The Long Journey to Publication, Part II

If you missed last week's installment, here's the link.

With much excitement, I sent my first query letter to a publisher. The publisher was kind enough to give me feedback, something I’ve come to understand is out of the norm, and he had plenty to say.

Lesson #2. Don’t imagine you know all there is to know about writing simply because you’ve read a kajillion books. The publisher gave me some great advice. He suggested attending a writer’s conference so I might learn more about the craft of writing. So I did. There I was introduced to numerous useful resources that help the writer hone her writing skills. Most importantly, I discovered the concepts of head hopping and fish heading. Two things of which I was seriously guilty in my manuscripts.

Head hopping: Switching between different points of view within a scene.

Fish heading: Dumping the back story in the first chapter (or prologue).

With renewed energy, I focused on rewriting my manuscripts, all four of them, based on these new tools in my arsenal. Satisfied that I had mastered point of view and chopped all the fish heads off my manuscripts, I sent a query for the first book in the series to a publisher of romance novels. The premise was intriguing enough the publisher wanted to see a full manuscript. Imagine me happy dancing. Then, my bubble burst. The publisher had plenty to say.

Lesson #3. Don’t break the scene and hop between the heroine’s point of view and the hero’s point of view at the moment he/she divulges their deepest, darkest secret, their feelings, or their fear of their past. And don’t do this so many times it becomes distracting. This makes the flow of the story read very, very choppy. Breaking the scene in the middle of dialogue so the writer can show multiple points of view is not a “new and innovative writing technique.” It irritates the reader, especially if the reader is an acquisitions editor.

Corollary to this lesson: Unpublished writers are not allowed to break or bend The Unbendable, Unbreakable Writing Rules For First Time Authors. Once you’ve had a minimum of four best selling novels on the hallowed New York list, you can do what you want as long as it sells.

1 comment:

  1. You know you're good if they're taking the time to give you feedback. Great post!


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