Top Ten Writing Mistakes Editors See Every Day

Originally posted on Blot the Skrip and Jar It:

Goya -The sleep of reason produces monsters (c1799) recut

In addition to writing and teaching, one of the things I do for a living is to evaluate manuscripts for their suitability for publication. I read fiction (and non-fiction) across several genres, and write comprehensive reports on the books. I try always to guide the author towards knocking his or her project into a shape that could be credibly presented to literary agents, publishers and general readers. You know how Newman and Mittelmark introduce How Not to Write a Novel by saying, ‘We are merely telling you the things that editors are too busy rejecting your novel to tell you themselves, pointing out the mistakes they recognize instantly because they see them again and again in novels they do not buy,’ well they’re right; I am one of those editors.

However good the idea behind a novel, when the author is still learning the craft of writing – like any…

View original 2,421 more words

New Anthologies and artwork

So, it’s been a busy few weeks for me. With university trying to drive me mad (only a few weeks left thankfully) and meeting writing deadlines, I haven’t had much chance to enjoy my completed work. I did go to the EB Expo herein Sydney on Saturday (and that was great) but otherwise I haven’t had many chances to sit back and see the fruits of my labour. Until now.

I was browsing the iTunes page of The New Accelerator. I have a reprint in their second issue. Anyway, I saw this:

image

Marvelous.

Honestly, I was just stunned by how good it was. I’ve seen some pretty horrendous artwork. The sort that makes you realize that we as humans have already lost. And people pay a lot of money for it. Your book will be judged by your cover, and so I was thrilled to be getting something this awesome. And they were paying me to be in the anthology! Honestly, I’d have paid for artwork like this.

There’s the proper file (without my name) here:

Amd a-dome-of-chromeAnd I adore the planets and moon in the background, as well as the climbable trees and cluster of domes. I won’t lie when I say that I had a very different image in my mind when I wrote the story, but this is damned good and I’m loving it. When people read your work carefully enough so that they adsorb the details (like the trees and opaque domes) you know you’re onto a great thing.

The actual issue isn’t available yet, but you can subscribe to them through the iStore and read it on any iOs device here.

And the cover art for the Issues themselves are incredible (note this is just a trial issue, hence the lack of many names).issue0cover

But that’s not all.

I sent a story to Bards and Sages Quarterly back in January. I didn’t expect to get accepted. They’re a print magazine after all. But I did, and this is the cover art:

993499_10152273644600957_1535877805929679184_n

I’ll admit, it’s not groundbreaking, but again, I didn’t pay for it and I was surprised to get in, considering how big it is (they even have a Wikipedia page). It’ll be in print soon, but an e-copy is available right here in any format you like.

So, that’s it for now. I’m over the moon at the fantastic art for A Dome of Chrome, and I’m also looking forward to holding the print anthology of Bards and Sages in my hands.

 

Jeremy Szal Author Q&A and Profile

jeremyszal:

So, I was recently interviewed by Bloody Cake News. It’s my first “proper” interview, and I can’t say I’m not overjoyed about it. Do give it a read.
Oh, and I just got back from Oz Comic Con. My sister tagged along, and we met the likes of Orlando Bloom, William Shanter, and the Hobbits from the films. Great stuff, but more on that later.
Read away!

Originally posted on bloody cake news:

jeremy pic jeremy award

A Dome of Chrome.

A Dome of Chrome is an award winning short story. It is a Sci-fi tale of human expansion in new worlds, making contact and forming relationships with other races and how there will always be people who lose their humanity. I have read this and many other short stories produced by Jeremy Szal and I absolutely agree that he is a young man who will do great things with his writing. Please click on the link to read this great story.

 On The Premises Magazine, Issue #23, Honourable Mention (read)

ken kirkpatrick logans run

jeremy pic throne

Profile:

My name is Jeremy Szal, a 19 year old university student in Sydney, Australia who spends far too much time reading and writing science-fiction and fantasy stories when he really should be studying.

If it wasn’t obvious, I love stories. I love writing ‘em, I love watching ‘em, I love reading ‘em, I…

View original 1,365 more words

Special Announcement…

It would seem that something quite major has just happened. Actually, major is an understatement. It’s pretty big.

I’m now an Assistant Editor at StarShipSofa.

I’ve been an avid listener of them in the past, so it’s an honour and a privilege to be working with them. They’ve won the Hugo Award, (which is essentially Best Picture at the Oscars but for literature. Except the Hugo is for the cool kids.)

Suffice to say that it’s going to be a fantastic experience, working with authors, writers, editors and fellow nerds alike. You know you’re onto a good thing when the people running the joint rival your enthusiasm for fantastic science fiction. And believe me, that’s not something that’s easy to do. Not at all. And I’m not sorry in the slightest.

I’ll be getting an interview sometime in the near future, which will likely consist of me stuttering awkwardly and droning on endlessly.

But either way, check the website out. It’s a fantastic place for writers, authors, readers and fans alike, and not just because I’m going to be lurking in the shadows. Just look at this gorgeous artwork:

 

Come on, just how awesome is that?

If you have a favourite story that you’d like to hear podcasted, give me a buzz. I’m looking for fresh new talent, brilliant classics, and the big players out there. If it’s good, I’m interested. Send me the loudest, pulpiest, most daring, and viciously excellent stuff you know of. You know, the stuff that your mother, Harold Bloom and your teachers told you not to read. Send me Space Opera, cyberpunk, steampunk, dieselpunk, hard SF, post-apocalyptic, military SF, time-travel, alternate history, science-fantasy, silpstream, dystopian SF, biopunk, golden age SF, adventure SF…the possibilities are endless. I couldn’t list all the possible combinations and genre styles if I typed for the rest of my life.

But no fantasy and no horror. And definitely nothing “realistic”, literary or serious. The sort of stuff that literary critics would find “profound” and call existential . We don’t want that stuff. At all. Keep far away, shredded into a million pieces, locked in a box of onyx and launched into a black hole on the far outer edges of space.

But it’s a little harder to distinguish between speculative fiction genres, especially as most short stories tend to be hybrids. If you’re uncertain, tell me about it anyway. But if it’s along the lines of medieval Europe, urban fantasy, etc, then I’m sorry to say we don’t want it. Again, genres do cross over (Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter novels, and even to a degree Mark Lawrence’s The Broken Empire are examples), but strictly fantasy or horror ain’t what we’re looking for. They’re fantastic writers, but we’re after science fiction. Tell us about the dystopian futures, alien invasions, galaxy-spanning space operas, hiveminds, cyborgs and everything in between.

You can tweet me at @JeremySzal or just use the Contact Me form.

It’s going to be wild ride. Welcome aboard, good citizens, and enjoy the flight.

First Book launch event

On Thursday we had the launch of UNSW’s annual anthology, aka UNSWeetened 2014. I had a story that managed to get into it, which was very much awesome.

The night passed away in a blur of cheese, wine, crackers, signings and lots of discussions about books. It was pleasant, being able to chat to fellow book lovers, ranting on about own our stories and passing the anthologies along to each other to be signed. Yes, it was at university and I’m not exactly having people sleep overnight outside the bookstore to get hold of their copy, but it was fantastic to experience what would hopefully be the first of many events such as these. There’s artwork to go along with each story (some of the stories in the collection are very, very good), and they got sold off to a silent auction for charity. Also, I was told by many people that my work reminded them of Game of Thrones/GRRM, but that was probably just the wine.

I’d like to get hold of some photos (there was a guy taking far too many of them), but I haven’t as of yet. I’ll post ‘em if I do get them. In the meantime, a pdf/ebook version of the anthology should appear online soon, but if you, like me, prefer the feel of dead trees, you can pick one up free of charge at the UNSW bookstore. Or, if you’re unfortunate enough to know me in person,  I can give you one myself.

That’s it for now…

 

 

Bloody Cake News Editor’s Desk with Jane Johnson, Publishing Director at HarperCollins Publishers

jeremyszal:

Brilliant read about three of the best contemporary writers working today and the fantastic editor who’s helped them along.

Originally posted on bloody cake news:

428516_10151929048484698_1577066315_n

When three weeks ago the idea came up to interview a series of editors and ask them about some of their authors and their work relationships, I wholeheartedly volunteered to write a short introduction about Jane Johnson for this article. Little did I realise how I had just made a decision to walk into one of life’s perfect traps, for the more I read about her, the more I was drawn into this tale we may call her life, though in all honesty, it could pass as a fascinating piece of fiction, a story to be told huddled around the fireplace on a long winter’s night.

In vain I tried consulting the fantasy literature with my dilemma, where everyone seemed to know how to summon the genie from the lamp, but no one was able to tell me how to fit it in in the first place. Since this is…

View original 1,412 more words

First angry “fan” mail.

So, I do occasionally get fanmail. Not often, but sometimes. And I’m always overjoyed to be receiving it, and I always respond personally to it. It’s quite flattering, and I love chatting with people who’ve enjoyed my work.

Not this bloke, though.

I’ve edited it for spoilers and language for the more sensitive enough you, but it concerns my most recent story, A Dome of Chrome. Apparently, he didn’t like it. Observe.

“i was reading your story a dome of chrome, and i was liking it until i saw the part about the ******** that was ******. what the ****! how could you do something like that???? yeah i know the **********, but ******** like that is so wrong!!! maybe its because your still a teenager and you dont have kids (i hope you never ever reproduce) , but any normal person could never write something so ****ed up like that. in fact i have nightmares ever since i read it. i have three kids and i see how wrong it is. but your a sick **** who shouldnt be allowed to write such twisted shit. get help. better yet stop writing. i dont care what your excuse is but your a sick ****ed up teenager who obviously takes his frustrations on writing dark ****ed up stuff. i hope you never ever publish again and hopefully one day you see just how much of a messed up, sick **** you are”

Quite the poet, his degree of subtle accusations rarely extending over four-letter curse words.

Just to be clear, this doesn’t bother me in the slightest. In fact, now I’m on par with all the other writers (like Mark Lawrence) who’ve received mail like this. But I have to say, I’m not at all impressed with the language used, nor am interested in taking this person seriously, even for a moment, if they feel the need to resort to spewing such venom. It tells me that you’re an insecure tosser.

But either way, this person ripped everything straight out of context, turned it against me, and seems to think that I have some sort of responsibility to write fiction that’s bright, happy and cheerful. At the end of the day, it’s just fiction. I didn’t write it to be provocative; I wrote what I wanted to write. I wrote what I felt fit the story. Period.

Actually, I don’t even feel the need to defend myself, judging by the way they felt they needed to form their argument. Any chance of it being critical and constructive feedback sailed out the window on an anti-gravity board, shooting away at lightspeed. And I really don’t owe them anything by justifying what I wrote. There are a million ways to express yourself in a polite manner. Apparently they were off limits.

Either way, do I have permission to call myself famous now?