The B&B Writers Thread
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  • Previous writing thread.

    A thread for badgers to discuss writing. Whether you're writing novels, short stories, reviews, non-fiction, or academic work, this is a thread to come together and make merry. The OP is largely going to be focused on fiction writing unless others take things that way as that's my own sphere of interest.

    Fiction writing resources.

    Ralan.com - An excellent resource to find a myriad of fiction markets. It covers all kinds, professional rate ($0.06 per word+) all the way through semi-pro, and token payment. Also includes anthologies open for submission.

    Standard Manuscript Format - Almost all markets require work sent in standard manuscript format, as seen in this explanation by William Shunn.

    Bear & Badger Fiction Writing Group.

    To help us all get feedback on our writing and to motivate us to make stuff up and write it down. Also to look at other people's writing and see what we think works well/we don't think works to help us better understand our own strengths and flaws.

    How it works.

    - Two people post a short story/excerpt of writing in spoiler tags. Please do not quote these in their entirety if referring to them - People may want to submit work further down the line and to delete it from the B&B. Posting the work on Google docs is also very useful as you can both share it and allow people to make comments/edits/suggestions on the document itself, which the writer can resolve at their leisure.

    - Two new people post work every two weeks. Don't feel obligated to comment on every piece of writing submitted, but hopefully everyone will get at least 2-3 commentaries on their work. 

    - If you want to join in, do! This is slightly formalised to help motivate and get people writing consistently, but sharing other writing is fine.

    - All feedback is useful. Nobody has to agree with critique. This is a subjective business in most respects.

    - Be respectful. Nobody likes to be told their work isn't sublime. We're real people with real feelings (mostly). I know everyone will do this anyway, but it's worth reiterating.

    - Look for what works as well as what doesn't work. We all have different strengths and sometimes need reminding of them.

    Order of play

    Tiger & Tempy: 30th July - 13th August
    Stopharage & Tin:  13th August - 27th August
    Aaron & Revel: 27th August - 10th September
    DS & Jon: 10th September - 24th September

    Currently Reviewing

    Tin Robot: Page 1. (BanAnna)
  • I thought we had one of these?
  • Spoiler:
  • acemuzzy
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    Those people are neither good nor bad. You should enter a writing competition about moral dilemmas.
  • I dunno. I think it lacks.... something. I just can't quite out my finger on what it is.
  • acemuzzy
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    Girth?
  • WorKid wrote:
    I thought we had one of these?
    I am the usurper.
  • Might want to move this to the Off-Topic folder then.
    Come with g if you want to live...
  • Ta.
    Come with g if you want to live...
  • S'ok. I often forget we even have that segregation.
  • Ok. Reworked my story with a few tweaks based on feedback so far. New version is below.
    Spoiler:
    Google docs link - LINK. I've resolved all Tempy's notes. I think there was one thing I left as is, but if anyone else picks up on it too I'll have to give it another look. Thanks for taking the time, chum. :)
  • I read your piece, Tiger, because it was just there.

    I really like it, especially the descriptions of the way the owl sees different ages of people, and the concept of desire is a fine one to follow.

    A few bits though:
    Spoiler:
    I will get to Tempy's piece later.
  • Bear in mind it's not finished, cos we're in for 2 weeks. It's just the start of something I'm still doing. But still, thought welcome.
  • Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, Jon. :)

    Re: thaumaturgy - It's an overhang of my love for Mieville's writing. The word runs rampant through his Bas-Lag books and I tend to overly fixate on particular words I like. May tweak it, or at least some of the repetition, out.

    As for the owl, I haven't seen Clash of the Titans so couldn't comment (although a quick Google search and I do recognise it... maybe I have seen it many years ago?). The idea came from a necklace Lady Tiger bought in Korea which is an owl with a clock in its chest.

    You may be right about the ending...
    Spoiler:

    Again, thanks. Great to see different viewpoints.
  • A revised ending. Not quite sure on it yet. Added a couple of earlier bits to foreshadow it. Always find it hard to balance saying too much and saying too little. Not quite hitting the right notes at the finish, perhaps.

    EDIT: I've hacked it up again. See below. I'm off on my jolly holidays for a week as of tomorrow so I won't be doing any more tinkering until then. Hopefully the new ending makes it better. Wotcha think?

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wqSO1e0CYPCxrL_1wtZrAO0tiDu619Cq8ZPNCXaWcBQ/edit?usp=sharing

    Spoiler:
  • I think that works in principle. Thinking about it, the other option might be to have the original ending, but make it darker - emphasising his obsession with getting her back, even at the cost of trapping her in the owl, which may turn out to be quite unpleasant for her in some way. In that sense the new ending could be seen as the 'happy' one. Because grief is always ultimately a matter of acceptance and moving on, and no magic is quite strong enough to overcome that.

    I also like the mystery of the other magician btw. It remains a question how he got there and why he does what he does, and perhaps even whether he's real at all.
  • Cheers, Jon. That would an interesting ending too. It's so hard to try and resolve a story. Eeesh.

    The other magician is something both of you commented on liking, actually, and something I was unsure of. It depends on your reading (given your post above) but it just struck me as... was he a bit of a deus ex machina, in a sense? Was it too coincidental? I could add some flavour text to hint at why he would have gone to that grave in particular, but I quite like the ambiguity of it.
  • Yeah, I like the ambiguity too. It could even be that he goes to the grave because of the owl, after sensing its presence and what it wanted, even though it appears as if he was going there all along.

    You could always hint at different possibilities, without committing to any. I suppose there should be some little clues to grab on to, because it being pure coincidence is a bit unsatisfactory.
  • Tempy wrote:
    Bear in mind it's not finished, cos we're in for 2 weeks. It's just the start of something I'm still doing. But still, thought welcome.
    I read this last night. Impressive, I thought. I mean, the writing style just works and has an easy flow to it. In both yours and Tiger's pieces the descriptions of stuff are really strong. The dialogue is good too.

    There were really only a couple of things I could think of that you might consider. First, I get the McCarthy type vibe you're going for, and it does seem like a cross between The Road and All the Pretty Horses or something, which is cool. But then the characters being these sort of cowboy types seems a little too obvious and they feel like they've sort of been transplanted from somewhere else and I already feel like I know exactly how they work and how they'll react to situations and so on. Unless there's a real reason for it, it might be worth mixing things up a bit, especially if it the setting could be almost anywhere.

    The other thing was that we're being drip fed information about what this world is and we're slowly building up a picture, and then there's a big chunk of explanation towards the end that gives us loads of information at once. It's a bit jarring. Once it gets longer it might be worth spreading that more evenly, so we continue to get it in fragments or just through suggestion.

    But that's all really.
  • Thanks! I haven't gone back to it properly yet but I agree that the dump if exposition needs to be fixed a bit, I was at thy point wrapping up for the night and just wanted to get stuff down, but if someone hast mentioned it i would have been too lazy to sort it.

    As for the cowboy thing. I dunno if I'll tweak that. It's set could be set anywhere, but it is America. I don't think it's really significant, but it might be relevant in the later pages, but I'll keep drooping it in mind. I was also going for, if maybe not succeeding, with the idea that although Ethan talks like that, he certainly doesn't think like that, in fact he's perfectly elegant but how else are you meant to get across the wilds without that kind stoicism?

    Don't want to come off defensive, in fact I'm glad you've picked up on stuff like that because it means I'll have to work to contextualise them rather than being lazy about it.
  • acemuzzy
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    I've got a nice scene in mind for that fantasy comp, but not enough time to write it. Sigh.

    Or.how long does 2000 words take to churn out? 50 wpm, should be fine actually. * rolls up sleeves *
  • Tempy wrote:
    As for the cowboy thing. I dunno if I'll tweak that. It's set could be set anywhere, but it is America. I don't think it's really significant, but it might be relevant in the later pages, but I'll keep drooping it in mind. I was also going for, if maybe not succeeding, with the idea that although Ethan talks like that, he certainly doesn't think like that, in fact he's perfectly elegant but how else are you meant to get across the wilds without that kind stoicism? Don't want to come off defensive, in fact I'm glad you've picked up on stuff like that because it means I'll have to work to contextualise them rather than being lazy about it.
    Nah, it's not defensive. Thing is, the stuff I'm saying might miss the mark completely. I obviously don't know where the story's going either, so there's plenty I could be missing.
  • I am looking forward to Stopharage and Tin this week. 

    I had to bail because I have been busy with stuff, mainly involving flat hunting. It's taken the wind right out of my sails, but I'm hoping to get back into it. I'll keep updates to a minimum if I make any progress, simply because I would prefer not to tread on other folk's toes.
  • Tempy/Tiger - I have read both your contributions, will post longer feedback tomorrow but liked both, although I don't think my stuff has the academic verve and rigour that yours do. Not sure what anyone will make of it now!
  • Tempy wrote:
    I am looking forward to Stopharage and Tin this week.  I had to bail because I have been busy with stuff, mainly involving flat hunting. It's taken the wind right out of my sails, but I'm hoping to get back into it. I'll keep updates to a minimum if I make any progress, simply because I would prefer not to tread on other folk's toes.

    Wouldn't see it that way myself, Tempy. It's nice to have some structure to get people regularly writing and sharing and thinking about critique, but I wouldn't want you or anyone to not post your stuff simply because it's not your week or whatever. I'd love to see more of your writing; it's right up my street.
    Stopharage wrote:
    Tempy/Tiger - I have read both your contributions, will post longer feedback tomorrow but liked both, although I don't think my stuff has the academic verve and rigour that yours do. Not sure what anyone will make of it now!

    Thanks for taking the time to read! But rest assured that any perceived academic verve in my stories is reader projection that I latch on to and nod sagely at whilst frantically editing the story to make it fit. ;)

    Really looking forward to reading some more stuff soon. It's great to read different styles.
  • Final day of focus for me and Tempster. @Stopharage and @tin_robot are up from tomorrow! (EDIT: Day after tomorrow? Whatever. Post 'em up once you're happy to do so.)

    I came home from holiday yesterday after indulging in some Lovecraft. Wanted to write a story about a spooky fireplace. Couldn't decide how to start, and ended up knocking out 3000 word short completely unrelated to it! Not quite happy with the ending currently, but if anyone fancies wasting some time... 
    Spoiler:
  • Literally just back from holiday today, but will try and get something posted up by the end of the week.
  • Yeah, that's all good. Next two weeks are for you and Stophs, whenever you guys put things up. :)
  • Right then, life has changed pretty quickly since I wrote that last sentence.  Specifically two things - my brother's just become a Dad - which means I'm dropping my plans to spend the weekend writing stuff to go and visit the baby, and I've been randomly offered a job writing a blog for a medical site -which means I've been frantically penning something for that.

    However, I figured a medical blog probably isn't of great interest to you guys (though I'm happy to post if you want it) so I've hurriedly written something else in order to fulfil my promise of getting something in by the end of this week.  It's still a little off the wall - basically I promised a friend a long time ago that I'd write a children's book for them.  (I wrote a book of poetry for one of their children, a picture book for the next, now they have another, I said I'd do a "proper" book for when they are older...)  This seemed like a good moment to get off my backside and write something.  So here is a very, very early first draft at the opening, hot off the presses of my very sleepy brain...

    Link to Google Docs (I hope)
  • Hah, I've given it a quick read. Very fun. I'm sure they'll love it.

    Will make some edits/suggestions later on. :)
  • I have written a couple of things I'll pop up on Sunday, away for a wedding at the mo. Will also post a few thoughts as well, as promised.
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