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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Need help on novel, but not SF

   
Author Topic: Need help on novel, but not SF
Tom Miller
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I have just joined Hatrack and am asking if anyone is interested in giving me some help on my first novel that is nearing first draft stage, but is neither science fiction nor fantasy. It is a third person novel set in East Africa. (I lived there for ten years.) It is mostly about the sort of adventures a person has over there when NOT on safari, including a road trip around Lake Victoria and a May/December lustful romance between a white American man and a black African woman. It is titled "Nightrunner" and totals 80,000 words so far. I need help with the beginning and with some very big questions about whether and how to work in some mystical elements. I would be delighted to offer reciprocal assistance.

If anyone is interested, I will then write the usual description and first 13 lines, if that turns out to be the best way to proceed. Thanks.

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LDWriter2
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Sorry don't have the time right now and I'm not sure if it's my type of tale but this type has been done so someone will love to read it for you.

But if it has Mystical elements than it could be a type of fantasy--there are so many types. Maybe Mainstream modern fantasy or Mainstream paranormal, or some such.

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Tom Miller
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Well, i can see i am in the wrong place. Thanks all for your consideration.
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MAP
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Tom. Your not in the wrong place. People here read all kinds of fiction. Just put up a your first thirteen and a brief summary in "fragments and feedback for books" and see what happens.
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Pyre Dynasty
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Yeah, this place is isn't SF exclusive. You aren't in the wrong place at all. (Yes, there does happen to be a majority of speculative writers here. That has largely to do with our benefactor being a sci-fi writer so many who found this place were fans of OSC.)

I think why you didn't get much biters is you just popped up and asked for a major favor from strangers. Get active in writing discussion, post your 13, critique other people's work. Build a relationship with someone who you can do a manuscript swap with.

You say you have big questions, so ask them. What do you want to know? There is a wealth of knowledge hiding behind these usernames waiting for someone to ask the right question.

What specifically are you struggling with in the beginning? My main advice on that is the beginning dictates the ending. Or in other words it sets up the conflict that gets resolved. Also the beginning should answer three very important questions: Who(or what) is the story about? Where is it taking place? and Why should I care?

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LDWriter2
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I would agree, I tried to say that more subtlety but I was probably too cute or some such.

We are a SF and Fantasy forum and it sounds like your novel has some fantasy hints at the very least. But even if it didn't it wouldn't hurt to try.

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Tom Miller
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I am having trouble posting replies. The "quick reply" i send does not then show up, so i am trying a different route. Sorry if both then post.

Good advice. I will post the first 13 and take it from there. I must admit i am also seriously put off by the instructions for posting the first 13. I am so new to all this that i don't even know how to find the microsoft manuscript template and have never heard of a query or log line before. I write in Times New Roman 12 and my first 13 lines turned into 17 when i switched to courier 12. How can that be????? Sorry to be so ignorant and i will figure it out eventually.

Thanks.

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extrinsic
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Courier is a monospaced typeface. Each glyph occupies one pica width at 12 points regardless of whether the glyph is a lower case I or a capital case M or a full stop, a period. Times New Roman is a proportional typeface. Each glyph has its own width, a lower case I at 2.7 points width, a capital case M at 10.2 points width, and a full stop at 1.3 points width, not including kerning--the automatically included space width on both sides of a glyph. Twelve points to a pica. Approximately six picas to an inch.

What this means is, yes, thirteen lines of Times can become seventeen lines of Courier because Times occupies less horizontal space on a line from the type being crammed together.

Think of a type page as a matrix. In Courier a line is sixty-five glyphs, sixty-five cells wide. Including alpha glyphs, numeral glyphs, typographic and orthographic glyphs, punctuation glyphs, and space glyphs, everything on a keyboard except hard return occupies one cell. Thirteen lines is then sixty-five cells per row and thirteen rows. In Times, glyph width varies proportionately. A Times line could contain anywhere from sixty glyphs to a hundred.

The thirteen-line standard is based on a half page of text, which in Standard Manuscript Format is the first page of a prepared manuscript in SMF, with a half page sink, roughly ten words per line, roughly 130 words, less if long words are used, less if paragraphs break mid line. Subsequent full pages are twenty-five lines, roughly 250 words. Since many screening readers give a manuscript one page, the first page, to entice and excite their interest, curiosity, and empathy, the purpose of the thirteen lines exercise is to do so. And since it's an insubstantial quantity of a whole, posting thirteen lines doesn't constitute publication, doesn't consume first publication rights.

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Tom Miller, the only template you need is in this topic, but really, all you have to do is see how many lines there are (not counting spaces between paragraphs), when you put your "first 13 lines" in the post box.

The box is designed to hold exactly 13 lines according to our rule.

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Tom Miller
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Thanks everyone. I suspect my outcry was caused more by the discovery i had fewer words to work with in the first 13 lines of courier. Rats and phooey. But of course that is exactly the sneaky point, isn't it, to get us to take out the really sharp scissors? I managed and will post tomorrow. Having fun already and thanks again.
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