Any and all authors, RE: Starting out with BL

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Any and all authors, RE: Starting out with BL

Postby Raziel4707 » Tue Apr 05, 2011 3:15 pm

I’d really just like some opinions on this, if possible.

As I’m sure you’re aware, a great many of us are putting together manuscripts for the upcoming submissions window, and as such we are required to write samples to accompany our summaries and synopses. Naturally, all of these stories will be military fiction and we need to use these as an opportunity to showcase our skills, but I worry that a great many of our samples will be very similar. I’ve toyed with the notion of sending in a few samples which are completely devoid of action sequences, in the hope that I can show off my abilities with character writing and dialogue that doesn’t consist of war cries and creative swearing, but am torn as to whether this is a good idea or a form of “submission suicide”.

What would any of you do in my position?

Many thanks, Alec (Raz)
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Re: Any and all authors, RE: Starting out with BL

Postby shadowhawk2008 » Tue Apr 05, 2011 4:28 pm

I am interested in this as well. Mostly because I am having a little trouble at the moment on writing some creative battle scenes that aren't just a rehash or melting pot of things the established authors have already done. From personal experience reading a lot of the 40k forums, people seem to want more than just 'bolter porn' and want to know about characters and the chapters and the motivations and what makes them tick and all. What do you all think? :)
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Re: Any and all authors, RE: Starting out with BL

Postby Remerez » Tue Apr 05, 2011 4:56 pm

Whilst I may be as far removed from a BL author as is possible to get without tearing down some form of dimensional wall, I feel compelled to reiterate a point Steven Savile was always keen to hammer home: action does not necessarily equate to violence.

But in lieu of anything more helpful to say I'll... I'll just shut up now.
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Re: Any and all authors, RE: Starting out with BL

Postby Pyroriffic » Tue Apr 05, 2011 4:59 pm

Personally, I'd suggest that you try to incorporate as much variety into your chosen scene as you can to show you're capable of both kinds of writing. But... hey. If you have great confidence in your character-driven scene, then go for it!

*waves flags, pom-poms, small animals etc.*

Also, Remerez is quite right. Action isn't necessarily about the visceral gun/sword/hack 'n' slash type violence. Sometimes it can just be a heated argument.
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Re: Any and all authors, RE: Starting out with BL

Postby shadowhawk2008 » Tue Apr 05, 2011 5:04 pm

Hmm that gives me an idea for a great scene :D
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Re: Any and all authors, RE: Starting out with BL

Postby Richard Williams » Tue Apr 05, 2011 6:15 pm

I'd write the bit you think is coolest. 8-) If you think a section is dull, you'll never convince a reader otherwise.
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Re: Any and all authors, RE: Starting out with BL

Postby Xisor » Tue Apr 05, 2011 6:37 pm

If you're lucky enough to have picked up the BLL Chapbook this year, I think something as close as possible in style to Necessary Evil by Rob Sanders is surely the best possible aim. With a mere 5000 words, it's an exceptional story.

That is, like Pyro says, it's got segments interlinking which demonstrates almost everything excellent about the author. And, not only that, but it ties wholly into Mr Richard Williams' excellent point about being entirely about doing what you think is cool.

If it's cool, it carries a narrative, demonstrates a good variety of your skills...I'm almost certain the actual events of the scene are almost irrelevant. Sure, BLP want 'on the topic of war', but that's a very broad sheet. Tension, fear, excitement. Get that in, or show where it's 'about' to appear, and you're surely in good territory.

But then I'm not an author. But I follow this thread with interest, excellent responses to an insightful query!
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Re: Any and all authors, RE: Starting out with BL

Postby Remerez » Tue Apr 05, 2011 7:03 pm

As a slight deviation to the original question: during previous submission windows (under which banner I'd like to count the themed anthologies) this issue arose and, often, the advice was given to submit the opening of your proposed tale. I don't think a consensus has ever been reached on whether this is the best course of action so I was wondering what the professionals thoughts on this were?

Are you better served demonstrating your ability to write the story you're submitting, perhaps sacrificing certain aspects of your narrative repertoire (or at least taking them out of the shop window), or attempting to craft a scene which will showcase as broad a spectrum of your abilities as possible?

How much is too much, especially when working with the tighter word limit of a short story submission?

It's all well going for shock and awe; I just worry about those in a position to judge getting lost in the smoke.
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Re: Any and all authors, RE: Starting out with BL

Postby Lord of the Night » Thu Apr 07, 2011 5:52 pm

This weekend I intend to sit down, come up with a packet of ideas for a story, and start writing. I intend to submit two to three stories in May, hopefully one will be picked but if not theres always next time.

I do have a question though. When submitting a story are Imperial stories more likely to be picked over Chaos stories? Or are both equally welcome?

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Re: Any and all authors, RE: Starting out with BL

Postby The Arnold Muhren » Fri Nov 25, 2011 3:46 pm

Hello All,
My first post on this forum.

Am, Like everyone else it would seem, preparing a submission come the next window. I'd conceived of the original idea and then worked on planning as much as possible. Just about every piece of advice I had been given up to that point included "Make sure you start!" - or "Make sure you finish something!" or a derivative of the two; sound advice I have to say.
So I started and found the story and characters evolving and developing as I progressed. Had 2/3 key scenes, which I then planned across a 10 chapter spread.
Currently on 13,000 words, which have already included numerous re-drafts (anyone else have that moment just as you get into bed where you suddenly realise the fundamental internal flaw to the totally ace scene you've just spent the last 2 hours writing? - just me then!)

I've found I'm better off writing 'scenes' not chapters with a view that I'll lay them all out and then cut and alter to suit a chapter and to keep the voices different.

Just wanted to join the community and get my first post out there!

Look forward to many more,

Alan
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Re: Any and all authors, RE: Starting out with BL

Postby MalkyDel » Fri Nov 25, 2011 11:26 pm

I've really been trying to submit for the most recent windows and felt that where I was really letting myself down was in the submission details itself. The synopsis, summary, etc. I've looked online for advice and looked at Gav's blog suggestions, but wondered if there was any other specific knack or format to it?

I submitted two short stories and foolishly decided to start writing a novel pitch (which is still a work in progress) and fine-tuning/polishing it for next year. Hopefully hanging around here will provide me with the encouragement, enthusiasm and advice that'll help me in my attempts :)
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Re: Any and all authors, RE: Starting out with BL

Postby schaferwhat‽ » Tue Nov 29, 2011 12:40 am

Remerez wrote:As a slight deviation to the original question: during previous submission windows (under which banner I'd like to count the themed anthologies) this issue arose and, often, the advice was given to submit the opening of your proposed tale. I don't think a consensus has ever been reached on whether this is the best course of action so I was wondering what the professionals thoughts on this were?

Are you better served demonstrating your ability to write the story you're submitting, perhaps sacrificing certain aspects of your narrative repertoire (or at least taking them out of the shop window), or attempting to craft a scene which will showcase as broad a spectrum of your abilities as possible?

How much is too much, especially when working with the tighter word limit of a short story submission?

It's all well going for shock and awe; I just worry about those in a position to judge getting lost in the smoke.


Theoretically I'm still game for the start of the story. That is the part that is meant to grab the readers attention and throttle them until they relent and agree to read more of the story. Starting a short story well is a skill, one you should aim to display.

That said my last submission is arguably the writing I think is best but I don't think it's that strong an opening, the pacing is good for what I wanted but what I wanted perhaps wasn't "hooky" enough to borrow a term from musical parlance.

The tight word limit is harsh but then again it isn't so much. Stories tend to be about conflict, that is the selling point of them (BL wise anyways typically) so you want to be introducing that asap anyways.
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