep writing until your butt hurts. You may get out of the chair for short periods of time such as when you have to pee or if it's been more than 24 hours since you've last eaten or slept. Otherwise, keep your butt in the chair and don't stop writing until you are finished with whatever it is you set out to write.
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DarknessDeku
Title: The Forum Fighter
Joined: Dec 08 2007
Location: Indiana
PostPosted: Sep 03 2013 12:30 pm Reply with quote Back to top

nelsonwilliam wrote:
Many people ask me how I go about writing a book. I have a very simple philosophy about how to approach the writing process. It's called the Butt To Chair Philosophy. Here's how it works: You put your butt in the chair and you start writing. You stay in the chair and keep writing until your butt hurts. You may get out of the chair for short periods of time such as when you have to pee or if it's been more than 24 hours since you've last eaten or slept. Otherwise, keep your butt in the chair and don't stop writing until you are finished with whatever it is you set out to write.


That was the worst, most passive aggressive advice I ever heard. Try again.
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lordsathien
Title: Head of Lexian R&D
Joined: Oct 15 2005
Location: Metro area, Georgia
PostPosted: Sep 03 2013 01:04 pm Reply with quote Back to top

DarknessDeku wrote:
nelsonwilliam wrote:
Many people ask me how I go about writing a book. I have a very simple philosophy about how to approach the writing process. It's called the Butt To Chair Philosophy. Here's how it works: You put your butt in the chair and you start writing. You stay in the chair and keep writing until your butt hurts. You may get out of the chair for short periods of time such as when you have to pee or if it's been more than 24 hours since you've last eaten or slept. Otherwise, keep your butt in the chair and don't stop writing until you are finished with whatever it is you set out to write.

That was the worst, most passive aggressive advice I ever heard. Try again.

That's because it was written by a bot and not a person.


"Life is a waste of time. Time is a waste of life. Get wasted all the time, and you'll have the time of your life!"
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Fighter_McWarrior
Title: Gun of Brixton
Joined: Jun 05 2011
Location: Down by the River
PostPosted: Sep 03 2013 11:47 pm Reply with quote Back to top

By all means, I'd love to read whatever you've got. Is what you've posted here the sum of what there is?


"Spanish bombs, yot' quierro y finito
Yo te querda oh ma corazón
Oh ma corazón, oh ma corazón" - The Clash, Spanish Bombs
 
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davidprofile21
Joined: Jan 20 2018
PostPosted: Jan 20 2018 12:08 pm Reply with quote Back to top

I like to read books of new authors. Yes, they usually do not have a steep plot and literary merit, but it's just a matter of time.


I am the author of a popular blog for people who do not like to spend time writing essays. The best advice and company can be found in one place.
 
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Preng
Title: All right, that's cool!
Joined: Jan 11 2010
Location: Accounting Dept.
PostPosted: Jan 20 2018 05:05 pm Reply with quote Back to top

These bots are stepping their game up something incredible.
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