Thanks to a fellow blogger, Mr Pootler, I recently entered a short horror story competition called Twisted50. It’s a brilliant idea (and one that has turned out to be more than just a writing comp) where writers who enter are additionally encouraged to leave feedback on other stories in the competition. The minimum commitment they ask of you is to read and comment on three stories for every one story you enter; I entered two stories so therefore I was obliged to leave feedback on six others. In the end I read and left feedback on nearly 60 stories – and some people way more than that. In truth, I found myself a little caught up in the whole process, which was not only enjoyable and entertaining, but also provided some really useful experience in both giving and receiving feedback, be it good… or not so good.
For all my friends out there who write sci-fi, Chuck Sambuchino has just released a list of literary agents who are actively seeking sci-fi novels.
They are all US-based agents, but I won’t let stop me.
I hope you find this as useful as I did.
Yet another great post from Writers in the Storm. Thanks guys.
See the full list here
Just read this really handy post on Carly Watters blog of an agent’s view of first pages and how to improve them:
I’ve read thousands of “page ones.” Very often I don’t read page two.
Sometimes all I read is that first page and I make judgements based on what I see there. As an agent and a reader my practice is that if I’m not connecting with the material I move on–and quickly.
I wish I had time to give writers (and their books) more of a chance but I can tell a lot by one page: sense of dialogue, setting, pace, character, voice, and writing talent–yes, usually all from one page. Five at the most.
So how are you supposed to get us past one page?
It’s a brilliant post, so I just had to reblog.
Thanks Carly for the original.
And so here is the next instalment of my series that looks to apply every single rule from Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style to my manuscript. Rules 3 to 5.
ELEMENTARY RULES OF USAGE (cont.)
3. Enclose parenthetic expressions between commas.
This is something that I have always done. Continue reading
It seems that everywhere we go online nowadays, we’re continually confronted by articles shouting about ‘20 things you didn’t know about that…’ or ‘the 10 best things for doing this…’ or ‘the 5 top articles that contain useless lists…’
And so, in celebration of this internet phenomenon (no I didn’t spell that right at the first attempt), I am going to write my very own post that has a list. Mine is the five stages you need to get through before your book is published (that’s in the traditional way, not self-pubbing, in which case the list stops after number 4).
Oh, and I’m going in reverse order because it’s more dramatic that way.
At Stage Five, we have the most obvious (and some would argue the most easy) of all the stages: writing the book. That’s right folks, without actually writing the book, not much else can happen. We are the sole masters of our destiny here, which doesn’t really happen again during the process, so enjoy this bit. Continue reading
In recent posts, I’ve been mostly been talking about rewrites and J.K.Rowling (Hi, J.K., hope you’re well) and – being the literary marvel that I am – I thought I’d combine these two elements into a fresh post, as well as discussing the Beatles.
I’ve noticed that when some people ask me how my book is going and I tell them I’m reworking it before another batch of query letters go out, they seem to feel sorry for me… like I’m failing or something. I don’t know why.
And whenever my attempts to get published via the traditional method and J.K.Rowling are mentioned in the same sentence, the next comment is invariably, “You know that Harry Potter was rejected by most publishers before it became a massive hit, don’t you?” Yes, I do. And this is always encouraging.
I wonder if the version of we’ve all read of The Philosopher’s Stone is exactly the same as that which was sent out to all those publishers all those times prior to it being accepted? I doubt it. I’ll bet the query letter was reworked many times too.
The same story is told of the Beatles: The Fab Four were rejected by numerous record labels and famously told they “have no future in show business“, which may well have been true of them at the time. But during those audition sessions, how much altering did Brian Epstein (their manager) do to their look, their suits, their hair? How much more rehearsing did he make them do? How much was their repertoire honed to make them more commercial? How many times was John told to keep his mouth shut and let Brian do the talking? How much better did they become after each rejection?
You see where I’m going with this?
So, while I have received just as many rejections as J.K. and just as many refusals as the Beatles, I shall carry the spirt of those from-multi-rejetion-to-glory stories with me. Just as I believe they stoically altered their work until it was palatable and as good as it could be, so shall I happily continue with the rewrites of my novel and that seemingly never-ending culling of adverbs. It doesn’t get me down. It’s just part of the process.
I think that when we hear these stories, we all assume the publishers and record labels were mad to turn down these guys because just look at what they were capable of. “Idiots!” we all say. Yes… but what we know of J.K and the Beatles, is not what they were initially sending out. That came later.
Note: Can I make it clear that I do not expect to make as a big a splash as Help! or Harry Potter. I just want to know that, whatever happens, my work is the best it can be and if, sometime into the distant future, one of my grandchildren decides they would like to read granddad’s infamous novel, they won’t think it’s a pile of slush.
And so, whilst this getting published affair may seem long and drawn out, it’s all good.
Thanks for reading.
Thought this may interest some people…
Thanks Dawn Allen for the original.
The Intro: Who has fun spending hours creating that perfect 140-character pitch? Then bouncing that sentence or two off others to see if it’s fantastic? And finally having to create a couple more so you’re not posting the same one every few hours?
The Why: Kristin and Ann know what you’re going through. In fact, they both did quite a few Twitter Pitch Parties so they know your pain. Kristin remembers what it was like to see that little colored star and then checking and re-checking email to confirm that someone did in fact click on the pitch and favorite it. And Ann’s recalls her heart pounding and her palms sweaty, all the while hoping and praying that it wasn’t made by accident from a friend or some complete stranger who marked it and not re-tweeted it by mistake. They both trolled the feed all day long and didn’t work…
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