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Writer's Circle

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Writer's Circle is a place to work with your fellow writers to improve your skills, get advice, get help and to provide more opportunities for writing at Gay Authors.


Writing Club
  1. What's new in this club
  2. Certain tropes regarding depictions of sex are vastly overused. I've inveighed against them before, so will refrain from further venting on the subject. One topic that never fails to make me grit my teeth Is when gay characters sit around congratulating one another on being indistinguishable from heterosexual manly men (except for that one difference, of course), and bemoaning the existence of the type of swishy gay men who gave rise to the stereotype. I cringe when they go on to boast about not marching in the parade or wearing a rainbow pin. It's easy to say okay, that's how that one character thinks, but when every character thinks that way. . . . As far as narration goes, I find it extremely jarring and mentally unsettling when the ”I” changes from one person to another, even if the shift occurs at the beginning of a new chapter. Moreover, while I can usually cope with a flashback or two, I get really antsy when the first one begins in the second paragraph. And nested flashbacks usually make my head hurt badly enough that I can't continue reading. Beginning in medias res is a technique as old as Homer, but his way off doing that was to carry the story far enough along to get us really interested in how the current situation came to be, before going back and filling in.
  3. I will say, it's hard to get children's voices to sound authentic. I know I've failed 😂
  4. I'm generally not a fan of mirror descriptions, although I have seen them done so they fit naturally in the story. So I may roll my eyes, but not necessarily stop reading. Stories that get bogged down in detail. I don't need to know every single thing the person does in a day from waking up to going to sleep unless it moves the story forward or serves an actual purpose. I also can't stand it when children sound like adults. A kindergartner shouldn't sound like your middle-aged best friend. They're still learning language and have very limited life experience. Teens don't generally use proper English or use vernacular from decades ago (unless the story is set in that particular decade, but I'm talking about stories set in the present). I'm sure there's more, but these are what I can think of off the top of my head.
  5. These are just what I can think of now. They're from listening to books rather than reading but I don't think that changes anything really. A token attempt at queer diversity which fails to disguise an utterly pedestrian (and predictable) story. The use of 1st person, present tense. Some people can make it work; others can't. Either way, I'm not keen. Unthinking overuse of common tropes: everyone's fit, handsome; they all live perfect, monied lives (except for the wrinkle needed for the plot); locations are rarely industrial or otherwise unphotogenic. It's nice sometimes, but I as a reader would like more variety. And that goes for the characters. Why is it assumed everyone's white? Novels set in London in the 2010s and 2020s and yet, somehow, there's no diversity? Spending too much time in characters' heads. Yes, I like that connection but not at the expense of anything happening.
  6. I know something like this was posted a while ago, but I wanted to bring it up again. There was a post was about things that readers skip/do not like to read. I want to hear thoughts about that again, but specifically focused on content. I don’t want to hear about who hates stories with bad grammar/typos and who can tolerate them if the story is good enough. I want to know things in the story that turns readers off. Love triangles, the chosen one, main character describing themselves in the mirror, etc. Please place your reading grievances here, I am ready for them!
  7. Thanks @Myr , @James K, and @Headstall These are pretty interesting, you guys are interpreting "mode" based on how you perceive characters and motivations with various elements. @Headstall To your point, I agree with you that some stories need authenticity for how plot, character, and setting relate to one another. Beyond that, there's also a frame of the story, which is the approach of the story. To me the split of the 3 modes I use are: Realism depends on authentic detail, Surrealism depends on the vivid nature of real events re-oriented into something greater than the original experience though still possible, and fantasy depends on the truth behind events with thoughts and concepts in an impossible scenario that conveys common concepts.
  8. I'm not exactly sure if I understand your question, but I'll speak to what I consider modes of writing. When I write a story, I research probably more than I need to. I can easily go down rabbit holes, but my goal is for my stories to always feel authentic. Sometimes that's easy, and sometimes it's not. A character staying in character is of the utmost importance in my opinion. Any actions out of character, once a reader knows them, can be jarring. Also, the speech patterns and vocabulary are important. I generally don't have a older clergyman saying 'dude' or 'chill' for example, yet it rolls of the tongue for some other characters. The fact is a learned person speaks differently from a street kid who hasn't had the benefit of a good background and education. Generally speaking too, children don't talk like adults, so being able to slip in and out of those modes is a necessity for a writer. Each character in each scene has to sound like themselves. When I wrote my first western, "Finding Refuge", I definitely entered a new mode, in all aspects of dialogue, narration, setting, and practices of the time. I found it hard to pin down the right 'western speak' to use, because research was spotty, but I figured out tenses were often misused or mixed up and words choices were quite different. Sentences were often clipped, and words were often dropped, especially pronouns. For example... "I reckon it was the right thing"... would be ... "Reckon it were right". That applied to dialogue of course, but I soon realized it was necessary for narration too, otherwise it could pull a reader from the story. I found a rhythm/cadence that felt right, and I think it worked pretty well. My "Sidewinder" series brought me right back to it, and to be honest, after writing the two books fairly close together, I find myself speaking and even thinking in 'western speak' mode in my daily life. I'm going to need something completely different to write in order to take me out of it... and I do have a science fiction story partway written. Hmmm....
  9. I just finished a historical romance set in 19th century Russia and I adopted a mode of writing which reflected the period. I didn't write the story entirely in an English of the period, but expressions and the way of speaking appropriate to that time peppered the story throughout. I purposely avoided any modern expressions or mode of speaking, so my writing mode was very much geared to the story setting. Considering a real drama story or fantasy, I would if writing one simply use a mode of writing that is modern, although the theme of the story might dictate a certain way of writing, which in effect is a mode, however, I'm not certain that would be a conscious decision on my part, but it could be, if I was clever enough.
  10. I have a slightly different issue. Insomuch as I have technical writing at work which needs to communicate clearly with little fluff, marketing writing that's required to feed the Google beast, and fiction writing. I have a staggering pile of writing books examining every aspect of writing from grammar, to plot, to setting the hook and everything in between. I've even read most of them. Keeping stuff in their boxes is difficult for me on that level. On the fiction level, I purposely write speculative fiction. Insomuch as that everything I write has an aspect of 'other' to it. That is a pit of it's own making because then I need to make sure the world I'm writing in works and I can easily distract myself for hours in world building. I probably meandered too much. Yes, I have a different headspace I write in depending on what kind of writing I'm doing.
  11. This really isn't a topic about the genre, so I didn't want to ask in Myr's thread. I started thinking about this stuff in the last year as I started to pick up writing again. I started considering the mode of writing when I created my newer stories. To me, "Real" mode is usually my starting point based on everything and events around me, then progress from there. Sometimes I become very prophetic when I write "real" mode stories about our society, news, scandals, and human biases. Stories like True As It Can Be fell into this category, along with earlier examples like my abandoned 2015 series 0's and 1's (I predicted Cambridge Analytics stuff before it became public knowledge because I was reading several social media psychology books). The "Surreal" mode is something like my Comforting Touch series, especially the first story Finding Warmth, I take images and memories from my past and develop them into full fleshed-out ideas with complex motivations for characters. I have started off in "Fantasy" mode too, but I can get lost in it very easily, so I have to be wary about my own creative energy when I write those kinds of stories, they can easily become full novels. Stories like Spirited Holiday Engagement fell into this mode, I enjoy writing them, but they are the hardest to create as I have to cut down complex concepts to fit. ------------- Do other writers ever think about mode when you write?
  12. I am not sure what you are saying about font size because the example you give above shows your chosen Tahoma 20 which appears big on my tablet and a default text size which appears small. However the text size when I read stories online is in between both and pretty much perfect because I chose it, all you need do to adjust the text to suite yourself and your device is to use the inbuilt text adjustment A+ or A- from the menu at the top of each chapter, where you can also toggle to white text on black, 3/4 or 1/2 screen and paragraph indents or none. You really do not need to force a text size which negates the inbuilt function!
  13. Something that I've been doing with my stories here is to pick a consistent font and type size. The object of doing this is it makes the stories easier to read. This is the default font and type size. This is my preferred Tahoma size 20. I've noticed that it makes stories easier to read on both the PC and phones. The smaller font tends to be much closer together and in long paragraphs, it makes for more difficult reading. The larger size spreads it out the text and makes for easier reading. There is a lot you can do with the controls in the story vault, but I advise two things: Remember the KISS principle Stay consistent I just wanted to throw this out there as there are numerous stories that I enjoy, but some give me a headache the craft of their writing has nothing to do with.
  14. Most such doubling is intentional as the differences are on main focus. If it is primarily a Romance, then you select the Romance, Western. If it is primarily a Western, that has romantic elements, then select Western, romance. Each Genre has it's own tropes. Westerns can end... poorly. Romance as a genre has readers that can get really tetchy if you don't have a "Happily Ever After". If you have a classic western like Hollywood movies, then you are Western, Historical. If you are going for Historical accuracy and happen to be set in the West, Historical Western. We'll be developing more articles and resources on genres as time allows.
  15. I don't know if you (the site admin) are still looking at, working on, genres, because a recent story drew my attention to an anomaly, the doubling of genres. The genre in question is Western, it is a main genre with its sub-genres, romance, historical, etc. However, the main genre Romance, has the sub-genre western, and the main genre Historical, also has the sub-genre western. Thus, the story can be labelled: Western, romance / Western, historical / Romance, western / Historical, western, a doubling of genres? I would have thought if you want Western as a main genre, you exclude it as a sub-genre, and the same would apply to any other main genre, by virtue that a main genre is not a sub-genre.
  16. https://gayauthors.org/story/valkyrie/a-plethora-of-prompts/1
  17. https://gayauthors.org/story/valkyrie/a-plethora-of-prompts/1
  18. If I got this right, the intention is to classify a story by the main category or genre and give the detail with the sub-genre, most stories presumably falling into one main category. To that end I removed the genre tags Drama, non-contemporary, romance, historical, all a bit messy, and reclassified my story as Romance - historical romance. To my way of thinking all stories would fall in one main category which the author selects as the principal genre. I find this much better and easy to follow, but every story needs to be reviewed!
  19. Just a note on this... It looks like we might be doing the update to rollout this change on Friday.
  20. Hello! I am a French girl who came across this site not that long ago, and so I've started publishing my first story on here, Live, Love, Lose, which is a story about a young Danish refugee during WW2. Someone offered me to start editing the first few chapters, so thanks to them I could edit the three first chapters, but they won't be able to go on as they are busy with their own writing project. That's why I'd like to find an editor who will need to take on reviewing and changing the English because it is not my first language and whilst understandable not the best expressions or sentence structure. Here's the link to my story if anyone is interested in taking a look at it: https://gayauthors.org/story/littlecherryblossom26/live-love-lose/ Thank you in advance!
  21. A bit late to the party—but I'll weigh in anyway. 😚 Growing up, and in school, said was always considered over-used and boring. Teachers would also then tell us to steer away from making the mistake of trying to replace said with something that usually was out of place or disrupted the flow of a dialogue. I remember being told by my grade 11 English teacher, 'If your reader has to go find a dictionary to look up the meaning of what you're trying to convey then it's a not going to be useful to you." On the contrary, a peer of mine in college that often paired off with me to editing of each other's stories and such once said this to me and it made me think. "You often just say things like said, said, said. Are they just monotone when they speak? Breathe some life into the conversation! Don't let your characters become flat." So my advice is to do whatever you feel is most comfortable. Using said can be a great way to get through dialogue quickly when there is no need to be flowery. But every now and then surprise them! Give them some salt and pepper and throw a flowery word in there. I feel as if when I do dialogue if I first use said and then read it later and try to pick up on the nuanced emotions that I want to convey, but it feels lackluster, you gotta break out that bouquet and give those scenes some TLC. Even if you don't replace the word said, throw in a spicy adjective. "She spoke to him tenderly, he said with exasperation." Bottom line: you do you! Make it your own. 💗 Edit: cute little faces heehee
  22. My current (first published) story is set in 19th century Russia. I read history, especially social history, to understand life at that time. I look at art and old photos, but more art, because photography was limited. I try to appreciate what the epoch was like and reflect it in my writing, in the description and in the style. I, if this is not pretentious, would like to feel the reader is transported into another world. Oddly perhaps, there is a certain parallel with Sci-fi and fantasy, the author creates a completely unknown universe. The big difference is with a historical story there is the actual reality, something which equally, maybe even more so, applies if you write the recent past which readers know. The recent past, 2018 or any period from the 1950s onwards is challenging to create for the simple reason you have readers who know it intimately. I can make a mistake in 19th century Russia and I doubt many people will pick it up. Creating the atmosphere and plunging the reader into it is the success of the story, a part of the diversion from real life we seek when reading, characters, plot, and atmosphere.
  23. When I write, I want to nail the setting. My last story was set in 2018. The way I put my head on, to find the grove, was to listen to songs current or a little before. I looked at art and photography from the period. I looked up an outline for the news of the year. What movies were playing. I immersed myself in the time. Sure- it wasn't long ago but think how fast things changed. There were no masks. iPhone 8 was the king of mobile beasts. Sure, the muzak sucked raw balls but, you can't have everything. What do you do to get into the right frame of mind, mood, headspace or whatever you want to call it. I know I'm not the only crazed writer looking for that edge to make their writing POP.

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