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GreyGrey
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Karma: 17/24
213 Posts


Shameless Plug for a Fantasy Book Author

Since I've been a long-time resident of the RDINN (since Nov 2002), I wanted to take up the advantage and opportunity of plugging me and my upcoming books and short stories that are being published. Yes, it's a shameless plug, I know, but yooz jus' gots to take publicity when yooz can get it, dawg!

Anyhow, some of you know me quite well and my idiosyncrisies. Some of you have been beta testers for my RPG and wargame systems too. And, if you stay away from my political rantings, you'll know that actually I'm a well-seeming sort of fellow.

So, what's going on:

My latest novel is Dark Running, an "urban fantasy" (wow - my agent actually told me what genre it was; I hadn't a clue). I'll let the agents summarize their pitch to NY editors their take on my series:

" ... M.Cid D’Angelo, our agency bad boy, who delights us in every way. Somewhat reminiscent of the work of Jim Butcher, his writing takes urban fantasy to a new level. He has created a protagonist, Artemus Dark, who is Rhett Butler tossed into a slightly futuristic media society, but with a twist: Magic is a part of everyday life, and he’s a master magician with rock-star status."

Ha! Agency bad boy indeed!

Now, I hardly read fantasy works, and never heard of Jim Butcher. I had to google him and discovered that he's a best-selling author of The Dresden Files of which many of you no doubt have read. Hmm. How cool. I'm going to have to look for his titles now.

I'm already getting those dark looks from evangelicals, and when people are inquiring me about my works, I have to be careful with them. They think I'm some sort of Satanist! Sheez!

A friend of mine, Robert Hawks, a published YA (Young Adult) author, has been using me as a guinea pig to read the first drafts of some pretty disturbing yet excellent alternative realities that bend some historical murders back in the late 60s. I gotta tell you, the man is first rate, a Thomas Harris (Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal) William Goldman (Marathon Man, The Princess Bride)crossover. When I read his stuff, I become depressed because he's just so damn good and I don't think I'm up to his level. I told him I was surprised he wasn't tearing up the bestselling charts at the moment, but he told me he had some setbacks lately. His literary agent is Ruth Cohen. I'm hoping he'll get back on the lists. He's spectacular!

My agent is also pitching John Saxon, an up-and-coming UK author, alongside my works. I haven't read anything of his (yet), but the premise of his first novel, The Descendents gives me the chills. I can't get too much into that right now, but suffice to say, his works are along the lines of Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code) and the Hellblazer graphic novels.

More to come to those who are interested! By the way, if you are a writer just getting your wings in the publishing world, I always say, watch that Billy Crystal movie, Throw Momma from the Train. That's a writer's life!


Posted on 2008-02-23 at 17:48:00.
Edited on 2008-02-23 at 18:07:32 by GreyGrey

GreyGrey
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Karma: 17/24
213 Posts


First Advice from a Wise Fool

If you are, at the moment, an unpublished writer (that is, you haven't been paid under contract for an established market - magazine or book), there are some things you should know about the publishing world.

Sometimes it is easier to break in by selling your (short) work to a magazine or ezine. The best advice here is to acquire Writer's Digest Writers Market of which lists many different markets for many different types of works. A little more economical is to get the WD Novel & Short Story Writer's Market. You need to get the latest publication from Borders or Barnes and Noble, or Waldenbooks, or whatever local bookstore you have, or purchase them at Amazon. They are kinda/sorta important to get because they introduce you to the publishing markets and give you some advice on how to begin.

You may find it feasible to get a subsription to Writers Digest Magazine, Poets & Writers, or The Writer. These periodicals give a new writer much advice on the markets and what to expect in trying to get paid and published.

Ezines are scary. My last accepted work was accepted for publication by an ezine (CC&D), and they immediately blogged it on their website without contractural consent from me - the author - and without any term for compensation. I withdrew it.

NEVER GIVE YOUR ART AWAY FOR FREE
Short fiction and nonfiction were two of my first sells - and they can be the easiest to break into. If you are an aspiring novelist, you will need to jump through some hoops.

First of all, you must finish the first draft of your novel. This means, you have written it all the way to the end and can do no more to the plot in that draft.

My advice is to put it away for about 3 months. This allows you to refresh yourself for REVISIONS. You never send your first drafts on the market for selling!!!! While your manuscript is cooling, you can work on other stories.

No literary agent or acquiring editor at a publishing house will want to look at a work that isn't completed.

NEXT: What you should do with your first draft.


Posted on 2008-02-23 at 18:35:20.
Edited on 2008-02-23 at 18:38:56 by GreyGrey

GreyGrey
Resident
Karma: 17/24
213 Posts


The First Draft

Your work, whether it is short piece or a novel, is never ready for submission on it's first draft. Time is necessary to separate yourself from the work so when you return to it, you are fresh and can more easily determine what's wrong with it.

There's a myth that Mozart wrote only 1st drafts of his compositions and they were perfectly genius at their conception. That is wrong. Mozart labored over his work in many drafts, and what made his work genius was the fact he knew what absolutely sucked, and what needed to be cut out and redressed. As good as he was, Mozart never allowed his arrogance to persuade him that his work was perfect at conception.

Print out your draft, and don't read it. Prop it up next to your word processor or typewriter or your notepad or whatever you use and begin to rewrite it, word-for-word, sentence-for-sentence, paragraph-for-paragraph. Delete the first draft from your hard drive so you won't lazily go back and copy/paste old text into the new draft.

Constantly think about how words and sentences can be rewritten to read better; make certain that you write what you mean. Think about what you can do to enhance a scene, and whether to edit it out - no matter how elequently you think it's written - so that you're not bogged down with unneccessary tangents.

Redefine and clarify all characters. Don't add things that don't propel the story forward. There's a salesman phrase: PUSH FOR THE CLOSE. Many newer writers I've read at amateur critique groups often pen directionelss prose that goes nowhere for pages and pages. They introduce characters and stituations that do nothing for the story. the best works are those that are elquently written and precise, and are "pushing for a close."

If you're like me, it's been awhile since you've last stepped into an English classroom. We pick up bad habits and we can translate it into bad writing. My literary agent tore an earlier draft of my Dark Running novel up because I had literred it with "white-trash" writing. I used some pretty embarassing euphanisms and phrases that would sound better coming out of slap-dash scripts on MTV's reality shows.

Buy a set of reference books on grammar and syntax. Keep them handy next to your work zone, and use them often. My agent ORDERED me to go out and get The Chicago Manual of Style 15th Edition. It cost me some money ($50), but it was an excellent investment. Make certain you have dictionaries and a handy thesaurus.

NEXT: Revisions and Dog-work.


Posted on 2008-03-01 at 17:24:53.
Edited on 2008-03-01 at 17:25:46 by GreyGrey

GreyGrey
Resident
Karma: 17/24
213 Posts


Revisions

This topic, unfortunately, can only be summarized, but I hope to list some best practices to help you along with any of your work.

While writing your first draft, it is important to keep in mind where you are going and what you want to say. Every chapter needs to have a reason for existing, as well as every paragraph and sentence. The tighter you write, the better it comes off and you hold a reader's interest. If you are indecisive and drone on and on in directionless tangents, you scatter your focus on what you are trying to say. So keep your writing to the point!
When you are reading to begin your revisions and second drafting (and subsequent drafts), your first objective is not to worry so much on the mechanics of writing (proofing for misspellings, bad grammar, typos, etc.). Your first revision should focus on your style, theme, characterization, and plot. Keep asking yourself: "Is that point clear?" "Does this dialogue sound right?" "Do I need to include this, no matter how well it's written?" Etc. Be a harsh critic of yourself as you revise.

Read your passages out loud. If you can get someone to listen to you, all the better. If not, reading out loud can help you "listen" to your prose. If you can become a member of a local writers' group (check your library or school), you can usually have a group of strangers to read to and get honest feedback. Ask for honest feedback; be prepared to have people tell you that your work is not as good as you think it is. It is an EXCELLENT opportunity to have people tell you where you are not writing well; it hones your craft!

Set time aside for the completion of the work. That means, you must sacrifice playing KOTOR, hitting the club, golfing, what-have-you. If you've never exercised self-discipline before, learn to exercise it NOW! It pays off dividends in the end!

Other best practices in revisions:

1. Use a word processing program. I use Microsoft Word 2007. This is important; it will help you identify bad grammar and spelling, and allow you to move text around and delete without killing lots and lots of trees!

2. Constantly read! Not only your own work, but the works of established authors in as many genres as you can! Set up at least a summer reading program for yourself that has nothing to do with school assignments! To become one with the written word, you must learn from the masters.

3. Own grammar textbooks, style books, dictionaries and thesauruses. Keep them handy. If you want to be a successful best-selling author who makes high 6 figures in advances, you must learn and keep the rules! You can break them, but you must learn them before you know how to break them. Editors and literary agents do not like bad syntax!

4. Persevere; if you are a true artist, you will find this to be rather innate than learned. You will suffer rejections and cold receptions of your work. Don't be afraid of exposing your art to the world; writing is meant to be read, and it should belong to all people! It doesn't help anyone if you keep your work locked in a closet. Imagine if JK Rowlings had felt that she couldn't handle anyone reading Harry Potter only because she was afraid people might not like him.

NEXT: Preparation for market.


Posted on 2008-03-08 at 16:12:42.

   
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