Ask garamet

Discussion in 'The Workshop' started by garamet, Apr 16, 2004.

  1. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2004
    Messages:
    52,917
    Ratings:
    +36,606
    Great question. :)

    They're both enjoyable - and challenging - in different ways.

    Writing in someone else's universe is easier, but more restricting, because you've got the structure pretty much set up for you. Don't have to go into pages of explanation about the technology, because everyone understands transporters, warp drive, replicators. Don't have to go into long-winded descriptions of the established characters; you can get away with a few brush strokes.

    What's restricting is the fact that you have to Put Everything Back Where You Found It. The simplest example of that is that Edith Keeler had to die because Kirk can't be saddled with a relationship that's going to distract him from his One True Love. Those restrictions have been loosened considerably in the past decade or so, but there's still always a framework and a timeline that has to be adhered to.

    In creating one's own universes, there are no such limits, but it's a lot more work. You literally have to build a society from the ground up, and think everything through - the tech, what your "people" look and sound like, what their culture and philosophies and myths are - as a species. Only then can you get into different characters, how they're distinct from each other, and what drives them into the conflicts or crises that move the story along.

    In your own universe, you also have to concern yourself with the size of your story. Is it a single, self-contained novel or even a short, or is it an three-book epic or an open-ended series? That, of course, depends on what your editor's buying, but sometimes what starts out as a single novel can get away from you and grow into a trilogy.

    So those are the challenges of creating one's own universe. The enjoyment comes from sometimes literally not knowing what's going to be on the next page. Sure, you've got an overall idea of where the story's going, but sometimes you pull a sentence or a transition out of the air and go, "Huh? WTF did *that* come from?" and it takes you in an entirely unexpected direction.

    That's not to say that doesn't happen when you're in other people's universes as well. ;)
  2. Amaris

    Amaris Princess of Love

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2004
    Messages:
    21,957
    Ratings:
    +27,486
    I've just committed myself to a new book. A series of books actually, since I have so much difficulty containing my story in one book (this has always been the reason why I haven't published). So with this series I've done something I rarely if ever do, I made an outline, then I made a detailed outline, and set up the basic plot points and direction of the first book.

    Usually, I just jump head first into a book, get about 100 pages in and then trail off.

    However, after looking it over, I realized I could do this and over the next several months (as this idea is becoming fully formed in my head even now) could write and complete my first novel. I actually started writing this morning, and never in my years have the ideas been as lucid as now.

    I'm scared shitless. Any advice on what to do next would be nice. :lol:

    J.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2004
    Messages:
    52,917
    Ratings:
    +36,606
    Now you have to do the most difficult thing of all: Just. Write.

    Seriously. You've drawn the map and plotted the course, thereby solving the problem of why you've previously started off great guns but lost momentum after the first hundred pages. Now all you have to do is get in your canoe and start paddling.

    You'll still encounter rocks and rapids and swarms of insects and places where the river's frozen over and you have to portage through the underbrush carrying your canoe, but at least this time you know where you're going.

    You have the luxury of taking all the time you need, but also the awareness that if you let too many days lapse without doing at least a little bit of writing, you may lose your momentum.

    You don't really know what's at the end of your journey, whether it's the Promised Land of a book sale and a toehold on a future as a published author, or whether it's the desert of rejection letters and an unsold manuscript, so I trust you'll know enough to enjoy the journey for its own sake, and what it teaches you about yourself and your skills. Ultimately, whatever else happens, you can say "I did this. I completed the journey."

    All you have to do is invest hours of unremunerated labor, time you might have spent hanging with friends or pursuing a host of other pastimes, but if your heart is in it, you'll find that doing this thing is just as rewarding. In what other way can you create and live in a multiplicity of universes for the cost of nothing more than your time, blood, sweat and tears?

    Try to write a little every day, even if it's just a sentence, even if tomorrow you reread that sentence, mutter "WTF was I thinking?" and delete it and start over. Sentences become paragraphs, paragraphs become pages, pages become chapters, skeining out like the river into which you dip your paddle, marveling at the beauty and the newness all around you.

    Write.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. Amaris

    Amaris Princess of Love

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2004
    Messages:
    21,957
    Ratings:
    +27,486
    Thank you. :D

    Your statement about sentences becoming paragraphs makes a point that I need to remember. Or as the ancient saying goes, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step". Or another ancient saying, "Just put one foot in front of the other, and soon you'll be walking out the door." :D

    I can feel the storyline just wanting to burst from me, and I have to reign it in. Damn these mortal hands that can only type so fast! :lol:

    J.
  5. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2004
    Messages:
    52,917
    Ratings:
    +36,606
    You'll be fine. :D

    Something that might help with that last bit: If your brain is running ahead of your hands, jot notes somewhere, either in a separate document or even on a scratch pad at your elbow so you don't lose the train of thought or the little details of a particular scene.

    Hypothetical example:

    "Lee tired
    Starbuck passed out on floor
    Dualla watching...angry
    'Condition 1' klaxon
    ship lurch...empty booze bottle rolling..."

    Smaller maps for shorter legs of the journey. ;)
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. Amaris

    Amaris Princess of Love

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2004
    Messages:
    21,957
    Ratings:
    +27,486
    Will do. So I need to learn a little writer's shorthand to keep the ideas present.


    J.
  7. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2004
    Messages:
    52,917
    Ratings:
    +36,606
    ^Give it a try. Everybody's technique is different.
  8. Amaris

    Amaris Princess of Love

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2004
    Messages:
    21,957
    Ratings:
    +27,486
    ^I will.

    Well, the basic outline is done, the detailed outline is done, the character sheet and background story information is done, the first chapter has been written, and I'm keeping a li'l fat notebook next to me wherever I go. Not bad for a day's work.

    My brain is tired. :lol:

    J.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  9. Baba

    Baba Rep Giver

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2004
    Messages:
    16,680
    Ratings:
    +5,369
    Why is it that dystopia's seem more interesting then utopia'
    s
  10. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2004
    Messages:
    52,917
    Ratings:
    +36,606
    Catharsis?

    First of all, watching characters struggle with adversity reaches us at a deeper level, intellectually and emotionally, than watching them pick flowers. We tend to put ourselves into their position and wonder "How would I cope if this were my universe?"

    Secondly, I think, when we watch or read these things, there's a sense of "there but for the grace of God" that makes us appreciate our own lives more. It's a little easier to go to work in the morning thinking "Okay, so my job sucks, but at least I'm not running from the Cylons."
  11. Amaris

    Amaris Princess of Love

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2004
    Messages:
    21,957
    Ratings:
    +27,486
    I don't mind saying that my book is definitely a dystopia, but looks like a utopia on the surface. :D

    J.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2004
    Messages:
    52,917
    Ratings:
    +36,606
    ^Those are often the best. :)
    • Agree Agree x 2
  13. Amaris

    Amaris Princess of Love

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2004
    Messages:
    21,957
    Ratings:
    +27,486
    I am taking your advice and writing at LEAST one sentence a day, even if the next day I look back over it and wonder what the hell was in that Pepsi I drank. :lol:


    J.
  14. Baba

    Baba Rep Giver

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2004
    Messages:
    16,680
    Ratings:
    +5,369
    We need to create a tv show were a guy is up against a army of mutant hamsters.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. Baba

    Baba Rep Giver

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2004
    Messages:
    16,680
    Ratings:
    +5,369
    Nah garamet i was i spired by shoes avatar.
  16. Yelling Bird

    Yelling Bird Probably a Dual

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Messages:
    2,865
    Ratings:
    +2,397
    Is there a transcendental signified?
  17. Yelling Bird

    Yelling Bird Probably a Dual

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Messages:
    2,865
    Ratings:
    +2,397
    ANSWER THE QUESTION!!! :mob: :rant:
  18. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2004
    Messages:
    52,917
    Ratings:
    +36,606
  19. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2004
    Messages:
    45,740
    Location:
    Spacetime
    Ratings:
    +48,014
    Unless there's some in-joke here I'm unaware of, please confine posts in this thread to discussions of writing and the publishing business.
  20. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2004
    Messages:
    52,917
    Ratings:
    +36,606
    ^It's copacetic. Moocey's a bud. Just bringing the RR meme in here to tease me.

    But thanks for having my back. :techman:
    • Agree Agree x 2
  21. The Esquire of Gothos

    The Esquire of Gothos The Squire of Gotham

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2009
    Messages:
    6,024
    Location:
    Garthim Pit
    Ratings:
    +1,969
    Did you participate in Pocket Books' ST Dept's SNW Contests?

    What regard do you have for tie-in writing vs independent authoring?

    Is your writing style closer to, Henry James:yes2:, or , Kurt Vonnegut:vomit:,?
  22. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2004
    Messages:
    52,917
    Ratings:
    +36,606
    Strange New Worlds was open only to unpublished authors, so I was ineligible.

    My only criterion is "Is it good?"

    See my answer to Lanzman in Post #271 for greater detail.

    "Sorry, neither!"
  23. Yelling Bird

    Yelling Bird Probably a Dual

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Messages:
    2,865
    Ratings:
    +2,397
    This is a legitimate question pertaining to literary theory, and therefore perfectly acceptable for this thread.

    But it was a bit tongue-in-cheek.;)
    • Agree Agree x 1
  24. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2004
    Messages:
    30,294
    Location:
    Frequently found lonking pisters
    Ratings:
    +28,656
  25. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2004
    Messages:
    52,917
    Ratings:
    +36,606
    Not until you mentioned him, no.
  26. His Grace Faceman the Duke of Wordforge

    His Grace Faceman the Duke of Wordforge Keeping a Stiff Upper Lip

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2004
    Messages:
    38,064
    Ratings:
    +22,423
    Ask garamet...hmm...intriguing.

    OK, well, my question is, Garamet, have you ever experimented with lesbianism? Answer truthfully!

    :borg:
  27. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2004
    Messages:
    52,917
    Ratings:
    +36,606
    How would you know whether or not I was answering truthfully?
  28. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2004
    Messages:
    45,740
    Location:
    Spacetime
    Ratings:
    +48,014
    Face, you're playing with fire.
  29. His Grace Faceman the Duke of Wordforge

    His Grace Faceman the Duke of Wordforge Keeping a Stiff Upper Lip

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2004
    Messages:
    38,064
    Ratings:
    +22,423
    I would assume you weren't and just apply the opposite answer....unless you said yes, in which case I would assume you're a strong, confident, and open woman and have no reason to lie.

    It said "ask garamet" and I did.

    Unless you're suggesting that Garamet is dangerous...are you? :unsure:
  30. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2004
    Messages:
    30,294
    Location:
    Frequently found lonking pisters
    Ratings:
    +28,656
    I'm suggesting that you bear in mind which forum you're in. And that this thread is intended to "ask Garamet" about writing and her media experiences, not go trolling for nonsense.