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Manu last won the day on June 8

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About Manu

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    Please don't read this, it's private.
  • Birthday 06/28/1986

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  1. So, what do you guys think? What's the easiest way to handle this? Should we give those who wish to give more detailed feedback the option of doing so in a Google doc rather than in a public matter? Yes, absolutely. Reading a piece of writing and being able to add comments at the same time makes it much easier to give detailed feedback. With the current library system, line edits or feedback like "I like this sentence/how you worded this" is very hard to give, since we'd need to quote it first, which will make us jump to the review text field, and then scroll back and search for the part where we stopped reading in order to read on. In fact, it has stopped me from reviewing stories before. Should he be able to request feedback on all ten submissions at once, and make ten different posts requesting feedback? Or should we have a cap of, say, five submissions that he's allowed to ask for feedback for at once? I think that it's common sense not to spam the forum like that. It also depends on what kind of story someone is looking for feedback for - say member A posted 5 chapters or stories with 5k each, while member B is looking for feedback for 10 flash fiction pieces with 500 words each - member B is actually posting far less content than member A, but wouldn't be allowed to ask for feedback for all of them if there was a cap. I'd not put up any rules for that at the moment, they can still be added if it turns out to be necessary. Do you have any feedback for the rules for requesting feedback that you can think of and should be added? In the form it says "feedback" where it should say "critique" instead according to the definition you made at the beginning of the rules post. There's nothing I can think of that should be added at the moment.
  2. Hi everyone, I made a spreadsheet to help track wordcount and goals for a whole year (or even several years with minimal tweaking) that I posted in the Discord a while ago. Since those who are already using it haven't complained about bugs yet, I'm sharing the hopefully bugfree version here for everyone who's interested. Features: can track a new goal for each month of the year allows you to either input your latest total wordcount or the words you want to add for the day provides some NaNo-style stats like daily goal, words left to write, words per day left to write, average words per day written built-in how-to-use instructions If you'd like to use it, simply make a copy in your own google drive and start tracking. If you discover any bugs or have questions, feel free to post them here. The spreadsheet link is set to allow you to add comments, so you can also leave a comment directly in the spreadsheet if you think something needs fixing. If you have suggestions for additional features you'd like to see, feel free to post them here - I can't promise I can implement them, but I'll give it a try! Happy wordcount tracking! Click here to view and copy the spreadsheet!
  3. Structure-wise, they can all be boiled down to the same basic structure. It has been linked on this forum several times before, but Dan Well's videos on story structure are awesome, and he does exactly that: Analyzing stories from different genres and boiling them down to the Seven Point Strutcure he uses (which is really just a more detailed version of the Three Act Structure - the plot turns mark the endings of the first two acts): Edited to add another video link: Rachael Stephen uses an approach called the Plot Embryo, which is pretty much a different version of the Hero's Journey - the first and last quarter of the plot embryo are acts 1 and 3, and the other two are act 2. Aaand, since there hasn't been enough stuff to get confused about yet, there's also a different version of the Three Act structure, in which all acts have roughly the same length, as explained in this video (it's still the same structure, it just draws the lines between the acts differently):
  4. Being a fan of the snowflake method, I have used the Three Act Structure probably every single time I have plotted a story. Randy Ingermanson summarizes the Three Act Structure as "three disasters and an ending": The first disaster ends Act 1 and forces the lead character to commit to the story (also known as first plot point, first plot turn, or point of no return). The second disaster happens in the middle of Act 2, it's also known as the midpoint - it causes the lead character to change their thinking from a false Moral Premise to a true one (also known as "shift from victim to warrior"), the lead character commits to a new way of thinking and acting. The third disaster ends Act 2 and forces the lead character to commit to the ending (also known as second plot point or second plot turn, and depending on the source sometimes also known as dark night of the soul or directly followed by dark night of the soul) Act 3 is the final showdow, ending with the resolution It has helped me a lot in the past to make sure my stories have a solid framework and that they work structure-wise - one thing less I have to worry about while I'm writing!
  5. I'm pretty sure that's the explanation - words with hyphens, words with apostrophes, stuff like that. The wordcount output is an algotithm that counts stuff in your document, and it depends on how it is coded what exactly it counts and whether it defines words like "I'm" as one or two words. At least around here, nobody is interested in wordcount, editors, agents and publishers all work with page count. I'm not sure if that's a typically German thing or if it's an international standard, but a manuscript page is defined as 30 lines of text with a maximum of 60 characters (including spaces) per line, which gives you a maximum of 1800 characters per page. I don't think a dicrepancy of 3k words in a 65k novel will be noticed by a beta reader, to be honest (or an editor, or an agent, or a publisher). If you tell someone "It's a short story of 500 words", and it's 3.5k instead, sure, they'll notice, and they might be pissed that it's 7 times longer than you told them. If it's 68k instead of 65k - I think it's unlikely someone will be bothered by it.
  6. Here are some final stats for march: Worldsmyths users have written: 607,495 words so far, that's 19,597 words per day on average! Congrats, everyone, and have a wordy April!
  7. Update done! Worldsmyths users have written: 244,539 words so far, that's 10,632 words per day on average! @DaVinci You are not in the spreadsheet for the challenge and this check-in is your very first post in this forum, which tells me you haven't signed up for the challenge yet. For March it's too late - you can sign up for April, but the words written in March can't be counted for this challenge, unfortunately.
  8. I found this one quite hard to twist, since the most obvious twist is almost a trope in itself: The sidekick is not brave, but simply stupid 😛 So I came up with a more original twist, but it's rather tragic than comedic - the sidekick is suicidal and what looks like bravery is in reality someone who's trying to get themselves killed on purpose. Trying to twist that one to make it a little more funny, here's what I came up with: The sidekick has recently lost a relative and desperately wants to reconnect with them in the afterworld. The problem is: Killing yourself doesn't get you to the afterworld, but to the underworld, so that is not an option. The sidekick joined the hero's quest in order to make their own death meaningful - dying a martyr and for a good cause, achieving both their own goal to get to the afterworld, and helping save the world. Only... it didn't work out as planned, and no matter how risky their actions seem, the sidekick miraculously survives every single time they risk their own life in order to save the hero. Now the hero even thinks they are deeply indebted to the sidekick, and tries to protect their companion wherever they can in return. The sidekick silently curses both fate and the hero, and they are running out of ideas how to get killed. New trope: The evil overlord who wants to destroy everything. Because... well, because they're evil.
  9. Wordcounts should be updated in the spreadsheet until here. @Elena: Fixed it. @Storycollector: The numbers you posted in the last two check-ins (the ones I reactet to with the confused emoji) don't add up (words to add + previous total is not the same as the new total you provided). Please check your previous check-ins and the spreadsheet and let me know which numbers are the correct ones. It's enough if you post either words to add or new total, the spreadsheet doesn't need you to do any math 🙂 @Jedi Knight Muse: The new total you posted on Friday (the one with the confused emoji) is smaller than the total you had before that check-in - I put the other numbers you posted as "words to add" in the spreadsheet, please let me know if it's correct that way. Worldsmyths users have written: 173,516 words so far, that's 10,207 words per day on average! Wow, 10k per day on average, that's awesome! Keep writing, and have a wordy week!
  10. I think I don't get some of these questions, but here are my thoughts: How do you fix character voices when you find out that two of them are too similar? Changing stuff to make the characters more different, if they are important characters - if their voices are too similar, chances are their personalities are as well. Or they're simply too flat, then "they sound too similar" tells me that I should take a break from writing the story, take a step back and flesh the characters out more. If they are not important characters, I'll question if I need them at all and chances are I'll cut one of them or combine them into one person. Or if it fits the plot, do something funny and gimmicky, like making them twins or siblings that are supposed to be similar - obviously, this one should be used sparingly. How can you tell if a character is, in fact, the problem? That's one of the questions I don't get - what problem are we even talking about? Guess I'll have to listen to the episode to get more context. How do you maintain interest in a character who is largely inactive? Same as with side characters that sound too similar - I don't, I'll often end up cutting inactive characters or combining them with a more active one. What function does this character have in a story? Can any other character fulfill it as well? Why do I need to keep this character at all? How do you write interesting bad guys when your only POV characters are the good guys? Giving them plausible motives. Making them relatable. I'm a fan of gray antagonists - they might be more ruthless (or desperate) than the protagonists in getting what they want, but they need a motivation and a goal, and there are obstacles they have to overcome to reach their goals (which is often where the protagonists come in - either the protagonists happen to be those obstacles, or they have a goal that clashes with the protagonists' goal). How do you give meaningful challenges to a powerful character? I don't. I'm terribly bored by powerful characters, so I don't write them 😛 Well, at least not as POV characters - powerful mentors, advisors or antagonists are fine. How can you make a normal, everyday character interesting? By making them relatable. Defining their goals, motivation, conflicts, and values. Giving them challenges that resonate with me and hopefully with readers as well. How do you edit an existing manuscript to give characters interests which mesh with the plot? That's another one I don't get - if a character's interests don't mesh with the plot, why are they there in the first place? I guess the answer would be "add a meaningful subplot or cut the character"? If the manuscript already exists and is finished, the plot obviously gets resolved without that character just fine, so what is that character's function? If there is none, there's no reason to keep the character. (Yep, I'm a plot-driven writer, in case someone didn't suspect that yet)
  11. That is exactly my opinion on the topic as well. Overusing synonyms does a lot more harm than using 'said' a little too often. Personally, I have never struggled with dialogue, it's probably what comes most easily to me (I have to put much more thought in descriptions), which is probably also the reason why my writing tends to be dialogue-heavy. So it's not easy to pin down what exactly I am doing, but rereading some of my stuff, I tend to use sentences that show what a character does to replace 'said'. "Shut up!" She slammed the door. / "What?" XY frowned. Stuff like that. Apart from that, as long as there are only two characters talking, not every line of dialogue needs its own tag, a reader can follow a couple of lines of dialogue even if there are no tags at all, a reminder every couple of lines is enough. Character voice plays an important role here - the more distinguishable the characters' voices are, the longer a piece of dialogue can cope without tags.
  12. I'm finally procrastinating and finding the time to respond to this instead of doing the stuff I should be doing 😛 My WIP is all about twisting tropes, that was the very inspration for it - there is a chosen one, but she dies and another girl (the protagonist) has to take her place, but she has no clue of what she is doing. In the first version, the real chosen one's kid brother was her mentor, teaching the protagonist about his deceased sister, so she would manage to pass as the girl she never knew - simply for having a kid mentor who's younger than the mentee. It turned out to have too little substance to carry a novel length story, so her new mentor is a weird old man who "discovered" the chosen one and became her teacher. He puts a lot of pressure on the protagonist and pushes her into a role she will never be able to fill, so in the new version, the mentor is the antagonist. Oh, and there are the norsemen, who are a quite martial tribe that raids villages ... only that they are stealing lace curtains and lace tableclothing, which later turns out to be protection against a plague of mosquitos that transmit fever and have already killed a lot of children and elderly from the tribe. The final step to peace and security is that the young baron (who is the second protagonist) collects the taxes in lace instead of grain and offers them to the norsemen as part of their peace negotiations. Here's a random one and my twist on it, up for adoption: The powerful artifact There's a powerful artifact that needs to be protected from evil conquerors - only that nobody knows what it does. But it must be important, after all it was the item the king's court mage held pressed to his chest when he died of a poisoned arrow from the evil invaders! A band of heroes is formed to protect the item, get it out of the castle and bring it to a wise old mage on the other end of the country. They face and overcome plenty of dangers on their journey... only to find out the other mage doesn't know what it does either. Returning to the caste empty-handed, they find a little girl and her mother mourning at the court mage's grave. Turns out the woman is the mage's lover and the little girl his daughter, who lived in a nearby village instead of moving to the castle, and the powerful artifact was just a gift his little daughter had given to him. The damsel in distress What if the princess who is kept prisoner in a far-away tower protected by a dragon isn't really a prisoner, but simply likes being alone? Her pet dragon helps to keep unwanted visitors away. If some "hero" slayed her dragon to "rescue" her, I guess she'd be quite pissed 😄 Do you think this thread would work as a forum game - one person posts a trope, and the next has to twist it and post a new trope? Might be fun 😄
  13. Wordcounts should be updated in the spreadsheet until here. Worldsmyths users have written: 111,227 words so far, that's 8556 words per day on average! Keep writing, and have a wordy week!
  14. Not a problem at all, @Mynoris - bug reports were even supposed to go to the check-in thread, as I'm quite busy and not actively following any of the other threads. So for bug reports, either post them in the check-in thread or make sure to tag me if you post them elsewhere, otherwise there's a good chance I'll miss it. I have no idea why it doesn't work, it should be working - the spreadsheet link only gives you viewing rights, but expanding grouped cells should absolutely be covered with that. @Jedi Knight Muse even has ediitng rights and it doesn't seem to work, which makes me think that it must be a bug on google's side. As a workaround, I simply expanded all of them myself now and left them that way - more scrolling (which is why I did the grouping and minimizing in the first place, meh), but the only solution I can think of right now. Let me know if you can at least see everything now, please 🙂
  15. Sorry for the late update, but here are some stats: Worldsmyths users have written: 78,487 words in march, that's 9811 words per day on average! Keep up the good work, everyone! And since I found out the spreadsheet doesn't seem to be as self-explanatory as a spreadsheet geek like myself would have thought, here are some screenshots to show you what it can do - you can access your individual stats by clicking on the "+" on the left next to your username in the spreadsheet: Click there, and voilà: In the columns on the right (where it says Mar 01 - Mar 02 - Mar 03 in the screenshot) you can see the individual wordcount updates - should be the same numbers you posted here 🙂