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Quill and Ink Corner: A writing thread for the Cobbies.

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Jan 8th 2016 at 1:48:14 AM

Hmmm... That wouldn't be totally out of character... ;)

On a side note, someone went above and beyond with this urban dictionary definition.

Jan 16th 2016 at 1:48:12 AM

Fiiiiiinaaaaallllly finished the second arc of this book today. I'm super excited. It's a little rushed; I'm going to have to flesh some things out, but it is good enough for a first draft.

Except... I'm at 92,000 words. And I am like, maybe as much as 2/3rds of the way through the story. Probably more like 3/5ths. And I have a ton of shit that's underdeveloped. I'm really scared this is going to be a 200,000 word book. :/

I guess I was kinda leaning toward self-publishing, anyway...? :/

kkhohoho Deranged X-Mas Figure from The Insanity Pole Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
Deranged X-Mas Figure
Jan 16th 2016 at 5:45:02 PM

[up]Maybe you could split it into a trilogy? Give each arc its own book?

Sonic and the Freedom Fighters — Blue Horizon: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12583620/1/Sonic-and-the-Freedom-Fighters-Blue-Horizon
MrAHR Ahr river from ಠ_ಠ Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
Jan 16th 2016 at 6:01:12 PM

—headdesk— —headdesk— writing letters for agents... blaaaarg. Why is this how writers get published. Whyyyyy.

Read my stories!
Jan 17th 2016 at 3:44:08 AM

[up][up] I thought about that...

Unfortunately, each arc would make a terrible book, as-is. I think it will be a lot easier to focus and prune than it would be to make each arc stand on their own.

I'm adding this to the pile of things I'll worry about after I get the first draft down.

Still, I'm just shocked.

Jan 25th 2016 at 2:17:04 PM

That moment when you're creating a character and realize you might as well just refer your readers to the lyrics of Behind Blue Eyes.

TParadox Relationship Status: We finish each other's sandwiches
Jan 25th 2016 at 7:48:19 PM

I seem to be a friend's writing mentor, despite my issues with not actually writing anything without a deadline. I seem to be a good source of advice on most writing problems that aren't "how to sit down and actually write stuff".

Fresh-eyed movie blog
Jan 26th 2016 at 1:42:26 PM

I semi-recently read an article on procrastination, and one of the take-homes for me was that procrastinators have a sort of lack of agency, in that they believe they can't accomplish anything unless they're "in the mood." So they just wait for inspiration to strike them. More productive people, meanwhile, believe they just are creative, that inspiration is irrelevant; you sit down and you work. The end.

I think it was the last piece I needed to make me assimilate the Vomit Draft and Don't Edit, Just Write advice out there. I am a perfectionist super compulsive editor who could go months not writing a single word because I wasn't feeling it. But just in the last 4-6 months, I think I have finally figured out how to just put words on paper.

I am still a very slow writer, and I still think Na No is hilariously ambitious, but I posted in the Totally Radical thread that I'd hit 50,000 words back... in September? October? It had taken me years to get to that point note . And now I currently stand at 102,000.

So I'm tentatively believing this is actually possible, this Just Write thing. You might just have to figure out what unexamined belief is holding you back.

TParadox Relationship Status: We finish each other's sandwiches
Jan 28th 2016 at 8:42:32 PM

Ideas, they're fun.

Planning plots, that's easy.

Editing, that's doable (provided enough time from when I wrote it that it's no longer fresh).

Putting one word in front of another on the infinite wasteland of an empty page, that's an arduous experience that might take ten minutes to craft a sentence I'm comfortable putting down. And then I have no idea what the next sentence might be.

Fresh-eyed movie blog
Jan 28th 2016 at 8:53:01 PM

Are you a bleeder...?

"A sprinter gushes ideas like a faucet but must then spend extensive time revising. Plodders work more slowly, tinkering with sentences as they write them but maintaining forward movement. Bleeders are perfectionists who come to a full stop at every sentence until they get it right." (source)

TParadox Relationship Status: We finish each other's sandwiches
Jan 28th 2016 at 9:35:28 PM

Yeah, basically.

Then there are the times I have a cool idea that I'm afraid of because I don't know how to make it work. Like this morning, when I had a lot of ideas to flesh out a short film concept, but they require showing an evolution of two different sets of internal motivations over time. I don't know how to do that in prose without beating the reader over the head about it, and you generally have even less access to a character's internal thoughts in film.

I mean, basically it has to be a film because I want it to be a film. But it has to be a film.

Fresh-eyed movie blog
Jan 28th 2016 at 9:55:47 PM

Okay. Well, I have no idea how to format a film script.

But here's the thing: If you're a bleeder, I think maybe you know you're an editor at heart. You have the skill / talent to make bad things better. You're not going to let embarassing crap out loose in the world.

So maybe try to trust that you can put down something fucked up and stupid, and fix it later, when you understand it well enough to know which direction you need to shape and polish it.

It doesn't have to spring from your head, like Athena, fully-formed. That doesn't make you less of a writer — not writing makes you less of a writer. :D

I have literally agonized over commas, and not even that long ago. Now I'm sending rough first draft sex scenes to people I actually know IRL. If I figured out how to get here, I feel like there's just gotta be a path for everyone.

TParadox Relationship Status: We finish each other's sandwiches
Jan 28th 2016 at 10:46:53 PM

I feel like some of my best work has been when I had partners who fed me things to improve. Like, maybe we collaborated on where it was going and then the line by line was one person telling me what to write and me offering something better before putting it on the page.

I just don't have writing partners now that I don't have classes making me do collaborative work anymore, and it's kinda lazy.

Writing scripts is fundamentally the same as writing prose, only everything is in present tense and broken into labeled components, and you can't directly make any statements about what things are, only describe how they appear, since the only actual words that make it into the finished product are dialogue. Sometimes you can get away with having a character say exactly what you're getting at, but it has to make sense for them to know it and say it, and it's also not really the strongest way to write.

Fresh-eyed movie blog
Jan 28th 2016 at 11:52:55 PM

I can relate to that. I wanted a co-author for a long time.

I think collaborative work is good. Rewarding. But I don't think being the team Editor note  means you're incapable of being the Idea Man or anything. I mean, you just said you have ideas. I think you have to figure out how to get them where you can look at them, so you can work with them, even if they're humiliatingly bad right now.

I think if you don't know how to do something without beating the reader over the head, just do it beating the reader over the head — you don't actually have a reader yet. They'll be fine. You'll be fine. And when you've got that down, look at places to pull back. Where is it too much? What is load-bearing and what's redundant? I think it really does just take leaning into the discomfort and accepting that there's going to be some shit in there.

MrAHR Ahr river from ಠ_ಠ Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
Jan 29th 2016 at 6:10:51 AM

I am definitely a sprinter. My brain is terrible at conceptualizing editing. And I can't even complain about it because when I do, people are just shocked that I'm complaining about only having written 40k in several months.

Read my stories!
Feb 1st 2016 at 1:46:04 PM

Can someone pretty please figure out how fast a pre-steam-engine boat could travel up river...?

Because I have been Googling and it's all just, "Oh, you want river boats? Paddle wheel! Paddle wheel! Steam boat! Paddle wheel!' Fffuuuu NO, BEFORE THAT!

Euodiachloris Relationship Status: Is that a kind of food?
Feb 1st 2016 at 1:54:17 PM

Sail. Oars (much less fun). Rope-and-winch towed ferries. Horse- or ox-towed barges also predate the various canal systems built in the C17th and C18th by quite a lot.

Although... towpaths were a bit hit-and-miss even on well-travelled rivers.

You're probably looking at a max speed of 3 mph most of the time. Although some sailboats would regularly break that on good days with favourable winds.

Some towpoints would be horrendously slow, though: you could probably walk faster (but never carry as much). And, most would be badly administered. Think of them as choke points much like canal locks, but without as much digging.

edited 1st Feb '16 2:05:01 PM by Euodiachloris

Feb 1st 2016 at 2:05:54 PM

Yes, but how fast?! :D

I just need to know how long it will take to get up river twenty-five miles. It's the dumbest, most inconsequential little detail, but it has to be in the ballpark of accurate.

On a semi-related note, here's a cool photo of a hunter and his kayak.

ETA: Sorry. Replied while you were editing.

I'm seeing 3-4mph recommended for narrowboats on English canals. You can go faster, but this page says you shouldn't; the canals weren't made for it. So that's suggestive.

ETA 2: Travelling by wagon was usually about the same — really not any faster than walking, but hey, you could carry way more stuff. Horses can go pretty fast... For a little while... If they're not pulling anything...

It's been really funny to me, because I'm looking at distances that are an hour drive for me, but they would have been a multi-day journey at 3mph.

edited 1st Feb '16 2:13:48 PM by mona.soyun

Euodiachloris Relationship Status: Is that a kind of food?
Feb 1st 2016 at 2:43:44 PM

[up]Why I used that 3 mph as a top speed. Before even vague waterway interconnection, good luck freeing your ox-train from that inconvenient patch of brambles nobody had cleared. Or, having to go through that entirely overrun bank of nettles-and-slightly-too-steep-for-me-to-leave-the-beasts... Let alone finding decent mooring points without a guide. Or, navigating the overhanging trees with your sails...

Rivermen were a breed unto themselves for a reason: local knowledge of all the tricks of the river and its banks was vital for speed.

edited 1st Feb '16 3:15:29 PM by Euodiachloris

Feb 1st 2016 at 2:58:02 PM

Hehehe. Well, then, I think we have established top speed through English canals.

I'm basing it on a real river in California, but most everything written about travelling on it seems to be post-Gold Rush. Did the Spanish just not go that far...? I think I should look at what the Russians did elsewhere. Maybe the French-Canadians, too.

I'm gonna put 3mph in for now. Or rather, I'll put in "a day."

Thanks!

edited 1st Feb '16 2:58:41 PM by mona.soyun

Euodiachloris Relationship Status: Is that a kind of food?
Feb 1st 2016 at 3:21:04 PM

[up]You can probably think 5 mph for open rivers. But, with many, many complications.

After all: sandbanks, submerged hazards, cross-currents, terrible banks, unhelpful fellow traffic and choke points? Yeah.

The few minutes you got to 10 mph could be cancelled because the wind died and you had to try poling yourself along a deep bit against the current. And, it was mainly sucking silt at the bottom. That ate two poles and laughed at your hook.

edited 1st Feb '16 3:22:53 PM by Euodiachloris

Feb 1st 2016 at 3:36:32 PM

Yeah, again similar with wagons. You hit a smooth stretch of road, but then you'd have to ford a river, or the axle broke, or it rained.

And you were pretty limited to travelling within daylight hours, warmer seasons...

We literally are living faster paced lives.

I'll go with 5mph. It's a decent size river.

Euodiachloris Relationship Status: Is that a kind of food?
Feb 1st 2016 at 9:54:10 PM

Note that "open river". Some aren't. Even big rivers have their narrows. And tributaries can be canals in all but name (particularly if partly or fully culverted — something done even before the Romans).

And, then there's the tidal situation to consider in estuaries... (horrible memories of Dad getting his calculations wrong in Gloucester).

Feb 2nd 2016 at 12:57:28 AM

Hehehe. The real river is currently dammed so... Voila! It is now also an open river. :D

Feb 2nd 2016 at 7:45:41 AM

Can I talk about my tabletop RPG characters here?


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