Writing questions

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by BrentMc, Nov 11, 2013.

  1. rahullak

    rahullak Commodore Commodore

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    That's still good news.

    Can I make simultaneous submissions to Analog and Asimov and pick and choose if, by God's grace, I get accepted in both places?
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Never do simultaneous submissions unless the magazine's guidelines say it's okay. Here's some discussion of the issue.

    In general, you want to read each market's submission guidelines carefully and follow them. Don't ask us, we're not the ones you're trying to sell to.
     
  3. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yes. Submission guidelines are a test to see whether or not you can follow instructions. (This is why bands have strange requirements in their riders like "No green M&Ms.") If the guidelines for a market have an arbitrary requirement that the story be printed on fuschia pink paper, then print the story on fuschia pink paper. A story for that market that doesn't come on fuschia pink paper comes from someone who didn't read the submission guidelines and would be set aside if not outright rejected. :)
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Although that's an exaggerated example. I haven't found editorial guidelines to be that arbitrary as a rule. They usually don't want submissions in formats that are hard to read. You want your story to stand out from the slush pile, but you want it to stand out in the way that counts, through the ideas and the writing, not through failure to follow the guidelines.
     
  5. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That was deliberate on my part. :)

    The point is to read them, and if the guidelines say the editor wants 10pt Courier and 2 spaces after the period, that's what you give them. Don't give them 12pt Times and one space after the period. If the guidelines say to submit as an RTF, don't give them a DOCX.

    Agreed.
     
  6. Overgeeked

    Overgeeked Captain Captain

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    Christopher is right of course, but Analog and Asimov's are a special case. If you submit to either and they think the story would be a good fit for the other, the editors will send it along. For a time this was explicit in their submission guidelines, but I can't seem to find it at present.

    Also, note there's a huge difference between the content of these two magazines, Analog is decidedly "hard SF" whereas Asimov's is decidedly "soft SF" and some fantasy. So you would be best served by reading six months' to a year's worth of the magazine you're submitting to before actually submitting anything. Most magazines make that explicit in their guidelines.

    I was an acquiring editor / slush reader for a time. Trust me when I say that editors are both looking for any excuse to round file a submission and hoping beyond reason for something even semi-decent to cross their desks. The former due to the overwhelming number of submissions, the latter due to the underwhelming nature of most submissions.
     
  7. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Exactly. The old truism is "Save the creativity for the actual story, not for the presentation."
     
  8. BrentMc

    BrentMc Commander Red Shirt

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    Just and idea: I know some ST authors have trouble paying the bills just on writing alone. I started this thread to ask for advice of the pro's. I do not think they owe me any of their time and I wouldn't mind paying for it. I am looking for more tips on writing Star Trek. Not writing fiction in general. I have plenty of books about that. I mean stuff that only applies to ST, not that some tips that would apply to other things can't be included.

    For instance. "How to write McCoy," might tell me more about how to write him to make him three dimensional and true to the character, so that he is not just a bunch of "McCoyisms."
    Maybe someone could say "I like to reveal this kind of information in Captain's Logs."
    "The three act structure and Star Trek."
    "Keeping track of action on a planet and a Starship." etc. etc.

    Maybe these could be essays we could buy via paypal and pay the authors for their time. Maybe this will not amount to much, but it is an idea I wanted to run past them.

    I would love to buy and read "How to write Kilingons," by Keith R.A. Decandido.
    "How to write a great Star Trek action scene," by David Mack.
    Greg Cox and Christopher L. Bennett would be others I would love to buy essays from.

    Opinions?
     
  9. rahullak

    rahullak Commodore Commodore

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    I suppose the size of the Star Trek writing market is a factor in deciding whether such books can be made.
     
  10. BrentMc

    BrentMc Commander Red Shirt

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    This is probably the biggest problem, but there are quite a few fan-fiction writers out there. It might be worth and authors time, especially as they will not have to share profits.
     
  11. rahullak

    rahullak Commodore Commodore

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    I think most authors would be willing. They could always leave out their secret sauce if they like.

    It's the publisher who needs to be convinced of potential revenues from these ventures.
     
  12. BrentMc

    BrentMc Commander Red Shirt

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    I wasn't suggesting they are published. With a small market I doubt pocket books would want to publish them. I'm saying PDF, EPUB, Kindle documents that we buy from the authors and they keep all the money.
     
  13. rahullak

    rahullak Commodore Commodore

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    I see what you're saying. But I think any reference to licensed artifacts would need permission from CBS. I think any commercial activity related to the Trek franchise would need to go through CBS. And Pocketbooks has the exclusive right to release all books (any commercial) related to Trek.
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    That applies to Trek fiction, not nonfiction about Trek. There have been a lot of "unauthorized" nonfiction books from other publishers, like the Best of Trek collections, the '90s edition of the Concordance, and all the James Van Hise reference books -- not to mention a ton of scholarly media-criticism books.
     
  15. Idran

    Idran Commodore Premium Member

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    Well, technically, it can cause troubles if not done properly. That's why the Nitpicker's Guide series was shut down, a legal threat.
     
  16. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    The whole "unauthorized" thing can be tricky. Criticism and satire are protected to a degree, but, as I understand it, things gets dicey if we're talking something that's potentially competitive with something the license holder might want to pursue.

    In other words, "Feminist Themes in STAR TREK" is fair game. But "The Unofficial STAR TREK Trivia Question Book" is probably a no-go because how is that different from an "Official STAR TREK Trivia Question Book"?

    "How to Write Star Trek Fiction" . . . hmm. That would be up to the lawyers, I guess.

    But there really are no secret sauce recipes. You watch the shows, familiarize yourself with the source material, try to absorb the voices of the characters so that they sound like the actors on TV . . . .

    For what it's worth, I write STAR TREK the same way I write WAREHOUSE 13 or UNDERWORLD or LEVERAGE. There are no special tricks or techniques I use for writing TREK. My main goal is always to capture the feel of the original, be it GODZILLA or TOS. :)