Tag Archives: manuscript

What If?

I’ve been writing seriously for twelve years. Things tend to cross my mind that will make me stop and say to myself, “Where did that come from?” Case in point: All the letters I use when I’m tap, tap, tapping away at my keyboard, what happens when one or more of them need to be deleted?

Do they fall into a used letter bin, land in letter limbo, disappear, with a poof into nothingness or perhaps become part of a massive recycling program?

While we’re on the subject, what do we do if our computer comes to the point where it runs out of letters? Is there a way to refill or can your CPU become so antiquated that it is no longer supported by the standard refill program? If you find yourself able to install the alphabet into your desktop, must you install a compliment of all twenty-six letters or can you select the letters you use the most.

For instance, R, S, T, L, N would certainly be among the most often used, whereas B, G, Q, X, Z would most likely never need to be refilled.

In short, it gives us something to think about. You’re on a tight deadline and your publisher wants to see the first draft on Monday. It’s Sunday afternoon and you run out of R’s. See where I’m going with this? I could be saving the collective world of writing from total disaster, not to mention that card to your sweetheart you were unable to finish. At least, give it some thought. The page you save may be your own!

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Too Much Time, Not Enough Time, Time After Time, Time And Time Again, C’mon Makeup Your Mind

I am working diligently on my latest manuscript. I write mainly in the science fiction and fantasy genres; however, this is the first time I have delved into the concept of time travel. Now, there’s a lot of things one can do bouncing from this time to that time, time after time. I suppose one could smack one’s own self upside the head if one had a notion to do so.  

My manuscript, I must admit, has a tendency to drive me a bit crazy. If there were only a few characters  this would not be the case, but keeping even a moderate amount of imaginary actors in their correct timelines can be a daunting task. It’s extremely easy to add another layer of difficulty to the mix when you write as I do. Some authors outline their entire book chapter by chapter before they begin writing. Me, I fly by the seat of my pants. It gives me more freedom to take off on an undetermined tangent which brings my book to life. In this way, along with my help, the book writes itself. So the next time you look at your watch, wall clock or sun-dial, imagine yourself in a different time setting even if it’s just relaxing in front of the television later that night. Me, I just may end up on a peaceful island reeling in a plethora of exotic fish. We never have enough time so use it wisely.

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If You’re Fortunate Enough to Get There, It Ain’t Gonna Happen Fast. So Get Ready For a Long Slow Ride

A thought entered my cranium this morning. If I could change anything over the years of writing, what would it be?

The many short stories I penned with the intention of submitting them to magazines? Having published works would give me more credence in the eyes of publishers and agents once I completed my first novel.

Learning how to write the perfect query, so my pitch would not be trashed before the first paragraph had been read?

Maybe the thousands of emails I sent to perspective agents, even though literary agents received thousands of queries each year, accepting less than 1% of what they choose to read?

The endless search for a small press, who would accept unsolicited manuscripts?

Perhaps the writing of a novel along with the endless rewrites and edits taking more time than the writing of the original manuscript?

Then there are several rounds of rewrites and edits once it reaches the publisher.

There’s artwork to consider, back matter, acknowledgements, dedications and finally a finished product.

And now the work begins and I can sum it up in one word: Marketing! This, in and of itself will require your constant attention as long as you continue to write.

Looking back, is there anything I would change? . . . Nah!

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Marketing is a Necessary Necessity That Will Unnecessarily Necessitate My Necessities

“This is probably the most mature, astute novel of the last half century that I’ve just finished. Me want ice cream.”

Ifin I had my druthers, I’d write all of the time. Alas, knowing this is a virtual impossibility, I’m bound to taking care of all the other stuff that pops up. Of course, I’m speaking within the parameters of writing and its many aspects.

I spend an enormous amount of time on marketing. When I published my first novel, I didn’t realize this milestone was the easy part. With a thousand or so new titles jumping out each day, how do you get your work before the eyes of the public without this valuable tool?

All right, so I know I have to market . . .  what does this mean? Sometimes I wonder if there are as many ways to market a book, as there are books? I know I’m being a bit facetious but there are many methods to employ into your marketing scheme.

My day goes something like this:  In the morning, I’m ready to play. What’s the first game?  Marketing for Money. I try to limit my time to several hours in order to promote my books each day. What’s the next game? Depending on the day, it could be “What’s my Blog” or to keep my website interesting there’s always, “Name that Newsletter.” Every once in a while I’ll slip in, “Support my Short Story.” Then comes the time of day I actually get to work on my latest manuscript. I call this, “Recess.” When done, I usually find I’m satisfied with the day’s work and fired up for tomorrow.

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I’ve Never Experienced Writer’s Block, I’ve Never Experienced Writer’s Block, I’ve Never Experienced Writer’s Block, I’ve Never Experienced Writer’s Block…

Imagine acquiring a literary agent. This agent quickly finds a publisher for your first book. You’re given deadlines to complete various parts of your manuscript. Things are going fine until your well-oiled machine slams into a concrete wall. Sound familiar?

Oh no! You’ve run into that immovablewriters_block_400 force known as writer’s block. This will send the average author screaming toward the hills.

Are you picking up what I am carefully placing down for you…?…Okay, good, let us continue.

What once was on schedule has now begun to slip behind. No big worries so far, but pandemonium may lie in the future if this problem is not corrected…sound familiar yet?

Guess what kids?  We’re now in the future which has been carefully renamed the present. Your publisher with much foreboding is insisting you complete the remaining pieces of your manuscript. You assure said publisher the remaining chapters are complete and will be sent next week after your final edits.

Your next move is to write the remaining few chapters.

Next week has come and gone and your publisher is threatening to cancel your contract. Your agent is also threatening cancellation and possible law suites to follow. Now, I ask again, does this sound familiar? If it does, you’re in a world of trouble and should have paid more attention to your deadlines.

As for me, I’ve been unable to coerce an agent so far. I have come close, but we know that close and three dollars will get you a cup of coffee. Until that day I’ll rely on small presses; they’re wonderful to work with.

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Just Cause It Says to do What It Says, Don’t Mean to do What it Said. Notice the Play on Words? Well, There Ain’t None!!!

JFSPunctuateOnce you finish your manuscript and begin rewrites and edits, are you adept with the grammatical aspects of what you’ve written? Or are you unsure of the difference between a period and parentheses?

I’ve learned a lot over the years of struggling through hundred thousand word manuscripts. That being said there’s a lot I should have learned struggling through hundred thousand word manuscripts but somehow failed to do so.

For instance: A comma is used to denote a pause. You think this would be an objective comment until people commence to slinging commas throughout a paragraph; then, it becomes very subjective.

I haven’t been able to find two people that would agree on the placement of commas; of course, some of them would argue the color of clear.

My next nemesis is the semi-colon. If I’m ignorant enough to ask, I’ll receive different answers that I don’t understand anyway so I might as well keep my mouth shut.

And finally, anything that dangles sends me running and screaming like a banshee bearing down on its next meal.

Maybe I’m not as bad as I’ve portrayed myself to be, but if the truth be known, I would just as soon drink from a mud puddle and eat rocks than edit a manuscript.

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I Thunked it Would be Easy, but is Anything Really Easy? If You Were to Ask Me, I’d Say No, but is Anything Really Easy? Probably Not, but is Anything Really…

ss-apr10-38Recently, I’ve been stuck on the subject of rejections during the course of writing. I would be remiss if I were to leave out my entire life story while traveling down that wonderful road of rejection.

During my early days immersed in the glamorous spectacle that is writing, I determined my course from reading other glamorous publications that assisted early glamorous writers.

This publication instructed new writers to attempt having their work placed in magazines and other such articles. This would in essence emulate crawling before walking; showing agents or publishing houses that you were, in fact, a published author lending more credence when they perused your best-selling manuscript.

I began in earnest writing short stories in the science fiction and horror genres. I sent these stories to the larger science fiction magazines, confident I would find a home between the covers.

Alas, no one took the bait. I was forced to drop a notch and send my stories to a magazine a few rungs down the ladder. This continued for some time. I eventually ended up trying to publish my babies in on-line magazines that would boast circulations of dang near a hundred readers.

Well, to say the least, I was scraping the bottom of the literary world. I couldn’t really blame it on the barrel, so the only one I could lay it on would be me. Even though I had developed a rather thick hide, I dare not delve into the world of flash fiction or even one word fiction lest I never find my way out again.

I did the only thing a person who wishes to become a writer can do. I took to honing my writing skills and now have three published books to my credit.

If you get nothing more out of this blog post, let it be this: Author friends don’t let other author friends write stupid.

This has been brought to you by a grant from the Lynn Steigleder Foundation, preventing people from writing sub-standard manuscripts since this blog post began…I hope.

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