RSS iconTwitter iconFacebook icon

The Trek BBS title image

The Trek BBS statistics

Threads: 138,276
Posts: 5,350,068
Members: 24,610
Currently online: 677
Newest member: VST

TrekToday headlines

Drexler TV Alert
By: T'Bonz on Jul 26

Retro Review: His Way
By: Michelle on Jul 26

MicroWarriors Releases Next Week
By: T'Bonz on Jul 25

Ships Of The Line Design Contest
By: T'Bonz on Jul 25

Next Weekend: Shore Leave 36!
By: T'Bonz on Jul 25

True Trek History To Be Penned
By: T'Bonz on Jul 25

Insight Editions Announces Three Trek Books For 2015
By: T'Bonz on Jul 24

To Be Takei Review by Spencer Blohm
By: T'Bonz on Jul 24

Mulgrew: Playing Red
By: T'Bonz on Jul 24

Hallmark 2015 Trek Ornaments
By: T'Bonz on Jul 24


Welcome! The Trek BBS is the number one place to chat about Star Trek with like-minded fans. Please login to see our full range of forums as well as the ability to send and receive private messages, track your favourite topics and of course join in the discussions.

If you are a new visitor, join us for free. If you are an existing member please login below. Note: for members who joined under our old messageboard system, please login with your display name not your login name.


Go Back   The Trek BBS > Misc. Star Trek > Trek Literature

Trek Literature "...Good words. That's where ideas begin."

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old November 18 2013, 12:02 AM   #61
DonIago
Rear Admiral
 
Location: Burlington, VT, USA
View DonIago's Twitter Profile Send a message via ICQ to DonIago Send a message via AIM to DonIago Send a message via Yahoo to DonIago
Re: Writing questions

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
Exactly. I like to think it helps that I've worked both sides of the desk, as an editor and a writer. But even I have that "base human reaction" sometimes.
I haven't exactly done any professional writing (though I was just published in a conbook, woot!), but when I have passed my stuff to people for feedback I've tended to adopt a policy of, "If it's one person saying it and I don't necessarily agree, I'll ignore it. If multiple people say it...I have to do something."

That said, I haven't yet found myself in a situation where I only had to deal with one editor who I could safely assume knew what they were talking about. Cloest I've come to that so far is my parents.
__________________
--DonIago
It was the best of Trek, it was the worst of Trek...
"If I lean over, I leave myself open to wedgies, wet willies, or even the dreaded Rear Admiral!"
DonIago is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 18 2013, 12:18 AM   #62
Christopher
Writer
 
Christopher's Avatar
 
Re: Writing questions

A scene of someone giving a tour of the ship feels contrived. It could be made to work, though, if the admiral getting the tour were someone significant to the story and had some kind of difference of opinion or tension with the tour-giver that would come out during the scene, so that it wasn't just a travelogue. For instance, in Forgotten History I wanted to write a scene describing how the Enterprise's engineering section was laid out, to put all the various parts we saw in TOS and TAS into context, and so I had Kirk, Spock, Scotty, and Commodore Delgado traveling through the section while they debated with Delgado over whether they should undertake the time-travel research mission seen in "Assignment: Earth." That way, the travelogue wasn't what the scene was about; it was just a bit of background texture that gave some movement and variety to what would've otherwise just been a long conversation.

Of course, even that was a bit self-indulgent of me. In general, if the layout of the ship isn't important to the story, then it shouldn't be addressed in any detail. I guess it was kind of relevant in FH, since it established the relationship of the engineering section to the rest of the ship, and that played a role in the story as it unfolded.

Ideally, you should try to avoid writing a scene that's only about giving exposition. There should always be some kind of character subtext or dramatic tension, something to give the scene emotional stakes that the audience can get invested in. Even just having a new crew member who's lost and trying to figure out how to get around the ship to find their duty station could do it, because then it's a scene about a character who's trying to solve a problem and achieve a goal, rather than just an infodump.
__________________
Christopher L. Bennett Homepage -- Site update 4/8/14 including annotations for Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel

Written Worlds -- My blog
Christopher is online now   Reply With Quote
Old November 18 2013, 12:36 AM   #63
JD
Admiral
 
JD's Avatar
 
Location: Arizona, USA
Re: Writing questions

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
And, putting on my editorial hat for a moment, world-building can be fun and useful, but remember that you're not obliged to make sure that everything in your notebooks gets squeezed into the actual book.As I mentioned earlier, it is good that you, the author, knows the entire history of your imaginary planet, going back six generations, but you don't have to share all of that with your reader--at least not the in the first book!
Yeah, I figure most of it's not going to be in the book. It's mostly just to keep things consistent. I just want to make sure that a brunette doesn't suddenly become a blond, or that my deaf character who only speaks through sign language doesn't suddenly start talking verbally, things like that. I don't always have the greatest memory, so I just want to make sure I have all of that I kind of stuff written down, so if I forget something I have a consistent record I can double check.
__________________
Over the course of many encounters and many years, I have successfully developed a standard operating procedure for dealing with big, nasty monsters. Run away. Me and Monty Python.
Harry Dresden - Blood Rites (The Dresden Files #6)
JD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 18 2013, 02:57 AM   #64
BrentMc
Lieutenant Commander
 
BrentMc's Avatar
 
Location: California U.S.A.
Re: Writing questions

Christopher wrote: View Post
A scene of someone giving a tour of the ship feels contrived. It could be made to work, though, if the admiral getting the tour were someone significant to the story and had some kind of difference of opinion or tension with the tour-giver that would come out during the scene, so that it wasn't just a travelogue. For instance, in Forgotten History I wanted to write a scene describing how the Enterprise's engineering section was laid out, to put all the various parts we saw in TOS and TAS into context, and so I had Kirk, Spock, Scotty, and Commodore Delgado traveling through the section while they debated with Delgado over whether they should undertake the time-travel research mission seen in "Assignment: Earth." That way, the travelogue wasn't what the scene was about; it was just a bit of background texture that gave some movement and variety to what would've otherwise just been a long conversation.

Of course, even that was a bit self-indulgent of me. In general, if the layout of the ship isn't important to the story, then it shouldn't be addressed in any detail. I guess it was kind of relevant in FH, since it established the relationship of the engineering section to the rest of the ship, and that played a role in the story as it unfolded.

Ideally, you should try to avoid writing a scene that's only about giving exposition. There should always be some kind of character subtext or dramatic tension, something to give the scene emotional stakes that the audience can get invested in. Even just having a new crew member who's lost and trying to figure out how to get around the ship to find their duty station could do it, because then it's a scene about a character who's trying to solve a problem and achieve a goal, rather than just an infodump.
Thank you for your reply. I think I'll skip the tour and keep the description of the ship to a minimum, as needed basis.
BrentMc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 18 2013, 03:13 AM   #65
Tiberius
Commodore
 
Re: Writing questions

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
Most writers, myself included, initially resist making changes. It's a knee-jerk reaction: "No! You're just not getting it. It's perfect the way it is."

It's a perfectly natural response, but then you have to get over it.

Whenever I send an editorial letter to an author, I always tell them not to respond right away. Take a few days to mull my suggestions over, sleep on them, and then get back to me.
I suppose this is easier if the person giving the critique also suggest a solution. For example, referring back to your passive protagonists, it's much more helpful when your critic says, "Why don't you have it so your protagonist sets the particular chain of events into motion?" rather than just, "Your protagonists are so passive."
Tiberius is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 23 2013, 03:10 AM   #66
JD
Admiral
 
JD's Avatar
 
Location: Arizona, USA
Re: Writing questions

This is more of a general technical question, but I don't have anywhere else to ask.

Is there a specific set up for writing dialogue in American Sign Language? Do I still still use quotes, or do I do it in italics or something like that? What about if one character is interpreting for another?
__________________
Over the course of many encounters and many years, I have successfully developed a standard operating procedure for dealing with big, nasty monsters. Run away. Me and Monty Python.
Harry Dresden - Blood Rites (The Dresden Files #6)
JD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 23 2013, 07:34 AM   #67
Tiberius
Commodore
 
Re: Writing questions

Just speaking for myself, I'd use some other symbol as a quote mark for that. Perhaps something like:

<<Hello,>> she signed. <<How are you today?>>
Tiberius is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 23 2013, 10:34 AM   #68
JarodRussell
Vice Admiral
 
JarodRussell's Avatar
 
Re: Writing questions

BrentMc wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
A scene of someone giving a tour of the ship feels contrived. It could be made to work, though, if the admiral getting the tour were someone significant to the story and had some kind of difference of opinion or tension with the tour-giver that would come out during the scene, so that it wasn't just a travelogue. For instance, in Forgotten History I wanted to write a scene describing how the Enterprise's engineering section was laid out, to put all the various parts we saw in TOS and TAS into context, and so I had Kirk, Spock, Scotty, and Commodore Delgado traveling through the section while they debated with Delgado over whether they should undertake the time-travel research mission seen in "Assignment: Earth." That way, the travelogue wasn't what the scene was about; it was just a bit of background texture that gave some movement and variety to what would've otherwise just been a long conversation.

Of course, even that was a bit self-indulgent of me. In general, if the layout of the ship isn't important to the story, then it shouldn't be addressed in any detail. I guess it was kind of relevant in FH, since it established the relationship of the engineering section to the rest of the ship, and that played a role in the story as it unfolded.

Ideally, you should try to avoid writing a scene that's only about giving exposition. There should always be some kind of character subtext or dramatic tension, something to give the scene emotional stakes that the audience can get invested in. Even just having a new crew member who's lost and trying to figure out how to get around the ship to find their duty station could do it, because then it's a scene about a character who's trying to solve a problem and achieve a goal, rather than just an infodump.
Thank you for your reply. I think I'll skip the tour and keep the description of the ship to a minimum, as needed basis.
Do keep in mind though, that if this is your style, then it is your style. It's not "wrong" to write exposition scenes. Maybe you break them up with humor or something, I don't know how you write it.
__________________
lol
l
/\
JarodRussell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 23 2013, 10:46 AM   #69
Christopher
Writer
 
Christopher's Avatar
 
Re: Writing questions

I think that sign is a language like any other, just another way of talking, and I don't like the idea of treating it as something less than that. Translating sign into written English is no different from translating, say, Klingon or Bajoran into written English. So my preference would be to use quotes normally, and to use "said" for it, albeit with an initial indication that the character was saying these words manually rather than vocally. I'm not sure if there's a standard policy for that, though.
__________________
Christopher L. Bennett Homepage -- Site update 4/8/14 including annotations for Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel

Written Worlds -- My blog
Christopher is online now   Reply With Quote
Old November 23 2013, 04:14 PM   #70
Greg Cox
Vice Admiral
 
Location: Oxford, PA
Re: Writing questions

I'm not aware of an accepted convention or house style when it comes to ASL. Perhaps a professional copyeditor can weigh in?
__________________
www.gregcox-author.com
Greg Cox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 23 2013, 04:40 PM   #71
borgboy
Fleet Captain
 
borgboy's Avatar
 
Re: Writing questions

Too much exposition does get clunky, but I do really like getting details that flesh out the environment. Working those details into the action seems like it works best.
Only sort of related, I do like to get a physical description of characters. I know some writers deliberately don't describe the character so the reader can make up their own images, but I find I keep waiting for clues to the appearance. I hate to start building my own image only to have something contradictory come along later.
__________________
Resistance is futile
borgboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 23 2013, 04:47 PM   #72
Christopher
Writer
 
Christopher's Avatar
 
Re: Writing questions

I did some research, and I can't find a definitive style guide, but here are some opinions:

Writing Dialogue for a Deaf Character -- Absolute Write Water Cooler

Advice on Writing Dialogue With Signing Characters (Caution: NSFW language in site name)

And here's an interesting one on "gloss," or the literal transcription of ASL:

Gloss in American Sign Language (ASL)

The thing that comes out most clearly is that ASL has a very different grammar and structure from spoken English, and that the basic vocabulary words are heavily modified by facial expression and body language. So a literal transcription of the words would sound very strange and incomplete -- much as a verbatim translation of any foreign language into English would be.

(It often annoys me that when the media cover gorillas and chimps that have learned sign language, they always translate it verbatim so that it reads like a childish pidgin, whereas if they translated the exact same signs from a human speaker, they'd render it into proper English grammar. It's a double standard that makes the apes' communication sound cruder than it probably is.)

So my preference would still be to treat it the way you'd treat any foreign language that you were interpreting into English for the reader. A lot of people in that first link recommend using italics, and apparently some books have done it that way; but the normal convention is to use italics for untranslated foreign words and Roman text in quotes for translated speech. So I'd prefer to do it that way. But it would help to be familiar enough with ASL communication to be able to describe at least some of the gestures and body language for embellishment, as suggested in the second link.
__________________
Christopher L. Bennett Homepage -- Site update 4/8/14 including annotations for Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel

Written Worlds -- My blog
Christopher is online now   Reply With Quote
Old November 23 2013, 07:36 PM   #73
JD
Admiral
 
JD's Avatar
 
Location: Arizona, USA
Re: Writing questions

Yeah, I'm definitely going to do some real reseach before I get to far into my writing. This is one of my two main characters, so there's going to be quite a bit of it.
Thanks for the help, it is much appreciated.
EDIT: My narrator is hearing, and his girlfriend is deaf, so I'm thinking I'll write it out as standard English in quotes, and I'll describe some of the signs and body language that goes with what she's signing.

I don't actually know sign language myself, I just thought it would be interesting to include a deaf character. So I'm thinking it would be really helpful to actually try and learn some sign language myself. I figured I could just get away with saying she was signing whenever I had a dialogue scene, but I see now there is a lot more to it than that.
__________________
Over the course of many encounters and many years, I have successfully developed a standard operating procedure for dealing with big, nasty monsters. Run away. Me and Monty Python.
Harry Dresden - Blood Rites (The Dresden Files #6)

Last edited by JD; November 23 2013 at 09:51 PM.
JD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 18 2014, 07:12 PM   #74
BrentMc
Lieutenant Commander
 
BrentMc's Avatar
 
Location: California U.S.A.
Re: Writing questions

I think it's funny how many sites there are that have Star Trek fan fiction, but when I look for tips on writing Star Trek I just don't find much. I have read the advice written by Dean Wesley Smith for people who wanted to enter Strange New Worlds back in the day, but I just can't find much else. Do you think I should start a thread under fan-fiction and make a place to post anything I find? Would any of the authors here like to contribute advice? Does anyone remember a Star Trek book or magazine that had advice for writing Star Trek?

I Started out writing my first Star Trek story just for fun awhile back and now I am interested in learning to write fiction. I have a whole stack of fiction writing books that I enjoy reading when I have time. I am looking for more Star Trek specific stuff. To give you an idea I am thinking of things like "writing a Star Trek space battle," or "Star Trek species character traits" etc.
BrentMc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 18 2014, 10:24 PM   #75
Deranged Nasat
Vice Admiral
 
Deranged Nasat's Avatar
 
Location: I am here. You are here too. Yes.
Re: Writing questions

BrentMc wrote: View Post
"Star Trek species character traits"
I'm not sure this is quite what you had in mind, but there's the "alien species" list here :

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.ph...TrekNovelVerse
__________________
We are all the sum of our tears. Too little and the ground is not fertile and nothing can grow there; too much, the best of us is washed away.
Deranged Nasat is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



All times are GMT +1. The time now is 09:03 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
FireFox 2+ or Internet Explorer 7+ highly recommended.