Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Went out to the Badlands to see if there was any possibility of walking on my usual routes. Not a chance. Not only heavy snow, but where there wasn't snow were puddles and slush.

Damn. I really, really miss walking.

Meanwhile, it started snowing tonight.

Linda is a woman of leisure as of an hour ago. I was the one who was all sentimental about leaving the Bookmark. We handed over the keys and left Josh in there at 6:00 and drove away. I told Linda, "That's exactly what I would have done. Lock the doors and explore."

So it looks like I sold a book to a major publisher. I'm not allowed to say anything more. I've been excited about that for several days. Along with selling the store and having to do all the moving stuff out and changing and all, I haven't even attempted to write in the last week.

The book I sold to the publisher is going to be a long term project, (the editor has warned of changes and traditional publishing takes more than a year anyway) so I can't put things on hold waiting. I'm going to keep writing my novellas that I'm calling, "Tales of the Thirteen Principalities." I'm halfway through The Toad King, and I'm going to start back up on Friday.

Tomorrow, (today as you read this), I'm going to start putting my book, "I Live Among You" on Amazon. Don't know if I'll get it done in one day, but it will be up soon. Followed in the next couple of months by an "Audio" version by Cameron.

I'm probably going to publish either "Gargoyle Dreams" or "The Last Fedora" around May. "Tuskers IV" should come out this summer from Ragnarok, and "Snaked" this fall from Cohesion.

So things are progressing nicely. I'm hoping this new publisher will be an opportunity, but I'm going to have to think of premises they might like, instead of just going off and writing whatever comes to me. (I mean, I'll probably do both.)

My routines have been totally disrupted. The weather, the sale of the Bookmark, Matt quitting, the publisher...and Linda wants to move to a one-story house, so that is going to happen sometime before summer.

But I had almost 5 good years to do nothing but write, and that is way longer than I'd thought I have, and this is just one of those transitional phases we all go through.


Dave Cline said...

Duncan, glad to hear of your recent successes.

Realizing you can't say much, you sold a book you'd written? Or a book premise?

A friend from Utah sent me this: which might interest you.

That was the publisher which did a full request and read and rejection of my first book.

Here is their rejection letter: (I thought it might be interesting to other writers)

Sorry it took me so long to get back to your submission.

I have finished reading your manuscript and I'm sorry to tell you that Immortal Works is going to pass on this one as it requires more intensive editing than we would like to take on.

The story is good, but can be made much better with more attention to active in place of passive voice. There is still too much "telling" where there should be "showing" -- even in small things like dialogue tags (for example, if you write "Blah, blah, blah..." she said defiantly. That's telling us she's speaking with defiance when you could be showing us. "Blah, blah, blah..." She lifted her head and sniffed at the air, hands on hips, as she glowered down her nose at them. That's just one small example.

Also, the dialogue is stiff, it doesn't feel like real conversation--this makes the characters less appealing and also makes them indistinguishable from one another.

There are other issues as well, such as the overuse of -ing words. All of these things are new writer mistakes that we all made and continue to make even. I think it would help you immensely to find a good critique group to join, one that meets face-to-face if possible. Also, go to some writers' conferences and attend the classes and workshops that are focused on the craft of writing. Google "showing vs. telling in writing" and see what articles are out there for you to study.

I'm sorry for the long email, but I feel it's important to let those who submit to us know why we're rejecting their manuscript and I also feel it's important to help new writers improve in the craft as much as possible.

Thank you for submitting Blue Across the Sea to Immortal Works.

Ah, well, moving on...

Duncan McGeary said...

Sent you a facebook message, Dave.

Duncan McGeary said...

So about that rejection. First of all, any detailed letter from an editor is significant. They don't usually bother so it matters. In my first career, I'd get back long detailed letters of what the editor thought I needed to do, big people in the industry like Lester Del Rey and Susan Allison.

But I only saw them as rejections.

Later I read that this sort of thing was rare and that it meant something.

Secondly, it's interesting that the letter is about the actual writing. I always thought that was what it was about, and obviously it is your focus, Dave, and I think rightly. Nothing works if the writing doesn't work.

But almost all the comments I've ever gotten have been about premises or plots or characters or approach, which I've always thought was strange. Same thing with reviews. People are commenting on the overall feeling they got, instead of how maybe that feeling was affected by the actual mechanics of the writing. Apparently, my writing is good enough, though I always see the faults in it.

I'm hoping this big time editor will help my writing, red line the manuscript so I can see what he does. Or...he could be like every other publisher I've had and publish as is....

Dave Cline said...

I'm kinda wishing now, that my high school and college teachers had actually taught me something. I'm having to return to basics, it seems, to reformulate the connection between what I think and how it comes out in my writing; "well that sounds awkward, silly, amateurish."

I find that I'm super critical now of all the writing I read. But what I find strange is that novels I pick up in the library, just to taste-test, half or more sound just like, or worse, than my writing. How is it that they got published but I can't? Ah, of course, you touched on this subject recently, twenty years ago just /writing/ and /submitting/ a completed manuscript was a challenge. These days, one's writing must glimmer like a polished diamond -- no rough allowed -- in order to catch the eye and ear of an agent or publisher; given the tens of thousands of entries every year.

So, okay. My book *might* have been publishable twenty years ago. But not today. Only the purest cream gets skimmed for consumption. And my product could never be milked for enough profit. So I've got to go back to the field and start nurturing my cows with better grass and finer grain. I've got stories to tell, and they won't get read without better delivery. Ugh!

Would have been nice to have learned some of this in my youth!