1. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Peer pressure, take the plunge?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by GuardianWynn, Sep 5, 2015.

    A friend of mine was inflicting harsh peer pressure. He is no writer but he is a smart man- most of the time.

    He thinsk I am just all talk. That I will write and write and never do anything. I have a completed draft. So he thinks I should send it to a publisher and see what happens.

    I haven't done that because I thought doing so is a mistake. I am a young writer and well not worth bragging about. I was sort of a C- student in English.

    My spelling and grammar skills are... well, even after for drafts I bet you guys can spot more than a hand full of errors.

    Though I am not trying to be negative at myself. I do believe I have good ideas and I try and get better all the time. Mostly from just sheer expirence. I try and write 5 to 10k a week and I try and show it to see if I have learned or gotten better. The I try and apply new styles concepts or techniques and just improve.

    I know nothing of the publishing world and just thought that heck I am not even 25. I thought I can sit back take some years and get good at this. I thought taking the plunge now is a mistake.

    Could I be wrong? Am I just holding myself back with fear?


    @jannert
    @Mckk
    @GingerCoffee
    @Wreybies
     
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  2. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    No, you are absolutely right. Your 'friend' probably thinks the only mark of a writer is if they are published. However, he's completely ignoring the fact that, like anything else, the craft has to be learned.

    The worst thing you could possibly do is publish just now. As you say, your grammar skills need polishing, you're constantly asking us about plot ideas and character development, which indicates you know your story isn't ready yet. Don't let somebody bully you into taking that step too soon. Tell him ...politely ...to go play in traffic.

    You are a writer because you are writing. I am impressed that you actually finish what you start. However, that doesn't mean 'go publish today.' If the work isn't up to standard, you'll not get an agent to look at it—and you won't be able to re-submit the same story to the agent at a later date. You've killed that avenue. If you self-publish a piece of unpolished work you won't get any sales, you'll get negative reviews, and you'll have it hanging like a rock around your neck in the future.

    Wait till LOTS of betas love it and tell you ...publish NOW! People who have actually read it. Wait till you know it's the best you can make it. Then go for it.

    Don't let some numpty who hasn't a clue—but seems to have an agenda to make you look foolish —push you into this. You're not ready. You know it. So keep working away. You'll get there!
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2015
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  3. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    lol. I don't think he is trying to make me look foolish. I think he is worried that I will never do it if I don't do it now.

    Funny enough. When I joined this site. I told myself. "My goal is for this WIP to be in the condition to show a publish by the end of next year." And more or less I think I am near that goal but I in all that time realized I think. That I really shouldn't rush. So many times I looked over a piece amazed by how much it improved. Now I want to give it more time and see how much more it improves. (Yes I am refering to the WIP you read.)

    Though this does remind me of two points I forgot to mention.
    1. College for creative writing. My friend suggested I do that. I had thought about it before but I figured that in this current day and age I would get more from being on this website then a formal class. Since that cost money and stuff.
    2. My sister says she has a friend who is with a publisher. She told about my stuff and said she wants to meet me. Though that was a few months ago. I became worried that maybe I am not ready and shouldn't seek this person out if I am not ready. Not sure in all honesty.
     
  4. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    How many people (besides me) have read your entire WIP? I would suggest you need lots more people to read it all the way through and give you feedback. The most important thing to realise is that if you try getting published too soon, you will regret it.

    You are actually writing. That's what's important. Publication comes only after you've mastered the craft, not while you're learning it. The idea that 'if I don't do it now I never will' could be said at any stage, but that doesn't make it a smart move.
     
  5. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    A few people. A few family members. A few friends. All these kind of fell into the "I liked but have no other comments" catagory. Two other people on here read it. But there feedback wasn't as in-depth as yours. They seemed to like it. Which dials back to me thinking. "I got a good story but I still need to learn how to write it."

    Yeah I was pretty sure we agreed here but in the spirit of trying to be open minded. I decided to post the thread. I felt publishing too soon would be a mistake but does that mean I should avoid my sisters friend at this time?
     
  6. plothog
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    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    The problem with none writers is they don't know how much learning and improving there is to be done. You're not just improving your book, you're improving your writing skills.
    I gather that a few writers fall into a trap of endlessly tinkering rather than letting go, but if things are genuinely and noticeably improving, that's not the case.
    From what I read from agents, it's far more common for people to rush and submit something that isn't ready. I bet a hefty percentage of slush pile rejects come from people who've received this sort of none-writer peer pressure.
    I'd stick with your plan of finding out if you can make more significant improvements.
     
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  7. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    "...does that mean I should avoid my sisters friend at this time?"

    No. Just tell him you won't be pushed, and he's free to think whatever he likes about your prospects. Take a stance and refuse to be backed into a corner.

    I found that as soon as I let people know I was writing a novel, the first thing they said (usually) was ...when will it be published? That's the way non-writers think.

    When it comes to publication, impatience is NOT your friend!
     
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  8. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thank you both for the advice. :D
     
  9. outsider
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    outsider Contributing Member Contributor

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    @jannert: Excellent execution of the word 'numpty'. ;)
    She's right @GuardianWynn, the only person you've anything to prove to, is yourself. The race is long. :) Get it right before you commit your work to the wider world. Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2015
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  10. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Such a good word, that!
     
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  11. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Numpty - good word!

    To GuardianWynn - don't let anyone push you into something like that. First it sounds like you already want to keep improving your story so you already know deep down it's not ready. Also publishing is best when you have something that is more than ready and you know it's the best you can make it and that readers are saying - I love it.

    I tried publishing a book I felt just meh about simply to say I had tried publishing. No shocker that Scholastic didn't pick it up. Not a bad experience but I'm glad I didn't use any book I was truly invested in - too discouraging.

    Tell your friends and family it's not ready yet. View it as it's kinda like going to the prom - just because you have a dress doesn't mean your ready to go to the prom - you want it be the dress - perfect.
     
  12. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you have a completed manuscript, and it's the best you can produce, there is no reason to not send it to publishers.

    If you've cleaned it up pretty well (spelling/grammar/punctuation) that's good. While a very clean manuscript might showcase your work better, in the end it's the story that will sell the work...

    ...Unless you're actively studying and practicing to improve your spelling and grammar and punctuation, it's not going to significantly improve simply by writing. Now if you're studying to improve your writing skills and your storytelling ability, maybe the story you're working on can be markedly improved before sending it out to find a home/publisher.

    What can help you improve storytelling? Reading and writing, and revising to improve the story you told. Getting input from readers can assist as well, but the individuals who've read it so far probably are not that group. It's not a knock on them. Good readers or even crit partners are hard to find.

    If/when you do send it off (because you think you're ready), while you're waiting, write your next novel.

    I will say that age (not yet 25) shouldn't be a factor in your decision. Whether you're in your teens or well into your seventh decade, no body on the other end will know your age (unless you reveal it). The primary thing the editor (agent) will judge the story on is it's quality--and if they think it will sell and that they're the ones that can do it.
     
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  13. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I find the idea one must have the goal of publishing or one is not a real writer troubling. Not to mention a lot of writers don't feel their first manuscript is the one they want to submit to a publisher.

    You might point out to your friend that Harper Lee didn't publish her first novel for decades. She published her second one. Does that mean when she finished Go Tell a Watchman she wasn't a serious writer?

    I get annoyed at the opposite, people giving the advice that one has to write a dozen novels before they will write one good enough to publish. I expect to publish the first novel I'm writing, (one way or another). But writing that novel has been going on four years now. It takes some of us a long time to get a publishable book finished. That might mean writing several novels before writing the right one, or it might mean taking years working on the right one from the start.


    The only thing I'd suggest you look at though, is your lack of confidence. Was your friend trying to motivate you to grow your confidence, or was he trying to say you weren't really a writer? Because maybe it was the former, not the latter.

    Has anyone read your finished draft, someone who will give you honest feedback? Rather than looking for a publisher, you might want to look for a beta reader if you haven't already.

    My stuff was awful at first. But I let people read it and told them I knew I lacked skills. That attitude meant it didn't hurt my ego in the least when they said it needed a lot of work. Even now when I think a chapter is great and I take it to the critique group and they don't think it's great, it doesn't bother me. The most important thing for learning is to not let critiques bother you. It will keep you from letting someone read your stuff.

    You might need to shift from letting feedback make you question your skills and instead look at it as a means of growing your skills. Take where you're at in your writing skills and let yourself feel good about it. A finished draft? That's incredible. :agreed:

    You don't think it's ready for submission? That's fine too. All of us are at whatever point we are at in our writing skills. No point is bad, each point is just where we happen to be at today. Tomorrow I plan to be better. All is well with the world. :write:
     
  14. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have let some people read them. The critics sort of went like

    "I like your story ideas but boy do you not know how to put them together nicely in a book."

    To sum the idea of the reviews briefly.


    Yeah I am pretty sure he means well. Funny enough this came to the response of me asking him if he would bet read. To which he thinks beta reading(or him beta reading) is worthless. He seemed to be under the impression that is why I should send if off to get feedback from a professional. I don't know how it works. I just don't think that was good advice. Looking at this thread. It seems you guys agree. lol
     
  15. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    So take the next step, learn from the reader's feedback. I glanced at your last workshop entry. There's a lot of good feedback there. Take it one skill at a time.

    Read everything you can about filter words and how to take out unnecessary words. We tend to write like one might talk and you have to overcome that tendency. Don't say things twice.

    Read about different POVs, not just the grammar but why to choose one style over another in a piece.

    Read about making the reader care about your characters.
     
  16. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Now I feel bad. I am not the best at research. For the past year I have more just taking advice and trying to integrate it into my style. It seemed like it has worked. My last entry got lots of positive feedback.

    I been more focused on hitting the typewriter with much effort and seeing how sheer experience has helped me improve.
     
  17. GingerCoffee
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    Which is exactly what I said you really need to stop doing. "You might need to shift from letting feedback make you question your skills and instead look at it as a means of growing your skills."

    Well you have a choice, keep going or stop.

    I've been taking advice and working on my novel for almost 4 years. You've come a long way in one year. Don't set your expectations so high you feel defeated not meeting them.

    As for not being good at research, all it takes is a Google search:

    filter words
    how to make the reader care about your character
    choosing POV

    It's not going to come magically in a cloud of pixie dust, you have to work to improve.
     
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  18. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    But how do you tell between a idoit that posts his thoughts cuz it is easy to do on the internet and someone that is offering good advice?

    Oh and I will never give up! I won't put my pen down(or keyboard) until I am dead. :D the question was more if I was being bad and stopped by fear by not submitting to a publisher or if holding back and improving was a valid reason to not take the plunge.
     
  19. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    By reading more than one writer's advice blog and more than one writer's guide (you can get those from the library). Most of the writer's blogs one finds at the top of a Google search have been reputable, in my experience. With a few exceptions like, anything on 'italics for thoughts'. :p
     
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  20. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    I don't know where people get off telling others what to do, unsolicited. I cannot stand it. Make suggestions, sure.

    But you know when you're ready.

    Anyone who says beta reading is worthless should be shunned when it comes to advice re: writing, publishing or anything to do with the literary world, IMO.
     
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  21. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    If I understood the argument. He thought I was taking to much stock on this forum. Thinking it was a league of amateurs that were more likely to try to steal more work/give bad advice by not being great themselves.

    It sounded kind of silly I know but I guess peer pressure is when silly arguments make sense for a moment right? lol
     

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