Results 31 to 45 of 112
January 21st, 2005, 07:20 AM #31
*Sigh* 700 Words.
Do you want to be an artist or a published writer? It is hard to be both these days I of course jest however, Maus is right, I have been completely unsuccessful in selling 700 Words. Apart from the complete annihilation from Andromeda Spaceways, most editors' comments revolve around resolution.
They either felt cheated or didn't like it hanging, for story neatness. You are right Nicba, they seemed okay NOT having a location, easily identifiable protagonists or antagonists (mine were a collective of a greater whole) but could not accept NOT having a resolution. Even though I feel, that the resolution does occur, it is in the collective coming together and the outside influence or reality is irrelevant.
To make matters worse, I have just finished a new 900 word piece, which essentially leaves the ending open, it's first person, a lot of detail and then ends with the hint of bad things to come. It doesn't have the cute approach of 700 Words, so what chance does it have... We shall see.
I think 'resolution' is changing, or at least the requirement of one in stories, certainly in movies of late. Think 'Lost in translation' or the Adam Sandler movie, 'Punch Drunk Love'. They seem to float along and are snapshots of people's lives, but not your traditional movie structure. I like this quick glimpse of a character's story and have had some success using this approach. Not as abstract or plain weird as 700 words, but snapshots none the less.
Short stories that I really admire are more like brush strokes than mini complete paintings of stories. I DON'T like the idea that a word count restriction means you are simply cramming the elements of a good story into the parameters. I like it when the writer takes less to create resonance.
Sammie will tell you that I do like to play with the norm when it comes to short stories, not always successfully, but I have played with reverse scenes where the twist still comes at the end (beginning) and I have had open endings, no ending and plain strangeness...
I can't change and if it means my publication successes remain on the low side, it just means that when one comes along, it means much more to me. At least tales like 700 Words creates interest from editors, I did have that debate about changing the ending and many people have enjoyed it.
A 'Writer' and proud of it... Perhaps an 'Author' one day
Last edited by juzzza; January 21st, 2005 at 07:33 AM.
January 21st, 2005, 07:25 AM #32Originally Posted by Jacquin
I didn't mean to aim that at you, sorry if it read that way. At the end of the day it is different for us all. I would rather get paid to write in a way that is acceptible to publishers than spend my days earning other people money and write whatever I feel like in my spare time.
I guess what this boils down to is that I don't feel that writing to a formula that will hopefully sell is in any way compromising my principles as a writer. Excluding sheer luck, I see that as the difference between an author and a writer. A writer writes, an author gets paid. I'd rather be an author any day...
January 21st, 2005, 07:36 AM #33
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To go back a ways:
Originally Posted by Holbrook
In opposition is the writer who has an idea come to them, it may not be an idea that makes an easy sale, or any sale at all but it is the one which, to storyteller within the writer, makes the most perfect sense. Its an idea that becomes an obsession, a vision that the writer wishes to share but is also so attached to that criticism is tough to take. I think that writing should always be fun, a chore is a chore - it needs to be done, nothing more. So I have to disagree with you J, writing to a formula is comprimising because its not what you would write its what you should write. Satisfying yourself should always come first, in writing anyway , and by adhering to limitations set on a process as unique and innovative as writing you remove a lot of the possibilities for yourself. That oddball, left-of-centre piece you write freely may be the one piece that makes it big for you, but following a template, a formula means you'll never write that piece and seriously limits your options.
At the end of it all I think you can over analyse writing, I certainly get intimidated coming in here with people banging on about targets and mechanics etc, and most tellingly to me, you mentioned MWStover yet he said he never lets anyone except his editor and occasionally his wife read his work before its published. Sometimes you just have to plough your own path. Plus I really don't think POD is such a bad option, if you can be certain its not purely vanity.
January 21st, 2005, 08:06 AM #34
I am not certain I understand fully the conflict you two have been having. How could anyone actually sit down and write to a formula and get any real sense of satisfaction from it? I wrote something for Wizards of the Coast, written strictly in accordance with their requirements, and I felt as if I was back in grade school completing a homework assignment. I did enjoy doing it, but entirely as an exercise. It was nothing remotely like writing my own books. The room for creativity was limited, and even though I could still bring my own style to the project, it was restritcted. Once those limitations were placed upon me, it became a thoroughly different experience.
I sold a YA mystery series to large, NYC publisher last year. After working with my editor there for about four months, and after we were just about done with the manuscript, I received a strange call from her. She asked me if I would mind making one of the main characters ethnic and change their names. Now I had no problem with the idea, and I understood that it would be more appealing to schools and libraries that way, but the two main characters were modeled strickly after one of my sons and his best friend. I used their real names as well. To change the names was too much for me.
My point here is that if i had been given a project to write initially, and the requirements were to have an ethnically diverse group of characters, then that would have been fine. The scope of the project would have been defined for me, and I could choose to do it or not. But once those restrictions are placed upon an author, it is no longer entirely your project. Your creative energy has to be diverted to meet the needs of the third party. It's not different when you try to write to conform to industry rules.
If you are writing for a living, then you do what you must. If you live to write, you do what you want.
January 21st, 2005, 08:19 AM #35
Hmm, a couple of interesting points...
So I have to disagree with you J, writing to a formula is comprimising because its not what you would write its what you should write.
But nearly all the "best stories" the ones you remember are the ones that bend or break the guidelines.
But J, That is exactly what you will be doing if you write what is "acceptable" you will be earning other people money with your "job" You will become a cog in the publishing industry, an executive position, but still a job. And jobs eat up your time, you might find you have less spare time than you do now
And I would rather be a writer, if publishing comes it comes and I suspect I will enjoy the journey, but it is not the great goal it once was. Creating the best story I can from what is in my head and setting it down is.
How could anyone actually sit down and write to a formula and get any real sense of satisfaction from it?
January 21st, 2005, 08:49 AM #36Originally Posted by Jacquin
I am not certain I understand fully the conflict you two have been having
January 21st, 2005, 08:57 AM #37Originally Posted by Jacquin
January 21st, 2005, 08:58 AM #38Originally Posted by Holbrook
Let me compare writing to music. If I have a piano I can either learn how to play music the way everyone else does and hopefully one day be good enough that other people might want to play my music or I can simply push on whatever keys feel like a good idea to me at the time. It is possible to be an excellent musician like that, but it is nowhere near as likely.
No conflict Gary... just doing what we have round my dinner table over a bottle of wine and some smelly cheese....
January 21st, 2005, 08:58 AM #39
I jumped in a little late here, and though I glanced over the posts, I admit I didn't read them all that closely.
Red or white? French cheese?
January 21st, 2005, 09:05 AM #40
I was interpreting your usage of 'formula' a little more strictly, I guess. When applied loosely, we all write according to some formula. We write in a genre. That's a formula. We use words.
What I meant is more like picking a theme or designing a story around what you might believe a publisher wants or your agent requests, which may likely not be what you would write otherwise. Now commercially, that is logical, but creatively, it would bind me in a way that might detract from the experience. I love the freedom of writing. I can go anywhere with my story and my characters. True, if I want to sell something to a mainstream publisher I would be better off writing chick-lit today. And I could do that and maybe have some fun doing it, but I wouldn't ever love it.
January 21st, 2005, 09:15 AM #41
What a story needs is someone who likes it.
By "someone" I mean an agent or publisher.
Considering that they are all different with different preferences and expectations/ requirements etc, it's basically impossible to write a story that will sell instantly to the first smeghead you send it too.
There is no formula other than the old "10% inspiration, 90% perspiration"
January 21st, 2005, 09:40 AM #42Originally Posted by kahnovitch
This whole business about "should you write it for yourself or for the audience" is bizarre to me.
Why should your likes/dislikes be so different from the audience's?
As for formula for writing? Sounds dubious to me. I would describe it as being akin to painting by the numbers. Sure you paint but within a pre-determined framework.
Far better to create something truly original.
January 21st, 2005, 10:00 AM #43
Or at least to try to! Totally agree, Eurytus!
I have said this before, but it still rings true. What do you suppose would have been the fate of Joyce's Ulysses if he thought about these things before he wrote it?
January 21st, 2005, 10:04 AM #44Originally Posted by Gary Wassner
I still almost can't believe it got published.
January 21st, 2005, 10:28 AM #45
To an extent, I agree with your last comment. But publishing was not all about profit margins and public opinion then. There were many small imprints that produced books for particular groups of readers. If it were not for the incredible editor, Sylvia Beach, who published it independently in Paris for her own bookstore, Shakespeare and Company, it would probably never have been read. She was a courageous lesbian living in an unforgiving and puritanical world. Paris was probably the only city then where this could have occurred.