View Full Version : I feel lost

12-30-2005, 09:42 AM
Look. I'm 17 and trying very to make this work but i'm getting super stressed and i don't know half of what i'm doing. I really need someone to help me. I can't seem to write a good query letter to save my life and i cant catch half of the problems in my novel. Right now my only confidence is that my story is good. But that wont sell if it's not in the right format. How can i write my series of nine if i cant get it published and i can't do this stuff right.

12-30-2005, 06:51 PM
Hi Adam,
If you're only 17 you have got to realise you have years ahead of you to learn the craft. And that's what you should be concentrating on instead of worrying about Query Letters and selling and publishing and not being able to find problems in your novel.
Why do you think you can't find the problems? How do you expect to be able to find problems if you don't know what you are looking for? What steps have you taken to further your understanding of the craft? Do you read widely? Do you read books on writing that may help you understand the techniques?
Your posted stuff on the Share your Work is good - nothing to beat yourself over the head about, and I see you start an English course soon - that'll help a lot.
Have you read the Writing with Uncle Jim Thread in The Novel Writing Forum here?
Relax, Adam, you're more than half-way to solving your problem by recognising that you have one - you say you don't know half of what you're doing. Okay - take steps to learn what you're doing, or not doing, - learn the craft as all of us have to do. Stop worrying and do something constructive about it.
But whatever you do - keep writing, it should be fun and not a chore and if you want a couple of books - try these:
Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V Swain ISBN 0-8061-1191-7 or
Scene and Structure (How to construct fiction with scene-by-scene logflow, logic and readability) by Jack M Bickham ISBN 0-89879-551-6
There's probably other books out there that someone else may recommend.
Any help, friend?


12-30-2005, 11:39 PM
I'm interested in reading your novel and pointing out problems that I see if you think that would help. It would at least help you to know if there are any problems with your novel and how you can fix them. But I must warn you that I critique in detail, so if you are not interested in a really in depth critique than try posting small sections in the share your work section.

You can reach me at: Chalula88@yahoo.com if you're interested in having me read your work. Good luck and look forward to hearing from you.

Mike Coombes
12-31-2005, 01:25 PM
I read a famous writer the other day (wish I could remember who) who said "Everything you write before you're 20 is sh!t."

That sounds negative, but take it on board in a positive way. You are not yet at your peak as a writer, and you're still learning. And you have plenty of time.

Put this novel aside. forget it exists, and go ahead and write the next one. When you've finished the next one, come back to the first. You'll be a little bit older, you'll have learned more about writing, and you'll see the flaws more easily in the first.

Mike Coombes
12-31-2005, 01:25 PM
I just remembered - It was Kingsley Amis.

01-02-2006, 12:28 AM
When I was 15, I was at the top of my game. I had mastered this writing thing, I knew all I needed to know,I wrote steadily. I was The Writer.

...except, I wasn't. My format was a mess, and so were most of my stories. People read them because I loved them, I loved writing, and sometimes the passion carries you where nothing else can.

You're worrying about formats, about problems, about trying to sell it. You say that the only thing that gets you through is that you think your story's great.

Good. Keep thinking that. Remember, you are writing the single greatest story that has ever been written, in the entire history of the world, and after reading it, the rest of us will lay down our pens and walk away.

...unless it's not. But even if it isn't, then this next story that you're starting is whiz-bang the greatest thing ever since the dawn of time, etc.

Love your story, love your writing, and keep that foremost. Everything else will take work, stress, and pain...but the love will get you through so very much of it. :)

01-15-2006, 05:22 AM
Susan Wettig Albert, author of the China Bayles Herbal Mysteries told me write everyday and when you're finished with your novel put it aside and start on the next, just like the other member suggested. She explained it like love...when your in love you can't see the flaws, go onto something else...fall in love with that and then go back to your first work. You'll see it much clearer.

Good luck...you're NOT alone.

01-26-2006, 11:48 PM
Not every-thing you write before twenty is #$%!
I wrote my first book when I was fourteen.
Hey Adam, what kind of stuff do you write?
I'm getting the hang of things pretty well, and I think you have something good going on. I've usually got a lot going on with work and all, but hey, drop me a line!


Bi la Kifa!

Cathy C
01-27-2006, 12:25 AM
Adam, don't be concerned if you have difficulty writing a query. You have to understand that (speaking the language of high school tests),

query is to novel


cat is to banana

Yeah, :ROFL: if you will, but it's true. A query (and a synopsis) is a business-style letter that has little to do with whether you can create great dialogue or terrific characters. I have a much easier time with queries, but that's because I wrote business letters in a law office for twenty years before I started writing books. Trust me when I say that it's a different skill set. If you're still in school, see if there's a business class or business teacher that can help you with standard business letter format. That's half the battle. Then, instead of getting tied up with the details of your BOOK, consider grabbing the nearest item in your bedroom (football, hockey stick, keyboard) and try to write a description of IT, as though you were trying to sell it on Ebay. What would the buyer want to know before they'd pay money for it? Well, probably the brand name of the item, first. How old is it? How much wear does it show? How long and broad and what color, plus special features, etc., etc.

THESE are the things your query should show and getting in all these details in a page is a specific art that is different than you'll learn in English class or creative writing courses. Take a business course or two, or stop by the library and look at some books on how to write a resume. A query is a sort of resume with different details.

Just don't stress out over something you've never had to do. Steel your eyes and decide that you CAN learn it and then go out and do it! :)

Good luck!