Do you tend to compare published work (which breaks the rules) with your own submitted work?

I have this nagging question that continues to bug me.

 

With my own work, that I submit, I am constantly revising the first several pages of the work  to make sure it GRABS the agent (or publisher) so that I have "a chance in hell" (LOL)

 

But you know....I, like many of you, always read other work to keep up with whats out there and ...

it sure seems strange to me that publishers like to break their own rules when it comes to printing work that breaks the rules that I, the hopeful author, feel compelled to follow.

 

I was reading one thriller (won't mention who) and it took this writer at LEAST 50 pages to get me really into the book. I sat there thinking, you know, I could have cut 25 pages from this and gotten the reader's interest much sooner.

 

And yes, I know the ones who are allowed to break the rules are given a bit of elbow room with the rules, because, of course, they have a fan base and people BUY their books. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" rules. And i accept that. To a point.

 

 But I read many genres besides just thriller crime books. I also try to read as many first time authors (and again- of many other genres) and it sure seems there are a large number of books that are allowed a pass on the 'rules' if "grabbing the reader" in the first few pages.

 

And yet, when many of us submit, we get another rejection letter.

And no, many times there's no explenation--- they can't of course, their very busy.

But one of the first things we, as writers do, is go back in there and tighten the first several pages up.

 Again.

Over and over and over.

And then we resubmit.

 

And yet, while we wait for some word on the revision....

we continue to read other books...

and there they are...

several dozen stories that ramble and ramble and ramble in the first 30 to 50 pages before getting your attention.

 

But then, I might be wrong.

Please feel free to correct me and I'll be properly humbled.

 

Sorry this sounds so cynical as one of my first postings here on the boards.

But it's so puzzling to me.

Looking forward to your collective thoughts/comments.

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I certainly do! In fact, I was reading a mystery about ten years ago which broke most of the established rules for successful writing and was full of cliches, when I decided to try my hand at writing. I figured I could do better and that would guarantee publication.

Now of course, I look at my first published novel and see several things I could improve, although I'm not unhappy with it. I guess it's part of the leaning process.
"When the voice and the vision on the inside become more profound and clear and loud than the opinions on the outside, you've mastered your life". (Dr. John DeMartini) You know this. Don't buy into thinking they know more or better than you do. If you want to play the numbers game, stand in line and wait for one of them to pick you up. You may get lucky or you'll end up full of self doubt about your work and your ability. Or you can do all your own marketing (which you'll need to do a lot of anyway) and reap 50% of your sales instead of 10%. There are thousands of new books out there every year. Don't forget the cardinal rule of any field of work. 10% inspiration, 90% perspiration. The old paradigm said the artist had no head or no time for business so lets take advantage of him, let him do the work and we'll reap the reward. Artists don't care about money, they only want to be understood. Bull. The new paradigm says we can and will do it all.
And who set up the new paradigm? Not the authors. Keep in mind that your promoting yourself puts more money into the pockets of your publisher than in yours.
I think he's talking about the self-publishing paradigm, I.J.
Ah. Yes. That would be different.
This is correct.
Exactly right! When you work for them. I was talking about working for yourself.
Frank, remember that many of the books out there that 'break the rules' (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, out there in every way; Shantaram, epically long) were rejected many times before a brave and 'think outside the box' agent or publisher grabbed on. True, you must grab the reader early. To me, though, if the writing is top-tier then the agent/pub will go that 50 pages and beyond, because plot and story structure can be fixed; bad writing cannot. Hang in there and write you own story. The rest will come.

Best of luck.

Julie Dolcemaschio
Author, Testarossa
plot and story structure can be fixed; bad writing cannot.

This is absolutely true, and I don't think we've mentioned that fact.
I usually edit in my head as I read the work of another.

I try to get the reader into my world.

As far as rules? There are none. There are only guidelines. Long descriptions that open a book are somewhat passe, but we still see them, and they often are very fine works.

We get an editor's or reader's attention by writing our very best and hope that the editor likes it.
Thanks everyone for the response
Um, are you sure you're not just bored?

There is always the question of how is just like everyone else as a reader and how one is not. When an author bores me, I usually don't stick with it. In truth, however, since writing professionally with more success ...I don't even think the way that I used to....It just doesn't even compute like that anymore.

In fact, I'm started to get weirded out just from thinking about how much my brain has been changed ...I started writing fiction from pure passion and nonfiction because it was a school assignment. Now I'm excited because I have a chance of being paid decently for some nonfiction of a type that I never imagined I would write for pay when I was younger.

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