What are you Writing?

Discussion in 'The Reading Room' started by MikeKardec, Nov 18, 2015.

  1. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,818
    Location:
    Nebraska
    Scot, when you're done, let me know. I can offer a few tips for the publishing bit. And your publishing history will DEFINITELY be a feather in your cap!
     
  2. MikeKardec

    MikeKardec One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,054
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Just delivered the novel back to the Copy Editor. For those not familiar there is sort of split between the Content and the Copy with a copy edit being more about grammar, punctuation, spelling, technical details of the story (young editors are less and less good at this even with the internet at their disposal ... on the other hand I'm not sure they bothered much with this area before the 1970s), and again whether or not what you are trying to say makes sense the way you are trying to say it. Very helpful but you have to be careful. An over zealous copy editor can thrash your style and make you sound like everybody else if you don't ride herd on them. Many editors these days, of all stripes, also seem to be afraid of saying things forcefully and clearly. This goes beyond PC. There's a lot of "delicate" types in publishing suddenly. Ten years ago you were never "edgy" enough. Today they want you to be the bubble boy. It's best to be neither.

    You always have to watch them. These cats were behind, sent me an already overdue ms., and didn't copy edit the right (most recent) draft. That meant that I spent all weekend and more updating an old ms and reediting it myself so they could make it to the next stage of the process on time. They are grateful and apologetic but you still have to watch them like a hawk ... I was well into checking over their edits before I noticed that they were working from the wrong draft. Don't trust anyone. Ever.
     
    Tiki Tom and AmateisGal like this.
  3. Tiki Tom

    Tiki Tom One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,621
    Location:
    Vienna, Austria
    Haha! Am familiar with “version control “ problems. In my case, it is not with creative projects, but with work reports that I write that circulate through the various departments for edits and then everything gets wrapped around the axel as people become no longer sure which is the current version. Tools like “SharePoint” don’t completely solve the problem.
     
  4. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,818
    Location:
    Nebraska
    Jumping back into the novel AND the nonfiction book...
     
  5. Benzadmiral

    Benzadmiral Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,815
    Location:
    The Swamp
    New fantasy short story, about 4000 words in. I have a sneaking suspicion that I began the action too early -- that the story should open much closer to the climax. We'll see what I think when it's done.
     
    David Conwill likes this.
  6. Just Jim

    Just Jim One of the Regulars

    Well, I'm reading a letter from a publisher who'd like me to write another book. Trying to decide if I want to put the effort into it, and if I have enough I want to say.
     
    AmateisGal likes this.
  7. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,818
    Location:
    Nebraska
    Oooh! That sounds intriguing! What type of book do they want you to write?
     
  8. Just Jim

    Just Jim One of the Regulars

    I previously published three volumes of poetry: the first was an accident and I had to be pushed real hard to allow it to be published, the second was sort of a "why not" thing, the third happened when I got a query about what I'd been writing lately and realized that 90% of my output for two years shared a common theme. A lot of those poems have been compared to the work of a particular Japanese poet.

    The publisher has expressed interest in having more work done in that style--but I was just writing what I wanted to write, I hadn't heard of the guy til after the first book was published. I'm not sure I can make myself write that way as opposed to it just happening.

    I sent a reply today, explaining that I know another writing binge is coming on. The notes and scribbles taped up around my desk would tell me that, even if nothing else did. I'll be happy to send it their way when I'm done, but I'm not sure I can make it be what they want.
     
    AmateisGal and David Conwill like this.
  9. David Conwill

    David Conwill Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,847
    Location:
    Bennington, VT 05201
    That's a great answer Just Jim. I had a publisher contact me a while ago wanting me to write assigned pieces for them and I could smell that being trouble for me. I can whip up short pieces on any topic, no problem, but a book is a whole different animal and level of commitment.
     
    AmateisGal likes this.
  10. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,818
    Location:
    Nebraska
    I definitely understand this. I had a publisher contact me and ask me to write a book on Nebraska during WW1. Well, I had ZERO interest in that topic and new nothing about it. But I politely asked if they'd like me to write a book on Nebraska during WW2 which I know SO much more about and have an interest in! They accepted my offer. :)
     
    Fading Fast likes this.
  11. Just Jim

    Just Jim One of the Regulars

    Good for you! Where's the joy in researching and writing about something you don't enjoy thinking about for "no particular reason"?

    Most of us have had jobs where we wake in the morning--almost every morning--and start thinking of reasons to not go to work. Writing what we don't want to write is like that.

    Right now, even the morning after a horrifying day, I wake and am excited about getting to work. I want to be able to write with same excitement. Otherwise, you may as well be back in 10th grade composition class. . . .
     
    AmateisGal likes this.
  12. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,818
    Location:
    Nebraska
    Yes, exactly! Spending your time researching something you care nothing about is a recipe for misery.
     
    Just Jim likes this.
  13. MikeKardec

    MikeKardec One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,054
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    I always look at it like someone is going to ask me to actually "live" in that fictional environment for a couple of years. You have to really want to ... or be that sort of person who approaches the work in a different way and for whatever reason doesn't care. There's nowhere near enough money in the book world to live in an uninteresting place, especially when it's in your head, for very long!
     
    Just Jim and AmateisGal like this.
  14. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    That's what I call "a fifteen year career in journalism."
     
    AmateisGal and scotrace like this.
  15. Mae

    Mae Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,462
    Location:
    fort worth, tx
    Okay, speaking of research, I'm having a giant problem. Google is NO HELP and I'm hoping you folks here can give me some sort of idea because I'm gonna have to describe a room full of antiques. But what, exactly was "antique" in the early 1930's? Say you walk into an antique shop (if they even existed) back then, what would be in there? How old would the things be? What would they be? I might only need a few objects on tables. Pieces of furniture.

    It's a short scene, but I can't believe it's sucking away so much of my time. I just get results telling me the definition of the word antique. Even one from the Antiques Roadshow.

    Anyway, I'd greatly appreciate any answers. Thanks.
     
  16. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    18th Century European/Colonial stuff, maybe some early 19th, but definitely nothing post-Civil War. Mid-19th Century/sideburned-President-era stuff was seedy junk found in second-hand stores.

    There was also a lot of interest in pre-19th-century Chinese antiques -- the cliche of the dowager yelping in horror as the low comedian knocked over her Ming Vahzzz comes out of this period, as does the prototypcal "mysterious Chinese red lacquer box" that issues out a poisonous gas when you open it.
     
  17. Mae

    Mae Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,462
    Location:
    fort worth, tx
    Thank you.

    The Antiques Roadshow definition of the word (which was incredibly LONG, btw) said something similar. Tried to find it again, with no luck. Oh well. Search engines are terrible, btw.

    Been having an idea poking at the back of my mind again recently and thought I'd take a stab at setting it in the past. It's a lot harder than I thought. Thanks to this place it will be easier.

    I hope.
     
  18. Just Jim

    Just Jim One of the Regulars

    To some extent it will depend on the location of your "room full of antiques", and on the wealth of the individual or family owning them.

    During that era, the high-status antiques in the original 13 colonies tended towards early American furniture (Pilgrim to collonial era), along with earlier (pre-1776) imports from Europe. Du Pont opened the Winterthur collection to the public in 1930 or '31. Early (pre1800) ceramics and glass were also collected, but for the most part the items collected seem to have been those made for wealthy individuals of the day. There were a few folks who specialized in documents (early American or European). Items made by Paul Revere (pewter or silver) were also mentioned in some descriptions of collections of your years of interest. If your collector is in one of the original 13 colonies that sided with the South during the Civil War, the collection is likely to be rather sparse--many such items were "sold North" to pay for expenses during the years after the war.

    Moving inland to the so-called "Mid-West", the few descriptions of collections I've seen from those years seem to have a few pieces of furniture or ceramics that might have caught the eye farther east, but the collections seem to have been filled in with pieces from the early years of the 1800s. I saw mention of an almost-complete collection of ceramic plates of "The Rake's Progress" in one inventory in Indiana of all places.

    Texas collections, of course, focused on the early years of Texas: the War with Mexico, the Republic, and the early years of statehood. The earlier the better, of course.

    I've never run across mention of antique collections around 1930 in OK, KS, NE, SD, ND, MT, ID, CO, or AZ. New Mexico seems to have had a few folks collecting early Spanish items. All of those states had collectors of Native American artifacts, of course: mostly pottery and textiles.

    West Coast collectors seemed to either be transports of eastern collections, or of Japanese art. As Lizzie noted, those were years when pre-19th century Chinese art was popular. A lot of the West Coast collectors seem to have been into collecting stuff from the early days of settlement and statehood--a "local pride" kind of thing.

    As for what might have been in the room, you might take a look at the websites for Winterthur or Chipstone. Both have fascinating collections, and if you poke around you can come up with some ideas for what might have been in a collection.
     
  19. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,293
    Location:
    Small Town Ohio, USA
    My old issues of Antiques magazine are full of Colonial era furniture, silver (teapots, spoons) brass (candlesticks), knife boxes, and Chinese export porcelain, all of it pre 1820 or so. Mostly 17th and 18th century items.
     
  20. MikeKardec

    MikeKardec One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,054
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    There are some good detailed suggestions here ... don't forget the power of the reader's imagination, however. You are probably better off giving a brief but evocative description of the room one that fires the imagination of what is in it rather than going into detail. I suspect that, in the story, it's not specifics of all the antiques that matter but rather the fact that they exist at all in that space or the details of a very few of them. I get bogged down in detail all the time but it's best to remember that the audience only cares about what happens next.

    Literature is a partnership with an unknown associate; the reader. The trick to letting it be a partnership is to give the reader work to do, as in imagining the details of everything that does not move the story forward. Just hint, they will fill the room with whatever works best for them.
     
    David Conwill likes this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.