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putter
12-17-2005, 07:43 AM
I'm very new at this. I have stories churning in my head and I want to tell them. I do it all the time, in real life. Mostly in bars. I started writing them down and find I really enjoy it. Unfortunately, I don't seem to know many of the rules. My grammer aint what it should be. My punctuation sucks. I'm not that hot with sentence structure either. A mess, eh?
Anyway, I'd sure like to find someone or a bunch of someones who'd be willing to help me out. I sure need a lot of it.
A few days back, in a moment of enthusiasm, I sent a manuscript off to a publisher. Alas, it was rejected. The rejection though did include a most thorough critique. Much more attention then I expected and very appreciated. In the critique, many flaws in my work were pointed out to me. Some of the flaws are mearly mechanics but I need to know those things. Some of the flaws pointed out, have to do with the story itself. I want to ask the publisher more about the things pointed out but I'm afraid I'd be pushing a wee bit.
What I'm looking for, is someone who would be willing to spend a lot of their precious time, spoon feeding me.
My stories are fiction. Probably mainstream. I have no aspirations of writing the great America novel. I only want to spin yarns and entertain readers. Making a buck along the way would be ok too.
Any volunteers?

September skies
12-17-2005, 07:47 AM
When I first started writing professionally, two years ago, I was told that the best thing I could do was to pick up newspapers and read, read, read.
There's no better teacher -- and the more you read, the more you learn and the more you improve.

Then you could also post a section of a piece of your work in the "share your work" section and people can comment on it and make suggestions, etc.

Good luck. I'll be looking for your work over there. http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/smile.gif

tammyk
12-18-2005, 11:04 AM
Another good learning tool is to read and critique other writing. Spotting what works and what doesn't in someone else's writing can make you more aware of what you do in your own. Lessons I learned through critiquing have stuck better than lessons I learned from everything else combined.

CampCreek
12-18-2005, 11:37 AM
I wholeheartedly second the suggestion to read, read, read! I wouldn't just read newspapers, though. If I were you, I would pick up any and all books that are in the same vein (genre) that your stories are. Are your stories short stories? Go to your nearest bookstore and find short story anthologies, preferably ones published by the same publishers you'd like to have accept your work. Are your stories actually novels? Same advice holds true if so ~ find novels of the same genre (type) your stories are (ie romances, horror stories, fantasies, etc. ~ whichever your stories are), and read up a storm. Read everything you can get your hands on. This will get you familiar with the basics of how a work of fiction should flow, how the words on the page should relate to each other, how it 'sounds' when you read it.

I'd also second the advice to post snippets or chapters of your work in the "Share Your Work" forum. I haven't yet here, but have posted some of my work on other critique sites and let me tell you, that has been incredibly helpful. Don't be shy or hesitant. I'd say if you posted something similar to what you did in your opening post here, people there would be more than happy to give you a hand. In each of the genre sections in the "Share Your Work" forum here there is a Announcement posted at the top of each titled "READ THIS FIRST : House Rules". Number four reads: "We understand different people have different comfort levels as far as critiques are concerned. Please indicate the level of critique you're seeking in your post (from "Please be gentle" to "Don't hold back"). Again, refer to rule #1 and #3." That sure sounds like a place that wants to help give you the help you need, not just what they think you need!http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/biggrin.gif

By the way, if your first post is any indication, I don't think your writing skills are quite as bad as you think they are. They could use some polishing, yes, but your spelling, sentence structure, etc., isn't atrocious. I've certainly seen much worse! I wouldn't think it'd take you long to catch on to how to fix it so it shines.

Good luck!

September skies
12-18-2005, 09:21 PM
I wholeheartedly second the suggestion to read, read, read! I wouldn't just read newspapers, though. If I were you, I would pick up any and all books that are in the same vein (genre) that your stories are...and read up a storm.

Thanks Josephine for bringing this up. I should have said that. I brought up newspapers because I was hired as a news reporter (I now freelance for several newspapers) -- so obviously, papers were the thing for me to learn from. (I forgot to mention that little bit) So, thankyou for catching that.

putter
12-18-2005, 09:50 PM
Thank you to all who have responded. I have been a reader all my life. I read everything I can. Homer, Elmore Leonard, Herman Melville, Stewart Woods, the dictionary, soup cans..... Unfortunately, it seems all this time, I've only been reading for content. Only for the entertainment. I haven't been paying attention to how authors put their work together.
My sending in my story for consideration was, to say the least, premature. In my defence, I have to say I was so excited at having actually finished something, I just couldn't wait to share it with the world. Silly me.
I'd only been here in AW a few days and hadn't delved into the site that much.
Since, I have read a great many posts and now realize how far from ready I am.
I am overwhelmed at how giving the people on this site are. That so many of you are so willing to take time away from your important tasks and hold the hand of guys like me, just plain knocks me out.
I am trying to use all your advise to my best advantage (so many tips) and maybe, someday, I'll really be ready.
Thank you all, very much,

Mac

Jamesaritchie
12-19-2005, 01:40 AM
Thank you to all who have responded. I have been a reader all my life. I read everything I can. Homer, Elmore Leonard, Herman Melville, Stewart Woods, the dictionary, soup cans..... Unfortunately, it seems all this time, I've only been reading for content. Only for the entertainment. I haven't been paying attention to how authors put their work together.
My sending in my story for consideration was, to say the least, premature. In my defence, I have to say I was so excited at having actually finished something, I just couldn't wait to share it with the world. Silly me.
I'd only been here in AW a few days and hadn't delved into the site that much.
Since, I have read a great many posts and now realize how far from ready I am.
I am overwhelmed at how giving the people on this site are. That so many of you are so willing to take time away from your important tasks and hold the hand of guys like me, just plain knocks me out.
I am trying to use all your advise to my best advantage (so many tips) and maybe, someday, I'll really be ready.
Thank you all, very much,

Mac

I don't think your submission was premature. Rejections happen at every stage of the game, and if you can write well enough to get a critique from an editor, then something about your writing made him pay attention. Editors do not critique work unless they see promise in the writer.

The only thing as important as writing your head off is reading your head off, but submitting early and often ranks right up there. Reading shows you what most editors want, but having them actually tell you how to make your writing fit what you've read is also important.

Rejections can sting, but if you can write well enough in any way to make editors comment on your writing, you're definitely on the right track.

CampCreek
12-19-2005, 11:11 AM
No problem, SS ~ I figured you said that because of something like that.:D

You're sure welcome, Putter!:Thumbs: Isn't this place great? I've only recently joined myself, and before I did I spent much time reading the posts. I had a similar reaction to yours, that this sure seems like a great place where I can learn quite a bit. Again, good luck!