View Full Version : Newbie Scifi writer needs advice

01-15-2006, 12:00 AM
I wrote my first sci-fi novel a couple of years ago. It has a Catholic theme (and a Catholic ending). I sent it to some agents and a few publishers with no luck. So now it's just collecting dust while I work on my second novel.

I want to know if the first one is worth my continued efforts to get it published (I want to know if it stands a chance). I have no money, so self publishing isn't really an option right now. I know it's easy to get bogged down in writing and rewriting something, and never move on. That's a trap I don't want to get caught in.

I'd like someone with experience to advise me whether I should keep trying or not. I do see improved writing in my second novel, and I have to wonder I should just think of the first one as a training bra.

Thanks in advance...

01-15-2006, 12:13 AM
Okay, sf writer here. I'm wondering how many times this manuscript went out and if it was rejected solely from synops or queries. What you need to do is have the partial or full read by a qualified agent/editor with perhaps even the hint of a comment on what's not working and why. Send a book query out about 15-20 times to see if you pull any interest. No interest means there's something possibly flawed with the query or synopsis.

I would also suggest pasting a copy of your first chapter and/or query and synopsis on our SHARE YOUR WORK thread in the SF genre, so we can help and make a determination. In the meanwhile, questions to ask yourself since it's an older and first attempt:

Is the plot cliche?
Stilted dialogue?
Cardboard characters?
Awkward transitions?
Suspension of disbelief?
World building? (one of my own weak spots)
Too much religious dogma? (you say Catholic--what do you mean by this?)

Sometimes first books are indeed training bras, and that as you develope (as a writer), you lose the need to use them...ahem...until you realize that you are begining to blossom with more books under your belt.


Cathy C
01-15-2006, 12:25 AM
Something you need to consider, too, is your phrasing of "Catholic-themed". There's a fine line between having your CHARACTERS be Catholics and preaching to the readers ABOUT Catholicism, who may or may not share that faith. In our March SF/fantasy release, the lead character is a devout Irish Catholic. Much of the action of the book takes place in and around her regular church. The priest is her long-time friend and a very powerful character who truly believes in what he does. However, these are choices of the characters. The book itself doesn't speak about the underlying faith, except through her eyes. Being Catholic is PART of her, a trait of hers, like enjoying British comedy and eating pasties without turnips. Her faith guides her, but there's no theme attached. Being Catholic doesn't help or hurt her chances to win the battle.

If you really ARE preaching to the readers, then you might want to approach a Christian publisher with it, instead of mainstream. If it's just that the characters are Catholic and that guides them, then perhaps how you're identifying it in the query is holding you back a bit. Does that make sense?

01-15-2006, 12:49 AM
Thanks for the advice, I'll post the seggestedf materials in the other forum.

Cathy...are those pygmy?

Cathy C
01-15-2006, 01:03 AM
:D Nope. Just babies (kids). They're Boer/Spanish cross -- meat goats. The mama pictured is Spanish/Nubian (we think... ;) )

01-15-2006, 01:04 AM
I raised a few nubians...but I was more into Alpines. Nubians are a bit fussy.