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Editors Aren’t Always Perfect

January 30th, 2015

writer.com-blogFirst, thanks to Colin for last Friday’s blog. You often hear people who are ‘sniffy’ about genre fiction saying it’s plot driven, whereas literary fiction (usually their preferred reading/writing matter) is character driven. It’s OK for a book or story to be character driven but if those characters don’t provide some forward movement or development (a plot?!) then the reader loses interest pretty fast.

I’m the first person to deplore the quality of many self-published books that are available online. But you’ve got to admit that there are people out there making a good living from books that will never win any literary prizes but which are fast paced, hook the reader immediately and don’t let them go till the very end. And when they get to the end, they can’t wait for the sequel.  Love them or hate them, they’re plot driven and they work!

And talking about the quality of writing – it’s not always would-be authors who are guilty of producing dreadful stuff. If you subscribe to Freelance Market News you’ll see that we often quote what editors of magazines are looking for from contributors word-for-word. I recently saw one that had been sent to the Editor by a new magazine. There was a single sentence that was 88 words long and full of pretentious rubbish. I won’t name the magazine – but I’m not sure how long they’ll stay in business.

I was looking at another that will appear in a future issue, and the editor was having a real rant about would-be contributors getting the name of the magazine right. I agree that if you’re going to submit material you should do your homework and at least get the name of the editor and the magazine title correct. But, I also got the feeling that this particular chap had got out of bed the wrong side on the morning when he was putting together the guidelines! That’s why it’s always worth putting what you’ve written to one side for few days and then re-reading it before you send it out. It helps you to be more objective.

The Winners of our Flash Fiction competition have now been announced. Congratulations to the winner, Zenna Hagger, with Killing Aunt Maud and, of course, the two runners up. I hope you’ll read their stories as they are all wonderful examples of telling terrific stories in few words.

And – ta dah! – our Limerick Competition is now open for entries. The first prize is £100 plus a Writers Bureau course of your choice. Two runners up will each receive £50 and a subscription to Freelance Market News.

When I’ve finished this I’m going out to clear the drive of snow – it might look like a winter wonderland  but it certainly makes getting out and about difficult! No grumbling, though, as it provides  great photo opportunities to keep up my New Year Resolutions.

My guest next Friday will be Nicola Taylor who started as a Writers Bureau student but,  as her credits grew, began tutoring for us. She’ll be giving you her viewpoint on ‘A Writing Life’.


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About The Author: Diana Nadin

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