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Manu last won the day on February 9

Manu had the most liked content!

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About Manu

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    Please don't read this, it's private.
  • Birthday 06/28/1986

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  1. Why would anyone assume it's a prologue? The plot continues, there's no skipping of time, just a different POV character because the first one just got unconscious. Quoting myself: I've never come across a single book review where someone said "It bothered me that some chapters were really short". Neither the publishing house I did an internship with nor the literature agency I'm working for now have an issue with short chapters, they literally don't care. Short chapters are fine, they can even be used intentionally for increasing the pacing. I mean... you're the one who needs to be happy with your work, and if it really bothers you, you should go ahead and change it. But from a reader's POV or a publishing perspective, there's no problem with short chapters. The first chapter introduces the main character - she's brave, adventurous and willing to sacrifice a lot in order to save her brother, that's what we learn from it. We also get to know the golems and learn how dangerous they are - do they play a role later? What about the details about Alana's personality? Can you work them into one of the other early Alana chapters? Yes, I would assume Kassel is the main character if the first chapter was in her POV. I'd probably quickly find out she isn't, but I'd expect her to play at least an important role.
  2. I don't regularly run into this problem, but when I do, I simply insert a placeholder and worry about it later ("[He eats, and when he's finished this conversation happens:]" is an example of a non-final first sentence I used). If it helps you to get started, you could simply insert some random stuff that you'll edit out later, like a sentence about the weather. Aaaaand, this just made me think: "Or simply insert some random swearing. ... Wait, this could actually work for one of my protagonists in my WIP... o_O I'm SO doing this!"
  3. There will be a thread for it. I believe we had planned to set it up one week before the 1st day of the month, and it will be possible to sign up within the first week of the month, so 2 weeks in total to pledge.
  4. I just submitted a little short story to an anthology - like, nine minutes before the deadline, lol 😄
  5. I thought it would be nice to have a thread where everyone can post their latest successes and accomplishments - just a nice little chatter topic to pat outselves and others on the shoulder. What have you accomplished that you're proud of and that you'd like to share with the world?
  6. Manu

    Adopt a premise/story idea

    That reminds me of Isaac Asimov's Nightfall - I read the novel adaptation by Robert Silverberg more than 10 years ago and loved it. I had almost forgotten about it and just put Asimov's original short story on my to read list, so thanks a lot for bringing this up!
  7. Manu

    Zero drafts

    I've never heard the term 'zero draft', but it sounds a bit like a mix of outlining and brainstorming. I don't think I do something like this, I have a stage of brainstorming where I write down all the ideas that come to my mind before I try to organize them and come up with the conflicts, theme, story structure etc., but it's very disorganized and not close at all to something I'd call a 'draft'. It's more like a disorganized mind map and stuff isn't noted down in the order of events, but in the order they come to my mind and where there is some space left on the paper (or envelope - I do a hell of a lot of brainstorming on the envelopes of the letters I got for some reason). Once I have used my chaotic brainstorming method to note down ideas, I usually quickly start organizing it via a modified version of the snowflake method. So I go from the stage of "wild idea brainstorming" to developing an outline and/or scene list, and after that I continue with the first draft. I usually write chronologically, but sometimes skip scenes when I realize I need to do more research or worldbuilding in order to get it right. I often write a summary of the skipped scene with what happens, bits of information I have researched for it, and short snippets of dialogue or description if I can think of any before I move on - I guess that's the closest thing to a 'zero draft' that I do, but I never did it for more than a handful of scenes. Thinking about it - I don't think it would work for me. The snowflake method has a step where you write a scene summary for each scene, which actually sounds a lot like a 'zero draft'. It's one of the reasons why I modified the snowflake method for my needs, because this part simply didn't resonate with me at all. I think it would make me lose interest in writing the story, because it's so close to a first draft that writing an actual first draft wouldn't feel like progress to me, lol. It's a case of over-planning, I guess - if you plan too much, it feels like the story has already been told and there's no point in writing it down then. I need the earlier steps to make sure my story is going to work structure-wise, though, so skipping those and doing a 'zero draft' instead won't work for me.
  8. That is a werid agent - they should know that different things work for different authors, that is their job as agent... I'd agree with them if they had been talking about the synopsis, because a one-sentence-summary is indeed a good way to start your synopsis and it will help sell a book, but I strongly disagree when it comes to writing a novel.
  9. I agree that being original is getting harder the more concepts have already been explored by others! Genre starters are definitely candidates for high concept novels, others are those that combine old ideas in a new way, like i.e. The Hunger Games did - dystopy was there before, teenagers fighting for their lives against monsters was there before, but teenagers fighting against each other for survial was new (well, actually Battle Royale did it before, but it didn't become as popular - can't say why as I haven't read it yet, but timing does play an important role, and having a strong female main character and adding romance might have helped the marketing of Suzanne Collins' work). It's actually very hard to predict what will become popular - Rowling's first Harry Potter book was rejected multiple times because it's so hard to predict if something is going to be popular. From my understanding of 'high concept': No, because something doesn't become original only because it has been out of fashion for a while. It can become popular again, like dystopy did in recent years after being pretty much out of fashion for decades, but popularity and high concept are not the same thing. 'high concept' definitely does not rule out good writing, but publishers are willing to turn a blind eye on mediocre writing style if they believe the concept will sell, so authors can get away with stuff that would have earned them a rejection if the idea had not been as original. Star Wars was actually the first movie to consciously use the Hero's Journey for story structure - Joseph Campbell had researched myths and ancient stories from all over the world, and found out that certain patterns are found across a vast variety of cultures, supposedly because our brains are hardwired to prefer certain types of stories, because those resonate strongly with people. I'm not that into SciFi, so I might be wrong, but I dare claim that the idea of Star Wars was probably not new, but Lucas was smart enough to take Campbell's research and apply it to his own writing to create a story that strongly resonated with the audience. Nope, that's what literature agents and editors of publishing houses do - they have to decide whether there will be a target audience for a manuscript they get. That's why Harry Potter was rejected by so many publishers, and that's why there are barely any YA novels without romance out there - publishing something that hasn't been done before does have a nonnegligible risk of failing, and a lot of the work agents and editors do is risk assessment.
  10. Attention, an elevator pitch/logline/one-sentence-summary and high concept are not the same thing. You can do a pitch for any story, high concept is rather a category of stories - high concept means there is something original and unique about the story that hasn't been done before and that will make readers pick up the book just for the concept. That's because high concept stories will often sell even though they're poorly written. Ideally, a story has a cool concept and compelling characters and an intriguing setting. The sad truth is that publishing is all about money, and if a story will sell for the concept, publishers will turn a blind eye on poor writing style, flat characters and boring settings. I have a one-sentence-summary for every single one of my projects, because of the way how I develop my stories (I use a modified version of the snowflake method). It helps me to direct my brainstorming and plotting in the right direction. Only one of my projects might be high concept though - I'd have to do a market research to be sure about that, and as it's currently on the backburner, I didn't bother to check if there are stories with a similar concept out there yet.
  11. Manu

    Best (and Worst) Writing Advice?

    Omg, that is just plain rude and arrogant. I do see a lot of progress in my writing when I look at older pieces I have written, but in between I have produced stuff that was worse than the thing I wrote before. Testing new techniques and strategies, trying out new genres or themes, focusing on short stories instead of longer pieces for the first time, writing stuff in order to practise one of my weaknesses instead of writing what I am experienced at, ... There are so many reasons why a piece can be worse than the one you wrote before - that fact alone doesn't make anyone a bad writer.
  12. Manu

    Best (and Worst) Writing Advice?

    That "advice" sucks, @Tyrannohotep - I wonder whether any writer who is only writing stories about white male characters has ever had to let others tell him it made them a one-trick pony. More bad advice: Write every day. Well, I'm not sure if that advice is really that bad, but I simply haven't managed to write every day for more than a year. And reading that advice over and over again makes me feel bad about myself and my writing, so that piece of advice doesn't work for me right now.
  13. Manu

    Best (and Worst) Writing Advice?

    Good advice that has helped me: Find out what works for you. It seems so trivial, but with many things there is a right way and a wrong way to do it, and with writing you simply have to find out what resonates with you - the right way is the one that works for the individual writer. Keep a notebook. Starting a writer's notebook was a task in an online writing course I did, and I found it silly at the time. But I tried it nevertheless, and it turned out to be one of the best things I have done. Writing down ideas made me more creative, and once I started it, I had more ideas than before. Frequently, more ideas kept coming while I was writing an idea down, and keeping those raw, unfinished plot seeds turned out to be a real treasure. Several projects I'm working on are based on ideas I combined with older plot seeds from my notebook. Bad advice: lol, literally every writing advice by Stephen King that I have come across, and Penguin was dead-on with putting the reason into words: See, Mr. King, different things work for different people. And when I heard you say keeping a notebook was the best way to immortalize bad ideas, I felt offended. Maybe playing around with ideas and combining them simply isn't your thing, and that's fine - but please stop dissing authors who have a writing process different from your own.
  14. My comedic fantasy WIP's working title is Weird Prophecies (sounds better in my language), and it plays with common fantasy tropes. There's a prophecy, and a chosen one - unfortunately, she dies, and another girl who happens to be around must take her place so people don't lose hope. Chaos ensues. Her mentor does NOT die, by the way - but he's the one who makes her do things she doesn't really want to do, and defying him and following her own intuition istead is part of her arc. One of their antagonists is the local baron, who is collecting the annual taxes even though people in the region have had poor harvests due to bad weather, and they can't pay. Only... the baron is the youngest of eight siblings who never expected to become baron and has no clue what he is doing. When he is supposed to marry, he takes initiative and writes a letter to his would-be-bride's father to postpone the wedding - buuuut it backfires, and gets him even deeper in trouble.