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MinnSpec -- Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers Message Board MinnSpec -- Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers Discussion Forum › Introduce Yourself, and tell us what you write!

Introduce Yourself, and tell us what you write!

Andre G.
Minneapolis, MN
Post #: 326
I've had enough coworkers and others scoff at fantasy to be hesitant.

We're hardly in a position to scoff at fantasy, since it's what most of us do.

If you choose to submit it, we'll tell you what we really think of your work, the good and the bad, with an eye to improving it. Mockery does not occur. You have to take this step at some point, if you're not sure it's good enough to submit to agents and editors, who aren't nearly as nice as we are, and who will just tell you no (if they answer at all) without explaining why.

Practically nobody writes in total isolation, even if they have dozens of books out. It's a matter of perspective; you know your story and characters too well to see how the work comes across to someone who comes to it fresh. You know what you meant to say too well to be able to tell whether someone who didn't, would get the same meaning from it. If you don't feel comfortable submitting to the whole group, you can at least use us as a place to look for encouragers and readers you can work with privately.

But I think it's past time to take that next step, if you ever will. Working on it longer by yourself will not make it better.
A former member
Post #: 4
Thanks for the encouragement. I posted the first chapter on Wednesday night, I believe. I cannot attend the next scheduled critique workshop, but I am willing to critique others in return for comments on my post. Thank you all for the encouragement and support.
Andre G.
Minneapolis, MN
Post #: 327
I'm willing to look at your chapter, but with the understanding that I'll tell you exactly what I think, and based only on what you've said so far, don't expect high praise.

Here's the thing: the words "epic fantasy trilogy" send a chill down my spine, because that's precisely the format that attracts writers most prone to long passages of boring exposition and overwriting. If it takes the hero three sentences to draw his sword and slay the monster, you can condense this work from a trilogy into a single volume by just striking out unnecessary words. Hiram's sword rang as he drew it; the monster's head thumped to the ground and rolled under a bush. Even this assumes there aren't other monsters demanding his attention, so that we have time to observe the fate of this one's head. Mention of Hiram's thews can wait for a more appropriate moment; he doesn't have time to notice the elvish engraving on his sword blade, and anyway he's seen it before.

It's hard to see this problem in your own prose, so if you have a sneaking suspicion that I might be right, double it. If you're not in the practice of going through your prose line by line and thinking, "Do I need this sentence? Do I really need all three of these adjectives? Is this bit slowing down the story?" then you're missing a crucial editing step.

Admittedly, I'm prejudging the work, but if you're thinking you'd like to sell it, you should be aware that editors and agents will prejudge based on the description in your query letter, and there's practically no better way to make most editors suddenly remember an appointment they're ten minutes late for, than to utter the words "epic fantasy trilogy." Don't describe it in this way; when you talk about it, focus on the characters and the story; "epic fantasy" is about the setting and the tone, and unfortunately what it says about the setting is, "this book is precisely like every other epic fantasy you've ever read; I haven't bothered to invent a unique setting." And what it says about the tone is, "overwrought."

So, given that, are you interested in having me read your chapter? I'll tell you what I think is good about it, but if I think you've used way too many words, I'll probably take an excerpt and do a sample line edit on it to reduce it to a third of its original length. That's not to say I might not be pleasantly surprised; there are a couple of people in our group writing epic fantasies I consider quite decent. But the fact that we're its first audience, that you don't mention having published anything else, and that you've been working on it so long, strike me as a danger signs. It's a familiar pattern. So I'm willing to look at it; I just don't want you going into this with high hopes that I'll praise it to the skies.
Craig R. L.
Minneapolis, MN
Post #: 3
Hi, I'm Craig Lang.
My biggest passions are the unknown - whatever is over the next hill. My biggest interests are star travel and alien contact.
In other lives I'm a UFO investigator, a hypnotherapist and a software engineer.
I write sci fi, mostly about stuff like alien contact (gee, go figure...). I'm currently trying to get my first novel ready for publishing (I hope) and starting my second novel in the series.

Roy C. B.
user 3023314
Bemidji, MN
Post #: 287
Welcome aboard, Craig.
Minneapolis, MN
Post #: 184
Welcome, Craig!
A former member
Post #: 5
Hello Andre. I'd like to think you would be pleasantly surprised. Please rip it apart, if you care to. I'll try to bear in mind that you seem predisposed to hate it already however.
Andre G.
Minneapolis, MN
Post #: 328
That's the attitude we like to see. I'm not predisposed to hate it, though; it's more like I want to make sure you're prepared for the worst. I know this is your baby; many people won't appreciate bystanders pointing out their baby's warts.
Saint Paul, MN
Post #: 240
@Andre: Don't forget to encourage what you thought was good. I like to think of it as "the first half" of a successful critique.
Margaret T.
user 12895497
Minneapolis, MN
Post #: 1
Hi, my name's Margaret, and I'm new to the Twin Cities area. In real life, I'm just starting a graduate program at the St. Paul campus.

I like to write in settings where magic and technology interact. As for themes, Dark Is Not Evil tends to crop up a lot. Other than that, anything goes. I've got two finished books, a work in progress, and a webcomic that's in draft stage. I put stuff on Podiobooks.

Anyway, just saying hi, because I'd like to meet other people of the writerly persuasion in town.
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