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Jas
07-08-2012, 14:55
Guys, this is a thread where we can discuss the status of our novels and unpublished projects. Anything goes in terms of novel writing.

Wanna try out a sentence ure worried about? Give it a shot right here before ure agent sees it and freaks out.
Technique. Show versus Tell, POV choices, dialogue issues, how to deepen character, we can talk about it right here.

Guys, here's my own situation anyhow. I've just finished a 107,000 novel. It's historical fiction. Middle Ages. I'm getting auto rejection e.mails every step of the way and it's really getting to me.
Anyone experienced similar?

Let me ask another question: why the hell do we write anyhow. The average novel pulls just $20,000 for its author and that's what u get for 2 years of back breaking work. Stress. Worry. Hassle. And at the end of it the high chance of nothing but a bunch of automated rejection slips! I dunno, shud I even be thinking of continuing if this novel does get shot down as seems increasingly likely with each passing hour?

yakspeare
07-08-2012, 15:21
for a first novel, 107000 words is too big-they don't really like the size. too big on a shelf for an unknown. 65000-85000 should be the range. Cut it and put the rest into a sequel, in my advice.

Jas
07-08-2012, 15:43
Yakes, hi!

It was originally 130,000 words. I took out most of the expo- losing a lot of reflective scenes also where there was good inner dialogue- and that got me to 107,000. But I can't reduce it by anymore.
The range starts at 85,000. Ok is 100,000. The absolute max for a debut is 110,000. If I could get it to 90,000, I wud be happy. But the plot is too expansive. It's a historical and so I do have a bit more leeway. At most, it's 7,000 words over the 100,000 median, so that's 28 pages.
If I was to edit..... I wud need to do that in consultation with the agent.

yakspeare
07-08-2012, 15:51
maybe keep the original at 130000 and cut it in two?

Jas
07-08-2012, 15:55
I got warned about touting sequels in my writers group. But I wish I could do something like that, actually.

Jas
07-08-2012, 16:28
This music somes up how I feel. Totally defeated. Like I am on the edge of an abyss. I loved this famous anti fascist movie. But the music lulls me into a sense of total fatalism.... that eveything in my life is coming to an end, all my dreams turned to ashes.
I wonder if there's much point in anything, really I do. These rejections are smashing my life to bits. And there's no way out for me. If I can't get published... then I've got nothing to live for basically.

Re upload: Der untergang soundtrack - 18 hoffnung am ende der welt - YouTube

penka
07-08-2012, 16:32
Middle Ages? Yummy! Me like. Any brutality, tough heroes and damsels in distress involved? Or, mystery and saucery?

penka
07-08-2012, 16:33
This music somes up how I feel. Totally defeated. Like I am on the edge of an abyss. I loved this famous anti fascist movie. But the music lulls me into a sense of total fatalism.... that eveything in my life is coming to an end, all my dreams turned to ashes.
I wonder if there's much point in anything, really I do. These rejections are smashing my life to bits. And there's no way out for me. If I can't get published... then I've got nothing to live for basically.

Re upload: Der untergang soundtrack - 18 hoffnung am ende der welt - YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43Sj2Qg8qhQ)

Hmmm, you should really try some poetry right now, smth "my soul is dark". You seem to be in a mode. Can be productive.

Love this soundtrack!

PeteD
07-08-2012, 16:58
This advice may be out of date, with the advance of technology, and electronic "manuscripts", but, around 20 years ago, when an ex of mine was writing a book, she sought advice from friends who had already published.

The general advice was to buy and read the current version of The Writers' and Artists' Yearbook. My understanding was that this is an annual publication, which lists publishers, among many other things, and specifically advises that budding authors should target specific publishers, who specialise in the subject matter. It was a common mistake for authors to bombard the wrong (type of) publisher, with the inevitable rejections that followed.

I just did a quick search and there is now a website...

http://www.writersandartists.co.uk/

Apologies in advance if I'm teaching grandmothers to suck eggs - just trying to help!

andymackem
07-08-2012, 18:29
I wonder if there's much point in anything, really I do. These rejections are smashing my life to bits. And there's no way out for me. If I can't get published... then I've got nothing to live for basically.

Surely there's a difference between 'if I can't get this novel published' and 'if I can't get published at all, with anything'. I've not read your stuff, so can't give any sort of verdict, but I'm sure you can learn from anything that might stop the current work getting an agent and apply that in future.

As for whether there's a point - the point is whatever you make it. Are you writing for fame, for money, for the satisfaction of seeing your name in print, or simply because you enjoy the process of writing and hope that someone else might enjoy the chance to read it?

Jas
07-08-2012, 22:06
This advice may be out of date, with the advance of technology, and electronic "manuscripts", but, around 20 years ago, when an ex of mine was writing a book, she sought advice from friends who had already published.

The general advice was to buy and read the current version of The Writers' and Artists' Yearbook. My understanding was that this is an annual publication, which lists publishers, among many other things, and specifically advises that budding authors should target specific publishers, who specialise in the subject matter. It was a common mistake for authors to bombard the wrong (type of) publisher, with the inevitable rejections that followed.

I just did a quick search and there is now a website...

http://www.writersandartists.co.uk/

Apologies in advance if I'm teaching grandmothers to suck eggs - just trying to help!


This is golden advice for anyone checking out this thread because the "Writers and Artists Year Book," does list many reputable agents along with their genre in both the US. I urge everyone to get that book- or visit the site, because it's actually seen as a professional discourtesy to send a query to an agent who doesn't do that genre. It sounds obvious.... but it's an easy mistake to make, for example, right agency- but wrong agent. Writing to agents, honestly, like I said last week, I goofed up with typoes even in my query: it's a nerve-wracking experience.

Jas
07-08-2012, 22:12
Surely there's a difference between 'if I can't get this novel published' and 'if I can't get published at all, with anything'. I've not read your stuff, so can't give any sort of verdict, but I'm sure you can learn from anything that might stop the current work getting an agent and apply that in future.

As for whether there's a point - the point is whatever you make it. Are you writing for fame, for money, for the satisfaction of seeing your name in print, or simply because you enjoy the process of writing and hope that someone else might enjoy the chance to read it?


Andy, hi.

I agree and that's how I stayed in the game from the rejection of my first novel over 2.5 years ago, which wasn't surprising as it was 145,000 words! As Yakes suggested above, I split it, and reworked it, eventually making the first part of that novel a novel in its own right, a tight, straight line plot that was really done technically correct having spent a lot of time on creative writing courses.
So I got trashed in 2009, learned, built again, and now..... trashed once more.
It's too much. My novels are sort of quirky and though I feel they're commercially-orientated, the charachters break the mould. I don't write about stuff I can't relate to like heterosexual romance-sex and that, I think, really turns agents off. I would need a literary consultant to explore that.

MikeyP
07-08-2012, 22:13
My first book
http://a5.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/215028_5084648351_3787_n.jpg"]http://a5.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/215028_5084648351_3787_n.jpg

http://a3.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/216256_5084653351_3976_n.jpg"]http://a3.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/216256_5084653351_3976_n.jpg

http://a2.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/215764_5084658351_4165_n.jpg

http://a8.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/216880_5084663351_4347_n.jpg

http://a6.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/207613_5084668351_4530_n.jpg

http://a4.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/215636_5084673351_4710_n.jpg

http://a3.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/215520_5084678351_4895_n.jpg

http://a5.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/215476_5084683351_5082_n.jpg

Jas
07-08-2012, 22:17
As for whether there's a point - the point is whatever you make it. Are you writing for fame, for money, for the satisfaction of seeing your name in print, or simply because you enjoy the process of writing and hope that someone else might enjoy the chance to read it?

Ok, here's something you guys should know about me.....
I had an agent in 2007. Yes.
This was because I had written a 78,000 word novel and I got the agent through work she was doing in our community support group thru the refuge where I was living. Anyhow.... the novel was basically my own story, how I became an apostate after getting attacked in a Gulf country, how we lived in a camp in that country, how I returned to the UK and got into serious bother with my community blah blah blah.
The agent loved it.
So why didn't I get published?
I couldn't.
My mum begged me not to. She said it would wreck us as a family.
So I pulled out and the agent just shouted like this, "Jas, you've screwed everything up. I really wasted my time with you, didn't I?"

But when ure mum is crying and begging you not to do something that will cast everyone in "a bad light," you don't have much choice in the matter.

MikeyP
07-08-2012, 22:19
I'm working on this one...

Its about Thomas the lion (who's a very naughty lion). He teases the Zebra and Giraffe all day - he even chases a Rhino up a tree and makes a hippo plush so hard she turns bright pink...

But Thomas the cat is a very friendly cat and he spends all day dreaming on somebody lap (dreaming about being a lion of course)....


Um... Not sure what anteaters or seahorses have to do with anything... as I said - a work in progress

http://a3.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/s720x720/246506_10151065336288352_1269724088_n.jpg

http://a7.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/389040_10151065336578352_546163044_n.jpg

http://a2.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/564067_10151065336948352_1172406797_n.jpg

http://a7.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/282764_10151065337248352_1038120468_n.jpg

http://a8.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/534909_10151065337588352_450293089_n.jpg

http://a7.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/179562_10151065337888352_2015653716_n.jpg

MikeyP
07-08-2012, 22:22
Ok, here's something you guys should know about me.....
I had an agent in 2007. Yes.
This was because I had written a 78,000 word novel and I got the agent through work she was doing in our community support group thru the refuge where I was living. Anyhow.... the novel was basically my own story, how I became an apostate after getting attacked in a Gulf country, how we lived in a camp in that country, how I returned to the UK and got into serious bother with my community blah blah blah.
The agent loved it.
So why didn't I get published?
I couldn't.
My mum begged me not to. She said it would wreck us as a family.
So I pulled out and the agent just shouted like this, "Jas, you've screwed everything up. I really wasted my time with you, didn't I?"

But when ure mum is crying and begging you not to do something that will cast everyone in "a bad light," you don't have much choice in the matter.

Jas - one day I'm going to have to meet up with you for a long coffee - you have such an amazing life story!

yakspeare
07-08-2012, 22:31
well Jas, you could change the plot of your first one. even change the community or even country that it was written in. change gender of characters etc....

MikeyP
07-08-2012, 22:37
Just wondering - what is your main motivation - money or just being read? Because I'm sure there are plenty of ways to release this an e-book: I was able to do all the formatting on my grandpas memoirs and turn it into a decent document which I could load on my kindle - although I haven't uploaded it to any free publishing sites I'm sure I could....

Jas
07-08-2012, 23:03
My motivation is pretty pathetic.
I don't care about money or fame. Of course I want to be read and get my voice out, of course I do, but there's even something else and it means I can't do kindle.
I want a career. I want to be a professional, acknowledged writer, someone who has gone thru all the proper routes to getting published: mainstream agent, top publishing house, proper sales.

Ian G
07-08-2012, 23:38
Jas- your comment about writing about your family made me think of this article: "I sod my family for a Novel"

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/oct/17/lionel-shriver-novel-family


I think the key is- transform your experience, don't write about it directly. Especially people- include elements of real people in your characters, but don't have exact portraits.

About writing about the past, especially the middle ages, I think you need to alienate your readers. Make them understand how different life was then. Get them used to the totally alien cuture you are writing about.
Most of the people in charge- the barons, the Kings, were in their teens or twenties, their lives were surrounded by violence in a way we can barely imagine, and they saw everything in religious terms in a way we don't.

A good phrase is Deliberate Values Dissonance:

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DeliberateValuesDissonance

I recommend that site- tvtropes. It's a great analysis of the cliches and conventions that drive narratives- in film, television, books and theatre. Very funny, too.

Jas
07-08-2012, 23:58
When I wrote my own story it was part of therapy class that I was in to cope with depression and build confidence. It was good and helped a lot.
The agent was with us doing charity work. That's how I met her.
There was 8 women in our group and most used to just chat and eat biscuits
to breakl the boredom of life in the refuge shelter. But I got into it from minute 1.
When it was done the agent was saying, "It's just so heart-rendering. A scream of pain."
Then she did formatting for me and said, "You can get published. In time. Let's at least try."
But you know..... I don't want to be known for all what happened to me. I want to forget everything. I never want to think about it. Writing it helped me at a certain point in my life, but now I just want to forget. I write about history cos I want to block everything out. I might go back to my own life, but later... when i'm more confident the past is buried.

Interesting about the Middle Ages. I tend to use it as a metaphor for modern history- thus the Crusaders are Nazis. It's a problem. One issue I have had is that the feedback I have gotten so far is along the lines of: "Jasmine, you are writing about the heart of European culture in a way that people aren't used to and don't want to hear about. It sounds extremely alien."
I can't even use my real name to write my historical fiction!
Thus Jasmine I**** becomes Jacinta Isabel.
People will just look at a book set in the Middle Ages by a Pakistani sounding name and think- no thanks. That's what I'm dealing with.

yakspeare
08-08-2012, 00:28
Matthew reilly who wrote many New york bestsellers, self published his first book.

Just saying...

I have a friend on facebook, who used to be a member of this site, who is an accomplished author many times over and travels around Europe etc on book tours. I can put you in touch.

Suuryaa
08-08-2012, 00:38
Jas, I would like to share what helped me when I was in deep depression. I read inspirational books by Osho, Luule Viilma, and others. I don't know if you would like such books, it depends on the personality. What I liked about Osho among other things was that he was a kind of a rebel concerned for justice. I felt he was my soul mate in that.
I remember one episode when he was in primary school. Their teacher used to hit their hands, it seems it was usual at that time, and no one dared to complain. Osho (he was 9 then) went to the town's mayor and told him about the beating.

Ian G
08-08-2012, 10:43
Jas- about the Crusades- I think you might find this book interesting:

The Crusades Through Arab Eyes (Saqi Essentials): Amazon.co.uk: Amin Maalouf, J. Rothschild: Books@@AMEPARAM@@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51TDG8KA7RL.@@AMEPARAM@@51TDG8KA7RL

I think your agent was wrong- the Crusades are not a holy cow, and Europeans are quite ready to look at their history with a critical eye. Most people now are aware that the Crusades were basically a colonial war of the worst sort.

Amin Maalouf writes in French and is a very popular writer in France. I have read other books by him- he's a good historical novelist as well as a historian.

Oh and in my previous comment I've just noticed an embarassing spelling mistake- "I sod my family for a novel"- it should of course be "sold".

Jas
08-08-2012, 13:17
Yes, I know that book. It's usually on shelves next to Edward Sa'id's reviews of cultural orientalism.
It's ok in academia.
Historical fiction is quite chauvanistic. It goes like this: White male hero rescues girl and kills many Muslims along the way. However, he does have a few Muslim pals and is content to quietly admit honorable defeat before either dying in disgust at the pointless slaughter- or going home with the girl to live happliy ever after.

That's not what I'm offering.

Korotky Gennady
13-08-2012, 16:03
Technique. Show versus Tell, POV choices, dialogue issues, how to deepen character, we can talk about it right here.
?

I think you should simply write by heart.

" I was sitting on our little swing, just having a rest among the trees in my parents' garden " (Franz Kafka).

Jas
13-08-2012, 20:24
Korotky hi!,

Yes, I think u have to write with passion- there's no substitute for that. But when ure trying to get published, I think u really have to follow technical conventions in terms of a novel's design.
I'll give u an example.... If u are writing in the first person, using I, but then went on the write a scene from the point of view of someone else, an agent wud automatically reject the work as unpublishable due to a POV violation.
Stuff like plot and how to insert backstory, it really matters in can be the difference between getting published and being rejected out of hand.
For anyone starting out, I wud really warn against pouring ure heart into something, only to then discover that it is not publishable cos it's not properly structured as a novel in terms of established conventions.