Skip to content
 
If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(Fark)   I have a complete guide that will tell an aspiring writer exactly how to finish their novel, or at least I will, as soon as I can finish writing it. This is your Fark Writer's Thread, pending completion edition   (fark.com) divider line
    More: CSB, Neiman Marcus, Finish, Ron Artest, James Hetfield, Cascading Style Sheets, main event, Sports, great deal of dark magic  
•       •       •

392 clicks; posted to Main » and Discussion » on 27 Oct 2021 at 6:15 PM (5 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



31 Comments     (+0 »)
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2021-10-27 5:15:40 PM  
Okay, that headline made more sense in my head before I typed it out. At least I finished it, which is something. I actually have finished three novels at this point, if by 'finished' you mean 'abandoned and moved on' because novels are never really finished, you just force yourself to stop rewriting them after a while. So I guess I'm really not the right person to tell anyone how to finish anything. Huh.

In other partial completion news, we have a Fark Fiction Anthology Update!

At this point, first pass edits on all submissions have been completed. If you submitted an entry to this year's anthology, check your inbox! We need to get your bio blurb and any final edits to your stories in before November 12, which is admittedly a semi-arbitrary deadline but it gives me time to put the final package together. There's a great deal of dark magic that goes into getting the manuscript ready for Amazon which takes time, specifically the ritual sacrifices needed to make the table of contents links work in Scrivener.

Writing question of the week!

How do you know when a story is done? At what point do you put the pen down, cover up the typewriter, or turn off the computer?
 
2021-10-27 6:35:40 PM  
For me, it's when I am more likely to break something than to fix something.

I think it was George Lucas who said "Projects are never completed. They are simply abandoned at some point."
 
2021-10-27 6:38:27 PM  
Can someone please help me find a link to the epic trapped in chair thread
 
2021-10-27 6:41:01 PM  
 
2021-10-27 6:41:46 PM  
How to write a story real good. Start and the beginning, add  a chunk of middle  stuff, and end at the ending.
 
2021-10-27 6:41:47 PM  
Never!
 
2021-10-27 6:44:24 PM  
I remember reading The Day Of The Triffids and that just.... stops. They get somewhere and the narrator says "Here our story joins so and so's story" and that's it. There is no ending.
 
2021-10-27 6:45:18 PM  

Sim Tree: For me, it's when I am more likely to break something than to fix something.

I think it was George Lucas who said "Projects are never completed. They are simply abandoned at some point."


The original (probably possibly):

"A poem is never finished; it is only abandoned."
~ Paul Valéry, paraphrased by W. H. Auden
 
2021-10-27 6:49:50 PM  
Onko tämä hyvä alku?
 
2021-10-27 6:54:03 PM  
It was a Fark and Corny night ...
 
2021-10-27 7:01:14 PM  
According to Douglas Adams (who habitually missed deadlines), the secret is sandwiches and frequent baths.
 
2021-10-27 7:11:26 PM  
I found the screen writing course on Amazon's Signature Great Courses (Screenwriting 101: Mastering the Art of Story) addicting.   It is art, seen through the eyes of a Shakespeare dude who's a neural biologist with a Yale PhD in English, and quite a few produced TV and film titles.

One lecture explains how "Game of Thrones" - the Pilot bombed the first time around.  They followed the chronology of the novel.  Boring for TV.  The rewrite changed everything.  GOT used focus groups to calm the accountants and bankers.

The major technique in the course for film, TV comedy, procedural crime, sitcom writing is to move backward from the ending once you have prepared.  Even if you never touch another key on the keyboard, your experience of screen media will be transformed.
 
2021-10-27 7:11:41 PM  
For me it's done when I get tired of editing it and either ship it out to publishers or publish it myself.
 
2021-10-27 7:18:40 PM  
Novels that end with all the loose ends tied up and all the problems solved can be cloying. Certain types of stories, such as 'who done its' require such an ending, but satisfying conclusions are rare in the real world. End a novel when you feel you have told the reader enough but not everything. Find a smart and ruthless editor that you trust.
 
2021-10-27 7:25:10 PM  
So, I just had an article get completed by somebody else, without my knowing. And I think they "borrowed" my research while doing so.

Frank Herbert wrote for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat for four years before he wrote Dune and became famous. I compiled all his articles from microfilm, 140 articles and another 200 sets of photos, and made a detailed list of each category. I gave a copy of this index to the editor who oversaw my internship, and he called it a very impressive set of research.

A couple months ago, anticipating the film release, I pitched that same editor my article idea, which includes books he wrote mentioning Santa Rosa, such as The Santaroga Barrier. He finally got back to me, and said a couple other departments might be more suited for that article, and he gave me their emails. He said he had already talked to his colleagues about it. When I emailed them, I mentioned that the other editor had referred me to them. I never heard back.

Yesterday, because the movie just came out, the newspaper ran a real quick article about how Frank Herbert used to write for them. It was short and sparse on details, but it mentioned a detail which only exists in my research.

The Press Democrat writer quotes an editorial he wrote, about there being two Frank Herberts, one of whom had just moved away when the author moved to town. This caused great confusion by people looking him up in the phone book, wanting to talk to the REAL Frank Herbert. The PD writer added that the other Herbert had moved to Eureka, which was not in the editorial FH wrote. In was in my independent research, and I had spent a long, long, time reading the old social pages until I found the snippet saying he had moved to Eureka. I dug for that specific detail for a long, long time.

A throwaway detail, really. But it shows she used MY notes to write her article, without citing it. The fact that I was an intern when I did all that research, and she got paid to "scoop" my article, irritates me on a professional level as well.

That article seemed lazy, too. And whoever wrote it didn't know that much about him or his books - one of which was named after that town.

I couldn't find her email on break, I'll contact her later and ask her if she accidentally plagiarized me.

I'm curious for advice what to do.
Serious suggestions are also appreciated.
 
2021-10-27 7:25:46 PM  
Finish? I recognize the term, but do not understand it in the context of writing.

I generally start out with a rough idea about what the story should cover, usually including a rough idea of how it ought to end. That bit often gets written first- or at least fairly early in the project- and then I fill in the "how we get there" bits in between the beginning and end. My problem usually falls in the huge middle bit, where I keep cramming more and more useless exposition, followed by adding bits to the beginning to lay the foundation for the useless exposition, which requires more useless exposition. Lather, rinse, and repeat a few dozen times, and I end up cutting five or six thousand words from a story to fit the ten-K word limit.

I started writing what I thought would be a short detective story- which is currently running north of 60K words. I can't decide if I want to continue as a novel or start cutting out useful bits to re-write as stand-alone short stories.
 
2021-10-27 7:30:59 PM  

BitwiseShift: The major technique in the course for film, TV comedy, procedural crime, sitcom writing is to move backward from the ending once you have prepared.  Even if you never touch another key on the keyboard, your experience of screen media will be transformed.


This. I won't start a story until I have the ending blocked out. That ending might shift some, depending on how things develop during writing or if I have a better idea later. But I always have an ending in mind. If you don't have an ending, you don't have a story.

Phrasing can always be fiddled with. There's no end to polishing stuff. But you reach a point of diminishing returns, and once you realize you're there, it's time to "shoot the engineers and put the damn thing into production".
 
2021-10-27 7:52:06 PM  

BitwiseShift: The major technique in the course for film, TV comedy, procedural crime, sitcom writing is to move backward from the ending once you have prepared.  Even if you never touch another key on the keyboard, your experience of screen media will be transformed.


I do that. I wrote a movie where I came up with a scene at the end and built the entire rest of the script to work up to that scene.
I then realised that scene was rubbish, so rewrote it, but it did the job. It got the rest of the story together and the rewitten scene worked great.

Some writers however love to make it up as they go along.

Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe S5E3P2
Youtube Tpu66nc02Sg


An excellent episode of Screenwipe, where Charlie Brooker (now of Black Mirror fame) talks to a bunch of writers.
 
2021-10-27 7:53:05 PM  
Beginning: There once was a boy from Nantucket
Middle: He gave his best girl a lollipop so she could suck it. She told him she didn't like the flavor.
End: The boy told the girl in anger, to just take the lollipop and shove it.
 
2021-10-27 7:58:41 PM  

Spice Must Flow: Rant about ubiquitous injustice


I was wrong and mistaken in my earlier post. I just got home and reread my notes and transcripts. The detail about Eureka was, in fact, in that editorial Frank Herbert wrote. I had been looking in the microfilm for that exact date, not the destination.

Still, all that reporter's data about Herbert's newspaper articles came directly from my research. The editor probably put my index into the Frank Herbert folder, which was recently used to hastily write that article.

Maybe if they had done an amazing job plagiarizing my research, shown they were a real fan or at least passingly familiar, I would feel honored instead of swindled.

Anyway, I just wanted to clarify that I was wrong and mistaken about that one specific detail, not to continue my rant.

But I ask my fellow writers:
Personal feelings aside, on a professional level do I have a legitimate complaint that another writer used my research without citing me? In a hasty, lazy article which I had pitched to them months ago?
 
2021-10-27 8:23:35 PM  
Sorry, Spice Must Flow, I think the best you can do is make them feel bad about unethical behavior. Plagiarism only applies to an appropriated block of text, not to facts. It was a crappy thing to do, but it was legal AFAIK. IANAL tho and I feel for you.
 
2021-10-27 8:30:34 PM  
For me a story is like a spell. You have to include what reinforces your central idea and exclude everything else. You can reach a point where the words and the idea mesh to the best of your ability. If you then change the words or the idea, you lose some of the efficacy until you adjust one or the other. That's the best way I can explain it. Once that gestalt happens, you either change it or accept it and move on.
 
2021-10-27 8:44:28 PM  

Spice Must Flow: Spice Must Flow: Rant about ubiquitous injustice

I was wrong and mistaken in my earlier post. I just got home and reread my notes and transcripts. The detail about Eureka was, in fact, in that editorial Frank Herbert wrote. I had been looking in the microfilm for that exact date, not the destination.

Still, all that reporter's data about Herbert's newspaper articles came directly from my research. The editor probably put my index into the Frank Herbert folder, which was recently used to hastily write that article.

Maybe if they had done an amazing job plagiarizing my research, shown they were a real fan or at least passingly familiar, I would feel honored instead of swindled.

Anyway, I just wanted to clarify that I was wrong and mistaken about that one specific detail, not to continue my rant.

But I ask my fellow writers:
Personal feelings aside, on a professional level do I have a legitimate complaint that another writer used my research without citing me? In a hasty, lazy article which I had pitched to them months ago?


Well, your legal options are few, so limiting it to that, you can either call the editor and complain, or just let it go. Considering that this is probably the same editor that you pitched the idea to, he/she was probably the one who told the author to take your notes and write the article. So, chalk it up to experience, as in "don't trust your former employers to do the right thing. Right? Write?
 
2021-10-27 9:56:44 PM  
Got my FFA entry back for review/approval. I've set a phone reminder to look over it Friday morning. Hopefully it will actually get done then.
 
2021-10-27 11:15:51 PM  
For me the story is done when it tells a story.    If it doesn't' tell a story, then it's just an idea, or some scribbling.

Getting the story on paper, on the other hand, that never seems to end.
 
2021-10-28 2:07:37 AM  
John Coltrane complained once about never knowing how to end a solo.
Miles Davis told him, "Man, just take the horn out of your mouth."
 
2021-10-28 3:11:31 AM  
I'm the greatest writer that ever lived. I've just not written my influential and profound novels yet.
 
2021-10-28 9:57:58 AM  

The Ice Cream Man: Considering that this is probably the same editor that you pitched the idea to, he/she was probably the one who told the author to take your notes and write the article. So, chalk it up to experience, as in "don't trust your former employers to do the right thing. Right? Write?


It was a different editor, from a different section, not the one I spoke to directly. He was a good guy.

I'm not really interested in "legal" remedies, but on a different level. Several journalists have lost their careers by making up sources, or some other unethical behavior. While I'm not really interested in destroying this person's career, I'm trying to gauge the seriousness of the situation. 

My best option is to write an amazing article for the free weekly paper instead, which published my first FH article. However, I thought the article was better suited for the newspaper, and did not want to pitch it to two publications in the same town. Now I realize I should have.

Anyway, thanks for the feedback, everyone.
 
2021-10-28 10:30:25 AM  

toraque: How do you know when a story is done?


I always write the last chapter first.  Everything else is just the journey to that point.
 
2021-10-28 11:14:44 AM  
Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2021-10-28 11:16:53 AM  
Fark user imageView Full Size
 
Displayed 31 of 31 comments

View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

This thread is closed to new comments.

Continue Farking




On Twitter


  1. Links are submitted by members of the Fark community.

  2. When community members submit a link, they also write a custom headline for the story.

  3. Other Farkers comment on the links. This is the number of comments. Click here to read them.

  4. Click here to submit a link.