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Publish me!

Discussion in 'Congregation of the Masses' started by Alchemator, Jul 28, 2012.

  1. Alchemator

    Alchemator my god if you don't have an iced tea for me when i
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    Hold your horses, donkeys, and various quadrupeds, mods. This ain't an advertisement. This is a

    BLOG

    Ok not quite that either. Let me explain further:

    As many of you will already know, I'm a writer and budding author. Interestingly, back when I was younger I hated writing short stories and the like (I guess I was suffering from premature writer's block), but as I've grown older I've found it more and more entertaining to write stories and come up with interesting characters and so on. I even delight in putting themes and symbolism into things, which is pretty weird for a 16-year-old Brit. I should instead enjoy getting off my face on vodka and vomiting all down myself. Each to their own.

    Now, after that little ramble there, I'll bring you back to the beginning: "As many of you will already know, I'm a writer and budding author." -- perhaps you'll ask, "Hey, Alch, what's the difference?", and I guess the answer to that is "Gotta be published to be an author, man!"

    So that's what I intend to do, and I figured you guys might be interested in seeing how I get along in the world of full recycling bins and deleted emails, and some of you might even be able to help me on my quest. Obviously this isn't going to be a fast process -- publishers just love to make you wait -- so expect contributions with as much as a month between them. Of course, it would be awesome to hear your opinions/experiences on/of publishing.


    Yes this thread is quite scatty so far: I just spent the whole day working on preparation for a submission, so my brain is mushed. Writing synopses is definitely not fun.

    So, like I said, I've spent the day preparing for my virgin submission [not a euphemism for sexual assault], which I plan to set in motion tomorrow. Instead of giving you a run-down of the novella I plan to send off, I'm just going to show you exactly what I'm sending to the publisher.

    Wish me luck!

    Oh, and one more thing: I welcome criticism, but please keep it constructive. I'm self-conscious enough as it is.


    And the accompanying synopsis:
    Show Hide

  2. Matthew

    Matthew I love weather; Sun for days
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    I didn't finish reading this, sorry but this struck me:

  3. Furosuto

    Furosuto

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    Well Alch, you have a lot of guts to be already trying to publish a book. I wish you the best of luck, and if it happens to get published, I'll make sure to look for it in the next bookstore I go into (no seriously, tell me the name of what the book will be, who it's by, and I will reserve one).

    The main character definitely struggles in this book, but from the little summary you gave us, it seems like a believable story too, which makes it all the better. I can't wait to read it, that's for sure!
  4. ChaoticaMortis

    ChaoticaMortis

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    I'm not very skilled at giving writing critiques (especially to writers who are much more talented than I), so I can't really do anything for you in that department. However, I will say that I quite enjoyed what little of this you have to present. I really love the concept and would definitely like to see the full story. It's a damn shame that most 16-year-old kids in my school can barely write a complete sentence, and it's comforting to know there are people like you who've developed an obvious knack for writing at such a young age.
  5. kittenmay

    kittenmay

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    Alch, if you want I'll critique your query? I assume that's what you're asking.

    But there is a forum site for writers, and there is a sub forum for query letter critiques. I can give you the link if you want.
  6. Alchemator

    Alchemator my god if you don't have an iced tea for me when i
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    Yeah I deliberately didn't capitalise that. To me, God is the Christian deity, whereas "there is no god" refers to a lack of deity from any religion. While the book is based within the Christian religion, I've done a fair few things to try and broaden its message. For example, the words "God", "Bible" and "Hell" aren't present anywhere in the text.

    The purpose of this thread is more to detail my progress in getting published: once I send it off and get a reply back, I'll update this thread with what they said [if anything], and talk about what I'll change to make the book more appealing to publishers. I guess I'm hoping for this thread to be as short as possible, in a way!

    If you want to post a critique, though, it's welcome.
  7. xenu

    xenu aaeuaueu
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    as a 16-year-old writer myself, i'm legitimately impressed not only at your skill but also the fact that you actually managed to put up a 40k word novel; i've tried my hand at writing novels too and have continually scrapped and restarted several different fiction projects over the years, either due to lack of time or loss of interest. it's great to see you've pulled it off, though. i really liked your story, good luck!

    out of curiosity, are you submitting your work to just one particular publishing house or are you applying to multiple publishers?
  8. Alchemator

    Alchemator my god if you don't have an iced tea for me when i
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    For the moment, I'll live in the blissful delusion that one submission is all it will take.

    Obviously, though, that's bull.

    I'll be sending work to multiple publishing houses, but hopefully keeping them local (so not big firms, which hopefully will make it easier for me to get published). Your question is a little ambiguous: are you asking whether I'll be sending it to multiple publishers simultaneously? To answer that question, I'm not sure -- I guess what matters for now is getting the ball rolling.
  9. Gabe

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    Alchemator, we have never spoken but I am a writer too. And I commend you for tackling a novel, and being ambitious in general. That's very pleasing to see in a younger writer. I write poetry mostly, and have been published already. Keep in mind that it is highly unlikely that you will be published right away, it is incredibly hard to accomplish that. Edith Sitwell was rejected over 200 times before she was first published. I was rejected around 24 times before it happened for me.

    To be perfectly honest, your submission letter and your synopsis do not read particularly interesting to me. It reads a bit self-indulgent and your writing should not reveal your age. Yours does reveal your age, you sound like a teenager. Take your art seriously, but don't take yourself seriously. I don't know what kind of novelist you envision yourself, or whom your influences are. I'm very interested in what kind of books you read. If I knew what you read and ultimately what you want to do as a novelist I'd have an easier time critiquing you.

    Please don't hold any contempt against me. Literature is the most important thing in my life, and I always love talking to other writers. Honesty is important though. If you would like to discuss more with me, feel free to PM me.

    By the way, don't be self-conscious. If you are self-conscious you won't get anywhere.
  10. Gengan

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    Alch, I hope you get published! ^.^ I used to dabble in a bit of writing (but that ended with the world's longest Writer's Block), so I know how hard it is. If you get published, you should host a party!
  11. Nastyjungle

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    i think one of your main issues in your writing is being wordy for the sake of being wordy
    cutting down on some of the complexity of this would make it much more enjoyable to read, many of your sentences are clunky and do not flow well
  12. Pernicious

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    lots of writers in this thread, i am one too, congratulations on your work, etc

    this post is going to be really rude and obnoxious, sorry for that, you can just skip it, but i read the introduction letter and noticed a few little things that might be off-putting to a potential publisher's office that i saw in the rest of your post as well. so i made edits to the letter and the synopsis. -my criticism may seem like an overreaction but I TA a lot of work and see a lot of this kind of not-really-funny but trying to be style that seems to have spread like a virus over most if not all teenagers. try to distance yourself from it; true humor is a criticism of the comedian, and true comedians are able to see themselves wryly and critically.

    you don't have to listen to any of this but better that some random asshole on a pokemon website says it than a publisher. i am american so maybe some of your stuff is more accessible in britain which might account for me feeling like certain words are off. gabe is right that your submission letter is uninteresting. to be brutally honest, you pepper it with a number of little jokes and pedantic details, most of which are vaguely humorous but not really funny. stuff like:


    also, Matthew is right. regardless of the context, you have to capitalize God, it is a stylistic choice. nastyjungle is right too, try to not use a flowery word when a simple one will do. it will clear up your writing and remove some your voice (since you're writing in the third person, your voice really should not be as prominent as it is, especially since it's very self-conscious as you yourself have pointed out)

    for the synopsis:

    i didn't pay attention to the thematic structure and plot, just word and tone choices. honestly, ignore this if you want, whatever, but I think you have a lot of potential and talent and it would be a shame to see some publisher reject all of your hard work just because a perceived lack of professionalism. kudos to your accomplishment and i wish you luck in all your noblest endeavors.
  13. iDunno

    iDunno

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    The main issue with young writers is that they often feel they need to prove themselves by writing in archaic and verbose prose in order to be taken seriously. The problem with this synopsis is that it is marketed to 14-19 year olds, yet the language chosen sounds like the last thing a 14-19 year old might want to read one word of let alone 40000. When you write to be published, you come to the sobering truth that you write not for yourself but for your audience. I feel that when you take that to heart you will be able to reach your potential as a writer.

    Your ideas are clever. Their execution is a tad immature.

    The writer's biggest fear is that his message will not be heard. The first step to ensuring that you WILL be heard is to create a narrative that will enrapture the reader and convey its message subtly.


    EDIT: I would just like to clarify that I don't think your writing is bad. Your grammar and syntax is fine and your prose is sound. You just need to be less concerned about the words you choose and more concerned about the elements of your actual story. Clean windows cannot drive a car.
  14. Alchemator

    Alchemator my god if you don't have an iced tea for me when i
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    Good responses so far!

    Already got the cushions for the blow.

    I'll be straight up honest with you and say that I was pretty thrown when I first read this, but I'm thankful for all the help given -- if you do something, do it well.

    E: Forgot to mention one thing, in the publisher's submission guidelines, it says this:
    Hopefully that should explain the presence of the bragging, which I hated doing.[/HIDE]

    I somewhat resent accusations that I choose to be verbose or deliberately 'flower-up' my language choices. I do not try to "prove myself" or attempt to be pretentious, I just write.
  15. Matthew

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    Probably not worthwhile but in the context which it is used, a former religious man I assume, him saying there is no God makes it iffy. I'm sure you could change the sentence itself, but God exists in many religions apart from Christianity. Though from what I read of the Jewish religious works they blank out His name (it was mostly bar mitzvahs) either way, in the context of your synopsis it isn't clear that he's speaking to all deities from any religion. Which is why that would seem incorrect. I suggest changing the "there is no god" to something where a) it would fit in better context where the man denounces all religion or b) change it from God to gods with different wording of course. These types of things are important to consumers, or at least the demographic in which I am in, though I guess you may not be aiming for the demographic in which I am apart of, and that's okay!
  16. iDunno

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    Your synopsis does not give a clear picture of the plot. I do not understand what is being built up to. The theme is not portrayed consistently. First it's about fitting in and then it suddenly is about hatred of religion and then hate in general. The scene with the piano also comes across as strange and out of place. You should explain why it's significant and why it fits in with the rest of the story.
  17. Astrid

    Astrid

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    I really liked the twist at the end of the synopsis. Reminded me of Fight Club.
    Anyway, whether you listen to the constructive criticism being offered to you or not, I wish you the best of luck! I'll be sure to pick up a copy if/when this gets published.
  18. ChaoticaMortis

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    Again, while I'm not very skilled at or knowledgeable about writing like this, I'd have to disagree with a few of the things Pernicious advised you to change. A few of his changes recommended you lay off on some of the humor, while I actually thought some of the jokes made it a better read (personal preferences on humor are obviously going to differ between different folks, so that's not a big deal). I also think that he's mistaking your habit of sometimes using more complex words as a purposeful way to make your writing look smarter, when they're probably just characteristics of your writing style. People are going to have different opinions on these two specific matters, so don't feel inclined to change them up because some readers might not get the point.

    Other than that I think Pernicious said a lot of helpful things, and am further impressed by the level of maturity and intelligence being displayed in this thread... It's a forum, this shit's not normal.
  19. Jellicent

    Jellicent ~the spirit who loves spirits~
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    Damn, this is weird for me...

    I spent several months writing the rough draft of a novella (novel? hard to tell actual length when it's handwritten >.>) When I finally started typing the second draft, my laptop died. I got a new one, and decided I'd keep a backup for my files. That lasted the whole of two chapters before I got careless again, and then my hard drive got erased X__X At that point, I decided to distance myself from it for a bit and come back with a fresh perspective. It was around that time that I started writing for Smogon, and soon I was able to put it in the far back of my mind.

    Anyway, the reason this is weird for me is today at work, the whole story kinda came flooding back into my mind. I started remembering characters and motifs and shit that I hadn't thought of for months. I was thinking it's finally time for me to get cracking on the second draft once more, and when I got home, I saw this thread o_o Chalk it up to fate (not Fatecrashers >.>) I guess...

    So, more on topic, I'm wondering how you are going about trying to get your work published. Are you just mailing off what you posted above and hoping? Did you get any outside help with how to get a foot in the door? How many drafts did you go through? Are you actually planning on using a pseudonym? (That's actually always been my plan. I like to keep my work and my personal life separate, I suppose...)

    Also, I'd recommend not completely dismissing what Pernicious and others have said. Criticism can be harsh, but that's the best kind of criticism. People saying "oh, god, that was great!" are the least helpful critics. Always be open to how you can improve your work, and how you can better present yourself and your work to potential publishers. A diverse vocabulary is of course a great thing, but being able to present your intentions clearly without resorting to unnecessary wordiness reveals a deeper mastery of language ("To be, or not to be, that is the question:" Shit's basic, but there's a reason it's iconic. There's also a reason not many remember the shit that comes after it.) It doesn't have to be simple, but don't let it be superfluous. Also, always keep your audience in mind. There's a difference between writing for publishers, writing for 14-19 year olds, and writing for yourself. None of that junk is meant to be belittling or anything, just some advice from one writer to another.

    Completely unrelated, are you ever gonna try out for the GP team? I started out GPing so I could keep a careful eye out for problems with my own work, and I think it's actually helped. The fact that I genuinely enjoy it makes me wonder if I should consider a career in editing...

    Oh yeah, and best of luck with getting published! I know you've got the talent, so don't let any nay-saying publishers crush your hopes. Instead, be eager for their critiques, take in their advice, and never stop trying to improve your style. You got this, kid ^.^
  20. RitterCat

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    I don't have enough experience or knowledge to help you out here too much Alch, so I'm just going to say good luck, hopefully things will go well for you and if/when it comes out I'll definitely pick up a copy! It's great to see your commitment paying off in a first submission, and hopefully this novella is the first of many to come.

    All I will say is listen to criticism, it might seem harsh but it will help you become better.

    Also seconding Jelli on trying out for the GP team, hopefully your answer has changed since the last time I asked you!

    Also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Split_infinitive

    Good luck Alchemator [Alch / Alchy / Alchmeister / Al Alchemist / Alcheroony]! Alcheroony is the best ever
  21. Alchemator

    Alchemator my god if you don't have an iced tea for me when i
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    New Versions (open)


    It's difficult for me to make any changes with regards to "this synopsis/letter isn't interesting", because an equal amount of people have found it interesting. Where is the distinction between objectivity and personal taste? Nevertheless: thank you for all the criticism!

    I'll probably send this off tomorrow if no-one has any further comment.

    Looks like Astrid got it.

    Yep. Obviously it's key to read each publisher's submission guidelines, so I'll be chopping and changing both the query letter and synopsis as fits their requirements.

    I've had no outside help: this criticism is the first I've heard on the matter. This is why I'd love to hear stories of people attempting to / getting published, and you're free to post them in this thread!

    As for a pseudonym, I've certainly considered it. My surname is kinda clunky and unattractive, so I may end up replacing that, but we'll see.

    I've done a little bit of unofficial GPing [and GPing for The Smog] in the past, but I don't think I suit it -- while I can see the benefits of being part of the team, I think my style is a little bit flamboyant for analyses.

    Thank you to both the well-wishers and the critics!
  22. smashlloyd20

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    You know you missed the close bracket at the end of your nickname list, right?

    Also I wouldn't put in so many nicknames. It makes it really hard to take you seriously.
  23. Yonko7

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    I applaud you for writing this early, usually people wait until they finish college / university (depending where in the world you are). I hope it works out, and maybe it'll get made into a movie. (Twilight :kongler:)
  24. Alchemator

    Alchemator my god if you don't have an iced tea for me when i
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    Having tweaked it a little (there were a few typos left from editing in the critiques) I have just sent off the query letter and synopsis to the first publisher on my list.

    I'd be grateful if you could now hold critique until I receive their verdict, because it'll just make me horrendously insecure otherwise!

    Thank you again for you help, and I'll be sure to update this thread with the publisher's judgement when it returns.

    In the meantime, I'm very curious as to Smogon's interaction with publishers. I know Gabe has already said he's published, but surely there must be more on this site. I'd love to hear from you!

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