Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday Trivia

Okay, I only have a couple of minutes (literally). So this is going to be quick. Respond to

Name three televisions shows in which Eliza Dishku has/had a recurring or starring role.

Okay, on to the next thing. Got some questions sent to me on MySpace and thought you'd be interested. I didn't get permission to list the questioner's name, so I'm keeping it anonymous, but the questions are asked of me fairly often, so I figured I'd go ahead and post the answers here. Remember, my answers are just my opinion based on my personal experience.

That said:

Answers from Cie

1) How do you get an editor?
2) Do you have to go to school to be a writer?

First we'll answer (2). You don't have to go to school as such, but you have to know certain things. They can be self taught, but they're important.

A -- Basic vocabulary, grammar, spelling and punctuation. You're communicating in writing. You need to know how to write. These are your tools. Trying to be a writer without knowing how to use them properly is like trying to build a house without a hammer, saw, or screwdriver. It might be possible, but I wouldn't bank on it.

B -- How to take criticism without going overboard. Everybody's work can improve. Nobody's work is perfect. Ever. So people need editing. Some people find critique groups helpful. Some don't. But when somebody gives you advice, look at what you've written without the rose colored glasses. Would it improve it? BUT don't take every bit of advice from everyone until you don't have your own story, you have "word stew."

I would suggest you look at a couple of books on writing. Steven King's "On Writing" is a no-nonsense, to the point book that I found helpful. You might also look at Jim Butcher's blog. He has some excellent advice there.

As to question (1), you will be assigned an editor at the publishing house when the book is accepted for publication. NOTE -- this happens in the professional circles. If you self-publish through any of the various options available you will probably not get an editor. I don't recommend this at all for the beginning writer. You NEED to be edited by a real professional that knows what they're doing.

There are pay-for-editing services out there. They are expensive and the quality ranges from excellent to horrible with everything in between. I would recommend you do a LOT of research before you hire anybody. There's no point in paying for advice that isn't likely to be helpful.

DO YOUR RESEARCH ANYWAY. This is a career, it is serious, and you should take it seriously. There are a million scams out there for people who want to be in the business. I would hate to see you get sucked into one. "Preditors and Editors" is a place to start on research. .... .....There's so much more to say, because it's a huge topic. But this is a start.

3) What about an agent? What do they do?

An agent will help you to find the right publisher for your work, and will submit it and negotiate contracts for you, etc. A number of the larger houses don't accept unagented submissions. (You need to check ahead before submitting, but you need to do that anyway. It's part of doing your homework--checking to make sure the house is a good fit for your work, is accepting submissions, what format they want it in, etc.).

You can look for an agent a number of ways. (1) By looking in The Writer's Market. (2) By looking in the acknowledgments page of books in the same genre by authors you admire. Normally they will thank their lovely agent "John Doe" there. (3) By setting up an agent "pitch" session at a conference or convention (They schedule these at the RWA Convention and sometimes at RT, I don't know about others. You'd need to check; (4) By personal referrals if you know someone who has an agent and has offered. (It is, however, considered rude to ask them to. Either they offer, or they don't.)

Then look on the agent's website and/or in The Writer's Market to see if (a) they're accepting new cllients; (b) what they're representing; and (c) their requirements.

Good luck!

4) Last question. Does age matter?

There have been kids in high school who have gotten published, and so have little old ladies and gents. The trick is having something to say and saying it well enough to catch the eye of a publisher. So, I guess not.

Later kids!

Best always.


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