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Old March 19th, 2010, 09:41 PM
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Writing your own book

I'm just wondering... has anyone ever here tried writing a book?
If so, what were your obstacles? How difficult was it to finish? Did you come up with your own plot or base it on real life events?

I do realize that this is a web site about pets, but I figured "what if... " someone did do this.
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Old March 19th, 2010, 09:49 PM
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The writing isn't so hard--it's finding a publisher that's the killer!

I've written a number of children's picture books about the Pack (so short stories, real life events). None published I'm sort of thinking about self-publishing... Just life has been getting in the way of finishing the thought.

I take it you like to write, Meaw? What do you write about?
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Old March 19th, 2010, 10:16 PM
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I helped a friend to produce several books on his family and such, but like Hazel is thinking, he self published. Of course his books had a "very" limited audience.
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Old March 20th, 2010, 07:52 AM
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Yeah, I could see the difficulties of getting a book published, but I'm not even close to that stage.

I always thought that writing a book would be something that I would want to accomplish in my life. I guess at this point I am struggling with just getting started - like writing out an interesting plot and then building everything from there.

I am not a writer or anything like that and I cannot even call myself an avid reader. Just always had this "need" to accomplish something like this.

What is self publishing anyway?
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Old March 20th, 2010, 10:06 AM
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Do you want to write fiction or stick to real life stories? Sometimes you can get inspired by a story close to you--and that's the easiest story to write. It's always best to stick to what you know. If you want to write fiction, use the same principle. Draw from your real life experiences to flesh out your story.

Self-publishing is designing and writing the book yourself, then paying a printer directly to have copies of the book made instead of leaving it to a publisher.

Typically a publisher will buy your story, and then makes all the arrangements for illustration, finished size, font selection, etc--so you sometimes don't have a lot of say in how it's done. If you opt for royalties instead of a one-time payment for your story, you make pennies on the dollar on each sale. Also, it often takes a year or more from the time the publisher decides your story is print-worthy and the time the book comes out.

Self-publishing allows you full control on the final product and doesn't have to take as long from start to finish, but since you're paying up front and working alone, to make any money, you have to market the book yourself and sell a lot to make a profit.

It's a sort of 'damned if you do; damned if you don't' situation.
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Old March 20th, 2010, 08:05 PM
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The easiest way I find to write is just to START WRITING.

I know they say to outline characters and whatnot beforehand, but honestly I get so bored doing this I rarely do. When I write stories for my college classes I just start writing and edit as I go. I will sometimes make an outline after the story has already been started and I may even ditch the whole thing and start with something else that pops into my head.

But there's no reason to think there's rules for writing something. Just start writing and change things as they come to you. You will rarely come up with things just sitting there.

Just starting to write (even if it's stupid little stories that don't seem to go anywhere) will help your mind start thinking. Characters will come to you and plots will start to form.

That's how I do it anyway . I have no doubt I could write a whole book this way, I just choose not to because I don't have any interest in it (which I've been told is a shame because I'm actually very good at it). I tend to get nearly 100% on my writing assignments (I only lose points for grammatical errors that I overlook sometimes), but I just have no interest in writing anymore. I used to do it just in my free time, but oddly enough I prefer mathematics over writing now .

BTW have you thought about taking any college courses on creative writing, just for the heck of it? The professors could greatly help you get started on learning to write, correct grammar, and how to make a story flow. I found my classes to be a great help on how to make my writing look more professional even though I was pretty good at it in the first place. You don't really realize how many things you could make look better, even if they seem fine in the first place, just by phrasing things different and whatnot, until you have a professional writer point that kind of stuff out to you.
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Old March 20th, 2010, 08:12 PM
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Quote:
Self-publishing allows you full control on the final product and doesn't have to take as long from start to finish, but since you're paying up front and working alone, to make any money, you have to market the book yourself and sell a lot to make a profit.
I would also like to point out that you should probably hire an editor (unless you have experience in this profession.)
People editing and correcting their own books generally does NOT go well. I've seen books from a few people that did that on their own and WOW, there were so many grammatical errors and other issues it really did distract from the story. Many people, even good writers, don't have the eye to correct errors on their own. It takes a really anal retentive person (even more so than me ) to look over a story and find and correct every single error. And believe me, people like me WILL notice those errors and possibly choose to not even read the book, even if the story itself is great.

Proper grammar and punctuation is necessary to the flow and rhythm of the story. Those errors tend to be really distracting. Especially when people make those mistakes with quotations...I don't want to have to go back and read repeatedly to figure out who is saying what to who.

Last edited by MyBirdIsEvil; March 20th, 2010 at 08:17 PM.
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Old March 20th, 2010, 08:23 PM
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Oh and (sorry for all the posts ) regarding taking classes. They will also teach the rules of how to write different types of stories (and believe me there are rules depending on if you're doing a first or third person narrative, biography, children's book (will require you to use certain language that is easily understandable depending on grade level), etc.).

Rules are made to be broken, but it's not suggested for novice writers to do this because it can make for a really horrible piece of work. You can't break the rules until you know what they are in the first place. You will see experienced writers mess with the rules of storytelling, but it is generally because they're going for a certain effect. When a novice writes with no regard to those rules it tends to just look like a mess...
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Old March 20th, 2010, 08:55 PM
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my son majored in english at Ottawa U and is writing documentaries and writes up reviews on bands, artists and many different topics for varies magazines etc....someday he does hope to write a book and he's hoping all this leads up to getting his name known. Its a tough world so just keep trying and don't give up
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Old March 20th, 2010, 10:25 PM
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I've always said we all have a story in us. We just need to find a way to get it on paper. Stick with it. It will happen if it's meant to.
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Old March 20th, 2010, 11:19 PM
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I think a bio of the Kitty Whisperer, 14+ would be a good one!
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Old March 22nd, 2010, 06:44 PM
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Thanks so much everyone for all of your insightful responses.

I know that it is a lot easier to write about real life events that I have encountered with, but the one big thing that I could write about is very painful for me and I do not want to "re-live" it through writing a novel. As such, I am left with no choice but to write a fictional book.

I don't really care about royalties or anything like that since I am doing this not for the money, but rather, for self-fulfillment. I suppose the decision with respect to the type of publishing is not really relevant at the moment for myself. But big thanks for providing all of this useful information.

MyBirdIsEvil - I know that sometimes it's better to just start writing... but I feel as though I cannot simply write before I know the exact outline/characters. To me, writing is very similar to building a house: you have to have all of the engineering/architecture/plans done first and only then you can start building it. If you just start building, the end result may not be all that glamorous because proper calculations were not done. But then again, I'm sure that some unconventional writers also write without first having the "skeleton" down.

Anyway, writing a book is just something I wanted to do recreationally. My full time job is very very different....

Thanks once again for all of your advice! You guys are great!
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Old March 22nd, 2010, 06:54 PM
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Quote:
MyBirdIsEvil - I know that sometimes it's better to just start writing... but I feel as though I cannot simply write before I know the exact outline/characters. To me, writing is very similar to building a house: you have to have all of the engineering/architecture/plans done first and only then you can start building it. If you just start building, the end result may not be all that glamorous because proper calculations were not done. But then again, I'm sure that some unconventional writers also write without first having the "skeleton" down.
You don't have to use what you just started writing. Like I said, it could be something really inane and you can even discard it afterward. But it will get your mind flowing and then you can start writing an outline.

It's a common thing in creative writing classes to write journal entries and quick stories and such just to get your mind working and get used to writing in general.
Writing takes LOTS of practice, so just starting on an outline when you haven't been writing much in the first place often doesn't work for a lot of people.
Believe me, if you just sit there thinking it will never get done. You have to put pen to paper and just do it.
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Old March 22nd, 2010, 06:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hazelrunpack View Post
I think a bio of the Kitty Whisperer, 14+ would be a good one!
It would be a good book for insomniacs!! Asleep by the second page guaranteed!!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Meaw View Post
I know that it is a lot easier to write about real life events that I have encountered with, but the one big thing that I could write about is very painful for me and I do not want to "re-live" it through writing a novel. As such, I am left with no choice but to write a fictional book.
Sometimes writing is very cathartic for getting rid of a lot of the pain. I have done it numerous times over the last while in the form of poetry or very short stories.
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Old March 22nd, 2010, 06:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MyBirdIsEvil View Post

It's a common thing in creative writing classes to write journal entries and quick stories and such just to get your mind working and get used to writing in general.
Writing takes LOTS of practice, so just starting on an outline when you haven't been writing much in the first place often doesn't work for a lot of people.
Believe me, if you just sit there thinking it will never get done. You have to put pen to paper and just do it.
I actually think you're right. Maybe I just need to start "warming up" by writing shorter pieces. That way, I will gain practice with writing in general and work myself up to writing a novel.

Thanks!
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