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Everything posted by robg213

  1. Talent or talented is a strange word. Some people write or draw from a young age, others start later in life. Talent is a gift from God. It usually appears as a natural inclination to do something creative. Or it is discovered a bit later in life. And writing can be taught. It is a craft and writers are craftsmen. However, creativity is not always on demand. Writing is difficult and more abstract than drawing. A manuscript looks like any other manuscript. It has to be read. Artwork, on the other hand, can be accepted or rejected in a minute or so by someone who knows what to look for. And yes, some writers will try different things or pursue personal goals. I've seen artists do the same.
  2. I do see the point. However, consider this: prior to the internet, where did book manuscripts that were rejected go? To other publishers, with the writer collecting any number of rejection slips until that lucky break, or until the writer decided to quit. Or to submit his book to a 'vanity press' who would gladly publish it for a fee. What has changed? Ebooks and the supposed 'freedom' that comes from not dealing with editors at all. However, the built-in problem is that pre-internet, the book publishing world was the Great Lakes. Now, it's all the world's oceans combined. No longer is any potential reader/buyer looking for a needle in a haystack but a needle in all the oceans combined. I have dealt with writers at various skill and experience levels. I am friends with some. One writer I know took his book to some Literary Agents (it was outside of the type of material we publish). He was turned down by three or four. Frustrated, he self-published. He unceremoniously tossed a copy of the book on my desk, which is in line with his personality. In his case, impatient. Now, with all of those options available, I think few complaints are warranted. I make no excuse for bad editors. They are out there. But remember, editors have to prove their worth as well. They cannot just reject everything. They need to have some comprehension of the actual writing process.
  3. To Alley: Getting attached to any work of art is difficult. Especially if you know it will be subject to review and likely cuts and revisions. What writers usually do not do for us is read the finished book against their original finished manuscript. Why were some cuts or other changes made? I think the quality of our submissions would increase if everybody did that but they don't. I wrote a book portion that I submitted since it was felt that I could make a significant contribution in presenting some background material that someone had to write. I was disappointed that parts were cut and others rearranged and even felt my submission was superior overall, but I understood why the changes were made. A story, like the scenes in a TV show, needs to have a certain speed, or pacing. The reader/viewer cannot get bogged down with anything, so cuts or changes need to be made. The average one hour TV show has only so many minutes of actual story per episode. Like TV, a book cannot have an unlimited number of pages. And it needs to 'keep the action going' and the reader interested throughout. But that does not mean every scene is an action scene. There can be brief interludes and even scenes where the character goes through some self-reflection.
  4. To Spaulding: It's not wrong to say: "How do I do that?" Or "Could you clarify that? I'm not sure what you mean." Not every writer who deals with an editor speaks his language. That means some editors do not express themselves as clearly as they should. It took me years to develop an ear for different writers with different skill levels. And years to realize that the problem areas usually boiled down to certain categories. The "info dump" is usually too much history or back story about a person or place. That's when too much is too much. The reader does not need all that info, but some writers feel a need to write it. "ramp up the tension" There are a few ways to do that. It's OK to ask for an example or two. "raise the stakes" is vague. But not too vague. The threat level in the story may not be high enough. A series of additional but minor threatening events could be added or the starting threat made more menacing. Again, asking for an example is OK.
  5. I can think of no writer or artist/illustrator I know that was not inspired by others and wanted to emulate what they did. To pass along that feeling they felt when reading and seeing their work.
  6. Weird advice. Inspiration! Anyone remember that word? What inspires you? What do you want to write? You write what you want at whatever speed you can.
  7. Not a good guess. For those who have gone to college, how many were there to do things their way? How many were looking for zero feedback from their instructors? I quit college for a few reasons. One was a four hour class where the instructor did a head count, left for four hours, and occasionally gave us feedback and guidance. A good editor does both. We, like instructors, are there to work with you and not hurt your feelings. We have feelings as well and people who supervise, and rate our work as well. If word got out that we were 'bad' to work with, the pile of manuscripts would disappear. We'd be out of work. I'm also a writer and heard the following from the managing editor: "You realize that I can cut anything or not use the submission at all?" That's it folks. That's it. No need to fear for your emotional health. You're in the Army now.
  8. As a working editor, I am on the writer's side. I find it strange to read about conflicts, some real, most imagined, with editors. Since I know other editors, including a Hollywood script editor, the answer is easy: We Are ALL in this together. A book publishing company, which I work for, has necessary parts. A real book publishing company has four editors. A smaller one has three. My job is to ensure the manuscripts I see meet a certain standard and do not contain logic holes, contradictory statements and no 'over the top' elements. In writing fiction, especially science fiction, the tech level has to be plausible. Even in fiction writing, background research has to be done. If a story is set in Hong Kong, the writer should obtain some local color information so those that have been there, or live there, feel that what they are reading is authentic - enough. No need to go overboard there, just add enough. Too often I read advice given to writers as if the "secret" to writing is found in a cookbook. Not so. There are formulas that get used over and over. All superhero movies, for example, share a common basic structure. Good looking people, with a balance of pretty girls, against the threat. That's it. What is """hard""" about that is writing the dialogue and planning the scenes. Hawkeye has just pinned Black Widow. She looks up at him and says, "We're still friends, right?" "It depends on how hard you hit me." Otherwise, anyone and everyone could be a writer. Put in 40 hours a week, maximum, and crank out script after script, quit your day job and do what I do. I didn't get here, along with my fellow editors, without a lot of work. The learning curve does not go away just because we live in the 21st Century.
  9. Concerning Saving Private Ryan, certain members of the audience in Germany were not that impressed, Since I study World War II history, I can say that it was mostly accurate. The actual, full-scale D-Day events had to be left out to focus on what amounted to small unit actions. Some of the tactics used by the SS troops were not characteristic of them. The same could be said of the regular German Army troops.
  10. I must speak against this idea that 'they said it couldn't be done so I didn't do it.' Some people need to ignore that little 'you can't do it' voice and do it anyway. The Standard for Christian book writers can be built from knowing about secular writing, and about secular TV and movies. This time period is filled with bad examples. Write them down. And make sure they NEVER appear in your writing for books, screenplays, etc. No sex scenes. No suggestive dialogue, especially sexual. No erotic scenes either. Respect for persons and the dignity of persons. No profanity. No graphic, bloody, detailed violence. No immoral living, such as an unmarried couple living together as if it's no big deal. Examples of moral living and functional families. People need to see good examples portrayed. There are too many bad ones today. A broken home is a broken home, not something that should be average in fiction, or real life. I watched the secular world add things to TV as if they had always been there. Show people the other side of that coin.
  11. I have read about J.K. Rowling's difficulties but having an idea - any idea, requires a great deal of work to polish and refine it into a story someone would like to read. 'It's all in the presentation.' How true.
  12. A bit off topic but worth mentioning. The present is a very good time for responsible self-publishers. By responsible, I mean adhering to a good set of values and setting personal limits on what can be considered presenting good and evil, and various situations, in a way that is considerate of our neighbors. That is especially true of Christian writers who should present stories and ideas in a way that does not lead others into scandal or sinful thoughts or lead them into error.
  13. I think different people have different goals and motivations for writing: 1) It's a hobby that I enjoy and work on when I can and/or when inspiration hits. This inspiration can apply to a work in progress or starting a book. 2) I'm committed to a project but it's harder than I thought or I'm easily bored or I wish I had the drive or self-discipline to get it done. 3) I want to do a number of books and get so caught up in details that I lose interest or don't know what to do, There are formulas out there. Artists draw the same human figure over and over, but if you can come up with something new or just compelling, you can do it. I had read that those addicted to food can get addicted to diet books, and not solve their eating problem. I think reading different advice and 'how-to' pieces can make a person feel good but those 'how to' articles are meant to be applied. And yes, you can pick the one that makes the most sense to you and reflects the approach you've taken. My two cents.
  14. Social media is good but aside from family and friends, who else knows you're there? Depending on the genre of book and whether it's fiction or nonfiction, consider going to sites that review books and 'book club' type sites. For nonfiction, depending on the subject, go to sites where there are active discussions going on. See if they allow the posting of new book titles. One military history site I go to allows for this. I don't see the value of Pinterest.
  15. Good stuff. Sometimes writers my company works with want to add histories to stories thinking the reader needs to know. Unless it's short, it usually gets cut.
  16. Thank you everyone for your replies. I read a lot of nonfiction, primarily historical. I think letting people know about human trafficking is important. Just by bringing it up in book form can help people.
  17. Good luck. I think 1,000 copies is a doable number.
  18. That could have used less drama. Like using the word impossible. I think any motivated person who wants to learn how to write can write, and do it well. I'm reminded of an article from Weekly Variety from some time ago. An industry veteran said that Hollywood had yet to find a formula for making every movie a blockbuster. And after years of seeing so many how to write articles, I wonder how many actually apply what's in them.
  19. There is more information out there. Assuming there isn't is one problem. And assuming the worst is the other. Audio books is a growth area. I suggest you find the information you're looking for as opposed to making unsupported statements.
  20. Perhaps I missed it on here, but are there any examples of what it means to "make it big" or "make it to the big time"? Is there a certain dollar amount? What else happens? Links to stories or personal stories are welcome. Leave out any personal information if needed.
  21. I don't think POD at a bookstore is the future. For years the book trade press was announcing, over and over again, the death of the printed book. Those 'invent the future' types were wrong plus they are interested in pushing people to their online outlets and services. About amazon. Amazon was not profitable for a very long time. They started out with a simple idea: sell books at a discount and that was it. They then added other items to sell besides books. Who doesn't want to pay less? Who doesn't want a bargain? Careful of superlatives without backup. Cite some references to get an accurate picture. Print book sales: https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/financial-reporting/article/78929-print-unit-sales-increased-1-3-in-2018.html https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/independent-bookstores-growing-in-the-us/4878283.html I encourage looking at multiple news sources before making any, especially dramatic, statements. If we can get good data, learn a little recent history and keep our heads, we can learn what we need to know. Older news is that about 49% of ebook authors are making $500.00 or less per year.
  22. Think of any movie you've seen. As it approaches the end, the resolution or climax begins to build. I suppose having an important climactic event occur in the middle can be done, with the rest of the book covering the aftermath. It depends on you. You can make it work that way if that is your goal.
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