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December 8, 2012
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Can the Community Help an Author Write a Book?

:iconbrianadragon:
BrianaDragon Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I wrote a book when I was 12 years old (1988). I have always wanted to publish it, but looking back on it with an adult eye I see a lot of issues with it. Unfortunately, I can't seem to fix it. I've heard that other authors have engaged the community to help them edit and write/rewrite a book. How would I go about making something like that happen for me?

I need a lot of help with the book, and I think it would be amazing if I could get the community to help me sort out the issues and flesh out the story. I just don't know where to begin. If anyone can help me get this going I'd really appreciate it. I don't know how well it would work, but I'd love to give it a shot and see if I can get this story out into the world.
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Devious Comments

:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
:lock: OP request
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:iconbrianadragon:
BrianaDragon Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I think this whole thing is getting blown out of proportion. There is some hostility in here, as well as some help. I'll take responsibility for some of it, due to the fact that I didn't detail out every issue I was referring to. My intention was to find out if there were people and ways here for an author to get assistance working on a book. Somehow that seems to have been totally missed in favor of a view that I want people to write the book for me, which is not it at all. I didn't specify in detail because I was looking for people or a group and didn't think it was appropriate to get into that. Perhaps I should have as there seems to be a lot of confusion.

For instance, having two characters in the book with the same name was not done on purpose. I was dictating the book to someone else because I couldn't write as fast as I could think and somehow in that process two characters got confused and she ended up writing as if they were the same one.

As for the "fixing"... How can I explain? Hmm... Let's take the "timeline" issue for instance. The actual problem is that the main character travels to and from various locations over the course of the story. I had (and still have) no idea how to gauge if it was actually possible to be at point A at X time of day and reach point B, on foot, by Y time of day. So how would I "fix" that? Meaning, what method would one use to determine if travel in said mode could be achieved in the stated amount of time?
Another example would be that a scene seems a little flat in comparison to the one before it. What would "fix" it? More dialogue? Less? A deeper description of the setting?

And it's things like this that sometimes make me hate the written word. It can be so easily misconstrued or misread. Overall, I'm just stuck with looking at an old work and unsure of how to repair or rewrite it. I'm not a fiction writer by nature. I do non-fiction, humor and poetry. I thought people might be able to give me some pointers on learning how to sort out the issues I know the book has so I can take care of them. And the reason I'm working on such an old book is because I believe there was a good premise and it's something to work from. I don't really have any ideas for a new work of fiction. I thought if I could learn how to fix this old thing, I'd be well-armed to write something new in the future.

I hope that clears things up and either I can get the help I'm requesting or let the subject drop and I'll see what I can come up with on my own.
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
What type of nonfiction do you write? If it's creative, the requirements aren't that different from realistic fiction. It still sounds to me like you need to sit down and rewrite this book without being wedded to how it was originally.

Also, do you read the genre this book is meant to be in?
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:iconbrianadragon:
BrianaDragon Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I don't have much time to read anymore, but I used to love horror books and read quite a bit.

I think I'm still being misunderstood here. For some reason I don't seem to be able to communicate what it is I'm trying to get at. It might be best to just let this thread drop and I'll try to figure things out on my own. Obviously it's going to be difficult to research since I can't even get it across to actual people, but maybe in time I can figure it out. This is just becoming more stressful for me than it's worth.

I do appreciate those trying to help, I won't blame anyone for my lack of ability to express myself in a way that translates to all of you. Asking questions and getting the answers I need has always been an issue for me. Let's just let it go and you can all move on and maybe give some help to someone else.
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I think reading could be a huge boost for you.

Asking specific questions—'how can I get character X to Y location in 4 hours'—goes over better around here. :)

If you'd like, I can lock this thread so no further discussion is possible.
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:iconbrianadragon:
BrianaDragon Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Yes. Please do that. I'll try again when I can form more specific questions. Maybe I'm just too tired right now and that's why I'm not getting it all across.
Again, thank you to those who did actually try to help. I do appreciate it.
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
:salute: Good luck trying to figure it out!

Yeah, take a few days or something.
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:iconclaycowboys:
ClayCowboys Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012  Professional Writer
I think I would need to read the work before I could give you a critique tailored to the specific problems you're having with it. Where timelines are concerned (and I hope I'm on the money here), I would recommend writing everything down before you rewrite the story. Write the timeline down. Use notecards if it will help you.

I don't mean to plug my own work, but I did write a little "tutorial" on how to flesh out a scene many moons ago. These are some of the tips I've learned in school and that I've found very helpful for me. Perhaps it will work for you? [link]
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm confused by the fact that you seem to know what's wrong with the book already. The biggest benefit of fresh eyes is people pointing out stuff you don't already know. What part do you actually want help with? How will someone else be more committed to writing your story than you?

Communities are awesome for support and offering ideas for sticky points. If you want you can make it a project, but this is a twenty four year old work that doesn't sound like it's revised yet.
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:iconthehistoryfreak13:
thehistoryfreak13 Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012  Student General Artist
I think she is mostly dissatisfied with it more than that there is something wrong with it. I think an author is entitled that if they are to send a message through their readers
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
How much are the readers expected to fix the book?
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:iconthehistoryfreak13:
thehistoryfreak13 Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012  Student General Artist
I wouldn't say that the readers should 'fix' the book. That is the job of the author. Readers I think should mostly give you their opinion on what they think is better. Only their opinion. That is my opnion in the subject
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Makes sense to me :nod: The OP came off as asking for fixing, which is why I was thrown off.
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:iconthehistoryfreak13:
thehistoryfreak13 Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012  Student General Artist
Yeah fixing a piece of writing seems wrong to me as well
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:iconpinkymccoversong:
PinkyMcCoversong Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012  Professional Writer
What you're looking for are critique partners and beta readers. You might be able to find some on dA (and sometimes I wonder if we should have some sort of permanent sticky thread for critique partner matchmaking) or offline at a local writing organization like SCBWI or RWA.

Also, you wrote this book when you were 12. I will say this: most first novels that people write as adults don't sell. Why do you think you should try to sell your first book? At the very least, you should probably take the concept, come up with an outline, and rewrite from scratch. I've known some teen authors who do excellent work, but most 12 year olds aren't ready. So try rewriting. Or start on a new project. You have plenty of time.
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:iconmerrak:
merrak Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012  Hobbyist
There was a group that was a sort of matchmaker service for beta readers. I can't remember the name of it, though.
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
It's #Beta-Readers, see below :B
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:iconmerrak:
merrak Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012  Hobbyist
Now I feel silly for asking :bucktooth: That seemed rather obvious.
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
It happens!
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:iconrovanna:
Rovanna Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012   Digital Artist
Are you talking about this community? I've never heard of it happening here. People beta read and critique their friend's books as critique partners though. Novels take a long time to read and dissect and were all working in our own projects.

If you are looking for a critique partner/critique group, you could try posting in Projects, or look in groups like beta-readers.deviantart.com/.or [link] (have a gander and see If they're suitable.) Or see If there is an IRL writers group near you.
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:iconclaycowboys:
ClayCowboys Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012  Professional Writer
Why don't you see if you have any writing groups in the area and show it to them? I don't know where you live, but look on Meetup. There should be writing groups there. And if there aren't any in your area, form one!
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:iconraspil:
raspil Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012   Writer
why can't you fix it? too hard? too bad. you wrote it, you deal with it. or you can put it on the shelf and move on. we're over here doing our own projects.

and i've never heard of anyone here doing what you claim the community does. it's pulling teeth to get anyone to read and critique anyone else's story/poem let alone a teardown and rebuild of something someone else wrote when they were a kid.
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:iconbrianadragon:
BrianaDragon Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Okay, maybe I didn't describe it well enough. Let me try again...
What I meant is fresh eyes to help me spot the timeline inconsistencies, maybe point out where a scene could use more detail, possibly help me sort out my issue with two characters who have the same name. I'm in no way asking people to write the book for me. I just need help spotting the problems and getting them fixed. The timeline is my biggest problem. I've even tried outlining the whole thing so I can repair it, and I just get lost in it. I don't want anyone to write for me, only to aid me in getting the book rewritten myself.

As for what anyone would get out of it? Well, I'd certainly give credit in the book. Also, perhaps just the good feeling of helping another human being accomplish something that's important to them? I gladly help others when I can and expect nothing in return, I'm sure I can't be the only one.
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:iconlytrigian:
Lytrigian Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Don't give two characters the same name unless there's some point to it and there's no danger of the reader confusing the two. If there's no point, and if they're easily confused, change one of them.

There. Issue sorted.

As for the rest, I would tend to agree with *shininginthedarkness. You are the person LEAST likely to be confused by your timeline. If that specifically is the problem, an outline may not be the best approach. I'd diagram strictly the timeline. Leave out character development and plot points per se, and set out in a linear way who was where and when. You may need a separate line for each character, or groups of characters, so you can synchronize. Or even get a calendar with BIG spaces for each day and track incidents and travel times as if you were recording appointments or vacations.
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:iconshininginthedarkness:
shininginthedarkness Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012
If YOU get lost in your own timeline, what hope do we have?
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:iconwitwitch:
witwitch Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012  Student Writer
It takes an average author ~3 years to write a book. What you're asking for is a pretty fuckin' big deal.

Also, use the reply button.
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:iconwitwitch:
witwitch Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012  Student Writer
Honestly, why should we help? What's in it for us?

If you work on rewriting the story, you can post it up and ask for critique, which can help you improve as a writer. I'm sure many people would be willing to do that much.

I don't think you'll be able to find a whole community willing to do the whole thing for you. Aside from that, it just sounds like a bad idea. It's your artistic vision. No one else can communicate it for you. If you have more people write it, the voice will be jumbled and it won't be a very good story to read.
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