How Not to Get Published

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Envy, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. Based on the writers book by Rebecca S Stogner


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    Introduce a sympathetic character who grapples a thorny problem. As plot continues char must strain to consume every resource he has.Shocking events either help or hinder the process. Painful inner conflict drive character sometimes paralyzing them at the moment of truth

    The lost stock where plot is too slight: the dilemma must be life changing.must be broad interest

    Waiting room in which the stor is too long delayed: don’t prolong background. Don’t involve scenes where a character ponders for long periods. ALWAYS HAVE SOMETHING GOING ON. What is the most important event

    Long runaway in which a character’s childhood is recounted to no purpose: pick a pivotal action scene and start your novel in the center of it. Once fully involved then pepper in some background.

    Vacation slideshow in which author subs location for story:

    Words fail me where the author stops short of communication: a character is unable to express a memory of a place or even the impression it left on him. USE FULL DESCRIPTIONS

    Gum on the mantlepeice unintentionally misleading. Any clue in the first chapter that is made to appear significant must be dealt with by the last chapter.

    Oh don’t mind him a character’s problem goes unexplained. If you bring up a problem it must be solved in the course of the story.

    Deafening Hug the unintended love interest:

    -mayfly fatale-a new char is described as overly attractive are assumed to be love/sex interests “raven haired bombshell” “hunky musclebound gentleman”
    -Alice in Lapland-any children who come to the undue interest or in physical contact
    -were going to need a bigger closet-Gay char.s give themselves away. If your male is straight let him sleep on the couch.

    Red Herring/slight of pen A well placed false clue on the “mantlepiece”to lead the reader one way when you want to surprise them with the truth later on. Eg. the obvious suspect in a who done it, who looks increasingly guilty until the last second. The culprit is often closely related to the victim and well established in the story line.

    PLACING and Complications

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    Monogamy a plot only has a limited number of char who follow a single plot thread (BORING)

    Onanism the lone wolf routine

    Serial Monagomy where all problems solve themselves with an unrealistic solution

    The Orgy too many plot lines that confuse people

    And by the way, Im an expert marksman where the pay off is not set up. Explain uncanny abilities in the first chapter, not later on.

    Rose colored half full glasses where the setup reveals the pay off. Over confidence in a protagonist is a dead give away to a happy ending. Make the reader always guess ‘whats next?’

    Déjà vu where the setup deflates the payoff: let the reader have foreshadowing and limited foresight, plans always lead to blunders and problems.
    The more unlikely an event the more deeply rooted and widely integrated it should be in the chapers before it.

    Zeno’s manuscript where irrelevant detail derails narrative momentum: don’t go Tolkien during an action scene’s moment.

    -on my way to the scene-prolonging the travel scenes to a destination of action
    -bedridden scene- getting into bed should usually involve sex.

    Plot not taken in which irrelevant options derail momentum…just don’t give options that aren’t taken unless REALLY important.

    Benign Tumor where an apparently meaningful development isn’t meaningful

    Mr. Sandman, on second thought, bring me a gun wherein char dream. Rarely use dreams, about 1 per novel (and then get rid of it)

    Second argument is the Laundromat a scene which occurs twice:NEVER DO unless there is a new character or plot development

    -last night when we…-char describing their day after it just happened
    -lets go there to talk about it-char begin a convo in one location and change scene but continue the same convo

    Oh, and also? In which too much reminiscing stalls the story

    Cell theory modern plots have char with cell phones

    -forget the phone with credible reason long before the need of it
    -loss of phone credibly ie hanging upside down.
    -destruction of phone by villain
    -failure of signal/loss of battery life must be timely but
    -character flaw refusing to own one for X reasons

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    But a meteor could land there, right? In which the author cheats: heroes must resolve problems themselves. Also don’t change the rules of the world you create. Endings come naturally.

    And one ring to bind them! Said the old cowpoke
    where the author switches genres in midstream

    Underpants gnomes whre crucial steps are omitted: hash out the details in the middle which lead to desired conclusion if stuck start at the crucial moment and develop plausible reasons the result occurred.

    Goodbye, cruel reader whre an inconvenient char is conveniently disposed of: get rid of characters naturally by pre-explaining conditions leading to their disposal

    Manchurian parallax of Thetan conspiracy enigma in which backstory overwhelms: beginning explanation earlier in book for mysteries revealing odd bits peppered in

    Now with 20% more homily where the author tells us what he’s just spent 30 pages telling us: don’t sum up your story with a epilogue dispensing philosophy

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    Start with characteristic: age, gender, physical appearance, motivations from back story(without extolling)

    Man of average height whre characters are described in generic terms: point out qualities that are important to the plot. DON’T write a police report

    What color am I? where the char must be in front of a mirror to know what she looks like: if looking in a mirror REAL people notice the imperfections. Encounters with a char of opposite gender often cause reflection

    -kodak moment-reflecting with a photo as above is a nono.

    Channeling the E! Channel using celebrities as a comparison:brings up pre-existing thoughts

    Joan Rivers pre-novel special where clothing is given too much prominence: if mensioned clothing should set off the character from others.

    Getting to know you

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    What makes your hero tick? Strengths and weaknesses? Interesting qualities about him/her?

    Average day
    where mundane detail fails to bring a character to life: Just cut to the action of the plot (the problem faced)

    The child is father to the digression wherein too much is made of a char. Childhood: behavior must be complex and explained over time

    Too good to be true wherein an attempt to make the protagonist sympathetic overshoots the mark: goodness is balanced by the same degree of selfishness
    Hero is not liked because: meditation, he likes your fav things., frustrated writer/etc

    The vegan Viking where the author accessories with politics: political views must be time accurate and realistic

    Love me, love my cat pets should have a low profile, unless totally relivant as in “The cat who…” who dunit (names should be simple and relivant)

    Compassion fatigue wherein char is beyond help: don’t beat over the head all problems at once or repeat them.

    Im expressing my sexuality wherein a char’s sexual nature overwhelms his other qualities: not within the first 4 or 5 chapters

    Sidekicks and significant others
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    Jimbo knows me better than I know myself wherein a friend char is introduced to no purpose

    The Clone Entourage wherein friend chars proliferate into an indistinguishable mass: diversify friend chars and have more than one purpose

    The Cheerleader wherein a sidekick exists solely to admire the hero

    Faceless multitude wherein numerous extras are introduced and discarded (ie mom and dad phone talk)

    Love interest Barbie wherein love is skin deep: perfect beauty with no personality is bad. They must be loveable

    Men are cliché, women are stereotype wherein the char are built solely of broad gender stereotypes: conflict and bonding is the spice of life

    Prince charming doesn’t deserve me wherein the bad boyfriend is more sympathetic than the protagonist: bad leads to leaving for an ok guy. Leaving ok guy leads to unsureness

    Lovely prison warden’s daughter wherein a love interest suddenly appears to patch a plot hole: the love interest should have build up to the main scene

    The funny valentine wherein the protagonist settles for less:

    -last tango in santa’s village-where the love interest is a sexual 0
    There must be reasons for the passion to flame: subtle clues must be dropped in both chars expression/actions to hint at development=acts of mild bravery (sticking up for her in an argument), mild manly displays of help; coupled with changes in her reaction towards him

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    Inside the mind of a criminal
    where in the villains evil doings are motivated by unrealistic desire to do evil: chars need reasons to do something, even an evil act (maybe theyre being forced to to evil against their will?)

    But he loves his mother wherein a villain is given one good quality to round him out: make insane behavior realistically believable.

    The retirement speech wherein the villain improbably recounts her evil deeds, or exposes her evil plans

    Revenge is a dish best served in public when the author has failed to move on

    A novel called it wherein abusive parents exist: if you go this route make their abuse have a legitimate reason beyond “their parents were like that”

    The Riddler wherein the nefarious plot is more complex than string theory: simplify the plot of the villain to one or two main twists

    Im melting wherein the villain conveniently gives up.

    The fearless expose
    wherein a novel is populated by straw men: don’t make your novel expouse idealisms too heavily

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    The puffer fish
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    wherein the author flaunts his vocabulary

    The crepuscular handbag
    wherein the author flaunts somebody else’s vocabulary

    The crepitating Parasol wherein the author trips over his own cleverness: avoid floweriness

    Are sticks and stones still an option? Whereint he author mangles common expressions

    Breeding contempt wherein the author relies too much on cliché

    I mean this! Its important wherein the author punctuates hysterically: use exclamations only when char shouts

    Sentences and paragaphs
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    The minimalist whrein synopses take the place of writing

    The ingredient List
    where in lists sub for description

    Redundant tautology wherein the author repeats himself: don’t resay things flowery, don’t say it again in dialogue eg. square room with walls, floor and ceiling

    The legal brief In which the language of officialdom rules

    Mouth-watering world-class prose wherein the author writes in a manner more appropriate to an advertisement; also naming brand labels in place of generic items, unless important to characterization

    Hello, I must be going wherein time in the novel is poorly handled: avoid “yadda yadda” time collapse

    Penis like sausage in which metaphors are inappropriate, or the size of the metaphor requires explanation

    Linearity shrugged in which the author assembles the novel in no order: sentences and paragraphs must flow seamlessly together

    Gibberish for art’s sake wherein lyricism baffles the reader

    Unruly zit when the author has read too much Bukowski: don’t be gross unless there is a point in it

    Ya hadda be there wherein the author thinks you know what he means: reactions to things from a char’s point must show difference through char’s comparing it to something else

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    Asservated the man when the author thinks hes too good for the word ‘said’

    Said the Fascinating man where the author tells you what to think of his dialogue

    Said the man who had just returned from three months… where the author misplaces his exposition: speech tags should only include “[name] said+ concurrent action”

    Fuck you! He said profanely where the author uses adverbs to no purpose: you may use adverbs when the words spoken are juxtaposed to the feeling meant. “I love you, alright?” he said jokingly/coldly…these words express a different emotion other than love. Love is understood so you cant use a reiterive lovingly.

    Sock Puppetry when all chars speak in the voice of prose

    The convension of invisible men where the author fails to identify the speakers

    Court Reporter in which every single last solitary word of conversation is included: don’t place in the chitchat of life unless its important to plot development

    Don’t mind us when the author forgets that other characters are present

    Double speak where the author inadvertently makes characters seem dishonest: phrases like “trust me”, overly trying to convince someone you agree etc makes it seem like characters are liars

    “Hello! Im the mommy! Where chars announce things they wouldn’t say or do

    “But captain!” where chars tell each other things they already know

    And that’s when the vaginal thrush returned when the chars inappropriately share intimate information: chars only share certain secrets with close friends-ie realism

    El Foreigner where nonnative English speakers are rendered poorly: research dialects moron

    Narrative Stance
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    I complete me wherein the novel is a work of auto-hagiography/autobiographies

    -protag. Never realizes he is underestimated, victimized by family members, then beg your forgiveness
    -departed lovers realize their mistake
    -middleaged man is pursued by teens
    -parsing protag’s qualities
    -protag pens a novel that is harolded

    Grabbing the mike wherein the pov momentarily strays

    The tennis match whereinthe pov bounces back and forth between 2 characters

    Second Personhood writing in the second person is rejectable

    The democracy where everyone is heard from: observe only a few instances of pov not EVERY pov

    Reading over your shoulder wherein the chars seem to hear each other’s thoughts

    The paradigm shift when the chars are of one mind: char 1 realizes it, then so does everyone else

    The service interruption wherein the pov suffers a temporary blackout: write dialogue only if you want the reader to hear it as the char. Would without revealing too much

    Tenses: the Past oblivious wherein the verb tense shifts unpredictably

    Tenses: Past intolerable wherein a single tense is used for every event

    Interior Monologue
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    The hothouse plant wherein char overreacts to every stimuli: reactions need to be proportional to the stimulus

    Every breath you take
    wherein every passing mood is lovingly detailed

    Failing the turing test wherein the char has no reaction whatso ever

    Youll have to go through me wherein the fact a char has senses is paramount: avoid the “I heard the sound, I saw the thing”

    Hamlet at the deli wherein the char’s thoughts are transcribed to no purpose

    The skipping record wherein a char has the same thought repeatedly

    Jekyll and Hyde wherein the char and his inner voice are mismatched

    -I, youngster- when the author is behind the times

    Preemptive strike wherein the author anticipates criticism; chars go on to explain flaws in novel as “real life”

    Swann song wherein the char ignores the scene that is occurring to remember about one that is not

    Describing the world:

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    The sharper image catalogue where tech-porn halts the narrative: describing the background Tolkien style during a love scene

    The food channel
    in which the author stops to describe the specials

    Magic-onomics wherein chars funds issue from nowhere

    Afternoon special character as setting

    -too many beautiful people where they don’t belong
    -A beauty unexplainably attracted to a man
    -all chars share the same sentiment
    -all members are the same gender unless you get lucky
    -all people are white and upper/middle class=ethnic cleansing
    -all people are downtrodden and mistreated

    Research history
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    Hello I am the mideval knight in which chars supply their own context: discussing their own customs to new comers

    Zeno’s Ipod items misplaced out of time; think of wearing a star trek outfit to the ren fair, it just doesnt flow

    “Yo Charlemagne, hows dost thy big war?”
    when the author does not control his idiom: chars using phrases not part of their own time.

    The whatchyamacallit in which gaps in the author’s research make themselves known

    Then Mel Gibsom raised his mighty broadsword in which the author unconsciously appropriates media references

    Class struggle wherein the author struggles to imagine an unfamiliar social class and their way of thinking

    The research paper wherein the author over does it: only use specialized knowledge when absolutely necessary

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    The overture wherein the prologue is a brief guide to the meaning of life

    The Timely Epiphany
    in which symbolism conveniently makes itself known

    The commercial break in which the author borrows from media

    The after-dinner special in which the author wields a mallet: chars have their own philosophy not just yours

    The education film in which the deck is stacked: instead pepper the injustices to the protag

    The high colonic by mail in which the author’s world view doesn’t intersect with the reader: write something that is generally agreed on

    Obsession, by calvin klein when the author is unaware that is idee fixe is showing
    In other words don’t try to brow beat the reader with an idea

    The voice in the wilderness wherein the view expressed is universally detested

    Special Effects and Novelty Acts
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    The hays code
    where the author looks away during a sex scene

    Dear penthouse letters
    wherein the reader is offered no foreplay

    The superhuman feat a person doing something sexually impossible

    Some assembly required In which sex has no stimulation

    The purple blue prose in which your sex is too flowery

    Stop me if you heard this one in which a joke is told that everyone knows: receiver shouldn’t be delighted

    Confederacy of Shills too many people laughing too much

  2. Interesting list. Your formatting makes this really hard to read, though; it might be more helpful if you used full sentences and less abbreviations.

    One question: Is this intended to be rules of thumb for appealing to a publisher, or for writing well-structured stories? While I do agree with some of these as good guidelines for a successful and interesting narrative, others seem to me to be tips more in the sense of catering to what a publisher is "looking for"- which is certainly helpful if you're trying to get published, but not necessarily meant to be taken as hard rules! They also do not apply in absolute to roleplaying, as roleplays are written by and for an audience of creative writers rather than the common popular fiction reader.

    By the by, I saw you mention here that you were going to post a list to this effect, and that it was from a guidebook on writing novels. Is this taken from a book or other source? If so, PLEASE credit or link to the original work. Plagiarism is a no-no.

    (One more thing, just as a note of friendly advice: I couldn't help but notice that your current Status is "Hemorrhaging literacy". Here on Iwaku, "literate" is a bad word when used in the sense of individual writing skill quality! Literacy is the ability to read and write, and chances are that if someone is making posts on an internet forum, they have basic literacy.)
  3. I did say that and i will be making said changes midmorning. They are also not hard rules. but i know several people intending to turn their posts into novels, asmo being one. but in general the suggestions are for improving your voice as a writer as well as your style.

    And to answer about my handle, I know literate elitism is frowned upon. I'm being satyrical about it. I claim that I'm elitist but I'm just a lazy asshole. It shows in my writing, mostly because i have to type on a cell at night. but those be them breaks
  4. Oh yes, some members here do intend to be published authors; I'm one of them. However, most of the roleplayers here (including those who intend to be published) are writing for their own enjoyment and to a specific niche audience, and so some of the pitfalls which might alienate a general readership are not applicable. Just pointing that out for those who might see this list and worry about their plotlines!
  5. Since you bring up plotline, what about my advice do you disagree with?
  6. If you don't mind, I'll wait until you edit it to clarify. I want to be sure that I'm not misinterpreting anything before I make a proper reply, since (as I mentioned) I had trouble following it in parts due to format. :]
  7. So i fixed it sum. what do you think?
  8. The formatting is much easier on the eyes, but you still have a lot of incomplete sentences and abbreviations that are making it more difficult to suss out your meaning. If you could clean it up a bit in order to clarify, that would be super helpful! :3
  9. That ironically is the way it was presented in the book. When i have better use of the devices ill correct it
  10. Oh, I see. I've found the book in question; it's actually by Rebecca S. Warner, while Rebecca Stogner did the illustrations. ;]

    So was this just copied directly from the book, more or less?