Something out of nothing

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Don’t bother me unless it’s good news

If you tried to push a deal on someone whereby they got money for doing precisely nothing, they’d (quite rightly) be very suspicious. Why then, why, do writers think that it is acceptable to create a mystery around a non-event?

Let me explain using two particularly popular examples.

We’ve got a ‘whodunnit’ style of story (this could be anything where one of the main protagonists is being sought out by the other characters), and the author needs to describe the ‘Mystery Guy’ (MG henceforth) doing whatever MG does. In order to preserve the secret of MG’s identity, the author writes in the First Person (as MG) without mentioning anything identifying about themselves. Analyse this and it becomes very silly as it seemingly presumes MG doesn’t know who he or she is. Unless they have amnesia, that’s not a likely eventuality.

The answer is to either describe MG’s actions through ‘discovery’ by the other characters or to attach a name to MG in the same way as newspapers love to label serial killers or bank robbers. If it works for them, it can work for you.

The other popular application for ‘something out of nothing’ is in the writing of a twist-in-the-tail story (some people use ‘tale’, I realise). The ‘twist’ frequently turns out to be an ultimately trite ‘If only I’d known’ type of solution. Again, analysing the story only leads to dissatisfaction with the author as the twist is really not a twist, just a case of the author playing games with their readers by choosing not to reveal a blatantly obvious fact until right at the end.

These are just two of the aspects I look at when assessing the plot and story quality of a submission.

Major recruitment campaign for writers

Get the champers ready!

Monday, 28th May, 2012 sees Any Subject Books launch a major press campaign to recruit new writers. Putting together how many people there are out of work and how many natural-born storytellers there must be, it’s a no-brainer for us to say we’d love to hear from them.

We’re also looking to recruit students as writers. Don’t worry about it interefering with your studies as we’ll even accept short stories (5,000 words plus) to put together into a compilation which we can market.

If that describes you (or you have some time on your hands), don’t let the fact that you’re not a published author put you off. As you’ll see from our other pages, we’ve had our fill of rude literary agencies who can’t even be bothered to acknowledge your existence or, if they do, merely glance at your name, decide you’re no-one famous and send out a dismissive rejection letter.

Well, that’s not us.

Just think of how the cash could help. Not only that, get a book up and selling and you’ve got an income for life. You’ve seen those dubious ads that promise such things? Well, this is the real deal.

And you don’t need to be someone famous, either. We’re not chasing after the autobiography of some politician’s secretary who says they had an affair (well, there’s a shock-and-a-half) nor do you have to have climbed Everest backwards. No, you just need a cracking yarn and the ability to tell it.

So, you might ask, why bother with you and your agency’s deductions when I can publish it direct myself? Well, the answer to that is that most authors who upload a single book never make a sale. All that work for nothing or the best part, thereof. We optimize your title, your description, sample text, and, using campaigns like we’ve got running for writer recruitment and for our high-selling female-erotic author, Melissa Harding. You’ve also got the cross-promotion of all of our other books pushing yours forwards.

Could you follow in Melissa Harding’s stiletto-shaped footsteps?

One catch – you must meet our high standards for spelling and grammar.

Everyone has a story to tell. Tell us yours.