I'm Trying to Get a Book Published! discussion

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

My name is Aly. I am a freshman in high school. I have experienced a good bit of writer's block, especially on my regular stories. I have written more poetry than anything. It is something I enjoy. I may have some of my poetry published later. Maybe even regular stories could be published if I ever get rid of my writer's block. You can check out my writing here. Please let me know if you think any of it is worth publishing. I judge my work a little harder than my friends say I should. Opinions are appreciated.

message 2: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ Thanks for joining, Aly :) I will have to check out your writing ...

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)


message 4: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ sure thing :)

message 5: by Kevis (new)

Kevis Hendrickson (kevishendrickson) | 190 comments Hi Aly,

I checked out your writing. Well done! It's amazing that you can write so well at such a young age. I can only imagine what your work is going to be like in a few years. You should be proud of yourself. I will be keeping an eye on you to see what you do next!

message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Thanks. I read your comments. I appreciate your assistance.

message 7: by Kevis (new)

Kevis Hendrickson (kevishendrickson) | 190 comments Aly,

No problem. I really enjoyed reading your work. You are immensely talented. Trust me, I wouldn't say that if it weren't true.

message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Thank you. I appreciate it, but poetry is just a pass time. I doubt I have anything serious enough to be published.

message 9: by Kevis (last edited Jul 25, 2009 02:06PM) (new)

Kevis Hendrickson (kevishendrickson) | 190 comments Many of the best writers that ever lived such as Shakespeare began their writing careers by writing poetry. You should always do what comes naturally for you. Whenever you're ready to hunker down and write a novel, you'll know when its time. You've already shown that you can use language well. IMHO, that's the most important part of being a good writer. That puts you one step ahead of the game. ;)

message 10: by Davis (new)

Davis (davismattek) It is true, most great novelists were also very good poets. It is essential, I believe, to understanding the pure beauty of language and using it belletristicly in ficton.

message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

I love the way words can be used by themselves or as a phrase. They can be put together one way to make you feel like you are flying from the peace they bring, or they can be combined to give you the sorrow character may feel. I usually have too much writer's block to get into a true story. It is easier to tell a story trhough poetry for me. Everything just flows to the paper with its own story.

message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Thank you both for the kind words.

message 13: by Caitlan (new)

Caitlan (lionesserampant) haha no kind words for me! my writing sucks!

message 14: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ heey don't put yourself down. :(

message 15: by Caitlan (new)

Caitlan (lionesserampant) but its true!

message 16: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ is not

message 17: by Caitlan (new)

Caitlan (lionesserampant) is too

message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

well I haven't read ur writing but I would love to. I don't think all that highly of mine either but I judge my writing pretty hard

message 19: by Caitlan (last edited Jul 25, 2009 07:33PM) (new)

Caitlan (lionesserampant) same here.....and this is what kevis said....


I've read Fire Touched and although I see the potential, there are some things that don't work for me. I think my biggest problem is that after having read 5 chapters of your book I still don't know where the story is going. Although most authors think they have the full length of their novel to tell their story, the truth is a book has to grab the attention of the reader right away and hold it afterwards. You had me in the first chapter, but things started to get confusing with all the characters popping in or out without explaining what was going on. Be careful in trying to create suspense in your story at the expense of divulging important information. Every scene in your book should either advance the plot or reveal critical information of the characters or both.

My advice to you would be to reveal the overall plot of your story at an earlier point so that we know what the quest is. I'll give you an example. One of the things that makes The Lord of the Rings work is that readers know exactly what the story is about by the second chapter. Everything after chapter 2 reveals how Frodo goes about achieving his quest. If you really want to hold your readers attention, you need to tell them what the story is about from the outset of your story, not as it goes along. With that said, Kirilee is an interesting character and I am intrigued to find out more about her.

message 20: by [deleted user] (new)

Lord of the Rings? I was neeeever hooked with Lord of the Rings.

sorry. I just wasn't.

message 21: by Caitlan (new)

Caitlan (lionesserampant) i was fine, until the second book...there was this part where they were talking, and it just got to boring for me....but the movies were amazing!

message 22: by Kevis (last edited Jul 26, 2009 01:52PM) (new)

Kevis Hendrickson (kevishendrickson) | 190 comments Kirilee,

Your writing does not suck. Nor was it my intent to make you feel bad about your abilities as a writer. Let me be upfront with you all. I am almost twice as old as most of the writers in this group and have been writing stories since I was in elementary school. It took me many years to gain my current level of skill. I am not the greatest writer in the world, but I am not a novice. Every time I sit down to write I strive to achieve perfection. Is perfection attainable? No. But that doesn't stop me from trying.

No writer should ever be entirely content with their work, no matter how good he/she thinks it is. Any wordsmith, and we are all wordsmiths, has to understand that to get better, we have to examine our works closely. Even if we don't see the flaws, other people will.

With that said, Kirilee, your writing skills are far superior to mine when I was your age. If it means anything, I have some harsh critics of my work too. However, I always listen to my dissenters to see if they have a valid point of criticism. In fact, they almost always do. But criticism should be constructive. Last week one of the people who bought one of my books was so angry at the way I wrote it, he told me he nearly broke his Kindle after slamming it on the table.

Was there something wrong with my book? Maybe. Maybe not. But I would never have known what that problem was had I not taken the time to find out what bothered my reader. Criticism comes with the territory. You can either try to learn from it or you run the risk of never achieving your full potential as a writer.

Just remember one thing. No story is meant for all readers. But the mechanics of writing is what matters most, especially at this tender point in your writing development.

My suggestion to you is to think about what I said and see if there wasn't a valid reason for me saying what I did.

message 23: by Kevis (last edited Jul 25, 2009 08:24PM) (new)

Kevis Hendrickson (kevishendrickson) | 190 comments Just so that we understand the nature of showcasing our art to the public, here is a list of a few bestselling books with plenty of negative reviews. (Reviews taken from Amazon)

The Da Vinci Code 716 1 star reviews

Twilight Book I-438 1 star reviews

Eragon-Inheritance 429 1 star reviews

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 76 1 star reviews

The Amber Spyglass 81 1 star reviews

Are these books really that bad? It all depends on which reader you ask. All of the books on this list are popular and sell by the bucket loads. And yet, there are plenty of people who don't like them. I posted this list to show you that sometimes even though one reader may take issue with your writing another will champion it. The goal is to create the best piece of writing that you are humanly possible of creating. But to do that you have to be willing to accept that it may not be perfect the first time around.

message 24: by [deleted user] (new)


message 25: by Kevis (last edited Jul 25, 2009 08:48PM) (new)

Kevis Hendrickson (kevishendrickson) | 190 comments I don't mean to beat this topic to death, but most of the writers in this group are very young. Many of the things that I mention you will figure out on your own through experience. But it will take you a lot longer to reach your goals in the process.

I've noticed one major problem with inexperienced fiction writers (and some of the experienced ones as well). For some reason they think that they have to play footsie with their readers to build suspense. Having suspense in your story is fine and all, but there is a right and wrong way to go about. Not allowing your reader to know what your story is about after a few chapters is not suspense. It's suicide!

The reason why I brought up The Lord of the Rings is because it is structurally sound. Chapter one introduces us to the main character, chapter two tells us what the story is about, chapter three sends the main character off on his quest. This is called plot structure. It's okay to break the rules sometimes. But you had better have a good and compelling reason for doing it.

A great test to know if your book is working for readers or not is to see if they can tell you what will happen next. Most of the best books give the reader a chance to participate in the storytelling. This does not mean your story has to be predictable. But there is a good chance that your story is headed for trouble if after 4 or 5 chapters a reader doesn't know where the story is going. This is the crux of my criticism of Kirilee's story. I liked the main character and the subject matter. In fact, I loved the first chapter. But when I finished reading all of the sample chapters there was not enough information divulged to tell me what the story was about. Young writers often make this mistake. But the problem is easily solved by going back and seeing if you have put enough information in the early chapters of your book to tell a reader what it is about. If I have to wait until chapter 10 to finally know what your story is about, you probably have already lost me as a reader. Word to the wise, get your story going as early as possible and let the suspense take care of itself.

message 26: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ Excellent advice ... I often make that mistake myself. lol. I like to jump right into the action and not do any explaining until later on, but then everyone who reads it is like O.o "... what?"

message 27: by Kevis (last edited Jul 26, 2009 02:12PM) (new)

Kevis Hendrickson (kevishendrickson) | 190 comments Brigid,

I remember Kara commenting on your book that she felt that your opening chapter should probably come later in the story because there wasn't enough information provided in the first chapter about how your characters ended up in the situation they were in.

I disagree. One of the reasons why chapter one of Reborn is so successful is because you used a very popular and effective technique called "media res". It's a Greek word that means "in the middle".

Starting your story "the the middle" of the action creates intensity and (lo and behold) suspense, because readers want to know what created the current situation. Remember the opening shot in the first Star Wars movie where Princess Leia's ship is fleeing from Vader? This is an excellent example of media res. Movie audiences are held spellbound when they see the large, menacing Imperial Star Destroyer bearing down on Leia's smaller cruiser. Immediately, audiences are hooked as they begin to wonder what happened to create this situation and more importantly what's going to happen next.

Media res is a writing technique that I regularly employ in my books such as The Legend of Witch Bane. But even if you decide to start your story in the middle of the action you still have to be careful not to forget to tell your readers what your story is about.

message 28: by Caitlan (new)

Caitlan (lionesserampant) well, isnt it obvious that kirilee is going to go after her parents?i thought it was obvious...

message 29: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ Kevis wrote: "Brigid,

I remember Kara commenting on your book that she felt that your opening chapter should probably come later in the story because there wasn't enough information provided in the first chapte..."

thanks :)

cool! i've never heard that term before. *stores word "media res" in brain*

i actually just wrote that as the first chapter because it was the first scene that popped in my head, so i just wrote it down. >< later on i went back and related it more to the rest of the story. :) it's gone through a lot of editing ...

message 30: by Kevis (new)

Kevis Hendrickson (kevishendrickson) | 190 comments Brigid,

It's a good chapter. Well done. I'll try to finish reading the rest of your story later on tonight. Then I can let you know my thoughts on your sample chapters.

message 31: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ Thank you! :) I think I may need some help particularly with Chapter Two. I spent days editing it ... I had some difficulty explaining the background story about the Protectors/Destroyers. So if you could let me know how I can make the story clearer, I would really appreciate it. :]

message 32: by Kevis (last edited Jul 26, 2009 04:59PM) (new)

Kevis Hendrickson (kevishendrickson) | 190 comments Kirilee,

The problem with your story is that, in my opinion, it is not obvious until the very end of your last chapter that Kirilee wants to save her parents. What helps to create this confusion is that you have way too many characters being introduced too quickly which distracts the reader from the plot. Instead of me trying to figure out what your story is about, I'm trying to understand why Registrar Jude, Scrappy, Autumn, and the assassins keep disappearing only a couple of paragraphs after they show up. After that there are more mysterious characters showing up. Then there is a new Autumn who replaces the old one immediately after we meet her.

A reader has no time to even breathe let alone keep up with the influx of characters, none of whom stay around long enough to remember their names. All of this within 5 very briefly written chapters is completely overwhelming and hurts your story. Instead of having your readers focus on figuring out who's who and why they keep disappearing every other paragraph, why not spend that time explaining to us what your story is about? Why not reveal to us in a more direct fashion that Kirilee is consumed with either the whereabouts or how much she misses them? And no, none of this is obvious.

message 33: by Caitlan (new)

Caitlan (lionesserampant) well, isnt it obvious that kirilee is going to go after her parents?i thought it was obvious...

message 34: by Kevis (last edited Jul 26, 2009 05:12PM) (new)

Kevis Hendrickson (kevishendrickson) | 190 comments Kirilee,

Since I haven't had a chance to read your entire story, I need to ask you something imnportant. Is your entire book about Kirilee's quest to save her parents? Does your book end with Kirilee finding or/not finding her parents? If so, then I will reluctantly admit that you can get away with what you did so long as you go back and lay down the bricks better in the first few chapters that this is what your book is about.

On the other hand, if your book is not about Kirilee's quest to save her parents, then you really have a serious problem with your story.

message 35: by Caitlan (last edited Jul 26, 2009 05:15PM) (new)

Caitlan (lionesserampant) its not exactly, she goes on that, but.....i cant tell you, it would ruin it......well, kirilees parents are dead...the note is a trap, and...she goes to the camp, and sends scrappy in as a decoy.....well, scrappy dies, but autumn set an alarm, and kirilee is kidnapped and taken to the palace...she wakes up in the dungeon...all while this is going on...jason, the usurpur(sp?), and his sister jessamine are plotting how to destroy kirilee, because she is the link that will help the over thrown king tyan regain his throne....thats all im releasing!

message 36: by Kevis (last edited Jul 26, 2009 05:24PM) (new)

Kevis Hendrickson (kevishendrickson) | 190 comments Kirilee,

With the answer you have just given, you have proven me correct. At the end of your final sample chapter, Kirilee gets word that her parents are alive. It is only at this point in the story that it is finally mentioned that she wants to save her parents. This point is never brought up in the previous chapters. I was suspect that your book isn't about Kirilee's quest for her parents. Which is why I asked you what it was about. Now you have revealed to me that your book is not about her quest to save her parents.

So the question remains: What is it about? Unfortunately, after having read all of your sample chapters, if someone asks me what is Kirilee's story about, all I can do is to throw my hands up in the air because I don't know. Worse, you have just said that you can't tell me. I don't mind you keeping a critical story plot secret. But doesn't this defeat your argument about saying that my critique of your story was wrong?

message 37: by Caitlan (new)

Caitlan (lionesserampant) Just to clear one thing up...I never said your critique was wrong...in fact, I have just revised the entire plot...

message 38: by Kevis (last edited Jul 26, 2009 05:33PM) (new)

Kevis Hendrickson (kevishendrickson) | 190 comments Kirilee,

From what I have read, you have the makings of a good story. But my efforts here have only been to point out to you a serious flaw that prevented me from enjoying your story. Had the main plot been obvious from the start of your book and the scenes in your sample chapters reinforced that point your story would have had clarity and meaning. Both of these elements are essential to making sure that when a reader like me comes along that I can follow your story without going wondering why it doesn't make sense to me. I am, however, glad to hear that you are revising your plot. Anything that you do to make your stories better is a plus. ;)

message 39: by Caitlan (new)

Caitlan (lionesserampant) thank you....i think im going to make the first chapter the prolouge, and add more.....good? well, gtg bye

message 40: by Kevis (new)

Kevis Hendrickson (kevishendrickson) | 190 comments The first chapter definitely fits being a prologue. You're already on the right track. Good luck. Talk to you later.

message 41: by Caitlan (new)

Caitlan (lionesserampant) in the mean time, can you look at my other story? heres the link to all my stories, and poems.... http://www.goodreads.com/story/list/1...

message 42: by Kevis (new)

Kevis Hendrickson (kevishendrickson) | 190 comments I'll check them out as soon as I can. But I'll be sure to let you know how it goes. :)

message 43: by [deleted user] (new)

...wow, this was definitely not something I expected on my thread. not that I mind, but I came back with alot of comments here. lol

message 44: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ lol sorry ... o_O

message 45: by [deleted user] (new)

no thats fine. I am happy that it as least helping people and it is a succesful spot for a topic.

message 46: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ oh okay ><
still, we'll try not get off-topic. lol.

message 47: by [deleted user] (new)

lol. either way.

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