Career Question for All Authors

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Career Question for All Authors

Postby He2etic » Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:03 pm

This is kind of a two part question, and some of these questions might have been asked in individual author threads, but...

1) Did you ever publish a short story or novel before the Black Library published you? (If so, can you link to it?)

2) Did you follow some planned structure towards getting published in the first place? As in, did you come up with a gameplan you attempted, or did you just hit the publishing markets with trial-and-error?
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Re: Career Question for All Authors

Postby Carandini » Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:56 am

For the first part, all of my pre-BL stories were published in small fanzine type publications, mostly in the Cthulhu Mythos genre. Publications like Midnight Shambler and Cthulhu Codex represent my earliest material, fiction-wise. My first paying piece was 'The Old Dark House' in Alone on Halloween, a supplement for the Call of Cthulhu RPG put out by Pagan Publishing way back in 1993. Sadly, my efforts to go further with the Mythos never really got rolling. At the same time I did try breaking into some of the horror magazines on the stands back then, but I don't think my pulp-style prose worked for editors trying to emulate splatter-punk and Clive Barker. To be fair, my writing was much rougher then as well and I don't think I'd managed the sense of pacing that I am so careful about these days.

For the second part, I wish there was something constructive to say but I think it is all about trial and error. You can hedge your bets by building your skills and tailoring a story to suit the tastes of a particular editor (allowing you can decipher those tastes from what he has published in the past), but alot of it is still just simply down to luck. Right place, right time and right submission. If you ever get disheartened, just remember that The Lord of the Rings was rejected when Tolkien first shopped it around! Many of the classic H. P. Lovecraft stories were submitted multiple times before they finally found a home. Same goes for many of Robert . Howard's stories. My favorite example, though, has to be H. Rider Haggard's King Solomon's Mines which was pretty much shopped around to every book publisher in London and rejected as 'unsellable'. When it was finally published, however, it was such a hit that the only problem became printing the books fast enough!
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Re: Career Question for All Authors

Postby He2etic » Thu Nov 29, 2012 9:12 pm

I had never even heard of King Solomon's Mines... you know what, after that response I'm taking a third question onto this post.

3) In addition to the previous two questions, what classic books are amongst your favorites?
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Re: Career Question for All Authors

Postby JReynolds » Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:55 pm

He2etic wrote:This is kind of a two part question, and some of these questions might have been asked in individual author threads, but...

1) Did you ever publish a short story or novel before the Black Library published you? (If so, can you link to it?)

2) Did you follow some planned structure towards getting published in the first place? As in, did you come up with a gameplan you attempted, or did you just hit the publishing markets with trial-and-error?



1) Yes, many. Coincidentally, all of them (or those that I can recall) are listed here:http://joshuamreynolds.wordpress.com/works/

2) Not at first, but as I learned the ins and outs of the business, I began to develop a sort of rough game-plan. Once you get acquainted with certain editors and certain markets, you can--should you wish--tailor your submissions according to the tastes of the former and the needs of the latter. And once you figure out what sort of story comes the easiest to you, writing-wise, you can narrow down your list of potential markets to those that will look favorably upon the sort of story you enjoy writing. Alternatively, you can read the latest issue of a periodical or the latest anthology by an editor that you're intending to submit work to in order to gauge possible types of stories/styles/genres/etc. Too, I find it helpful to check out regular contributors to said magazines/anthologies and see what their stuff is like (as in, 'can I write like them and, if not, will it matter to this editor?')

Granted, that sort of thing ain't for everyone. It's a fairly bloodless and mercenary way of approaching a process that most folks seem to feel out by instinct. And, as with anything related to writing, there's always going to be that balancing act between what you need to do to sell a given work, and what you need to do to tell the story that you want to tell, in the way you want to tell it.
"Saving Wolverhampton from werewolves and Somerset from satyrs since 1600"--The Adventures of the Royal Occultist: http://royaloccultist.wordpress.com/
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Re: Career Question for All Authors

Postby JReynolds » Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:08 pm

He2etic wrote:I had never even heard of King Solomon's Mines... you know what, after that response I'm taking a third question onto this post.

3) In addition to the previous two questions, what classic books are amongst your favorites?


Depends on your definition of 'classic', really. If we're talking 'books held up as capital-c Classics and taught in school', Madam Bovary is a guilty pleasure of mine. No idea why. I love me some John Buchan as well. Greenmantle is the shiznit. I regularly devour and re-devour the works of Arthur Conan Doyle, Manly Wade Wellman, PG Wodehouse and Flannery O'Connor. Also, Baroness Orczy. Chester Himes, Raymond Chandler...I could go on.
"Saving Wolverhampton from werewolves and Somerset from satyrs since 1600"--The Adventures of the Royal Occultist: http://royaloccultist.wordpress.com/
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Re: Career Question for All Authors

Postby Carandini » Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:44 am

So far as 'Classics' go, I'll have to agree with Herr Reynolds. alot of works that the academia propound as being these superior examples of literature and art are, to my sensibilities, sorely lacking, utterly unengaging and in the worst instances - total twaddle! I think I've mentioned before my vehement loathing of Charles Dickens and virtually anything he put his pen to. Victorian soap-operas of the most contrived balderdash imaginable! Honestly, A Tale of Two Cities should be re-named Plot Convenience Theatre Presents! Every damn character in the book is intimately connected to every other character to such an absurd degree it even makes the doggrel in Great Expectations look restrained! Seriously, Dickens expects me to accept that between Paris and London, two of the most populous cities on the globe, all of these characters with intertwined histories just happen to re-connect in these fantastical situations. Using one or two such coincidences is a nice way to build drama or display some greater element of Fate or Destiny. This, however, is simply taking a reader's credulity andcurb-stomping it with a pair of hob-nailed boots! Forget Shakespeare, Blackadder needed to go back to the 1800's and convince Dickens to invent the bloody ball-point pen!

Oh, I also despise T. H. White, an author who managed the impossible and made the legend of King Arthur too boring to read. I rank that on par with the Hollywood wunderkind who couldn't make a watchable Godzilla movie with a budget forty times what Toho spends.


Enough of the bad. For me, I'd say most of what I read certainly goes into the 'vintage' category if not necessarily the classics. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is a big culprit in getting me to want to write, the earliest bit of prose I ever wrote was an excrable Sherlockian pastiche when I was in grade school. Encountering The Lost World later on really intensified my determination to write. Some of my other favorites in the 'classic' vein would have to be Bram Stoker's Dracula and his Jewel of the Seven Stars (just be certain to get the original ending). Frankenstein, naturally and of course Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Red Harvest by Hammet and Raymond Chandler's pulp detective yarns. The Fu Manchu series by Sax Rohmer. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, naturally. All Quiet on the Western Front is another novel that springs to mind when considering the classics.

I'd say I'm much more drawn to short fiction than novels, however, and could probably fill a whole subject on short stories that have really made an impact on me. Robert E. Howard's 'Worms of the Earth' is one I always cite as a great example of blending fantasy with horror. H. P. Lovecraft's 'The Shadow Over Innsmouth' is a particular favorite. Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Black Cat' and 'The Pit and the Pendulum' - hell, just about all his major stories. 'Casting the Runes' and 'Count Magnus' by M. R. James. 'Jumbee' by Henry S. Whitehead. 'Graveyard Rats' by Henry Kuttner. The list goes on and on...
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Re: Career Question for All Authors

Postby He2etic » Tue Dec 04, 2012 3:41 pm

Looks like my reading list for 2013 is spoken for. Thanks again, Mr. Werner and Mr. Reynolds!
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Re: Career Question for All Authors

Postby WarlordGuymer » Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:30 pm

He2etic wrote:This is kind of a two part question, and some of these questions might have been asked in individual author threads, but...

1) Did you ever publish a short story or novel before the Black Library published you? (If so, can you link to it?)

2) Did you follow some planned structure towards getting published in the first place? As in, did you come up with a gameplan you attempted, or did you just hit the publishing markets with trial-and-error?



1) I Hadn't; I've been extraordinarily lucky in that respect and it's great that BL are prepared to take a chance by commissioning short stories from unproven talents.

2) Plans are for clever people. I was still gaily tapping away at my original fantasy epic when I came quite by chance upon the (now extinct :( ) open submission window. There was two weeks before the deadline so I wrote a 5000 word story, polished it to death, cut out the shiniest 1000 and submitted and, as I said above, got very very lucky. I do now have a sort of plan, which I vaguely title 'get published more'. As Josh points out, once you start to get a good handle on the style of writing that comes easiest to you then it'll become a lot clearer where you should be submitting your work. Just keep your ears to the ground on what publications are out there and which one's are accepting. I find this website pretty helpful for that: https://www.writers-online.co.uk/

Good luck. And I'd say if in doubt, submit it. It's doing no good on your hard drive :)
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Re: Career Question for All Authors

Postby Carandini » Thu Mar 07, 2013 6:38 am

I suppose one of my hang-ups is that I let the plot dictate the style. I think it rewards the reader as you never know completely what to expect when you get into one of my stories. at the same time, it can be frustrating trying to find the correct voice and tone when diving into a new project.
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Re: Career Question for All Authors

Postby WarlordGuymer » Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:36 pm

This is true. Your Thanquol novels are are completely different, tonally, from, for instance, your Black Plague novels. It's quite tricky, and for me generally involves substantial amounts of re-writing until the proper mood becomes established in my mind
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