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 writing tips with abbey, use at own risk
abbey
 Posted: Oct 21 2014, 05:25 AM
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writing tips with abbey

in which i come home, tired, punchdrunk, and ornery -- and smack my hands on the keyboard until words come out. my words will hopefully assist you in forming words that, when read, will delight both you and your readers (this sentence notwithstanding). please feel free to discuss and contribute!



what are your qualifications?

i've been writing since i was a kid, minted on forums and the neoboards. often the neopets team were so in love with these posts that they would let cussing, smut, etc. go undeleted for hours or days. i'm sniffing out self-publishing nowdays, if i can get my ass in any kind of novel-writing gear.

i.e. i have no qualifications.

what is your #1 tip?

read. read until your eyeballs roll out of your head. there is a wealth of books out there, with so many worlds to disappear into, and you will naturally, stylistically absorb a little bit of everything that you read. reading is free lessons for your brain!

write. no one ever wrote their first draft perfectly. don't be paralysed by perfectionism, procrastination, or anxiety. write!
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abbey
 Posted: Oct 21 2014, 06:54 AM
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complementary conflict: pt 1

in which we look at conflict that completes our writing, rather than stopping it dead.



a snippet from The Cursed Towers by Kate Forsyth:
QUOTE
Every now and again [Iseult] poured him some more whiskey, and once she said with unusual gentleness, 'The purpose o' battle is slaughter and the price o' victory is blood. That is the nature o' war.'

[Lachlan] cast his glass away from him, saying, 'Ye think to comfort me thus? Eà damn ye and your Scarred Warrior proverbs!'

She shrugged. 'Who said I tried to offer comfort? What comfort is there in lost friends and comrades? I do but tell ye what war is. Ye did always think it was like the songs o' the jongleurs—a game o' chivalry and tactics like that game o' chess ye play with Finlay. Well, it is no'. The purpose o' battle is slaughter and the price o' victory is blood.'

When he said nothing, she rose and went to leave, but he caught her arm as she went by and pulled her to him, burying his face in her lap. He took a sobbing breath, like a child, and she smoothed his unruly black hair. 'Come to bed, leannan,' she said. 'We have waded in death today; let us drown ourselves in love and forget. We at least are alive and there is something in that.'


i really liked this and wanted to share it with you.

a new king and queen sit down together after losing a few of their friends to war. the above is how we end our chapter, but it immediately left me wanting to read more about the couple (and about their going to bed, because i'm a perv). note, before there is any consolation, there is a point of conflict.

iseult does try to comfort lachlan, in her own way.
lachlan refuses her comfort.
lachlan accuses her of insensitivity.
conflict!


iseult could walk away immediately, but then we'd have a very different scene.

iseult speaks plainly about war.
iseult waits for him to respond, and only then starts to walk away.
lachlan is emotional.
lachlan reaches out for comfort.
iseult comforts him successfully.
resolution!


our characters are still cooperating with our scene, even in the midst of conflict.

we know leannan means 'beloved', just from iseult's tone.

we have death and a proposed celebration of life. in the same way, our conflict comes full circle in a matter of seconds.

we don't always have to resolve conflict immediately, and we shouldn't always, if we want it to carry weight. but we can and should account for how it completes the story we're telling. how do we come back from it?

how do our characters? what are they really saying in getting emotional—what is better left unsaid (and unwritten)?
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abbey
 Posted: Nov 2 2014, 05:05 PM
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Scott Westerfield (author of Uglies) writes an informative post on point of view.
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abbey
 Posted: Nov 3 2014, 03:44 AM
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wisdom from the cbox!

QUOTE (poette)
maybe you're just out of touch with your writing, which is a really weird concept but totally valid. we are rarely the person we were when we wrote something, in hindsight. if you ever want a good example of this, read something from a couple of years ago. our writing goes through iterations; our voice is a living changing thing. sometimes it speaks to us. and sometimes it is a stranger. and sometimes our writing just sucks. but there are plenty of bad apples in a bountiful orchard.
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abbey
 Posted: Jul 22 2015, 07:55 AM
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an undergraduate course in writing and reading short stories at MIT. completely free, click here to download the course materials!
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