1. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    How would you react to a publication?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by jwatson, Jan 18, 2014.

    I've been working on a novel for years. It's an elaborate fantasy about a young man that wants to become a published author. You know the deal, one of those books about a writer wanting to become a writer.

    The first draft is done. At this point, I am re-writing the weaker parts and editing the entire thing. I've run away from this part early on in the novel. Five chapters in, he gets a publishing deal.

    So anyway, this character has been dying to get this deal. He hates his literary agent because he feels neglected and because she seems to work harder for her other clients.

    Five chapters in, I want there to be some kind of reaction. Like an impact. I mean, he wants this publishing deal so badly, right? When he hears about it, it's almost on a whim. His literary agent gets angry at him for meeting with a publisher behind her back, and then voila, she sells the rights to his novel to a publisher.

    I'm looking for a realistic reaction to success.

    I hope I don't sound like "write this part for me." I'm just looking for an idea or two. Something to get me going because this point in my novel is setting me back and frustrating me.
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    what you're having take place can't...

    first of all, an agent can't 'sell' anything to a publisher... only the author the agent represents can sign the publishing contract... unless the author signed a power of attorney allowing the agent to do so for him... which wouldn't be kosher and I can't imagine any author doing so...

    and how did the author 'get' this 'deal'?... did he query publishers directly, despite having an agreement with an agency?... in any case, he had to have signed a legally binding agreement with the agent, so s/he has a perfect right to be angry at the author trying to cut her/him out of his/her commission... and could take him to court over it...

    what 'success' are you referring to?
     
  3. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    Hey Maia,

    I don't see it as a realistic plot at all. It's not meant to be. Really, the idea behind the novel is for this writer, who has been told that he isn't a very good writer, to make his own reality. The idea behind it is that the first person narrator kind of makes up his life in the book, so in no way is it meant to be realistic.

    When I say 'success,' I mean assurance that his novel will eventually be published. So in a nutshell, he writes a novel, a literary agent agrees to represent him, and a publishing company has interest in publishing his novel.

    It's fiction. I'm making up the entire thing, especially the process of becoming a published author. That's kind of the point.

    I have been stuck at this part in the novel for a while, and it's early on. I feel inclined to have a well-written reaction to the news that my first person narrator has finally achieved his goal--or so he thought. It just seems stale every time I make the attempt.
     
  4. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    If your narrative is not bound by "reality", I don't see why your character's reaction has to be :)

    In other words: he can have a perfectly unrealistic reaction, an absurdly disinterested or an overly melodramatic one, if it fits your characterization of him AND if it fits the tone of your fantasy. Think of Alice's reaction to what happens to her through the looking-glass or down the rabbit's hole. Think of Jozef K.'s reaction to his trial. Or Bilbo's reaction when a bunch of dwarfs crash in for dinner.

    ...one other thing:
    The narrator is the one narrating the story - the character is the one who acts and reacts. Try not to show your narrator's reaction: show how he as a hero of his own story reacts/reacted. There should be a distance between the two: the narrator already knows what happened, so he should be able to evaluate his "own" reactions ("I was stupid back then", "Little did I know...", etc).
     
  5. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    Hey Burlbird,

    Thanks for the reply. I know what you mean there at the end. Makes sense.

    I think you are right about his reaction not having to be realistic. That's kind of where I took it. The revolving pattern in the book is crushed expectations. Having bad things inevitably happen.

    I wrote it as the character drinking champagne on his crappy hotel balcony when he hears the news. A bird poops on his head. Not sure if it'll stick though.
     
  6. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    Bwahaha! That actually sounds pretty catchy :D
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Depends on what the bird has been eating.
     
  8. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    I should do some research.
     
  9. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hm, a pigeon, a parrot or a condor? Be sure to keep readers emotionally involved by selecting a familiar, yet intriguing avian. And don't forget that readers need to relate to the situation: don't just TELL that a huge pile of feaces fell on your hero's head - SHOW by descrining all senses, so readers can hear, feel, smell AND taste it!!

    www.younilife.com/site-uploads/2012/05/biggest-poob-ever.jpg
     
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