My Writers Circle

Writing => All the Write Questions => Topic started by: Lin on December 19, 2005, 03:46:28 AM

Title: Getting it right first time
Post by: Lin on December 19, 2005, 03:46:28 AM
Hi to all the newbies,  Here is a nice discussion for you - all comments welcome

OK so you drop in lucky, get a recommendation, the publisher reads your synopsis and says 'OK that's great we'll have it!'  He phones you up and promises you the world!
Surely it cant be THAT easy!  First time writer,  look out JK Rowling!!

You're left with feelings of "OH MY GOD, I'm going to be famous!!  Well something like that.  Anyway you cant be "famous" yet because it hasn't happened.   It could be another year before the MS is ready and youve only done 50K words so far.  'Do they really want this C**P ?  I mean its not that good surely, there are no beautiful descriptions and long words in there to impress the reader.   Well if I was to go down that path, I would have given up long ago.  So you labour on night after night, forget the housework and the huisband!  Edit the words like crazy and make it into a real novel.  Ah that's better! Now I see the light!  Before you know it you got 100K words and its just beginning to sound like a real story with feeling and capturing the imagination of the reader, but still a lot more to be done yet before P Day!

One question I would put to all new writers is how do you really know that this wonderful publisher is the best for you? I mean you were accepted before you were ready, it all came as a big shock!  Well you dont really know, you just have to do your reasearch and keep your wits about you.   I would say to anyone who has any doubts (at the risk of not getting published) is dont allow your ego to get the better of you.  Search around.    With the internet these days who can you trust with your little book on which you have spent hundreds of hours, as a work of art?  Its yours and you suddenly dont feel like giving it to just anyone to read.    I mean one publisher seems as good as another when you are green to all this.  A good book to buy is 'Getting your Book Published for Dummies'   It explains the basics and more. 

Try and get a copy of the Terms and Conditions of the publisher and that should help you make comparisons.  Talk to other writers and ask for their comments and especially on this forum.   ITS GOOD TO TALK!!  I recently received a  couple of super e-mails from Danielle Steel, she was really kind, provided some information and wished me every success, so you can talk to those famous authors out there, they are just like us - they once had a novel in the slush pile and only sheer determination made it happen for them.

Another piece of advice is have a contingency plan in case something doesn't turn out the way you wanted it - there are lots of agents out there who are dying to make money out of you.   Buyer beware of those too, better to try and go on recommendation and research.   The back up plan should read 'What if I dont think this publisher will market my book the way I expected it to be done and I decide (God forbid!!) that I turn him down?'  Well first of all discuss it with him and if you are still not satisfied then use your back up plan and then make another one whilst you are at it!  Never give up hope, if its been accepted once it could well draw the attention of someone else.   As my old mother used to say when I gave up my boyfriend "There are plenty of other fish in the sea dear' 

All things aside, it is very daunting on your first acceptance.   You dont know who to trust in the days of the internet etc etc and for this reason I have posted this discussion and I think it just may stir a few comments. 

Keep up the good work folks and I look forward to hearing from you all

Lin  ::)

Title: Re: Getting it right first time
Post by: Wigglyworm on December 19, 2005, 04:03:49 AM
Hi Lin,

Very good post.  Lots to think about.

When I had an agent (not anymore, lost contact - another story another topic) I didn't send her one piece of work.  I gave her between 2-3 thousand words of first chapters of several ideas and a brief outline of how I would expand each one.  The choices were hers, she picked out one story and enthused, as she had read various samples of my work I'd shown her I could write.  Then I didn't follow anything through.  Still it's left me thinking IF I want it, I could do it again, though as Lin says I'd try out other agents  or even go straight to publishers first.

I've posted a story on here, it's very short and it's a first draft so please feel free to comment.  It's inspired by someone I used to work with.  ;)

Title: Re: Getting it right first time
Post by: aelfwin on December 19, 2005, 10:12:49 AM
Hi Lin,
       Good to see you on the site. Thanks for the info also, it gives me more food for thought. I haven't much out there yet by way of publishable copy, but when I get a response, I can imagine I'll be quite excited and might make the mistake of jumping at the first offer. Your comments will gove me pause and prompt me to do a little research prior to saying yes.
Title: Re: Getting it right first time
Post by: Glat on December 19, 2005, 10:32:47 AM
I think I would jump at the first offer following so many rejections. I wonder if I could post either the synopsis or a chapter of my novel for some constructive comments. Any takers? ???
Title: Re: Getting it right first time
Post by: Wigglyworm on December 19, 2005, 10:38:33 AM

Please post some of your work, if you're happy enough to send it off for publication surely you wouldn't mind us taking a peek.

Worm. :)
Title: Re: Getting it right first time
Post by: Glat on December 21, 2005, 04:06:39 AM
Will do. I'll take a deep breath and do it. Not sure how much to put on? I have a short synopsis, long synopsis and 75000 word novel that no-body wants!

I'll start with the short synopsis and go from there. Posted in Review My Work section.

All constructive criticism gladly received.

Title: Re: Getting it right first time - suggestions from Belgium
Post by: robert1704 on January 07, 2006, 06:04:35 AM
Hi, I am a newbie here, greetings to everybody.

I am a published author now and I can tell you the following

Don't follow any courses or rules for writing. Be yourself and write the way you want to write. I have no rules.
Pay extreme attention to your query letter, synopsis and biograpy
In my case, after the letter, synopsis and biography the publisher requested the first three chapters. Two weeks later I had to send the complete manuscript and again two weeks later, I was a published author and received my symbolic payment of $1
They said that it would take about a year before the book would be on the shelves. Then everything speeded up. I sent my first letter in July and now January 9th the book is officially released.
But don't have illusions, now the adventure only begins, the writing and publishing was the easy part, selling your book is still a different story (see my mailing in chapter questions)
Try to do youself as much as possible, you don't need agents or other advisers, they only are after your money.
Title: Re: Getting it right first time
Post by: SuzieHarris on January 07, 2006, 06:48:11 AM

You were published by Publish America? :0) I know the signs.

Suzie x
Title: Re: Getting it right first time
Post by: goldanon on January 07, 2006, 12:18:51 PM
I'd probably do the same thing - jump up and down at first chance and then forget to check out the source.  But, Robert, isn't the publisher the one who's supposed to "sell" you?  I mean isn't that why they get such a huge cut?  If all it takes is publishing the thing, why anyone can do that (nowadays).  But selling it - that's the real hard part...
Title: Re: Getting it right first time
Post by: aelfwin on January 07, 2006, 03:41:03 PM
Hi Robert, welcome aboard. I somewhat agree with you, at least about being yourself. I am taking courses to "speed up" my learning curve and use some of the techniques that others, more experienced and wiser than I, have used with much success. Knowing the basics of the art gives me a solid foundation to work in while I develop my writers voice (being myself). Some of us work well with no structure, some of us work better with it. It's wonderful to be able to throw away the rules and still get published. Regretfully, I'm not comfortable doing that. We each have our own muse to follow and mine requires structure.  ;) Regards, and happy to have you with us. aelf

Title: Re: Getting it right first time
Post by: bestwriting on January 11, 2006, 04:11:09 PM
Yeah, they caught me too, but then I went online and reserch them. All BS>
Title: Re: Getting it right first time
Post by: Maria on January 14, 2006, 03:22:56 PM
Re: Getting it Right First Time

I have just read what you wrote that is so scary but thanks for the advice, guess if I ever get to that stage I will miss out the back flips down the lawn until I am certain I have the write people to publish my work.  Thanks again for the advice.

Title: Re: Getting it right first time
Post by: tigger on January 17, 2006, 08:45:45 PM
Hey there Lin!

I appreciate what you've written in your post. For me though, one of the most difficult aspects of writing is not in the 'process' of being discovered, but in the sharing of my investment afterward.

Truth is, a few years ago, I wrote a romance novel. Nothing overly exciting, but rather titillating to the senses (if you're a female). I work during the day, so I wrote most of the book during the wee hours of the night, burning my candle at both ends for six whole months. The book began as a dare from one of my children, who casually asked me one day if I was enjoying the book in my hand. I responded glibly.

"I could write one of these with my eyes closed."

"Prove it," she said.

When I first began writing I thought my proof would be nothing more than a point made. Then as word turned into sentence, into paragraph and into pages, my world of thought began to revolve around my effort. Daily my mind was busy building characters, building plot, building tension, building dialogue. Suddenly, I went from wondering at how much joy I would experience when I wrote my last word, to discovering that I didn't 'feel any joy' as I pressed enter at the end of the last page. Once all my t's were crossed and all my i's dotted, I felt this overwhelming sense of emptiness. This make-believe adventure I had created had become so important to me, so necessary that I felt lost with it.

What will I occupy myself with now? I wondered. The thought left me flat.

I walked away from my work, went into the kitchen where my family was eating dinner and said, "I'm done. I've just written the last word."

Everybody began congratulating me. My husband screamed out, "Let's go celebrate!" But, I didn't want to go. I wasn't joyful at having written my first set of 75.000 consecutive words. I was sad, and I didn't pretend otherwise. The sensation was much like having lost a wonderful friend...

My question to all of you now is: Has anyone else ever felt this way? Is mine a normal reaction?


I can't wait to hear from some of you on this.

ciao for now...
Title: Re: Getting it right first time
Post by: Lin on January 18, 2006, 02:54:25 AM

Tell us more about this novel, it sounds interesting.   We all go through this emotional involvement in our own story, it is something you have to do in order to experience what the reader wants to experrience with you.   Its good to feel like that.   If you didn't cry with your traumas or laugh at one of your characters, your story could end up being pretty dull.

Well I only have one answer to your question and I know its an obvious answer to me, but if you are as dedicated to writing as you seem to be - why don't you write another one?   You've taken a break so get going - tomorrow!!!! (or today even!!) 

I mean being a writer doesn't stop when you have written the first novel, Ive already got my second one in my head and Im only editing the first couple of drafts on the first one.  Keep going, you'll be glad you did when its published.  If you truly want to keep it for yourself then maybe that's ok.   I suggest to pass the manuscript or part of of it on to a person you can trust to read it, see if they want to read the rest of it, dont be shy about it, I went down just the same path as you and now life is changing because I can call myself a writer now and no longer a driving instructor.  Mind you I can use those experiences to write twenty novels!!   I took that step forward just a little more than my comfort zone and here I am.   Its great fun - come and join us!
Yes I did feel strange about taking a break from writing over Christmas and New Year, I just wanted to keep going on my book and the festive season was frustrating to me.  I think I was afraid that I would lose the thread of the story.   

I cheered when I reached my goal in the number of words I had written but no-one else unfortunately cheered with me!!
Writing is a lonely profession unless you are a member of The Writers Circle!!

OK I'm going to bet you can't write a second novel!!!   Its impossible for you and you will never do it!!  Wow!  how negative is that eh?  Prove me wrong.   Dying to hear what you got in mind.  "The Tale of the Long Distance Novelist'

If I can be of help with motivating you please e-mail me.


Title: Re: Getting it right first time
Post by: chillies on January 18, 2006, 07:42:00 AM
Tigger, I think I know what you mean. Although I haven't - as yet - written a novel and sent if off, and therfore cannot experience this emptiness you mention. I get a simillar emptiness after reading a book that I've thoroughly enjoyed. Sometimes, I can get so wrapped up in a story I'm reading, that when it's finished, it's as if I've said goodbye to a close friend whose emigrated to the other side of the world. However, I can re-kindle that friendship once agian, perhaps in a few months or years time, when I re-read the same book, or better still read a sequel. Which brings me to my long winded point: Why don't you write a sequel?

Title: Re: Getting it right first time
Post by: tigger on January 18, 2006, 09:48:25 AM
Thank you, ladies, for your interest and your interesting comments!

There would be no point in writing a sequel, because I don't want to be known as a 'romance writer', at least not that type.

The 'book' in and of itself was not particularily special. As far as romance novels go, the process was more of a learning structure for me. I learned to consider the details in great depth. I learned that nothing can be written with any impact, if it is written with 'closed eyes'. The thrill comes in the smallest of details. Ambuiguity has a place too. More than anything, there is great delight in creating something from nothing. However, this effort will remain my own. I shared the contents with a co-worker, who is neither a writer or a reader, and it was sufficient for me that she was hanging on my every page. If ever I decide to print a second copy, I've promised her the 'autographed copy'. But that one ends there.

Last year, caught by surprise by a writing competition I hoped to participate in, I wrote 23,000 words in ten days. That's why Nick's 'book' caught my eye. I believed it could be done; and while I stopped shy of finishing the product, simply because I lost my momentum, the story is a good one.
I may pick it up again. It's about something called spiritual warfare. My main character ends up falling into a trap when she tries to keep her friend from hanging out with the wrong crowd. Once she experiences several losses, she forgets her friend and desperately works to find her way clear, for her own sake. She is certain that there is a way out; however, everything she tries causes her to she  experience a vacuum effect. The harder she tries to escape, the deeper she gets sucked in.

Of course, there is a way out; but because the dealings are spiritual, her mind is filled with confusion and she cannot grasp the necessary concepts with clarity. Not until she makes a life-altering decision does she realize that she doesn't have to be unwillingly enslaved. In the meantime, the plot thickens, and hers is not the only life that hangs in the balance.

I've reached about ten chapters and stopped there, because another more interesting plot grabbed my attention. It's also about spiritual warfare. That book is also on 'hold' for now.

But, I can tell you this, when I finally do begin to 'finish' what I've started, I will write many books. There is no doubt in my mind. For now though, I would like to 'thank you' Lin, for your challenge. Perhaps I'll take you up on it. Perhaps I'll go back and pick up where I've left off on at least one of my works. The only thing stopping me is a world of 'LIFE' situations that need attending.

Hmmm. Where will I find the time????? Ha!

Thanks ever so much, again...