Rick Yagodich

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Author of, predominantly, literary epic fantasy. But presentational genre is only a wrapper, and some stories demand other packaging. Custodian of an unhealthily long list of story ideas in need of writing.

Currently reworking An Empty Throne Contended Throne Blood Throne, book 1 of The Godsbridge Arc, which is "a coming-of-age/political-intrigue series that looks at how someone can become as evil and universally reviled as Sauron."

Rick Yagodich Discussions
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I am trying to come up with a Word template for writing that includes all the tools one could need. …
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I have always placed my ellipses, in my writing, tight up against the last word of a truncated sente…
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  •  · It could be the difference between US and UK, Jon. Dreyer doesn't say so, though the UK edition of t…
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Just because I used an edit of it to get my mind working again, after a couple of weeks of bogging d…
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One for the plotters… pantsers might find this interesting, but it won't be meaningful to you…I'm in…
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  •  · It might be worth approaching it sequentially, too, rather than looking at act structures - just as …
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Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings is a famously deep and backstoried tale. The material created to sup…
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  •  · Great thread! Having started writing as a 'pantser' (3 novels ago) I am now beginning to appreciate …
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Alpha-reading… wait a moment. Alpha? How's that different from beta-reading?For those not familiar w…
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  •  · Thank you for this clear explanation. Very helpful. 

Sorry to burst the bubble, James, but this is one contract offer you really shouldn't take as too much of a positive. Let's go with the more generous interpretation, being that they send the same "it's great, we'll scam you" response to everyone.

They could keep a record and warn others, but likely won't bother.

The thing is, if a publisher renegws on a contract, it's a good thing for the author. A publishing contract includes an advance from the publisher in exchange for their sole right to publish your work (and spend money on doing so). This is calculated on the basis that it is the total of all royalties your work is expexted to earn. (And, realistically, most books don't even earn out their advances.)

If they choose not to publish a subsequent book they have contracted, it is because they have chosen not to spend the extra money on the publishing process. Were they forced to publish, they would put a minimum possible effort into promoting a book they didn't see as a good investment. If they are half-decent, you will get your advance without argument; at worst, a reminder or two of their obligations and the implicit threat of bad publicity will see you paid. And as they will have chosen not to publish,you get back the right  to sell the manuscript to someone else for a second advance.

A good thing to get in your contract is thus a reversion clause on the first book(s) in the case where they choose to forego the subsequent book they have agreed to publish, especially if it's a series. That way, you can also resell the earlier books to someone else, boosting the compound value of the new book, as the right marketing could change the series' entire dynamic.

The simple answer: run. As far and fast as you can.

No bona fide publisher will ever ask an author to pay them anything. Publishers pay authors. Simple.

The moment you put up any money, it becomes vanity publishing, and they won't do any serious promotion of your book. For them, the one-off fee is their main income generator.

As with anything, people can quickly become accustomed to whatever they encounter.

Take, for example, that dictate of don't use semicolons; all they do is show off that you've learned how to use them and distract the reader. Yet, in my writing, I appear to put one, on average, every 200 words. (That's more than one per page.) And they don't put people off my writing.

So, for some of us, the single quote stands out as ugly, but by the second page, it's just a feature of the writing style, adapted to as we would the American's overuse of z when s would suffice, or their aversion to the letter u.

What Kate says.

There's also that question of what/why are you tweaking? Are you learning, becoming a more competent writer, and as such seeing how to strengthen your prose? Or are you making changes for changes' sake?

The critique groups approach is a vital step. Get the feedback that hurts. Ask people to be brutal. Take that feedback and try applying it to others' writing, to see the same issues elsewhere. That will help you to see them in your own work. Learn to recognise the how and why of the effect of your writing on your reader (which you cannot judge based on your response to your own writing; your mind fishes out the remembered intention of your words rather than experiencing the effects as someone coming to it fresh would).

Rinse and repeat.

I say this because, of all the people I know who have paid for an assessment, most fall into one of two caregories: those who are so stuck in their ways, who refuse to listen and learn, thus wasting their money and those who discover they had too much still to learn when they put up the money the first time round. (There are the occasional few who did all the learning first…)

No sensible one would.

From the (unpublished) work I've seen, at least half of people writing in the UK use double quotes in their manuscripts. (It's much higher amongst those who are writing business-type documentation.) It's the publishing industry that is so fixated on the use of single quotes for speech.

I suspect the deeper reasons for single are:

  • People in the UK who learned on US keyboard, but can't cope with the transposition of @ and " (even though they have to learn not to shift when typing the quote)
  • An attempt to standardise as news article headlines (bolded) that include a quote use single rather than double quotes because of ink/space (and single quotes look fine in that instance).

Yes. It's all about the cost of ink.

Added a comment to 121 Anxiety 

Maybe he's – you know – empathising with the monkeys…

I've not tried it, though I agree with Jon's sentiment. Prescriptive and narrow in analyisis.

A grammar checker – if well-implemented and unobrusive; Word does a decent job at its level – can be useful. But any tool that claims to be able to help with style is, almost by default, only going to be able to shoe-horn you into the lifeless lack of style, of personality, that comes from being restricted to a style guide that leave no room for voice.

I'm largely in agreement with Jon's assessment. Your twists both feel like they belong as teasers at the end of book one, mentioned but unexplored,

The minor divergence is that your second twist is a two-parter: ownership and a new dynamic. I would put the ownership – or at least a hint of it – in book onw, but leave any suggestion of the new dynamic to book two. It is implicit in ownership, and any mention of it in closing out the first tale would be too on-the-nose.

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