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Monday, November 14, 2005

I mentioned (Or, did I? My sense of time and place has become skewed for the past few weeks) having a temp gig three days last week. There was nothing today (though perhaps for tomorrow), so I had time to work on The Novel, Draft 0.9. I won't even give it the dignity of calling it a "first draft," because since last week, it's degenerated into a bastardization of narrative prose, blocks of text that resemble a Marvel Comics comic book script, and when I was too blocked to manage even that, plain notes.

I didn't believe it, but perhaps because my biorhythms are on their way back up (full moon is around the corner) the things I've been hearing about regarding a sort of Week Three NaNoWriMo quantum leap must be true, because it hit me. I managed to make up for a lot of lost time, despite some of the chores I got to today.

Right now, I'm at 21,502/50,000 words--43% to completion. Although, as bad as things have gotten, I don't even feel right about using the word "completion." Feels better to say "the goal." Anyway, when I wake up tomorrow, providing I don't have a temp gig, I'll be a hair's breadth over a single day behind where I should be on the 15th day of the month.

I leave you all tonight with an old article from comic book writer Warren Ellis, from a series of articles he did on, among other things, comic book writing. I read this ages ago and was pleased to find it again. It's sort of an encouragement (which is rare for him) to beginning writers. And, even though he's talking about comics, what he says easily applies to other forms of writing and jives a lot with what other people have to say about getting published. I would dare say it applies to anyone trying to succeed with his or her art.
But here's a secret.

95% of all writer's submissions are absolute [siht].


You want to impress an editor? Learn to spell. Lay out your pitch cleanly and elegantly. Be coherent. I knew of a writer who wrote the clearest, most lucid and beautifully structured synopses anyone had ever seen. The actual scripts, when they came in, was utter gibberish, made no sense at all, had plainly been written on acid. But the damn things were commissioned and paid for on the strength of clear pitches.

Be good. That's what'll capture an editor's attention. Because 95% of that pile of submissions next to them is inexcusably awful, and they know it. You will stand out from the crowd because there are no semen stains on your submission, because a cursory examination shows that you have a basic grasp of English, because it reaches for concision and appears professional in its approach, because the covering letter isn't headed "Dear Bastard." Etcetera.
There, doesn't that give you hope? All right, then--good night.


B said...

lol that sounds like every cover letter to every job I've even sent... now that I mention it that probably isn't good.

(here I write Earth shattering comment that gives the meaning of life to all who reads it)