Authors Answer 130 – Till Death Do Us Write

I always want to write more than I can actually make time for.

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

For most authors, writing is a long term activity. But how long do authors write? What age do they quit? Or do they quit in their lifetimes? This week, we talk about how long we intend to write.

Question 130 – How long do you think you’ll write? Is there a point when you think you’ll stop?

Tracey Lynn Tobin

I don’t think that I’ll ever really stop writing. I might reach a point in my life when I decide that there’s no point in attempting to publish anymore, but writing in general is just a huge part of who I am. I’ll always scribble out random scenes that pop into my head, or create new stories for other peoples’ characters. It’s not always about the end game of having a completed book; I write for fun, for love, and out of an almost physical need to, and I’m pretty…

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Authors Answer 129 – Genres Helping Other Genres

Yes. The answer is yes.

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

People usually read multiple genres, authors included. Authors usually write only one or two genres, though. But can they hone their writing skills in one genre by reading other genres?

Note: This is the first time Authors Answer has been late in 129 posts. I wrote a post about this. A lot of things were going on. #130 should be on time.

Question 129 – Do you think reading different genres can help you with writing in your chosen genre(s)?

Cyrus Keith

Of course. I write science fiction. But I taught myself how to write action sequences by reading Louis L’Amour’s westerns. I taught myself tension from Robert Ludlum and Tom Clancy. I learned revelation from Andre Norton, JRR Tolkein, and Robert Heinlein. The wider your experience, the more tools you get for your tool box.

Elizabeth Rhodes

I think it’s possible. Other genres can introduce you to new tropes…

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Authors Answer 128 – Ghostwriting

I think I’d rather be able to write as a ghost.

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

Books are not written by ghosts, but there are people who ghostwrite. They don’t write under their own name, but under someone else’s. Some people have their reasons to be ghostwriters, while others would prefer to write their own books. But how about us?

Question 128 – Have you ever tried or thought about ghostwriting?

Tracey Lynn Tobin

For the longest time I didn’t even know what ghostwriting was. When I eventually found out I thought the idea sounded very interesting, and I did, in fact, consider it for a while and did some searches around the internet for how one would go about getting into it. In the end, though, I don’t think I really settled into the concept of it. I prefer to write my own ideas, my own stories. I’m not necessarily saying that I’d never do it, but I don’t think it’ll ever be something that…

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Authors Answer 127 – Writing Novels for TV Series and Movies

Though I don’t think I’d want to be in the situation of being told what it had to be about.

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

Many popular TV series and movie series have side stories written by independent authors. Some are official, some aren’t. But would any of us want to write one of these novels?

Question 127 – If you were asked to write a novel for a popular movie or TV series, which would it be and why?

H. Anthe Davis

As I am averse to handling other people’s characters (to the point that I would never write fanfiction, though I certainly read it), I don’t know that I would be comfortable with novelizing anyone else’s material at all.  I’m sure I can do it, but having heard some anecdotes about the process (authors ordered to kill off certain fan-favorite characters in tie-in novels, thus taking a lot of heat from fans), I don’t think I’d be well-suited to it.  I’m also no longer enough of a fan of anything beside books to…

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Authors Answer 126 – Is It Really Possible to Stop Using Adverbs?

Actually, the most overused adverb may well be “never”.

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

Adverbs are something that people love to use in everyday speech. It’s very popular. But what about in writing? Do we really need to avoid using adverbs? Honestly?

Question 126 – Never use adverbs. Do you agree or disagree, and why?

Tracey Lynn Tobin

Disagree. I will concur that many writers these days rely far too heavily on adverbs, leaning on them instead of putting the effort into creating more descriptive prose. That said, every form of word has it’s place, and you can’t just discount adverbs all together. “Show, don’t tell,” is what’s often said, and I agree with that for the most part, but sometimes what is necessary for a scene is for the author to tell the reader exactly what’s happening. For example, if the narrating character has been struck blind for some reason, they’re not going to be able to describe the facial expressions or body…

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Authors Answer 125 – Is Short Better?

And of course what exactly counts as “long” or “short” isn’t completely agreed on.

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

You know the advice where authors are told they should be as brief as possible? Cut out any unnecessary words. Keep it simple. Everything short. Easy. Yes? No? How did this paragraph sound? We talk about this very topic.

Question 125 – Use short words, sentences, and paragraphs. Do you agree or disagree, and why?

Elizabeth Rhodes

Exclusively? No. You need variation in your sentence length, or your writing will sound monotonous.

Paul B. Spence

Only if you are writing for children. I assume my audience to be thinking adults with at least average IQ, probably even educated. If they can’t handle a word like existential or thermodynamic, they aren’t going to understand my stories anyway.

H. Anthe Davis

If this was a law, I would be in jail for life.  I have to consciously control the amount of dashes in my work — lest I end up with six…

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Authors Answer 124 – Should You Write With Plain Language?

I think the level of “obscure” words that it would take to actually make a work “unreadable” is much higher than anyone who isn’t specifically trying to show off would ever consider.

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

Harry Potter is filled with British slang. Lord of the Rings is filled with constructed languages. Is it worth doing that? Or should books be written with easy to understand plain language?

Question 124 – Avoid foreign words and regional slang. Do you agree or disagree, and why?

Tracey Lynn Tobin

I’m on the fence with this one. On the one hand, using foreign words and regional slang can enhance a character. A foreigner in America, for instance, might let a few words from their primary language slip every now and then to remind the reader that they’re not originally from the book’s main setting. Similarly, certain types of characters would be a lot less believable if you didn’t use certain dialog quirks. A simple example would be that Americans tend to say “soda”, when Canadians tend to say “pop”.

With that in mind, you should definitely carefully consider the…

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