16

When this question is asked, many companies specifically exclude self-publishing or require a certain number of copies sold to count. Typically the intent is to find out if you are a proven quantity with a track record. 80 copies with no promotion isn't nothing, but it's not the kind of numbers a publisher will be looking for. So I think it likely comes ...


15

This is not only done, but is a staple of George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire - all books' prologues and epilogues have a one-time POV character that dies by the end of it. So yeah, it's perfectly acceptable.


11

I've got nothing on shadowing (I suspect that's a very hard sell), but for asking questions, there are two (non-exclusive) approaches that I've seen and occasionally been part of (on both sides). The first is to start with your own circle of friends. I'm not a radiologist, lawyer, chef, schoolteacher, psychologist, soldier, horticulturist, priest, or a ...


11

A This answer has been given multiple times before on this site, and it was consistently met with reservation and disbelief. Yet it is what I have learned from published authors: First novels are consistently rejected because they lack quality. Writing is something that you have to learn. And it is something that you learn through practice, that is, by ...


10

Go to a local university and speak with a writer in residence or a professor who is well-respected. Take creative writing courses and listen to the feedback. Join a writers group - but remember, being told that your work is far from perfect is the point. Poetry is such an intensely personal and universal form that you must just keep writing. Listen to ...


10

I do not know the source of that claim you heard, but I think you're taking it too literally. Generally, most authors just use their name. There's nothing about the name "J.R.R. Tolkien" or "Terry Pratchett" or "Ursula Le Guin" that's particularly related to speculative fiction, except after the fact - those names are related to the genre because that's what ...


9

I have two previous answers that will help you, Here, on the Three Act Structure and Here, on Getting the first 50 pages or so started. These are geared to discovery writers, like me, but if you already have a plot to follow, they can help you anyway. The biggest mistake I see beginners make is they want to jump in too early on the "action" or the "big ...


9

@MatthewDave suggests asking yourself what your story is about. I would go farther: ask yourself what is the meaning of your story, what it is you're trying to say. If you're saying nothing at all, then no, your story doesn't have much depth. And at this point, it's too late to change that - you'd have to start from scratch. "What you're trying to say" is ...


8

This is a great question with a simple answer: Write to learn* *Read when you're not writing. Learn from authors and stories you love. But...what should you write? Also a simple answer: Write what you want to write. If you want to write about this story you feel driven to write - do it! The advice that "your first few stories will suck" is only ...


8

If you think it would be a cheap trick, then don't do it. But it is an already somewhat estabilished tecnique - there are tons of books where the prologue has a different PoV from that of the main characters (I can recall a few at the moment: Perdido street station from Mieville, Eragon from Paolini, Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Weis and Hickman ... ). ...


7

I don't buy any of the "ask an expert" notions either; although here on StackExchange you may find some experts in certain fields, I've been impressed with a few here on Writing, and others on WorldBuilding, in Politics, Law, Astronomy, Finance, etc. This is a friendly forum for asking naive questions (if you do a light search for duplicates first). The ...


7

A few hours? Why, that's a good amount of time. If you sit down and write for them, you will be able to write a lot of works. Some things that may help are having a set scheduled time in which you must write -- or sit at your writing desk and do nothing -- or having a minimum daily quota, which should be longer than the amount of writing it takes you to ...


5

I have a story that I wish to write. I like my story and genuinely believe it to be interesting. My issue is that I have never really written anything before. When I have read advice in the past, I have often been told that your first few stories will suck and that you will have to move on to something new. Other people say the same thing. They have a story....


5

Terry's answer aligns with my knowledge, but here's a little more I'd add that is relevant to your question. Writers I know who have been agented are asked to revise their manuscripts before the manuscript is sent to publishing houses. I believe it was GGX or Galastel that explained: At the query stage you are competing largely with un-agented writers. At ...


5

The only way to become a better writer is to write. Yes, you can take classes and read and study, and those things will help, but only if you do them in conjunction with writing. What should you write? The idea you're most passionate about. You're worried about "wasting" your idea, but that's not possible. For one, you may not be passionate about it ...


5

There are many places to get good feedback for your work. You said you wanted a professional to look over your work and in that case, if you plan on publishing, I would suggest hiring an editor. But you can go to a community of good writers such as silver pen writers or scribophile. However, I would like to point out that you also need to get feedback from ...


5

What I do is get to know my characters well, my MC in particular, create a situation and see what happens. I write what occurs. If you have all of the elements in your story ready, but that blank page is looking back at you, just pretend you are telling your story to a friend. Write what happens and see if it works for you. We each have our own process, ...


5

It's about marketing. From a purely logical standpoint, you are already a published author, since you did publish a book and you did sell some copies, no matter how few. So, in theory you have your answer. Yet, some publishing companies may look down on you. Self-publishing has not a great reputation among traditional companies; so telling everyone that ...


5

One doesn't "decide" to be a plotter or a discovery-writer ("pantser" is not considered a polite term in writing circles). One is one or the other, or somewhere on the scale between the two. Some writers cannot write unless they've planned everything ahead and know where they're going. Some plan main events, others go so far as to plan the whole story scene ...


4

As others have mentioned, writing a prologue from a different POV than the rest of the story is common enough. The part I'm not sure about is writing the prologue in first person, while the rest of the novel is in third person. First person feels "closer to the character" than third person. So you'd be making the reader feel closer to a one-time POV that we ...


4

Easy Mode A very reclusive-approachable option would be to post/lurk on forums where those types of people gather. You can see their opinions and range of personalities pretty easily across a wide range of subjects. If you join in, you join in at the level you want and perhaps can approach a few personalities that interest you via pm and get the answers ...


4

I started writing seriously when I was seventeen and that was quite a while ago. What I began then grew into well over a thousand pages of high concept fantasy that would need quite a bit of work, but I still love the story and the characters. My first effort was a very juvenile attempt at a horse novel, but I was a kid so that was understandable. I have ...


4

I say keep your real name. It's not exactly the same as any other author at the moment and none of the names you mention are unique enough that it would be confusing to use something similar. It's not like your real name is George LL Martin or William Shookspeare. No matter what name you choose, Google will get it wrong. There will always be somebody ...


4

I would suggest creating a character who threads his or her way along and connects disparate parts. This character could be anyone. A cousin of mine donated a letter from a great aunt of his that was an account of the Halifax explosion. With such a scenario and a resource to draw from, one could create a character who might have been standing nearby and ...


4

Poetry is a tough art to critique, because it's extremely personal, making it very subjective. In particular, given the modern forms tend to be rule-breaking, it can also be hard to judge, even on a technical level. It's also not a commercially remunerative artform, so even the feedback of the market doesn't tell you much. With all that in mind, your best ...


4

I suppose either answer could be considered correct, but I believe the publisher may be able to find your book easily--and I would caution against gaming the question. Consider explaining your situation in your query letter. "Although I've previously self-published, I'm now dedicating my full time and energy to my writing career and consider myself ...


4

Welcome. No, synopses are not allowed here for critique. But, the question "How do I know if my story has enough depth?" is a good one in my opinion. I'd say you have a few ways to assess it. Your instincts. Since you are asking, the answer might be that you need more depth. Beta readers, writing groups, and so on. If readers say they are bored, then you ...


4

"Depth" is a word that could mean many things. In common among many of the ways I could apply the word "depth" to writing is a sense that there are connections within the writing that are not explicitly put forward in the sentences. These connections may be between the backstories of the characters, or they may be between actions in one part of a story and ...


3

The precise process from manuscript to distribution may be different from publisher to publisher - in fact, explaining what to expect is probably a major purpose of such a meeting. In many ways, this meeting will be similar to a job interview - and the advice will be the same. Don't stress out too much - you're already on their good side (or they wouldn't ...


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