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NightMoon

Question about writing novels

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saucy

wow, you're a lazy bum...if you had taken a few minutes to read the replies then you would know we already answered the question and it would've saved you the embarrassment of replying to something that's already been replied to!!!! thumbsup.gif

Anyway, some publishing companies recommend that your book goes to an editor and most of the time you have to pay to have your novel edited. As long as you edit it yourself and say it's already been edited and screened for errors and that you don't have to. Some companies edit it themselve and might take the money from your fee. I'm not too sure how the editing process works when it comes to money for I've never gotten my works that far yet. Publishing companies and agents are way too picky. They're like lawyers, only care about making the big buck and most are reluctant to take on no namers like us. That's why I say it's important to get some smaller works published in magazines and that. You can make some good money (Cemetery Dance pays 10 cents per word and a short story, 5,000 words, pays up to $150 american). Once you get a few works published and your name is out there, it's like building up a reseme. You can tell the agents that you had your stories published in Cemetery Dance and Readers Digest and many other magazines and you'll become important in their eyes.

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doomgirl

cool beans, nice to know that saucy thumbsup.gif I'll have to give it a go cool.gif

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stillcrazy

Just some quick comments to help those who are thinking of getting published.

1. Have a good freind that knows proper english or what have you, to read and suggest editiorial changes. This will save you a lot of headaches right from the start. BTW: Proper english is not a requirement for publishing, depending on the genre of the material. But third grade grammer will not fly.

2. Most if not all publishing companies will tell you how to submit a manuscript. Many have gone to books on disk, or CD. Very few take typewriten pages anymore when it comes to novels. Smaller companies will take short stories on paper, but again, check with the publisher to find out their prefered method of submission.

3. Get ready for rejection, 99% of all novels are rejected first time out. Don't fret, sit back with your finished book and look to see why it was rejected. Check your story line and see if it follows too closely with another writers. Make sure your charecters are believable for the type of book/story your writing and so on.

BE VERY HARD ON YOURSELF. Because all publishers are sure going to be hard on your work.

4. You don't always need to submit a full manuscript. many companies will only want to see the first few chapters, and an outline for the rest.

5. There are several good books about writing out there in the real world. One of the best to give you an idea of how a publisher thinks and what they want is the 'Writers Guide', published and updated yearly. I Strongly suggest you buy a copy.

If you're going to swim with sharks, know what bait to use to keep them from eating you alive.

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AndyThorley

I would recommend signing up for an online writing community.

You can get some good feedback (though some will be harsh, some will be kinda "lol ok so like this is a good piece okay?" and some will tell you things you actually need to know).

There are three problems with this...

1) Finding a community with a good user base. There are some communities on the 'net where you get praised as a god if you write sentences with more than one clause. You'd be much better off finding a good community where you're likely to get good constructive criticism.

2) Most places will put a deadline on you. Even though theyre mostly lax, it's like "Submit something to our panel at least once every six months or you're off the board"

3) Some places have the most anal judges you can imagine. I've seen a piece get rejected because at one point, one of the characters said "Look, I'm not here to fulfill your every freakin' whim, okay!?" (since it's a quote from homestar runner and thus constitutes plagiarism, apparently).

anyway.

You should post your stuff here...we'd appreciate it happy.gif

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saucy

yeah, if you have an interesting chapter or a short story you want to post a short story (I suggest you breeze it by Saruman to see what he says first) I would love to read it and give my opinion, though I will not sit here and read a whole novel. Also, just because I don't like something, doesn't mean it's a bad story. You should try to get more than one person to read it. I also have a hint for copyrighting your work. You can either do it the hard way by sending the document to the Library of Congress (USA only), paying thirty or so dollars and getting a copyright months later, or you can put the story in a large envelope and pay a few dollars and send it to yourself in the mail. It's sealed in an envelope with a government stamp on it with the date it was sent to you so it's copyrighted and can be used in court. Anywhere else in the world, I'm sure of the copyright laws or anything, but I'm sure they also apply. Never open the envelope. Put it in a fireproof safe or somewhere it can't get damage. It won't only be your copyrighted copy, but also your saved copy in case of a fire or something.

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AndyThorley
You can put the story in a large envelope and pay a few dollars and send it to yourself in the mail. It's sealed in an envelope with a government stamp on it with the date it was sent to you so it's copyrighted and can be used in court.

What you described is often known as poor mans copyright.

Sadly, it's about as effective as writing the paper in your own blood and demanding it be DNA tested.

Snopes has a page about it somewhere, but since my net is crawling today, you might want to look it up for yourself.

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tendo

i totally forgot about copywritin...dont wanna be out in a cabin, and have a delusion come n say 'u stole my story' lol. i asked my brit lit teacher, and he helped me a lil, but what do u do if u notice your story moving too fast, or too slow?

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AndyThorley
i totally forgot about copywritin...dont wanna be out in a cabin, and have a delusion come n say 'u stole my story' lol. i asked my brit lit teacher, and he helped me a lil, but what do u do if u notice your story moving too fast, or too slow?

If you notice your story is going too fast, pad it in. Add some more events, add some more description and so on.

Same deal with if you notice it going too slow, all you need to do is take out some of the waffle...perhaps take out one or two events.

Of course, having your story go slowly can be a powerful device.

Y'ever see ghostwatch?

*nothing* happens for the first 45 minutes of that show. Which means that everything that happens in the last 15 minutes pure gold.

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Seraphina

Whether or not your story is moving too fast or slow is where a guinea pig reader will be really handy...a parent or a friend who'd be willing to read your story, and tell you their thoughts.

I once tried to overcome this problem by writing what was essentially two novels in one...the story entailed the stories of two characters that were extremely loosely connected; one being a fast paced, action adventure, the other a slower moving, more psychological story...as they progressed, the links between the characters became more expressed as they drew closer together, before eventually meeting at the end of the story at the climax of both characters 'tales'.

Note: this was the first of trilogy, and much of what I did here was strictly to establish the two characters. I was told by those that read the book it was very effective, and either story was rather strong on its own, but together created a nice contrast, and a nice shift in the pace as one story cut to the next before the reader could get bored.

Incidentally, since the stories were so seperate, I was able to completely remove one of the characters tales altogether, tweak the end to exclude them, and submit half the novel for my advanced higher english imaginative writing. I got the only A in the class cool.gif Go me.

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AndyThorley

Seraph: glad I'm not the only one. For my original writing piece in English I handed in a long short story (some 20 pages) and got an A+

Again, the only one in the class.

My problem when it comes to stories is I have too many ideas it'd be impossible to get them all on paper.

Anyone have any ideas as to how to get round this? (Aside from adding more characters, which would make the story more complicated. "X's related to Y, who's related to Y who's Z's daughter who worked with A who gave his name to B's daughter, who was conceived after bunking with X!? Confused? You will be grin2.gif")

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tendo

i have the same problem andy...way too many ideas. to get around this, i take out the totally nonessential things, and some of the minor things, i make effects of the larger events, example: i want sumone in the story to die, get married, be born, and go off to college. so, to do that, i have sumone get pregnant, so they are forced to marry, and then, in a rush to the hospital while shes in childbirith, gets in an accident, thus dying, and so, she has her parents watch the baby, while she goes to college, so she may give the child, a good home from her well paying job...ok, i know that was a bad example, but i think u get my point

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saucy

I also have too many ideas. It sucks because I'll be right in the middle of one story and another will come up and I'll stop writing the other and before I know it I have about six unfinished stories. The best thing to do is write the ideas down on paper in a list then decide the best one and start that one. Or you can have six unfinished novels save on your computer and once one gets boring, go back to another.

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AndyThorley

Another solution for if you have too many ideas (the one I do)...you could still use them, but put them on the backburner and write them into another story using the same characters.

For instance, the one I'm writing now...

I intend for one character to end up going over to the bad guys...

However, I will not be putting this in the first story, but instead put it in the second, which will act as a prequel and expllain why a lot of the stuff in the first story happened.

Yeah. I like prequel stories if theyre done right...

And by "when theyre done right" I mean "not putting in peril characters who are in later editions".

Thats where they messed up in Episode 1...of course Obi Wan wasnt going to die...he's in episode four! tongue.gif

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tendo

yeah...im afraid ill put in too many characters, or not enuff...ugh...writin is hard work!!! lol

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snuffypuffer

My problem is I read what I've written and then have to go back and change everything, so I focus on one silly little passage and don't get the rest of the story done. I know I should just forget the things until I'm finished, and then work back over them. I also pace things so quickly, I'm wondering if my story is gonna be too short, more a really long short story than a novel. I know the best thing is just to write and not worry about it, but I never take my own advice.

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Solomonkey

Hey guys...

Is it not possible that your missing the big picture? huh.gif It seems that you all worry what it is your writing i.e. a short story, a novel, a series of short stories or a poem. The most important thing to remember is the story itself, regardless of its format.

The next thing is to let a story write itself. This happens to me occasionally and it feels great when you let it happen. This can be achieved by discussing your ideas with someone you trust and bouncing the idea back and forward this method also helps when you look back over your writing snuffy as you'll feel like you thought about it more before you commited it to paper (or hard drive!). wink2.gif

The single most important thing i have learnt in writing and broadcasting is thus... Once an idea has left your lips or is commited to paper pretend it isn't your idea, then when people make helpful suggestions you'll find that you dont think they will ruin everything you intended with what they have said and ultimatley a better idea will develop. (don't be afraid of your friends and family!) thumbsup.gif

Good Luck! happy.gif

I hope this helps

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Boff
original.gif Thank you Andy, thats very useful! Bookmarked! thumbsup.gif Edited by Boff

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The Raven

Hello,

Question... I've just finished writing a novel by hand. I guess the next stage must be to type it all out. I haven't got a typewriter and don't fancy using them because they're messy and noisy. So what is the best thing to do?

I've got microsoft word but I'm going to have annoying problems with it. Word doesn't recognise creative writing, as it keeps wanting to spell check names, and alter certain punctuations where it doesn't need to be. The word programme is for writing letters, documents and essays only. What can I do? I can't imagine typing out my novel and facing all that bother of going through spell checking names, and that will put me off. Advice appreciated please  original.gif

I use Word Perfect Office 12, blows away MS Word Any Version even though it is harsh spelling and grammar, it far surpasses the spelling and grammar of word. I would just type it out on Word Perfect (www.corel.com) and then have someone edit it.

It sounds like people are discussing writing problems, I have the problem of either going way off topic or having completely useless sentences and so forth. I started out with a story, got about 30 pages in, then it was going so slow and off-topic I deleted it and wrote a new edition, which got to about page 80, then I deleted that for the same reason, and now I am restarting the novel with new happenings and changing the characters a bit to make sense and be original, instead of having the same old "Good king versus bad king, good beats evil" theme and going completely out of the box with insane leaders that are losing their mind and in a bloody rage, people questioning what is real and what is not, and of course the troubles the main character faces as he gains his rightful place, then loses it as he is overthrown into a slave camp. Sometimes being completely wild makes the story interesting, I have actually enjoyed reading this story over and laughing, yes, laughing. It's nice to have a little bit of humor -- no matter how sadistic.

Personally, when I start a new story or a variation of it, I have some planning. Usually I have the main plot, what is the story going to be about, a few of the characters that will be introduced early, such as good friends and evil or good characters vital to the story, and then write some background and traits about them. After that it is just off the top of my head, and what makes sense. I don't plan the events until I am into writing one, then I know what is going to happen next. Lets say my character gets thrown into a prison. He wants to escape, so he breaks out of his cell. Right upon breaking out of his cell, I might know that he will go attack the warden and then grab weapons to fight his way out, it is at that time I plan my events. Seems to work for me.

Edited by The Raven

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snuffypuffer

I'm actually doing much better now. Perhaps I'll even post my first chapter to get some feedback.

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Chauncy

Keep in mind also that most publishing companies will not accept unsolicated material, sending your novel in or showing up in person won't do anything to help you.

You should present your work to a Literary Agent first, these are the people who the publishing companies trust to bring them good novels. Also a good Agent will give you pointers on how to finess your novel to appeal to the publisher. It also depends on how you present you work to the agent.

Believe me when I say that there are far more great works that were not presented properly and didn't get published then there is available to us at the moment.

A good trick to better sell your novel, is to tell the agent or publisher(when you get that far) that this novel is your first and the whole learning process has sparked ideas for more novels, this will better set you up for a book deal!!

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