Hi all. I'm a 40 something year old CGI artist that has had a number of career changes ranging from software developer, to project manager (which I did for 20 years and which sapped my soul dry), an indie game developer, and current, as I said, a CGI artist providing items for the movie industry, architects, other artists, hobbyists, etc. I live in Australia with my wife and two very young children.
I'm increasingly driven by creative ventures, as you can see from my career list, and in July of this year I completed a sci-fi novel. I can't seem to get my novel to the final stage where I truly feel that it is ready for publication ... maybe it needs external input to help put the final polish onto it, or maybe it is finished, and I just need someone to tell me that, or maybe its without hope, and I just need someone to help me realise that. In any case, I've been down the route of friends and family reading through my manuscript, but, as you probably know, that is not a good source of help. I'll bounce around the forum for a few weeks to get to know people, and then will probably ask for help.
I read a lot ... I mean, a LOT. I average a book every two or three days. I'm mostly able to recognise technical and creative issues with other people's writing, so I'm happy to contribute in the forums. If people are nice to me, and they decide to go the self-published route, I could possible help them out with a book-cover, but I reserve that offer for people that I like rather than as a blanket offer!
Posts: 78 | Registered: Sep 2009
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Consider sending the novel manuscript to a literary agent and getting it vetted one way or the other. I understand there's not a lot of literary agents in Australia with widely open minds, particularly open to fantastical genres. But a once over query over the pond to, say, New York City, where the majority of literary agents are in the U.S., could result in interest. Baring that, Baen's Books and Tor accept unsolicited manuscript submissions directly, by postal mail.
In an alternative Donald Maass' Writing the Breakout Novel offers heady and invigorating advices on novel writing to compare a manuscript's creative qualities to.
Donald Maass Literary Agency has an overseas representative closer to Australia than their headquarters in New York City.
Valuable and useful advice. I did a bit of research and, at any given time, there's about 3 agencies open for submissions in this country -- it varies from month to month depending on how long their backlog is. There's about that many publishers as well that are willing to look at newbies. So I've already pretty much determined that I'll need to go overseas if I have any hope of getting published.
I tested the waters with one local agency and got a reply something like: "I'm not the right agent to represent this work, but I encourage you to try others, and publishers directly, who may have a totally different reaction." About what I expected.
My issue at the moment is that I don't believe in my own manuscript, so I can't really expect anyone else to believe in it. It's had a total of 3 rewrites, and quite a number more revisions. Somewhere through the second rewrite I questioned whether this is just good money after bad, but I decided to stick with it, so I need to see it through to some sort of conclusion. If it turns out as unpublishable, then that would be unfortuante, but I'll put it off to a learning experience and hopefully have more success with my second manuscript.
I'd like to think that my writing and story is with potential, but I'm not getting the sense that its the sort of professional work someone might actually want to publish. By the same token, aside from a vague gut-feeling, I can't actually tell you where I need to improve it.
I considered paid manuscript evaluation services, but a bit of research has suggested that it's a poor way to spend your money and rarely gets good results. Establishing a peer-network (and I've already made contact with a handful of people from other sources) seems a better bet.
I'd be inclined to take a look at the first chapter and offer an assessment with limited critique commentary, big picture stuff only. I'm widely read in all genres and styles and eras of literature.
I understand and empathize with the faith a writer must place in their work, the aesthetic hunches we fellow travelers must operate under. Part of the reason why I don't participate in workshop critiques much anymore is because aesthetic hunches only took me so far, not as far as I want to go. My goal is developing a dynamic and effective developmental editing method for my own work and from and for examining others' writing for the benefits I can derive therefrom.
I dug back into the realm of writing advices by accomplished authors, writing professors, and literary agents. I found a few tedious but insightful texts, a few derivative and digressive texts with little new insight, and a wealth of insights from a few pointed, standout tomes. Maass, Freytag, Card to name a few.
I didn't get serious about writing until nine years ago; since graduating with a BFA in creative writing, more serious yet. I'm close, feel like I'm on the cusp of a breakthrough after forty years of rejections and a few marginal recent successes. I'll shortly see with my current story in progress, or it'll be time to rinse and repeat again.
Thanks extrinsic. An extremely generous offer, and I will certainly take you up on that. However, unless you're on a time constraint, I'd rather defer for a short while ... despite numerous revisions, I still managed to find a POV bounce near the beginning. I'll iron it out, and take a quick look through the rest of the ms for similar. For the moment, real-life and deadlines are biting my posterior.
Posts: 78 | Registered: Sep 2009
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I'm a graphic designer although I mostly worked in TV news and then marketing. Your post kind of struck a chord with me because I'm also looking at the shift from visual to literary output.
As far as confidence in your writing, try to keep in perspective that creativity is transferable. You wouldn't have achieved all that you have without being a creative guy. You've been having great ideas all along. Now you just get to apply them to a different area.
It's just like learning a new 3D program - you might thrash around a bit at first but just work it and you'll start improving in no time. Hope this all isn't too heavy as I suspect it's partly my subconscious talking to me at the same time.