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The Write Stuff: Exercise is good for you

Kato

Plain with Left Beef
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Well those are some great little practice suggestions I must say.
Agreed. I particularly recommend the "write as much as you can within a set time without getting bogged down in spelling/grammar/coffee breaks/waiting for "inspiration" on the exact right word to use at a given point. If your barrier to writing is getting past either procrastination or perfection anxiety, refocusing on raw productivity can be really useful. Either the exercise is useful in itself, or what is produced can provide the prompt for something else. Bad words can always be rewritten later, but its much easier to do this once they're on the page to begin with.

A first draft will always need work, but its better than no draft at all.
 

David Flin

A house of larks and owls
If your barrier to writing is getting past either procrastination or perfection anxiety, refocusing on raw productivity can be really useful.
I have to say that another incentive to getting words written down can come from being a freelance writer getting paid by the word. The realisation that if you don't finish that 2400 word article by 5 pm, you won't get paid is a powerful inducement to writing.
 

Kato

Plain with Left Beef
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I have to say that another incentive to getting words written down can come from being a freelance writer getting paid by the word. The realisation that if you don't finish that 2400 word article by 5 pm, you won't get paid is a powerful inducement to writing.
Well indeed. I can't remember if it was an earlier article in this series that made the point that there's no such thing as "surgeon's block".

Inspiration is a bit like luck in that regard
 

Tabac Iberez

Impetious
Published by SLP
You mention writing in second person, and ohhh Lord. You can certainly do some tricks with it, but controlling the omission of information is harder than most people would think. You're not concealing the outside world much, but influencing the inside of the character with what you talk about. It's certainly an interesting challenge.
 

David Flin

A house of larks and owls
You mention writing in second person, and ohhh Lord. You can certainly do some tricks with it, but controlling the omission of information is harder than most people would think. You're not concealing the outside world much, but influencing the inside of the character with what you talk about. It's certainly an interesting challenge.
Absolutely. It's a major challenge, and there's a good reason why so little literature is written in the second person. No-one said the exercises were necessarily easy.
 

Tabac Iberez

Impetious
Published by SLP
Absolutely. It's a major challenge, and there's a good reason why so little literature is written in the second person. No-one said the exercises were necessarily easy.
There's a pretty good corpus of work to be found written in second person, although to call it literature is a pretty large exaggeration in quality and consistency. I can provide links to a few exceptional examples, but reading it isn't really for the faint of heart.

At least it's not fanfiction, though.
 

BClick

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There's a pretty good corpus of work to be found written in second person, although to call it literature is a pretty large exaggeration in quality and consistency. I can provide links to a few exceptional examples, but reading it isn't really for the faint of heart.

At least it's not fanfiction, though.
What are you thinking of?

Soul Mountain by Gao Xingjian is good, although you could consider it "cheat" second person since it's semi-autobiographical and the protagonist has a character of his own distinct from the reader. If on a winter's night a traveler is a very frustrating book in my opinion, but I guess it's considered a classic. That one is more clear-cut second person in which you, the reader, really are identified with the cipher protagonist.
 

Tabac Iberez

Impetious
Published by SLP
What are you thinking of?
I only have one example that comes to mind readily: Rule 34, by Charles Stross. It's honestly pretty bad, and I can't reccomend it. What's interesting, though, is when you wind back the clock and start digging through the dumpstire fire of a website he pulled the title from: 4chan.

Now woe betide me if I insuate one website has started an entire literary practice, but practically speaking there's a huge literary canon that was formed out of the storytelling conditions found there. Being an imageboard, things started off as snappy exercises of minimalism, full of off-topic illuminations, and sometimes even original art. The big three, though, that set the ground for everything else that followed were RubyQuest, DorfQuest, and MaidQuest.

http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/collection.html?collnum=0
http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Dorf Quest
http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Maid Quest

From this, things exploded. People added game mechanics, people added story. Sometimes artists would hand-draw the illuminations between updates, sometimes they'd just pull stock material off. Much like a culture test, things expanded, multiplied, and mutated at the speed of light. Pretty soon, they moved to other forums on a viral model- you'd read a few, think that's not too hard... and then you'd write one. Fanfiction jumped on it as a medium, and the viral spread exploded faster than a case of mono at a freshman mixer. Pretty soon, it regressed into genre fiction, before finally taking that final mutative step a decade later, into paper and without choice... we come to Rule 34, and Charles Stross again.
 

Ze_Slova

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Good read and something quite resonant. Reminds me of one or my favourite resources, Writing Excuses - a fifteen minute writing podcast about various topics relating to the business of writing and publishing, always ending with a prompt. The tag line? We're out of time and you're out of excuses, now go write!

It's well worth remembering the first ten thousand words are just warm-up!
 

David Flin

A house of larks and owls
It's well worth remembering the first ten thousand words are just warm-up!
I personally like to break things down into 2000 word chunks. 100K words is intimidating; 2K are easily manageable - just half a day's work. Then stitch them together.
 

Ze_Slova

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I personally like to break things down into 2000 word chunks. 100K words is intimidating; 2K are easily manageable - just half a day's work. Then stitch them together.
I meant in your lifetime as a writer rather than a single project!
 

MAC161

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I personally like to break things down into 2000 word chunks. 100K words is intimidating; 2K are easily manageable - just half a day's work. Then stitch them together.
I used to do much the same, after taking to heart Stephen King's advice about reading 4 to 6 hours a day, and setting a 2000 word quota for each day. It definitely boosted my productivity for a number of years, but eventually the mounting stress and my inner editor told me to ease back, and focus on writing for the story and not for the count. Now my quota is mostly about reaching the end of a thought, bit of dialogue, a section, a chapter: whatever I feel I have the energy, time or inspiration for with a certain project. Of course, when NaNoWriMo comes around, the 2K quota is THE tool you need. :)
 
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