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Old 10th May 2012, 02:20 PM   #201
Vortigern99
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I gave Barbara Zitwer a list of requested amendments to her proffered agreement. She replied that she did not want to change anything in the agreement (even though she had initially said everything was "negotiable" except for her commissions).

I messaged her back stating my willingness to compromise on some points but not others. She responded with a firm refusal to budge on any point.

Throughout, she was very complementary of my writing and modestly encouraging of the work's prospects. I hope/believe I'll be able to find a more flexible agent with a similar positive view of my talents.
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Old 10th May 2012, 03:27 PM   #202
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Oh well, soldier on.
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Old 10th May 2012, 07:27 PM   #203
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I think you did the right thing. If she liked it, others will as well. If not...well, there's amazon KDP!!!
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Old 10th May 2012, 09:24 PM   #204
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Originally Posted by Vortigern99 View Post
I gave Barbara Zitwer a list of requested amendments to her proffered agreement. She replied that she did not want to change anything in the agreement (even though she had initially said everything was "negotiable" except for her commissions).

I messaged her back stating my willingness to compromise on some points but not others. She responded with a firm refusal to budge on any point.

Throughout, she was very complementary of my writing and modestly encouraging of the work's prospects. I hope/believe I'll be able to find a more flexible agent with a similar positive view of my talents.
That's frustrating. Keep looking though.
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Old 10th May 2012, 09:42 PM   #205
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Baby Jesus loves you all for being so nice to me!

I had my doubts about Zitwer, so in a way I'm glad she balked.
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Old 11th May 2012, 07:51 AM   #206
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Originally Posted by Vortigern99 View Post
Baby Jesus loves you all for being so nice to me!

I had my doubts about Zitwer, so in a way I'm glad she balked.
I think it suggests the scam aspect is more likely. Hooray for the Net community that can serve to warn people about such publishers.
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Old 11th May 2012, 05:55 PM   #207
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I have a problem... because I intend to self-publish, that means I have to engage a freelance editor, BUT, my concern is that a freelance editor, wanting to make me, the customer happy, won't be sufficiently harsh to any bits of poor writing.

To you think that telling the editor up front I expect them to be utterly brutal would suffice?
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Old 11th May 2012, 08:33 PM   #208
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If you pay first, then he (or she) has nothing to lose by telling you the truth.

Beanbag
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If Jesus is the answer, it must be a real dumb question.
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Old 12th May 2012, 12:10 AM   #209
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Originally Posted by Beanbag View Post
If you pay first, then he (or she) has nothing to lose by telling you the truth.

Beanbag

That's a good idea, actually...
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Old 12th May 2012, 06:32 AM   #210
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I'm writing in a genre my son rarely reads. (He reads SciFi, but there are things in my story that aren't his cup of tea.) I'm hoping to let him be the first person so read it. My idea is if he's lukewarm about it, he's being nice to Mom and I need to go back to the keyboard. If he's really enthusiastic, I can risk my ego sending it to an editor.

On another note, I can really see why it takes people so long to write novels now that I'm immersed in writing one.
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Old 12th May 2012, 09:09 AM   #211
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Originally Posted by gumboot View Post
I have a problem... because I intend to self-publish, that means I have to engage a freelance editor, BUT, my concern is that a freelance editor, wanting to make me, the customer happy, won't be sufficiently harsh to any bits of poor writing.

To you think that telling the editor up front I expect them to be utterly brutal would suffice?
Also check out the editor's rep on preditors&editors (I thinked I linked it above) and other places like LinkedIn...

ETA: misspelled "LinkedIn"...oh, and by the way, I have a new collection of literary short stories up on amazon to add to my "portfolio" - this is self-published rather than through a publisher like the novel, so we'll see what happens...

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Old 12th May 2012, 03:54 PM   #212
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Originally Posted by Tiktaalik View Post
Also check out the editor's rep on preditors&editors (I thinked I linked it above) and other places like LinkedIn...

The editors I am considering are all recommended by the NZ Library Association and the New Zealand Writer's Guild, so I'm not really concerned about their validity as editors.
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Old 12th May 2012, 04:42 PM   #213
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Originally Posted by gumboot View Post
That's a good idea, actually...
I have been known to have a few of these from time to time.



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Old 12th May 2012, 07:13 PM   #214
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Originally Posted by Tiktaalik View Post
...oh, and by the way, I have a new collection of literary short stories up on amazon to add to my "portfolio" - this is self-published rather than through a publisher like the novel, so we'll see what happens...
I know you hate to peddle your own work here Tiktaalik so I'll post the link for you.

The Snow Deer and Other Stories

Have the free editions helped your career? Just curious.
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Old 13th May 2012, 09:47 AM   #215
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Thanks - we're actually not allowed to advertise here - no Spam! I'm too new to this to know yet if the free giveaways help or not, but the purpose is to draw attention to my portfolio, so I'm hoping they will. This is one of the advantages of self-publishing on Amazon KDP; I can choose up to five days per title for free days during each 90-day period to draw attention to my stuff. I can't do that with the one that was published using a traditional publisher; they have the control of that book.
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Old 13th May 2012, 04:10 PM   #216
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Well, I'm in the process of writing a teen drama called "The Fires of Spring," which details ten teenagers and their stay in a correctional home with an abusive counselor.
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Old 16th May 2012, 06:03 PM   #217
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Looks like my publisher MAY be picking up the second book in the trilogy. I don't think the first book has been selling that well, so I'm not holding my breath, but if so, then "what I'm writing right now" is going to be re-writing as requested by editor...maybe not my favorite thing in the world, but the first one was definitely improved by the process.
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Old 16th May 2012, 08:02 PM   #218
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Quit whining. At least you HAVE a publisher.



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No god, know peace.

If Jesus is the answer, it must be a real dumb question.
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Old 16th May 2012, 08:07 PM   #219
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Not a book, but a screenplay:

Going Legitimate. A naive young man just graduated from business school takes over a janitorial services company owned by his uncle, only to find out it's a front for a protection racket run by organized crime, and that his father, deceased when he was eight, was actually his uncle's best enforcer.

Beanbag
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Know god, no peace.
No god, know peace.

If Jesus is the answer, it must be a real dumb question.
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Old 16th May 2012, 11:56 PM   #220
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Originally Posted by Beanbag View Post
Not a book, but a screenplay:

Going Legitimate. A naive young man just graduated from business school takes over a janitorial services company owned by his uncle, only to find out it's a front for a protection racket run by organized crime, and that his father, deceased when he was eight, was actually his uncle's best enforcer.

Beanbag
Needs romance, or a talking dog. Your choice.
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Old 17th May 2012, 12:12 AM   #221
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Originally Posted by Comrade Raptor View Post
Best thing anybody ever said to me when I was starting out was this, following a rather cutting critique of my beloved pet project (which all of my friends and mom had thought brilliant, of course, and told me I should be a writer):

Writing is like farting. What comes out is influence by what goes in, and everybody likes the smell of their own the best.

Crude, but apt. What she was saying was that I could never make it so long as my ego needed shielding, so long as I couldn't see past the end of my nose long enough to realize the work never stops. The struggle to be better never ends.

And it shouldn't. You agree, whether you know it or not.
So what does one need to do to get better at writing? How does one find out where they're going wrong? Where do you get a good critique? And what do you need to "put in" to get better stuff out (and here we run into a bit of a problem with the fart analogy -- all farts are disagreeable, but not all writings are, hmm)?
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Old 17th May 2012, 04:09 AM   #222
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Originally Posted by Vortigern99 View Post
Needs romance, or a talking dog. Your choice.


My book has lots of romance and one chapter with robo-hounds that track people but don't talk. Guess I'm set.
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Old 17th May 2012, 04:37 AM   #223
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As soon as I finish this post, I will continue editing a history of some more or less obsolete and pseudoscientific theories. Like Lysenko, the channels of Mars and the Bosnian pyramids to name some of the more well known, as well as the radium craze, "the rain follows the plough", medieval mummy-quackery... Will be published in Sweden, late this summer.
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Old 17th May 2012, 06:17 AM   #224
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Originally Posted by Beanbag View Post
Not a book, but a screenplay:

Going Legitimate. A naive young man just graduated from business school takes over a janitorial services company owned by his uncle, only to find out it's a front for a protection racket run by organized crime, and that his father, deceased when he was eight, was actually his uncle's best enforcer.

Beanbag
I have no idea how to even write a screenplay, so more power to you!

And certainly not whining about having a publisher! In fact, the editing process is not that bad - I learned TONS the first time around and I think everything else since is better for it, since I now write, or at least review what I've written, with all the editor's comments in mind.
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Old 17th May 2012, 09:49 AM   #225
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Originally Posted by mike3 View Post
So what does one need to do to get better at writing? How does one find out where they're going wrong? Where do you get a good critique? And what do you need to "put in" to get better stuff out (and here we run into a bit of a problem with the fart analogy -- all farts are disagreeable, but not all writings are, hmm)?
Join a writers' group and/or take a writing class. You will read other writers' work and they will read yours. You will offer thoughtful, pointed criticisms of their modest weaknesses, and they will gang up on you to crush your spirit and label your work worthless dreck.



At least, that's what happened to me.
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Old 17th May 2012, 09:55 AM   #226
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post


My book has lots of romance and one chapter with robo-hounds that track people but don't talk. Guess I'm set.
No, no -- the robo-hounds need to talk, otherwise your book is unpublishable.

Think about it logically: Why would a scientist with this fantastic technology at his/her disposal create a robotic dog and not imbue it with the power of speech? Your readers will feel cheated!

It's time for a massive re-write, with articulate and verbose robo-hounds in every other scene. Give a pair of 'em to the protagonist as a sidekick. Hell, make it turn out that the villain is a robo-hound with a speech impediment. That's why he turned evil.

On second thought, don't. I think I just came up with a new book idea.
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Old 17th May 2012, 11:39 AM   #227
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Originally Posted by Tiktaalik View Post
... I learned TONS the first time around and I think everything else since is better for it, since I now write, or at least review what I've written, with all the editor's comments in mind.
I'm reading some of the one star reviews of "Fifty Shades of Grey" on Amazon. Mind bogglingly there are about as many bad reviews as good, (similar to the Twilight series). It sounds like good writing is not always all the readers want giving me some hope I don't have to be perfect if the story clicks with people.

I find this kind of review helpful:
Quote:
I'm convinced the author has a computer macro that she hits to insert one of her limited repertoire of facial expressions whenever she needs one. According to my Kindle search function, characters roll their eyes 41 times, Ana bites her lip 35 times, Christian's lips "quirk up" 16 times, Christian "cocks his head to one side" 17 times, characters "purse" their lips 15 times, and characters raise their eyebrows a whopping 50 times. Add to that 80 references to Ana's anthropomorphic "subconscious" (which also rolls its eyes and purses its lips, by the way), 58 references to Ana's "inner goddess," and 92 repetitions of Ana saying some form of "oh crap" (which, depending on the severity of the circumstances, can be intensified to "holy crap," "double crap," or the ultimate "triple crap"). And this is only part one of a trilogy...

...Ana says "Jeez" 81 times and "oh my" 72 times. She "blushes" or "flushes" 125 times, including 13 that are "scarlet," 6 that are "crimson," and one that is "stars and stripes red." (I can't even imagine.) Ana "peeks up" at Christian 13 times, and there are 9 references to Christian's "hooded eyes" and 7 to his "long index finger." Characters "murmur" 199 times and "whisper" 195 times (doesn't anyone just talk?), "clamber" on/in/out of things 21 times, and "smirk" 34 times. Finally, in a remarkable bit of symmetry, our hero and heroine exchange 124 "grins" and 124 "frowns"... which, by the way, seems an awful lot of frowning for a woman who experiences "intense," "body-shattering," "delicious," "violent," "all-consuming," "turbulent," "agonizing" and "exhausting" orgasms on just about every page....
I had already noticed and rewritten such obvious mistakes out of my draft though I'm sure before I'm done I'll have many more to go. But it is nice to know popular books like 50 Shades and Twilight were so poorly written in many parts. I gain confidence.


I've also read a lot of SparkNotes to learn more about the symbolism and meaning in novels. That was the stuff I absolutely hated in my high school literature classes. I appreciate it now but still prefer to read novels without thinking about these more hidden aspects of the stories. For my book, however, symbolism is important and I've gotten lots of ideas reading the SparkNotes analyses.


And in between the books I'm reading for content research in the book, I've been reading some 'how to write' books. If the book clicks I read it, if not, it goes back to the library.

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Old 17th May 2012, 11:42 AM   #228
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Originally Posted by Vortigern99 View Post
....and they will gang up on you to crush your spirit and label your work worthless dreck.

I plan to just hold up Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey and stick my tongue out.
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Old 17th May 2012, 02:22 PM   #229
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That review is pretty funny! I have to admit, I pay more attention to actual, written reviews than ratings. Ratings don't mean much; there are some good discussions about both of them over on LinkedIn and Goodreads. With a written review, you can get a feel for whether or not the review author is apt to reflect what you care about in a book and choose books based on that (sometimes a bad review by a bad reviewer makes me actually want to read the book!).

Now I have to go back through my stuff and look for rolling eyes, quirking lips (don't think I have any of those), and raising eyebrows (I know I've got a couple of those). Excuse me...
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Old 17th May 2012, 02:39 PM   #230
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Originally Posted by Tiktaalik View Post
That review is pretty funny! I have to admit, I pay more attention to actual, written reviews than ratings. Ratings don't mean much; there are some good discussions about both of them over on LinkedIn and Goodreads. With a written review, you can get a feel for whether or not the review author is apt to reflect what you care about in a book and choose books based on that (sometimes a bad review by a bad reviewer makes me actually want to read the book!).

Now I have to go back through my stuff and look for rolling eyes, quirking lips (don't think I have any of those), and raising eyebrows (I know I've got a couple of those). Excuse me...


I was surprised to read these reviews. I had no idea this book originated from Twilight fan fiction. I'm getting quite a good laugh about some more of those reviews. This one really cracked me up:
Quote:
I'm Ana. I'm clumsy and naive. I like books. I dig this guy. He couldn't possibly like me. He's rich. I wonder if he's gay? His eyes are gray. Super gray. Intensely gray. Intense AND gray. Serious and gray. Super gray. Dark and gray. [insert 100+ other ways to say "gray eyes" here]
I blush. I gasp. He touches me "down there." I gasp again. He gasps. We both gasp. I blush some more. I gasp some more. I refer to my genitals as "down there" a few more times. I blush some more. Sorry, I mean I "flush" some more. I bite my lip. He gasps a lot more. More gasping. More blushing/flushing. More lip biting. Still more gasping.
The end.
If this is the standard, I have a great story.


On the bright side, not too long ago I found the Poisonwood Bible and Kingsolver's writing to be so incredible that I've been beating myself over the head ever since thinking, "I am really not able to write like that so who am I kidding?" Twilight (read them all) and 50 Shades of Gray (only read a few negative reviews), OTOH, should inspire any new writer to think, "Yes, I can."

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Old 17th May 2012, 03:03 PM   #231
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Excerpt from a coming story. Basically, there is going to be the first human-piloted interstellar flight. The two principal candidates are Dag Owen and Kathy Jefferson. Owen has just learned (through his commanding officer, General Land) that the civilian board has just selected Kathy Jefferson over him:
Quote:
Major Dag Owen wasn’t sure how he felt. As he closed the door to his office and sat back in his chair, he asked himself whether he was truly angry at being passed over for the first interstellar flight, and he answered himself, in all honesty, that he was not angry. Nor was he sad. General Land had attributed disappointment to him, but in his heart, he wasn’t even all that disappointed.

More than any other emotion, he was puzzled.

He had won the competition for the first flight. His scores were the best, in almost every category. He had the fastest reaction times, the best problem-solving abilities, the fewest simulation failures, the best response to stress, the most successful recoveries from simulated emergencies. Kathy had a good record, too, but his scores were the best, across the board.

Chances are that someone would point out that there wasn’t really a competition for the first interstellar flight, but of course there was! Everyone knew it! The best candidate gets to make history, and Major Douglas “Dag” Owen was, by every objective standard, the best. He hadn’t sabotaged any competitors, he hadn’t cheated. He’d won the competition fair and square.

Only he hadn’t won. Kathy won.

How could the Board possibly select Kathy over him?

Because she’s a woman. That had to be it. It wasn’t just the most likely explanation; it seemed to be the only explanation.

All this talk about the Board being a neutral authority was just that: talk. In the end, the Board just wanted a woman to make the interstellar first flight. Men had all of the previous firsts: first to sail around the world, first to fly an aeroplane, first to break the sound barrier, first to go into space, first to walk on the Moon. A woman had to be first at something. Why not have a woman be first to make an interstellar flight?

Ability obviously didn’t matter to the Board. If ability mattered, Major Owen would have been selected. No, what mattered was gender. Dag Owen could do anything Kathy Johnson could do, and he could do it better, and his scores proved it. He was better than her, and that wasn’t just a matter of opinion.

Yet it seemed that the decisive factor in the selection was whether he could bear a child. Kathy could do that, and he could not, and that … irrelevancy … had tipped the scales against him.
Or had it? Just a teaser: Kathy Jefferson also suspects she got the nod because of her gender; but the official line is that she got the job because she was the "best" candidate. A news conference is coming up at which the selection for first faster-than-light traveler will be announced, and both Dag and Kathy know that the gender question is going to come up. They don't want to lie, so how will they handle it?
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Old 17th May 2012, 03:15 PM   #232
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Yeah, play the gender card. How cliche.



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Old 17th May 2012, 04:24 PM   #233
Skeptic Ginger
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Originally Posted by Beanbag View Post
Yeah, play the gender card. How cliche....
Not necessarily, it depends on where the story goes.

Not disappointed and not angry suggests less cliché.

"it seemed to be the only explanation" suggests there will be a twist.


I've left a lot of obvious clichés out of my story on purpose. I hate them when I read them in other stories so when there were places in my story one of those predictable pieces of obvious could fit in, I resisted. Of course some people will probably still find some of the things I wanted in the story to be predictable. I can't get around all of it.
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Old 17th May 2012, 05:52 PM   #234
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Ummm...Kathy Jefferson or Kathy Johnson? If the latter referral is a joke, I'm not sure I get it, although it could be crude. Otherwise, you probably need to pick a name...well written, though.
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Old 17th May 2012, 06:41 PM   #235
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Oh oh oh! I want to join the ranks of the failed wannabe fantasy authors! I have this series of ideas for short stories with some sort of frame story to put around. I don't have a title yet. But my cousin is now a successful published author (he even won prizes!), so I could easily have contacts with real publishers...

But the best motivation not to write books is to go to a book fair. New books get published by the gazillion, they are mostly utter crap, and success and talent are practically independent variables. I should go back and continue reading REH. His style of fantasy has been neglected.
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Old 17th May 2012, 06:49 PM   #236
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Originally Posted by Tiktaalik View Post
Ummm...Kathy Jefferson or Kathy Johnson? If the latter referral is a joke, I'm not sure I get it, although it could be crude. Otherwise, you probably need to pick a name...well written, though.
D'Oh! I've tinkered with names as you can tell and thought I'd changed all I needed to change. As for the cliche remark, I let it slide. Those who think cliche will find that there are some unexpected turns in the story.

The story is written as science fiction principally to create a historic pioneering "first," in this case, interstellar faster-than-light travel. But the tension relates to the choice of person to make that "first." Tension of a different type surrounded selection of the first US astronaut to go into space.
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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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Old 17th May 2012, 07:15 PM   #237
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Originally Posted by Jorghnassen View Post
Oh oh oh! I want to join the ranks of the failed wannabe fantasy authors! I have this series of ideas for short stories with some sort of frame story to put around. I don't have a title yet. But my cousin is now a successful published author (he even won prizes!), so I could easily have contacts with real publishers...

But the best motivation not to write books is to go to a book fair. New books get published by the gazillion, they are mostly utter crap, and success and talent are practically independent variables. I should go back and continue reading REH. His style of fantasy has been neglected.
Yeah, I look at those stacks and stacks of books at the used book store and my manic depression cycles down. Then I see the successes like Twilight and 50 Shades and the mania ratchets up, I remember Kingsolver and the balloon deflates and then I read what I'm writing and the mania wins the evening round. They love me, they love me not,...
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Old 18th May 2012, 12:30 AM   #238
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Originally Posted by Vortigern99 View Post
Join a writers' group and/or take a writing class. You will read other writers' work and they will read yours. You will offer thoughtful, pointed criticisms of their modest weaknesses, and they will gang up on you to crush your spirit and label your work worthless dreck.



At least, that's what happened to me.
And what did you manage to do after that? Did you manage to make it any better?
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Old 18th May 2012, 09:23 PM   #239
Vortigern99
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Originally Posted by mike3 View Post
And what did you manage to do after that? Did you manage to make it any better?
It was years ago and not related to my current work, but yes. Absolutely the writing classes I took helped.

They helped me become aware of the reader. Not just in an abstract way -- "someone will be reading this some day and form opinions about it" -- but through seeing the faces and hearing the voices of the people who were reading and critiquing my writing (and whose writing I was reading), my mind and viewpoint were expanded.

Sometimes we stand to learn the most from someone who doesn't "get" us. Criticism is valuable; criticism from people who don't know or understand you is priceless.
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Old 19th May 2012, 06:34 PM   #240
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I finally got a review of "Stolen" written (sci-fi fan 962). Amazon is reviewing the review posted it. Hooray, it's my first Amazon review.

Last edited by Skeptic Ginger; 19th May 2012 at 06:36 PM.
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