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Rob Anybody
October 13th, 2005, 01:55 AM
G'day guys, I'm a newbie to the site and am also an official reviewer - gotta love it. But my question lies within my fantasy-adventure that I'm writing.

I want to know how to know that your on the right track. How do you know that what your writing is good work and able to be published.

And before the purists yell unclean, let me clarify. I write because I like writing, that's why I have been writing fan-fiction and poems and essays, I haven't received any money yet. But one day I'd like others to read my novels, and yes get the money that comes with that.

Now I'm nowhere near being published, and I most likely might start out by self publishing through Lulu or the Amazon.com one. But I want to know how to get an idea on what the story is shaping up like an what they think should happen.

Any ideas or thoughts would be greatly appreciated,
Rob Anybody

JamesL
October 13th, 2005, 03:35 AM
Probably the best way of determining whether your story is going anywhere is to join an online fantasy/sf writer's group. I can't think of any of off the top of my head but I know there are quite a few knocking about (some of which are free) and there you would hopefully get the feedback you are looking for.

As for self-publishing, I would suggest not resorting to that unless your story is rejected by all of the traditional publishing houses you submit to. Self-publishing gets your story in print, certainly, but it smacks of desperation and most authors that self-publish do so because their work is not good enough.
That said, it is perfectly acceptable so the choice is yours, but you should try traditional publishing first. I have to admit though that I struggle to think of self-published works that became hugely popular, though I'm sure someone could possibly suggest some. ;) The only self-published work I know of that became something of a sensation was Shadowmancer by G. P. Taylor and it is, to be quite honest, a complete load of rubbish. How he landed a multi-million contract from that we will never know. :(

The main point with self-publishing is that it will get your book in print, but probably not get much publicity or accolades. Still, many people find they have little choice.

tracyt1800
October 13th, 2005, 10:34 AM
Are there any writer's groups where you live? It took me a while, but I found several in my town. I liked that better than the online groups ... although the online groups were good, too. I think I just preferred the face-to-face discussions.

There are 5 or 6 scifi and fantasy writers in the group I attend as well as some mystery, romance and general fiction writers. I think having "out of genre" readers critique my work has helped me. And critiquing works that I normally wouldn't read has also helped me develop new ideas.

choppy
October 13th, 2005, 09:57 PM
Step 1. Write a lot.
Step 2. Read a lot.

I'm still trying to master these. Reading a lot of material inside (and outside of) your chosen genre will allow you to gauge how your story compares to others. It also helps you to recognize cliches.

Test readers are also helpful. There are a number of people at this website who exchange manuscripts for critiquing.

Expendable
October 14th, 2005, 03:07 AM
People standing in lines to buy the latest copy of your book.
Your hatemail is handled by a staff of three and an fbi trainee on loan.
Pets, computers and children are being named after your characters.
Hollywood producers you've never met are very friendly and calling you by your first name.
Tabloids are running tell-all stories from people you barely remember.
Some members of the government want to discuss your latest book.
You're being sued for stealing someone else's story.
A christian group is accusing you of glorifying satanistic rites you never mentioned in your book
Your press agent wants you to talk to these nice people standing in front of a tv camera for five minutes and please remember to smile and to mention the name of the book at least three times.
Your advance from the publisher will buy a car. A good car.

Rob Anybody
October 14th, 2005, 07:57 AM
hmmm... people telling 'tell-all' stories about me, most of the people who have known me probably won't remember me... :)

Anybody got any links to online fantasy writing groups or links to said groups in Melbourne Aus?

Rob Anybody

tracyt1800
October 14th, 2005, 01:10 PM
Anybody got any links to online fantasy writing groups or links to said groups in Melbourne Aus?

http://www.critters.org/

And here's a page with several online groups, annual workshops, etc listed:
http://www.sfwa.org/links/workshops.htm

KatG
October 14th, 2005, 08:29 PM
Ooo, I like Expendable's list.

The other lists are good too. You can:

1) Read and study other writers.
2) Turn smart friends into helpful readers.
3) Hire a freelance editor to work with you, preferably one who will not try to rewrite the book his way.
4) Join a critique group, preferably with members who will not think you should write the book their way.
5) Take a writing class, preferably with a teacher who does not tell you there is only one good way to write.
6) Send stuff out, have it rejected, sort through any feedback you get to separate the good comments from the useless or incomprehensible comments, and apply the good ones that help you.
7) Engage in visualization exercises in which you see yourself at your own book signing.

But as helpful as any of these things are, they still won't get you an answer to your question. You can't get what you want -- the search for an assurance that does not exist. Never, ever, will the gods of writing descend from on-high, lay their hands upon your head, and tell you that you are now good enough. Even published writers never know if they are good enough. Certainly there are usually a lot of folk who claim they are not. Every writer goes out into the world having to bear the knowledge that they may fail. And probably will never know why they did. It might not even be because their writing was bad. Because you can't turn something that is entirely subjective into something objective, especially the words "good enough."

How to know? You can never know. And it may seem as if I'm being pessimistic (Unclean! Er, sorry,) but it's the ugly reality that we have to bear. Sharpen your skills, try some of the above and cross your fingers. I'll leave you with the words of Samuel Beckett, which I try to remember:

"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."