Questions and comments about writing here...

Discussion in 'The Workshop' started by garamet, Sep 18, 2018.

  1. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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    And that's wrong? They're only making you pay your fair share, after all.
  2. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

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    Surely you're not trolling in the Workshop.

    The 15% is what an employer would pay. By hiring freelancers, they have virtually no overhead, and they still get a break on taxes.

    It's never bothered me overmuch, because what I don't have to pay in time and $ to commute, maintain a corporate wardrobe, or be chained to a desk from 9 to 5 is compensatory.

    Where it sucks is not in the extra 15%, but in the fact that the employer offers no benefits. Yanno, little things like health insurance.
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  3. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

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    I'd be happy to explain foreign distribution rights if I thought you were actually interested. :)
  4. tafkats

    tafkats That'll put marzipan in your pie plate, bingo! Moderator

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    When a Star Trek novel is published -- and I guess this applies to written spinoffs of any TV or movie fandom -- how many of the people involved (the writer, editors, etc.) are likely to be fans, or at least to have watched a significant amount of the original material?

    I started wondering about this while reading a TNG novel in which basically every single character talked like Data. It was less noticeable for Picard or Worf, since their dialogue in the series was always pretty formal, but very jarring for characters like Riker and Troi.

    I can see how even a Trekkie author could make that mistake just through being bad at writing dialogue, but I wonder how it got through editing. Do editors just not mess with writers' words to that degree as a matter of principle? Are they unfamiliar with the source material and therefore unable to do the "can I imagine Frakes or Sirtis delivering this line" test in their heads? Or is it that they could fix up the dialogue but either don't have the time or don't care?
  5. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

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    Good question, but I have to caution you that I really have no idea what's going on at Pocket since shortly before Unspoken Truth was released in 2010.

    During the Eighties, it was a given that both the writers and the editors were Trek fans/fanatics, and IMO some of the best writing came out of that era. The Final Reflection; The Wounded Sky; and My Enemy, My Ally are among my personal favorites; and Howie Weinstein had the jump on all of us, having sold the script for "The Pirates of Orion" when he was only 19.

    Several changes of editor later, and a bit of a brouhaha between SFWA (the Science Fiction Writers of America) and Pocket over very delayed royalty payments (the standard - as specified in the writers' contracts - had been payment six months after release; suddenly it was 18-24 months for Reasons), and the then-editor decided it would be Really Kewl to court SFWA members, whether they were Trek fans or not. The results were, shall we say, uneven.

    Through the Nineties up to the present, YMMV, and I have to admit there's just too much "product" for me to commit to reading them, so I'm not in a position to assess quality or accuracy. All I can say is that the last two editors I worked with were brilliant, intuitive...and "excessed" - again, for Reasons - once CBS became the parent company. :garamet:

    Once upon a time (circa 1989) the then-editor brought in a bunch of us for a brainstorming session that resulted in Doomsday World. The four authors listed in the credits were on board; I was not a big fan of TNG, and begged off. But Gawd, that was a fun evening! :D
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  6. spot261

    spot261 Fresh Meat

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    Curiosity, which novel was that?
  7. tafkats

    tafkats That'll put marzipan in your pie plate, bingo! Moderator

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    The novel that made me ask the question was The Last Stand, which features one of those premises that could just as easily by done in Star Trek or a Douglas Adams novel depending on how seriously it's taken -- a generation ship is on its way to wreak vengeance on another society but most of the people on the ship are completely unaware. Bad dialogue doesn't seem to be that uncommon in Trek novels, however.

    Interestingly, the author of The Last Stand also wrote A Flag Full of Stars, which I enjoy rereading periodically and have never noticed any problems with.
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  8. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

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    Oh, dear. I'm wondering whether The Last Stand underwent some of the same slash-and-burn "rewrite" as A Flag Full of Stars: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Flag_Full_of_Stars :unsure:
  9. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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    The Wounded Sky is my favorite Trek novel.
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  10. tafkats

    tafkats That'll put marzipan in your pie plate, bingo! Moderator

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    I haven't read that since I was in ... middle school, maybe? It's probably worth finding a copy and reading it again.

    TNG was my entry into the Trek fandom, so those are usually the novels I gravitate towards.
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  11. Bickendan

    Bickendan Custom Title Administrator Faceless Mook Writer

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    What is the process you use to recruit beta readers and what feedback do you solicit from them? Likewise for critique partners.
  12. Diacanu

    Diacanu Comicmike. Writer

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    I ask someone I know "will you read this for me?".

    They usually say "I would, but I'm SO busy".

    And I'm like "no, you're not, I'm standing right fucking here, and you're playing fucking Candy Crush".

    Then they give me this blank dead stare for half a minute, as if to say they're not the slightest bit ashamed that they just lied to me, and then they go right back to playing fucking Candy Crush.

    And then I storm off, and go home, and fire up the computer, and write that person into various prison rape scenarios, and it grows, and grows, and then 50 pages in, I realize I've rewritten "The Shawshank Redemption", and then I remind myself that no matter how hard I try, I'll never be able to touch anything written by Stephen King, and it's no use even trying, so I angrily toss the file into the recycle bin, and shut down, and lie down in bed, and stare at the ceiling, and try not to cry, and fail utterly.
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  13. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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    Hey, any time you need someone to read something for you, just email me.
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  14. Bickendan

    Bickendan Custom Title Administrator Faceless Mook Writer

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    Ima take you up on that. I'll PM you when I get home from work tonight.
  15. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

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    What @Lanzman said. Between the Day Job and a few other things, I'm swamped. I'm also not your typical reader, in that there's a lot of stuff I don't care for. So I'm afraid I'm not the person you're looking for. But I'm sure you can recruit a few more here ;)
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2018
  16. NAHTMMM

    NAHTMMM 2098 and counting

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  17. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

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    Nah. I've blocked all games from FB. Even unFriended a few people who wouldn't get the hint. Real-life things, I'm afraid. :(
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  18. Shirogayne

    Shirogayne Sheithforge Formerly Important

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    Fuck Wattpad with a ten foot cactus dildo.

    Sorry, I had to get that out my system. I've had for that a few fandom friends get their fics ripped off word for word by entitled little pricks who think that because a story was published online, ever, that it's free real estate to put up on any other site. Not one of them were ever able to remove their stories, even the one who got a reply back from staff. :brood: honestly, I'd recommend literally any other venue to pimp your own writing, including the imploding clusterfuck that is Tumblr.

    I assume you probably weren't aware of that when you recommended it, but I couldn't let it pass without comment.

    But yeah, great thread. I've given some thought to maybe writing a modern naval story along the lines of Hermann Melville's White Jacket or Richard Dana's Two Years Before the Mast (which as a native NorCal girl and San Diego currently was definitely an interesting read about pre-statehood CA). I'd make it more fictionalized cuz my own experience overseas was boring AF, butthe genre of sea stories has been.long overdue for an update. One where black and brown people are in leadership and that describes the unique struggles of women on ships and of being openly queer before DADT (which was a thing that happened, cuz NGL, the Navy is gay AF :brokeback:)
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  19. NAHTMMM

    NAHTMMM 2098 and counting

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    So, like

    If I had just the one story in me, and I turned it into a novel, and I didn't expect it to be a huge hit and didn't expect to write anything else worth a major publisher's attention

    Would it be worth my time to try to get a literary agent? Or should I just self-publish or find a starving new publisher hungry enough to look at non-agent-submitted manuscripts?

    Because I wouldn't want to pay the agent more over my lifetime than I got out of my single book's advance. And I imagine a lot of agents want to see either "super-marketable" or "will keep writing things for me to sell" nowadays.
  20. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

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    Again, this is just one writer's opinion, but agents are getting snootier than editors. My own agent retired three years ago, passed me along to a Big Name agent colleague of his (and with whom I'd worked on Saturn's Child), and Big Name agent, despite 30 years of working with my agent, all but yawned in my face.

    Spent the next couple of years courting newer agents (still writing, of course). Some of them didn't even bother responding to my queries. So I went the Hey-here-are-my-credentials route with some newer editors who claimed they were willing to look at unsolicited manuscripts.

    Dead. Fucking. Silence. Only one, whom I'd worked with before, sent me a tear-sheet with the title of my novel scrawled in pen at the top of the letter under "Dear Writer" saying essentially FOAD.

    So I don't know whether it's just that the newer editors would rather be in another line of work, or if they'd just prefer to not work at all.

    That's when I decided to self-publish, and I've had a modicum of success (of course, you don't get an advance with self-published work, but the royalties from Amazon are at a much greater percentage than the brick-and-mortar publishers ever paid, so you takes your chances. Also, if you have the leisure and the extra capital to market yourself, you could do all right. And there are also venues such as Smashwords that promote you in markets other than just Amazon.

    So what am I telling you? Sound out a handful of agents (go with the smaller, online ones so you don't get lost in the slush pile). If they're not interested, than look for small, independent, preferable online publishers and pitch them on your own. Give it time. Some of these children are just sooooooo busy doing other things, it may take them six months to get back to you.

    Meanwhile, above all, keep writing, and check out Kindle's program for both ebooks and trade paperbacks.

    Word of caution, though: Buy yourself some ISBNS: http://www.bowker.com/authors/ Whether you've got one novel or a dozen, it's good to have that kind of control, no matter what Amazon tells you.

    And let me know how it goes. :)
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  21. NAHTMMM

    NAHTMMM 2098 and counting

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    Thanks, that sounds quite doable for me.

    Oh, I will. It'll probably be some years before I get anything written and finished to the point where I'd feel like it's ready to be rewritten for public consumption. :naht:
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