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Mr Flibble
10-16-2011, 12:52 AM
I belong to a writers' group, a very talented bunch of nutters, er, individuals :D (I mean that in the best possible way) It includes AWers Waylander, Eyeblink, Broadswordbabe, Shara and others whose AW handles temporarily escape me. Between the group. we've had a lot of experience with all sorts of publishing, querying, writing etc.


Anyway. As a group, we decided we wanted to 'pay it forward' in some respect, and possibly run a series of panels etc on various aspects of writing/publishing, aiming for the 'What I wish someone had told me years ago'.

So, dear writer, if you were looking at a set of panels aimed at aspiring writers, what would you want to see?

DeleyanLee
10-16-2011, 12:59 AM
How to handle commentary well and enter into dialogue with commenters, if necessary.

How to know what I need in commentary and not default into line-editing.

How do I listen to my gut? Should I always listen to my gut?

How do I know what agents to submit to?

sunandshadow
10-16-2011, 01:25 AM
I'm always interested in "advanced plot structure", meaning not something which is already covered in every how to write book which spends a few pages talking about plot. I also like things of the format "survey of recent..." for new theories or non-fiction books about writing fiction, because it's difficult to keep up with what comes out new each year, especially stuff from smaller presses that never shows up in Borders or wherever.

Fallen
10-16-2011, 01:40 AM
Anything that helps an author learn to choose wisely when it comes to publishers and agents: signs of a bad contract, signs of a bad publisher/agent etc.

Charles Farley
10-16-2011, 01:44 AM
Stick to the rules . . until you think you are good enough to break them

mirandashell
10-16-2011, 02:08 AM
Definitely the does and don'ts of contracts.

L.C. Blackwell
10-16-2011, 05:07 AM
Contracts are always an issue of interest: Victoria Faust and Kristin Nelson run excellent posts on them from time to time, but personal experiences--that is, those that can be shared--would be nice to hear too.

Then there's the process of working with an editor--another unfamiliar experience for the unpublished. What snags did you run into? How did you resolve them? Where was your editor most helpful?

Also, what about promoting your book? Facebook, Twitter, blog, are obvious and many people use those avenues successfully, but what other kinds of promotion have you found useful? Any new or offbeat or fun ideas?

Thanks in advance for sharing. :)

scarletpeaches
10-16-2011, 04:30 PM
"Spitting the dummy is not the correct way to reply to a critique."

Mind, the ones who do wouldn't listen to advice anyway.

Duncable
10-16-2011, 05:02 PM
Contracts, definitely.

Also, how to narrow down submissions and queries to the right markets/agents/publishers. I get overwhelmed everytime I think about what to do when I get to 'The End.'

scarletpeaches
10-16-2011, 05:03 PM
Polishing a manuscript to submission standard.

*thinks about early days and haz teh shame*

bearilou
10-16-2011, 05:28 PM
Learn how to recognize Golden Word Syndrome in yourself.

LJD
10-16-2011, 07:27 PM
hm. I think the ideas on above on contracts and working with an editor are good. Although at present, I am so far away from that point, having not queried anything and not plannning to query anything for several months yet, that those things aren't on my radar. I like sunandshadow's ideas too.

The main thing I wish to learn is how to critique better. Including how to objectively critique my own work.

backslashbaby
10-16-2011, 08:47 PM
I'd want to know y'all's weirdest, favorite tips that work for you. I need ideas on the creative aspect. (I'm creative, but plots take a huge amount of creativity, I think, lol). How do you make sure things are interesting?

Kitty27
10-16-2011, 09:10 PM
First,thanks for doing this!

Second,I'd like to know about the selection process for a book. By that,I mean what happens after the agent submits it to the publisher and what happens once an editor decides that they like the book.

Puma
10-16-2011, 09:23 PM
The bald-faced truth - i.e., how many aspiring writers there are; how many books by authors / new authors are published a year; what the average sales are for published books by genre and type; the comparison to how long it takes to find an agent/hear back from an agent to the daunting figures on how long it takes to hear back from publishers; comparisons of types of publishing - the majors, indies, regional presses, academic presses, self-publishing - the whole gamut and when it's better to look at self-publishing instead of trying to feed the masses; e-books vs. traditional and potential income from e-books; Amazon's e-book process; value/non-values in sequels, prequels, spin-offs, fan-fiction; what sort of income does the "average" published author see from their writing in a year; contests (legitimate and not so legitimate) and whether it's worthwhile to try them and "where does the entry fee / reading fee money" go?; etc. You get the picture. Puma

sheadakota
10-16-2011, 09:42 PM
How to go about editing your own work. When you are looking at a 90+K MS it can get a little daunting.

DeleyanLee
10-16-2011, 09:45 PM
Stick to the rules . . until you think you are good enough to break them

Learn that the "rules" are what most novices get wrong and try it anyway and learn from your experiences. You might be one of those writers who don't have to worry about them but you won't know until you try.

DancingMaenid
10-16-2011, 11:21 PM
One thing I wish I'd had even a few years ago is more information on writing short stories and flash fiction (mainly the mechanics of it, though I can see how the publication aspect could be really relevant, too). I feel like that's a topic that gets taken for granted a lot, and I think as a newbie, it can be more challenging to take advice geared toward one medium and understand what it's saying in general and how it can apply to other mediums, if that makes sense.

Fallen
10-16-2011, 11:46 PM
Polishing a manuscript to submission standard.

*thinks about early days and haz teh shame*

Absolutely. Be good to see the stages of polishing (rough example, editted, ready for submission etc...)

What's style? Standardised style (CMOS etc) v finding your own.

Originality. How do you make your work your own? Maybe examples of old metaphors and showing how you can re-work them to make the imagery your own, to examples of re-worked plots etc.

Mr Flibble
10-17-2011, 02:21 AM
Excellent ideas guys. *takes notes*

Some 'hings aren't going to be anything we can really advise on.


the comparison to how long it takes to find an agent/hear back from an agent to the daunting figures on how long it takes to hear back from publishers;

Frankly that varies so much (and I mean A LOT) between even us few, it can't be pinned down. I mean we're talking a difference of 'Fabulous writer, no agent yet' through 'Took ages to find an agent, and has had agent for sometime (a couple of years?) no deal as yet, through 'Got agent in a week, took/ taking a while to find a deal' to 'Went from querying agent to deal in 3 months' It's not even dependant on skill of said author - at least once you get past a certain level. Seriously. Maybe we could do something on what would make your book more likely to sell, but even that...I'm not sure we'd be the right people to advise. The people who'd be better at that would the people who sell novels to pubs: agents.

Puma
10-17-2011, 04:17 AM
What I was getting at with the time to agent vs. time to publisher is that so many people look at the 4 or 6 month response time for publishers and figure there has to be a quicker way. I wish I had submitted to a couple publishers multiple years ago. Puma

NeuroFizz
10-17-2011, 04:21 AM
All of the suggestions are excellent, but there is one thing I think should be brought up very early in a new writer's journey. It isn't a universal need, but it does surface so frequently it should be addressed early on in any teaching curriculum. It smacks of bubble bursting, but it is really the opposite. So many new writers get caught up in the excitement of writing and treat it as some magical, ethereal creative loftiness to where they don't know how to handle the parts of fiction writing that require hard intellectual work. This causes things like mid-book slumps, jumping from incomplete project to incomplete project, and a fear of editing and re-writing rough drafts (or a hate of editing in some cases).

New writers need to know that self-discipline is probably the most important trait of a writer, and that the way to get through those difficult parts of a project is to abandon the need for the mystical feelings for writing to proceed and just buckle up the chinstrap and get to work on solutions. Writing is not always orgasmic-like fun. Some of it is hard work. But both types of feelings produce satisfaction and accomplishment when put together to work through a project to the point where it is submission-ready.

adarkfox
10-17-2011, 04:22 AM
How about being able to pick out sound advice/critique out of the fodder and what to do when your manuscript has a terminal illness.... when to trunk and when to save it!

Lady MacBeth
10-17-2011, 06:19 AM
Polishing a manuscript to submission standard.

*thinks about early days and haz teh shame*


I'll add my vote to this one. Also, self-editing techniques and how important it is not to rely on one piece of work. Keep writing and learn to accept criticism.

Jessianodel
10-17-2011, 06:56 AM
^Agreed. How to edit well so it's not a waste of time in the end when you have to do it all over - that's what I mainly have trouble with, both in doing and finding help. Everything else is a personal thing I have to learn how to overcome. But editing? I'm at a complete loss on how to get it submission-ready. Or even Beta-ready. So that would be nice to see :)

Mr Flibble
10-17-2011, 11:57 AM
What I was getting at with the time to agent vs. time to publisher is that so many people look at the 4 or 6 month response time for publishers and figure there has to be a quicker way. I wish I had submitted to a couple publishers multiple years ago. Puma

Hmm - I see. Well I suppose we could talk about subbing straight to publishers, and the pros and cons of it. Timescale wise I'm still not sure we could answer definitively. I mean if I subbed to Tor I could expect a no in a year or so perhaps, but if I had an agent I'd get that no a lot quicker :D Maybe a thing on what sort of deals v timescale? Smaller pubs tend to be a lot quicker (and almost your only option if you don't have an agent) but of course there are other things to consider with that. Even so, our experiences are that wide, you just can't be definitive on timescale (ie quicker to sub to this kind of pub than to get an agent). Really.



New writers need to know that self-discipline is probably the most important trait of a writer

Ohh that's a good one


self-editing techniques and how important it is not to rely on one piece of work. Keep writing and learn to accept criticism.

This too.

crunchyblanket
10-17-2011, 03:11 PM
How to stick with your WIP even when it feels like pushing treacle up a hill.

Sagana
10-17-2011, 05:23 PM
How do I get in your writing group?

And... do I really need to start a nothing-much blog that will likely have no followers and not really get updated before I even have a novel, or at least before I start sending said novel to agents? Are agents or publishers going to expect a true presence on the interwebs before considering my novel?

Dgullen
10-17-2011, 07:00 PM
I belong to a writers' group, a very talented bunch of nutters, er, individuals

Oi! I resemble that.

Mr Flibble
10-18-2011, 02:45 AM
Oi! I resemble that.

Should I try to make you blush? You are the most huggable-enticing writer I have ever met. Maybe the most huggable-enticing person I have ever met. Plus, you eat like a hobbit.
Also you rite real gud.


*huggles*

SPMiller
10-20-2011, 12:23 PM
I'd like to see a discussion about storytelling that plays down originality of premise and encourages excellence of execution. Too many newbies seem stuck on coming up with an "original" idea.