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 Post subject: Hi Folks
PostPosted: September 30th, 2008, 10:18 am 
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Joined: September 27th, 2008, 2:51 pm
Posts: 75
Location: Mesa, AZ
Is this a good place to ask for directions towards getting my novel out?

And yes, that does read NEWBIE on my forehead. :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: October 9th, 2008, 10:54 am 
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Joined: April 2nd, 2004, 2:54 pm
Posts: 58
Its a good place to start!

_________________
www.swansonwriting.com


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: October 9th, 2008, 11:33 am 
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Joined: September 27th, 2008, 2:51 pm
Posts: 75
Location: Mesa, AZ
Thanks for the reply!

I posted in the martini bar too and got some good replies there.

I'm hesitant to have two threads going on the same topic unless that's okay.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: October 9th, 2008, 8:53 pm 
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Joined: July 14th, 2004, 8:45 pm
Posts: 2399
Location: australia
Ask away, mate.

And hello, FredTB - haven't heard from you in a while.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: October 15th, 2008, 2:52 pm 
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Joined: September 27th, 2008, 2:51 pm
Posts: 75
Location: Mesa, AZ
Okay, I think I might have a problem.

I've been happily rewriting a memoir of my time at boarding school. My first draft was so bogged down in unnecessary detail that I didn't even use it for my second draft other than to extract the specific events covered.

The pace up to now has been fast. I decided not to dwell on negative issues I faced - I didn't want to take what I think is the easy route and write the typical "bad things happen at boarding school" story.

But now I'm on the last two years of my boarding school days writing about a school where the environment was so completely different to what I'd endured up to then, but when I look at my notes I don't see the happy little stories like I have for the "brutal" schools.

Before, I had what I think was good balance - lots of events, both positive and negative, that get covered in reasonable detail.

Now I have many stories that are essentially neutral - for example I spent a lot of time learning about computers instead of doing my Calculus or whatever. The reader isn't supposed to feel an emotion with these sorts of stories, but they make sense to the overall story.

Then there are the few emotional stories, and this is where I'm having a problem - the happiest/funniest story is an adventure in Soho. But it's tainted by mention of being offered what looked to me to be someone around thirteen or maybe fourteen, doped to the eyeballs, and being dragged around on display by her pimp. This was completely different to the guy in Bangkok offering "young girl, five dollars, she love you long time."

Is it possible that I was now at an age where I saw things on different levels (like emotional, for example)? I'm older and am able to notice things, think about things, slow down and understand what's going on around me?

As another example, there was an incident where somebody smeared excrement all over one of the boys bathrooms. I imagined it would take a very disturbed mind to do something like that. I'd never run into anything like that in Ireland, and such seemed so out of place now.

And then there was the boy who opened his veins but had taped plastic bags over his hands and lower arms so he wouldn't make a mess.

I originally thought all these things would be countered by happy little stories - I'm just not coming up with those happy little stories.

Got any ideas? Should I go with the flow, or should I temper the negatives so the positives don't look so irrelevant?

(I think I'll go over for a martini)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: October 16th, 2008, 1:51 pm 
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Joined: September 27th, 2008, 2:51 pm
Posts: 75
Location: Mesa, AZ
I think I see what happened.

A lot has been resolved by adding or expanding on the attitude of the main character (me). Before, I left it up to the reader to pass judgment on most events, but now I'm a different person at a different school, the end is in sight and I am not concerned with having to keep a low profile.

Also, because of the different environment, my reaction to certain events is amplified (or no longer choked off).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: October 16th, 2008, 9:31 pm 
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Joined: July 14th, 2004, 8:45 pm
Posts: 2399
Location: australia
It's always satifying to see the character develop, change or learn something as the story develops. This is as much true for memoir as it is for fiction.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: October 17th, 2008, 6:34 pm 
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Joined: September 27th, 2008, 2:51 pm
Posts: 75
Location: Mesa, AZ
wendy wrote:
It's always satifying to see the character develop, change or learn something as the story develops. This is as much true for memoir as it is for fiction.


I thought the part I'm writing now would be a cross between Fast Times and Animal House as that's the overall impression my last school left me with.

Unfortunately, my impression seems to be a bit off - there are some events overshadowing things. This seems to be forcing me to shift the ending to the right in time, and even then it will not be wham, bam hollywood style but rather a heavy dose of irony that I'm concerned will be a downer. That's neither what I expected nor intended. Oh well..


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: October 18th, 2008, 6:28 am 
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Joined: July 14th, 2004, 8:45 pm
Posts: 2399
Location: australia
I've noticed stories often tend to head in unexpected directions.
Follow the muse and see where it takes you.
You can always take out the pruning shears once it's done.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: October 20th, 2008, 3:33 pm 
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Joined: September 27th, 2008, 2:51 pm
Posts: 75
Location: Mesa, AZ
wendy wrote:
I've noticed stories often tend to head in unexpected directions.
Follow the muse and see where it takes you.
You can always take out the pruning shears once it's done.


Thanks.

That's what I'm doing - easier and more enjoyable than trying to artificially steer it.

I've come up with an idea that ties the two ends together nicely. Not sure why I thought the ending was going to be something else. Oh well.

I'm now up to just shy of 80,000 words so I have some room to maneuver in terms of cutting/editing.


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