Thanks for all the great questions!!! Let’s get to it!
You asked: When your first book was published, was it by a small, independent company or one of the larger, well-known ones? If a publisher rejects you, should you send the same manuscript back to them a year later, or assume that they’re not interested?
My first published book was a quiet picture book about a girl in Kenya called Ndito Runs. It was published by Henry Holt in 1996 and has been out of print for several years. (It was later translated into Xhosa, Zulu, Africaans, and Lesotho for publication in South Africa. That was very cool.) Henry Holt is one of the major publishers. My first piece of published writing for children was a short story in Highlights Magazine. That was a real thrill because I had been such a fan of the magazine as a kid.
If a publisher rejects you, then please do not send the manuscript back a year later. They are dealing with too many manuscripts as it is. Send your story somewhere else and get to work on a new one. I have plenty of manuscripts that were rejected. Why? Because they weren’t good enough to be published. I thought they were, but the publishers didn’t and that’s all that matters. It hurts, it sucks, and it’s part of being a writer. Write something new.
You asked: Does it have an effect on your work if you watch tv shows or movies? A big obstacle for me is that my characters seem to be too much like characters from my favorite tv show. (Let’s not bother guessing which one.) How do you avoid creating something that seems more like fanfiction than original work?
I don’t watch many movies or television shows (except for sports) so I’m not the best person to answer this question. Maybe you could experiment with taking two weeks off from your normal television watching and use that time for writing instead. By the end of two weeks, I bet you’ll see a difference. If you do this, let me know how it turns out.
Thanks to the LiveJournal Spotlight this week, we’ve had many more blog readers. Hail and welcome to the Forest! I hope you come back!
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I didn’t get the 10 pages I had hoped for yesterday, but I found a way to tighten up the second half of the book, so it was a day well spent. Am going back to it right now. (Feel free to keep those writing and publishing questions coming!)