Lost faith in my book - friends and family beta readers and hurt feelingd

Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by Integer, Mar 5, 2017.

  1. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Contributor Community Volunteer

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    That doesn't necessarily mean they were wrong. I've read the cuckoo's calling and it basically isn't very good. (the second one, the silk worm, is better) Being able to write boy wizards and such doesn't necessarily mean that you can write PI Crime
     
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  2. Tristan's Opa

    Tristan's Opa Member Supporter

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    Been there and stopped writing for about three years. Comments like 'looks like it was written by a feces flinging primate hitting keys'. "go back to school and learn what a comma is'. Yep, been there.

    Went back to work, poured myself into growing veggies and garlic, but the story kept nagging me.

    Mind you, I'm not thin skinned, just have no time for bullshit responses. Then I met (online) a couple people who wrote constructive critiques and I found new life. They didn't mince words and sliced my MS like sushi chefs, thin and with skill. I learned more from that than any book. I also began Alpha and beta reading for others. Recently, I landed here.

    All that has changes my perspective and encouraged me to dust off this old story and make it palatable. So the question you need to answer is, you fell, now how high can you bounce? Go rub some dirt on it and brush it off. Work the next pitch! ;)
     
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  3. Royal Fool

    Royal Fool New Member

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    I have the first 4330 words of my novel
    Simply not true (certainly not here in England). If you go to many agents' websites, they ask you to submit 10,000 words...

    Curtis Brown Creative: "Cover Letter, Synopsis of up to 3,000 words, Sample material of up to 10,000 words"

    Watson Little: "For fiction the sample length will depend on the nature of your material, but as a general rule send approximately 10,000 words or the nearest equivalent."

    Blake Friedmann: "...covering letter (please make this the body of your email), a full synopsis of approx. 500 words, and your first three chapters/10,000 words"

    ... and so on.

    It is usually 10,000 words or the first three chapters (or approximately 50 pages).

    NONE of them say it has to be a complete manuscript.
     
  4. Carriage Return

    Carriage Return Member

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    Last edited: Dec 31, 2018
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  5. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    They want the first X words OF a completed manuscript. If they say they like it and want to see the rest, and you tell them it will be done in a few months, you’ve ruined what could have been an opportunity.
     
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  6. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    Exactly this.
     
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  7. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Admittedly Stephen King mentions doing this in on writing , and having to work flat out to finish the story when he got an acceptance... he doesn't say its a good idea though (and he had more leeway in at time when submissions were typed and sent through the mail)

    That aside - if you want to know if your first 10k words are good you could hire an developmental or structural editor - most of them work on the basis of a penny a word or there abouts so it will only cost you in the region of £100
     
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  8. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    If you can do it fast enough that it doesn't clue the agent or editor in that the manuscript was unfinished, then there's no harm. If they get the completed project a few months later I think you're going to have a problem.
     
  9. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    An exception to this is for non-fiction, by the way. But for fiction, it stands as good advice. Whenever I've seen agents and editors posed this question, they always answer the same way.
     
  10. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Indeed - I think King was talking about submitting a short story, so he submitted an idea and a sample (the industry has changed since then) and wound up hammering out 5k words in 24 hours... most of us are going to struggle to write a full book in less than a month
     
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  11. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    "Robert" got a form rejection. Nobody had read the manuscript and decided the author needed to go back to writing school - they just decided it wasn't right for their list and put in the same rejection every writer gets.

    As others have said, you really need to have a completed and fully edited manuscript before you submit those 10,000 words. If the agent asks to read the rest, they expect you to send it to them within a few days.
     
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  12. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I did once bang out 110k words together with another author (so I guess just over 50k words each, let's say?) in 5 weeks. It's doable. No one says it's gonna be your best writing ever though. But 5 weeks is still too long to make the agent wait if she actually requests a full.
     
  13. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Contributor Community Volunteer

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    yeah I wrote a first draft of a 40k novella in 9 days - but 9 days would still be too long

    If anyone made this cock up I'd suggest honesty would be your best policy … there's a slim chance they might be happy for you to resubmit when the work is done

    But not making it in the first place seems the better plan
     
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  14. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    That's flipping fast :eek: 9 days might be all right - blame it on schedules, not seeing the email, making last minute tweaks. It's still believable. But do you really wanna give yourself that kinda stress?
     
  15. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I self publish so its hypothetical for me anyway, but I routinely write about 3.5k a day so 40k in nine is only slightly faster than usual (as I recall it include one 10k day and a couple of 5k days). In On Writing King cites someone (I can't remember who other it being a famous author of the 40s and 50s) who liked to write his books in a week.

    That said just because it can be done, doesnt make it a good idea
     
  16. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah I write between 3k-5k usually. 8k on some days. But I honestly don't think my speed - or yours - is the average lol. And totes agree that it doesn't make it a good idea to try to submit something written that quickly as "publishable".
     
  17. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    Finish your book first! The first 10,000 words rarely survive the first edit. Agents don't want to hear about your idea for your book, only your finished, and thoroughly edited, final product.
     
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  18. peachalulu

    peachalulu Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I never show anything to friends or family until perhaps it's done - maybe not even then. My mom has way too much influence over me (or maybe I allow it, anyhow I want her approval) therefore she can't see anything until it's done. Once I accidentally laid down a story (I was trying out a paper draft) she saw it and loved it. But I was furious. Later, much later she told my brother -- my God, the language she uses (my f-bombs shocked her. I don't talk that way) and had I heard that while working on the story I might have scrubbed them. And my dad though he's an artist for some strange reason he doesn't get stories. His idea of a perfect story is bad guys shows up - good guy shoots him the end. Incident not story. So my immediate family is a bit of a washout and friends are too busy and most don't really read what I write. It happens. Face it, they'll be there bragging when you sell something but they might not ever become a 'fan.' That's probably how writing sites were developed --Hello anyone want to read a first draft - trade ya!
     
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  19. Nariac

    Nariac Senior Member

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    Hit me up! :D
     
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  20. Darius Marley

    Darius Marley New Member

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    Personal experience has taught me to get feedback from at least these two target groups:

    • people who know me fairly well
    • people who know almost nothing about me

    This way, I can get both biased and unbiased perspectives on the book I've written.
     
  21. BayView

    BayView Contributor Contributor

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    What advantage do you find from having biased perspectives on your book?
     
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  22. Darius Marley

    Darius Marley New Member

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    People who know me... know what I care about. I think it's important to know if I'm "soapboxing" through my writing.
     
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  23. BayView

    BayView Contributor Contributor

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    I'd say it's not much of a soapbox if someone who doesn't know you can't even notice it.

    I've had a friend laugh when reading my stuff and say "Hey! I know where you got that! That time with X and Y at the lake...." But making that friend laugh, with her knowledge of the situation I was borrowing, doesn't mean I've written the passage well or that it deserves to be included in the final story. She's laughing because of the shared anecdote, but since my ultimate readers won't share that, her laughter tells me nothing about how my ultimate readers will be affected.
     
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