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Tony Grist

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Who Is This Guy? [Oct. 5th, 2004|09:45 am]
Tony Grist
Richard and Judy (The British Oprah) are running a competition for unpublished novelists. I've already sent them Devilkins (my latest).

But the rules say nothing about multiple submissions so I thought I'd also send them Saxon River (which I wrote a couple of years back.) But, oh dear- who is this guy who wrote this stuff? It's so arch, so clumsy, So naive!

Do I want to try and rewrite it, or do I just drop it back into the bottom drawer?

Two years ago this was the story I desperately wanted to tell and now I can't see why.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2004-10-05 11:59 am (UTC)
Do I want to try and rewrite it, or do I just drop it back into the bottom drawer?

I hope you will look at it dispassionately (good luck with that!), patch it if needed, and keep it alive if it's viable. I can't imagine that something you wrote would need to die of dust in a bottom drawer.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-10-05 12:09 pm (UTC)
That's kind of you.

I've been reviewing it and have started to do some rewriting. I can't believe the wodges of back-story and description I've got crammed into the first couple of chapters. Bor-ing. The whole things need to be thoroughly aerated.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2004-10-05 12:20 pm (UTC)
Aerate away--maybe it's two novels (the backstories could have their own novel!)

I finally finished (and sent off to a thousand-dollar-prize contest, fat chance I'll win, but I won't win if I don't enter) a science fiction story about a psychic who reads for a murderer. When I reread it the other night I was embarrassed for myself. I couldn't get past the third page.

Still, parts are pretty good! Probably not good enough for a thousand dollars, but one can dream.

Now I plan to write about what I know best: my wretched youth. God knows, I have lots of material.

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-10-05 12:27 pm (UTC)
No, there aren't two novels there. The thing is barely novel length as it is. I'm going to have to add other material to replace the stuff I'm cutting.

I'd be interested to read the sci-fi story. Would that be possible?
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2004-10-05 12:49 pm (UTC)
I could send it to you as an attachment, I suppose, but you would then have to say something nice about it--no, you wouldn't--after all, I must get tough about this.

After all, editors will be sending me back stuff by return mail for the rest of my life.

The finished product ("Contact") is in the other room, in my daughter's computer (she has the laser printer).

If you want to send me your email address to jackie@randomly.com, I will send it along. Be tolerant as you read, because it's my first attempt at fiction since I was sixteen years old (when I wrote a novel fragment about the school janitor). (I have spent far too much time pondering myself in essays, without learning anything about myself except that I am fascinating--to myself.)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-10-05 01:04 pm (UTC)
The address is lostcow95@ntlworld.com

Look, you're a good writer. No doubt about it. I love your "ponderings". And now I want to read more...:)
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2004-10-05 01:28 pm (UTC)
Whoops. I just took a stab at the three emails your LJ offered and picked @lj.com. If it doesn't come through, let me know, and I'll send again.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2004-10-05 12:51 pm (UTC)
Do you have Microsoft Word?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-10-05 12:58 pm (UTC)
Yes, I do.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2004-10-05 01:04 pm (UTC)
We have excellent virus protection on both computers, so I can send it to you safely. Hope you don't cringe too much when you read it, but that's okay--so did I.



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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-10-05 01:06 pm (UTC)
That's great. We have protection too. McAfee!
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2004-10-05 01:53 pm (UTC)
Did it come through? I sent it about 15 minutes ago.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-10-05 02:07 pm (UTC)
Yup, and I've read it. I've sent a response by email- but I'll post it here as well- just to be sure.

I like it. Right at the end where the son comes back in I got a little prickling of the scalp. So he loves his mother really.

And he has inherited her gift.

I like Mme Raya's voice. The prissiness, the over-sweetness. She's a dear old duck but you understand why her son might find her a trial.

The one thing I wanted more of was the murderer. I guess I wanted to hear in more detail about him and Alice and why he killed her. Also the longer he raves the more we're kept in suspense.

But it's a super story.
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[User Picture]From: arielstarshadow
2004-10-05 02:55 pm (UTC)

Dusting things off

I've seen some very good writers talk about finally realizing a novel was not salvageable and pitching it or burning it, including Holly Lisle. But I'm not so sure. I guess I could imagine something being so terrible, you might only find a glimmer or two - but then, one would hope you'd take those glimmers and polish them, remake them into something new.

As for why you can no longer see why (ugh, that's terrible wording) it was the story you wanted to tell, it may be that you have now moved past that point in your life that is reflected in the novel. That's not a bad thing at alll it simply means you're ready to tell different stories.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-10-05 03:13 pm (UTC)

Re: Dusting things off

Even so, it's almost frightening how little I seem to have in common with the guy who wrote this book.

I've burned novels in the past. They were very, very bad. This one I'll salvage. If only because I'm fond of some of the people in it.

I'm going through it slashing and burning. But I can't just do that or I'll reduce it to short story length. At some stage I'm going to have to feel my way back into it and write new material- and that could be hard.
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