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Old 04-29-2012, 04:12 AM   #26
Linda Adams
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1). My book is omni.

2). I have a dream sequence in the book. It's 50 words, in the middle of the book. It actually has an important role in the story, significant because the character had the dream at all.

3). I'm also going to have a flashback. Originally, the character was going to relate a horrific event that happened to her, but as I thought about it, it'll have more visceral emotions if I do the flashback.

No tattoos, though one of my minor characters has asymmetrical ones. Does that count?
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Old 04-29-2012, 05:29 AM   #27
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1). My book is omni.

2). I have a dream sequence in the book. It's 50 words, in the middle of the book. It actually has an important role in the story, significant because the character had the dream at all.

3). I'm also going to have a flashback. Originally, the character was going to relate a horrific event that happened to her, but as I thought about it, it'll have more visceral emotions if I do the flashback.
These are considered wrong? I'm completely screwed!
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Old 05-01-2012, 04:41 AM   #28
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Please, tell me your tales. Bonus points if it actually worked, or involves a tattoo.

My series is about a female drug addict. Most of the main characters are covered in tattoos. Most of them speak in dialect, which everyone seems to think is a big no-no. But the books sold, and have gotten mostly excellent reviews.

Guidelines and rules are good, but if breaking them works, break them. (Although I confess I'm not sure what the big deal is about tattoos?)
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Old 05-01-2012, 05:24 AM   #29
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I don't know that it's "wrong" for you to write with a particular style, but it might just not have been what that agent was looking for. I have zero experience with agents or the publishing industry in general, but I would have to assume that the more different you are stylistically, the harder it's going to be to find somebody who wants to represent you. That's just my two sense anyways, though. There are probably folks on here who know a lot better then me.

Good luck with this thing. Give em hell!
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Old 05-01-2012, 05:50 AM   #30
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Let's see what writerly sins I have committed:

Slightly less than half a million words of fanfic. 20+ years of worldbuilding for my original fiction. Linking the universes of my erotic romance space opera and my Big Fat Epic Mainstream Fantasy just enough that I was in for contract hell when the former sold. Being a multiple Honorable Mention winner in Writers of the Future (a waste of time, if not an actual sin, because HM listings mean jack to editors and agents). Ditto for winning third place in a Big-Six publisher's in-house writing contest. Writing a loosely-grouped series where one novel is in first-person, but others are in third-person omni. Writing later books in a series before the first sold. Including poetry in my prose work. Including dream sequences. Including a version of the 'Lost Legion' trope. Sending a story to the 'Sword & Sorcery' anthology that had a sympathetic male main character, gasp!

Oh yes, and writing sentence fragments.
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Old 05-01-2012, 10:53 PM   #31
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I wrote a "New Adult" novel because I wanted to, knowing the issues with selling New Adult. And, surprise surprise, those issues turned out to be real.

Still love the book, but it's not going anywhere in a hurry.
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Old 05-02-2012, 12:03 AM   #32
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There are no wrongs as long as what you write works.

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Thought the agent would appreciate receiving the query on perfumed Precious Moments stationery, posted the entire first draft on your LiveJournal, whatever.
Hope you checked to make sure the agent liked the scent of the perfume used....
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Old 05-02-2012, 02:21 AM   #33
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I wrote something experimental (wrong #1) and pitched it to a super-agent who doesn't take unsolicited queries (wrong #2). The agent signed me, but he can't sell my project!
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Old 05-02-2012, 04:08 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Stevens View Post
I do everything wrong.

The MC is not attractive.
There are no sex scenes.
No magic, ghosts, vampires, zombies, werewolves.
No young adults.
Zero romance.
No car chases.
MC looks in a mirror once to reflect on his appearance.
Discussions of weather.
Ample backstory.
Plenty of scenery description.
No profanity.
Some exposition to the reader via dialogue.
No onstage violence.
Two pets killed.

And it sold to two different publishers.

ETA: And a couple of dreams, too.
A kindred spirit (and a very funny post)! Only difference is that I like to write about kids. Not YA fiction (though I don't rule it out), but because I find their lives compelling.

Killing pets? I do it all the time. I don't know why. Sometimes for comic effect, sometimes for pathos.

Also, sentence fragments and lists. I love lists. And exposition. I think I'd get crucified in SYW!

Last edited by squeaky pram; 05-02-2012 at 04:11 PM. Reason: additions
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:03 PM   #35
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No tattoos here, although I had a fake Wolverine one when I was five. Does that count? Anyway, I tend to use southern colloquialisms as a narrator, way too much description sometimes, too much starting weather (thank you John Steinbeck!), I use too many dream sequences, and flashbacks. Seeing as these were all within the first 20k words, you might be wondering how much good writing I've done. It ain't much...
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Old 05-06-2012, 04:31 PM   #36
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I've read everything Elmore Leonard has written, and I get a little miffed with EVERYBODY speaking in sentence fragments. "You do now?" for "What did you do now?" "I wanted to know she was going to the cops." Sted "if she was going..."
Leonard sure didn't write that way by accident.

I've had four editors take a cursory look at my novel, and all have criticized the following.... "on the job a mere six weeks, he was a developmental, a newbie, a pup so green..."

I wrote it that way to stress the fact that this guy was a rookie. Really stress it. So the editors wrote... just say he was a rookie. Nope. I want it this way. Only the final editor will get me to change it.

My MC is a successful black professional. He meets an old, uneducated black man who has gone through the race wars of the South, hung on by his fingernails and has managed to provide a living for his family. But I had the old guy speaking in a thick Southern dialect. Won't do, said a couple of agents. Racist. But, I cry, it shows the dichotomy between educated and uneducated, that there's hope for young African Americans who persevere! There's a quiet dignity about the old man.

I want it. But I know it can't stay. Not in 2012.
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Old 05-06-2012, 05:18 PM   #37
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I've had four editors take a cursory look at my novel, and all have criticized the following.... "on the job a mere six weeks, he was a developmental, a newbie, a pup so green..."

I wrote it that way to stress the fact that this guy was a rookie. Really stress it. So the editors wrote... just say he was a rookie. Nope. I want it this way. Only the final editor will get me to change it.
Obviously it depends on context, but just having a quick look at that line, I agree with the editors. You're making the same point in four ways. If this is a line from a character who's verbose and flowery, then it works. If it's just straight narration, listen to your editors.
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Old 05-06-2012, 05:18 PM   #38
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A comedy where the first person hero is a semi-vegetarian zombie. Does that qualify?
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Old 05-06-2012, 09:00 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by DennisB View Post
My MC is a successful black professional. He meets an old, uneducated black man who has gone through the race wars of the South, hung on by his fingernails and has managed to provide a living for his family. But I had the old guy speaking in a thick Southern dialect. Won't do, said a couple of agents. Racist. But, I cry, it shows the dichotomy between educated and uneducated, that there's hope for young African Americans who persevere! There's a quiet dignity about the old man.

I want it. But I know it can't stay. Not in 2012.
Horse apples.

Sit down and read some Stephen Hunter if you haven't. The man is a genius.

Has written some content that takes place in the Deep South, from Arkansas to Mississippi from the 1930s through the 1950s. He's got massive black dialect and folks calling folks the N word all through it. Because that's how people talked and acted back then.

I'd find out who his agent is and approach that person. Check out Hot Springs and Pale Horse Coming for good examples. And I wouldn't change a thing until it's line edits versus content in general. If you do it well, you're being authentic, not racist. Unfortunately, our country had 200 years of coming to grips with that stuff. Doesn't mean it didn't happen.
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Old 05-06-2012, 09:28 PM   #40
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I didn't know what the the heck I was doing when I sent out my first short story. I was naive to the nth degree. Of course, it was rejected, so on my second attempt I was extremely arrogant in my cover letter, saying I know the story is long but I couldn't write it any shorter AND whether you buy this story or not, I know it's a damn fine story.

I am a shy and retiring person usually. I don't know why I was so uppity, but I sold that story and many after to the same magazine. I still sell to them.

I would not recommend arrogance, however, in a cover or query letter. Honesty yes. Arrogance, no.
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Old 05-07-2012, 07:50 PM   #41
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I brought this up in a different thread (dialect) a year or so ago. The consensus was that having an old black man speak in a decidedly uneducated manner was racist. Several posts said "write standard English and let the reader infer dialect."
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