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New to writing

edited January 2012 in Writing
Hi guys. I'm totally new to all of this so this is my first posting, so just checking out if it works.


  • Yep it works, cos you be here

  • Welcome to TB, Paulina! Do tell us about yourself.
  • Hello, Paulina - you've arrived! Come and chat!
  • HI Paulina and welcome.
  • Hi Paulina. Welcome to Talkback.
  • Hello Paulina hope you have fun in here.
  • Hi, Paulina.

    What sort of thing do/would you like to write?
  • Hello Paulina.

    When you're ready, tell us what you like to write, and if you need to know how some aspect of the Talkback board works- quotes etc, then just ask. :)
  • Don't be scared, my deary, MarcB said rubbing his hands. We're here to help. Mmm, nice ms you have there, tell you what, I'll bank it for you.
    SORRY!, went into Fagin mode there for a minute. Welcome Paulina. Writing's a hard hard life and you'll be in good company here. Blimey! It is like Oliver Twist, innit.
  • [quote=Marc.B]It is like Oliver Twist, innit. [/quote]

    MORE pLEAsE.
  • Hello Paulina, good to meet you! :-)
  • Hi Paulina.
  • hi,

    Welcome and good luck with your writing.
    You'll find a great bunch of people on here to help with any questions :)
  • Hi there and welcome
  • Hi Paulina, welcome!
  • Welcome Paulina.
  • Hi Paulina.
  • Hello Paulina and welcome!
  • Greetings Paulina. Hope you enjoy it here and good luck with your writing.
  • Writing? Does anyone actually......? Oh, of course we all do - that's how these characters appear on these pages, of course - silly meeeee.....

    Hi, Paulina - welcome to the Bona-Fide, Grade 1-Class A+ Madhouse, where every last mystery of the written word will ultimately be revealed...if you ask the right questions, and the right loonies are online that night!!! :-D
  • Of course...;)
  • [quote=shellw]You'll find a great bunch of people on here to help with any questions [/quote]

    .. except if you ask "can anyone lend me fiver" I think you may find TB looking a little like Mary Celeste
  • Have you been asking for money again, dora? Is that why everyone has gone?
  • Nope

    I reckon everyone is taking advantage it's January and just getting on with it


    I know I am
  • Hi Paulina

    [quote=dora]I reckon everyone is taking advantage it's January and just getting on with it[/quote]

    I spent 3 hours revamping a short story last night and it still won't work ... lazy git. I'll try again later but I think this one's going to be sinking into the usb device again and staying there in perpetuity - and it's not alone!
  • Thanks everyone for your responses.

    I've always been interested in writing since I was very young, writing short stories, poems and I have this ambition to write a novel (as many of us do). I started with 'readers letters' for magazines, had a couple published and the bug has me hooked. I wondered if anyone knows of any really useful home study writing courses. There are so many out there. I came across one run by 'The Writers Bureau' and read some mixed reviews about it. I think this writers online website have information on home study too. Any reviews or advice would be welcomed. Also, are there any chat rooms for writers?

    Thanks again for all your responses. :-)
  • P.S. Marc.B what's an ms?
  • [quote=Paulina] Also, are there any chat rooms for writers? [/quote]

    You're in one, here, with us lot :)
  • And we are the best, most friendly, if not the most witty...:)
  • and daftest
  • Thanks guys. Just bare with me on this.
  • Ms = Manuscript.
  • As addictive as "live" chat rooms are, best spending that time creating rather than chatting. I procrastinate enough as it is! - Welcome aboard.
    Thats one of the good things about TB here, you post your two pence worth, and aren't encouraged to stick around for three hours, facebookly wondering why you haven't got anything done. At least it is for me.
  • Agree SL, I like to be getting on with my work yet stopping for ten mins to stick your two penneth is a little light relief, then it's off again into me own little whirled ....
  • The Writers Magazine does a good selection of writing stories. I did the short story one a few years back. ms - manuscript! and mss - manuscripts. You'll get used to all this.
  • S;right, but tell you what I never get used to


    - the sound of the ms being returned. :(
  • I would recommend The Critique Circle (.com) when you have something you want reviewing, to help with editing.
    Getting unbiased crits of your work is worth its weight in gold. Giving crits to other (would-be) authors is also helpful in the learning process.
  • I'll check that out Dilys (The Critique Circle.com). Thanks. Can I put my work on this site for critique too? Does anyone else do that here?
  • Not too often Paulina. Though there is that option under one of the private sections of the board.
    When TB's do it, it tends to be to answer a specific question and then to remove it before the edit option times out.
  • edited January 2012
    There is a group on here that we've created ourselves, Paulina, where we post stories once a month and then give each other feedback. Is that what you were looking for?

    edited to say that is short stories, not longer works
  • That sounds useful dora. Where can I find that on here? I'm still finding my way around. :-)
  • Paulina, it is done offline, not on the forum. So if you whisper your e-mail to Dora, or start a private whisper to her, I'm sure she will give you details.
  • edited January 2012
    This is the title of the thread, Paulina:

    (serious) Talkbackers Short Story Group

    edited to add the link:

  • I'm very new to this writing malarky and I think for me this would be very useful, although I'm not sure where I would begin by commenting on other people's work. I'm not sure if I have the experience to comment on others work. With this in mind Dora, do you think I would still be able to join as I do think it is a very good idea. I did follow the thread you gave me and I notice from some of the discussion posts that there are concerns that less experienced writers' comments may not be seen as useful as the more experienced ones. Is it already up and running?
  • Paulina, i do not belong to the group. but speaking as someone who writes - i take ALL comments seriously. Because you are not writing, and no-one is writing, for writers - although writers may read what you have written. in the main, you are writing for normal people. ALL opinions are valid. What anyone sees and what anyone feels is valid.

    Sometimes the comments of writers are too much of an informed opinion - what you want is to know if a 'normal' person, your audience, understands and enjoys what you have written. Whether THEY think it is well written, elegant, keeps their attention, makes them laugh, makes them want to read more, rather than it being an exercise for writers to pick it apart.

    Not that that is what people here would do, but I'm just trying to point out that not being an expert in commenting does not mean you don't have anything important or interesting to say.
  • Exactly Liz - readers are your target, after all.
    Pauline, you have an opinion; you know whether you enjoy what you are reading or want to throw it at the wall. Therefore what you say matters! Furthermore, you can learn from what the others say - and decide for yourself whether you agree or disagree.
    But above all, every single one of us was a beginner just like you; and every thing we say, having a few stories or books or articles behind us, we've learnt about through writing. So don't feel junior, or sub-standard: just write! That way you'll catch up. Worrying about not being good enough won't get you any further.
  • edited January 2012
    Hi Paulina - I'm new here, too. I did do a BA in creating writing production, a rather ghastly 15 or so years ago! I wonder what you want to get from a writing course, though? You may be able to save yourself some money and time, given that the reasons people gave for 'why' they were doing the degree fell roughly into three pretty clear groups, despite varied preferred genres, goals etc.

    I'm not big on "how to write" books - it takes a pretty high standard to grab me! - but I do believe in going to literary festivals to hear successful writers of a variety of kinds speak about their process, watching Sky Arts for the same reasons (if you want a masterclass in writing character, get hold of Maureen Lipman speaking about her book "I Must Collect Myself"), and joining a good writers group - I think there's a thread on here about that...Or it might have been Emma Bragg's blog, actually (http://emmabragg.wordpress.com/2012/01/08/is-a-writing-group-really-useful/). There is one generalist writing book I *would* recommend, however - which wasn't on any syllabus! It's called Nine Winning Habits of Successful Authors, by Rachel McAlpine, and it's the best breakdown of what it really takes to be a successful writer I've read.

    As for other books, look for who your favourite authors are, or who is the 'best' at the sort of writing you want to create. For example, if you want to write plays, you want to at least consider Alan Ayckbourn! So get The Crafty Art of Playmaking, which is about the craft. I wouldn't treat any book as a 'bible' though - as many of the writers on here say, it's about finding your own process that works for you.

    I'm not dissing all courses - I just do think that you can save yourself some time and money! Make sure you know what you want to get out of it and check whether you genuinely think you will achieve that with the courses you're looking at. You don't need a certificate to be a writer - you just need to (a) write, (b) have the confidence to share that writing and (c) have the patience and tenacity to get better at your craft, like you would in any industry.

    Sorry - didn't mean to write a novel..! ;)
  • Hi there!

    I know a few people who did an MA in creative writing - all of them unpublished...
    I also know people who have started the writers bureau course but not got on with it for various reasons.

    I know that for me, (published a few things, mainly non-fiction) the best thing I have ever done with regards to my writing was to get rid of my 'how-to' style books, leave the writing group I belonged to, stay off the internet and tie myself to my desk and just get on with writing. Doesn't matter if it's rubbish - at least it's something to improve on.

    It's so easy to get caught up in punctuation and grammar debates and get side tracked on exactly how to format a piece of writing. At the end of the day, the time spent actually writing is far more valuable (to me, anyway) than time spent talking about writing!
  • Hello Paulina

    [quote=Paulina] I'm not sure if I have the experience to comment on others work. [/quote]

    Imagine you've attended a writing group and a person has read out their story.

    What would you say in response? You may not say a lot, you may say several things, but there would be something about the story you'd be able to make a comment on.

    In this group, we have a list of criteria that we use as guide points to show us the different parts of a short story. You could use this to give you ideas of how to comment about the story you'd just read.

    How much or how little you comment upon is up to you, and whether the person receiving your comments changes their story, or leaves it as it is, is up to them.


    [quote=Paulina] Is it already up and running?

    Yes, we'll be sending in our next round of stories in early part of February.
  • Thanks so much for your comments guys, it is really helpful. I think you're totally right, I just need to concentrate on making writing a habit and to just go with the flow of my own pen/keyboard (voice) I suppose, instead of worrying about the technical aspects of picking it apart. I agree about all opinions count, that's so true as you've put it that way that it's non writers that will more likely be reading our material. This forum is so useful and everyone is so supportive. Thanks again :-)
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