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Trek Literature "...Good words. That's where ideas begin."

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Old September 8 2009, 11:35 PM   #1
Joel_Kirk
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Writing a Trek novel...

Yes, this has been posted before. (Unfortunately, not recently; otherwise, I would have posted my comment in that thread).

I'm currently still working on my writing credits, among other credits (acting, directing, stageplay, etc...etc...etc) I wish to attain in the future.

Since Pocket books is going through changes, are they taking new stories? (And yes, I understand they take these submissions by agents only; I believe they've always had).

Olivia Woods is the newest author I'm aware of, although there may be others.

My idea is a stand-alone story, something I believe the guidelines require.
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Old September 8 2009, 11:40 PM   #2
Rush Limborg
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Re: Writing a Trek novel...

^I've asked this question a lot--and the answer, as of now, seems to be:

"Get yourself established as an 'original' writer first, and then, after you've established your credentials, Pocket willl be more open to you...."

It has something to do with keeping in check the number of wannabe writers they have to check out daily, or something....
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Old September 8 2009, 11:45 PM   #3
Joel_Kirk
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Re: Writing a Trek novel...

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
^I've asked this question a lot--and the answer, as of now, seems to be:

"Get yourself established as an 'original' writer first, and then, after you've established your credentials, Pocket willl be more open to you...."

It has something to do with keeping in check the number of wannabe writers they have to check out daily, or something....
lol....I understand...

Tks, dude.
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Old September 9 2009, 12:24 AM   #4
Christopher
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Re: Writing a Trek novel...

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
^I've asked this question a lot--and the answer, as of now, seems to be:

"Get yourself established as an 'original' writer first, and then, after you've established your credentials, Pocket willl be more open to you...."

It has something to do with keeping in check the number of wannabe writers they have to check out daily, or something....
No, it doesn't. It's sensible advice for anyone who hopes for a career as a writer. A Star Trek prose story can only be sold to one publisher, so if it gets rejected, you're sunk and have nowhere else to go (unless you can rework it as a comic and convince IDW or TokyoPop to take a look, but there again, your options are severely constrained). If it's an original story, you have a lot more options. If it gets rejected one place, you can try it in another and another and another.

And rejection -- a lot of rejection -- is something every writer must face as part of the learning process. It takes time to get good at this, and rejection letters telling you what doesn't work are a great way to home in on what does work. If you react to rejection as some kind of conspiracy on the part of the publishers and editors to exclude you from their clique, then you'll never amount to anything. But if you embrace the rejections as learning opportunities, acknowledge that you still need improvement and strive to raise your level still higher, that's how you get good enough to sell.

So the editors aren't trying to reduce the quantity of writers they get pitches from, but to improve their quality. Write, submit, reject, repeat is the best way to learn this business, and so a narrow focus on Star Trek alone is not the best approach to take. It's self-limiting. This advice is for your benefit, not just the editors'. Just as a sports team will look at you more seriously if you work out diligently and get yourself in peak physical condition beforehand, just as a university will look at you more seriously if you study hard and get good grades beforehand, so an editor or agent will look at you more seriously if you get a lot of practice at writing, and at honing your writing for professional markets. You have to go through training to reach a professional level, in this as in any other career.


Now, to respond to Joel_Kirk:

As long as the submission guidelines are still up on the publisher's website, you can assume they're still valid. However, since the remaining editors have just had a lot more work dumped in their laps, it'll probably be a while before they're in a position to look at those submissions.

Also, even if your submission through standard channels catches an editor's attention, don't expect to sell that particular novel pitch. Think of it more as a demo reel, to show your abilities. (Or a spec script in TV terms.) If they like your work, they might go for what you pitched, or they might ask you what else you've got.
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Old September 9 2009, 12:26 AM   #5
Joel_Kirk
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Re: Writing a Trek novel...

Christopher wrote: View Post
Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
^I've asked this question a lot--and the answer, as of now, seems to be:

"Get yourself established as an 'original' writer first, and then, after you've established your credentials, Pocket willl be more open to you...."

It has something to do with keeping in check the number of wannabe writers they have to check out daily, or something....
No, it doesn't. It's sensible advice for anyone who hopes for a career as a writer. A Star Trek prose story can only be sold to one publisher, so if it gets rejected, you're sunk and have nowhere else to go (unless you can rework it as a comic and convince IDW or TokyoPop to take a look, but there again, your options are severely constrained). If it's an original story, you have a lot more options. If it gets rejected one place, you can try it in another and another and another.

And rejection -- a lot of rejection -- is something every writer must face as part of the learning process. It takes time to get good at this, and rejection letters telling you what doesn't work are a great way to home in on what does work. If you react to rejection as some kind of conspiracy on the part of the publishers and editors to exclude you from their clique, then you'll never amount to anything. But if you embrace the rejections as learning opportunities, acknowledge that you still need improvement and strive to raise your level still higher, that's how you get good enough to sell.

So the editors aren't trying to reduce the quantity of writers they get pitches from, but to improve their quality. Write, submit, reject, repeat is the best way to learn this business, and so a narrow focus on Star Trek alone is not the best approach to take. It's self-limiting. This advice is for your benefit, not just the editors'. Just as a sports team will look at you more seriously if you work out diligently and get yourself in peak physical condition beforehand, just as a university will look at you more seriously if you study hard and get good grades beforehand, so an editor or agent will look at you more seriously if you get a lot of practice at writing, and at honing your writing for professional markets. You have to go through training to reach a professional level, in this as in any other career.


Now, to respond to Joel_Kirk:

As long as the submission guidelines are still up on the publisher's website, you can assume they're still valid. However, since the remaining editors have just had a lot more work dumped in their laps, it'll probably be a while before they're in a position to look at those submissions.

Also, even if your submission through standard channels catches an editor's attention, don't expect to sell that particular novel pitch. Think of it more as a demo reel, to show your abilities. (Or a spec script in TV terms.) If they like your work, they might go for what you pitched, or they might ask you what else you've got.
^^

Tks, Christopher!
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Old September 9 2009, 01:05 AM   #6
JarodRussell
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Re: Writing a Trek novel...

It takes time to get good at this, and rejection letters telling you what doesn't work are a great way to home in on what does work.
They actually do that? Wouldn't have thought that.
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Old September 9 2009, 02:02 AM   #7
Rush Limborg
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Re: Writing a Trek novel...

As long as the submission guidelines are still up on the publisher's website, you can assume they're still valid. However, since the remaining editors have just had a lot more work dumped in their laps, it'll probably be a while before they're in a position to look at those submissions.
Yeah, about those guidelines....

Chris, I noticed the guidelines still mention SNW.

Is there any chance that they'll be updated any time soon--if only to get rid of that, and possibly tweak a few things?
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Old September 9 2009, 03:42 AM   #8
Christopher
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Re: Writing a Trek novel...

JarodRussell wrote: View Post
It takes time to get good at this, and rejection letters telling you what doesn't work are a great way to home in on what does work.
They actually do that? Wouldn't have thought that.
Generally you get form letters, but if an editor thinks you have potential, you get a personalized rejection letter offering constructive criticism. Graduating from form letters to personalized letters is a big step forward. It means you've gotten noticed. But of course your end of the deal is to listen to the advice and apply it.



Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
Chris, I noticed the guidelines still mention SNW.

Is there any chance that they'll be updated any time soon--if only to get rid of that, and possibly tweak a few things?
That's not my department. I don't work there.

And aside from SNW, I don't know what needs to be "tweaked."
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Old September 9 2009, 03:45 AM   #9
Rush Limborg
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Re: Writing a Trek novel...

^Neither do I--I'm just saying....
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Old September 9 2009, 06:57 PM   #10
PaulSimpson
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Re: Writing a Trek novel...

JarodRussell wrote: View Post
It takes time to get good at this, and rejection letters telling you what doesn't work are a great way to home in on what does work.
They actually do that? Wouldn't have thought that.
It's the sort of thing that editors like to do - it's how we find new writers. There are people who I've worked with over the years who have gone on to good careers - not because of what I did, but because they were prepared to listen to what I, and other editors, told them. Unless I get something that is completely illiterate, sent by a dyspeptic antagonistic neanderthal (and believe me, I have!) then I try to look to see if there's potential there...

Paul
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Old September 9 2009, 09:58 PM   #11
Jbarney
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Re: Writing a Trek novel...

Christopher wrote: View Post
JarodRussell wrote: View Post
It takes time to get good at this, and rejection letters telling you what doesn't work are a great way to home in on what does work.
They actually do that? Wouldn't have thought that.
Generally you get form letters, but if an editor thinks you have potential, you get a personalized rejection letter offering constructive criticism. Graduating from form letters to personalized letters is a big step forward. It means you've gotten noticed. But of course your end of the deal is to listen to the advice and apply it.



Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
Chris, I noticed the guidelines still mention SNW.

Is there any chance that they'll be updated any time soon--if only to get rid of that, and possibly tweak a few things?
That's not my department. I don't work there.

And aside from SNW, I don't know what needs to be "tweaked."

This is really nice information and I appreciate you posting it, Christopher. I had heard that magazines like Asimov's were using form rejection letters, but I was not aware they might be using more individual letters for those who they think might have talent.

This interested me because I sent out my first short story to them a couple of weeks ago. I think I have a good grasp of the process, but the type of rejection letter is nice information to keep in mind.
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Old September 10 2009, 07:17 PM   #12
Joel_Kirk
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Re: Writing a Trek novel...

I'm in the process sending out a story to either Analog...Asimov...or Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction right now. (I'm still deciding).

My story is about a black ronin on a futuristic Japanese planet. (Already a couple of people told me my story comes off as anime or manga-like, but everyone has said it was a good story...which I think it's the best I've written so far. It's a feeling a writer gets when a story seems to 'work').

If one doesn't pick it up, someone eventually will.

Interestingly, Kij Johnson (who co-wrote a Trek novel with Greg Cox) wrote a Japanese folk tale-like story[actually a retelling of an old tale] called 'Fox Magic' for Asimov's....and then she went on to write two novels based on Japanese folk tales.

Laurell K. Hamilton [also one who has written a Trek novel] is one writer who is inspiring another story of mine...about a black wizard who comes up against a dangerous Japanese junior idol...

Come to think of it, I did get a rejection letter [not necessarily a form letter, IMO] from Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction from John Joseph Adams....for a story involving a dragon that I may have to come back to. (Again, a story that didn't 'work.')
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Old September 10 2009, 11:35 PM   #13
Amy Sisson
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Re: Writing a Trek novel...

Joel_Kirk wrote: View Post
I'm in the process sending out a story to either Analog...Asimov...or Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction right now. (I'm still deciding).
Joel, I mean this in a friendly way.... but stop "deciding" and just send the darn story out!

For what it's worth, F&SF responds the quickest. Assuming it is rejected (and I assume that for my own stories, so I'm not trying to imply anything about your story in particular!), you should already know where you're sending it next, and do so within 24 hours of it coming back. It's a good practice to get into, so you can spend your time on writing instead of thinking about "where should I submit it now?"

Best of luck!
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Old September 11 2009, 12:05 AM   #14
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Re: Writing a Trek novel...

Joel_Kirk wrote: View Post
If one doesn't pick it up, someone eventually will.
Yeah, don't count on it. The average writer gets over 100 rejection letters before making their first sale.
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Old September 11 2009, 12:43 AM   #15
Rush Limborg
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Re: Writing a Trek novel...

^ One hundred???

Wow. Tough market.
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