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5 More Things to Increase Your Manuscript's Chances [Jul. 10th, 2008|06:37 pm]
Cat Rambo
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[music |Timbuk3 - Standard White Jesus]

Yesterday I skulked at Tully's for most of the day while the condo was swaddled in plastic and painters. Coming back, I had to break the tape seal on the front door as though it had been hermetically sealed off. Today, I'm not sure what they'll be doing, but I'm off to sit in on the CW classroom.

Anyhow, here's five more things:

6) Check the first paragraph and the ending. I do sometimes stop after one paragraph because I can tell right there that the writer is at the writing level that would require my reshaping all their prose, even with the best idea in the world.  Your beginning (and title) are your chance to hook me into reading all the way through.  Make sure that you begin where you should, because often stories don't get started until the 2nd, 3rd, even 4th page.  And read through that ending. Does it tie off all the loose ends and satisfy the reader? There is no room in first or last paragraphs for excessive words.
7) Make sure attachments are openable. And if they say in the guidelines not to send attachments...well then. I think we all know what your stance on attachments should be under such circumstances.
8) Remember to attach your attachment. I forget this more often than I'd like to admit.
9) Don't be afraid to query politely after a reasonable (as defined by their guidelines, usually) period of time.
10) Take rejection in stride and send them something else.

And the Ultimate Secret? Write well.

[User Picture]From: nihilistic_kid
2008-07-11 03:14 pm (UTC)

And the Ultimate Secret? Write well.

Yeah, but not TOO well, or most editors will be confused and even suspicious.
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[User Picture]From: samhenderson
2008-07-11 03:30 pm (UTC)
"And the Ultimate Secret? Write well."

No, ur lying! What is it, really? Something to do with pudding, right?
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From: david_de_beer
2008-07-11 03:54 pm (UTC)
no, it's a cookie.
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[User Picture]From: samhenderson
2008-07-11 03:58 pm (UTC)
Oh crap, I eated it!
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[User Picture]From: ann_leckie
2008-07-11 03:52 pm (UTC)
And if they say in the guidelines not to send attachments...well then. I think we all know what your stance on attachments should be under such circumstances.

But! What if you're Special!? And what if you've got lots of fancy formatting, like, oh, italics, you know, that would require you to actually expend energy on keystrokes to express in plain text--maybe even a whole search and replace session! Such tedious details are below the true artistic genius.

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[User Picture]From: tanaise
2008-07-11 04:10 pm (UTC)
And the colors! Don't forget the colors! How will they tell the speakers apart without the color coding of the conversations!
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[User Picture]From: ann_leckie
2008-07-11 04:32 pm (UTC)
You're so right! How could I forget the colors!

And the illustrations! No joke, I've seen subs with photos pasted in. What do you do if your genius story must have that illustration to convey its full effect?
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[User Picture]From: chuck_lw
2008-07-11 04:11 pm (UTC)
>Such tedious details are below the true artistic genius.

But if you're a true artistic genius, then why bother sending the manuscript? Because it's doubtful that the editors possess the intellectual capacity to comprehend your work.

Instead, contact a local art gallery and arrange to have your story printed on the walls. Then, by way of a photo session, you can have your story published as a coffee table book.:-)
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[User Picture]From: ann_leckie
2008-07-11 04:36 pm (UTC)
But the editors of coffee table books are also microcephalic oafs and don't appreciate my genius! And so are the people who run galleries! I am ahead of my time!

Only PublishAmerica understands me.
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[User Picture]From: tanaise
2008-07-11 04:08 pm (UTC)
I did usually try to read past the first paragraph for exactly the same reason that I usually try to give a published novel 50 pages--It's the part that EVERYONE labors over and labors over and labors over, and by the time it's submittable, it can be polished way past what it would be like if the author was asked to scrap those pages and rewrite it. (So, really, my advice for those bits would be something like, "make sure they're tight and clean and then LEAVE THEM ALONE.")
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[User Picture]From: catrambo
2008-07-11 09:22 pm (UTC)
Excellent point.
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[User Picture]From: jeffsoesbe
2008-07-11 11:50 pm (UTC)
I've had so much trouble with "noodle away the first few paragraphs" I took up the "first sentence = person/place/problem" construction just to combat it. So far, I like how it's helping me start out sharp.

It's the difference between:

"It was kind of warm in the room. There were a lot of boxes all over the place. Some of them were brown, and had writing on the side. Most of them were strapped together, or attached to the walls. Anna could walk around, but she wasn't going anywhere else because the doors were probably locked. The gravity was turned on, because she wasn't floating around. She was a little hungry. There was a box she found that said "foodstuffs" but she couldn't open it." (etc etc etc)


"Stuck in the cargo hold of the SpaceShip Ganymede, Anna cursed the fact that she'd forgotten to bring a knife."

(Or something like that)

- yeff
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