Sunday, June 29, 2008

Writing life

Writing Fantasy

Here’s how I’d like writing fiction to be--

As easy as everyone who doesn’t do it thinks it is
As lucrative as everyone who doesn’t do it thinks it is

While I’m on the subject, I want to add to my wish list.

Every editor would have reasonable workloads and endless patience. These paragons would promptly review every submission, responding within a day or two--said response taking the form of an offer to contract the story. If the editors were unable to buy the manuscript, then they would respond, just as quickly, with kind, insightful, and detailed reasons for their decision to decline the opportunity.

Perhaps, I should include home visits by eager editors and agents desperate to acquire exciting manuscripts--no, my imagination isn’t quite that good.

In real life writing is nothing like the fantasy, more’s the pity.

Like aspiring sports superstars, wannabe pop idols, and the hopeful future movie stars there are thousand and thousands of would be writers, dreaming of writing best sellers or critically acclaimed poetry or enchanting fantasy or riveting thrillers or thrilling romances.

Most are doomed to failure. Most never make that necessary first step of actually writing the whole book--let alone submitting it. It takes courage, determination, talent, and hard work just to get a story written, polished, and sent off to an acquiring editor or agent. It takes more courage, patience, and dogged persistence to keep writing.

Real world editors are swamped by submissions. They have many other tasks (like editing) besides reviewing submissions. When they do have a chance to deal with incoming manuscripts, they look at those by authors they’ve already purchased from before tackling the slush pile.

What makes an editor interested in a story? Here’s the beginning of one tasteful editor’s simple wish list.

Professional submissions--business focused correspondence, work in the format they prefer, and every part of the package clean (no spelling or grammar issues)

Suitable--a manuscript that fits within the scope of their publisher’s guidelines

Entertaining--a story that shines, a strong voice, a fresh twist

Got all that going on? Then what are you waiting for?


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