Thursday, July 19, 2007

Jane Austen Couldn't Get a Second Look By Today's Publishing Experts!!!

I intended to post an article inspired by a blog discussing agent feedback on query letters, but this one definitely supersedes that idea...

Jane Austen couldn't get a second look by today's publishing experts!!!

I don't quite know whether to be amused or disgusted... or possibly discouraged. I ran across this article detailing how David Lassman, the head of some sort of Jane Austen society, sent sample chapters of her manuscripts to eighteen different publishers and agents. You can read the article for yourself, but they were all rejections, with only ONE of the eighteen queries spotting the plagiarism!!!

First, maybe we can give the benefit of the doubt that some of these professionals spotted the work for what it is, but didn't want to take the time to deal with a nitwit who would try to pass off Austen as their own, so just sent the standard rejection and were done with it... but, what about the number, and their must have been a few to not have to respond, that didn't recognize the work? What does that say about publishing today?

Then, it makes for a sensational story, but we writers know how important the query is to get the pages even glanced at - who's to say Mr. Lassman wrote a passable query? So there are other factors involved... but, maybe what the the experts are really saying here is that the classics are no longer saleable... brilliance is over rated.

I don't know. What do you guys make of it? On the surface it almost makes the road to publication seem like a crap shoot...

Friday, July 13, 2007

Too Close To Tell - Oy, I hate edits today

A few weeks ago I ran my first two chapters past my writers group. We meet up for a chat about twice a month and each of us takes turns submitting our work for critique. The group found some problems that I hadn't been aware of in the first two chapters, though I'm still not convinced that I agree with the assessment...

Being that I want the novel to become as good as humanly possible, I decided to edit with the notes from that chat in mind - adding a new scene and revising some rough patches - the new scene also meant a deletion of some segments in chapter two... This has taken me the bulk of the last two weeks and it's finally done. It was the longest two weeks I have spent on this novel - possibly the hardest bit of writing I've ever done, and I can't decide if it was so hard because I was fighting the critique or if it really doesn't work.

Does it read better? Does it pull the reader in and keep them there? The truth is, I don't know. I'm too close and I can't read the damn thing one more time without bouncing my head of the desk to stop the blinding pain that infiltrates my eyes at the sight of it... okay, a little over dramatic, but barely.

I know, at this moment I'm too close to assess these revisions in any honest manner so I'm leaving off on them and going back to where I was in revisions prior to that critique. If any of you have noticed my lack of posts and visits around the blog universe as of late, now you know where I was... I should be making visits in the coming days, and hopefully posting a bit more...

How about you guys? How is your writing coming? Have you hit rough patches of revision recently or are you basking in flowing prose at the moment?