1. AspiringNovelist

    AspiringNovelist Senior Member

    Jul 19, 2015
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    Gulf Coast

    Proof read my 2 novellas before i self-publish?

    Discussion in 'Collaboration' started by AspiringNovelist, Aug 25, 2015.


    I've attempted to attract publishers to my two novellas (both are themed in World Wars - Historical Fiction), but no luck.

    Common feedback is - "We don't publish novella length works..." So, I waited 6 months and re-submitted both works as a collection. New feedback followed, "We don't publish collections from unknown authors." :(

    Also submitted to Narrative, The American Aesthetic, Sequestrum, and similar magazines, etc. But both works are too long (beyond the word count limits of their submission guidelines).

    Thus, I find myself where many novella writers find themselves -- it's too long for a short story and it's not long enough for a novel...

    So, I've been holding on to these two small stories for over a year -- it's time to unleash them.. Anyone interested in reading the two pieces as a final review before I self-publish? (I'm leaning toward smashwords.)

    Both are quick reads.

    If interested in helping me out in one last final proof -- please send me a PM.


    Additional info -- important for your decision to help...

    The pitch letter:

    Humankind Adrift is a collection of two literary stories in the historical fiction genre.

    The first story, Seated Beside the Wolf, follows a poet as he struggles with the German occupation of Paris and the anti-Semitic views of his own countrymen and those of Europe during WW II. The tale is a study of philosophical convictions and the human struggle with vice and virtue. The Wolf, a relocated Jew, and the narrator, a struggling revolutionary, examine the depravity of human madness and its methods using the theme of the seven deadly sins: sloth, envy, lust, gluttony, greed, pride, and wrath. They find that war is hideous and fueled by place and time; to admit otherwise is to lend power to the idea that humanity is hopeless.

    The second, Moth’s Want for the Flame, is a grim reflective look into what the author sees’ as the absurdity of war and love, truth and lies. The protagonist, an eighteen-year-old man from Kentucky, tests the harshness of war and the heartbreak of love as he’s called to serve in World War I. He uses his own personal insight, plus those of three friends to illuminate the brutality that truth and lies have on humanity as a whole.

    Humankind Adrift (54,000 words, completed) is a collection of works that draws its background from World Wars and probes into the human condition. Seated Beside the Wolf is set in Paris during World War II, while the more ruthlessly written Moth’s Want for the Flame is set in Key West during World War I.

    Samples from each book (writing style that you'll be reading):

    From Seated Beside the Wolf (poet's introduction of The Wolf):

    He has no real name that I know of. Maybe his parents were too struck by his hideousness to give him one. That’s not true, he probably has a beautiful name, but I only know him as Loup, the French to English translation is ‘the wolf’. Loup is always in this seedy pub, sporting a black pork pie hat with a sweatband tinged yellow from years of cigarette smoke and sweat. His wrinkled fingers cup the glass of scotch that sits protected in his palm. He sits in the back, past the drunkards sitting precariously on wooden bar stools, past the perfumed harlots with sensuous lips, sharp tongues, and perfect tits. There’s no mystery with these women. They’re cunning and can read the power and fiscal means of a man from a distance. No harm, they snatch butterflies in the energetic fleshiness of bedtime fairy tales.

    ...Example 2:
    That first step of the stairs ascending the spiral is an impressive, classic style of old world workmanship, maybe one hundred years old or more. One might think there must be something amazing up there. It leads to a nearly empty apartment with a bed sheet for a window, an unmade bed, a desk, this journal, and the cruel insults of a demented goldfinch. It leads to a prison; no need for guards, bars, or cells, for the judge and prisoner are one. He’s a poet in the soft, easily bruised, tissue of man with a persecution complex. This is Homer’s hell and it’s truly an unremarkable and plain dwelling.

    From Moth's Want for the Flame (talking of heartbreak):

    Cupid had valiantly walked right up to me on his squat-chubby legs, told me I was stupid, and then kicked me right in the nut sack. If I had any self-respect, I would’ve kicked him back, but I didn’t. Instead, I bent over with the taste of bile in my mouth because I knew he was right. His next punch was to the gut. It was powerful and bruised my internal organs to the point that even breathing was painful. The thought of living was excruciating. I didn’t want to know the truth, anyway, didn’t want to accept it because it extracted an imposing self-consciousness that hurt and left me deserted at nights.

    ...Example 2:
    You only meet people of a certain caliber a couple of times in your life, the type that makes you forget all the Anna’s in the world. The type that promises a fresh and new starting point. Sometimes it’s a fleeting glimpse, other times it’s right in front of you, smiling and chatting you up--so close that you can smell the smoke, rum, and pineapple juice on her breath.

    When she’s even closer, you can taste the salt spray of her sweat as her scent floats toward you. She leaned toward me, her breast swelled up and rested on her forearms and I thought, I wished, that at any moment, they would just fall out like a waterfall of flesh. I had a sense that I wanted to swim in her beauty and I think I told her so, because she laughed it off only to return with a twinkle in her eyes.

    Marjorie had mastered the art of seduction to the point that I had no idea my emotions were being painted. Full lips that wrapped a gorgeous inviting smile. Long black hair, touched with highlights of sun, curled at the ends to frame her tanned face. The shape underneath her sundress strained envy from the thick air and I had a sense the earth’s breath wanted to be right next to her bronzed skin. When she closed her eyes, her black eyelashes arched like the silhouette of an angel’s wings, and I knew that I had never seen anything more beautiful. I suspected I never would again. I blew off the boys in the club and sat there in that small bar talking to Marjorie and drank rum until the morning sun.

    I, completely, forgot my hopeless devotion to truth.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2015
  2. wellthatsnice

    wellthatsnice Active Member

    Apr 1, 2015
    Likes Received:
    so combined they are 54k words? How long are each of them on an individual basis? Your best bet may be to take a hard and fast look at each work and see if they can be edited down to 17k as that will greatly expand your submission opportunities.

    Anyway, i like the style of Seated beside the wolf and would be happy to give it a read.
  3. Mike Kobernus

    Mike Kobernus Senior Member

    Oct 23, 2013
    Likes Received:
    You need an editor, if these samples are any indication. I saw a good many issues. If you want to know more, just PM me. I will not post edits here.

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