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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Apparent Link and the Lucky 7 Game

First of all, this is the link I was given for my short story 'Walking to the Shop', which was recently published in an online magazine (see previous blog entry for more details):  http://digital.spineout.com.au/#folio=5

For some reason, the 5 keeps changing to a 1 when I open the link and I keep getting a message saying 'Undefined'. When I try accessing it through the spineout.com.au site, it comes up with a message saying 'Your session has expired. Please login.' I wouldn't mind so much if there was a login/create account page. If anyone can figure this out for me with some mad computer or hacking skills (or skillz, whichever you dawgs prefer) that would be great :) 

IN OTHER NEWS! I was just reading from Elizabeth Norris's blog where she talks about the Lucky 7 Game, which is apparently going around writer circles at the moment. I thought I'd try it out for myself :) 

What to do: 
1. Go to the seventh or seventy-seventh page of your WIP.
2. Count down seven lines.
3. Copy the seven sentences that follow and post them.
4. Tag seven other authors.  (I don't think there are 7 authors who come to this blog often enough for me to do this part, so whoever wants to try it can try it!) 

This excerpt is from page 7 of Evergreen: A Fallen Star, which I still consider a WIP because it's still being edited. Please note that this passage may be subject to change. 

It was warm inside the Training House. The room they stood in was large and had only a few tables lined up against one of the walls and some chairs stacked beside them. A stone fireplace crackled with life at the far end of the room. The three children walked into the changing rooms at the back of the building where they put their training gear on. Their uniforms were white, but Chihiro’s uniform had a golden insignia of an Evergreen Tree sewn into its back and on its breast, signifying that she was a Master of the Arts, just like Master Yuusan. Her siblings were still only students. The last part of their uniforms were their belts; all black. 
I'll admit now that this was originally one of the passages I liked least, and although I've done lots of work on it (it was a lot longer than this at first) I'm still not 100% satisfied with it. I'd love to hear your opinions here, any criticism is more than welcome. Just to show you what I'm talking about, here is the same passage from the first draft (yes, I still have the first draft which was completed in 2009. What of it?)


It was toasty inside the Training House. The room they stood in was large and had only a few tables lined up against one of the walls and some chairs folded up beside them. A fire place with a safety guard crackled with life at the far end of the room, keeping it warm. There was a door on either side of the back wall, leading into change-rooms. The teenagers and their little sister headed for those doors, Chihiro and Sakura to the left door and Zutto to the right, crossing the smooth wooden floor as they went.
Inside the change-rooms, they all went to their lockers. Chihiro was locker number four. Sakura had the twelfth locker and in the boys change room, Zutto had the ninth. A uniform for each of them was locked inside their locker, shirt and pants of orange with blue collars. Well, Sakura and Zutto had a blue collar, but Chihiro’s collar was golden. A gold collar symbolized that they were Master Students of the Training House – a Master of Kung Fu. Sakura and Zutto were not yet Masters. When they became Masters, they would be presented with a new shirt with a golden collar.
Quickly, the three of them got changed from their day clothes into their uniforms. The last thing they pulled out of their lockers was their belts – all black.
Your thoughts? Which version did YOU like better? What should I still be changing? Would you guys be interested in seeing some more old draft/current draft comparisons like this? Because I might be interested in doing it.

Once again, CRITIQUE PLEASE!

- Bonnee.

14 comments:

  1. You've done a really good job editing, the first extract is so much better than the second! From the first sentence I was wondering what the Training House was and what they were doing. I liked how you have given me little bits of information as the passage went on. It really keeps it interesting for the reader.

    Critque wise, my only real problem is the second sentence. I feel it goes on for too long because of your use of the connective 'and'. Just a suggestion, but something along the lines of 'the room they stood in was large; there were a few tables lined against the wall, with chairs stacked beside them'. Just to break up the sentence so it isn't so long when I'm reading it in my mind. I hope this helps!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you agree that the current version of the passage is better and thanks for the positives comments you've given on it; it's all stuff I did subconsciously, so it's good to hear that it's working for my reader!

      Thanks for the critique, and this is exactly the kind of stuff I'm talking about! Thanks, I will change that right away in the current draft and get some better words and punctuation happening :) *Thinks for a moment, writes a few sample sentences and backspaces all but this:*

      'The room was large, with tables and a stack of chairs lining one wall.'

      Would you say this is better?

      Delete
  2. I agree with Fiona. You've cut almost all the excess from the original version, which makes the passage so much better. And she's right about that second sentence. If you cut the extra chairs (leave out the ones stacked up unless it's somehow important later on) bit, it leaves you some room to maybe add back other detail. I'd look for something about the fireplace - to me, it's crying out for something extra, like how it gave light but the heat couldn't be felt at this end of the room or something, I don't know why I like that. Also, one last thing - you should use a colon not a semi-colon in that last line, or maybe a dash. "The last thing they pulled out of their lockers was their belts: all black."

    Nicely done.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your input :) I'll have to read over the full passage a bit before I make a decision on these adjustments, though they are all valid in the 7 line/original passage context. I'll agree that cutting the chairs out is good, but perhaps going into the fireplace more will be just as unnecessary. Again, I'll read it in context with the rest of the passage. Colon, not semi-colon... wikiHow says CORRECT! :D Thank you for pointing that out for me and thank you for your overall feedback. So much appreciated!

      Delete
  3. Hi Bonnee. I've seen your comments in a few blogs now (latest in Elizabeth Norris) so came to say hello. You have to decide if you want the reader to care mainly about Chihiro (as in first version) or also about Sakura and Zutto (as in second version).
    You can edit and re-write forever. That's not the essence of your book. There are many literary agents who are also doing editing and they will guide you, if they like your book. They like the fact that you are only 17 with a finished book. If you didn't do it already, then send queries to 20 literary agents and go from there. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Giora, thanks for dropping by! :) I hadn't really thought of which character I want the readers to focus on here, so thank you for bringing it up. I want them to care about all three, but I feel that in context with the rest of the passage, chapter, book etc I have given each of them their turns in the spotlight, both separately and together. Hopefully that is the right thing for me to have done!
      20. Is that a lucky number or something? I plan on finding an agent once I have finished this rewrite, so I will certainly take this advice. Will they really like me already because I'm 17 with a finished book? Wow :) Cool by me. Again, thank you for stopping by!

      Delete
  4. 20 is just a number. The rejection rate for first time authors is very high, so you can't just a few queries. Stephnie Meyer from The Twilight sent 15 queries in her first attempt, and only one agent accepted her.
    Yes. Many agents are looking to represent young authors because of the long career ahead. They know that your writing skills will improve with time. So even if your first or second novels are just so so, your next 20 books might be good. Also if you write novels for teens, the agent know that as a teenager yourself you know what teens are thinking and what they like to read.
    This author had her fist novel The Duff at your age.
    www. kodykeplinger.com
    You can start with sending 10 to agents in your country.
    www.austlitagentassoc.com.au/members.html
    and 10 to agents in the United States.
    Good Luck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for this information and for your encouragement :) I actually began to search for agents in both Australia and America who might be interested in my novel last night after receiving your comment. Thanks for these web links, I'll check them out!

      Delete
  5. Sending queries to agents while also editing the rest of your novel saves you time. Only when agents really like your query, and then really like the first 5-10 pages or the first 3 chapters, they will ask you to send all the novel. So if you already edited the first 3 chapters of your novel, then you can do both ... send queries and at the same time also edit the last chapters. I see that you follow blogs like Rachelle Gardner. On the right side of her blog, under popular posts .. click on "how to write a query letter" and learn it. Also every week the blogs of Janet Reid and Bookends that you follow analyze queries. It will take some time to write the almost perfct query letter to agent, and even then you will get rejections. But don't get discouraged. There are so many good writers out there with so many good novels to submit, and agents get hundreds of queries every month and usually they only accept one new client out of all these hundreds of queries. And you can also send a query directly to small and medium book publishers in Australia and the US, the major ones accept only via an agent. In some countries (not in the US) book publishers get subsidy from the government to publish books by citizens of that country only. That is the case in Canada, for example. If that is the case also in Australia (check it out) then you have advantage when you submit in Australia. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I have been paying a bit of attention to some query-related blogs and blog-posts, especially Janet Reid, whom I've been following for quite some time. Actually, she's now on my list of agents I might send this to, as I discovered that she - along with some other agents at the same agency - is interested in fantasy. I'll definitely be checking into some query workshops that I've seen around many of the blogs I follow and I've already started taking note of some of the advice they've given, even before this blog entry was written. I'll definitely check all of this stuff out, and again, thank you so much for all of your input! :D

      Delete
    2. I'm coming back late to this party, but feel I must disagree with Giora on this. Yes, you do not want to get caught in the endless write-revise cycle where you're constantly tinkering with your MS. Yes, there are many, many editorial agents out there who will help you polish your novel. But no, I don't think you want to take the chance on querying while still rewriting your novel. The business takes a long time, but there are agents out there who move fast. I have heard plenty of stories of agents requesting fulls after a week or so. The last thing you want to do is tell that agent, "Uh, yeah, I'll get that full to you in a few weeks, I'm still working on it." Ideally, you want to be working on the NEXT project while your querying THIS project.

      Now, one thing I've learned is there are exceptions to every rule, plenty of tales of rule-breakers who succeeded, first novel mega-best sellers, landing dream agent with one unorthodox query, etc., etc., but those are the exceptions.

      Delete
    3. I'll agree with you here, and while I have started making a list of agents who I plan to query, I have decided to wait until this revision of my MS is complete, especially since it's obvious from the way I'm going that it's going to take some time. Yes, the next project should be the project I'm working on when I send this one in.

      I can only hope to be the exception, but I never expect to be. This way I won't be completely disappointed when I'm not, despite how charming the idea sounds.

      Delete
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