Saturday, April 11, 2009

Reviews and News

The May 2009 issue of The Writer is, as usual, filled with good information. Two articles in particular caught my eye as I did my first browse-through-reading today. One is "The Novel's Cure Was in Throwing Most of It Out" by Peter Baird, a trial attorney in Phoenix AZ, whose novel Beyond Peleliu was many years in the writing/revising/submitting stage. His experience led to this sage advice:

"No matter how it hurts, be prepared to rip up your manuscript and start over."

He goes on to advise that critiques should come from people you don't know---and perhaps not very nice people at that!

The next article, "Essentials for a Long-Term Writing Career", by John Jakes, a best-selling author of such blockbusters as North and South and The Kent Family Chronicles, echoes that advice about critiques. Aunt Nell is not the best choice for a number of reasons!

He goes on to advise keeping faith in oneself and not tossing a manuscript out with a rejection slip---or even five or six such slips. Learning one's craft and gaining the confidence to "fix" whatever is keeping a manuscript from acceptance and/or sales is an important facet of professionalism, something to which every author should aspire.

This week, I sent off The Face on Miss Fanny's Wall for the third time--just a synopsis and the first three chapters. This afternoon (!) I received a nice note from the acquisitions editor with two attachments giving me information about the press itself and the "Author's Handbook" and requesting that I send the entire manuscript formatted according to said handbook.

Now, this doesn't mean it's going to be accepted by any means, but it isn't a rejection slip either. I am pleased to have come this far, and if more develops, I'll be elated. If, in the end, I receive a rejection, I'll be disappointed but tenacious. Off it goes to the next publisher on the list! Maybe I'll tweak it a bit first, and maybe I won't, but it won't lie around in my documents file too long.

I'll end with the names of two books recommended by Mr. Baird in his article:
  1. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King
  2. Rotten Rejections & Reviews edited by Bill Henderson and Andre Bernard
They're next on my reading list if available at the local library!


nlindabrit said...

I have read an article in the past, which advocates much the same approach to revising an unsuccessful manuscript. It was entitled: Murdering Your Darlings.

In a nutshell, it said that if you thought a particular part of your woek was extra-special, you should probably prune it ruthlessly, because it was almost bound to be the case that you had let your liking for that part cloud your objectivity.

I could sort of see the point.

I hope Miss Fanny fares better with the latest publisher and I know you are much too sensible to lose faith in the story even should it meet with a rejection.

K9friend said...

Good luck with Miss Fanny. When you feel confident that the story is good, all you need to do is find the right home for it.