Friday, January 19, 2007

Sentences Suspended


Love Among the Ruins.
Wightwick Manor. 1894.
Sir Edward Burne-Jones.

And that's as close to sex as we're going to get today. Sorry, Ric.

Bloody hell!
I had sharpened my sword, stowed spare lances, checked the pack mules, shrugged into my maille muscle shirt, mounted up, and given the order to my gallant troop - We ride, Gentlemen!

(In other words, I switched mental gears, cleared a space on my desk, made sure I had a sufficiency of coffee, summerberry tea and zero coke, put on a track suit, and opened up a new document in Word.)

We no sooner thundered off the planks of the drawbridge - when my loyal steed picks up a stone, goes lame, and develops blackwater.

Found this quote from an interview with Jenny Bent of the Trident Media Group, LLC.
"...publishers are asking authors to rewrite books that were in first person to change them to the third person because the first person is too chick lit and doesn't sell."

Splat.
My confidence leaked like a colander.

Nevertheless, I intend to perservere.
If, for no other reason than this: changing the POV of a work creates new and different ideas and perceptions and forces alternative strategies that cannot help but enhance the WIP.
If you can stand the kicking and screaming, that is.

Tommorrow I may introduce another series of shorts: Secret Fantasies of the Violent Sort.
My cure for plot bunnies.

30 comments:

Steve G said...

Bernita, do what you do best. If I changed what I wrote each time I read something, I would have never finished my first, second, or third novel. Then again, perhaps I would already be published. I do what I do.

Bernita said...

"...do what you do best"
Ha, that's the question, Steve - but it's a valuable approach, either way, and can open one's self-editorial eyes.

Erik Ivan James said...

Your point here is excellent, Bernita. A change of POV when drafting definitely does generate new ideas for me. I mess around with pov changes all the time on my blog. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I find the exercise to be well worth the "kicking and screaming", though. Um...err...but then you know how much I enjoy the screaming...screams of passion that is.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Erik.
Seems Ric isn't the only one...
~aims a kick between Erik's legs~
Seriously, Erik, you should send something to the erotica crowd.

December Quinn said...

Oh, Bernita. I swear I'm getting ready to stop reading agent blogs, interviews, and writer websites altogether. My sonfidence is at a low enough point these days as it is, and it seems like every time I turn around someone's hitting me in the face.

I liked the third and first openings equally. I also think the personality and voice you brought to the first can be transferred to third with just a couple of minor alterations.

But bottom line? Like steve g said, write it the way you want it. Publishers might be asking for rewrites, but I still haven't seen an urban fantasy in third.

Ric said...

You can tell we have snow in Michigan when Erik and I are both preoccupied with sex - just not a lot to do here in the wintertime.

While I understand your logic in renovating the book from 3rd to 1st, I sincerely hope this isn't a stalling tactic to keep it off the submission track.

Anonymous said...

The second I saw that painting my heart lept because of the memory it ignited.

One day me and a girl friend (not girlfriend) skipped ag class and spent the morning in the ruins of an old tack shop. That was the best. No strings, no promises, just close friends creating a wonderful memory together. Thanks bernita for posting that painting[I smile tears]

Sorry. Anyway, I agree that rewriting something always changes it, sometimes for the better sometimes not. If you can rewrite the point of view and not lose anything, your good. But don't do it for the market's sake. Some say a true artist wouldn't do anything for the market's sake.
-JTC

Bernita said...

~and this is the girl that just got a nice review for her latest novel...??~~
They can be pretty daunting at times, I strongly agree, December, because the subtext seems to be "beginners are idiotsidiotsidiots."
I know I'm an idiot, but they don't have to rub it in...
I will continue with the alternative POV - for the good that might accrue thereof.

Now me, Ric, winter makes me think kindly - not of sex - of flannel...
No.
~eyes left, eyes, right, whispers~
I've actually sent out a few more queries, as is.
Don't tell.
Like daily word counts, that sort of constant post-it-note progress and disappointments gets very tiresome.

Sweet, J. I'm glad.
Makes me happy if I can recall a pleasure or invite the imagination on this blog.
I think if one wants to sell and be read, one has to pay SOME attention to the market. But that may be because I'm not a true artist.

Jaye Wells said...

Well, crap.

Even though Bent has an excellent reputation, we can't change directions anytime a new agent or editor interview indicates a change in the wind.

Marie said...

I find that I write better in the first person, though it depends on the story of course.

Nice pic.

Anonymous said...

". . . I'm not a true artist."

Most here would disagree with that, bernita.

I hear you about the market. I think, sadly, we all have to compromise as we work toward success. My career "choice" certainly requires it. I'm a military man, remember. -JTC

Ric said...

Glad to hear that response, Bernita. I agree with your take on daily word counts and such. Tiresome enough for us individuals without blogging about it.

Flannel - ah, yes, I can do something with that. Roaring fireplace, candles about the room, comforter spread on the floor, my lady in her splendid flannel jammies, hot toddie in her hand, winter blowing hard outside, ...

Anonymous said...

Just thought I'd add a little ray of sunshine hah!
Read this yesterday on another blog
Is this possible?

Consider the following sobering statistics from Nielsen Bookscan, a company that in 2004 tracked the sales of 1.2 million books in the United States:
· Of those 1.2 million books, 950,000 sold fewer than 99 copies.
· Another 200,000 sold fewer than 1,000 copies.
· Only 25,000 books sold more than 5,000 copies.
· Fewer than 500 sold more than 100,000 copies.
· Only 10 books sold more than a million copies each.
· The average book in the United States sells about 500 copies.
(The above info is reprinted from the Levine Breaking News, an e-zine.
this is anna btw - damn blogger!

MissWrite said...

Hey lady. Sorry I haven't been around for a couple of days. It's been a crazy week. I kind of have to agree and disagree with Ms. Bent. Mostly I do agree, however. I agree because it's true that it's easy to slip into that 'chick lit' feel when writing 1st person. Remember your passage from a few days ago? It was really good--but it did feel like chick lit a little and that just didn't seem like your overall style. I think it just happens. Maybe because suddenly the author can inject big parts of their own wit. Maybe it seems more personal to the writer. I'm not really sure why it happens but 1st person does often turn out that way. I disagree that it's 'automatically' too chick lit. I think it would take a lot of work to not come off like that though.

Bailey Stewart said...

There's the rub. To be true to yourself, you write what you love. But if you need the money, you always watch the market. Romances are the only books that I don't like in first person - although I do like the heroine in first person, the hero in third. I've read a couple of those and I can actually get into them.

Bernita said...

"Well, crap."
That's the same thing I said when I read it, Jaye!

Thank you, Marie.

The art of the possible, J.

Flannel jamies, Ric?
Jammies?
Nighties are sexier - they come a looong way since Mother Hubbard...

Sobering, Anna, but deceptive. No context. Includes the kitchen sink.

Hi, Tami. Yes, slipping into a chick lit tone is a danger, an imitation, as it were.
The other side is the possible assumption that any straightforward first person voice is "chick lit."
We have be recognize the prejudices of the market place.

Trouble is, Bailey, too often "I write what I love" is really the self-absorption of "I love what I write."

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Hah...so take that Ric...LOL...no sex, no sex...I'm having too much fun!

Bernita, I can understand the feelings...and the zero coke...LOL!

But that which does not sink me as a writer, only tends to make me stronger! I've been trying screenwriting...who knew that it would help me strengthen my manuscript!

Dave said...

When I was writing technical articles with a eam, we'd pick a journal (for example Elsevier's Fuel Processing Technology), prepare a draft and submit it for internal review. We had to get three scientists inside the place to pass it before we went to the edotorial board of the journal.
Typically, one of the internal reviewers would make all sorts of style comments and criticisms. We knew the editor of FPT (he's not editor nowadays) and we'd ignore all the style comments. We knew what made a good paper and what the editor wanted - - and we weren't going to change our text based on a critics whim or idle comment.

You write very well Bernita. Write your novel and don't try to anticipate editors, changes, or markets. Write your novel the way you want it to read. What comes after that is out of your control.

J.H. Bográn said...

Bernita, I agree with most about you should do what you think best. Tell the story as your particular muse is telling it to you, regardless of POV.
I'm telling from personal experience: I wrote Treasure Hunt back in 1998, the story opens with a guy hijacking a plane and asking for ransom money. Now, by the aftermath of 9/11, I was told be several people to redo the first chapter into a different heist since hijacking airlplanes was a sore spot in the American heart.
I complied, I rewrote and submitted again, obviously it got rejected a few hundred times more. My heart was not in that story, it lacked punch!
By 2005 I put the first chapter back and wouldn't you know it! It got accepted first place I sent it!
In the yellowing version I read of Victor Hugo's Hunch of Notredame he tells about some lost chapters and how he suffered trying to re-write them thus warning authors not to do this again.
One last example, a lot of people told a young actor/screenwriter that boxing movies were outdated. He kept fighting for his story until the movie was made. Although some peaks and valleys followed his carreer, the fifth sequel was just released as "Rocky Balboa"

Well, enough rant!

raine said...

...I'm not a true artist.

Oh, phffttt!! I would dispute that.

As for the rest...if you love third person pov, write it. If you love first, go for it. If it helps your process to try it in another pov, do it.
It depends on the author's voice, the storyline, the characters, etc.
To follow every 'current' market trend would drive a writer crazy.
Er...crazier.

Bernita said...

Yes, Bonnie, but Mum always said you were the smarter twin...you're way ahead of me, I'm just learning this now!

Thank you, Dave. The novel is written. I'm trying to make it stronger and that IS under my control. (well, sort of...)

That sort of thing I agree with you, Jose.I know some agents will not touch anything with a terrorist in it, but I'm not going to remove my suicide bomber because of that.
However, I see POV as technique, not plot...more of the question "Does this dress make me look fat?"
And, rants are welcome here.

Bernita said...

Solid advice, Raine, thank you. Just dithering,the usual self-distrustful, second-guessing, you-know-squat syndrome.

Savannah Jordan said...

Yup. I'm facing this very problem. Not that a published has asked for it *dare to dream* I've been kicking around the concept of rewriting an entire 609-page novel into third person. Makes me want to cry, kick, scream...bite something...

I agree with Steve, though, Bernita--do what YOU do best. I told my DH just yesterday, of all the authors I know, yours in the writing I want most to read.

Bernita said...

Now, if I only was resonably sure what I did best...
Thank you, Savannah, kind of you.

Er, what was the word Raine used? Crazy? Yes.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

LOL...that's cause I'm 5 minutes older...LOL!

One of my favorite authors, who has written about 15 books, says that she is still learning and always in the market to pick up something new!

So I just look at the whole quest as a lifelong journey!

Bernita said...

Think how dull it would be if there wasn't something new to learn, Bonnie.

M.E Ellis said...

I write in first person all the time. Garou Moon is in third and I hate it.

D'you know, I'm not bothered about breaking into the big time now. Too many rules. Too many dont's.

Instead of just damn good writing.

Eff it!

:o)

Ballpoint Wren said...

What, is Catcher in the Rye considered chick lit nowadays?

writtenwyrdd said...

I agree, just do what you do. There will always be a horde that disagrees anyhow. It's writing.

Are you going to be watching the premier of The Dresden Files on SciFi channel tomorrow?

ORION said...

BTW -
My novel is first person and went to auction last month.