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Writing Resources Resources for those serious about getting into publishing

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Old 14th August 2007, 02:05 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: General advice from published authors to aspiring writers

But, if your financial interests also demand that you seek remuneration for your efforts, then learn the basic business realities of writing today. John J. Nance
I'm actually seeing this right now through my submission rejections. I find it a fascinating thing.

I've started to collect my rejections and research the company a bit more to see why they would've rejected based on their mission statments and how well they are doing financially. I deem how well based on their client's booksale success (dodgy figures as I can only go on bestseller lists via bookstore newsletters). I've collected a brief business trend report on just one agent so far. Very interesting to see the highs and lows. Isn't winter a good period for sales?

I hate to think of the story I'm trying to pitch as $$$ If I want to break into publishing, I guess that's just what I have to do.

One piece of advice I read in a How To book that makes me laugh, "write what sells and write for the market." Like, yeah sure, the market likes Harry Potter today. Who knows what they will like next year? It's taken me a year to complete my manuscript and would probably take 2 -3 year before I see it on a shelf (if I'm lucky).
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Old 2nd December 2007, 11:12 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Smile Re: General advice from published authors to aspiring writers

Bear in mind that my average reader is a 14-year-old girl
*Raises hand* I'm not!

Joe Queenan: Do not write anything until you are 30 as you will have absolutely nothing to say.
Hmm, that's a shame. What am I going to do for another decade?

But really, it IS true that the important thing is to actually put words onto paper. And however awful you think it is at the time - I love nothing better than to go back and rework something I've already written. It's... satisfying.
Writing is all in the Rewriting - although I've no idea who it was that said that.
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Old 3rd December 2007, 10:01 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: General advice from published authors to aspiring writers

Not all, Meg, just the majority! I'm glad to know I have a ?20-year-old reader too. As a matter of fact, anyone who read City of Masks at 14, when it first came out would now be 19.

I agree about getting the words on paper and also about re-writing. The second draft is a doddle compared with getting that first draft down.

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Old 29th January 2008, 08:00 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: General advice from published authors to aspiring writers

Hi, folks,
You'll have to forgive my ignorance and clumsiness, I'm new to forums. I've been writing for a few years, and though I've gotten more confident with my work, it's only been since my fiance made me buy an Apple and get on the net that I've really realised just how ar** about face I've been doing things. I write and re-write, hone and hone, and my tactics are getting better. But can anyone tell me how to cope with this: Imagine, you prime a likely editor or publisher and send off your three chapters and intro, all crisp and new and with an sae. You wait a few weeks, then drop in a polite, upbeat phone call, just to let them know you're still alive. A few more weeks pass and, say on a wednesday, at one o'clock, the braindead Sloane on the other end of the phone hasn't got a clue who you are and bleats they're really snowed under. You're super polite and back off, not wanting them to associate you with a negative. The next day, your script arrives in the post, either unopened or with a footprint on it. Now, since you rang at one o'clock the day before and they hadn't read your work in the previous eight weeks, it's a fair assumption that they just stuffed it into the envelope, unread, and then into the post. The 'thanks but no thanks' slip says nothing except they are too busy to give a detailed review. They have just wasted eight weeks of your time. What do you do? Howcan you break through? It's a common thing for me.
Yours, Baby Cromwell
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Old 29th January 2008, 08:14 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: General advice from published authors to aspiring writers

Cromwell, don't ever expect to get a review of your work. Only if the agent/editor thinks you've got potential will they write a comment about your novel (and that does not mean to change what they suggest and then send it back). Most writers receive pre-written rejection slips; agents and editors are busy, and they don't have time to comment on someone's work unless they truly love it.

If you get NO positive feedback, it's time to look at your work again. Could it be that you've too much passive? Have you head-swapped? Is your writing not special enough? Is your story hackneyed and cliché? Is your protagonist likeable? Do you repeat yourself? Etc., etc.

Remember, 99% of writers are turned down after the first page. Make your opening hook - and shine.

And if you do get something positive from someone, take their comment/s at face value. They have no reason to exaggerate.
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Old 29th January 2008, 08:51 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Re: General advice from published authors to aspiring writers

*rushes back because she forgot to say welcome*

Welcome to the Chrons, by the way! You'll find this is the best place to help you with your writing, and the people here are friendly and always willing to help.
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Old 13th February 2008, 10:18 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Re: General advice from published authors to aspiring writers

It goes without saying that one needs to write, rewrite and rewrite again. But there comes a point when you've polished your work till there's no more polishing to be done.

That's when you simply have to believe in your work (or have someone believe strongly enough in you to keep you going.)

While getting that first novel published at a big name company (or even a small press that hands out nice little advances)is what we all dream about, the reality is that doesn't happen very often. Sometimes you have to make your entrance.

Financial genius Dave Ramsey ALWAYS recommends using a self-publisher to break into print. Sell your books yourself, he says, and then the big companies will come after you.

I have to admit after 15 years of rejection slips a mile deep (no, I'm not exaggerating! --well, maybe just a little!), I was encouraged to try a self-publishing company. I did NOT choose a vanity publisher. I spent years perfecting my book and I'm not about to pay someone else to publish my work. So I would never recommend that type of company.

Last year I published my first sci fi novel with PublishAmerica. It's very satisfying to hold one's creation in one's hands. The royalty checks are nice, too! Even better is doing book signings. While I haven't broken a million books yet (looonnggg way to go), I've found it a very good way to break into print with my first novel.

As a general rule, most first novels have a difficult time selling and this is one way to improve your craft.
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Old 14th February 2008, 01:44 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Re: General advice from published authors to aspiring writers

Those thinking about self-publishing (or just generally interested in publishing) may wish to read this: ON PUBLISHING FICTION
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Old 20th July 2008, 02:07 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Re: General advice from published authors to aspiring writers

I have yet to deal with publishers or agents, and as a 21-year old I'm not at all sure if I want to just yet.

But I do have some rules for myself, and I would appreciate feedback on them:

1. Keep writing. I've had a year or two in which I didn't write anything, just because one day I didn't feel like it. The longer you stay off from writing the harder it gets to start up again. There are so much things to do in life, and the only good way to make yourself want to write is by writing itself, it makes me think about my characters, my story, etc.

2. Don't do one thing at a time. The good news is, I love reading, I love writing, and I love thinking up plots. The bad news is I don't like rewriting, and I don't like writing down plots. But every one of these processes is nescesary for me. If I spend 3 days on rewriting, or 3 days on writing down plots, I lose motivation. So my mandate for myself is to spend an equal amount of time on each of these processes each day (expect thinking up plots - that should happen all day long and if it doesn't I'm not doing a good enough job).

3. Don't read too many other aspiring artist/poet works. That can seriously get you unmotivated because you're bound to run into things you think are boring.

4. Similarly, only show your own work to people you know are good at critisising and won't just say "it sucks", or even worse "splendid, I love it!".

5. Write about yourself as a character. Then take what you like from that character, and ditch what you don't. Never use the character, but keep it as an archetype.

6. Similarly, in every situation and scene, think of how you or someone you know would act, say and what the motivation would be.

7. Keep reading. Know what you like, and what you don't like. Know what you can pull off, and where you limits are. Don't be afraid to say "now that's a good author, I could never write like that but I sure love it". Then think of how you cán write.

8. Never plan too much in advance. Give yourself some breathing space. Don't plan too many character deaths - you'll want to have room left over to use them when writing.

9. Start off by going "what does my novel have that other novels don't have?". Be original but stay within one genre.

10. Think up one cool thing that defines your novel/character/scene. Base the rest around it.
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Old 28th July 2009, 05:40 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Re: General advice from published authors to aspiring writers

Hey guys, I saw this thread and thought I'd add to it.

Below is something John Marco wrote to me. It's simple, but means a lot.

Let me try to answer your question in the simplest way I know how. Every scene in a book needs to be dramatic. By that I mean that every scene needs to move the story forward. It needs to reveal something about the plot or about the characters and how they think and feel. Drama doesn't mean jumping up and down, though--drama can be quiet. But it needs to be advancing the story and telling the reader something important. It can't just be a "set piece" to show off something cool. Each scene must matter.
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Old 2nd September 2009, 12:38 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Re: General advice from published authors to aspiring writers

I never refer to myself as an aspiring writer. I always refer to myself as a writer, because that's what I do. And there is the assumption that this is what I will, one day, be paid to do. An aspiring writer is a job title which has implicit failure written through its core like blackpool rock.

Ever since I was 4 years old, the only thing I ever wanted was to be a police officer. I got thrown out because I had this strange notion that I was there to serve the public, not the police. Writing science fiction is the only thing I have ever found to replace that innate being.

To be technical about this, I call this the "Occupational manifestation of self". If you can't say, either, "If my job didn't exist, I'd have to invent it." or "If I could do my job without being paid, I'd still have to do it." you're in the wrong job.
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Old 19th October 2009, 06:39 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Re: General advice from published authors to aspiring writers

Interesting series of articles running semi-regularly over at io9 on writing;

What's The Difference Between Denouement And Picking At A Scab? - Writing - io9
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Old 9th March 2010, 01:37 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Re: General advice from published authors to aspiring writers

Not sure if this thread is still going, but whatever, it's a great resource that I think should continue to be added to.

With that in mind, here is a link to a recent post on the Guardian newspaper site. If you follow the links, here are ten rules of writing from Elmore Leonard, which are all fantastic pieces of advice, plus there are further tips and rules from over twenty other published authors!

(replace space with fullstop/period)
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Old 30th September 2010, 08:52 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Re: General advice from published authors to aspiring writers

These were very helpful to read. Though I wonder, John J. Nance spoke of something I had been wondering about regarding balancing simply what your writing and producing with its potential appeal to a market audience. Here, I am curious if alteration of one’s story should keep that in mind. In any case, overall, I was surprise to read the advice of not watching too much TV, though I can see its truism.

Other than that, I was also kind of surprised so many said to read, read, read, read a lot when you're writing. I do read a lot, but I try to read less of the genre I'm writing on once I get into my story so as not to accidently take a similar voice to my favorite authors.
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Old 6th March 2011, 11:43 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Re: General advice from published authors to aspiring writers

Lot of good quotes in here. I am also surprised by all the reading advice but in the end the more I read the more motivated I get to write. More because I find the plots i like to know more about not really written in stories I have read.

I agree with Ivaron though, that i lose interest if I focus on one area too much. I'll write a short story, re-write, and than stop for a couple of months. I guess its maturity and learning my own limitations but I am getting better at reading, writing down ideas, and most importantly writing every day.

Starting seems very hard thing to do right now. Glade too see all the advice.
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