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Topic: Best Sellers

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Subject: Best Sellers
Date Posted: 11/11/2008 7:33 PM ET
Member Since: 11/9/2008
Posts: 8
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I do some freelance writing for a monthly magazine and have done articles for others. Used to do a column too so I'm not totally clueless about writing. LOL But in all fairness have never tried fiction except when I fibbed a little to make a good story better. :-)

And please don't get the impression I am being arogant by my following statements, but here goes:

Does anyone else read so called  best seller novels and say to yourself , "Gee I could do that. Or wow this is kind of tacky."  Honestly sometimes I read them and think not only are they not that great but should have been improved before the final draft. Is the hard part getting your foot into the door so to speak? That the only explanation I can give for some of these (in my opinion of couse) mediocre best sellers.

Anyone else feel that way at time?

Any advice for someone that is going to give it a shot? I'm sure like everything else it looks easier than it is.

Date Posted: 11/12/2008 9:38 AM ET
Member Since: 5/6/2008
Posts: 5,161
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You're a step up from a lot of us. It is true that sometimes I read a book and think "That was okay, but..."  I'm writing a book, (Have been for some time) and I love what it's about. It's my own idea and yet if I took all the books I have read, there's a little bit of each in it. I used to be a hairdresser and I was good at styling and coloring. My daughter is also a hairdresser and she's good at cutting and perms. I think whatever profession you enter, you're probably not good at every aspect of it, although there are a few authors I consider very close. My only problem with reading anything is the author needs to get my attention quickly, or I will not read it. I have no patience.

So yes, it looks easier than it is. The only way to learn is to do it and hope those you let read it are honest. Some can't take  a bad critique, and although I love a pat on the back, I would so much rather have someone tell me the truth. If you go into the Eclectic Pen forum, you can read some of our stories and poetry, and leave a note at the bottom of the story. Most will say thank you for just reading it. And, you can add to the list.

I have never taken a formal class, but I have tons of books on writting and grammar. Quite a few I ordered through this club. If you go this route, try not to buy two books by two different authors that are basically the same. I've done that a few times. Any questions, just post them here, most people are happy to help, especially me...I know what it's like to sit here and want to pull my hair out.    

Roni

Date Posted: 11/12/2008 10:26 AM ET
Member Since: 11/9/2008
Posts: 8
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Roni,

Thanks for you response!  Yes, I'm sure we all take bits and pieces of  others to create our own style. It seems that's the primary way we learn isn't it? Didn't we learn to talk that way? I see nothing wrong with that. When I was heavily involved in music in my younger days I noted most musical hits are not completely original. Lots of similar sequences of notes and themes. Of course there are only so many notes and chord sequences. But at the same time it's suprising how much variation one sees due to human creativity.

And yes we all have strengths and weakness and rarely is anyone outstanding in all aspects of a creative endeavor. I've seen that time and time again in lots of things. My mother-in-law has knack for poetry. It gives me fits!  Believe it or not I've never had a rejection in the kind of wrting I do, but that doesn't mean I won't blow at fiction. LOL

I too have never taken a formal class.  I think formal classes are good, but sometimes IMHO they can stifle creativity. I believe Einstein remarked  that once he acheived his PHD his creativity had been ruined. (Or something to that effect).

Just finished reading another "best seller'  novel, and although I had to finish it to see what happens, it was gong quite well and then the author got weird on me.  Maybe I'm just too critical.

On anothe note I am blessed to be married to a foreign lanquage teacher. She's strong in grammar and when I have any questions she knows the answer.

Good luck with your writing!

Cecil B.

 

 

 

Date Posted: 11/12/2008 2:24 PM ET
Member Since: 5/6/2008
Posts: 5,161
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Whoa! You are so lucky. My husband can barely speak English, never mind write it. He's an aviation mechanic so I guess it really isn't necessary. Again, stop by the eclectic forum and add a story. I love reading something written by someone I know or others that are gluttons for punishment.  Enjoy the club.   Roni

Date Posted: 11/12/2008 3:40 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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I do think one of the hardest things is getting your foot in the door, either an agent or publisher.  I have also read it can be harder to get your second book published compared to the first *sighs*

Some of the best sellers I have read could be improved upon but the numbers that they are selling at usually just mean I am being too picky..LOL

If you feel you can write like that IE quality, standard, level of creativity needed, then sure try your hand at it, never hurts to have another author to read.

I write fantasy, in similar style to Robert Rankin, Jasper Fforde and Terry pratchett, its funny/strange. As my husband has said its the WTF? genre..LOL

Since you already have some credit to your name in the writing field, that might help you get in the door alittle faster.

Date Posted: 11/12/2008 7:16 PM ET
Member Since: 11/9/2008
Posts: 8
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Roni,

A nonnative speaker eh? Sounds interesting. Funny thing is mother is also (German) but she speaks better English than my dad who was born here.

Date Posted: 11/12/2008 7:28 PM ET
Member Since: 11/9/2008
Posts: 8
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Xengab,

Speaking of fantasy there is a newly published writer on a poltical forum I frequent. He goes by the avatar "Groucho" as in Groucho Marx but his real name is Michael Ventrella. Says his first book is called "Arch Enemies." Ever heard of it?  Here's a post where he discusses it:

http://www.whistlestopper.com/forum/showthread.php?t=61057

Date Posted: 11/13/2008 1:17 AM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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Will see if I can get my library to buy a few copies :) I'd not heard about it since its is not through a major publishing house which makes it hard for the little guys :(.

Thanks for the heads up, have to support fellow PBS writers how ever we can .

Date Posted: 1/4/2009 10:11 PM ET
Member Since: 1/9/2008
Posts: 239
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Sometimes, when I read the book or just read the synopses of major sellers, I wonder why they are so revered by others. Occasionally, I just assume it was the right amount of money to get it out there or something. But usually it's because I just don't get the significance. Naivete on my part. :) I guess that explains why the majority of selections in Oprah's Book Club are of no interest to me.

Paul H. (PaulH) - ,
Date Posted: 1/6/2009 9:13 PM ET
Member Since: 6/27/2008
Posts: 146
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That's kind of how I got started writing... as a kid I started reading a lot of Isaac Asimov, and began thinking to myself, "Hey, I could do this!"  It wasn't that I thought the books were tacky, bad, uninspired, etc.  In fact I loved them.  But I think part of it was that until then a lot of what I read (that wasn't for children) was high-falutin language heavy, whereas Asimov by comparison was very simple in his word choice and writing style.  It was the first time I realized serious writing didn't have to be Shakespeare or Melville.  And that inspired me.

That said, looking back on my reading habits over the years, I tend to shy away from best seller lists.  Don't know why, exactly.  It's kind of like the more somebody tells me I have to read something, the more stubborn I get about not reading it!  (The Da Vinci Code and the Harry Potter books are prime examples!)



Last Edited on: 1/6/09 9:16 PM ET - Total times edited: 2