Need help putting my TNG Novel together

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by TroiFan4ever, Sep 19, 2011.

  1. TroiFan4ever

    TroiFan4ever Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I don't know how or why but I just can't seem to get my TNG novel finished.

    I've always loved TNG and without giving too much of it away before it gets out there, the novel is post "All Good Things..." and the stardate I gave it was 47993.2. I've always been intrigued by the "horror" episodes of the show so that's what it would be like, the story is gonna be focused on the woman pictured in my avatar. I'm sure you all know why... but I know there are not that many Troi-lovers out there but I'm just wondering if people would even look at this kind of a story, or if Pocket would even want to publish this.

    I recall reading that "Possession", also set during Season 7, had some help writing and putting together. The problem is that when it comes to pitching it to Pocket Books, they would rather writers have agents and stuff like that. But I don't have one... yet.

    Is there anything you would have liked to see happen during TNG that never did? I have listed a LONG list of things I would have like to see happen with Troi, and the rest of the crew, as well as bits and pieces inspired by the series that I would like to include with the story but only for some of those elements to be scapped!

    Suggestions? ;)
     
  2. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    This a post for FanFic. If it's intended to be a legitimate proposal being submitted to Pocket Books, you shouldn't discuss it here. You need to follow the submission guidelines to the letter: you won't need to worry about stardates, or what details were once covered any by other novels. Submit a proposal and sample chapters only, set within the seven years of canonical TNG.

    They will only look at a proposal and sample chapters, set within the seven years of canonical TNG, submitted by a recognised literary agent. One that you do not pay any money until after your novel contract is signed.

    Your best bet to get an agent: write a solid, non tie-in, SF novel manuscript first. If it's good, you'll have less trouble finding an agent. Then you pitch your ST novel to Pocket. Then, if they like it, they may get you to pitch something totally different.

    Of course, if your original SF novel is highly successful, a contracted second original SF novel may be a better deal for you than attempting that tie-in TNG novel.

    Never here.
     
  3. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    No story ideas are allowed in this forum. You might have better luck asking in Fan Fiction.

    Regardless, finishing the whole novel might be fun as an exercise, but you'd only be submitting an outline and the first couple chapters. And if Pocket likes you, odds are just as high that they'd commission another novel entirely.
     
  4. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Just a quick comment. Thrawn is right. Except for fun, you shouldn't try writing a full-length media tie-in novel in hopes of selling it. That's not how it works. The proposal and outline need to be approved by the licensor first.

    I harp on this because this is a common mistake. Lots of beginners seem to think you write your STAR TREK (or SPIDER-MAN or CSI) novel first, then sell it to the publisher.

    That is indeed how original novels are often sold, but not media tie-in books. For those, the outlines all need to be approved first.
     
  5. Mr Silver

    Mr Silver Commodore Newbie

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    I agree, it's not really the place to post and there are rules established rules that are mainly set out for the protection of intellectual property.

    Asides from that, where submitting novels is concerned, it seems like a very secretive and overly complicated process that not many people are willing to explain.
     
  6. xortex

    xortex Commodore Commodore

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    I guess it all depends on the mysterious Jaime Costas. You'ld be schedualed for a 2151 slot anyway so make the outline as detailed as possible. Especially the stardate.
     
  7. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    ^ FYI: Jaime Costas is long gone. She left Pocket Books close to a year ago.

    I can't speak for Pocket's current submission policy since I'm not an editor there. But, to be honest, here's how the media tie-in process usually works:

    A publisher acquires a license to publish SPACE VIXENS novels, based on the movie/tv show/comic book/computer game. An editor gets on the phone and starts calling tie-in authors to see who is available for the right amount of money. Chances are, the editor is going to start with authors they've worked with before, just because it's easier that way.

    There's no big mystery here. Most of the time, an overworked editor just calls one of the usual suspects and offers them a job.

    As with most careers, the hard part is getting your foot in the door . . ..
     
  8. Mr Silver

    Mr Silver Commodore Newbie

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    So how does an unpublished author get their foot in the door, where Star Trek is concerned? You've been there yourself Greg, surely it's the same as it's always been?
     
  9. xortex

    xortex Commodore Commodore

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    That's easy, Simon and Schuster has no doors nor windows, just an open submission policy on the 23rd floor. Good luck.
    Jaime is gone? Did not know that. Is Ed Schlesinger still around? I included his name on the envelop. I called once and the Star Trek editor actually spoke to me. I'm beyond nobody. It must have been Keith or Marco and he couldn't have been nicer. It was a real Star Trek moment. Of course like an idiot I criticised some of their past choices but he kind of intimated that I would make it to a slush pile. That was slightly back in the day. It might have been before 9/11. I can't remember. Which is why they cancelled the open submission policy for the tv series and Star Trek died. I actually feel bad now. What a thankless job and what an ass I am for even mentioning something like that. Well while I'm here, I'd also like to apoligize to any and all the other writers that I've dismissed without reading them. I think I was just referring to one or two books long ago. I want to thank the editors for being so kind and holding the whole universe together while I was being thoughtlessly cruel by accident.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2011
  10. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Not necessarily. That was seventeen years and several editors ago. I'm honestly not sure what the current submission policy is.

    And I suspect that there's no single route to getting your foot in the door, although many of us we're already in the business before we started doing STAR TREK books. In my case, John Ordover invited me to write a DS9 book for him because he'd liked some BATMAN stories I'd written for DC . . . and because we'd already worked together at Tor Books.

    (I'm an odd case in that I was editing movie novelizations and such before I ever started writing them! STAR TREK was something I moonlighted on while editing Freddy Krueger and Mortal Kombat books from nine to five.)
     
  11. xortex

    xortex Commodore Commodore

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    You should know Troiforever that you are asking for the advice of people who are paid to lie to earn a living about the best way to stand on their necks.
    It reminds me of the far side joke of the alligators running down the incline into the river where two explorers are flaoting by and commenting, 'Would you look at this mob. We'll be lucky if there's a seat cushion left.' The far side should be mandatory reading in every grade school along with watching the Twilight Zone and the Honeymooners. Ray Bradberry Theater too, which is just the Twilight Zone in color.
     
  12. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    .... dude, what's your problem?
     
  13. xortex

    xortex Commodore Commodore

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    Do you really want to know? Writers who cashed in on an easy sale in the past. That's simple enough to understand. Isn't it? How anything else affects me is irrelovant.
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Not at all. Several people in this thread have already explained it. And it's not that different from getting a job in any other profession -- namely, first you have to go through the audition/interview process and prove you have what it takes. And in order to have what it takes, you have to get enough hard work and experience under your belt to develop the skill. It only seems "overly complicated" if you start off with the totally false assumption that you can go from interested amateur to successful novelist overnight. It takes most writers years of writing, submitting, being rejected, and learning from the rejections to develop a high enough skill level to be competitive with all the other experienced professionals who are competing for a limited number of slots. That's why it's not easy -- not because there's some secret conspiracy to exclude people from getting in the door, but because, as with any other professional discipline, you have to compete to get in the door and you have to earn that access through talent, discipline, and hard work.


    They probably don't, for the same reason someone with no professional architectural experience is unlikely to be hired to design a skyscraper. This isn't a hobby for amateurs. This isn't fanfiction. It's a professional discipline and you're competing with experienced, professional authors. Like Therin said, the best way to have a shot at becoming a Star Trek writer is simply to become a writer, period -- to write your own original fiction, submit it, get it rejected, learn from the rejections, repeat several dozen times until you finally get good enough to sell something, then repeat more and more until you sell enough to get a reputation or an agent, and then you can give it a try.
     
  15. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Thank you, Christopher.
     
  16. xortex

    xortex Commodore Commodore

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    Chris, if I may say, the only problem with that, is that you can wind up with well written garbage, hence Star Trek '09. When I buy a book, it's based on the power of the concept and idea, which is king in Hollywood, to grab me. If there is something I don't like about it, I don't buy the book. Hollywood seems to be more of an assembly line but even there the best ideas don't get done or through, or so I'm lied to about, hence Ronald D. Moore, a good writer getting in without any real experience, credits or clout but superior ability alone. Was it worth it? Obviously. Same with Braga. What would TNG without them both? brought in from nowhere. I think previous editors there in the recent past touted good concepts more than personalities. An exclusionary business practice will create a malaise,
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2011
  17. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    IIRC, Ronald D Moore had studied the craft of writing for a long time before he did up a spec script ("The Bonding") and sent it to his friend, Richard Arnold, asking if he should submit it to TNG. So, Ron was fortunate enough to know somebody who knew somebody, in order to get his first professional sale.

    Brannon Braga submitted several script pitches to TNG and impressed (Michael Pillar?) enough to be offered an internship, where he was groomed to be a professional screenwriter.

    "From nowhere" would apply to everyone getting their first professional writing gig. We rarely get to see their reject piles. Not too many people sell their first draft of the first thing they ever wrote. For most of us, the first thing we ever wrote goes back to grade school, anyway - and even then, some kids won all the writing prizes.

    Talent + dedication + good timing + dumb luck + mentor.
     
  18. xortex

    xortex Commodore Commodore

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    Well yea, Salieri was very popular too but, ideally I think there should be a small team there at S and S of these very talented writers/thinkers genius experts like Christopher, Dayton, etc. to decide on and develop story content working with select writer/thinkers with lets say not so much experience or expertise, that they're interested in, lower level/tier writers/thinkers with excellent ideas that may not have a chance otherwise. Jaime Costas on maternity leave seems overwhelmed as it is. The hen house effect. That's a steady paycheck, not a big one but, inside information could be very insightful as to the direction the franchise should go even for J.J. Abrams who is clueless.
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    The bottom line is, if you assume your failures are due solely to some evil conspiracy out to exclude you, then you'll never get anywhere, because the corollary of that is that your work is already perfect and you don't have to make any actual effort to learn or improve. That's not the attitude that leads to success in writing or any other field. You have to take responsibility for your own success, recognize your own need to constantly refine and improve your craft. You have to see rejections as gifts rather than attacks, because they can show you how you need to improve your work, or at least show you how high the bar you're aiming for is. If you can't make that bar, you won't get any closer by whining about how the universe is out to get you. The way to get closer is to look at your own work and see how you can improve it.

    The people who moan and scream about how the system is stacked against them will never get anywhere because they're trapped in the belief that their fate is dictated by forces beyond their control. The people who succeed are the people who look at their failures as opportunities to evaluate and correct their own shortcomings and try harder the next time. Even if it were true that the system were unjustly biased against you, the only useful way to deal with that would be by making yourself better, doing the work to find a way to get in despite the obstacles.
     
  20. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    But why? S&S is a commercial entity that could fill its writing slots many times over. if someone is truly a gifted writer and they want it enough, then they will be able to get someone to pay them for their work and this then gives them a track record they can take to S&S.