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So I started an online writer’s workshop community on facebook a week ago, and things don’t seem to be going well. By that I mean nobody is participating. I started the workshop by recruiting fellow writers from my creative writing course at my university. Great idea, everyone thought. Half of them joined, even got a professor in tow. I have a small group of eight writers (literary, no genre), but nobody has posted their work yet. I set up guidelines so that only work is being posted (no marketing or random posts) and everyone can participate. I want to know if I’m doing something wrong here or if I should be doing something to bolster participation (it just feels like it’s going to get forgotten and become an awkward landmine field of failure) or maybe I’m just too impatient and should continue to wait.
My overall goal is to become semi-independent from my university when it comes to having someone to look at my work. I don’t want to continue to take creative writing courses just for that.
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Nathan McKinney's profile photo
8 comments
 
Let me ask this: I'm assuming you are physically taking classes with these people. Why not set a real, face to face meet up?

Online tools and groups are great, but maintaining a writing group will necessarily take up a lot of time. As others have mentioned, you'll have to do a lot of initial leg work to get people to contribute, and because it is online, you need a ton of people to contribute to keep the thing going.

In person meet ups have some draw backs, but I think the idea that the online group is more convenient is, in fact, not true. Not if improving your writing is a goal. The discussion around a piece that everyone in the room has read is, in my opinion, the most useful. (If you have the tech, you could teleconference...)

Of course, the trade off may be that you have to take the reigns as the leader, establish rules and decide on who gets to be in the group (unless you put some restrictions on it, you'll get people who never contribute or don't take it as seriously as you want).

Just my thoughts. If I still had access to my creative writing classmates from college, I would decide which people were the best writers, or who seemed to spur the best discussions, and invite them to join a group that met in person. 
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Quick question : How on earth does a writer keep the inspiration flowing?
I've been working on writing my first full-length novel, but all I could manage was a quick paragraph explaining the main characters... Any advice?
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Victoria Laurent's profile photoEric Melecio's profile photo
22 comments
 
Do this for your main character: open up a separate Microsoft word and just write the darkest deepest thoughts of your character. Get them at their lowest point. Imagine their dark place. It won't be saved and most of it won't go towards your novel, but you'll know your main character enough to continue together with no worries.

As for inspiration: Just write. Writer's don't like to write. Don't think about your work as final because you can always change, omit, and add later.
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Chuck Leddy

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Do writers struggle more from dysfunctions such as alcoholism and mental health problems than other professions? Short story genius Raymond Carver said no --
Yesterday I was re-reading the classic "Paris Review" interview with legendary short story writer Raymond Carver. I think it was conducted in the early 1980s. Anyway, much of the interview centered...
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Dave Higgins's profile photoNathan Lowell's profile photo
9 comments
 
Some good points, +Dave Higgins 
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my son wrote a book and he wants to have people vote on which cover he should use. I like the plain white but I'm mom so my opinion is less useful than yours.
85 votes  -  votes visible to Public
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Detailed Cover
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Victoria Laurent's profile photoMarmnmi Pants's profile photo
38 comments
 
White cover
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I am looking for a few beta readers for a collection of fairy tales. I'm particularly interested in getting feedback from storytellers (i.e. people who read stories aloud to children).

I asked (ahem...bribed) my kids to read this collection. Last night, my daughter sat down to read a couple of the 16 stories. I went for a walk, and when I got back, she was halfway through all the stories. :)

If interested, either send me a PM, or comment your interest and I will send you a PM with the details of how to download the beta. Thank you in advance!
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Doug Schwartz's profile photoTrent Hunter's profile photo
10 comments
 
Sure just leave the link
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Tom Ahrendt

General  - 
 
O man. Life is so complicated. I'm all for diversity in literature. But I just hate that everyone wants you to adapt to his agenda these days.

This is actually a trigger for me, sorry.

The voices of my editors run like this - Men as protagonists, especially white males? Bro, not the 80s anymore. Women? Too manly? Too weak? Too strong? Not feminist enough? Too feminist? Why a white woman anyway? What about diverse backgrounds? Or LGBT? And why don't you include someone with a handicap?

Why can't you just tell a story anymore?

Every editor wants you to include something different. That's not storytelling. You include what the story needs. Not what people tell you to include. Geez.

And yes, this may be a black woman, or a disabled groundskeeper, or - yeah the f-, even a white male.

I was one of the first writers to intervene against white-washing at my publisher's. I am white, but I experienced the problems second-hand with my first wife, a black woman. And our beautiful daughter who has been shot so many years ago in a hate crime. Not a day goes by without me missing her.

But sometimes I just want to write, without the musts and shoulds and mustn'ts or shouldn'ts. Just tell a story. Dammit.
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Web Master's profile photoDouglas Daniel's profile photo
21 comments
 
I think most of the members of this community would agree with the statement that, as a rule, editors are doofuses. In particular, in trad publishing editors are always chasing perceived trends in reader taste, which may or may not bear some resemblance to what people actually want. At the moment our culture is going through a change in attitudes toward diversity, and editors are chasing that. If the trend were to paint ourselves polka-dot and wear chamber-pots on our heads, editors would be chasing that . Too many editors are really just weather-vanes, with about as much rational thought in their decision making.

Most of my protagonists have been white, cishet males because 1. I am a white and (mostly) cishet male, and 2. I tend to need to identify with my protagonists. This probably says something about my writing skills. The one exception to this trend has been the protagonist of my Divine Lotus series, who is a fifteen-year old female person of color. There were reasons internal to the world I created for this story that made that choice logical. The important point is that I chose this conception of her character, and if an editor had told me to change it they wouldn't have been my editor for more than ten more seconds.

Personally, I try to include characters of diverse backgrounds in my stories (not always successfully) because, well, it reflects the world I seem to live in. However poor my writing, I want to try to have it reflect the real world. But that's my choice.

Yes, some editors have agendas, but most are just lemmings. Bottom-line-- don't worry about other people's agendas or hang-ups; write the story that's in you; populate it with characters that seem right to you. Anything else is dishonest.
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When writing a rough draft, do you prefer to write by hand or type? Why?
17 votes  -  votes visible to Public
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Allison Tait's profile photoLover of Lembas's profile photo
8 comments
 
+Allison Tait I find it's the same for me...the problem is that I am slowly losing my handwriting skills and I recently discovered my writing is next to illegible, so I wanted to see if manually writing would help. That and I don't have a laptop, so I am forced to sit inside staring at a PC screen that makes my eyes sting. I haven't made much progress on the manuscript, however, so I'm thinking I may be better fitted to just type. Hmm...
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I find myself plotting up to the midpoint and then not knowing which path to take the adventure. At first I thought it was a problem, but now I'm thinking that plotting a novel in two halves is the way to go... What about you guys? How do you plot?
by Mikhaeyla Kopievsky With Divided Elements in the hands of my copy-editor, I’ve been using July to get some new writing done. Having signed up for both #JulyWritingChallenge and Camp NaNoWr…
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David Fahrenholz's profile photoMikhaeyla Kopievsky's profile photo
11 comments
 
+Steve Turnbull Reminds me of those choose your own adventure books - If you choose a dead end, go back and pursue the other path...
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frank key

General  - 
 
Dear friends,
I desperately need a case of writer's block. Any suggestions on how to get it?

I've been writing for over three years now and the constant stream of words won't stop flowing. Drop a hint, any kind of hint for a poem or story and within a few minutes my mind will compose a piece that fits with the criteria.

Shut the f up and just write, you lucky sob, you say. But see that's the problem. It's taken over my life and I cannot get a night's sleep or leave the house to go shopping or get exercise when I should. It's become an obsession with no 'the end' in view.

No joke. Writer's Block, please find me. I'd welcome you as a friend.
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frank key's profile photoWeb Master's profile photo
9 comments
 
I kind of experienced that with my second novel. In order to deal with it, I came to the point where I had to decide what was absolutely necessary for the story to be complete, and leave out everything else. Otherwise, the story would have gone on forever.

My suggestion is that you do something similar, and separate the necessities of what needs to be included from the desirables of what you want included. Create balance by accepting that not everything is so important that it needs to be written and recorded.
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I was thinking of make a community page for my son, so that he can connect with you directly, it will make it so he can connect on his own but I can watch and insure it done properly. What do you guys think? 
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Jennifer Linsky's profile photo
 
I'd be happy to interact with your son.
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Have you ever cheated on a significant other? Have you ever been cheated on by a serious partner?

I’m researching for a personal essay which will also include anecdotal research and stories from others. The essay is about my experience as both the cheater and the “cheatee” and what causes us to cheat, how we view it at the time, and how we view it in hindsight. For example, many report that when THEY cheated, it later became clear that it was because their relationship was over. Others may feel that it was a huge mistake. And there is a camp for whom a cheating experience—on either side—actually changed their views on monogamy and love.

Feel free to share here or you can email me at lucyface05@gmail.com. Your name will not be used.
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Victoria Laurent's profile photo
 
I will take part in you study, if you need. I was the cheater, 6 years ago. 
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On the Dimension of Characters and Worlds

I came across a blog entry from +Stephanie Wood which spoke to me and became curious to see how many others would agree or disagree with the author.

For one, I tend to write worlds that have 3D characters in a 2D world. This means that my characters' thoughts and emotions dominate the narrative, whereas the world I describe is mostly nameless. In the Portrait the city my characters inhabit is simply referred to as the City. I throw in a few breadcrumbs to identify them.

I know a lot of people seem to prefer the reverse, something I noticed that the Lord of the Rings had in kind. He would spend pages describing places, structures and their history. However, he comparatively glossed over the characters.

I certainly agree that there is room for both (and other writing styles). I was just curious to see what others thought about it!
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Evelyn Chartres's profile photoCynthia B Ainsworthe's profile photo
6 comments
 
+Evelyn Chartres I like big character development with powerful dialogue. Snippets of detail can be woven into character action. If I have to read paragraphs of discription before there is any action----well, I pretty much will stop reading unless it is a classic by Dickens, Dumas, Hugo, et al.
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JW Arlock

General  - 
 
Quick question for all the pen-smiths on here.

I'm trying to do flashbacks in a scene. Not whole scenes in themselves but memory fragments surfacing PTSD style and disrupting the protagonist.
Any suggestions o how to do this, I was thinking breaking the body of the text with the lines italicised. eg.

Lots of words are here.
Tommy looked towards the butcher blah blah blah

<i> The sound of the blade descending. Blood dripping onto a concrete floor. </i>

Dragged his attention back to the shop. Blah blah blah.
More sentences go here.

It's supposed to be a bit jarring, but is that too much? Any better ideas?
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George Ward's profile photoWeb Master's profile photo
10 comments
 
I think it can be accomplished by describing the flashback in a manner that is subtle in comparison to the surrounding text. The present and the past could still remain together for consistency. You could also distinguish the flashback with italics, which you suggested, or with symbols like asterisks. It might be confusing to readers if the wording of the flashback isn't explicit though.
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Hello brothers and sisters in pen. I have written a short teen novel in Filipino and I hate it. Hahahaha I almost burnt my manuscript.
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Jerone Cansino's profile photo
10 comments
 
+Victoria Laurent I am writing a social Novel now and I dont know how can I have healthy critics.

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Hello, I'm new to this community. I need some advice, when I first started writing I only experimented with fanfiction and I decided after a couple successful fanfics it was time for me to write my own novel. I had decided to write down my characters and dialogue and such in a notebook so I could piece my story together as I wrote, being cautious I made two notebooks with the same information. Over the course of maybe three months I was in the middle of writing and such and I was enjoying telling the story that had been in the back of my head for a year when the unthinkable happened, both my notebooks were stolen. I lost everything but what I had already written down, any tips to help me start over?
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Victoria Laurent's profile photoJerone Cansino's profile photo
7 comments
 
get over it and statrt anew :)

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Tom Ahrendt

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Finally!
Apple has approved Scrivener for sale on the iOS App Store, so we can now give an official release date: 20th July. To recap the details: Price: $19.99; Release date: 20th July; Requirements: any device running iOS 9.0 or above (iPad, iPad Pro, iPhone, iPod Touch); Available in all the same ...
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Cearnach Grimm's profile photoJ.G. Hovey's profile photo
2 comments
 
Oh man, keeping my fingers crossed for an Android version.. I was just looking at cheapo Win10 tablet/lappies because I was getting tired of the wait.
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Hi, does anyone want to hear my story idea and tell me what they think? I plan to be a screenplay writer for some animated shows someday. I want to have a serious conversation about this, so it might take a while, and im looking for someone whos actually willing to stay by my side for a while (online) to tell me what their opinions is when i think of something new for it. Or at least stay as long as possible and listen to my current ideas, please
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Nathan Lowell's profile photokeiko “japan is my husbando” homura's profile photo
2 comments
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J.B. Wise

General  - 
 
Hey guys!

When it comes to shopping around your manuscript, what draft do you finally set as the one to give to agents? Did you use an editor on it? Betas? Fourth draft of just you editing? Did you use more than one editor?
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Brooke Johnson's profile photoJim Hardison's profile photo
10 comments
 
I send what I consider my final stage 1 draft (before the editor at the publisher sees it). On my current book, that meant three drafts before anyone else saw it, then a round of other people looking at it, then another two drafts, then a professional editor, then another draft, then a copy editor, then a final stage 1 draft. So, seven drafts before it went off to an agent. If I was a more competent writer, I might not have needed all that (particularly the copy-editing pass). 
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An interesting post by a literary fiction author on the lack of diversity in traditionally published works:

"Self-publishing is the mechanism that freed me to be more ambitious in terms of where I wanted to take my fiction. Instead of being dictated to, I am free to write about the issues I’m passionate about and fascinated by – the big subjects. Remove the pressure of trying of to mold something to fit the current market – which agents admit is risk-averse and overly-commercialised – and it grows wings."

Would you agree with that?…
Is self-publishing your literary fiction book a good idea? It might be time to challenge popular opinions and maximize creative control.
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Nathan Lowell's profile photoRicardo Fayet's profile photo
5 comments
 
I don't think it's a tiny market, but I do think it's an audience which reads much more slowly. It's also much more quality-based (not in terms of the story, but in terms of the actual writing and production), which means that you can't be putting out 3-4 books a year… Both these factors have just as big an influence on sales and author revenue as the overall size of the market.
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I wasn't sure which community to post this article but I thought most here-maybe all-would appreciate this list.

This is just the first part not sure when the other parts will come out.
An African writer who makes mix tapes of game soundtracks. A Nairobi filmmaker with Nietzsche on his smart phone. A chess champion who loves Philip K Dick. An African SF poet who quotes the Beatnik…
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