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What do I write?

When I was a teenager, I remember clearly looking at the adult section of the library and imagining all of the wonderful books that must be hidden there. They had to be good–right? And long. And wonderful. I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to go there.

Then I became old enough and I discovered that many of the books were too long, especially as I got older, and much duller than I thought. (They also have tiny font which, when you have difficulty seeing, is important.) About a year ago, I began reading YA again and don’t regret it.

In the same way, when I began writing, my goal was adult science fiction. Teens were silly and flakey and (well, honestly) they didn’t seem to be much science fiction going around when I was a teenager. So therefore, I had to write for an adult audience.

Now, I acknowledge that I do not have that much experience with novels. I’ve barely written two. I have submitted (and received a rejection) on one of them. But I typically try to have my stories end pretty happily. I do not like depressing endings. And yes, I’ll kill characters, but only if I must.

Which brings me back to my question: What do I wrote?

I’ve always thought I write adult fiction. However, especially with some of the things I’ve seen in teen fiction right now, I can just as easily, if not more, be writing for a YA audience. I try to keep stories concise, clear, and focused, with enough action to make it interesting. I’d be fine with that too if not for one little detail.

The ages.

I don’t know about you, but half of the things that I seen going on in YA stories is too big for a teenager to handle. Let’s take Across the Universe for an example. (tiny SPOILER, as in, you know it’ll happen but I don’t want you to hate me) In the story, the seventeen year-old kid becomes the leader of a ship full of about 3000 people. He is responsible for everything, from strikes to food shortages. Not to insult any seventeen-year-olds that might be reading this but kids that age can’t handle that.

Shad would fit into a YA category, except for the simple fact of his age. He’s 23. Everything else is really great. He has big dreams, thinks he can conquer the world, finds out that he can’t, but that the world he wanted to conquer isn’t what he thought. But, emotionally, I can’t drop his page to below 20. Maybe 21. I can maybe justify that somehow. But I can’t make him a teenager…

Well, why? Because a teenager shouldn’t have the responsibility of flying the whole ship. Yet, I have it written that he was main pilot since he was 17. I don’t know if I can actually see him sitting around six years waiting.

That’s just one story though. I don’t know how to justify it in every story. That’s my single biggest argument with YA fiction in fact is that teenagers do things that they shouldn’t. But perhaps that’s the point of YA fiction.  I still find it hard to justify. Though, going through my stories… can I create my own genre? :D Modified YA. Or college level YA? Some work; some don’t. Some would need changes. I mean, how far can you go in YA?

So then my question becomes: am I changing my audience because I had the wrong audience and I should or because it is easier? That’s one think I keep thinking about right now. If I change this, well, then that deals with this problem and makes this problem easier in my mermaid story. I should not write something though just because it’s easier. Not a whole genre change.

Then, I also go back to the idea about whether or not I should even care about publication. I have one brother who would say that self-publication in ebooks is the way to go, all the way. But I don’t know. I’m not good at self-promotion. But if I want to create a new genre, that would be the way I’d have to go I think. :)

In many ways it shouldn’t even matter. I should write for pleasure and not money. But when I want to be published… it is important. It is a factor of where I send the story after all. :)

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I finally submitted something.

This past week, I put everything together to submit something to tor.com. Then, I got sick, so I didn’t actually send the e-mail. I’m a wimp. Okay. I’m honest with that one.

Just need to press send.

It's all ready to go.

Then, on Friday, I sent the e-mail out. And I already got a response–see!

Yes, you're seeing that right.

Yup, that’s right. The e-mail address isn’t any good.

*sigh*

So, I need to find the real e-mail address, but I’ve been to tired to do that. I’ll probably do that next week actually.

Until then, it’ll wait.

But, you know, it was rather strange just sending off that e-mail. See, I sent an e-mail earlier this week that I did not really want a response to, in which I informed a parent that their child needed to behave better in Sunday School. This time, I sent it, and I don’t even expect a response. Not really. So it was rather surreal, which surprised me.

How I wrote my synopsis

This is just totally awesome and I must share it now. Disney Princesses in real life. I know; it’s making it’s way around the internet, but I still love it!

Anyway, the real thing that matters is the synopsis. That’s why you’re reading this, right?

I know that I said I would send out my manuscript by New Years. That isn’t happening. Why? Mainly because I need to use the school printers since my printer is really sloppy. My dad was there and the school ran out of paper, so I never had a chance to print it before I left. That being said, I will have everything ready to go by next year and I will submit something somewhere. (Okay, I’ll submit Just Trust Me to Tor.com.) Won’t get a rejection letter but it’s a start.

Another big reason why I didn’t submit my manuscript this year is I decided to rewrite my synopsis, and it turned out much better. My novel is 88,000 words; my original synopsis was 9 pages. The publisher wants 3-10. Then I saw this tip about how the best synopses have two sentences per chapter. (It was written by a publisher for the publishing house I am submitting too. BONUS!) I worked out the math and this is what I came up with each chapter is roughly ten pages.

Keep in mind that I write in Times New Roman at single spacing. When I refer to pages, I am in font size 12. (Though I normally write in 13. Not like you care.) So you want it close to that with these numbers if you decide to copy me.

So, how did I write my synopsis?

–I went through my manuscript and, every ten pages, I wrote two sentences about what happened.

–Since I already had a nine page synopsis written, I marked all of what I considered “important” sentences. The ones that I liked the sound of the best. Next time I’ll just write the sentences right in my outline.

–I combined all the sentences into one document and edited. At this point, so long as I did not add more than a few words, I allowed longer sentences to break into shorter sentences. The idea was to keep the word count close to the same, not necessarily the sentence count.

–I allowed myself one well-integrated paragraph that gave background information, since I’m writing in a different world than we live.

That’s it. If you want, I can post what I’ll be sending out as an example. Keep in mind (this is my disclaimer) that I have not ever been accepted / been published, and I don’t know if it is going to work. But this is what I did, so it might give you an idea of where to start. I realize that there isn’t a lot out there about writing synopses, especially in writing books.

Oh, and if you care, my final page count was about 3 pages, so I’m happy.

Music, music–banished!

I wrote a story for my creative writing class. No surprise there. I liked my story a lot too and I’ll probably post it here within the next couple of days. It’s really good actually (At least. I think so.).

Here’s the problem. This story revolves around the idea that a girl, Marie, basically hates her life, finds Johnny Cash as an artist and begins to really listen to him. Through his songs, she ends up saving herself. (It sounds morbid. Maybe it is a bit. I’m not sure.) Anyway, part of what I did here is integrate lyrics of Johnny Cash music into the story.

Did you know there is serious problems with that? I didn’t.

Apparently, you can’t just cite the songs as a source like a research paper and all is fine. People apparently want money from the lyrics, even if the person has been dead for 69 years.

This involves writing letters for each song, asking to use the lyrics (even if there is just two lines used). On top of that all, just because they were all recorded by Johnny Cash doesn’t mean that they all need to be written to whoever owns the Johnny Cash music. I looked at two songs, Flesh and Blood and Hurt, and both of them are owned by different people.

So basically… this means that the story I wrote either a) needs to get them completely edited out or b) is just another story that I can use to build my skill and not do anything else besides post it here.

*sigh*

Well, I’ll actually correct myself. After reading everything in this thread, well, most everything, it basically comes down to that you might or might not get help and you might or might not get permission. If you really, really, really need the lyrics in there, then you should include them. If not, then don’t. (Someone went as far as to say avoid poetry of all kind, which I typically agree with.)

There is the chance that having two copies work out well, because then if permission cannot be obtained, then the story can be submitted through the backup

Unfortunately, that doesn’t help me, because my story relies on my lyrics. She almost has a conversation with them.

So, I’m back down to one short story. That makes me sad. I really need to get better at writing.

Here’s another article about reprinting lyrics if you’re highly curious.

 

Oh my goodness, this is real!

I’m going to admit. I’m a procrastinator. I will wait as long as possible to do something so long as it can be done in enough time that I don’t lose sleep. (I like my sleep.) That is why I am currently writing a blog post and other things instead of studying for my final tomorrow. :)

At the beginning of this year, I mentioned that my goal is to get my first rejection letter. I need to do actually submit something or else I never will.

I haven’t yet. But I am working on it.

Like, I am actually gathering everything to submit this manuscript. Someone who I don’t know, but how could give me money, is actually going to read what I have written. (And probably promptly toss in the in the garbage.)

Yikes!

I’m almost freaking out and I’m almost getting excited at the same time. This is scary! And exciting. Both. Yeah. I might get addicted to this soon. :)

In the mean time, I must go eat lunch. I think the printer’s out of paper here anyway, so I can’t print anything until tonight. (Though I need to go obtain an envelope to mail this in.)

EDIT (about six hours later): Now I’m second guessing myself and thinking that maybe it isn’t ready. Oi! That’s why I need to do this. Because it’s never going to be ready for my satisfaction.

Good evening, folks.

Wow!

I realize that it has probably seemed like forever since I have written here last. I’ve missed it. No. I have not forgotten all of my fine readers. However, I needed to take a break because life became busy (okay, and I got a little discouraged/depressed in June), and then I had nothing to speak about because I’ve been a bad writer and haven’t written anything all summer.

*gasp*

I know. The horror.

Actually, I just finished writing the first draft a short story, which I started two weeks ago, so that was still summer, right?

Unfortunately, I can’t promise that I’m back for six days a week like before. See, I moved since I last wrote. Okay. I moved an hour away from my old home, but it involved a school transfer. I am now living in the dorms. And to be honest, dorm life can be busy. I went to two meetings tonight, both lasting an hour, and then dinner lasted an hour too.

I’m also taking six classes this semester, and of those, it looks like I must read the textbook for three of them. Plus papers. Plus my own writing. So, I’m still trying to work out priorities. But, I’ll try to make this more important.

On the plus side, one of the classes I’m taking is creative writing, which means that we’ll probably get some things that I’ve never discussed or would have discussed (such as poetry). I’m also taking Native American Studies, which will probably give some fascinating ideas to incorporate into a world. I wrote in the paper that

 I hope to learn more about the culture of the Oyate so I can use that information in the future.

Now, in the future he’ll think when I’m teaching, but by in the future, I mean in my writing. Sneaky, eh?

Another thing that’s coming soon is I’m actually going to sit down and reformat this blog. While that means a lot of work for me, it also means that I’m going to try and make my stories in an easier readable formate, with the idea that you can then put it on an ebook reader.  Now, I’ll just offer them as either an RTF or a PDF (votes anyone?) but that’s another change here. I’m realizing how important it is to develop a pre-publishing fan base, which sounds really bad, I know, but with how things are going, it’s more than likely that books from new authors will not be published soon. As such, anything I can do to make it easier for you, I will.

These changes will probably include a list of books I’ve read, since I’ve been reading a bit more, and maybe a three line review. However, we’ll see how that goes.

So, that’s my official coming back post and I’ll see you around.

Sending off the babies.

If you don’t know, I’ve been working on writing a synopsis off and on for Shad over the course of the semester. I start thinking that I’ll probably be done soon, especially since I finished my semester today and school won’t start again until at least May 31st.

As such, I started looking for information about how to work on synopses. Unfortunately, they all say the same, obvious tips. Keep things basic. Don’t do anything stupid. Include only what’s needed. Ect.

However, I found this great blog post that summarizes all this rather well.  The Basics: Standard Manuscript Format and Mailing. The synopsis I skimmed, but he also included information on a cover letter.

Hopefully, this will help you all as well as it helped me.

Ebooks for free increasing sales?

A lot of us right now know about the controversy and questions of the future of publishing. If i was smart, I would be doing my research paper on the status of ebooks at the moment, and in the future, but I’m not smart. However, while looking for other things, I found an article that linked to a study. The study found that the short term sales of print books went up after a free online ebook was released.

Interestingly, when a book was released for free and for an indefinite time, it actually increased the sales by an average of 5%.  However, when Tor released an ebook for only a week, it decreased the sales of that book drastically.

Anyway, here is the summary of the study and here is the whole article, in case you are interested in reading on that.

The ban of a writer’s existence: the synopsis

I wrote a novel a while back. I edited it really carefully. I think it’s good. I don’t know, but I think.

The problem that I’m having is I need to write a synopsis for this novel in order to do anything with it. That leaves me confuzzled. I do searches and I can’t seem to learn a lot.

Which brings me to this week’s question.

Do you know if any good websites or tips for writing really good synopses?

Maybe, in view of this question, I should make it my goal this year to get my first rejection letter. (Ouch. That’s tough. But a good plan in my head.)

Everyone’s Writing Stinks.

So although I normally post links on Thursday, and interesting facts on Wednesday, I’m breaking from my usual routine for a very simple reason. (Well, two simple reasons.) First, I’m much too tired to put any energy into writing a decent post tonight. Second, I really would like to write a post about my bus trip, since buses are commonly used in fiction and I think an accurate portrayal of them makes sense to explain.

That being said, my friend shared this funny page  about one star reviews for classic books on Amazon. This is as a reminder that even the best writers are told their books are bad.

Some from the books I’ve read/know:

The Grapes of Wrath (1939)

Author: John Steinbeck

“While the story did have a great moral to go along with it, it was about dirt! Dirt and migrating. Dirt and migrating and more dirt.”

The Great Gatsby (1925)

Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald

“It grieves me deeply that we Americans should take as our classic a book that is no more than a lengthy description of the doings of fops.”

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (1950)

Author: C.S. Lewis

“I bought these books to have something nice to read to my grandkids. I had to stop, however, because the books are nothing more than advertisements for “Turkish Delight,” a candy popular in the U.K. The whole point of buying books for my grandkids was to give them a break from advertising, and here (throughout) are ads for this “Turkish Delight”! How much money is this Mr. Lewis getting from the Cadbury’s chocolate company anyway? This man must be laughing to the bank.”

1984 (1948)

Author: George Orwell

“Don’t listen to anyone who tries to distinguish between “serious” works of literature like this one and allegedly “lesser” novels. The distinction is entirely illusory, because no novels are “better” than any others, and the concept of a “great novel” is an intellectual hoax. This book isn’t as good as Harry Potter in MY opinion, and no one can refute me. Tastes are relative!”

The Grapes of Wrath (1939)
Author: John Steinbeck

“While the story did have a great moral to go along with it, it was about dirt! Dirt and migrating. Dirt and migrating and more dirt.”