Rejection. Last update I said I’d applied to a few different agents and, whoop, they said “no thanks.”
BUT GOOD NEWS.
In a burst of despair and a need for closure, I sent an email to Suresh, my prospective but AWOL agent, basically saying, “Are you still working with me on my novel, or do I need to look elsewhere, because crippling self-doubt is eating me alive.”
Feeling emboldened, I contacted the previous managing editor of BigWorldNetwork, Amanda Meuwissen, a very nice lady who I worked under for four years as an associate editor, asking if she would edit my manuscript. I was so touched by her emphatic reply that, yes, she would love to, and that she’d do it for free because I’d edited one of her books for free during my time at BWN. So that put me in a real good mood.
Suresh replied within an hour, apologising for the delay and no update. He said he would read my revised manuscript THAT WEEK and call me for a review. By this point I was just stunned. I’d been so prepared to be turned away. Like, so utterly convinced of rejection that I was a bit out-of-it and deranged for the rest of the night. Two great things within the hour? Inconceivable.
So, first of all, this amazing fan-made Beauty and the Beast/Harry Potter trailer:
Anything with Emma Watson in will clearly always be a Hermione AU opportunity. I wish I’d never given up video editing as a hobby now, but moreover, it got me thinking about what a hideous relationship this would be.
First of all: no way do I take this video seriously. It just got me thinking, yeah?
What would Voldemort – a pretty 2D evil villain – have to do to be forgivable? Probably impossible, he sought genocide and tortured peeps for fun. If you watch the trailer again, those clips of Voldemort actually showed expressions of vulnerability. It made me think more about how some romance stories look at forgiving someone for terrible sins and helping them to be better.
So if Voldemort stopped killing people and learned the error of his ways, what would you say he’d have to do/change before you’d fall in love with him, despite his track record for murder and torture? Is it even possible for you? It must have happened somewhere in history…
What characters have you forgiven for heinous crimes? At what point could you never forgive a character, despite their depth?
One example from me: I could never forgive Cersei Lannister from Game of Thrones, who deserves whole posts to talk about why. Short version: even if Cersei suddenly felt truly remorseful for all the people she has murdered and betrayed – or for those her son Jeoffrey tortured and murdered and she pretended not to notice – her cruelty has ruined and obliterated the lives of literally hundreds of people. I feel sick whenever she’s on screen because she enjoys the suffering she’s caused.
She manipulates and abuses those around her, including her own children, her lover/brother, and family. Any flicker of remorse she seems to feel is only when she gets caught. Despite her fantastic depth of motivation and feeling, I don’t think I could forgive her. It would take an intense character shift and a lot of genuine acts of kindness and generosity for me to perhaps forgive Cersei Lannister.
On the flip side, I forgave Regina Mills from Once Upon A Time. Again, a cold, selfish, murderous, and extremely manipulative woman who I loved to despise. But eventually, she embarked on a difficult journey to reform her core self. She remains sarcastic, quick-to-judge, and wildly controlled by her emotions, but as a person, she grew capable of deep internal reflection and struggled hard to be better.
Both of these women share the same motivator: to love, protect, and keep hold of their children. Both are great characters, but one of them I really want dead.
Last time I updated, I was scraping the barrel of misery in search of a writing epiphany, and I hadn’t met my deadline. The good news: I managed to finish my edits and hand in the new draft of my novel just before Christmas Eve. The bad news: silence.
My novel feels amazing. I feel like I’ve polished up a rusty sports car (no doubt I forgot to replace the bumper or something, but STILL). The villains are uncomfortable and crescendo nicely, the puzzle pieces of the plot click together, the final sentence feels right.
As soon as I sent it off, my prospective agent replied positively, saying he would probably get around to reading it in the first week of January. Whatever the case, he’d let me know when he started reading it. Finally, I could relax for a couple of weeks.
Except, the first week of January rolled around…and I heard nothing. The second week came and went. Hesitantly, I sent an email asking when he’d assigned my novel to his reading schedule. He replied saying he’d not long returned from holiday, but he’d update me within the week to let me know.
He did not.
Let’s be honest. The ‘magical girl’ trope used to suck when I was a kid, especially when girls are taught to hate themselves because ‘femininity = weakness,’ and gosh are magical-girl-shows ALL ABOUT showy associations of girliness. As such, the magical girl trope only pleased young girls who hadn’t yet learnt to think ‘girliness is a flaw.’ The older a girl got, the more she saw that many magical girls were shaped as vapid creatures obsessed with getting boyfriends or hiding their other life as a pop star, downplaying the fighting and dealing with schoolyard problems. Basically: sitcoms. So it’s no wonder women distanced themselves from ‘magical girls’ to try and preserve their sense of respectability. Until BOOM: Sailor Moon. But let’s build up to that.
What the heck am I talking about when I link magical girls to internalised misogyny? It’s the act of rejecting women, or yourself, for behaving/looking a certain way. The thing is, to quote everydayfeminism, “it’s not always other people or other genders that are responsible for sexism. Sometimes, it’s actually you.” Women oppress themselves and their peers, known as ‘internalised misogyny’—the act of involuntary perpetuating sexist messages within their societies and culture. Enter stage: the magical girl.
I didn’t make the November 1st deadline. Once I figured out how to fix the big problems of my story, I worked day and night, every day, to meet the target. But hey, I do also have a life. For some reason I’d agreed to host a food party on October 31st. November 1st was also my cousin’s hen party (for whom I was maid of honour). A day later was the wedding. I also had to write a poem to perform during the service of said wedding. A day after that I was going to Norway. EVERYTHING AT ONCE.
I burnt out. I hadn’t had a chance to stop and reread any of my novel, aside from a fresh scene before moving onto the next. Consequently, I felt like I no longer even knew my novel anymore.
Belatedly following on from my last publishing post, about how I met an agent willing to give me and my novel a chance, it’s time I updated on what happened next.
So, after our feedback meeting, Suresh gave me a couple of big plot points and changes to think about:
- Maybe cut a character (I’m thinking: I already cut one, aaah!)
- Act One could be shorter
- Your antagonists are blatantly villains, develop their motives
- The world state of affairs is interesting: give us more
For the first time in three years, my schedule is completely blank until mid September. I’m actively looking for new manuscripts to edit, and I’d like to aggressively slash my prices. My rates are never this cheap, so I strongly encourage you to act fast because my inbox gets flooded every time I do this. […]
FIRST DATE WITH AN AGENT
I’ve done it. I’ve started the journey to publishing my novel, or at least come closer to the dream than ever before. I’ve studied publishing as an industry, I’ve been an editor for four years for a digital publisher, but I’ve not managed to publish my own work—yet.
So, I figure we can experience the journey together, because despite the publishing experience that I have, this is all new territory for me.
1. How I triumphed the Hunger Games and won the agent
Okay, so I wasn’t bulldozing through a queue of clients to get to my agent, but the process of getting your foot through any door of traditional publishing can feel like a battle. Just notice me! Give me a chance!
The South West of England will continue to see frequent and unpredictable bursts of heavy showers and crisp sunshine every day of this week, so don’t forget your rain repellent umbrellas no matter how deceivingly warm it seems.
Those in North London should be wary of lightning strikes today, since thirteen year old Annabella Hackhop reacted badly to getting drenched in water by a speeding muggle car. The young witch is not being charged for casting the spell, as she claims it was an instinctive magical reaction that she had not intended to happen, and the Ministry’s Accidental Magic Reversal Squad should have the lightning cleared away by this afternoon.
Due to an awful incident involving an elderly wizard and his experimentation in homemade dungbombs, the glorious sunshine in East Riding might not be so welcome after all. The stink is potent for miles and truly foul, not helped by the beautiful weather Yorkshire is due all week. Ahmer Laham is being treated for magical burns after his fifth batch of dungbombs exploded in his garden brazier. The Muggle-Worthy Excuse Committee are telling local muggles that a gas line combusted and hit a sewer system.
If you’ve been brewing any lunar dependant potions this month, don’t forget that tonight is the first day of the full moon.
And a quick traffic notification: no one else is permitted to apparate into Diagon Alley today due to a pile up of witches and wizards arriving at the same time for the touring performance of the French rock band ‘The Basilisk in Your Pasta’. The crush of folk is heavy and too many of the travellers were uncomfortable with apparition, resulting in a lot of vomit.
[A/N: Literally, honestly, tonight is a full moon in the UK.]
I applied to be a writer for Hogwarts is Here a couple of years ago, and my application was successful! But sadly, the acceptance email went to my junk folder, and I discovered it two weeks after they’d sent it, which was apparently deplorable. I never even got a ‘sorry, you replied too slow’. I liked the content I wrote for them, however, so my Quibbler articles shall have a home on my blog. Hello, 2016.
Meddling in Muggle Theatre
Wizarding theatre has been in decline, according to directors such as Plepbin Eggum, famous for his adaptation of Three Wizards and the Rolling Trolls, for the past fifty years. He stated that the same dusty fables had graced our stages for so long that even fairies would be tired of sweeping up the moral residue for their spells. Whatever that means. He went on about fairy dust for quite some time.
Do you have a business card as a writer or author? Have you thought about it? Business cards are a good idea with lots of uses.
Just a quick tip: First, make sure your card stands out. A signature color, logo, or something that draws attention is good. Also make sure that you use a legible font and include only details you want widely public (for example, I omitted my address and phone number).
Here are ten ways you might not have thought of to use your business cards:
- One clever idea, which I will implement when the third Family Secrets novel comes out, is to use the space on one side of the card for thumbnails of three books. It’s almost a perfect fit. Then put your info on the back along with a link to where you prefer people to buy them. It’s an immediate sales tool in…
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Narrative style is tricky to pin down. Style is tone. Don’t forget that the narrative is essentially someone’s voice. The narrator is a character, not simply words dictating what happens in the story. Even if narration has an archaic, formal tone (such as often seen in classic literature or high fantasy), that is still the voice of a character, the one telling you a story of events as they perceived them to happen – even if omnipresent.
Style is how you structure sentences, how you use or abuse punctuation, how you describe scenery and character-thought-progression. It’s a combination of many writing techniques that you pick and perfect to work for not only your story, but for you as a writer.
I suppose one way to think of it is like poetry (we’re getting a bit hon hon darling now, but bear with me, it’s a metaphor). When you read a poem, you generally expect that poem to have rhythm – to have a way of twisting the structure of words on the page to either be staccato, flowing, or broken. You would expect a poem to scratch the surface of its real meaning – leaving you to infur the rest – or to expose the “character’s” emotional depth. The poem will paint every scene in vibrant colours, or it will be minimalistic and clean.
Writing a story is very much the same. Narrative style is one part you relating events as feels natural, two parts your character shouting into a microphone. Or whispering. I mean. It’s your style. Whatever.
Today we’ve got something new, something exciting, and something a little bit naughty. I confess that I have yet to read L.M. Brown’s work but as soon as I came across the pitch for her new book – she had me by the tail fins. I’m excited to make her new release, Forbidden Waters, my first taste of her work.
But enough from me! I don’t want to babble, I’m honoured to now hand over to L, who can tell you more about her upcoming m/m/m erotica.
Meet Prince Finn
You’d think being born a prince would mean the young heir to the Atlantean throne would have everything he could ever wish for. Well, not if you read romance novels on a regular basis, you wouldn’t. After all, princes have problems too and Finn has more so than others.
As a merman, Finn is at home in the ocean, but even the wonderful world under the surface of the ocean can lose its appeal when you are also its prisoner.
Finn has everything a prince could want, except the freedom to go up to the surface of the ocean and walk on the land. Now, you might think that this isn’t particularly important since he is a merman. He should be just as happy and content under the water, right?
Mermen, at least in my world, can only ever have intercourse in their human forms. Prince Finn, at twenty years old is one of the oldest virgins in Atlantis, if not the actual oldest.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Finn is no different to any other merman or mermaid when it comes to needing the touch of another. Like all of his kind he goes into heat twice a year on the summer and winter solstices and when that time comes the need to go to land can be pretty overwhelming.
Being trapped under the ocean when the heat of a mating fever is upon him is difficult and painful, but despite all that Finn handles his imprisonment pretty well. That is, he does everything he can to find a way to escape the boundaries of the city. This means passing by the dangerous sea dragons as well as escaping the watchful gaze of his parents, the king and queen of Atlantis and his jailers.
Even if he were attracted to mermaids he would have trouble escaping the city to ease his sexual frustration. Being attracted to men, which is strictly forbidden in Atlantis, makes it doubly difficult for him to obtain the freedom he desires.
Despite all this, Prince Finn does not let his imprisonment bother him too much. He is a merman who craves love and will navigate Forbidden Waters to get it.
To save his clan from ever-increasing shark attacks, merman Kyle seeks sanctuary for his people in the sunken city of Atlantis, even though he knows that as a homosexual merman, he will be sacrificing his own chance for love. Love finds him anyway in the form of Prince Finn, the rebellious young heir to the Atlantean throne.
When their relationship is discovered, Kyle is the one to pay the price. Banished from the oceans, he seeks shelter in England and finds a new love with human, Jake Seabrook.
For Jake, Kyle is the chance to move on from the crush he has on his straight best friend. The strange man he found naked on the beach seems to fit into his life with ease. If only Kyle weren’t keeping secrets from him, Jake could see them having a future together.
Things are not what they seem for either of the men and when Kyle discovers the truth about Finn, he knows he must return to Atlantis.
Three men, a tangled relationship, and one chance for happiness—if they can trust enough to take it.
Kyle shook his head and was about to say something else when the sound of someone in pain drifted through his mind. He knew instinctively it was Finn and swam past the queen to the resting chamber. Queen Coral followed at his back. They found Finn curled up in Kyle’s sleeping sponge, his tail curled around him. He clutched his stomach in obvious pain.
Ignoring the queen for the moment, Kyle rushed to Finn and gathered him into his arms.
“I’m here, Finn,” Kyle murmured. “I’ve got you now.”
Finn groaned and wrapped himself round Kyle. “I hate this. The heat of the season gets worse every time. I thought it might help to be here in your home, but it didn’t. It’ll pass by the end of the day. It just hurts not to mate when the desire is so strong.”
“Damn,” Kyle swore under his breath. At twenty years of age, Finn had already gone through nearly ten mating seasons without relief. That was more than Dax and Undine had lived through combined. The pain Kyle suffered from would be nothing compared to what Finn was dealing with right now.
Kyle glared at the queen. “Do you see what your stupid rules are putting your son through?”
“This is not my fault,” the queen argued.
“Don’t fight,” Finn interrupted. “Just hold me Kyle. It’s helping.”
Kyle tightened his grip and kissed Finn on the top of his head. “I’m here now. I won’t leave you.”
Finn settled down a little and began to rub up against Kyle. He could tell what the merman was trying to do, but Finn’s efforts were in vain. Mermen simply couldn’t find release in their half-fish form. No matter how Finn mimicked the movements of the act of mating, they could never actually see it through to completion while under the water. Which meant Finn could never find relief as long as his parents held him prisoner under the waves.
“Kyle, help me,” Finn begged. “Take me to the island. Let me know you the way I need to.”
“I forbid it,” Queen Coral ordered.
Kyle ignored her and sent his next thoughts privately to Finn. “I promise this won’t happen next mating season. Next time I’ll take you with me, even if I have to kidnap you to do it.”
Forbidden Waters is now available at Totally Bound and will soon be availble on Amazon.
L.M. Brown lives in England, in a quaint little village time doesn’t seem to have touched. No, wait a minute—that’s the retirement biography. Right now, she is in England in a medium sized town no one has ever heard of, so she won’t bore you with the details. Keeping her company are numerous sexy men. She just wishes they weren’t all inside her head.
L.M. believes there is nothing hotter or sweeter than two men in love with each other… unless it is three.
L.M. Brown loves hearing from readers so don’t be shy.
Where to find L.M. Brown:
Website & Blog – http://lmbrownauthor.wordpress.com/
Twitter – @LMBrownAuthor
FOREWORD: I’m currently moving a lot of my articles from Squidoo over to my blog as Squidoo has declared almost all of my articles as spam. This is one of them. I’ve decided to totally migrate to my blog because I’m sick of fighting my corner on their site.
Create an Authentic Feeling Enviroment
One of the magical perks to being a writer is the ability to mould our own world; a place so tangible that other people can taste it, smell it, walk and run within it. I’ve always believed this is why books like the Harry Potter series are popular. It’s not just the characters, it’s not just the story – Rowling created a world in such finite detail that people weep with dreams of living there. I know I do.
This is why it’s important to research what we’re writing, and research isn’t as dull as the high-school homework we groaned and avoided. If you’re writing about it, surely you find the surrounding lore, mechanics, culture etc. interesting? If not, why are you writing about it?
This article will not tell you HOW to write a steampunk novel or short story. Plot, characterisation and quality are most important but there are already sources on those. In this lens I’ll share with you the information I have discovered whilst building a steampunk world. The elements of steampunk – the choices in front of you. There are helpful videos, links to linguistics and social behaviour, apps, books, locomotive facts, a list of popular figure heads of the genre and more.