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The Reeve

Registered: 07-2005
Location: Texas
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Re: Contemplations


Today I found a website that Tests Document Readability. What the test showed me was that after my first draft is complete I will still have a lot of work to do. I need to get the readability of the story down to my minimum target audience of 15-16-year-old children. Currently, my writing is more suited to those in their last year of high-school or older.

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Lady of the Land

Registered: 05-2003
Location: Germany
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Re: Contemplations


Don't dumb down your writing. Your target audience is interested in SF, and that means they usually have a higher reading ability than the average 15-year old. They need to, in order to understand the tech and the imagry of SF.

Personally, I believe a lot of harm is being done by determining reading levels and making kids read according to the level assigned their age.

(Did your characters get into a fight?)

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The Reeve

Registered: 07-2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 2463
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Re: Contemplations


Looking at the examples given in the "readability" articles it appears that the main factors are the length of the sentences and the number of syllables (on average) in my word choices. So my approach is not to simplify the ideas or concepts of my story. Making compound or lengthy sentences shorter seems like a reasonable goal.

Yes, my characters are in a fight. I know who will win but not how he will win just yet. The key revolves around military protocols and how they apply.

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The Reeve

Registered: 07-2005
Location: Texas
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Re: Contemplations


So today I finally figured out the Fiction part of a science fiction story. That is what occurs when the story you want to tell just may not correspond to current day reality. The world having more than one moon doesn't fit with reality but as fiction it works as long as the fiction is consistent in the story. So now, as my story grows as a multiple day reading project/experience I have to pay careful attention to the fictional parts of my story.

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Lady of the Land

Registered: 05-2003
Location: Germany
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Re: Contemplations


Well, eliminating involved sentences and convoluted writing is just basic editing. emoticon But don't shy away from "big" words and scientific terminology. I believe kids that age can and want to learn those.

I believe that fiction is the story-telling part of a story. It's the make-believe part, the way the characters interact and develop and how you create an interesting story by weaving their personalities into the action and the science. And of course, parts of the world are also made up and "make-believe".

I'm not sure one can always separate out the fiction from a story...

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The Reeve

Registered: 07-2005
Location: Texas
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Re: Contemplations


I revisited my TABA stories concept outline today and added in new goals to be reached in my story. I am really pleased to see how close my story has been following the ideas I had almost 4 months ago. emoticon

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Lady of the Land

Registered: 05-2003
Location: Germany
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Re: Contemplations


 emoticon

Checking back is good. And that shows you can keep plot lines in mind while writing.

 emoticon emoticon emoticon

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The Reeve

Registered: 07-2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 2463
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Re: Contemplations


Is this too much? I wanted to have a lack of sleep and the ongoing stress to bring out the Scottish dialect of one of my characters so I used this site to translate his reply into the Scottish dialect.

quote:

Thomas jerked slightly when Attache Henry Church addressed him, his own lack of sleep brought out his Scottish heritage as he replied. “Weel sairrr, Ah hink th' yoong Ensign has a point. th' rivalry atween Commain an' Flecht services has aye bin lively, but reit noo, Ah can see whaur they coods pure use a bit ay an uplift.”



Thomas won't speak like this most of the time but...

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The Reeve

Registered: 07-2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 2463
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Re: Contemplations


I wonder, my word processor says I have written 175 pages so far but what is that equate to when the file is formatted to book form? Just a curiosity thing on my part...

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Lady of the Land

Registered: 05-2003
Location: Germany
Posts: 6873
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Re: Contemplations


Very different, but the truth is, you won't really know until you format it.

Because the page number depends on the size of the book, the size of the font, the margins, the spacing between lines... those are all parameters formatters use to influence page number.

Sometimes, you want to make a book "bigger", and sometimes you want to make it smaller (think epic fantasy) to make it cheaper.

It's basically a useless question... sadly.

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The Reeve

Registered: 07-2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 2463
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Re: Contemplations


I am at the midpoint in my TABA story. I know that because of the party which I have not started on yet. The shift towards discovery instead of life and death crisis says I need to bring both some new characters into the picture and shift focus to at least one of the other habitats. That doesn't say the effects of the crisis go away. The people on the ship still have to deal with that but now the effects of the warp drive become "background" instead of "foreground."

Sorry if this seems like rambling, I am having a little trouble making the transition in the stories focus and figured it might help if I wrote it down.

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Lady of the Land

Registered: 05-2003
Location: Germany
Posts: 6873
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Re: Contemplations


Don't worry, this is exactly what this thread is for. And sometimes, "thinking out loud" leads to the best solutions.

 emoticon

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The Reeve

Registered: 07-2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 2463
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Re: Contemplations


I feel like I am tiptoeing into the transition scenes.

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The Reeve

Registered: 07-2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 2463
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Re: Contemplations


I was surprised to discover one of my characters actually refuses to address anyone older than herself by just their first name unless they are friends or closer!

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Lady of the Land

Registered: 05-2003
Location: Germany
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Re: Contemplations


Is that unusual? And if so, why? Does she come from a different culture?

 emoticon

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The Reeve

Registered: 07-2005
Location: Texas
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Re: Contemplations


Yes, it is very unusual in 2372 AD. In most of the Planetary League dropping titles and formalities outside of work is considered the norm but there are still places where the local customs differ. She comes from one of those places.

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Lady of the Land

Registered: 05-2003
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Re: Contemplations


Cool. I like that.

Are there other ways these places are "backwards"?

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The Reeve

Registered: 07-2005
Location: Texas
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Re: Contemplations


Yes, there are, but for them, it is the rest of society that is "backward." As a simple example, let's take cooking for someone else. For most of the Planetary League, it doesn't matter who cooks or if anyone cooks for that matter since they have machines to do that. In the city that Terry grew up in on Mars, it would be appalling if a man prepared the first public meal for a couple. In her culture that would mean the woman is not worthy of having any kind of personal relationship with, in the eyes of the man who prepared the meal.

In Janet Charette's culture, when a man prepares the first meal it is the highest honor a woman could possibly receive. It says that the man values his relationship with the woman so highly that he is giving her everything, holding back nothing for himself.

Needless to say, this creates significant barriers between a couple from Mars and Luna.

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Lady of the Land

Registered: 05-2003
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Re: Contemplations


Interesting. I like it. emoticon

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Squire
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Registered: 11-2005
Location: Whoosher House
Posts: 692
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Re: Contemplations


Interesting ... I like where this is going.






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The Reeve

Registered: 07-2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 2463
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Re: Contemplations


I was wondering... when I finish the first draft of my TABA story do I print it off then for "first readers" or do I wait until after the first full edit is done?

Notice I am no longer thinking "if" I finish but "when" I finish the story. emoticon

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Squire
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Registered: 11-2005
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Re: Contemplations


I believe you edit/polish it before letting readers have a go at it.








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Lady of the Land

Registered: 05-2003
Location: Germany
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Re: Contemplations


Some people send off each chapter to beta readers as they write it.

Some send an edited first draft (I like to do that, get most of the kinks out before foisting the rest on beta readers).

Maybe ask your beta readers what they want? After all, they volunteer their work. emoticon

And yay for the when. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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The Reeve

Registered: 07-2005
Location: Texas
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Re: Contemplations


Set up and character meetings take longer than I thought they did.

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Lady of the Land

Registered: 05-2003
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Re: Contemplations


So, do yours get carried away, too, once they are talking?

 emoticon

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The Reeve

Registered: 07-2005
Location: Texas
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Re: Contemplations


Yes, they do, perhaps a bit too much! I figure I can keep the best bits when I do the first edit. The rest tells me something about the characters so I don't butcher their personalities while editing. emoticon

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The Reeve

Registered: 07-2005
Location: Texas
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Re: Contemplations


So today I tried my hand at that frustrating (from a man's point of view) ability women have to talk about multiple conversation topics at the same time. I discovered that I can do that as long as the number of topics doesn't exceed three!
 emoticon

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The Reeve

Registered: 07-2005
Location: Texas
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Re: Contemplations


So what do you do when a party is all setup and no one is doing anything? Over three thousand party goers are present but...

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Squire
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Registered: 11-2005
Location: Whoosher House
Posts: 692
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Re: Contemplations


??? Break the party down into small groups? Focus on each group one by one to see which conversation is worth focusing on. Find the group/s with conflict/s that can best move the story forward.





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Lady of the Land

Registered: 05-2003
Location: Germany
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Re: Contemplations


Even in a party of 3,000, people would stand in groups and chat with a limited amount of people. I'm sure you've seen those little circles of like-minded people or friends, and that it can be hard to break into those at times.

What would your main characters do? Would they meet there? Is there a reason for them to meet and chat? Or would they prefer to be with their work mates? Family?

Of course, there needs to be some organization, maybe a speech or two (maybe you can ignore that just as your character does...), possibly some food arrangements... drinks?

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