WritersEra |OT| Publish before you die

For people who are wondering a bit about what the selection process for pitches during the Rebellion open call is like, one of the editors has written a blog post that throws some light on it.


If you just want a link straight to the blog post, here it is:

SOURCE
"We had 1k replies within the first 24 hours, and I both regretted every life decision that had led me to that point, and laughed so hard at how enthusiastic, wonderful and simply bonkers the world of writers can be. "

Haha. To say they're inundated is possibly the understatement of the year. I loved reading everyone's ideas, though. Plenty I'd put on my bookshelf if they do it. It's a good write-up/advice. I want to 'like' it on Twitter, but I don't want her to think I'm 'waving frantically' at her now, as she puts it. Also, she makes it sound they're keeping it open for another week which seems crazy. Surely not?
 

zulux21

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,169
"We had 1k replies within the first 24 hours, and I both regretted every life decision that had led me to that point, and laughed so hard at how enthusiastic, wonderful and simply bonkers the world of writers can be. "

Haha. To say they're inundated is possibly the understatement of the year. I loved reading everyone's ideas, though. Plenty I'd put on my bookshelf if they do it. It's a good write-up/advice. I want to 'like' it on Twitter, but I don't want her to think I'm 'waving frantically' at her now, as she puts it. Also, she makes it sound they're keeping it open for another week which seems crazy. Surely not?
It was an interesting read but yeah my thoughts are just to leave things be and let them catch up.

Luckily my pitch for sure hits 3 of the 4 things she wanted and it's not that hard to guess what genre my pitch is from the pitch even though I didn't spell it out.

I hope yours get picked.

I think I'm at the point where I hope I don't get picked lol.
While it wouldn't be impossible to move my "nano" plans from November to August if picked, I'm finally at the point in my main project that I'm getting in a groove with what is going on and i would hate to have to scrap that to clean up a side project for a proper submission. To give a small glimpse of my very odd process. I have a little over 300 words of notes for what is coming up next. For me that's a ton usually I'm hovering at 50 words or so, and that 300 words will turn into 5-10k words as I write it. If i take a long break though I will forget all the points in my head those words connect to lol.

That being said, cleaning up a side project for a proper submission would be a really cool thing to do lol.
 

Xagarath

Member
Oct 28, 2017
1,733
North-East England
"We had 1k replies within the first 24 hours, and I both regretted every life decision that had led me to that point, and laughed so hard at how enthusiastic, wonderful and simply bonkers the world of writers can be. "

Haha. To say they're inundated is possibly the understatement of the year. I loved reading everyone's ideas, though. Plenty I'd put on my bookshelf if they do it. It's a good write-up/advice. I want to 'like' it on Twitter, but I don't want her to think I'm 'waving frantically' at her now, as she puts it. Also, she makes it sound they're keeping it open for another week which seems crazy. Surely not?
I didn't think they'd expected that level of response!

Maybe the extra week is just to give them time to go through everything properly?
 
It was an interesting read but yeah my thoughts are just to leave things be and let them catch up.

Luckily my pitch for sure hits 3 of the 4 things she wanted and it's not that hard to guess what genre my pitch is from the pitch even though I didn't spell it out.

I hope yours get picked.

I think I'm at the point where I hope I don't get picked lol.
While it wouldn't be impossible to move my "nano" plans from November to August if picked, I'm finally at the point in my main project that I'm getting in a groove with what is going on and i would hate to have to scrap that to clean up a side project for a proper submission. To give a small glimpse of my very odd process. I have a little over 300 words of notes for what is coming up next. For me that's a ton usually I'm hovering at 50 words or so, and that 300 words will turn into 5-10k words as I write it. If i take a long break though I will forget all the points in my head those words connect to lol.

That being said, cleaning up a side project for a proper submission would be a really cool thing to do lol.
Thank, Zulu. I got to expand on it a bit in my formal email pitch to the editor, but a non-written book is going to be a very hard sell, methinks. ^_^; Kicking myself for not pitching DE first. Oh well.

For yours, it's a plus either way then. I mean, even just writing the pitches has been good practice for everyone, so if nothing comes of it, then it was still good experience. And you sound like you've got a ton on your plate as it is. You're such a prolific writer, though. You can bang out numbers like no one's business. My hopes are still for your side project. :)


I didn't think they'd expected that level of response!

Maybe the extra week is just to give them time to go through everything properly?
Possibly? But they could have just held the deadline and said that they were now going to start going through it properly. Maybe it's a good sign that they're going to greenlight a few projects and not just one? We can always hope, right? :D
 

Shoeless

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,798
I want to 'like' it on Twitter, but I don't want her to think I'm 'waving frantically' at her now, as she puts it. Also, she makes it sound they're keeping it open for another week which seems crazy. Surely not?
For better or for worse, I think most people have just accepted that "Twitter-Stalking" is a thing now. I didn't hesitate to stalk last year when my agent told me she was reading the book, and because she was brand new as a full-time editor at Rebellion at the time, and no one really knew that yet, it was SUPER-OBVIOUS and pinged her radar when new follower also just happened to be the author of book she was reading.
 

zulux21

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,169
Thank, Zulu. I got to expand on it a bit in my formal email pitch to the editor, but a non-written book is going to be a very hard sell, methinks. ^_^; Kicking myself for not pitching DE first. Oh well.

For yours, it's a plus either way then. I mean, even just writing the pitches has been good practice for everyone, so if nothing comes of it, then it was still good experience. And you sound like you've got a ton on your plate as it is. You're such a prolific writer, though. You can bang out numbers like no one's business. My hopes are still for your side project. :)
If you got a chance to expand your pitch already I'm doubting I'm going to get picked since I pitched mine before you did :P

To be fair my side project is supposed to be turned into a comic by my SO and not sold as a book anyway :P I just have also written the project as a book in case they are to busy or lose motivation to draw a comic so I can potentially sell it in that format instead later.
 
For better or for worse, I think most people have just accepted that "Twitter-Stalking" is a thing now. I didn't hesitate to stalk last year when my agent told me she was reading the book, and because she was brand new as a full-time editor at Rebellion at the time, and no one really knew that yet, it was SUPER-OBVIOUS and pinged her radar when new follower also just happened to be the author of book she was reading.
True, but I think you were in a more understandable position. I've barely had what can be called a 'first date', man! I gotta play it cool. So, so cool. As I go and look at her twitter feed for any activity... :D

If you got a chance to expand your pitch already I'm doubting I'm going to get picked since I pitched mine before you did :P

To be fair my side project is supposed to be turned into a comic by my SO and not sold as a book anyway :P I just have also written the project as a book in case they are to busy or lose motivation to draw a comic so I can potentially sell it in that format instead later.
I got the request from the first editor listed on Rebellion's tweet, but there are two more, and I haven't seen any obvious activity from them, so I think they're waiting and seeing what the full breadth of choices are before they go in and pick ones. I think there's still more to come. 👍

And ooo, a comic! You'll post it if your SO does it, right? I don't think that should hold you back from pitching it if it gets picked, though. The comic could always come after. Best of both worlds~
 

zulux21

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,169
And ooo, a comic! You'll post it if your SO does it, right? I don't think that should hold you back from pitching it if it gets picked, though. The comic could always come after. Best of both worlds~
Yeah, the plan would be for my SO to spend about a year creating pages of the comic before starting to release it online somewhere.

Might even turn into a year of creating pages, and another year of redoing pages if their art style changes to much (likely from figuring out ways to do it faster) lol.
 
Oct 27, 2017
10,116
How do you all normally like to structure your stories? I’ve always done the pretty standard three act structure but I’m trying out a five act thing and I have no idea what I’m doing.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,809
Yeah I'm pretty 3 act myself. I've been meaning to branch out into other structures but I don't write enough novels to really experiment with them
 

zulux21

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,169
How do you all normally like to structure your stories? I’ve always done the pretty standard three act structure but I’m trying out a five act thing and I have no idea what I’m doing.
I vary it up but most likely I do something similar to a 4 act structure.

Introduce the conflict
Explore the conflict
Climax of the conflict
the aftermath from the conflict.

but I'm also writing a very long project so dedicating a decent amount of time to the aftermath sets up for later stuff.
 

sphagnum

Member
Oct 25, 2017
11,007
That Rebellion editor retweeted a literary agent who is accepting unsolicited submissions until August 1:


According to his site, this is what he's looking for:

Submission Guidelines:

As of April 1, 2018 I am accepting unsolicited submissions. Please send an email to [email protected] with your query. Your query should include:

Title, word count, and genre
A brief pitch
Your bio
Ten sample pages pasted directly into the body of the email


What I am looking for:

I am particularly interested in voices that have not been part of the mainstream conversation. If you are writing from a marginalized perspective, I would like to hear from you. It isn’t required, of course, but if you are a writer of color, indigenous, disabled, queer, or trans I invite you to self-identify in your query.



Non fiction, personal narratives that address culture and/or race in complex, nuanced ways. Works in the vein of Rebecca Solnit, Helen Macdonald’s H is for Hawk, Leslie Jamison’s The Empathy Exams, Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me, Alexander Chee’s nonfiction, or Lawrence Weschler’s Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder.
Food writing that looks outside the usual structure of a cookbook to connect readers to the history, science, and culture of food. Dan Barber’s The Third Plate, Kate Christensen’s Blue Plate Special, and Gabrielle Hamilton’s Blood, Bones & Butter.
Science writing that considers context, personal and cultural, and presents a relatable, engaging perspective on its subject. Ed Yong’s I Contain Multitudes, James Gleick’s work, or Hope Jahren’s Lab Girl.



Adult thrillers that focus on voice and character like Tana French’s In the Woods or Lauren Beukes’s Broken Monsters. Ideally with some speculative (or adjacent) element or a focus on technology or very near-future elements like William Gibson’s Pattern Recognition or Eliot Peper’s Bandwidth.
Horror that focuses on the experiences of marginalized people. Alyssa Wong’s work, Victor Lavalle’s The Ballad of Black Tom, Han Kang’s The Vegetarian, or, looking outside of books, Get Out, Raw, and so on.



Young adult science fiction that takes the science and worldbuilding seriously without sacrificing character. M.T. Anderson’s Feed, Emily Suvada’s This Mortal Coil.
Contemporary YA that centers the experience of marginalized youth. #ownvoices preferred. Intersectional representation is very important to me. Mark Oshiro’s Anger is a Gift, Tiffany D. Jackson’s Allegedly, Emily X.R. Pan’s The Astonishing Color of After. Also looking for thrillers, speculative, and horror in this vein.
Select Graphic Novels and Middle Grade, along similar themes and genres as outlined above.
 

sphagnum

Member
Oct 25, 2017
11,007
He's a good agent. I queried him religiously for years, he never gave me the time of day. That's a sign of quality in my book.
I'm not submitting anything since I don't have anything that falls within his genre criteria, but when submitting sample pages like he mentions, would that usually be from the first 10 pages or just from any part that you think are 10 good, representative pages?
 

Xagarath

Member
Oct 28, 2017
1,733
North-East England
How do you all normally like to structure your stories? I’ve always done the pretty standard three act structure but I’m trying out a five act thing and I have no idea what I’m doing.
I don't go for formal structure, beyond the rule that major elements of the story should never be introduced past a certain point. If you've got a good pace chapter-to-chapter without rushing any of your reveals or resolutions I don't think you necessarily need to worry about acts.
 

Weiss

Member
Oct 25, 2017
22,225
Can anyone tell me if this premise sounds too close to something like Stranger Things?

It's about a group of kids in a town beset by strange paranormal activity. Ghosts, aliens, demons, everything. For some reason none of the adults notice the occurences so the kids take it on themselves to fight against the monsters besieging their town. It's sort of meant to be a send up to Kids Horror from the 90s like Are You Afraid of the Dark and Eerie Indiana, but as it goes on it becomes darker and more violent, because it's a bad idea to send kids after monsters.
 

Shoeless

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,798
I'm not submitting anything since I don't have anything that falls within his genre criteria, but when submitting sample pages like he mentions, would that usually be from the first 10 pages or just from any part that you think are 10 good, representative pages?
They usually mean the first 10 pages. They get suspicious if you throw in pages from the middle of the book, they sometimes read that as a sign of lack of confidence in your beginning. Unless they specifically mention in their submission requirements that any part of the book is okay, always start from page 1 and then go to 5, 10, 30, 50 or whatever amount they specify.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,809
Did the Camp Nano thing and my big goal was essentially to start a book that I will hopefully finish by the end of the year. Didn't hit what was my initial word goal, BUT I am four chapters/13k+ words into this book and not feeling too bad about it so far. Here's hoping I end the year with a book I might like enough to like.... try and submit to places or something. That would be crazy, wouldn't it?

Has anyone here ever read Stephen King's On Writing?
I have and really liked it. The writing advice is good but also a bit basic if you've ever read a book on writing before, but really what I loved the most about it were the talks about his own life in the front half. I'd definitely recommend it for those sections alone.
 

Blue Ninja

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,394
How do you all normally like to structure your stories? I’ve always done the pretty standard three act structure but I’m trying out a five act thing and I have no idea what I’m doing.
My fantasy stories are structured pretty normally. For my sci-fi story I’m throwing in non-conventional things like security cam footage, interviews, etc.

I’ve been taking a longer-than-anticipated break after hitting 100k last November. I’ve done some universe work, but I really need to get back to the nuts and bolts of the story. Once this busy summer dies down, maybe. 😭
 

zulux21

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,169
So there seems to be a writing contest designed to advertise a start up company that plans on trying to match beta readers with writers they would like


I can't say the site is trustworthy, but at least reading the comments it doesn't feel like a scam. I still wouldn't throw my main stories there, but if you have some side projects or perhaps a CWC that you can expand it might be worth entering?

worst case it can be used as motivation to get something done.
 

InfiniteKing

Member
Oct 26, 2017
156
Ok reading the general tips. I do have the no plots no problems book but haven't dived into it yet. I guess I need just general writing knowledge. Anyone know any online free courses or at least not expensive courses on it. I could get started but I'm worried about 'prose' I guess?
 

zulux21

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,169
Ok reading the general tips. I do have the no plots no problems book but haven't dived into it yet. I guess I need just general writing knowledge. Anyone know any online free courses or at least not expensive courses on it. I could get started but I'm worried about 'prose' I guess?
if you just want to go through the lectures with no homework I've been told


is great.

the first lecture I watched was enjoyable but I haven't gotten around to watching more.
 

Xagarath

Member
Oct 28, 2017
1,733
North-East England
Ok reading the general tips. I do have the no plots no problems book but haven't dived into it yet. I guess I need just general writing knowledge. Anyone know any online free courses or at least not expensive courses on it. I could get started but I'm worried about 'prose' I guess?
I follow this author on twitter and he offers a free 8-week course:
http://www.timclarepoet.co.uk/couchto80kwritingbootcamp/
His own novels are pretty good, so he hopefully knows what he's talking about.
 

InfiniteKing

Member
Oct 26, 2017
156
I follow this author on twitter and he offers a free 8-week course:
http://www.timclarepoet.co.uk/couchto80kwritingbootcamp/
His own novels are pretty good, so he hopefully knows what he's talking about.
if you just want to go through the lectures with no homework I've been told


is great.

the first lecture I watched was enjoyable but I haven't gotten around to watching more.
Thanks both so much will check out!
 
So there seems to be a writing contest designed to advertise a start up company that plans on trying to match beta readers with writers they would like


I can't say the site is trustworthy, but at least reading the comments it doesn't feel like a scam. I still wouldn't throw my main stories there, but if you have some side projects or perhaps a CWC that you can expand it might be worth entering?

worst case it can be used as motivation to get something done.
Oh, sounds interesting. Like you said, maybe not a thing for main stuff but a throwaway/side project? Heck yeah! Thanks for the heads-up!
 

Timu

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,393
Good news: I'm just out halfway through my full outline of this year's Nano novel for November, and it's only going to get better from here now that I'm getting closer to the best parts of the novel for the outline so I hope to make even better progress with it for the following weeks and months.
 

Shoeless

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,798
is being melodramatic bad, and how do you, yourself, determine if what youre writing is melodramatic?
I think the usual caveat applies here of "If you can pull it off, then it's not bad."

A lot of fiction inherently relies on melodrama to carry readers away, if you go by the traditional definition of melodrama as narratives with sensationalized events designed to play off emotions, rather than reason. If you can craft big, blow out arguments between characters, shouting matches that readers believe in, and romantic betrayals that 100% convince the audience, then even if it's melodrama, it's fantastic melodrama that's working well for you, and you should keep doing it.
 

Ivy Veritas

Member
Jan 5, 2019
58
Does anyone have any experience with Inkitt? Is it worth posting stories there? I'm looking to increase my exposure for both of my series.
 

Xagarath

Member
Oct 28, 2017
1,733
North-East England
Work on my book has stalled. I have literally no creative energy for anything right now ;_;
Maybe try being creative in a different field for a bit? Not with the aim of being productive, just as a way of recharging. I mess around with music editing and basic game design when I need a break from writing - I never produce anything worthwhile, but it's a good way of clearing headspace.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,809
Maybe try being creative in a different field for a bit? Not with the aim of being productive, just as a way of recharging. I mess around with music editing and basic game design when I need a break from writing - I never produce anything worthwhile, but it's a good way of clearing headspace.
I honestly don't have any other creative outlets. Closest I have is cooking. Guess its time to fuck around with a new hobby for a bit.
 

Mekanos

Member
Oct 17, 2018
14,051
Serious, genuine question: will it come off as problematic if in an action/adventure storyline, the female lead is motivated largely (but not exclusively) by the death of her fiance? Like there are other aspects to why she's doing what she's doing, and we actually meet the fiance for a while before his untimely death (essentially the moment when the heroine must make her choice to go forward). Could that read as iffy (female character being motivated by a man, basically inverse manpain)? It's not a revenge story but it causes her to lose her cool and affects her deeply throughout the rest of the narrative.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,809
Serious, genuine question: will it come off as problematic if in an action/adventure storyline, the female lead is motivated largely (but not exclusively) by the death of her fiance? Like there are other aspects to why she's doing what she's doing, and we actually meet the fiance for a while before his untimely death (essentially the moment when the heroine must make her choice to go forward). Could that read as iffy (female character being motivated by a man, basically inverse manpain)? It's not a revenge story but it causes her to lose her cool and affects her deeply throughout the rest of the narrative.
As a premise, I don't think its necessarily problematic. I feel like a thing that gets lost in conversations about whether or not things are problematic is what the actual problems are. Being motivated by the actions or deaths of a male isn't the problem, its that for a lot of characters that's all there is and they don't have any ambitions for themselves outside of that. I think it's fine but its also important to ask yourself what else is there in her not revolving around any other male characters?
 

Shoeless

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,798
Serious, genuine question: will it come off as problematic if in an action/adventure storyline, the female lead is motivated largely (but not exclusively) by the death of her fiance?
I think to a certain degree, you've already afforded yourself a measure of "safety" by making the lead female, and having the death be a man. The term "fridging" came about because the trope was that women existed solely to be killed and metaphorically--or literally in the case of the original Green Lantern incident that sparked it--stuffed into a fridge for the male hero to discover and be entirely motivated by that death. The fridge trope, as it's called is considered very tired and unwelcome because it's always the suffering of a woman used solely as a way to motivate the male character.

I think in some circles, it might even be considered welcome that you flipped the trope on its head and used a male death as a motivation for a female main character, and treated him as the convenient plot device for the far more important person.

But like Flowers said, the main goal is not to have the character defined entirely by the loss of another person. Death happens, and it's traumatic, and violent death happens as well, and people have to deal with the consequences. As long as you show that, and don't turn the death into a jump start for your plot, with no other repercussions, no other elements to the story, you should be okay.
 

Mekanos

Member
Oct 17, 2018
14,051
I think to a certain degree, you've already afforded yourself a measure of "safety" by making the lead female, and having the death be a man.
This definitely crossed my mind, inverting the gender dynamic.

In my current outline, the fiance is alive for the first fourth or so of the story, and the lead is already going up against the enemies while this is going on, and he dies as a result of collateral damage. It traumatizes her and causes her to take more extreme measures, while alienating others around her. The idea being that dealing with trauma and loss isn't always "clean" or easy, insofar as the person suffering can lash out or not be the ideal victim. She already has reasons to oppose the enemy before it happens. I imagine well before the end of the story, like 70% way through or so, she has made her peace with it.

I definitely need to expand her goals/interests outside of the plot though, like things she likes to do for fun, things she wants to do with her life, etc. That will help round her out. Like I said, it's still in the outline stage.

Thanks for the feedback, both of you!