Category Archives: Writing tips and ideas

Collaboration: A good idea for writers?

 

“We should work together.”

‘Would you like to collaborate with me on ____?”

“It would be great if we worked on a project together.”

The list goes on.

Over the years, a dozen people have made various remarks like the ones above to me. I have always gotten excited. But I soon realized the above meant two things.

First, it would not pan out due to life, circumstances, and more.

Two, what people meant was this. They want me to do the work with input and ideas now and then from them. They want me to revise and edit the whole book with thoughts now and then from them. They want me to shop the manuscript to publishers with no input from them. They want me to do the bulk of promotion and marketing. They also want me to use my well-established author platform on their behalf while they enjoy what comes from it.

Hey, if I could convince someone to do that, I would climb aboard that train. Well, to a certain degree.

But, no.

Hmm. Let me be more clear on this topic. Hell no.

Either they don’t know how much work is necessary or they don’t want to do a share of it.

I understand. Doing this kind of work is not easy. It involves a lot of time and effort. Things I am willing to put into a collaboration with someone.

However, if you think I am going to do the bulk of the work and you put your name on that cover, you are delusional.

If someone is willing to work with me, that is awesome. I welcome it.

But until that moment arrives, I will stick to working on my own.

Rejected query letters: Will you quit?

 

A local writer began a few years ago to send out query letters to publishers. She, like everyone else who does this, started to get rejection letters.

When I asked her after some time how it was going she informed me she was quitting, I learned she sent out six. Nothing I could say or do would convince her to keep going.

To be honest if you are going to give up that readily how serious are you wanting to be traditionally published or get a literary agent? How badly do you feel your book deserve a shot?

I was just really surprised how easily she gave up on herself and her book. Rejections from publishers are a rite of passage. It will happen. No one is immune.

To date this writer has not sent any more letters.

When I was submitting “Jasper, Amazon Parrot: A Rainforest Adventure” I received a lot of rejections. Some didn’t even send me a reply back. But I did something apparently that was odd according to other writers. I saved all my rejection letters. People tend to give me a weird look when I tell them that. But I have and will continue for any other manuscript I submit. To me it shows I am still trying, still believing in my book and myself and knowing that there is bound to be someone who loves my book as much as I do.

My mantra is still the same as it was when started. All I need is one yes, just one. In fact I have that taped up to my cork board by my desk. For if you don’t love your book, and I mean truly love your book, why would anyone else?

Developing your story: Characters and so much more

After taking a character development class the instructor passed out a form on how to critique the members of the group. That made me wonder. It would be awesome, in my opinion, if we could pass this on to our writing group members after they read what we presented to them. It would be also interesting to hand it out to reviewers prior to them submitting their reviews of our books. Granted that could get interesting but also informative.

 

What would you add or change if you did this yourself?

 

So if I could pass on a form this is what I would include. Each section is worth five points.

Plot

-Attention needs to be paid to plot development

-The story lacks credibility in places

-Good start/good ideas but loses direction and force

-The story holds interest throughout but the ending is disappointing

-Flows smoothly,well researched, almost there

-This is a well-crafted story and it is clear that the author has considered all the aspects of the plot

Characterization

-The characters do not always come over as real people

-Told from the viewpoint of too many characters, so that the readers learns little about them

-In general, the characters are believable , although there is room for improvement

-The characters are well drawn and true to life/does the character have an inner life

-Strong characterization means that the reader’s sympathies are instantly engaged.

Pace

-The story starts slowly

-The story needs a more varied pace

-Side-issues slow the story down

-In general, the story moves well, although there are times when interest wavers

-A good pace is maintained throughout

-This story’s page-turning quality is excellent

Dialogue

-The characters all tend to speak with the same voice

-Some attention should be given to the dialogue, which does not always ring true

-Although the dialogue is believable, there are places where it serves no obvious purpose

-In general, the dialogue sounds authentic

-the sharply written dialogue reveals much about the characters

-The dialogue is excellent, adding a sparking dimension to the story