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 Help! Writer in Need of Assistance!

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emilycross
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PostSubject: Help! Writer in Need of Assistance!   Thu Feb 05, 2009 1:25 pm

Have a problem that you just can't figure out? Need some advice? a shoulder to lean on?

Ask and see if it can be sorted out!


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PostSubject: Re: Help! Writer in Need of Assistance!   Sat Feb 07, 2009 4:33 pm

I have a question and any advice would be great!

I started out with the prologue being 3rd person, do you think it would be okay to change to 1st person in the first chapter?

I didn't know if that might be confusing because I also wanted each chapter to change points of view. I was thinking about just doing it all in 3rd but it's hard to really know the character's thoughts. Any suggestions?
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PostSubject: Re: Help! Writer in Need of Assistance!   Sat Feb 07, 2009 6:00 pm

I've read several books that switch between POV. Sometimes it can get a little confusing, but if it's done well and the POV character is easily identified, it works.
One thing I read was that if you want to use third person but aren't good at injecting the right level of emotion, write it all in first and then go back and change all of the "I's" to character-such-and-such's name. I've never tried it, but you might find it useful.

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PostSubject: Re: Help! Writer in Need of Assistance!   Sat Feb 07, 2009 7:55 pm

Novel-Goddess wrote:
I've read several books that switch between POV. Sometimes it can get a little confusing, but if it's done well and the POV character is easily identified, it works.
One thing I read was that if you want to use third person but aren't good at injecting the right level of emotion, write it all in first and then go back and change all of the "I's" to character-such-and-such's name. I've never tried it, but you might find it useful.

Hmm, that's a good idea! I'll try that. Thanks!
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PostSubject: Re: Help! Writer in Need of Assistance!   Sat Feb 07, 2009 8:07 pm

Glad I could help. Razz

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PostSubject: Re: Help! Writer in Need of Assistance!   Sat Feb 07, 2009 8:09 pm

I think third person in the prologue and then first person in chapter one (and i assume rest of novel) is fine. Prologues and epilogues to me are always almost seperate to the body of a novel and just give sometimes just set the scene, if that makes sense?
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PostSubject: Re: Help! Writer in Need of Assistance!   Sat Feb 07, 2009 8:32 pm

emilycross wrote:
I think third person in the prologue and then first person in chapter one (and i assume rest of novel) is fine. Prologues and epilogues to me are always almost seperate to the body of a novel and just give sometimes just set the scene, if that makes sense?

It makes sense to me. The prologue is like an introduction to the tone and 'voice' of the novel, and not necessarily the voice of the storyteller or narrator. Some of my favorite books have prologues in the 3rd person, or from the POV of other characters.
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PostSubject: Re: Help! Writer in Need of Assistance!   Sat Feb 07, 2009 11:28 pm

Thanks so much everyone! I feel better now! Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Help! Writer in Need of Assistance!   Sat Feb 07, 2009 11:35 pm

See - I did the exact opposite. I did my prologue in first person and wrote the rest in third. (...Granted, I'm in the process of changing it all to first person, so maybe you shouldn't listen to me.) Basically, I just wanted to say "Oh! I did something kind of like that!" And the reason it didn't work out for me is because a lot of my story is based in the character's head, which is SUPER hard to do in 3rd.

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PostSubject: Re: Help! Writer in Need of Assistance!   Sat Feb 07, 2009 11:41 pm

Ren wrote:
See - I did the exact opposite. I did my prologue in first person and wrote the rest in third. (...Granted, I'm in the process of changing it all to first person, so maybe you shouldn't listen to me.) Basically, I just wanted to say "Oh! I did something kind of like that!" And the reason it didn't work out for me is because a lot of my story is based in the character's head, which is SUPER hard to do in 3rd.

<3 Ren

LOL! Yeah, I had the same reason for not wanting to write in 3rd during the whole story, because it's hard to really get to know the character's thoughts. But I wanted to do the prologue in 3rd because a lot of peoples thoughts are important there.
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PostSubject: Re: Help! Writer in Need of Assistance!   Sun Feb 08, 2009 3:54 am

I'm only starting my story and at the moment the first person is working well - but i know that (opposite to you Ren) later in the story i'm going to get into trouble due to the subplots i want in the story. For now i'm going to try and figure how to put elements in in first person and see if should rewrite it after that (limited third person)?

should i open a perspectives topic?
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PostSubject: Re: Help! Writer in Need of Assistance!   Sun Feb 08, 2009 4:27 am

I think switching from one in the prologue to another in the main story would work fine.

The main story is often different from the prologue/epilogue.
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PostSubject: Re: Help! Writer in Need of Assistance!   Sun Feb 08, 2009 4:49 pm

daeonica wrote:


The main story is often different from the prologue/epilogue.

That's true. I'm glad you feel that way! LOL! Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Help! Writer in Need of Assistance!   Sun Feb 08, 2009 5:51 pm

The only time I really use third person is in a prologue, epilogue, or most of my short stories. I have a very hard time sticking in third person because it makes it harder to write about the characters thoughts and all, it's just more complicated. I find 1st person a lot more interesting.

If you start in third person, just make it clear that it's been switched to first. Also find a steady consistency. Like in one short story third person was always when he was not writing his story, every time the character wrote the story it became 1st person. So have consistency and then it should be fine!
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PostSubject: Re: Help! Writer in Need of Assistance!   Mon Feb 09, 2009 10:18 am

I switch in my YA fantasy between 1st person chapters (in the heroine's pov) and 3rd person omnicient chapters (from the vilian's pov) and my editor says she really likes it.
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PostSubject: Re: Help! Writer in Need of Assistance!   Mon Feb 09, 2009 4:08 pm

sdficklin wrote:
I switch in my YA fantasy between 1st person chapters (in the heroine's pov) and 3rd person omnicient chapters (from the vilian's pov) and my editor says she really likes it.

Oh, that sounds amazing. I don't think I've ever read a book like tha, so it would be a totally new experience, which would be great!

I started writing the first chapter, and I made up my mind to do first through the rest of the story. I think it will work out well.
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PostSubject: Re: Help! Writer in Need of Assistance!   Mon Feb 09, 2009 8:57 pm

I have a problem, and I don't remember how to fix it. For some reason, I can't remember the rules about mixing tenses and I seem to be doing it a lot.

Let me give you a quick example of what I'm talking about.
“No one has ever hugged you before?” he asked, seemingly shocked. Melanie just shook her and wondered why that was a strange thing.
“Huh,” he said, taking it in to ponder later. Noticing that classes were about to start, Damon asked if Melanie had gotten her schedule yet, to which he received a definitive no, so he walked with her to the office to pick it up, chatting her up with more random facts about iron that Melanie could honestly care less about."

I noticed that I switch back and forth from past to present continuous. Is that okay? Because I honestly don't remember.
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PostSubject: Re: Help! Writer in Need of Assistance!   Tue Feb 10, 2009 12:05 pm

Prone - it looks fine to me BUT do not listen to me when it comes to grammar - i am awful at it (as DG and others can state)

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PostSubject: Re: Help! Writer in Need of Assistance!   Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:57 pm

I'm in a slump. I want to write and I think I have enough to go on right now (in the way of outlines and stuff) but I...can't. I don't know what it is. I think I've managed to convince myself that I just can't write and that it turns out amateurish. I figure that I'm either setting unrealistic goals (which may be true) or I need to stop reading my writing reference books for a bit.
I've been writing articles for Associated Content and have four of them published at the moment. I'll be writing more this weekend, and I'll hopefully get some work on In Their Blood done in between that.

I don't know what it is, really...I feel like I'm not qualified to be a writer or something along those lines. I feel sort of incompetent -- in a lot of different things. Piano is horrible. Biology is killing me. I can't keep my room clean. I'm always tired. I can't seem to stay on top of anything. And it's hurting my writing, I think.

And then there are those creeping, lurking fears...that even if I can write, the current economic situation will keep anybody from wanting to buy my work...that I can't write at all and everybody is lying to me...that I'll never get anything published for these reasons and I'll end up as a failure...I don't know.

I know that it's all stupid. I know that I can write. I know that you people aren't lying to me. I know that I'll get something published -- heck, I already have four things published on Associated Content! That has to count for something, right?

But I just can't shake the slump. Ugh. And I know I should take a break, maybe go to bed early and get up late this weekend. Catch up on lost sleep. And yet it's as if Paris Geller's work ethic has been transplanted to me -- I can't idle for the smallest second. I can't goof off. I have to stay focused. I have to do this...I have to do that...work, work, work...I just can't get rid of this insane voice insisting that I have to "get some work done, dangit!"

*Reads post* Oy. It's a wonder that I get any sleep at all. My mind never takes a break.

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PostSubject: Re: Help! Writer in Need of Assistance!   Sat Feb 28, 2009 1:47 am

I answered this post elsewhere - but novel you are a WRITER!!! Trust me on this you are!

Maybe your working your self a bit hard. I think you should take a break from your current novel completely for a week or two, step away from it and maybe 'not write' or do something really different like some poetry or try writing a journalistic article.

Everyone gets these feelings of self doubt Novel - its natural. but remember its only self doubt and you need to push it to one side. Your 15 and can write better than some published writers in my opinion, so i have no doubt if you persever (sp?) we'll all be reading a book by you someday.

In this instance i think you need to just step away from it all and take a break, you'll be surprised that when you do this you will want to write so bad at the end of it - that you won't be in a slump anymore. Hope this helps.

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PostSubject: Re: Help! Writer in Need of Assistance!   Sat Feb 28, 2009 8:35 am

Thanks, Emily. I needed that.
I went to bed last night about three or four hours earlier than I usually do on weekends and I only just woke up. I'm feeling a little better now. But I think you're right -- I think I'll focus on articles for the time being. Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Help! Writer in Need of Assistance!   Sat Feb 28, 2009 8:41 am

Yeah, sometimes you need to take a deep breath and step away from something. I felt the same way before and best thing i could have done was step away or i would have set something (prob my laptop) on fire in frustration!

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PostSubject: Re: Help! Writer in Need of Assistance!   Wed Mar 18, 2009 3:06 pm

My turn for a question!

How do you decide when to take chapter breaks? The average chapter length for me is 1.5 - 2 k words, and I have one or two events happening in each. For the chapter I'm on at the moment, I had to have one thing happen before the next, but that thing didn't take much time. Therefore, I kept the next bit in the same chapter, because that seemed to fit better, rather than cutting it off on its own. But now, if I follow this series of events through to the kind of typical chapter ending I have, it's going to be a prety long chapter 3-4k, I think. What would you suggest? Making it into two separate ones, even though one would be tiny, or keep it so it's huge?

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PostSubject: Re: Help! Writer in Need of Assistance!   Wed Mar 18, 2009 3:10 pm

If you have a spot that it would break naturally, break it. If not, keep it long. If the writing is good (as I'm sure it is! Smile ), readers won't mind a longer chapter. I had the same problem the other day -- my chapters are usually around 5K, and I had one that was a lot shorter than that. Rather than push it, I let it segue into the next chapter. It was natural, and when I read back through it the flow was much better. I believe that if flow is good and it makes sense, it shouldn't matter as much.
Basically, go with what seems natural. If you can't find a good spot to break into a new chapter, don't. If you try to force it, readers will notice and it will bounce them right out of the story.

Hope that helped! Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Help! Writer in Need of Assistance!   Wed Mar 18, 2009 6:40 pm

I usually break for a chapter when my outline or my characters tell me to. I have one story where it's actually outlined and I know each thing happening in each chapter because it is one of my trilogy stories.

Another story I have, I just have to wait until it feels right to break a chapter. I believe that if you have at least one or two things that lead to the solution of your story better--you should break. That way you may feel more at ease when you read through it while you're editing or just reading it for fun. It makes it easier to stop as well when you have readers who need a break.
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