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what do you write with?

Hey all, first time poster here, hope this post is alright! Anyways as the subject says, I'd like to know- what do you write with? Which program do you use? Do you write by hand? if so do you prefer pen or pencil, lined paper or blank?

I normally just use the wordpad program on my laptop. However, lately I haven't been writing much because little letters on a white background start hurting my eyes and giving me headaches. I wish there was a way to reverse it to white text on a black background. Oh well :

Planning

Whenever I read books about how to write, they all say not to plan things too much, and to let events happen as they will. Which is, for the most part, some pretty good advice, even if I don't take it all the time.

For the first time in... probably ever, I am writing a mystery story, and it's almost impossible not to plan stories like that. Amirite? Otherwise the setup you have in the beginning might not make sense if you go with the flow and deviate from who the originally-planned killer was.

How much do you plan things out when you write?
This is my second to last semester of college, so I decided to be a huge nerd inquisitive student and write a paper about Vulcans for my science class on emotions.

When I started, I had some vague idea that I could perhaps post it somewhere when I'm done as a reference for ST fanfic writers... particularly those introduced to the fandom by the new movie, and haven't watched The Original Series (yet?) and maybe have somewhat fuzzy ideas about the specifics of the species. Because... there isn't much print material out there that's specifically about Vulcans. My main sources are the show itself, the Star Trek Encyclopedia, Gene Roddenberry's biography, and a handful of random essays and articles I've managed to find in scifi collections and old ST fanzines.

I've recently started thinking about trying to get this thing published, rather than just posting it on livejournal or something. Does that seem like a worthwhile idea? (I don't actually know if there's any interest out there for more reference material on Vulcans.) And if so, does anyone here have any suggestions for publications I might be able to submit this to?

My bibliography isn't just limited to Star Trek material, for the record. One of my goals is to try and explain how Vulcans might make sense in terms of modern science (as opposed to the sixties, when cognitive science was so new that it didn't even have a name yet). Haven't finished writing yet, but I'm at about ten and aiming for around twenty, font sized 12 double spaced.

Get Out of My Head Charles!

Here's a question not necessarily meant to get comments, but get you thinking.

How much into the character's mind do you present to the audience?

When reading works adapted from TV or film to the written word (and comics), often the writers provide the internal processes of main characters who we otherwise only have visual emotional cues to work with. Rather than describing a character's face per se, we're getting prose that tells of the character's true emotional process.

I'm usually uncomfortable over this as I feel it detracts from the character, who before I only knew about what came out of his or her mouth or played across his or her face. This tactic I usually receive as muddying a character's voice.

This can also apply to original characters. Haven't you ever read someone who you wish was just a bit more mysterious in the text? Less "Caroline blinked rapidly, fear charging through her as she asked herself, 'What have I done?'" and more "Caroline was stone-faced, blinking quickly and her lips creasing into a slight frown as sweat broke out on her forehead." I feel an external showing is better than an internal telling.

How about you? How much of your character's internals do you show?

Writing fast/writing slow

theferrett had some interesting things to say today about writing more slowly and taking the time to put extra thought into characters to avoid cliches.
Read it here

Something I've been working on

Okay, I've been adding entries to this thread on the Anime Addventure, as a way to try and hone my writing skills. I'd like some people to try and look at it, 'cause I'd like to know how I'm writing.

My posts start here and go on through, with this as a sort of bit of flavour regarding one art of the story the last writer started.

I'd like to know what's wrong with my prose, and how to improve it, so if people can take a look...

Finishing something

I haven't finished a story in over five years. That is crazy. I need to finish something soon or I'm gonna go nuts.
This novel I've been working on just won't move forward!

Exercises

Any of you have some good writing exercises to share? I'm Too Tired from grading to start anything big right now but am longing for some literary calisthenics. Poetry, fiction, whatever you've got.

Nicknames in Narration

I just noticed that even when characters are referred to only by nicknames by other characters, I'll refer to them in the narration by their whole name. I have no idea why I do that. And it's not just one character or one story--it's across the board. I mean, I can't think of a reason not to do it, but I can't think of a real reason to do it, either.

Apr. 29th, 2009

Do you find it best to edit as you go, or wait until you've finished a first draft what you're working on, and then go back and edit?
In theory, I like to finish a draft, and then go back and edit. But I change plot lines all the time and have to edit these new details in as I go along. But it takes forever to get anywhere with the story!