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Old 7th August 2012, 07:16 AM   #321
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It seems to drift between wanting support for your theory and selling a book. Were it me, I'd focus on the book more than your theory. But I'm a total novice here, so keep that in mind.
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Old 7th August 2012, 07:37 AM   #322
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
It seems to drift between wanting support for your theory and selling a book. Were it me, I'd focus on the book more than your theory. But I'm a total novice here, so keep that in mind.
Thanks! Digging a little deeper, which parts seem to be which, as a reader?
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Old 7th August 2012, 07:42 AM   #323
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Originally Posted by OCaptain View Post
Thanks! Digging a little deeper, which parts seem to be which, as a reader?
The whole thing is a mix.

Start with a concise description of the book as if someone else wrote it. Point out some key reason why this theory of the location of the A of the C differs from past theories. Then go from there.
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Old 7th August 2012, 08:00 AM   #324
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
The whole thing is a mix.

Start with a concise description of the book as if someone else wrote it. Point out some key reason why this theory of the location of the A of the C differs from past theories. Then go from there.
How about this?

"Finding the Ark of the Covenant brings its author's unique perspective to bear in order to formulate a new theory that best explains the disposition of the Ark of the Covenant in antiquity. Unlike previous works that don't hold up to deeper scrutiny, this theory leaves pseudo-science and evangelical apologetics to others, focusing instead on the strongest evidence available - the biblical sources, ancient documentary sources, and archaeological/anthropological discoveries.


The manuscript's target audience can be uniquely broad, because it touches on a variety of genres – reference, history, science, world cultures, and religion, which resonate with readers today in their own unique ways. There is a certain level of reading and knowledge that I expect the reader will come with to this book, so that will limit its approachability to casual readers. I’ve been working with a wonderful copy editor for the past several years, and we’ve been keeping my manuscript consistent with the Chicago Manual of Style, per her recommendation. I’ve been a member of the Ancient Near East (ANE and ANE-2) forum for a decade now, in the Biblical Hebrew forum for three years, the Biblical Studies forum for three years, and the Biblicalist for two years. There I’ve been able to exchange ideas with experts from around the world – a virtual roundtable discussion of the past.I am hoping to use this manuscript to forge a long literary career.


If you think that this is something you could vigorously represent, please let me know. I have a full proposal on hand should you wish to see more of what I have in mind."
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Old 9th August 2012, 07:51 AM   #325
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I wrote a nice long post about this the other day and when I went to post it got ate. Sorry, I don't have the energy to re-create at the moment...
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Old 16th August 2012, 12:03 AM   #326
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Question

[eta: question 1] What's the best word processor for writing a book? II don't want to have to use MS Word.

eta question 2: I know we have a "JREF published authors" thread somewhere. Does anyone know where it is? I usually don't ask people to do my searching for me, but I looked and couldn't find it.

Last edited by Baylor; 16th August 2012 at 12:59 AM.
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Old 16th August 2012, 03:04 AM   #327
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Old 16th August 2012, 07:20 AM   #328
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Originally Posted by UNLoVedRebel View Post
[eta: question 1] What's the best word processor for writing a book? II don't want to have to use MS Word.

eta question 2: I know we have a "JREF published authors" thread somewhere. Does anyone know where it is? I usually don't ask people to do my searching for me, but I looked and couldn't find it.
1) I'm using Scrivener, a program that helps you sort parts and then recombine and print them out in whatever order you want. It's $40.

2) I thought this was the thread. There's a thread in Community I started when my first book came out, called "It's Out!" (I think) where a few other people posted. If there's another one, I'd like to know where it is, too. Thx.
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Old 16th August 2012, 07:53 AM   #329
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Originally Posted by UNLoVedRebel View Post
[eta: question 1] What's the best word processor for writing a book? II don't want to have to use MS Word.

eta question 2: I know we have a "JREF published authors" thread somewhere. Does anyone know where it is? I usually don't ask people to do my searching for me, but I looked and couldn't find it.
Scrivener is working very well for me.

You can try it for free for a month before buying it.

Last edited by Skeptic Ginger; 16th August 2012 at 07:56 AM.
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Old 16th August 2012, 08:18 AM   #330
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I've started on at least four books, and really should get back to one of them.
  • There's Stone Cold Boys & Girls, a fixup of four connected sword & sorcery / mystery novellas; the protagonist, Lyra Genevris, is a mostly-reformed thief turned... Well, she's not quite Archie Goodwin to her mentor's Nero Wolfe, but not that far from it.
  • There's the Mina Smith stories, about a a customs agent who tackles slave traders, dinosaur smugglers, people peddling genuine manuscripts of imaginary books, and other such weirdness.
  • There's the Accountant stories, with an unnamed protagonist (all the core characters go by their occupations, rather than names), set decades later in the Mina Smith universe after the things Mina deals with have become established businesses and need accountants with very particular skills.
  • And there's the Baby Bell stories, which have been fermenting in the back of my mind for a while, but which only recently got assigned a heroine, place, and time. And, importantly, titles. Those are about a transit cop who saves the universe - twice - just so that she can eat her apricot danish and drink her coffee in peace.
It would mean more if I'd written more than 20,000 words of any part of them.
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Old 16th August 2012, 08:21 AM   #331
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Originally Posted by Tiktaalik View Post
1) I'm using Scrivener, a program that helps you sort parts and then recombine and print them out in whatever order you want. It's $40.
Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Scrivener is working very well for me.

You can try it for free for a month before buying it.
Thanks for the tip. Apart from my stories, I've been doing a lot of technical writing recently for my day job, and Word, while good, isn't quite right.

I loved Lotus Word Pro back in the day.
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Old 16th August 2012, 09:12 AM   #332
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
It would mean more if I'd written more than 20,000 words of any part of them.
Hmm. Imported the most complete of my stories into Scrivener (thanks again!) and it says it's just short of 25,000 words, and about 70 pages printed, which is more than I thought, and encouraging.

It's also better than I expected, reading it fresh after it's sat around for a while. Definitely needs editing, though, and I regret deciding to name one of the characters Jilian with one L.
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Old 16th August 2012, 11:48 AM   #333
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
Hmm. Imported the most complete of my stories into Scrivener (thanks again!) and it says it's just short of 25,000 words, and about 70 pages printed, which is more than I thought, and encouraging.

It's also better than I expected, reading it fresh after it's sat around for a while. Definitely needs editing, though, and I regret deciding to name one of the characters Jilian with one L.
You can always find - replace.

I've renamed several characters because people with those names have showed up inconveniently in real life and I didn't want them to think I was writing about them. In one case, the character was much too good for the real person, and the name was ruined for me by association.
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Old 17th August 2012, 03:17 AM   #334
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Another vote for Scrivener. While it has issues, and the Windows version in particular is still quite limited, it is a fantastic piece of software and deserves supporting so the guys behind it can keep developing it and adding more features.
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Old 28th August 2012, 09:40 AM   #335
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Originally Posted by gumboot View Post
Another vote for Scrivener. While it has issues, and the Windows version in particular is still quite limited, it is a fantastic piece of software and deserves supporting so the guys behind it can keep developing it and adding more features.
I've now been using it for a month or so, and I definitely like it. I'm going to experiment with a few features pretty soon. I actually like the "corkboard" although the tutorial said many people don't use it at all.

Second book in the series is due for release August 30th and the first book is now set to come out in paperback (it's in ebook now) but I don't know when. Third (and final) book is waiting in the wings, but I've now moved on to a whole 'nother project (the one I'm using Scrivener for) - the problem will be coming back to the third book when it comes up for editing and trying to remember everything. I may have to re-read the first two at that point.

Didn't write anything during my recent vacation, which was a good break, I think. I read a few books, including finishing "Elantris" and reading "The Story of Everett Ruess". Liked the second one better.
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Old 28th August 2012, 11:04 AM   #336
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Yay, the 30th is only 2 days away.

Where will the paperbacks be available? Just curious.
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Old 30th August 2012, 10:57 AM   #337
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Hooray for Tiktaalik:

Crypt of Souls (Stolen Series) [Kindle Edition].

Sigh, I let my Kindle charge dwindle again. But I'll be reading this later tonight.

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Old 30th August 2012, 02:30 PM   #338
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Thanks! And to answer your earlier question - I'm not sure when the paperback will be out, I've just been told that "it's in the works". That will be a whole 'nother experience; I foresee more learning curve in the future. These first two have certainly introduced me to a world different from anything I expected (I mean the world of publication, not the fantasy stuff!).
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Old 3rd September 2012, 09:36 PM   #339
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more noodling around with the idea than actually writing so far

You know how the time-travel sci fi genre has the meme of "If yo could go back in time wold you go to the 1930s & kill Hitler..."?

My idea is, what if the protagonist used the time machine to go back to preWWI Austria & convince the Vienna Academy of Art that it is in the best interest of the world that they accept Hitler as a student.
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Old 6th September 2012, 04:43 PM   #340
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OK, finally started reading Crypt of Souls. I'm chuckling at the sneakweed on the first page. It's great.
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Old 25th September 2012, 03:41 PM   #341
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Just finished Tiktaalik's Crypt of Souls. It was excellent, as good as the first. I wrote an Amazon review for you.

But I need more. Can't wait. I am into your story Tik. Hope they pick the third book up soon.

How are sales on the first book so far?
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Old 25th September 2012, 06:13 PM   #342
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Just finished Tiktaalik's Crypt of Souls. It was excellent, as good as the first. I wrote an Amazon review for you.

But I need more. Can't wait. I am into your story Tik. Hope they pick the third book up soon.

How are sales on the first book so far?
Many, many thanks for a review on Amazon - reviews, good, bad, or ugly, are about the most important thing for sales these days.

I think sales are so-so; I don't have direct access to data, so it's hard to tell. "Stolen" will be out in paperback October 5th, which will be nice but a whole new ballgame to deal with. No idea when/if #3 will be picked up.

Meanwhile, I'm off on a new project, fantasy but set in the present day. Here's my working blurb:

Lorcas' father gives him a rock for his thirteenth birthday. But not just any rock - this one is the cornerstone of an ancient castle. Years later, Lorcas begins to rebuild the castle, one stone at a time. But as he builds, the castle becomes more aware - and more malevolent. Lorcas soon finds himself in danger from a mysterious group who are bent on keeping the castle, named Rook, from being rebuilt. Aided by a shadow that lives under the cornerstone and a group of people who've been guarding the cornerstone since the castle was taken apart, Lorcas creates something he never imagined. Would Rook have been better left in ruins?

Working title "Cornerstone". I'm on Chapter Eight. What do folks think?
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Old 25th September 2012, 06:27 PM   #343
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Originally Posted by Tiktaalik View Post
Many, many thanks for a review on Amazon - reviews, good, bad, or ugly, are about the most important thing for sales these days.

I think sales are so-so; I don't have direct access to data, so it's hard to tell. "Stolen" will be out in paperback October 5th, which will be nice but a whole new ballgame to deal with. No idea when/if #3 will be picked up.

Meanwhile, I'm off on a new project, fantasy but set in the present day. Here's my working blurb:

Lorcas' father gives him a rock for his thirteenth birthday. But not just any rock - this one is the cornerstone of an ancient castle. Years later, Lorcas begins to rebuild the castle, one stone at a time. But as he builds, the castle becomes more aware - and more malevolent. Lorcas soon finds himself in danger from a mysterious group who are bent on keeping the castle, named Rook, from being rebuilt. Aided by a shadow that lives under the cornerstone and a group of people who've been guarding the cornerstone since the castle was taken apart, Lorcas creates something he never imagined. Would Rook have been better left in ruins?

Working title "Cornerstone". I'm on Chapter Eight. What do folks think?
I think it's great. That's a really cool premise. I say, go for it, definitely.


I'm learning so much from one person in my writer's group. The critique he offers on my pieces has been so insightful. I go away and rewrite the section and it's improved a hundred fold. I'm seriously tempted to hire him at some point as an editor.

I've picked up a few things from your books, too. I need more smaller conflicts or something that builds more toward the larger conflict. And I decided my protagonist needs a friend. The girls in her village bully her, but maybe it's too unrealistic that no one is her friend except her boyfriend, so I'm growing the part of her younger protégé to a larger friend role.

I may have said so in the thread already, but I let my son read a chapter, finally, and he really liked it. I know he wasn't faking it, I can read him too well for that.

Anyway, November is fast approaching (a year since I started). I have a new estimate. It's going to take 2 years for the first story and I don't know how much longer for the second. No matter, I'm still pleased with how things are progressing.
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Old 3rd October 2012, 07:15 AM   #344
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I'm wondering how long I should wait after submitting a manuscript before I start to shop around elsewhere. I sent mine into a publisher two months ago and have heard nothing back. They did not give me a time estimate when I sent it in. Is it time to move on?
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Old 3rd October 2012, 07:44 AM   #345
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Avery, if your manuscript was sent "over the transom" (that is, unsolicited and unagented), then two months is nothing. It's time for a polite inquiry along the lines of, "Did you receive my manuscript and assign it to a first reader yet?"
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Old 3rd October 2012, 10:12 AM   #346
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I sent them a query letter and they asked for the manuscript. Obviously, I am new to this whole process.

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Old 3rd October 2012, 11:25 AM   #347
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Look on their website, old newsgroups, wherever, to see if you can find guidance or others reporting how long it took to get a book evaluated at this publisher. If you can't find anything at all, you can always call. Be extremely polite, and tell whoever answers the phone that so-and-so requested to see your manuscript, and you wanted to make sure it had arrived safely. If you got a positive response to your original query, chances are good they have a log, and the receptionist (whoever answers the phone when you call) can tell you on whose desk the box is sitting, and the average length of time you should expect to wait before hearing back.

It can be a long, long, very frustrating process. I once had a book that Lester del Rey was interested in. It took him five years to get around to reading it. I called approximately every six weeks during that time to ask his secretary to make sure it stayed on the top of his pile. At that time in history, having the Del Rey imprint meant a lot, so I was willing to put up with it. (He ended up rejecting the work, but said he'd take it if I were willing to make some major character changes. Loved the writing, loved the pace, loved the story, but hated the people. I never did send that book on, because after reading his lengthy and throughtful analysis, I decided he was right. Instead I went onto the next book, which I sold in about three months. Since then, I have always sold the book before writing it. It's hard to get into that position, but once there, it's the best place to be.)
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Old 3rd October 2012, 12:53 PM   #348
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Originally Posted by Avery Dashwood View Post
I sent them a query letter and they asked for the manuscript. Obviously, I am new to this whole process.
If they asked for the manuscript, that's awesome. That's a big step. I'd second the idea that it's time for a polite "just checking" email. Maybe they'll give you a better timeline if you ask.
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Old 25th October 2012, 03:41 AM   #349
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Ok I'm very much inspired by this thread!

I've always been interested in writing but usually abandon a story some way in. This time, seeing as I'm also working on my PHD, I've decided to setup writing the story as a kind of a reward for myself as well as a break from the technical writing and research that occurs during the PHD.

My inspiration for the book came from a dream I had, where I was reading a book. When I woke up I was disappointed that the book didn't exist so I decided to write it. Unfortunately all that remains from the dream is the name of an alien race and a bit of the mood of the book but it was enough to get me going.

I suspect the most similar style to that which I am attempting is Ian M Banks' Culture series, though I am working hard to distance my story and ideas from his.

The basic idea so far revolves around a young women/teenager who joins an Alien religious cult and her "heroine's journey".

There are two topics that I am wondering about including: Atheism and Erotica (that should be the name for an upcoming TAM!). I don't want my story to be preachy at all, and I don't want it to be tacky. I suppose I will still see how those pan out.

In terms of the technical aspects I'm writing it in LaTeX, which I am also using for my PHD. I find it refreshing to not have to constantly fret over layout as I tend to do when using Word, and instead being able to focusing on just on cranking out words.
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Old 25th October 2012, 03:46 PM   #350
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Originally Posted by DarthFishy View Post
In terms of the technical aspects I'm writing it in LaTeX, which I am also using for my PHD. I find it refreshing to not have to constantly fret over layout as I tend to do when using Word, and instead being able to focusing on just on cranking out words.
Seriously? You worry over layout issues when writing a novel? Hell, when I'm writing, I don't care if only a crayon and a brown paper sack is the only media available. I've written in WordStar on CP/M machines, any old slew of Windows-based word processors, scribbled in notebooks, and even drug out my old manual typewriter(s) when the mood struck. The important thing is that the words made it down on paper.

Once the first draft is finished, THEN I --MIGHT-- start worrying about layout. And for a novel, how hard is that? Set margins, double spaced, non-proportional font like Dark Courier or Courier New, with a suitable header and page number.

With screenplays, though, it's different. There, format MATTERS. I usually tell newbie screenwriters to just download a free copy of Celtx or buy Final Draft.

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Old 25th October 2012, 11:40 PM   #351
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Originally Posted by Beanbag View Post
Seriously? You worry over layout issues when writing a novel? Hell, when I'm writing, I don't care if only a crayon and a brown paper sack is the only media available. I've written in WordStar on CP/M machines, any old slew of Windows-based word processors, scribbled in notebooks, and even drug out my old manual typewriter(s) when the mood struck. The important thing is that the words made it down on paper.
Perhaps worry is the wrong word, I feel more I get distracted by it, and I can't focus on the words on paper (as you say). This is more true for writing something like a Thesis though, where formatting and especially referencing is quite important. I found that using LaTeX instead of word for that really helped me focus more on what I was writing and less on the presentation. I found that a little bit of this focus carried over when writing fiction as well.

Wouldn't mind writing on a manual typewriter if I could get my hands on one... and justify the expense
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Old 26th October 2012, 05:48 AM   #352
Tiktaalik
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I've been using Scrivener (which I think I mentioned upthread) - there's a novel version & it separates your chapters, character notes, scenes, outlines, drafts, etc., pretty much however you want. You just use drop-downs to label the view you're in and it sorts it for you. That's about as far as I go when worrying about formatting at the first draft level...
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Old 26th October 2012, 05:57 AM   #353
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OK I'm having a look at Scrivener and it looks intriguing. Downloading the trial version now...

UPDATE:

Ok, I can see why someone people here like Scrivener so much. It really does seem to allow one to easily collect and manage all the different parts of a document easily.

I also just realised that the 30 day trial is just as long as NaNoWriMo
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Old 26th October 2012, 06:05 AM   #354
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I've set aside writing stories for a while. Instead, I'm writing puzzles. My wife and have been asked to be next year's creators of a contest held at a family reunion. My goal is to create puzzles that are different from those of previous years, but not too tough.

The event is similar to something described in this thread, but it's for family and takes place in Southern Ontario.

So far I have worked out three puzzles. I think they're pretty good, and fairly easy to solve. They all yield clues that lead people from one landmark to the next. But I have to recognize that not everyone has a puzzle-solving aptitude, and that puzzles that I think are easy might actually stump some pretty smart people.

I estimate I'll have to come up with at least three more puzzles, and perhaps more than that.
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Old 26th October 2012, 11:06 AM   #355
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What kind of puzzles?
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Old 26th October 2012, 11:08 AM   #356
Skeptic Ginger
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Originally Posted by DarthFishy View Post
...

I also just realised that the 30 day trial is just as long as NaNoWriMo
If you write 50,000 words, you can get a 50% discount on Scrivener, I think. They had that last year. Anyway, I paid full price since it wasn't much.
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Old 26th October 2012, 11:20 AM   #357
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A Sci Fi RPG about corporate spies and cyborgs.
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/32380230/On...rsOfGiants.pdf
A bit random I know. But was fun to bash out a (very) rough draft.
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Old 26th October 2012, 12:24 PM   #358
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
What kind of puzzles?
So far, I have the following:

A word search puzzzle. A small grid holds about a dozen hidden words. When all of the hidden words are circled, four letters remain uncircled. Place the four letters in alphabetical order.
The four uncircled letters are I-N-H-T, and when you place them in alphabetical order, they spell H-I-N-T. This is not an accident, but a subtle confirmation to the solver that the solution is correct. The fact that "N" is the third letter in "HINT" is the clue that leads the solver to the next destination.
A logic puzzle. Many people HATE logic puzzles, so I've devised an easy one. Smith always tells lies, Jones sometimes tells the truth and sometimes lies, and Brown always tells the truth. The first man says: "The second man is named Smith." The second man says: "My name is Jones." The third man says: "The second man is named Brown." Which one is Brown?
Brown always tells the truth, so he would never say "My name is Jones"; instead, he would say "My name is Brown." That means the second man cannot be Brown. Similarly, Brown would never identify someone else as being himself, so he would never say "The second man is named Brown." Therefore, the second and third men are not Brown, meaning the first man is Brown.

There are other logical approaches to the problem that work just as well and yield the same answer. If you wish, you can also deduce the identities of the second and third man, but that is not necessary. You only need to identify Brown in order to get to the next destination.

This puzzle, incidentally, gives more information than is necessary, and I'm wondering if too much information helps or hurts. For example, the puzzle might say that Smith and Jones might either lie or tell the truth, but no matter what, Brown ALWAYS tells the truth. I'm toying with the possibility of posing the problem in this way, but I think it might make the problem seem harder.
A jumble-type puzzle. Unscramble the letters in a series of words and use selected letters from the unscrambled words to form an answer to a riddle. This puzzle is likely subject to change because I'm not really happy with the riddle, yet.

One puzzle in the works is a wordplay puzzle. Have a series of short-answer questions, such as: Rip apart (4 letters); what a hen does when she produces an egg (3 letters); opposite of "pro" (3 letters); and __ de Janiero (3 letters). Now arrange these four words and say them aloud to name a nearby geographical feature.
LAY-CON-TEAR-RIO, or "Lake Ontario." I believe this puzzle is, in its current state, too difficult, so I am probably going to re-write it.

Other ideas include a maze puzzle and a hidden-items-in-picture puzzle, but those will require me to invest some time in some art work.

Suggestions for puzzles are welcome. The basic criteria are that they have to be solvable in a unique way by ordinary people (not puzzle fans) in about five to ten minutes.
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Old 26th October 2012, 01:26 PM   #359
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How about letterboxing? You leave clues leading to the next location and finally arrive at a cache where you sign in and trade out a trinket or two. It's like geocaching but without the GPS -it's an older hobby.
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Old 26th October 2012, 02:32 PM   #360
Brown
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Originally Posted by Tiktaalik View Post
How about letterboxing? You leave clues leading to the next location and finally arrive at a cache where you sign in and trade out a trinket or two. It's like geocaching but without the GPS -it's an older hobby.
I'm not completely sure what letterboxing is, but I suspect it's similar to the "treasure hunts" that my parents participated in forty years ago, where there were actual physical clues left at actual sites around town (e.g., written clues left in coffee cans). Also, I have (reluctantly) participated in a similar game where there were supposed to be people stationed at stops to give clues. (In a display of astonishing bone-headedness, one of those officials deserted his/her post before giving my team the necessary clue to the next destination, causing us to be two hours behind all the other teams, and embarrassing the hell out of us. But that's another story.)

Anyway, I don't want to leave physical clues around, because I don't have a way to secure them and the clues might get taken or otherwise disturbed by people not involved with the game. I don't have the personnel to leave people at various locations, plus the bone-headed screw-up I alluded to above makes that option very distasteful to me.

So basically what happens is this: Each team gets a packet of written instuctions. The packet is several pages (in past years, packets have been as large as about 50 pages!). Teams have a driver and a navigator. Teams have to follow the instructions ("Turn left, go straight, turn right at the McDonald's...."), answer questions about sights they see ("What picture is painted on the mailbox at 123 Hummingbird Lane?") and solve the puzzles in order to find out where to go next. Previous events have used the first two techniques. No one has ever added puzzles into the mix.

My current plan is to have a "safety net" for each puzzle. If a team decides it cannot solve a puzzle, it can open a sealed envelope attached to the page and find the answer (and thereby learn the next destination). Opening an envelope, however, will result in a (say) ten-minute penalty being added to a team's time.

Perhaps the most devious trick up my sleeve is that all teams start out on the same route, but at one point, all the routes diverge! Any team that decides to follow another team is going to run into trouble!
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"Don't you get me wrong. I only want to know." -- Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar, lyrics by Tim Rice
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