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Old 27th April 2008, 05:05 PM   #811 (permalink)
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Re: "Personal" question(s) to John Jarrold

Writers write...
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Old 27th April 2008, 05:12 PM   #812 (permalink)
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Re: "Personal" question(s) to John Jarrold

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Writers write...
Exactly! You've summed up what I was trying to say in two words. And that's why I'd be absolutely hopeless as an editor ...
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Old 27th April 2008, 06:04 PM   #813 (permalink)
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Re: "Personal" question(s) to John Jarrold

Except, of course, that writers have to be able to edit their own work, too.

I have always believed that you write the story for yourself and then edit so that it will be comprehensible to the reader.
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Old 27th April 2008, 06:12 PM   #814 (permalink)
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Re: "Personal" question(s) to John Jarrold

Yep, and with new writers I always suggest they put it away for at least a month before they do so, then they can be more objective and see things that would have escaped them if they tried to edit the book immediately it was finished.
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Old 27th April 2008, 06:14 PM   #815 (permalink)
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Re: "Personal" question(s) to John Jarrold

Mind you, I wonder how many people attempted to write a children's book, after JK Rowling's success became common knowledge.

People with no previous interest in writing, that is ...
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Old 27th April 2008, 06:29 PM   #816 (permalink)
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Re: "Personal" question(s) to John Jarrold

Lots. Tens of thousands, at least...
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Old 27th April 2008, 06:49 PM   #817 (permalink)
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Re: "Personal" question(s) to John Jarrold

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Lots. Tens of thousands, at least...
Amazing, really ...

One of my pet peeves, is when people find out that you're interested in writing, and say things like: 'Oh, yes ... I'm going to write a book one day.'

As if talent, hard-work, persistance, etc, don't even come into it! As if it's only a case of having enough time ...

I mean, if you met somebody who informed you that they were a surgeon, you wouldn't say: Oh, yes ... I'm planning to perform a few major operations myself one day!

Grrrrrrr .....
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Old 27th April 2008, 07:06 PM   #818 (permalink)
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Re: "Personal" question(s) to John Jarrold

That's because you have to go to school for years to become a surgeon.
Whereas there are always a certain number of people who just sit down one day and write a book and the book is successful and they write more.
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Old 27th April 2008, 07:18 PM   #819 (permalink)
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Re: "Personal" question(s) to John Jarrold

That doesn't make it easy though, does it? And that seems to be the assumption that people make ...

And lets be honest, what percentage of people who sit down and write a book - having never written anything before - actually get published? I'm no expert ... but I'd hazard a guess that the answer, in the words of Paul Daniels, would be: Not a lot!

I'd imagine that most published writers have polished their craft over many years, and have a good few rejected novels under their belts!
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Old 27th April 2008, 07:38 PM   #820 (permalink)
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Re: "Personal" question(s) to John Jarrold

A very few people are natural writers. Some have a degree of talent that can be brought out over years of practice. 99.999999999% of people will never be able to write anything vaguely good enough for commercial publication. But that shouldn't stop them writing for their own pleasure.
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Old 27th April 2008, 07:53 PM   #821 (permalink)
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Re: "Personal" question(s) to John Jarrold

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But that shouldn't stop them writing for their own pleasure.
Absolutely ...

That's really interesting, John. Quite a staggering percentage, isn't it?

How many manuscripts do you see, as an agent, that show some kind of promise?
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Old 27th April 2008, 07:53 PM   #822 (permalink)
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Re: "Personal" question(s) to John Jarrold

I'd just like to say thanks for all the advice at Alt.Fiction yesterday, John. I was in one session with an author I'd accepted for Pantechnicon and she was getting a little disheartened by all the honesty, but she went away with a lot of focus and positivity at the end, which was fantastic
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Old 27th April 2008, 09:16 PM   #823 (permalink)
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Re: "Personal" question(s) to John Jarrold

lol 99.999999999% John? That's one in 99 billion people.
But I do get what you mean. I may be one of them, time will tell.
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Old 28th April 2008, 08:28 AM   #824 (permalink)
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Re: "Personal" question(s) to John Jarrold

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lol 99.999999999% John? That's one in 99 billion people.
But I do get what you mean. I may be one of them, time will tell.
Quite right, I exaggerate for effect! But there really is a minuscule percentage of the population who do have the talent to tell a story in a way that makes sense to a commercial publisher (let alone having the prose, characterisation and invention skills and talents required). I sometimes hear authors I've turned down say 'Oh, Dickens wouldn't be published today', when I've explained the commercial imperatives of publishing in 2008. Firstly, an author writing SF or Fantasy today will be compared to other recent genre authors, not Charles Dickens (and it might be considered slightly presumptuous of an unpublished novelist to compare themselves with Dickens). Secondly, that pre-supposes Dickens would write in the same way if he was around in 2008. Thirdly, it's a stupid comment - and pretty much everyone who makes it can't write worth a damn.

And David - I've taken on 40 clients and turned down over 3,000 writers who have asked me to be their agent. So a little over 1% of what I see works for me, personally and professionally.
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Old 28th April 2008, 08:36 AM   #825 (permalink)
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Re: "Personal" question(s) to John Jarrold

Holy smokes!
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