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  1. #1
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    Nov. 12, 2008
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    Question writers...

    How did you get your start? I have some horse themed ideas, but no clue where to start. Help!



  2. #2
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    Default

    best place to start if you've got ideas that need fleshing out, support, and practice actually writing (it's quite a lot of work and discipline, especially if you have a job to pay bills) is to find a writing class or group through a local organization. Community colleges, community centers, and meet-up all have resources.

    Writing groups are VERY supportive environments where people work together to share success. Don't shy away because you're afraid someone is going to steal your story. The story is far less important than the writing skill that brings it to life.

    Also, check out your library. There are also quite a few books about "how to write" ... Rita Mae Brown wrote one years ago that I really enjoyed.
    *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=



  3. #3
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    Apr. 13, 2007
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    I am another aspiring writer! I write for Suite 101- it's a non-earner but it got me writing regularly which is good experience. Here's their Horse section.

    http://www.suite101.com/horses



  4. #4
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    lexington, virginia
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    When I teach writing seminars (just taught one at Hunter's Rest in NoVa and I will be teaching them at my farm in Lexington, Va) I use the book, "What If," by Anne Bernays and Pam Painter.

    I took several workshops with Anne and Pam when I lived in Cambridge and they launched my career as a fiction writer. Literally. The first short story I sold was written in one of their classes. Their talent for getting to the point of things quickly is evidenced in their book as well.

    I love their writing exercises and the explanations of why these exercises are useful. If you could get together a writing group, you could all do the same 2-page writing exercise and workshop them. If there's a local college nearby, you could hire a writer to lead the writing group for the same reason you would hire a trainer to critique your riding. Or you could import a writing teacher if none are nearby.

    While critiques from fellow writers (or riders) are helpful, it always raises the bar when you have an experienced person offering up opinions.

    And always the most important tool to writing is reading. The more you read, and the more carefully you read, the better your writing will be.

    Good luck,
    Jody Jaffe
    Feel free to email me if you have any more questions about writing. Words and horses are my passion.
    Jodybjaffe@aol.com



  5. #5
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    Jun. 24, 2005
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    Are you wanting to write fiction or nonfiction?

    I can't help with the fiction side - I'm just not creative. I've written a short story and sent it to magazines at my husband's urging. And have a stack of rejection letters to show for it. Fiction is not my thing.

    However - nonfiction - check around your area (state-wide and even neighboring states) and find the little horse magazines and newspapers that are given out at the feedstore. Often they don't have the money to pay writers (or they don't pay much), but they're happy for new writers to write for them. I did some of that before I sold my first article and did some off and on even since then.

    Occasionally I still write a free article - normally so the magazine will donate some advertising to the rescue.
    Visit us at Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society - www.bluebonnetequine.org

    Want to get involved in rescue or start your own? Check out How to Start a Horse Rescue - www.howtostartarescue.com



  6. #6
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    We had a very talented writer in our last writing workshop and she was discouraged after one rejection of her short story, which was so good I wish I'd written it.

    I told her she could use the word discouraged when she can paper her bathroom with rejection notes, and it had better be a very big bathroom. Rejection is the name of the game for writers, both fiction and non-fiction. There's an adage: getting old ain't for sissies. I'd change that to, writing ain't for sissies.

    What one editor hates, the next one loves.

    And cowgirljen, I bet you could write fiction, especially if you used some of the "What If" writing exercises. The key questions is, which do you like writing more, fiction or non-fiction?

    As one who does both, I love the freedom fiction affords me. I was a journalist for many years before I could start making up things in short stories and novels. It was like going from being a short-order cook where I could use only salt and pepper (just the facts) to a gourmet chef where the doors to the spice and herb cabinets had been flung open.



  7. #7
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    Jul. 19, 2007
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    Michigan
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    Fiction? Uh, probably not helpful but I started writing when I was seven or so (a one-page story based on a dream I had about Misty) and haven't stopped since. The only way to learn to write is really to sit down and do it. And keep doing it until what you produce doesn't suck. (It will suck at first. It always does. Everyone has the Old Shame story somewhere.) Having feedback is helpful, but remember, too, just because someone is an English professor doesn't mean their opinion is automatically valid about your work.

    Read. Read in your genre in particular. See above about English profs--mine were very good, but people who write Serious Literature are of limited help sometimes when it comes to other genres. When it came to technique, they were great, when it came to plot/content, I mostly think "What would Professor Ross say?" and then do the opposite. I know what works in MY market, by reading it.



  8. #8
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    Jun. 24, 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by jody jaffe View Post
    And cowgirljen, I bet you could write fiction, especially if you used some of the "What If" writing exercises. The key questions is, which do you like writing more, fiction or non-fiction?
    I think if I had time, I would try more fiction. But I can sell non-fiction articles and I need to pay the bills... and between writing and the rescue, I don't have time left over. Maybe when I retire...
    Visit us at Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society - www.bluebonnetequine.org

    Want to get involved in rescue or start your own? Check out How to Start a Horse Rescue - www.howtostartarescue.com



  9. #9
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    Nov. 2, 2001
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    Default

    also check you library.
    They generally have a couple how-to books in the shelves. I have read a couple for different genres (RMB wrote a nice one, it could use a revision since it's over 10 years old by now). If there is a genre, you can bet there is a how-to out about it.
    I forgot the name of it, but the library had a nice one about nonfiction, but it covered more than just the writing and touched on the fiction part as well.
    "Just Write it"
    by Shelley Kaehr (had to look it up ^_^)
    Quote Originally Posted by Bristol Bay View Post
    Try setting your broomstick to fly at a lower altitude.
    GNU Terry Prachett



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jody jaffe View Post
    When I teach writing seminars (just taught one at Hunter's Rest in NoVa and I will be teaching them at my farm in Lexington, Va) I use the book, "What If," by Anne Bernays and Pam Painter.

    I took several workshops with Anne and Pam when I lived in Cambridge and they launched my career as a fiction writer. Literally. The first short story I sold was written in one of their classes. Their talent for getting to the point of things quickly is evidenced in their book as well.

    I love their writing exercises and the explanations of why these exercises are useful. If you could get together a writing group, you could all do the same 2-page writing exercise and workshop them. If there's a local college nearby, you could hire a writer to lead the writing group for the same reason you would hire a trainer to critique your riding. Or you could import a writing teacher if none are nearby.

    While critiques from fellow writers (or riders) are helpful, it always raises the bar when you have an experienced person offering up opinions.

    And always the most important tool to writing is reading. The more you read, and the more carefully you read, the better your writing will be.

    Good luck,
    Jody Jaffe
    Feel free to email me if you have any more questions about writing. Words and horses are my passion.
    Jodybjaffe@aol.com

    What If? is a great book! I used it as a student in an advanced fiction seminar in college and I've kept it on my shelf as a permanent part of my collection.

    I recommend blogging if you just want to get in the habit of putting words on paper every day—it makes writing quicker, easier, and more habitual. You'll get feedback (what style works for your readers and what style doesn't) and you'll have a ready-made readership in place when it comes time to sell your published work!

    I am a journalist and editor turned blogger and the blogging definitely makes the rest of my work easier and more fun.
    My ears hear a symphony of two mules, trains, and rain. The best is always yet to come, that's what they explained to me. —Bob Dylan

    Fenway Bartholomule ♥ Arrietty G. Teaspoon Brays Of Our Lives



  11. #11
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    A long time ago I read "Writing Down the Bones" by Natalie Goldberg. It was quite good and is available used on Amazon. Good luck!

    http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Down-B.../dp/1590302613


    1 members found this post helpful.

  12. #12
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    Default Definitely

    Quote Originally Posted by laskiblue View Post
    A long time ago I read "Writing Down the Bones" by Natalie Goldberg. It was quite good and is available used on Amazon. Good luck!

    http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Down-B.../dp/1590302613

    I haven't reread this book in about 15 years, but I remember being very inspired by Goldberg. So much so that I took one of her workshops, which was like taking a megadose of Vitamin B12. I was on fire after her workshop and started "Horse of a Different Killer" as a result.

    Her one piece of advice that has stuck with me through the years is to keep writing even if you have to keep writing "I don't know what to say now but I am going to keep writing." Just the act of moving your hand across the page (or tapping your fingers on the keys) primes the pump and banishes writers block.

    I've changed it a bit, now when I get stuck I write, "this is the part where i want to explain how xx does xx or transition from the part about x to the part about y." (filling in the xs and ys with specific details from my story or article). Or I take an exercise from "What if" to blast me through the block.

    Cowgirl: I agree writing articles can pay the bills, though it's hard to make much with each article. As a travel writer, I'm lucky if I make even $600 from a major newspaper; magazines pay more -- anywhere from 25 cents to $5 a word. But that's still a lot of work for not much reward. If you hit it big or even biggish in fiction, it can buy you a farm



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jody jaffe View Post
    Cowgirl: I agree writing articles can pay the bills, though it's hard to make much with each article. As a travel writer, I'm lucky if I make even $600 from a major newspaper; magazines pay more -- anywhere from 25 cents to $5 a word. But that's still a lot of work for not much reward. If you hit it big or even biggish in fiction, it can buy you a farm
    That's the trade-off - the KNOWN money coming in (and yeah, most animal-related magazines pay less than $600/article) vs the possibility of money in the future. Now if we all just didn't have to work for a living...

    Maybe you will inspire me to go back to writing fiction. I really need to find the time to re-sell my second book (I had a contract on it, company was sold before they published the book and new company won't honor the contract). I need to finish the other two books I've started... and then maybe one day, I'll try fiction again.
    Visit us at Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society - www.bluebonnetequine.org

    Want to get involved in rescue or start your own? Check out How to Start a Horse Rescue - www.howtostartarescue.com



  14. #14
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    These are great! I took a writing class years ago and several folks were starting projects. My idea leans towards childrens literature. I've also done some unpaid nonfiction, but looking to be paid this time!



  15. #15
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    Thank you for the great thread.

    I have a somewhat horse related fiction book idea brewing.... we'll see if I can get started. I keep starting and deleting because so far it's just LAME and I can't stand being lame!!
    Family Partners Welsh Ponies - Home of Section B Welsh stallion *Wedderlie Mardi Gras LOM/AOE http://www.welshponies.com
    Click here to buy: A Guide To In Hand Showing of Your Welsh Pony



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by rideagoldenpony View Post
    Thank you for the great thread.

    I have a somewhat horse related fiction book idea brewing.... we'll see if I can get started. I keep starting and deleting because so far it's just LAME and I can't stand being lame!!
    LOL, NaNoWriMo for you!
    Write first, delete, I mean edit later.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bristol Bay View Post
    Try setting your broomstick to fly at a lower altitude.
    GNU Terry Prachett



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by laskiblue View Post
    A long time ago I read "Writing Down the Bones" by Natalie Goldberg. It was quite good and is available used on Amazon. Good luck!

    http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Down-B.../dp/1590302613
    I took a writing class years ago where this was the main text. It really helped me "loosen up" my writing.

    I also blog almost daily and that helps too.

    I write professionally but about technical subjects. I'm also working on a horse-themed novel. It's fun to work on something that is so different from what I generally write.

    I'll have to look at the Anne Bernays book. My great aunt actually worked for her father many, many years ago!
    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.



  18. #18
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    Absolutely try NaNoWriMo!

    http://www.nanowrimo.org/

    I did it two yrs ago, wrote 50,000 words in 30 days, spent a lot of time editing and having peers edit, did a big rewrite and let it sit awhile. I have to do that to come back to it fresh. I'm starting my final edit and will search for a publisher.

    There's a page on that site about finding a publisher and the ins and outs. GREAT SITE! Can't say that enough.

    One thing i'll say for any aspiring writer is RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH! i love google and google earth, i used them CONSTANTLY when writing.
    People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they're not on your road doesn't mean they're lost.---Dalai Lama



  19. #19
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    Be aware on fiction publishers--e-publishing means first, a lot of old rules about prior publication is changing, and for fiction they are starting to want FAST turnaround. You need to learn to crank out stuff quickly. Flipping through the Writer's Guide looking for publishers and agents is getting very outdated--you have to be good at self-marketing.

    Make use of social media. Facebook and Twitter are your friends.



  20. #20
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    Also it might help to remember you can publish your work yourself in the form of an Ebook.

    Finding Smashwords:

    http://www.smashwords.com/

    gave me the confidence to put more time into my writing. If in the end a publisher doesn't want to print my book, I can put it on here and see if anyone wants to buy it. Then at least I won't have wasted all that time.

    My first foray is more of a booklet: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/76134 (you can see it's not too long) which was something I'd been playing around with for my own interests. I decided to go ahead and publish it and had a good time making a cover!

    I'm now 3/4s of the way through ebook number 2 and have two works in progress that could be tried with a publisher (meep, scary) or go straight online. I've not decided yet.

    Oh, and I currently earn money from my writing but only on a freelance basis and by working with a non-horsey PR agencies. The ambition is to make the horses a much bigger part of it!
    Last edited by Cancara; Sep. 5, 2011 at 09:40 AM.



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