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Thread: Do you write?

  1. #1
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    Do you write?

    Do you write? What and when do you write? Why do you write? Who do you see as your audience? How long can you write before reaching a point of diminishing returns (also known as crappy results)?

    These days I write every morning from about seven o'clock to about about ten thirty. Then I have a snack and go back to writing until around about noon. But after about 11:00, I'm kidding myself. By then I'm too spacy to have creativity or critical faculty or even good judgement about what I've written so far. Anything I write in the afternoon will inevitably have to be rewritten the next morning, wasting that three to four hour sweet spot.

    I write non-fiction based on obscure primary sources. I never post this online. I'll probably self publish some eventually. The rest I intend to leave to my family. I write serious poetry only when the muse comes, and we're both kind of busy these days. But I love to write doggerel. I post it here all the time. I'm too old to worry about professionally publishing my prose (or anything else). I consider that a blessing.

    Anyone else want to answer my questions? Come on, take the Pompey Bum challenge.
    Last edited by Pompey Bum; 06-17-2019 at 12:39 PM.

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    MANICHAEAN MANICHAEAN's Avatar
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    Hi Pompey

    I could say I write because I don't play golf, but that's too flippant. I enjoy writing I suppose because it satisfies whatever creativity is in my makeup, ( or, doubt, doubt "Is it my Catholic upbringing, purging itself on Lit Net Confession Time?) I have a hotch potch way of writing based on the practices of the greats: writing down my dreams like Graham Greene, letting alcohol wash over me like Hemingway, seeking out foreign clime stimulus like Conrad.

    I am a great watcher; both detached & emotionally moved if that makes sense. I fell in love with the English language at an early age, but it has, I am aware made my style floury to some, verbose and heavy on the prose with others. But it is original and based on life. At one time we had some great characters on Lit Net: "The Country Doc" who was always waiting for the Revolution and invariably ended his contributions with "Grrrrrrr." Then another who just made words up, driving the more classically reared crazy. But at least it was original.


    What annoys me now is the creativity of so many talented writers on Lit Net being suppressed by what I call the cut and paste individuals. They take some bloody great tome and just keep pasting extracts, pretending it was their own.

    Trust this is of some interest.


    Take care
    M.

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    Oh, good. I was hoping you would answer, M. It doesn't surprise me that some of the other prose writers who post things here haven't bothered. Some of them don't talk to the rest of us much anyway. They seem to be dumping stuff here for their own purposes. But not everyone. I hope Aunt Shecky checks in. She's always someone to learn from.

    And yes, I've noticed that confessional aspect in some of your stories and wondered if it had to do with your Catholic upbringing. You're absolved, okay? Except for that bird in Uganda--yikes! (Just kidding ). I should try writing down some of my experiences in Africa and the Middle/Far East, too. Well, the East was pretty tame, actually (the Chinese are prudes and the Muslims are--well, Muslims), but we both know about Africa. Then again, maybe discretion is the better part of valor. Protestants don't have confession.

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    I've wanted to write since forever but couldn't walk away from my career (kids, mortgage, college expenses), though I'd been fiddling with drafts for novels for years. After semi-retiring, I finally finished a few and put them on Amazon. It took six months to get any traction. I'm a couple years in now and it's going well. I write fiction, mainly satires (Waugh, Wodehouse, and Nabokov are a few of my heroes). I write a few hours everyday and love the zone it puts me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DS Stone View Post
    I've wanted to write since forever but couldn't walk away from my career (kids, mortgage, college expenses), though I'd been fiddling with drafts for novels for years.
    I'm retired also though not (quite) "of retirement age." Going back to the classics was one of the first and best things I did after getting there. I read many of these novels as a college or even high school student, and rereading them now gives me a better perspective on the writer's mind and inevitably on my own, on the way my life has gone since then. But I didn't start writing until more recently and then only prose.

    Quote Originally Posted by DS Stone View Post
    After semi-retiring, I finally finished a few and put them on Amazon. It took six months to get any traction. I'm a couple years in now and it's going well. I write fiction, mainly satires (Waugh, Wodehouse, and Nabokov are a few of my heroes). I write a few hours everyday and love the zone it puts me.
    Congratulations on that. If you don't mind my asking, did you just put the material on Amazon or pay for a roll out (as many do--for around $1,000, I think, or possibly more now). When the time comes, I imagine I'll be inclined to pay. I'm not anticipating a big return, but I would hope to get that much back.

    And again if you don't mind my asking, how many hours at a time are you able to write well? It bothers me that I can only manage about three and a half hours per morning. Ah, to be 21 again. But then, of course, I'd be a fool again, and I suppose I prefer it this way.

    Oh, and I share your frustration (expressed in another post) with current authors. I used to use the Man Booker and Pulitzer Prizes as guides but no longer find them reliable. So much of what goes as literary fiction these days seems so dumbed down. I recently read a few books by Philip Roth, a writer of my generation. I had never been much interested in reading him before. Secular Jewish identity (his perennial theme) does not affect me directly and besides, I heard him talk in the 70s and he seemed like an arrogant jerk. But of these books, I loved two and the third, which had some problems, was still a good read. After each, I found myself saying: Now there was an author. There was exactly what we don't have anymore. So maybe the solution is to go back and read authors of our own times. Or maybe I'm just being an old man. It's a distinct possibility.

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    I can't seem to post for some reason... (<well, apparently I can)

    Quote Originally Posted by Pompey Bum View Post
    If you don't mind my asking, did you just put the material on Amazon or pay for a rollout (as many do--for around $1,000, I think, or possibly more now). When the time comes, I imagine I'll be inclined to pay. I'm not anticipating a big return, but I would hope to get that much back.

    And again if you don't mind my asking, how many hours at a time are you able to write well? It bothers me that I can only manage about three and a half hours per morning. Ah, to be 21 again. But then, of course, I'd be a fool again, and I suppose I prefer it this way.
    It's easy to upload a manuscript to Amazon. I write in Google Docs, save the book as a Word docx file, run it through Amazon's "Kindle Create" software (free), and hit "publish". So it's all pretty straightforward once you've done a few times.

    I make my covers in Photoshop Elements. If your graphics skills aren't great (and I'm not saying mine are), one can use Canva for free. It makes decent, professional looking covers.

    I wouldn't pay for anything before knowing whether your books attract a market.

    When I'm working on a new novel I put in about four hours every morning, which will include reading and fine-tuning the prior day's output. However, I've put in eight hour days when the juices are really flowing. These outbursts begin occurring about halfway through the book.

    Once the book is finished I put it in a drawer for three months while I work on something else. After three months, I use Grammarly and Prowriting Aid to edit the novel while also fine-tuning here and there. Before publishing, I use Natural Soft's text-to-speech software to listen to the book (selecting the Brit woman's posh voice option).



    Oh, and I share your frustration (expressed in another post) with current authors.
    I recall AA Gill when discussing popular music saying no one is writing songs for him anymore. That's how I feel about contemporary fiction--it's no longer written for me. I'm half enjoying Paul Murray's The Mark and the Void. About every third page there's some sparkling prose. In contrast, Bellow delivers forehead smacking magic every other paragraph.

    I read The Guardian's "Books That Made Me" feature for new leads. It's surprising how few mention living authors, and how often when they do I find their recommendations unreadable.
    Last edited by DS Stone; 06-25-2019 at 03:23 PM.

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    Thanks for that information. It's very helpful. How do you market your books? There's definitely a micro-market (nano-market?) for what I'm doing, but I'm damned if I know how to reach 'em. I think that's what you pay for.

    I haven't read Saul Below, but it sounds like he's one of the kind I was talking about. Another is V.S. Naipaul, whose A Bend in the River I reread after his death--last year? (The time goes quickly these days). That book couldn't be published anymore--not if it were new. And some of it (especially the brutalization of a female character by the narrator) is pretty disturbing. But what a writer. Once again, exactly the kind we don't see anymore.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pompey Bum View Post
    Thanks for that information. It's very helpful. How do you market your books? There's definitely a micro-market (nano-market?) for what I'm doing, but I'm damned if I know how to reach 'em. I think that's what you pay for.

    I haven't read Saul Below, but it sounds like he's one of the kind I was talking about. Another is V.S. Naipaul, whose A Bend in the River I reread after his death--last year? (The time goes quickly these days). That book couldn't be published anymore--not if it were new. And some of it (especially the brutalization of a female character by the narrator) is pretty disturbing. But what a writer. Once again, exactly the kind we don't see anymore.
    I did reply to your post but it seems to be lost in the ether.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DS Stone View Post
    I did reply to your post but it seems to be lost in the ether.
    Thanks. The site is acting really strange on my end, too. Hope it's not a harbinger of things to come.

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    Every other time I post, which now has been days apart, I get a message saying I have to wait to post because I've just posted, which I haven't.

    Too bad. I got excited when I found this place. Now I can see there's not much activity, maybe due to glitches.

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    Ignore the warning to post again in 30 seconds which is what I get. Its already been posted.

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    DSS: I sent you a pm. I've had about enough of this site's lack of technical support, too. Maybe time for another hiatus.

  13. #13
    I used to write before, mostly screenplay and novel but I never got the chance to show it to anyone.
    Right now, I'm able to write poems and short passages and I also draw illustrations with my writings. Wish I could gather some confidence and post my works online.

  14. #14
    I used to write before, mostly screenplay and novel but I never got the chance to show it to anyone.
    Right now, I'm able to write poems and short passages and I also draw illustrations with my writings. Wish I could gather some confidence and post my works online.

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    Well, hey, take a chance on us. There was a time here when some used to try to puff themselves up by cutting people's work down. There was also the odd troll--laid off teachers taken to the bottle, that sort of thing. Those idiots slowly left, but then for a while it was all appreciative gushing with no constructive criticism. That gets old fast--and more to the point it doesn't help anyone's writing. But lately there seems to be a more mature and useful approach emerging. I can't promise you anything, but it's probably a good moment to post here. And even if someone objects strongly to what you write--an opinion is just an opinion. Sticks and stones.

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