View Full Version : Writting Exercise #1 - The Reluctant

4 November 2005, 09:58 PM
Write a first-person story in which you use the first-person pronoun (I or Me or My) only two(2) times - but keep the I somehow important to the narrative your constructing. The point of this exercise is to imagine a narrator that is less interested in himself than in what he is observing. You can make your narrator someone who sees an interesting event in which he is not neccessarily a participant. Or you can make him self-effecting, yet a major participant in the events related. It is very important in this exercise to make sure your reader is not surprised, forty or fifty words into the piece, to realize this is first-person narration. Show us quickly who is observing the scene. 600 word approx. 650 words max.

4 November 2005, 10:01 PM
My entry: 561 words.

It was then that the speeder hit the building. It sent a fireball right up the side of the building, broken glass came crashing back down upon the vehicle. All inside were killed, but that wasnít the end of it. It was then that soldiers from the Empire, the same ones who had been chasing the speeder arrived. They poured on to the street like someone had kicked over a SvíLin Ant Hill!

Now there was a young girl lying in the street. Covered in glass and her own blood, she had managed to pull herself from the wreckage. She was obviously week, probably dieing for all I know. Anyway, she just lay there, just clear of the fire, and the troopers moved in to get her out of there. It was then that a shot came from this very table! It was a terrible noise.

It seems that a young human didnít want her to be safe as he was shooting a blaster right at the troopers! No matter what crimes she had committed, I am sure it did not warrant a sentence that included dying of injuries in the middle of a busy street. Some beings these days, it makes one shiver at the way they have absolutely no respect for life of any kind.

Then the troopers starting to fire back, leaving the helpless women to die, for surely no TwiíLek could survive such injuries with out immediate medical attention. The glass along the walls exploded, really making a mess of this fine restaurant, and making it a total embarrassment to the owner, Jaak. It took weeks to clean the place up again by the way, and from what some people say, cost a Huttís wages to repair.

No worries though. You see, Jaak had blaster proof screens installed this time. Canít have the clientele getting all shot up now can we?

Now the human who was firing his weapon from here ducked down just there, behind the bar. Itís very old and made of ferro-crete, and provided excellent cover for him. Of course he did just happen to hide next to Jaak, who was cowering as usual behind the bar as well. The man shot him in the chest, but he obviously survived the ordeal.

Next thing you know the room is filling with smoke. Apparently the troopers wanted the man alive, because it was that smoke that made the manís eyes wet with tears, and his face turned red. In just a little while, he was coughing and gagging, a sickening noise for any creature to make. Anyway, he took a wet bar cloth, the man that is, and covered his face with it. This seemed to help a little, but not much really. It was enough however for the man to keep fighting the troopers, and so he did.

Blaster fire was exchanged for three standard minutes then it was quiet. The man was dead.

The women in the street is either still alive or had been rescued by the troopers from her own misfortune and stupidity. No one has seen or heard anything about her since that day. Of course the troopers interrogated anyone in the building about what happened and why no one helped to stop the man. Then again, what could have been done? I am after all only a protocol droid.

Jax Nova
5 November 2005, 06:28 AM
Ok, I will give it a try.

It was seven years ago when the Babr family on Nabo ran into great trouble.

The Babr family were well liked amoung the community and many would have done all they could to help were it not for the stuborness the family portrayed.

I myself offered my services, but was allso turned down.

They owed the Empire, not a good financil bind to be in!
To make problems wors they had recently lost there main sorce of incom due to an Empirial raid. Qwe, the father, insisted that this was more than enough to pay there depts to the Empire. But as there usual, commander Tren thought not.

"We must have it ALL in curency!" he insisted.

With little else to do, and no way to make money, the Babr family turned to the only ones who would help them against the Empire, the Rebelion.

They packed there few belongings and gathered what weapons they had. They were to leave shortly on the large transport that sits now just theree in the woods. The unfortunate pilot crashed on his way down due to "technical dificulties"

Well, needless to say, the stuborn family was not about to give up. They devised yet another plan to get them to the Rebelion. Still refusing the help of any, claiming it would put them in danger from the Empire. At the time none knew exactily what there planns were.

Before anyone knew what was going on there house, just four blocks from here, was being burnt to the ground! The shocked citizens ran out in a wild atempt to extinguish the raging flames, but with no avail.

After the house was burmnt only the glimps of a solitary storm trooper fleeing into the night gave a hint to the cause of the fire. The Babr family was presumed dead and the funerals were held the next day.

But after the funerals an amazing thing happened! A couple of my friends and I were gathered around talking about the family when they hurried in the front door! They were not dead at all!

"We came to bid you all farewell, amd tell all who we trust this for us!" they said quickly before departing. They ran out the door, and disapeared into the night, and were never seen again until this day when they moved back to there home on Nabo after the war with the Empire had been won.

Jax Nova
5 November 2005, 06:39 AM
It may be a little short, not sure. But let me know how I did. thnx.

I liked yours by the way, it was good.

5 November 2005, 12:58 PM
I checked with Word. 405 words. Took forever to Ignore All its way through Spell Check to get to the readibility stats, though. I advise you run it and all your future writings through SpellCheck to improve readability.

5 November 2005, 01:17 PM
Very nice :) Yes a bit short, but that is the point of the execrise. With such a low word count for the target and max count's, you have be a little picky when choosing what words to use. It would have better to get closer to the 600 mark, but I didn't reach it either, so don't feel to bad.

I do have to agree with PsychoInfiltrator on the readability though. If you dont have Word, or another word processessor that has a spell checker, you can download OpenOffice for free, and its 100% compatable with MicroSoft Office Pro I think up to Version 2000, maybe there up to 2003 by now.

The link is www.openoffice.org

It has a VERY good spell checker, and a custom dictionary, wich lets you add words like Twi'Lek and X-Wing. I would be lost without mine LOL.

Jax Nova
7 November 2005, 10:32 AM
Ok thnx guys.

I know, I have always had trouble spelling ( great problem for a writer to have! ) I have tried working on it, but it doesn't seem to do allot of good.

But I do have a spell check that I can use on it.

Thnx for all the info guys!

Jax Nova

7 November 2005, 03:01 PM
Don't stress too much about it. My wife is a former journalist and she used to REALLY get on me about how bad my spelling was. It was so bad I named it. DTS(Dumb Typing Syndrome). LOL :D

For me at least, and I am still bad about spelling especially when I am writing 'hot', I first run it through spell check, then I have my wife look it over for things like, to too two, or by bye and buy, those are my worst. Spell check will correct spelling errors, but it wont always get gramitical errors.

As I said, my wife is former journalist, and she was an english major in colladge, and she now works in the medical field as a transcriptionist. Writting in one form or another has always been part of her life, and she is great as an editor :D I have always given her praise in everything that has even been in print. The fact is, I just suck so bad at the technical side that I couldn't it do it without her!

While I have gotten better in the last five or so years, I am still far from good at it. Even this post that I am writing right now, I have corrected around fifty times and re-read it just as many. And when I 'think' I am done, I will preview it and make more corrections before pressing 'submit reply'.

While this tends to make my posts a little longer than I orinally inteded, it does make for easy readability. Which is the main goal. The best way, at least it was for me, to breal bad writing habits, is first to be aware of them. Then be consious about them as you write. Not to the point of being self-consious, but at least to the point of keeping an eye out for them.

The story I wrote for the exercise was written first in MS-Word, wich is how I got the word count, then saved, then copy and paisted to the forum. Once here I had to reformat it a bit to get it to 'look' right so it was easy to read. After pressing 'Preview Reply' about a dozen times, I was happy enough and clicked submit.

In case you didnt know, here are some handy keyboard shortcuts that all writters should know:
CTRL+A : Select ALL
CTRL+X : Cut
CTRL+C : Copy
CTRL+V : Paist

In most word type programms F3 or CTRL+F is "Find" or "Search" for searching the current page.

If you already knew that, sorry :/

Jax Nova
8 November 2005, 05:56 AM
Ok thnx. I try to watch for my spelling and stuff. But allot of the times I am so cought up in my writing that i forget about allot of it. :)

I knew some of the short cuts, but not all of them. It's ok, feel free to tell me anything you thing will help, I appriciate it.

How hard would it be for me to get a book published since I have never done anything before?

8 November 2005, 12:08 PM
Ok thnx. I try to watch for my spelling and stuff. But allot of the times I am so cought up in my writing that i forget about allot of it.
This is called writing 'Hot', and all writters do it. :D Writting 'cold' is when you work slow and make sure everything is just right. Cold writting, most writters, is when they go back over there work after a 'Hot' session correcting mistakes. This is also what editors live for. I am glad you write hot :D Just keep in mind the average full length novel is goes through about a zillion re-writes hehehe.

How hard would it be for me to get a book published since I have never done anything before?
It's as hard as you make it on yourself. If you send in less than your best work, it will be very hard. It will also be hard if you don't follow manuscript formating rules. You have to have to pass the six second judment. If your manuscript is written on anything other than white paper, if you dont use a fixed point font when printing, or fail any of the other rules, it will most like be trash canned with out being read. editors recieve a LOT of manuscripts, and they don't have the time or the patience to figure out how each person want's there work formated, they can't afford the time. So they have the six second test. Once you get past that, it will get glanced over, not really read, and they will look for common mistakes, such as puncuation and spelling. If they find more than a few, it gets trash canned. After that it gets put in a pile with other manuscipts for a more detailed review later in the day or week depending on how busy the editor that has your work is.

If you send in you best work, and you jump through all of the hoops, then it gets easier. Once you get past all of the tests for manuscript "correctness", then it gets read by three to five people. If they like what you have done, then it goes to out side readers. They mail it to people all over the country and they read and review it with more detail and send back the review. If your score is high enough, then you get offered a contract.

If you fail at any point along the way, you will get a form letter rejection. The average publisher rejects ten to twenty times the number of books they actually publish. And yes, even the greats like Stephen King, get rejections. Some are not all bad. Some rejection letters will give you what the editors are looking for. (If you get this, then you know for sure your manscript was rea from begining to end)

In the great american classic, "Thre Great Gatsby", a story of bootleger in the 1920's, Gatsby was originaly a minor charactor, more of a prop. The editor sent the manuscript back saying they wanted the character of Gatsby to have a larger role in the story, and demanded a complete re-write. Just to spite the editor, it was re-written with Gatsby as the main character. If they had not, we would not have the great story we have today.

Editors have to publish books that make money. If they dont, they loose money. No company can loose money for long and still be in business. They watch treds, fads, and know the staples that make a sellable book. It is important to listen to them, most of the time.

Here is where it can be hard. You have a story, you think its great. You send it out to 15 or so publishers. You get an answer back from three. #1 says they will publish as is. #2 says they will publish, but want the ending three chapters re-written, changing the outcome of the story, and #3 says they want a complete re-write to change the main character from one that is a minor bit player. The simple answer is #1, less work.

But what if #1 is offering only 17% royalty, and no advance, and only on the first run. #2 will offer the same advance and 17% royalty on the first two runs, and #3 will offer a large advance and 19% royalty on all runs that the book is printed on plus offers a contract for a second book.

This is were you and you agent must agree(if you have one) but what it really boils down too is this. Can you do it? Can you re-write, what is in your mind, an already great book? Can you write a sequal? If the anser is yes and yes, then go with #3, of yes an no #2, and if the answers is "It great the way it is and to heck with you all!" then #1.

Remember, once you sign a contract, thats it. It is legaly binding to you and them(unless your minor living in California where contracts with minors are not legal, but also makes it harder to get published with out an agent). If you get an advance on a second book, you will have a deadline. What if you cant or wont deliver? They sue and will most likley never publish your work again.

A fellow writter that I met at a conferance in Alaska once told me he got rejected by every publisher that he sent the manuscript to. "What did you do?", I asked. His answer was to change the name of the leading female character. Thats the ONLY change he made, and got four offers in week. Some editors(some days it seems like most) have no idea what they want, but they know exactly what they don't want. It is there job to reject anything for anyreason, no matter how trivial. The reason for this is volume. As I said, they just don't have enough time in a day to get through everything that needs to be done. The trick is to not give them any reasons to say no.

In your word processor try this:
1) Open a new Document
2) Set the font to Coureir New, size 10 or 12 really doesnt matter.
3) Set an Indent for the first line of each pargraph (usually 1/2 inch).
4) Set the spacing to double space.
5) Save it as manuscript_format.(whatever file format you choose)

Then close the file. Find the file in windows explorer, right click on on it and select properties. Check the "Read-Only" box and click OK.

Now you cannot overwright this file. Everytime you write, open this file, and write with it. But you will have to do a File-=>Save As, once before you can save normally. This will ensure you are always writing in Manuscript format, without permanantly changing your setting, and should get you used to seeing it.

Yes the page count will be high, and to figure out how many pages in a finished published book it is, devide the page count 2.25. This is not 100% accurate, but close enough.

Man I really made this a long post. Sorry :rolleyes: But yes, you can do it. I would like to say anyone can, but it is just not so. The main reason is that most people don't, can't, or won't try. If you stick with it, and yes it can be hard, then yes, you CAN do it.

Jax Nova
8 November 2005, 03:21 PM
It's ok to make them long, the more information the better. :)

So what things do I need to do to be sure that my manuscript will get past the six second judgment?

Do you get an agent before you send your work to a publisher, or does the publisher provide the agent for you?

( sorry to be asking so many questions )

Jax Nova

8 November 2005, 07:03 PM
First of all, the only wrong question is the one not asked. Its not a crime not to know something. As long you ask me questions, I will try to asnwer them. :D

The link I gave you earlier, the one on manuscript format is a good starting point. Beyond that, just check for spelling and puncuation a zillion times before you send it off. Send it to agent, following there submission guidlines for new writters, and they will let you know what you need to do to get a publisher to take areal look at it. That's part of what they do.

As for when to get an agent, peopl ehave varying ideas on this. Some say get published first, others say don't try it with out one. However, once you get a copy of an up-to-date Writter's Guide, you will find that many publishers will ONLY accept manuscripts from agents, and not one of them will turn down one from an agent.

So by having agent (once you have a story ready) before you submit your work to anyone, you open yourself to a much wider field of oppertunity, and improve your chances for success. You don't even need a full length novel. There are many agents (and agencies) that handle nothing but short stories. Besides, short stories are a great way to break in to print with the over head of promotion as they are generaly printed in multi-author books(such as StarWars:Tales from Jaba's palace.). You can acttually make a good living doing nothing but short stories, but you have to do a LOT of them. ;)

If you can't get a copy of a Writter's Market 2006, let me know what type of agent your looking for (Novel, Short Story, Sci-Fi, Fantacy, Romance, whatever) and I will PM you the info for a few of them from my copy.

Once you get your story to the point where you think your done, (this is easy if it's a short story) then you can go back and format it for a manuscript. Be prepaired for a LOT of postage ;) because although a very few accept ectronic submision, most do not. DO NOT fold you manuscript. Get a large envelop or small box to send it in. Make sure you include a self addressed envelope(Legal Size is fine), and make sure it has a stamp on it. Put the Manuscript, the envelope, and your cover letter in the large envelope or box then send it.

Hope this helps! :D

Jax Nova
9 November 2005, 07:56 AM
Where would I look to find writers market 2006? could I just typ that in on a search window and get it?

thanks for all this, it does help!

9 November 2005, 08:15 AM
Google (http://www.google.com) knows all, hehehe

9 November 2005, 03:58 PM
Before somebody else bumbles into this forum and complains that all this should be handled by PM, I'm going ot up and say just the opposite.

For one thing, it means Slave_1 only has to do this once. For another, the FAnFic board really hsould have a guide to getting published, one that can be seen by all interested.

Hmmmm..."Slave_1's Guide to Getting Published." ...?

9 November 2005, 04:37 PM
LOL now thats funny! :D

Seriously though, getting published is basically this:

Write a story
Submit Story
ReWrite Story
ReSubmit Story
ReWrite Story
ReSubmit Story
ReWrite Story
ReSubmit Story
ReWrite Story
ReSubmit Story
ReWrite Story
ReSubmit Story
ReWrite Story
ReSubmit Story
ReWrite Story
ReSubmit Story
ReWrite Story
ReSubmit Story
ReWrite Story
ReSubmit Story
ReWrite Story
ReSubmit Story

Gets accepted
Sweat for a few months
sign a few autographs :D
If your lucky, you get a check hehehe :D

9 November 2005, 04:42 PM
I was being serious...but I can see how it would look funny. I, for one, would read such a guide. Betcha Jax would too. And most of it could be Cut&Paste from what you've already written.

If you want. Or we could just continue the whole multi-thread Q&A session.

Jax Nova
9 November 2005, 04:50 PM
Sounds good to me. I would read it!

But yeah, I am sure I am not going to be the only one who comes along that is going to want to know some of this stuff, so the others could just look at it and owuldn't have to ask all the questions, they could just read the answrees. :)

10 November 2005, 09:18 AM
Ok, i'll see what I can put together. If it's going to be a quazi-official guide I suppose I should put forth some effort to make sure it's done correctly.

I'll try to have to have it posted by moday, but no garuntees. I have to work some fairly long hours from now through saturday, so most of the actual work will be done on sunday, if I can get out of normal house cleaning duties. I will have it done by the end of next week though, at the absolute latest.

Slave_1 looks at all of the plates in front of him, and add one more... ;)

Jax Nova
10 November 2005, 02:15 PM
I owuld say you kept your deadline. :)

10 November 2005, 10:27 PM
Its not done yet, still two more sections (maybe three) to go.

Jax Nova
11 November 2005, 10:53 AM
Oh, well that will make for some good reading. :)