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Pop-Up Submissions with Special Guest Daisy Waugh

AgentPete

Capo Famiglia
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Featured on today's Pop-Ups...

"Blue Shift" - science fiction from Dan Payne;
"The Executioner" - historical-fiction from Adam Alexander;
"War of Redemption: Awakening Warriors" - fantasy from Abigail Hall;
"The South Tower" - alternative history thriller from Alistair McKechnie;
"The Society of Old Souls" - thriller from Raven Taylor.

Emily Rainsford's book recommendation is "The Skylarks War" by Hilary McKay.

Daisy Waugh's book recommendation is "Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold" by Stephen Fry. Daisy’s new book is In the Crypt with a Candlestick, a country house murder mystery in the tradition of two great but very different British writers, Agatha Christie and P.G. Wodehouse.

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AgentPete

Capo Famiglia
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May 19, 2014
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Congrats @Dan Payne - well done.
@AgentPete - maybe the 'shred it' option could become 'Page One Rewrite' because everyone who uses it always says to start again from the premise (and it might not sound or feel quite so harsh ...).
OK, that makes sense. But "Page One Rewrite" isn't as sexy as "Shred It!", plus it needs a strong visual metaphor to flash on screen, can you develop pls...?
 

Dean Baxter

Full Member
Oct 25, 2019
118
254
Cornwall, England.
It's easy for me to say because my submission was well received on the show, but all the categories are there for a reason. In fact, I think we are treated rather kindly, and get only a taste of what agents and publishers do with our work. @AgentPete and the guests are always pretty generous with their advice. I do agree, however, that start-over or something along those lines might be encouraging. I suppose we don't want people to give up writing altogether because they submitted something before it was ready. When I re-read my first MS it makes me cringe, as it was so naively written. The story and the characters were good, and my Muggle (non-writing) friends and family still belligerently insist it is the best thing I've written. I will get round to re-writing one day, but it needs a complete tear-down and re-write. Pop-ups would rip it to shreds! x
 

Dean Baxter

Full Member
Oct 25, 2019
118
254
Cornwall, England.
Yes, and really MEAN it.
Maybe perch the shredder on top of a manure heap, if they have been extra pompous and condescending in their blurb.
It happens only rarely, but it has happened.
There have been odd ones who said things like: 'Don't miss out on this one!', and 'This book will sell because...' I think their hearts were in the right place, but there's a fine line between confidence and arrogance. And let's not forget the guy who said he'd already had an offer (from a swindling vanity publisher) but he'd decide to turn it down. @AgentPete was maaaaad!
 

CageSage

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Feb 11, 2019
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@N J Sturgess - Maybe rubber isn't quite the right word (more than one connotation in an int'l audience); I rather prefer the idea of a puny wretch attempting to tear a phone book in half. My early mss were about that weight (do people remember phone books? or is that an anachronism now?) ... some people may prefer the hulk and the actual ripping of flesh --- um, paper, that is --- but I like the act to be an almost impossible task, a few tears (including the type that burn from ducts in the eye), and then toss it all up into the air and ... the frustration is released from an act that's a physical representation of letting it all go. How long does it take to go back in there, get down on hands and knees, pick it all up, pack it all up, slip it into a box that hides under the stairs, and wait for the characters to scream into the dreams?

In the screenwriting business, they use the words 'page-one rewrite' to mean that although the idea is good, the execution isn't up to par. Toss it, they say, and bring in new writers. As a book-writer, I prefer to think of it as bringing a new mindset to the original idea (or getting one or two of the characters to tell me how it really is, and giving in to what they want).

@Dean Baxter - I agree; I think we get more than a fair go here, and as an ex-slush pile reader, I've seen how mss are treated when they don't fit the criteria (whatever it is at the time). However, I've also seen so many people give up on writing after the first smack down/critical feedback. I hate it when people give up. A good storyteller can come from anywhere, but only if they keep writing and learning and getting feedback. It's a long, hard road, with many obstacles and no signage, so one little ray of hope may be all it takes to keep a storyteller's dream alive.
 

Dean Baxter

Full Member
Oct 25, 2019
118
254
Cornwall, England.
@N J Sturgess - Maybe rubber isn't quite the right word (more than one connotation in an int'l audience); I rather prefer the idea of a puny wretch attempting to tear a phone book in half. My early mss were about that weight (do people remember phone books? or is that an anachronism now?) ... some people may prefer the hulk and the actual ripping of flesh --- um, paper, that is --- but I like the act to be an almost impossible task, a few tears (including the type that burn from ducts in the eye), and then toss it all up into the air and ... the frustration is released from an act that's a physical representation of letting it all go. How long does it take to go back in there, get down on hands and knees, pick it all up, pack it all up, slip it into a box that hides under the stairs, and wait for the characters to scream into the dreams?

In the screenwriting business, they use the words 'page-one rewrite' to mean that although the idea is good, the execution isn't up to par. Toss it, they say, and bring in new writers. As a book-writer, I prefer to think of it as bringing a new mindset to the original idea (or getting one or two of the characters to tell me how it really is, and giving in to what they want).

@Dean Baxter - I agree; I think we get more than a fair go here, and as an ex-slush pile reader, I've seen how mss are treated when they don't fit the criteria (whatever it is at the time). However, I've also seen so many people give up on writing after the first smack down/critical feedback. I hate it when people give up. A good storyteller can come from anywhere, but only if they keep writing and learning and getting feedback. It's a long, hard road, with many obstacles and no signage, so one little ray of hope may be all it takes to keep a storyteller's dream alive.
Exactly, and it's never personal. I think it's equally important to be mentally ready as it is to have your MS and pitch ready. I've had a few standard 'no thanks' replies from agencies, which, of course, I expected, but you need to be robust and have a thick skin. The way I see it, the odds are similar to being in a rock band; There are plenty of talented musicians out there, making better music than a lot of the stuff in the charts, but for many it won't happen and that's just down to luck, not being on trend at that particular time, or whatever. I think you can edge your bets, though, and that's where Pop-ups is really useful: giving the feedback you wouldn't usually receive. My wife is a good writer, and has done an MA. Some of her stuff is really good, but she hasn't gotten around, or had the confidence to write a full MS. I told her to just write 700 good words and submit it to Pop-ups: It's a no-brainer, and such good value!
 

Dean Baxter

Full Member
Oct 25, 2019
118
254
Cornwall, England.
Yup, mine was utterly dreadful. I think I'm on the fourth draft or something now. At some point I'll have to go back to the sequel which will be really bad.
If there's one thing I've noticed about you, it's your positive attitude. You seem to be sucking up every piece of advice and criticism, and using as it as fuel to spur you on. I applaud that.
 

AgentPete

Capo Famiglia
Staff member
Guardian
May 19, 2014
2,646
5,676
London UK
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Yes, and it's disappointing when you hear an author you've read is a heartless arrogant douchbag.
The industry is rife with gossipy stories about writers like this, who are total nightmares to deal with (but they sell books). People like… oh, I couldn’t possibly say… and then of course there’s … you know who… :)
 

RK Capps

Full Member
Feb 15, 2019
3,106
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Australia
If the industry is rife with stories of authors like this (a very sad state of affairs, but what can you do?), it could be anyone ;)
 

N J Sturgess

Full Member
Oct 24, 2019
84
99
Bromsgrove
I always say to myself that if my book ever did get popular (I'm judging that entirely on if people turn up to comicon dressed as characters...) that I'll spend some time talking with those fans.

Also like the idea of randomly signing books in a airport and putting them back on the shelf/