How Long did it take?

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CageSage
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How Long did it take?

Postby CageSage » Sun, 29 Dec 2019 7:35 am


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Rath Darkblade
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Re: How Long did it take?

Postby Rath Darkblade » Sun, 29 Dec 2019 9:04 am

Well ............ in Tolkien's defence, LOTR is a masterpiece of research, revision, and persistence. People forget now that Tolkien was a Professor of Anglo-Saxon language, literature, and history, so he didn't exactly have a lot of free time, what with setting curricula for students and so on. :) Also, being a professor might have helped him find the right names and tales, but the research task would have been immense - especially as he did it on his own, and with no internet sites or online encyclopedias to help him. Just his own persistence.

Finally, the task of writing LOTR (and getting it to a publisher) was interrupted by two little things called a World War and the post-war depression of the late 40s and early 50s. ;) So many things were rationed, like meat, bread, milk, paper, ink etc. Under the circumstances, I think it's a miracle that LOTR got to a publisher at all!

Comparing Tolkien's 16 years of LOTR to Stephanie Meyer's 3 months of writing "Twilight" is hardly fair. To start with, "Twilight" is derivative - it's derived from fan-fiction - so it's hardly original. Secondly, the characters are one-dimensional, the plot is non-existent .... I'm sure you all know the criticisms. So why is it so successful? Two words: pre-pubescent girls. :P

Personally, it took me about 18 months to write Stephen's adventures: about 6 months to write draft 0, 1-2 months to learn about outlines (and do them), and another 10 months in writing and editing the rest of the story. It's pretty much finished now and ready for a beta. :) Thank you, Cage and Rkcapps, for your critiques! :)
There is nothing wrong with nepotism, so long as you keep it all in the family. (Winston Churchill)

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CageSage
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Re: How Long did it take?

Postby CageSage » Mon, 30 Dec 2019 7:24 am

It's not really in the time it takes to finish a story, it's more about what it takes to finish the story. I type fast, but that doesn't mean the story gets done fast. I can do the first draft in a short period of time, but the real story comes with finding the right places to shape the story.

An example of how to change an ordinary story into a great story is The Shawshank Redemption. the original short novel was okay, but lacked a lot of the nuances that came with the movie. The reason is simple: the new writers for the movie script were fresh eyes that found places to strengthen and straighten the story. The theme, freedom, is amplified by the motifs of birds, flying, soaring, music - and if you watch the movie a few times, you'll notice that you feel that theme rather than get told in a short pithy line. there is, however, a short pithy line in there. It's simple, doesn't grate against the theme and sits in the dialogue in a natural form.
Oh, and the scriptwriters sorted out the continuity problems.

These are the things that take a story from good or average to great. Finding these moments in a novel (as Tolkien did) takes experience and understanding of how to place theme in a story through motifs and symbols without going all 'talking sword' about it.

That's what takes the time. Every story I've ever written is different, and the time it took from first word to last is also different. They have different needs, different goals, different depths (different characters) - and this means I have to think on them differently. Time is what it takes, and sometimes only pieces of the story come to mind, other times I have to wait until I observe something, read something, hear something - oh, yes! That's what I want!
On to edit to get the story to the best it can be.

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Rath Darkblade
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Re: How Long did it take?

Postby Rath Darkblade » Mon, 30 Dec 2019 8:15 pm

Cage, what do you mean by "going all 'talking sword' about it"? I don't understand. Do you mean telling the reader, rather than showing him/her? :) For instance:

Wenceslas, that black-hearted villain, was behind the door. I knew it. I knew it because my sword told me so.


Instead, this:

Someone hummed from behind the door. I recognised the tune - the Imperial March tune from Star Wars! Wenceslas's favourite song! And he liked humming. Right, that bastard ... he's gonna get what's coming to him.

I put down my pack beside the door. With my left hand, I reached inside and withdrew a sponge from within, then held it over my sword-scabbard. With my right hand, I took hold of the swordhilt and slowly drew the sword, putting the sponge over it to avoid making the familiar 'schliiiiing!' noise and alerting someone.

The humming didn't stop. Good. My sword was ready; I flung down the sponge, unslung my shield from its holding place on my back, took it up securely on my left hand. Good.

The humming stopped. Wenceslas's familiar voice said: "Oh, for ... Vincent, you're out there, yes? Don't pretend you're not. Just come in and we'll settle this, man to man."


It's a bit rushed, but it's a simple example of show vs. tell. :) Is that what you mean by 'talking sword'?
There is nothing wrong with nepotism, so long as you keep it all in the family. (Winston Churchill)

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CageSage
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Re: How Long did it take?

Postby CageSage » Mon, 30 Dec 2019 10:00 pm

Sorry, it wasn't a 'show, don't tell' (or even a 'actions to demonstrate the feeling').
A motif is something that's subtext to the theme.
The Shawshank Redemption has a theme of 'hope' but how does a writer demonstrate that theme (it's abstract, not concrete)? They use motifs. If most scenes have a linking element, usually visual (but in this case, music/aural as well), then the theme can be demonstrated by the re-use of these elements.
The bird, feathers, wings, cages, being up in the air to feel like a real man, soaring, flying, etc. and the opposite: refusing to make music, not looking up or forward, trapped in the habituations of the situation, etc.

The reference to 'talking sword' is often how the reference to a theme statement is made: a single sentence statement of theme, rather than a flow of motifs to demonstrate the theme through interaction with the motifs - as subtext, nothing overt or 'in the face'.
I hope that makes more sense.


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