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Thread: Learn Writing with Uncle Jim, Volume 1

  1. #1801
    Betty W01
    Guest

    Re: the Assignments

    Jim, I loved your vampire story. Great job of just using dialogue, and interesting story, too.


    and this:

    Send it out 'til Hell won't have it.
    Best comment on perseverance I've ever read!

    :rofl

  2. #1802
    DanALewis
    Guest

    I made it!

    And there, I used my one exclamation point. Greetings to all. Tag, you're it.

  3. #1803
    JuliePgh
    Guest

    Re: Agents

    <blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>Re: Not-so-secret agents
    A useful agent has sold books that you've heard of.

    So ...

    Take a book that you've read and liked. Find out who agented it. Write to that guy.
    <hr></blockquote>

    Jim,
    A while back you wrote the lines above. How does one find out who agented a particular book?

  4. #1804
    maestrowork
    Guest

    Re: the Assignments

    Book catalogs, author's website, publisher, etc.

  5. #1805
    Yeshanu
    Guest

    Re: the Assignments

    I believe UJ also said to check the acknowledgments the author writes at the beginning of the book...

  6. #1806
    HConn
    Guest

    Re: Agents

    How does one find out who agented a particular book?
    I'd start with Google.

  7. #1807
    maestrowork
    Guest

    Re: Agents

    Writers don't always thank their agents. :-)

  8. #1808
    James D Macdonald
    Guest

    Re: Agents

    After Google, there's always calling the publisher on the phone and saying "Hi! Who agented [title of book]?"

    Or there's writing to the author, care of the publisher, with SASE, and saying "Hi! Who's your agent?"

    There's <a href="http://www.agentresearch.com/" target="_new">www.agentresearch.com/</a>

    And there's asking your old chums Ann and Victoria. They might know.

  9. #1809
    gp101
    Guest

    FINALLY--ALL CAUGHT UP

    For six days you people have kept me from cleaning my house, doing my laundry, and playing with my dog--he's quite upset, and I've run out of socks (don't get me going on underwear). I kept returning to this thread like a junkie for my fix; have barely touched the other threads on this board yet.

    Lots o' good stuff. Appreciate Uncle Jim's dedication and knowledge. A lot of his advice I've already read in books, but some of it is new (and eye-opening) to me. But his use of analogies early in this thread is what really cemented certain things for me, or helped explain certain things I'd already read, but didn't quite get.

    I've resisted posting till getting thru the previous material, so here goes:

  10. #1810
    gp101
    Guest

    back problems

    1. Does anybody else suffer back pain when writing too long? Or did you already have back problems before deciding to be a writer? How do you cope, remedy, or avoid back pain? Certain furniture, ergonomics, exercise, medication?

  11. #1811
    gp101
    Guest

    RE: WRITERS MARKET

    2. Have heard to avoid agents/publishers listed in Writers Market and similar publications because EVERYONE uses them and agents and publishers listed are burnt out on newbies.

    Any comment from the pros? What other alternatives are there?

  12. #1812
    gp101
    Guest

    Who's who?

    3. Who are the honest-to-goodness published writers, or editors on this thread? Obviously I know Jim has made it. Also seems like AKA Eraser, Reph, and Shawn are accomplished.

    Thx for putting up with my four posts till now.

  13. #1813
    evanaharris
    Guest

    Re: back problems

    use better posture. seriously. don't slump, don't slouch. sit erect. search web md, or, better yet, ask your doctor. if you use good posture and your back still hurts, then DEFINITELY talk to your doctor.

    I had back problems for a long time, and you'd be surprised what sitting upright and sucking in your gut can do.

  14. #1814
    HConn
    Guest

    Re: back problems

    A good way to deal with back pain is to strengthen your stomach muscles. Strong abs help support your torso, and can ease the strain on your back muscles.

    I wouldn't worry about agents and publishers who are burned out on newbies. They're only burned out if you aren't "good." If you offer them what they want, they are happy to see you.

  15. #1815
    maestrowork
    Guest

    Re: RE: WRITERS MARKET

    1. Ergonomics of your work space is very important. Invest in a good chair, a nice desk, and a good lamp.

    2. It's part of the game. There are some agents not listed in WM though -- check out the AAR site.

    3. I'm published, although only non-fiction, not fiction. You've got to start somewhere, right?

  16. #1816
    SRHowen
    Guest

    if

    If agents were burnt out on new writers then where would new material come from? King, Clancy etc won't live forever and every agent wants that client that will be #1 for 52 weeks.

    WM and other sources are great places to find an agent--but remember the golden rule--money flows to the writer. And do research.

    Shawn

  17. #1817
    reph
    Guest

    Re: Who's who?

    1. Daily stretching and strengthening exercises, wisely chosen chairs, frequent breaks from sitting, and chiropractic.

    3. I only marginally belong in a list of accomplished published writers. Mostly, I've copy-edited academic material and written magazine puzzles. I won a humor-writing contest once.

  18. #1818
    James D Macdonald
    Guest

    Re: back problems

    Karen Ranney and Jim Ritchie are two of the other pros who post here from time to time -- though I've not gone and asked who might be behind various screen names. My basic position is that we're all writers here -- maybe at different places on our paths, but we're all writers. Anyone who puts finger to keyboard is my brother or sister.

    <hr>

    I have a really good chair. I also recommend lots of situps and crunchs, and walking twenty minutes a day is a good plan.

    <hr>

    I also recommend those <A HREF="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000642RX/ref=nosim/madhousemanor/" target="_new">ergonomic split-keyboards</a>. They allow you to type with your wrists straight rather than bent, and lower the chance of carpal-tunnel syndrome.

  19. #1819
    gp101
    Guest

    thanks for the suggestions!

    My first "literary" question:
    I set out a premise I intended to prove in the novel I started. Seems like every character's actions will prove this premise (I'm three-quarters done), except for one character. Does it make for a poor read or unfulfilled ending if four of your five main characters act out your premise, but one stubbornly doesn't?

    For example, if the premise is "living a lie brings catastrophe", but one character does live a lie that doesn't result in catastrophe, does that negate everything else? He's not the protagonist or antagonist; he serves in the subplot which ties into the main plot in the climax. Yes, I know my ending, and it seems logical--thru actions this particular character takes--that he isn't subject to the law of the premise.

    Is this like four of us standing on the ground, while a fifth person floats in the air, exempt from the law of gravity? Or can this character get a pass?

  20. #1820
    James D Macdonald
    Guest

    Re: RE: WRITERS MARKET

    Have heard to avoid agents/publishers listed in Writers Market and similar publications because EVERYONE uses them and agents and publishers listed are burnt out on newbies.

    If you avoid them, who's left?

    Seriously, you should avoid agents who advertise in <A HREF="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005NIPH/ref=nosim/madhousemanor" target="_new">Writer's Digest</A>, but ...

    Publishers and agents are in business to find the one-in-a-hundred newbie who can tell a story. If that's you, you can ignore the other ninety-nine. The editors and agents slip rejection slips into envelopes all the time. What's one more?

  21. #1821
    James D Macdonald
    Guest

    Re: thanks for the suggestions!

    Or can this character get a pass?

    I can't possibly say without reading your novel.

    Consider -- is this character a counterpoint, or a contrast to the other characters?

    Is everything he does motivated? Is he natural? Does he have a mix of traits? Is he, in any way, arbitrary?

    Suggestion one: finish your book.

    Suggestion two: put it in your desk drawer for a month, then re-read it.

    You may find that you've answered your question.

  22. #1822
    Yeshanu
    Guest

    Re: Exercises

    I also recommend lots of situps and crunchs, and walking twenty minutes a day is a good plan.
    I assume this is added to our list of exercises that you posted above?

  23. #1823
    maestrowork
    Guest

    Re: thanks for the suggestions!

    As long as your characters and your story make sense, and the story itself is true to your theme, I don't see a problem. Actually, it can be an interesting counter point to see that, for example, "true love conquers all" -- BUT... not always.

    Makes it more real.

  24. #1824
    JuliePgh
    Guest

    Caring about the Character & Presence

    I've completed my novel (SFF), revised, and have put it down. My beta reader read Chapter 1 (He's promised to do a chapter a night so that's how I'm receiving feedback). He said the story moved, kept his interest but he didn't necessarily care about/feel for the protag yet and believes he has to keep reading before he can judge. Also, of the other two characters introduced in chap. 1, the minor character has left an impression in his mind (he's very brutal), but not the major character (he's more reserved). My reader also said he thought there should be background telling how the characters came together. I have integrated background to the extent I feel appropriate and believe his comment may come from lack of familiarity with the genre.

    On to my questions:

    1) How does one make the reader care about the protag in the first few pages of the novel? Or is that not necessarily a goal early on?

    2) How much presence should other minor and major characters have in the first chapter?

  25. #1825
    James D Macdonald
    Guest

    Re: Caring about the Character & Presence

    1) The reader will automatically bond with the first character they meet. Show the protag a) with a problem, and b) doing something. The eye will follow a moving object. If two objects are moving, the eye will follow the faster-moving one.

    2) As much as necessary to advance the plot, support theme, and reveal character.

    See above, previous advice about taking a published novel and retyping the first chapter yourself. How does your favorite author do these things?

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