Uncle Orson's Writing Class.....

A forum for those interested in the craft and art of writing.

Moderator: Moderator

Douglas Harrison
Posts: 1036
Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2003 12:26 am

Postby Douglas Harrison » Tue Aug 05, 2008 5:29 pm

Thanks for the report and the advice, Rich. You couldn't pay me to workshop nothin' no how, but I like to hear about writers' (pro & amateur) views on the craft.

D.

rich

Postby rich » Wed Aug 06, 2008 6:59 am

Since no one asked, I'd like to elaborate:

I had never read anything by Card until I was accepted into the 'boot camp'. Once accepted I figured I better read something. I read Ender's Game, and almost didn't finish it 'cause I was so perturbed at the way thousands of years of military strategy were thrown out the window and the cavalier way in which Ender was handled. However, it ended much stronger than I thought, and, as William Goldman says, if you can give 'em a kick-ass ending most of the previous will be forgiven.

Having said that, I'm not really sure why people reread Ender's Game. But they do.

So out of the 16 'students' at the boot camp, I think I was the ONLY one who wasn't a fan. However, as I told a couple guys there, Card is a professional and I'd be stupid not to at least heed his advice regarding the craft. I mean, it's all well and good to ask your buddy about fixing the car, but you go to a professional to actually get the work done.

And here's the main thing: This boot camp really wasn't about writing. It was about asking the right questions, and being able to critique in a courteous manner. (By the way, brought up by Card himself in response to a question from one of the two-day attendees about the viability of the short story, Card mentioned Harlan Ellison and had nothing but good things to say about the man.)

To be honest, the questions I already knew. I actually get so wrapped up in the questions that sometimes I don't finish what I'm doing. At some point, you have to say, "Fuck it" and go on. We all wrote a story in less than a day so there were going to be plot holes, inconsistencies, etc., but there were a couple that could've been published as is. Yeah, they had problems, but they could've been sold.

Digression: Except for one story. But it was so good that I HAVE to think it was something she'd been working on for awhile. If she wrote that in a day, then I may as well just give it up. I'll never be as good as that. I'm being serious about that story, too. It was that good. Card himself said it was a "jewel", and that she should expand it to 90 pages and make it a movie, someone will pick it up. I piped up and said that the producers will give the main character a mother and probably a little brother, and Card said, no, that will not happen. He told her, "You will not sell this to someone who won't film what you have. There are producers who will stay true to this and that's who you'll work with." And he gives her a little look, a serious little look, and I'm wondering if maybe he'll help her out with getting her in touch with the right producers. I hope so. That would be cool.

Anyway, more about me. So the Card workshop was beneficial in that it helped me articulate what the questions were. I'll second Duane's suggestion that if you are serious about looking at this as more than a hobby, you should look into at least getting into the two-day workshop. So I've got the short story workshop under my belt, and in January I'm attending the novel workshop that's put on by Borderlands Press.

And I'm done with workshops. I heard from too many people about all the workshops they attended, like people that make getting more and more education is actually a career, so after these two if I don't have the tools necessary to do what I want to do then no amount of workshopping, writer's groups, book clubs, or whatever will help me.

Thus endeth the sermon on workshops.

Douglas Harrison
Posts: 1036
Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2003 12:26 am

Postby Douglas Harrison » Wed Aug 06, 2008 6:21 pm

I'm getting back into writing now, after a five-year hiatus, but I've done the workshop thing and the how-to book thing, so now there's just the commitment thing. Please let me know how your quest for publication goes, Rich, and I'll keep you posted as well.

D.

rich

Postby rich » Wed Aug 06, 2008 6:24 pm

Thanks Douglas. Will do.

User avatar
Duane
Posts: 1579
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 8:21 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Contact:

Postby Duane » Wed Aug 06, 2008 7:18 pm

Did you do the two day workshop or the entire week?

And how did you like the exercise of walking around and asking random strangers to tell you their life stories? (Or did he do that this time?).

Glad you enjoyed it. I'd feel bad if I recommended something that ended up being a waste of precious time and money.

**

It's a funny thing about life: sometimes the thing you are most passionate about is the hardest thing to motivate yourself to do. You get home from work at the end of the day, you promise yourself you'll get to bed on time (by the way, Card says he hates 2nd person even more passionately than he does 1st) so you can get up and get your early morning writing done, but something happens and you don't. You're just a little too wound up. Perhaps a quick South Park episode will calm your frenzied mind down. You get to bed midnight-ish, saying 61/2 hours will be enough sleep to get your ass out of bed in time to write for an hour or so, but of course, it isn't.

In order to become a successful ANYTHING, you have to devote yourself to it like it's a second career. Tired and frustrated with the ol' day job at the end of the day? Too bad. Go running for a few minutes, take a shower, take exactly 30 minutes to do what you have to do to calm down, then turn the TV off and get your ass to bed by 10:00, because it is your JOB to get enough sleep so you can haul your ass out of bed at 5:30 and write two hours before heading off to work. Not tired? Shut your eyes anyway. Noise in the neighborhood? Shove in some ear plugs.

Want to write at night instead? Fine, but the same rules apply. Tired and frustrated? Do what you have to do to deal with it, then shut the radio and tv off and get to work, because it is your job to do it.

One way or another, get it done.

(Of course, I'm talking about me, here. I completed a novel just a few weeks ago, after two years of eeking out an hour here and an hour there, and it was like pulling teeth, precisely because I WASN'T following my own advice. Things have settled down, though, and it's better).

rich

Postby rich » Thu Aug 07, 2008 7:42 am

Glad to hear about the novel, Duane, and you are exactly right.

I did NOT like the exercise of walking around and asking random strangers to tell us their life stories. However, Brent and I ended up talking to a guy who drove a Hummer limo, which I used for a basic down on his luck former Ranger who's now a limo driver/strip club bouncer that MIGHT make a good novel 'cause it's so fucking generic but I'll get to it after my other nifty generic idea.

No one really liked my zombie story, and I admit I was thinking about this thing and couldn't get it out of my head when it first popped into my melon 2-3 weeks ago so when it came time to put that 5th story down on the index card I kinda cheated. I hadn't written anything about it up until the day we had to write the story so I didn't feel too bad about it. And it was the only one on the index cards that had at least a good idea. Other than my Edison one which I couldn't have done as a short story. (And as I write this, the opening for that particular novel just popped into my head.)

So yeah, I did the whole week. Here's what one of the attendees blogged:

http://amybrandonhughes.blogspot.com/20 ... -pics.html

And I'm the guy wearing the Chimp Guevera red t-shirt. I hadn't showered that day and I hadn't shaved in two days so...well there it is. Card is on the far left, and the goth chick on the far right is the one that had the best story out of all of us. Perfect. And she is married with three kids, waiting for two more through an adoption agency, and home schools the kids. So forget it.

By the way, about half of the people there were Mormon. And all of the people there except me didn't like the f-bombs. So I threw those out as much as possible. One other thing: As you can tell from Amy's blog she doesn't like "icky" things. She was the one that refused to finish reading my story. But she's a nice lady.

alexanderthesoso
Posts: 106
Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2008 10:42 pm

Postby alexanderthesoso » Thu Aug 07, 2008 11:23 pm

A lot of great novels were done in pieces. The serial novel concept is making a huge comeback with the internet, as an extension of the blog. There are some "never ending" stories out there that are wildly popular these days, and just get written piece by piece, day by day.

User avatar
Duane
Posts: 1579
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 8:21 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Contact:

Postby Duane » Fri Aug 08, 2008 12:24 pm

This one, for example?

User avatar
FrankChurch
Posts: 16283
Joined: Wed May 28, 2003 2:19 pm

Postby FrankChurch » Sat Aug 09, 2008 11:57 am

Like I want some Mormon skuzz telling me how to think.

rich

Postby rich » Sat Aug 09, 2008 4:34 pm

Forest for the trees, Frank. Forest for the trees.

Card seemed a nice enough guy, though I wouldn't want to hang out with him. There were a couple times I bit my tongue, and if you check out that blog I linked to you can kinda get the idea of the types of people that Card reaches. Again, I'm not hanging out with any of 'em.

His world view may be extremely stunted, in my opinion, but the man had some good things to say about writing.

alexanderthesoso
Posts: 106
Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2008 10:42 pm

Postby alexanderthesoso » Mon Aug 11, 2008 12:03 am

Duane wrote:This one, for example?


i was thinking ones like www.talesofmu.com


Return to “The Moving Finger”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest