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<img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/offtopic.gif" alt="" /> totally! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/biggrin.gif" alt="" />

kris, wow! your house-building skills impressed me more than your writing skills/experience. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/biggrin.gif" alt="" />

maybe u can open a thread on house-building so i can learn more about it. i helped a bit in building my house; setting foundations, beams, celing supports, flooring. btw, my house has raised floor & on stilts with swampy terrain.

so should i build my house to please only myself or should i have the audience in mind? <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/silly.gif" alt="" />



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Awesome house building <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/up.gif" alt="" />


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Young Adult: Read 'teenagers'. This is all the stuff that teenagers relate to, like first love, friendship, teenage angst and trying to find out where you fit into a world that doesn't seem to care about you. This is a very narrow genre, and very unpopular amongst non-teenage readers for obvious reasons. Such stories will always involve teenage leads, and usually centre around schools or colleges.
HEY! I'm a teenager, and most of that is fecking boring in a book, to be frank. Some colleges/schools are ok, but like Hogwarts.......er, yeah. 'nuff said.

So you can't be too biased on age groups.

Look at my cat! She's young an she still eats the old kitty food, wait, wrong thread . . .

Hallo . . . But yes, you can't be to subjective because of the age . . . Did I mean to say all this or is it another loss of sleep again?

Roight. Well, just don't be biased IMHO.



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Hello all you writers and builders <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/winkwink.gif" alt="" />

I've heard from Alrik and he sends his regards <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wave.gif" alt="" /> from a warehouse at Berlin, Alexanderplatz. Unfortunately he finds, it's quite expensive here (I mean surfing). And will look for cheaper ways to surf the airwaves!

Keep up the good long-winded conversations.... <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/biggrin.gif" alt="" />
my hand still hurts! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cry.gif" alt="" />


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HEY! I'm a teenager, and most of that is fecking boring in a book, to be frank. Some colleges/schools are ok, but like Hogwarts.......er, yeah. 'nuff said.

So you can't be too biased on age groups.

<snip>

Roight. Well, just don't be biased IMHO.


I feel inclined to point out that it's not so much "bias" as generalization -- what Elliot said does, after all, apply to most relevant individuals.

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Well yes, I suppose, that was the word I was searching for. But still, most people blame every single youth in America for being the "l33t u r os kolo!' Or some such, when I don't even know what 'l33t' stands for, elite maybe?, yes I still get put in the classification of 'idiot'.



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Faralas:
So, while you may feel the book that you've spent a year or two pouring your heart and soul into has potential for publication, you have to 'pitch' it to a publisher. It's called a synopsis.


Correct - and I may add, publishers are not always innovative either. Just remember Doris Lessing. She wrote a book under a pseudonym: The diary of Jane Somers. It was rejected - then a publisher finally published this book. When I read it, the author Jane Somers was unknown to me - I thought: Hey, that's the Doris Lessing style! Years after that, she admited and said, she wanted to prove the fact that publishers don't read the plot but go for names. It was a brilliant slap. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/ROFL.gif" alt="" />
Kiya

So, writing is a dangerous act - you have to believe in your work, advert for it, fight for it - and grow skin.

WF, about "angst" => this is something a lot of teenagers go through during adolescence, it's "normal", now explained in biological psychology due to hormones running wild and affecting brains and emotions. Part of the painful path in finding your own personality, your way to adulthood. I often wondered why adults seem to shun literature dealing with this period. Maybe because it is too painful to remember what happened inside them as well? Or maybe because they are ashamed to be reminded of this?

A few years ago I found my poetry out of that time - and well, I cringed <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/delight.gif" alt="" /> - took me several approaches to overcome this blockade and remember what lead to these poems. And my last thought was: Whew, glad I survived <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/delight.gif" alt="" /> - I still think literature dealing with this can help teenies, so they don't feel so alone anymore. And it can help adults to be a bit more patient with an angsting teenager. As we survived this turbulent period, we might be able to transport this to a teenie then, who believes his inner state will never change.

What I really find problematic, is something I read in a lot of (German) teenie novels => too many probs in one book. Example => pregnancy, drugs, criminal boyfriend in the Skinhead scene, divorcing parents, eating disorder, dying pet dog, loneliness etc. All crammed together on 200 pages. I recall, I laughed my head off and tried to guess what would come next. But I read this as an adult, not as a teenie.

So, to bring this post back to the topic of writing => a consistent plot, concentrating on a few major quests/problems/tasks is better than to write a catastrophy book.

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Sorry! I told you, you'd have to be morbidly curious to look, and fairly masochistic to continue reading. *sinister grin* I have no tolerance for angst-ridden teenagers, though, and when disasters of this kind happen, I have to physically refrain myself from giving the teen a slap to the head. (Sitting back and laughing is, on the whole, more productive.) But really, if you don't want criticism, you shouldn't ask for it.

Of course, there was a similar case where the author was not a teenager at all, but a twenty-something-years-old woman... but I'm sure you don't want to fry more of your braincells and neurons.


WF, I don't know how much of a masochist I am but I do think that my voyeur gene was working on overtime. It's the same thing that causes many of us to gaze upon a car wreck. That rubber-neck reflex where we feel a morbid necessity to gawk at the mess. I have no idea why this fascinates me - it just does. However, thanks for posting the links. I can't say I'm a better person because of it, but it was a great look into 'what not to do." <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/winkwink.gif" alt="" />

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so should i build my house to please only myself or should i have the audience in mind?


ROFL - oh, Jangut - good question. (still laughing) I think you should consult a feng shui artisan, though. Probably would work best since I wouldn't want a group of people criticizing the way I construct a house. Imagine if you installed a window in the wrong place. Oy! What a mess.

@ Glance, Elliot and Kiya gave you the best description of the word 'angst'. And I suspect it is a term derived from Freudian psychology.

@@Jurak: Tell Alrik we said hello and we miss him. His thread is alive and flourishing. Oh, and also tell him we're behaving ourselves. (Except for Lews... <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/shhh.gif" alt="" />) <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/ROFL.gif" alt="" />

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Doris Lessing. She wrote a book under a pseudonym: The diary of Jane Somers. It was rejected - then a publisher finally published this book. When I read it, the author Jane Somers was unknown to me - I thought: Hey, that's the Doris Lessing style! Years after that, she admited and said, she wanted to prove the fact that publishers don't read the plot but go for names. It was a brilliant slap.
Kiya


Kiya - I was not aware she wrote under another name and it serves those publishers right! LOL That was a nice slap in the face for them. Many authors write under pen names -- even a few of my friends whose work is well-known in their circle sometimes venture into another genre. Their publishers actually have asked them to write under another name so their readers don't get flummoxed when during the crossover. Shows how much faith publishers have in their audience. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/ouch.gif" alt="" />



Faralas <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/mage.gif" alt="" />


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Kiya said:

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WF, about "angst" => this is something a lot of teenagers go through during adolescence, it's "normal", now explained in biological psychology due to hormones running wild and affecting brains and emotions. Part of the painful path in finding your own personality, your way to adulthood. I often wondered why adults seem to shun literature dealing with this period. Maybe because it is too painful to remember what happened inside them as well? Or maybe because they are ashamed to be reminded of this?


Ah, I went through that period early and quite quickly. For me, it wasn't so much painful as silly. The degree of importance many teens will place on themselves and their petty, illusory concerns is quite astounding. Thus, I have no patience for any literature dealing with them and therefore stay far, far away from them.

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Faralas:
Their publishers actually have asked them to write under another name so their readers don't get flummoxed when during the crossover. Shows how much faith publishers have in their audience


Yes, it's really sad => authors are forced to stick to their genre instead of using a well-known name to introduce their audience into a new genre. Publishers don't see the chance.

Though some authors do this on purpose, to seperate their genres => Eleanor Alice Burford Hibbert wrote under 3 pseudonyms: Victoria Holt, Jean Plaidy, Philippa Carr.
Even Stephen King did that - he wanted to go away from the horror genre and write a plain fantasy novel: Richard Bachman. Wonder, why he decided to lift his anonymity later on and publish the book under his real name again. Maybe a "testing balloon"?
Ruth Rendell => Barbara Vine
Agatha Christie => Mary Westmacott, writing romance novels. Wish, I knew why she did that. Fearing an angry audience?

I think, it's dreadful, if an author is forced to do that - it's ok, if she/he wants to be free of the imago she/he has created.
Kiya

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<img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/offtopic.gif" alt="" /> totally! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/biggrin.gif" alt="" />

maybe u can open a thread on house-building so i can learn more about it.

so should i build my house to please only myself or should i have the audience in mind? <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/silly.gif" alt="" />


I love that comment! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/biggrin.gif" alt="" /> Such a clever way to pull it back to the topic.

I like your idea of a building thread too. Apart from anything else I'd very much like to hear about your house too, and see some pics if possible.

I'm not sure if I can teach anything useful, but it's a process that lots of people seem to find interesting. I think there's still a bit of nest building instinct in most of us. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> It will take me a day or two to select and upload a few pictures of the process, and compile a bit of waffle, but it is something I've been meaning to do for a while.

BACK ON TOPIC....

The business of writers having multiple pen names is an interesting one. As Kiya points out there are many instances. One of the ironies faced by people who strive to be successful is that once they achieve the fame they often discover how precious their anonymity was, now they've lost it.

Having other names is in some ways a chance to get your freedoms back. The freedom to try new things, the freedom not have have reader expectations to live up to, the freedom to try a different voice, and even the freedom to fail by the standards usually expected of you (even by yourself).

On a couple of occasions I've ended up with two names on the same forum (usually because I'd forgotten the original name and/or password and registered another, only to rediscover the first one). Well, it was enormous fun. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/biggrin.gif" alt="" /> I could jump in and support myself, stage fights with myself, ridicule myself or simply try out two different viewpoints that I was trying to choose between.

This is not quite the same thing of course, but it was certainly very liberating to be able to switch away from my usual self and post in a very different style. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

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In relation to audience, a thought crossed my mind, to which some consideration may be given in this context. It is the question "How much knowledge can I expect my audience to have?"

An example crossing my mind is Piers Anthony's series of "The Incarnations Of Immortality" - good and easy reading, if (!) you have a relatively clear understanding and knowledge of mythology (in this particular instance the graeco/roman -> christian thread). Or James P. Hogan's "Thrice Upon A Time" - lost me to some extent on the path of teoretical physics.

We have discussed before the need of researching, especially if the story is in a real or otherwise "given" (e.g. historical) context. But obviously one must find a balance between describing everything required to understand the context respectively the story, and not boring the reader with "common knowledge". But then again - what can you safely assume an average reader to know, and how do you determine that? Or don't you?


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But then again - what can you safely assume an average reader to know, and how do you determine that?


That's difficult if your story will be translated into several languages. What a European might know, might be totally unknown to a person in another continent.

One way might be to write foot notes - the other is to write a glossary, but both procedures have advantages/disadvantages. What about this: if you use a term you suspect someone might not know - why not include a small explanation via dialogue between 2 chars? And not the whole story, but the part you want to include into your story?

And another way ist this => give your story to another person and ask, if she/he knows what you are talking about. As for translations => maybe a short glossary might be appropriate then.

example =>
My favourite Australian fantasy youth book author is Margaret Mahy. She used Aborigine mythology and involved modern day kids into this world (a bit like Alan Garner). As my knowledge was very rudimentary in this case, I started to read these legends and found a totally new fascinating world of legends, gods and other creatures. So, her books opened a new world for me. But I don't know if I'm an average reader. I like to find out stuff - maybe a reader would just like to be entertained. In any case - she explained the part, where she put in a mythological creature very well. Her heroine simply memorised this.

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Yes Kiya, but you are already thinking towards solution - but how do you become aware of the problem? Your point of other cultural backgrounds is valid, and in addition to the general problem.

My consideration is, writers will (hopefully) have thought about their context, and be knowledgeable to an extent that could well exceed general knowledge. And this is where I see the danger lie.


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Glance:
but how do you become aware of the problem?


By giving your story to another person and asking if she/he knows what you are talking about. The point is this, Glance => does the reader need to know the background of the terms you used? Or can she/he follow the story without this knowledge? What would be lost if not?
I've been following "on the road again" - you all used Nordic mythological knowledge as a background. Do you think, a reader without this knowledge could follow your group story?

Edit: Sorry, the typo devil is in my room today

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Yes Kiya, but you are already thinking towards solution - but how do you become aware of the problem? Your point of other cultural backgrounds is valid, and in addition to the general problem.

My consideration is, writers will (hopefully) have thought about their context, and be knowledgeable to an extent that could well exceed general knowledge. And this is where I see the danger lie.


You will find your answers in the demographics of your specific genre. And, if you want to learn how to find the demographics of your genre or what you think the genre of your story fits into, check into publishers websites. I use Writer's Market to find this information. Or, you could use a search engine. I typed in "demographics+readers+mysteries" into Google and found this particular site:

BookBrowse

You might want to check out Publisher's Weekly. They have a section called "Industry Resources" that I've found quite useful. And other places you can find information on demographics is, of course, market research firms like Gallup

The best place to start hunting down this information (from my experience) is at Writer's Digest. They have a whole site devoted to this type of information. You have to pay for it - minimum amount is $2.99 a month: Writer's Market.com

If you're not sure what genre your story falls into, you might want to join an online writer's group, post a portion of it and ask for feedback. I've done that before with great success.

I hope some of this is helpful!


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In relation to audience, a thought crossed my mind, to which some consideration may be given in this context. It is the question "How much knowledge can I expect my audience to have?"

An example crossing my mind is Piers Anthony's series of "The Incarnations Of Immortality" - good and easy reading, if (!) you have a relatively clear understanding and knowledge of mythology (in this particular instance the graeco/roman -> christian thread). Or James P. Hogan's "Thrice Upon A Time" - lost me to some extent on the path of teoretical physics.

We have discussed before the need of researching, especially if the story is in a real or otherwise "given" (e.g. historical) context. But obviously one must find a balance between describing everything required to understand the context respectively the story, and not boring the reader with "common knowledge". But then again - what can you safely assume an average reader to know, and how do you determine that? Or don't you?


Excellent question, Glance and one that's crossed my mind numerous times. I go with the assumption that my audience is much wiser than I am. That forces me to make sure my research is on target and that I know my subject matter as best I can. It also forces me to read as many books as I can get my hand on in a specific genre to see how other authors approach a specific theme, plot or circumstance. If I'm building a new fantasy world (which I am at the moment), I try to find as many authors whose work is similar to my theme, writing style or storyline. The same goes for historical novels, science fiction and even mainstream. At the moment, I'm mired down in Tolkien's books on his creation of Middle Earth. Lots of fun and excellent source. I've also invested in some software to help me design maps - the cartographer in me has come to life. *g*

I have a lot of "how to" books in my library which includes everything from gardening (which I'm not really good at) to police procedural (which I've never done). I even have books on 'how to poison someone' (lol), 'how to lie like a pro' and many books on slang, language, euphimisms, etc. I keep these on hand for developing characters, their hobbies, careers, lifestyles, friends, etc. I've also got many books on human behavior, poetry, how to write poetry, medieval times, mythology, fairytales, religions and spirituality (my library is huge and takes up most of the space in my tiny apartment). So, if my characters have any of the above interests, I'm able to immerse myself into their realm and learn as much as I can about any given subject. With the advent of the Internet, I have more resources at my finger tips.

Writing a story for public consumption is not an easy task. Ask any of the folks here who write at fanfic sites. Your audience will call you on any tiny mistake or deviation from the expected character or plotline. Even in the world of fantasy and scifi (a/k/a as "speculative fiction"). The unbelieveable has to be believed. Otherwise, the whole point is lost.

It sounds to me like you're a tiny bit overwhelmed, Glance. And if that's the case, join the crowd. Developing your own audience is quite different (and much harder) than writing for an existing audience. I have a friend who writes mysteries. Her 3rd in a series was recently published. She's now working on the 6th (I believe). It took her 9 years to get to the point where she is now. First-book publications are not the norm (even though they seem to be). It takes time to learn what type of writing you're best at, to develop your own voice and even more to find an audience. That's why I suggest joining an online writer's group. I also think having what I call a "crit buddy" is an excellent idea. Find someone whose writing style is similar to your own and someone who's a fan of your genre. And try not to have friends or family be that critic. Find someone who is involved in the world of writing. Have them go over your stories and reciprocate, as well.

I'm glad you asked this question. In fact, you've asked some very pertinent questions and I think we've all benefitted from the pooled knowledge in this forum. Thanks!


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Kris said:

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Having other names is in some ways a chance to get your freedoms back. The freedom to try new things, the freedom not have have reader expectations to live up to, the freedom to try a different voice, and even the freedom to fail by the standards usually expected of you (even by yourself).


Excellent observations, Kris - and impressive, too! Taking on a pen name can be liberating for the well-known author who wants to try something new. Readers can be fickle. After all, you've invited them into your world of characters and they develop a certain level of expectations. To deviate from those expectations is, at times, a gamble and one publishers aren't willing to risk -- especially in today's high-priced print publishers.

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On a couple of occasions I've ended up with two names on the same forum (usually because I'd forgotten the original name and/or password and registered another, only to rediscover the first one). Well, it was enormous fun. I could jump in and support myself, stage fights with myself, ridicule myself or simply try out two different viewpoints that I was trying to choose between.


LOL - I've done the same thing. I have joined a fewsites and quickly forgot the name or password only to become comfortable with a new nickname. I've created some pretty amusing dramas all by myself. But in the end, I eventually let the forum members know it was me all along. I dislike playing with people's trust - even on the internet. My 'guilt' gene is enormous and always over active. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />


Faralas <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/mage.gif" alt="" />

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HEY! I'm a teenager, and most of that is fecking boring in a book, to be frank. Some colleges/schools are ok, but like Hogwarts.......er, yeah. 'nuff said.

So you can't be too biased on age groups.

Hallo . . . But yes, you can't be to subjective because of the age . . . Did I mean to say all this or is it another loss of sleep again?

Roight. Well, just don't be biased IMHO.


Lews...

As Winterfox said (Thanks, Winterfox <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />) those age categories are general notes on the usual age markets for novels, not specifics aimed at every single individual reader - which would not be possible! I myself was reading books from the adult section of my local library at age 12 and never, ever read any 'teen' fiction, even when I was a teen.

So I know as well as you that individuals do not fit neatly into categories <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />


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Oh, and also tell him we're behaving ourselves. (Except for Lews... )
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Ahh, thanks. Sometimes people just get stereotyped because of their age, its annoying.



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In relation to audience, a thought crossed my mind, to which some consideration may be given in this context. It is the question "How much knowledge can I expect my audience to have?"


Glance...

This is an excellent question.

As a general rule, I would say it does depend on your target audience. Certainly I would expect an adult not to have to be told what a dragon was, for example, or anything else that might easily fall under the heading of common knowledge.

Anything more obscure, I tend to explain as I go. We all tend to develop areas of specialist knowledge, and it is very easy for us to assume that our readers know things we consider 'simple' - but it is certainly not always the case. I remember having to rewrite a scene or two myself in order to explain things properly when nearly every one of my readers asked me what the heck happened and why! This is not a mistake I care to repeat, I assure you <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/biggrin.gif" alt="" />

Most readers read a story to be entertained, and nothing more. If you delve deeply into realms of specialist knowledge with no attempt at explaining anything, you will lose a mainstream audience very quickly.

So my rule is always to explain anything that the reader must understand if they are to follow the plot and enjoy the story. That way, they will understand what is going on, even if I have slipped up and given them insoluble riddles on the minor stuff <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

Hope this helps <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />


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