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Posts Tagged ‘Publishing House’

Winners Might Never Quit But …

September 3, 2012 Leave a comment

We all love to turn to inspirational advice when we feel like we just cannot go on down our chosen path.  One of the most common such pieces of advice is that quitters never win, and winners never quit.  It sounds real great!  It pumps you up!  It gives you the motivation to plow ahead!

The truth is that inspirational phrases like this are half truths.  Yes, quitters  never win because they give up before they do so.  And yes, winners never have quit because they have won.  But there is an important caveat to this old saying that is missing.  That caveat is that by not quitting doesn’t mean you will win. Read more…

Three Most Common Reasons For Manuscript Rejection

July 26, 2012 Leave a comment

So, I have been picking the brains of friends of mine who are authors or are/were in the publication field (literary agents, editors, etc). I have been doing this because I see a lot of people compiling lists about why manuscripts get rejected. I read these lists because I want to give myself the best shot I can at getting published.

But what I seem to be finding is that a lot of those lists are really bunk, or at least these lists are subjective and often contradict one another. Don’t start your story too fast. Don’t start your story too slow. Too much description. Not enough description. Too many characters. Too few characters. Too much dialogue. Not enough dialogue.

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Rube Goldberging A Story – Please Don’t!

February 28, 2012 Leave a comment

A Rube Goldberg Device is something that is unnecessarily complex in order to accomplish a fairly simple task. Thus, by it’s complex nature it is clumsy, unwieldy, often breaks and fails to perform the task it was designed to do. Stories, it seems to me, often turn into such monstrosities. Yes, even published stories which get the full backing of a publishing house and make money for an author.

In stories turned Rube Goldberg devices, things tend to just happen. The author gets from point A to point D through events B and C, but those events are clunky and often seem constructed to purposefully drive a story through, even if they tend to make little sense as to why they needed to be taken even after they were taken. Such stories heap unpredictability among improbabilities upon out of character reactions until the story reaches the author’s desired ending. Don’t get me wrong, unpredictability is good because predictability breeds boredom. However, too much unpredictability, and not enough logic, leads to frustration on the part of the reader. A reader can only stand so many “out of the blue” realizations that save a character from certain doom, or plot twists that send the story off in new directions. Too many and the reader becomes dizzy.

There is one example that is most prevalent in my mind of this sort of story telling gone awry; the television series “24”. Although I hear the series “Lost” was the same way, but I can honestly say because I never watched it. The first season of “24” was great. I and many of my friends loved it because there were twists and turns and looking at them in hind sight, once revealed, made sense. The writers struck just the right balance.

Then came season 2, and it was good, though not as good as the first. The sense was that the writers knew that the unpredictability was the draw of the show, so they tried to squeeze in more of it. But some of the twists, even in hindsight, seemed little more than an appeasing grasp at the philosophy that unpredictability for the sake of it was a good thing.

After season 2, things went downhill fast. Some of the following seasons were better than others, but they all suffered from the same flaw of being too much like a Rube Goldberg Device. Characters would have a sudden flash of insight to escape a hopeless situation. Others would mysteriously appear for no other reason than to push on to the next cliff hanger ending each week. Still others would change stripes without any inclination that they were going to despite lots of screen time spent delving into their characters and portraying them in a certain light. Essentially, there series was chaos out of which emerged the ending some many weeks later.

Stories that proceed like this actually bore me more than encourage me to read more. Eventually, too much chaos and it becomes impossible to suspend disbelief.