Submitted by acmfox on Mon, 11/13/2006 - 11:34pm

BogWitch64:hi elizabeth

EHardage:hello there Terri!

long time no chat!

how's your son doing?


BogWitch64:He's doing ok, still recovering, believe it or not

BogWitch64:He's in a brace now, the leg is still partially paralyzed but it'll get better, if not completely better.

acmfox:As long as he keeps making progress.


BogWitch64:He's a lot better off than this time last year!!! That's for dang sure

EHardage:Wow. I'm glad he's still improving. Long process, though.

DaveK:Anneliese, any way of getting at the joined and left the chat message not to print

BogWitch64:And, while I would NEVER wish his accident on him but I am nonetheless glad I wasn't able to attend Viable Paradise until this year.

acmfox:Dave, I'll have to work on that some other time. ... but definately, it should be eliminated.


EHardage:Terri, do you feel that you weren't ready until this year?


EHardage:Because it does sound like a pretty intense week, and intense competition just to get in.

BogWitch64:And this year, there were two additional instructors

There was a long wait list this year

I saw someone has a Jim Kelly critique??

DaveK:Good palce to start - How does one get in?

EHardage:The more critiquers the merrier, IMHO. As long as they all know what they're doing. :)   :-)   :smile:

BogWitch64:I clicked on the link while browsing last week

EHardage:And in a workshop like that I suspect they all know what they're doing.

BogWitch64:Dave, you have to apply after January first

There is a website. Google Viable Paradise, it'll come up

EHardage:One of our very short-term members posted something about a Jim Kelly crit, but I don't think his post linked to it.

EHardage:I think he was working on a Trek story or something like that.


BogWitch64:Elizabeth, if a writer gets in, he/she is assured of peers at the same writing level and the instructors are amazing

DaveK:How do they qualify the entrants?

BogWitch64:Ah, I see

BogWitch64:Jim's awesome. He won't be there next year. I am very happy and lucky that he was there this year. He was most helpful

EHardage:what Dave asked...what are they looking for?

BogWitch64:Dave, you send a submission of about 10K words

BogWitch64:Like any submission, you'll get a yes or a no

BogWitch64:But you won't find out until June!!!!

That's the killer

BogWitch64:They looking for talent

They're looking for writers who are serious about writing

That doesn't mean you have to be putting out publishable stuff

BogWitch64:But if they see the potential for it, they'll take you

BogWitch64:One guy, I honestly couldn't tell you how he got in with what he wrote. But the story itself was brilliant

BogWitch64:But the feedback you get...from peers and instructors, is invaluable

EHardage:and they workshop your submission, right?

BogWitch64:You'll have a 'breakout' session with your peers and two instructors wherein your manuscript will be critiqued by all

BogWitch64:Yes, they workshop the submission unless yousend them something different by August 15th

EHardage:sounds interesting. Did most people send novel excerpts? Novellas?

BogWitch64:You also have two scheduled one-on-one sessions with two of the instructors. You can ask for more. I did!! I had four.

Most were novel exerpts, yes

There were a few short stories

BogWitch64:It's a LOT of work during that week--but fun work. And we had a kickass party on Friday night

BogWitch64:It is a great place to make contacts, both personal and professional

EHardage:wow. The contacts would be especially useful.

acmfox:Were most attendees from the area, or from long distances?

BogWitch64:I now know four sci-fi-fantasy authors on a first name basis, two of the editors (pres and vice pres) at Tor publishing and made lots of friends who show lots of promise to also be published.

Looooooong distances

BogWitch64:We had two from London, one from Vancouver, tons fromt he west coast

Actually, there were not all that many east coasters there this time around but we did represent

acmfox:Those do sound like great contacts.

BogWitch64:Teresa Neilsen Hayden (Tor) was actually one of my one-on-one instructors

EHardage:I am chartreuse with envy.


BogWitch64::D   :-D

She asked me if I was finished with my book

When I said no she said, "This is the kind of thing we like to see come across our desks."

acmfox:Have you sent it to her yet?

BogWitch64:Can I tell you how my heart flitter-fluttered???

I will when I'm finished!!!

acmfox:(I'd probably just melt into a pool of mud.)

DaveK:Nice!!! Was it something we've seen in SFWW?

BogWitch64:Hmmm...I think so

BogWitch64:I think I submitted the first chapter waaaay back---though it has changed some since then

EHardage:that's fantastic! Was that the "game" novel you sent us the first chapter of?

BogWitch64:Annelise--they're all so amazingly nice


You remembered

EHardage:good on you!

acmfox:... and we're still waiting to read more!

BogWitch64:It was a thoroughly validating week for me

EHardage:that's terrific.

BogWitch64::D   :-D Annelise

EHardage:Any advice on trying to get in?

EHardage:The length sounds about right. My vacation time's still pretty limited. :)   :-)   :smile:

BogWitch64:I learned so much. There was not one writer there, no matter what the skill level, who did not come away having learned a great deal

It's a nice week, up there in Martha's Vineyard in October

Jim MacDonald will take you out to see the glowing jellyfish one night

And we play games--Mafia and Thing

BogWitch64:We had dinner together nightly and read shakespeare (Hamlet) with beer and pizza one night

Have you ever been on the Absolute Write site?


Just looked it up.


Check out the Uncle Jim page

EHardage:haven't been there in a while. I'll have to check it out.

BogWitch64:That's Jim MacDonald. He and his wife, Debra Doyle, have been writing together since 1988

He's a pip. Love him!

EHardage:that sounds like soooo much fun.

BogWitch64:He's a master plotter. He does the first draft, Debra does the second. He's not a polish man and she' definitely IS a polish woman!!!

Elizabeth--it is incredibly fun

I didn't want to come home!!!!

BogWitch64:and I miss everyone terribly--but we have our own room in Absolute Write. MacAlister Stone, the new grande dame of the site, was an attendee of VP this year.

BogWitch64:It's a pretty cool forum. You should check it out

EHardage:excellent! I've always wondered about collaboration. I'm probably way too anti-social, and stubborn, to do it myself. :)   :-)   :smile:

'twill have to peruse it later.

BogWitch64:Tag the VP page and watch for the call for submissions

BogWitch64:Submitting early doesn't guarentee you'll get in but it does help a bit

DaveK:What's Absolute write?

BogWitch64:if it comes down to you and someone else that submitted in April, you'll be the one they pick.

It's a writer's message board kind of thing, Dave

BogWitch64:Jim MacDonald has his own thread.

EHardage:I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for that, then, procrastinator that I am.

BogWitch64:Is anyone familiar with Steven Gould?

EHardage:Need to rewrite the first 10K words of my novel.

BogWitch64:Definitely, Elizabeth!!! You should go!!

EHardage:I've heard the name. Not terribly familiar.

BogWitch64:He wrote Jumper, Wildside, Reflex

He's sci-fi

BogWitch64:Jumper is being made into a movie for release Christmas of next year

EHardage:okay...that sounds more familiar.

BogWitch64:it was very cool to hear him talk about that

BogWitch64:It was just a really cool experience. 1.5 hours of Critique sessions daily followed by a 1.5 hour lecture and every day we got together for a 'collegium' that lasted anywhere from an hour to three hours

DaveK:Hello, am I still online?

acmfox:Yes, Dave, you are.

BogWitch64:The BEST part about being at VP was a whole week of talking writing with other writers within OUR GENRE

As you know from being in this room together, that's a huge plus

DaveK:We're getting a wind storm here. Smetimes that screws up my link


BogWitch64:I can't believe I haven't gotten tossed out of here yet

acmfox:Definately sounds like a valuable experience.

BogWitch64:It was, Annelise. I strongly encourage all of you to apply

acmfox:(We can switch back to the old chatbox... it'll toss you for blinking. :)   :-)   :smile: )

BogWitch64:The cost isn't bad considering it's a whole week

No thanks Annelise!!!

acmfox:... and the fact that it's Martha's Vinyard in October.

BogWitch64:It's definitely an investment

BogWitch64:Many attendees shared a room making it much more affordable

EHardage:MA in October. I can handle that. :)   :-)   :smile:

acmfox:How did the costs work out?

BogWitch64:The whole week, if you share a room, ends up costing about $1500 wen all was said and done

Though I can't say what the travel costs are

acmfox:Did you drive?

BogWitch64:I drove, yes

BogWitch64:The rooms are something like 125 a night--if you share that with two other people, it's substantially less

acmfox:MV can be a bit complicated to get to, but very do-able.

BogWitch64:$825 for the week of instruction, though this year was a 'big' year.

It was less last year. I'm not sure how much it will be next year.

acmfox:"big" due to extra teachers?

BogWitch64:It wasn't bad, Annelise.

Well, it was the tenth anniversary year. There was an extra day involved and yes, two extra teachers

acmfox:Nope, driving isn't bad. Flying from outside of New England adds a lot of extra travel arrangements.

BogWitch64:Cory Docktrow and James Patrick Kelly were added on. Cory says he's coming back next year

Where would you be coming from, Annelise?


BogWitch64:oh, wow!!! I forgot we're neighbors!

EHardage:Still, $825 is a bargain, considering the caliber of people they seem to invite (as both moderators and students)

BogWitch64:You're even closer than I am

It really is, Elizabeth

acmfox:Yup. We really ought to meet for coffee sometime.

BogWitch64:We should!!!

BogWitch64:oh, what I must tell you!

Patrick and Teresa Neilsen Hayden are the editors from Tor

They told us a secret

They do read absolutely EVERYTHING that comes to Tor

But 90 percent of what they get is complete crap

EHardage:Sturgeon's Law strikes again!

BogWitch64:By being at VP, we've already made it to that ten percent that gets through to them

EHardage:which gives you an "in" when you decide to submit to Tor, doesn't it?

BogWitch64:The vast majority of the people who submit manuscripts can barely compose a sentence

Elizabeth, definitely

If you can write well enough to get into VP, you can write well enough to get a look at Tor

DaveK:Did they have examples of that crap?

BogWitch64:And Tor happily reads work from unagented writers

Dave, yes they did!!

Hilarious ones, mostly

acmfox:That's good to know about Tor.

EHardage:I'm sure it was pretty painful.

BogWitch64:Teresa told us that she once rejected 26 manuscripts in 25 minutes


BogWitch64:That's how awful some are

DaveK:I never sent them that many


They really do know, within the first paragraph, if you're worth reading

DaveK:Did they mention how inportant formatting is?

BogWitch64:well, if your BOOK is worth reading

acmfox:That's almost scarey.

BogWitch64:Very important

EHardage:I'm sure they've read some stinkers. Perhaps even "Eye of Argon" stinkers.

BogWitch64:Especially electronic submissions

ALWAYS send in RTF file

Hard tabs, no italice


DaveK:They'll take e-mail submissions?

BogWitch64:The hard copy just needs to be neat, one inch margins

No italics


BogWitch64:Dave, they take email submissions if they request seeing more of the novel.

BogWitch64:Hard copy MUST have a full heading on the first page, shorter heading (name, book title) on all subsequent pages

BogWitch64:Teresa told us about one book that she LOVED but could not get in touch with the author because the contact info was on the cover letter only and that cover letter, of course, got misplaced

DaveK:Hello again, got kicked out

BogWitch64:hello again

EHardage:oh, no!

BogWitch64:She did find him, many years later and Tor did buy the book

And cover letters--short

EHardage:that makes sense.

BogWitch64:Dear so and so, Enclosed find the first three chapters of my manuscript, as stipulated in your guidelines. Thank you for your time and consideration. End of story

DaveK:Everything I read about getting a book published is that it takes years.

BogWitch64:it does, Dave

The submitting and hearing back process can take a year

Then that year's list is already made so you'll be on the following year's list

BogWitch64:the good thing about Tor is they publish 12 science fiction, 12 fantasy and 12 in their new paranormal line yearly

However, do not submit the first book in a series

If it can stand alone, fine--but don't mention there are others

No publisher will comit to more than one book for a first time author

If the first two books do well, then you can try a series. That was pounded into our heads

DaveK:I would hope that they would read it enough to figure out if it can stand alone.

BogWitch64:Dave, if you tell them it's the first in a series, you'll probably get set aside right off the bat

DaveK:In other words, if you have a series and send them the first book they should figure it out.

BogWitch64:They want 80-120K word books

EHardage:Hmmm. I'll have to find a way to make the first book stand alone. Or not wobble too badly. :)   :-)   :smile:

DaveK:What did they say about length?

BogWitch64:The book has to have a firm resolution in the end. There can be a possiblity for more and you can even have the second written (Better still if they liked the first!!) but if the story doesn't end with the first book, send them something else

BogWitch64:80-120K words, Dave

BogWitch64:Elizabeth--I'll tell you, I thought my book was a two to three booker but after workshopping it at VP, I know it can definitely stand alone AND bebetter for it

DaveK:You cut it that much?

Or you had three 50k books?

BogWitch64:That's the hard part about world building--we build these worlds that take up SO much space but in the end result is way more info than the reader needs.

Dave, yup

EHardage:That's an interesting idea, because I've known for a while now that I needed to make sure that the first and second books ended on a more definitive note.

BogWitch64:Very important, E

acmfox:I know that you can do that, Elizabeth

DaveK:Elizabeth, have you ever sent your book out?

BogWitch64:Having a second is a definitely plus--but having that first DEPEND upon that second is bad, bad, bad

BogWitch64:Even the likes of JK Rowling couldn't have sold Harry Potter as a series

EHardage:Realizing that. The tough part is figuring out how to make the first book stand on its own.

BogWitch64:If you read them, you can see that the first couple of books really can stand along. It's not until you get to the fourth that you really HAVE to read on

BogWitch64:It is hard, E. I know


BogWitch64:The way I figured it out was by way of Jim Kelly and Jim MacDonald

Before I went to VP, I knew there was something off about the book. I got down to the last few chapters and it just wasn't coming together

I'm telling you, the timing for me to head up there was PERFECT!!!

acmfox:(Another case of the universe working in mysterious ways)

EHardage:serendipitous, you could say.

BogWitch64:Jim Kelly asked me to tell me how I was going to pull off my book. He listened and asked the right questions and by the time we were done talking, I knew exactly what I needed to do

BogWitch64:And then Jim McDonald, who read only fifty pages of my four hundred fifty page manuscript, had the whole thing plotted out right down to the detail

EHardage:Man, that's impressive.

BogWitch64:Just by reading those pages!!! But having him cut through all the bogging down stuff trimmed it up significantly

And now, instead of two books, I will have one and it will be awesome!!

EHardage:That's the other thing, isn't it? Knowing what to cut.

BogWitch64::D   :-D

BogWitch64:Have you a finished draft E?

BogWitch64:Oh, and one more thing--said we know these??

DaveK:Said bookinsm ???

BogWitch64:he said, she said

EHardage:I finished the first draft. Have some ideas about how to rewrite and polish, but I haven't done much of anything on the novel lately.

DaveK:What did they say?

BogWitch64:when you use anything but said or asked, it's a 'bookism

EHardage:When I do write it's mostly short stories.

BogWitch64:That's good too, E! Submit them!

EHardage:Which is weird, because when I started, I couldn't keep a story under 6000 words to save my life.

DaveK:What did bookism say?

BogWitch64:Dave, NEVER use them

never say, he shouted, he laughed, he hissed

Said disappears

BogWitch64:go though a page of dialogue in any book you have and count how many times said is used

you don't even notice it

and NEVER attach an action to a bit of dialogue

"Go west, young man," the old man pointed. Noooo!

DaveK:I usually don't even write said. Just quote the dialog

BogWitch64:"Go west, young man." The old man pointed.

Dave, good

DaveK:Write tight, he said tersely.

EHardage:as in tags? I use a LOT of those.

BogWitch64:The 'said bookism' thing was something just about every one of us at VP had a problem with. We all got our hands smacked!

E, yes, tags

DaveK:But I do think some are needed, such as wispered.

BogWitch64:stick to said, asked, an occasionally cried. The dialogue should be doing the work, not the tags.

BogWitch64:Their biggest pet peeve was using 'hissed or laughed.'

DaveK:How do they want thoughts formatted? Italics or plain text?

BogWitch64:Ugh...those are stock favorites of mine!!!

EHardage:I can understand that. Some insanely popular fantasy novel (which I tried to read and couldn't get through) was peppered with phrases like "Sorry," he apologized.


BogWitch64:Ok, I've kept you all on long enough. Unless anyone has anything they want to ask, I'm going to shut up now.

Hahahahaa! E!!!

DaveK:How do they want thoughts formatted? Italics or plain text?

BogWitch64:According to my little box over there, I'm the only one in the room anyway!

DaveK:Ignore the little box

acmfox:(We're each in our own little room...alone!)

BogWitch64::D   :-D

DaveK:Like in - I wonder if I can make it, he thought.

EHardage:thanks for coming, Terri! Lots of good information, and I'm glad we got a chance to catch up!

BogWitch64:I hope that you all apply. You're welcome, E.

EHardage:best of luck w/your book! Sounds like you've made great progress with it.

BogWitch64:Thanks! Same to you, to all of you! Go, go, go to VP!!!

DaveK:Do let us know if it gets bought

EHardage:I plan to!

BogWitch64:Let me know when you get in. XX

EHardage:good night everybody!

acmfox:Yes, thanks so much for being here tonight. It's been wonderful.


acmfox:Nighters, everyone.

BogWitch64:Not a problem, Annelise. You too, go, go, go!!!

Night all.