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Thread: Clawing my eyes out


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Permlink Replies: 16 - Pages: 2 [ 1 2 | Next ] - Last Post: Jan 3, 2018 4:12 PM Last Post By: Maggie Spence
Brad the wronger

Posts: 331
Registered: 07/13/17
Clawing my eyes out
Posted: Jan 2, 2018 10:44 AM
 
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I see the Kindle Scout program has dedicated an entire section to NaNoWriMo novels. I'm so happy. An entire section dedicated to novels written in a hurry, with little editing or proofreading, and all that wonderful first person POV. Looking through the offerings, I found one with seven 'I's in the first paragraph. Others had POV shifts within one sentence, military medical fiction written by someone never in the military nor having medical experience, and another starts with intensive care drama written by someone who has apparently never taken care of ICU patients. (One poor unfortunate character had two endotracheal tubes in his throat at the same time and died anyway.) Missing commas, semi-colons where they have no use, and sentences that go on and on and on and on and on and on.

At least they're all concentrated in one place.
Moshe Ben-Or

Posts: 579
Registered: 12/28/15
Re: Clawing my eyes out
Posted: Jan 2, 2018 11:47 AM   in response to: Brad the wronger in response to: Brad the wronger
 
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At least they're all concentrated in one place.

A place you now know to avoid like the plague. Which may be the whole point.

I have often wished for a division between serious literature and fluff within the Zon. YL was supposed to be the fluff section, but, alas, that is not how it has turned out. Sadly, we will just have to wait for AI to get better. Some day, we will have reliable division between the popular mass-market garbage and things worth reading. Alas, that day remains far in the future.
Emily Veinglory

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Registered: 04/25/13
Re: Clawing my eyes out
Posted: Jan 2, 2018 2:14 PM   in response to: Brad the wronger in response to: Brad the wronger
 
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One of my novels is a NaNo, but it is not different from they others in any other way. Drawing an inference of poor quality from a book being nano is no different to assuming the same of all indie books.
Brad the wronger

Posts: 331
Registered: 07/13/17
Re: Clawing my eyes out
Posted: Jan 2, 2018 5:26 PM   in response to: Emily Veinglory in response to: Emily Veinglory
 
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I drew my inference of poor quality from reading the blurbs and the excerpts from the books. Did you look at any of the offerings at Scout? But in fact, I nominated one, because I thought I might like it.

If you think I'm passing judgment over those books, you better believe I am. That's the point of Scout, for Amazon customers to pass judgment over books. Exactly the same as buying (or not) books because of how they look in sales pages, and by leaving good, bad, or no reviews. It's all subjective judgment on the part of a customer. By being a customer, I have the right to be judgmental over the products I have to choose from. If I judge that a book at Scout looks good, I nominate it. If it looks bad, I ignore it. The same goes with buying books, reading books, and reviewing books. By coming here and discussing the idea of books leftover from Nano, I've been kind. If those authors are members of this forum, they get the message in private by reading about it here. By leaving only positive reviews at Amazon for the books I've bought, I've been kind, not just to those authors, but also to the authors of the books I didn't like.

The idea that we can all write 50K words in a month, and then edit and proofread, format and create a cover, turning that original manuscript into a quality product by the middle of December, is rather absurd. That's proven just by simply looking at the books in the Nano section at Scout. Granted, some people can write that well in that short of time, but very few.

In my opinion, NaNoWriMo is doing more harm than good by implying a book is done at the end of the month. Many just don't realize all they have is a rough draft that still needs work. But if they hit that 50K mark, they're labeled winners. They can even get a T-shirt.
Emily Veinglory

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Registered: 04/25/13
Re: Clawing my eyes out
Posted: Jan 2, 2018 5:35 PM   in response to: Brad the wronger in response to: Brad the wronger
 
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If you mean they are all from this season I can see the point. My NaNo was not released until a good year after I finished it. Editing it was a bitch.
William C. Leger

Posts: 180
Registered: 01/10/16
Re: Clawing my eyes out
Posted: Jan 2, 2018 6:08 PM   in response to: Emily Veinglory in response to: Emily Veinglory
 
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For those of us less aware: what does NaNo etc mean and what is it exactly.
Brad the wronger

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Registered: 07/13/17
Re: Clawing my eyes out
Posted: Jan 2, 2018 6:19 PM   in response to: William C. Leger in response to: William C. Leger
 
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NaNoWriMo.
National Novel Writing Month, held every November. The point is to write 50K words during November, and worry about quality later. If you accomplish that, you are considered a winner. Sort of a soft competition.
It's good in that it encourages people to write, creating something of a buzz. What it doesn't do is encourage people to finish the process of writing the novel. It's all about hitting that 50K mark, not quality. Originally, it had nothing to do with Amazon or KDP, but apparently it has been adopted through the Scout program, ostensibly to get more books into the rank and file of stuff for sale at Amazon.

Kindle Scout is a program in which we can put a book before publication, in an effort to catch a publication deal from one of Amazon's imprints. They call it 'reader-powered', in which Amazon customers can nominate a book during a 30 day period. If it gets enough nominations, Amazon imprint editors will take a look and decide if they want to pick it up. If not, the author can still publish it independently.
Brad the wronger

Posts: 331
Registered: 07/13/17
Re: Clawing my eyes out
Posted: Jan 2, 2018 6:50 PM   in response to: Emily Veinglory in response to: Emily Veinglory
 
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I guess I'm disappointed with it because the Scout guidelines indicate they're looking for quality:

Provide high-quality content: We believe in creating an excellent customer experience. You can increase the likelihood of selection by adhering closely to our Eligibility & Content Guidelines and by submitting a fully finished, professionally copyedited manuscript. We recommend following The Chicago Manual of Style. Poorly formatted books and those with misleading titles, cover art, or descriptions will not be made eligible to readers for nominations. We reserve the right to determine whether a submission provides a poor reader experience.

There are 54 books in the Nano section of Scout right now. It doesn't take much effort to see too many simple errors and typos in quite a few of them. Others had fairly simple scene errors that would've been discovered with basic fact checking. In my experience, if it takes me a month to write a short, it takes another month to edit and proofread, and another month to wait for my proofreader to get to it, while I'm pulling my hair out over cover art. The same goes for a longer story, that takes three or six months. I'm one of those people who can see all sorts of typos or whatever in someone else's writing, but miss much of my own. As many times as I go through the dang thing, I know I've missed dopey stuff that will annoy readers.

I'm rambling now, but with several of those books I saw at Scout today, it was obvious they hadn't been proofread for basic typos. Simply put, they were rough drafts.
B.L. Alley

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Registered: 06/14/14
Re: Clawing my eyes out
Posted: Jan 2, 2018 6:58 PM   in response to: Brad the wronger in response to: Brad the wronger
 
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I never had any desire to participate in NaNoWriMo, even when I was poised to start a novel around that time. I knew the quality would suffer, and it seems like a bad idea to reward people for writing poorly.
C. Gold

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Registered: 02/17/15
Re: Clawing my eyes out
Posted: Jan 3, 2018 1:02 AM   in response to: B.L. Alley in response to: B.L. Alley
 
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I used November to flesh out the elements that will make up my book 2. There's no way I can write that fast because I mull everything over in my head and let stuff percolate. I also would rather keep doing my one chapter at a time editing and have a super clean first draft than some hideous mess that would be far more stressful work for me than taking my time as I go would be. But different strokes for different folks.
writerbn

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Registered: 05/12/12
Re: Clawing my eyes out
Posted: Jan 3, 2018 4:54 AM   in response to: Brad the wronger in response to: Brad the wronger
 
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Brad the wronger wrote:
I'm rambling now, but with several of those books I saw at Scout today, it was obvious they hadn't been proofread for basic typos. Simply put, they were rough drafts.
I got back into writing many years ago, because a friend challenged me to try NaNoWriMo. A decade later, my NaNo "novel" is still gathering electronic dust on my disk, because it was garbage. It would need a complete rewrite to make it worthwhile, and I haven't had time to do that so far. However, the process did help me learn to write faster, which is a useful skill for anyone to have in self-publishing. More importantly, the local meetups were fun. I enjoyed hanging out with other writers at coffee shops and libraries around the city.

I view NaNo drafts as extremely rough drafts; they should never be published as they are. My second NaNo attempt led to a successful published book, but it took almost a year of rewriting and editing to do so.

However, I suspect that Kindle Scout would have its share of poorly written books even without a NaNo section.
Brad the wronger

Posts: 331
Registered: 07/13/17
Re: Clawing my eyes out
Posted: Jan 3, 2018 8:35 AM   in response to: writerbn in response to: writerbn
 
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That's one of the good things about Nano, about writers being focused on the books and finding ways to carve out time to write during busy schedules. It's a fun thing to do, and like you said, writers are able to meet other writers.

Well, I'm taking a day off. Bowls is supposed to be 2-3 and this old man is taking his kid's mini-tanker to surf a few sets, and hopefully not snap a hip in the process.
uncle1282

Posts: 1,338
Registered: 12/20/10
Re: Clawing my eyes out
Posted: Jan 3, 2018 9:26 AM   in response to: Brad the wronger in response to: Brad the wronger
 
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Nano wasn't established to launch publishable novels. It was but a way for writers to lay down words under a deadline, much like journalists have to do. I've never liked the concept save for those few poor souls who like to be sheep.
Moshe Ben-Or

Posts: 579
Registered: 12/28/15
Re: Clawing my eyes out
Posted: Jan 3, 2018 9:43 AM   in response to: Brad the wronger in response to: Brad the wronger
 
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I would never participate in Nano. Forcing it just makes for terrible quality. As it is, for every page that ends up in the final version, six pages end up on the cutting room floor. Have I written 5-6K words in a sitting? Sure, and it was awesome. But there are also times when I spend a whole day rewriting a single sentence over and over again, times when I take an old scene and completely rewrite it, times when I put down the current book to write things that will go into a distant sequel, or into a completely different book series altogether. Sometimes I spend hours and days working out the minute details of the world the characters live in. If it is to be real, it has to be detailed. It takes a separate effort to verify the timeline and consistency of detail across scenes.

Editing is 90% of writing. Every single sentence of those ~200K words has to be reviewed a good dozen times, before it is worth publishing.

The muse is fickle. She is not to be rushed. It will be finished when it is finished.
Patrick A. Smith

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Registered: 04/27/13
Re: Clawing my eyes out
Posted: Jan 3, 2018 9:50 AM   in response to: C. Gold in response to: C. Gold
 
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C. Gold wrote:
I used November to flesh out the elements that will make up my book 2. There's no way I can write that fast because I mull everything over in my head and let stuff percolate. I also would rather keep doing my one chapter at a time editing and have a super clean first draft than some hideous mess that would be far more stressful work for me than taking my time as I go would be. But different strokes for different folks.

Thank you very much!

I'm usually a pantster but have been thinking about perfecting one chapter at a time. One thing that has kept me from doing that is wanting to write fast. But as you said, having to edit a whole novel at once is a hideous mess!

While I realize that there will be times I may have to go back to previous chapters and make changes, at least they will be precise and i don't have to read the entire chapter!
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