Discussion how to start off my career?

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by Kade Skirata, Jan 31, 2013.

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  1. Kade Skirata Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jan 31, 2013
    I've been interested in wiriting since i was a youngling and i was brought up as a massive star wars geek. especially Mando'ade and the clone army. ever since i first read the republic commando novels i knew i wanted to write from Lucas Arts. however i don't have the first clue as to who i should speak to, how to contact them and how to get my work noticed in the first place. any help you guys have would be amazing.
  2. lazykbys_left Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2005
    star 4
    Er . . . first you become a published author. Then you wait for them to contact you.

    That's about it, really.
    thesevegetables likes this.
  3. LLL Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2000
    star 4
    Poor thing. I think everybody goes through this.

    Once upon a time, I read books by A.C. Crispin, who literally was picked out of the slush pile, and her Star Trek fan fic became the first non-movie tie-in ST bestseller. She's had a big career ever since.

    That was some 35 years ago.

    Now, they don't want the "just starting outs". They want the "already there's". The sad thing about fan fic is, it doesn't matter how good at it you are. It doesn't matter how hard at it you work. It doesn't matter, doesn't matter, doesn't matter, doesn't matter. If you want to get published, don't waste your time with fan fic. Come up with your own idea, and write your own book. (And then, *maybe* someone will want it after you query 20-50 agents, and then, *maybe* it will get bought by a publisher, and then, *maybe* it will sell decently enough that you get another book contract...but probably not. All of this takes years. Years. Don't quit your day job.)

    One of the best books you can ever read is The Career Novelist, by Donald Maas. I think it's even free to download online somewhere. It's really best to disabuse yourself of any and all romantic notions about the book business before you throw away ten years of your life on something you will, in the end, just have to throw away. Plus it's the best primer I've ever seen on what to expect once your first book is ready to send out.

    My husband got a Shamus award nomination for his first book, and his agent submitted him to the Star Wars people. No dice. That's how hard it is.
    Last edited by LLL, Jan 31, 2013
  4. LLL Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2000
    star 4
    (And don't forget the five rewrites every publishing professional who sees it will ask you to do. "Cut 25 pages." "Cut 100 pages." "Add 100 pages." "We want you to cut 50,000 words so we can fit five books on the shelf and not four.")

    (That last one actually happened to Bob. Ai.)
  5. DARTH_MU Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2005
    star 4
    LLL and Lazy are right.
    Last edited by DARTH_MU, Jan 31, 2013
  6. DarthBreezy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2002
    star 6
    Write the stories YOU want to read - start out with fan fiction, then try your hand at OCs in fan fiction, then try to break away from fan fiction. A couple of folks here have become paid pro writers, but NOT with SW - 50 Shades of Grey started out as badly written Twilight fan fic (which IMHO is just badly written Anne Rice fan fic), and became a badly written best seller by changing the names and locals about.

    But if you want to write Star Wars just remember that in all likelihood, the only 'payment' you'll get is the knowledge that you entertained a lot of people, and told some neat stories, and there's nothing wrong with that.
  7. JediMara77 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2004
    star 4
    I'd actually disagree about not writing fanfiction if you want to be a writer. I think it's wonderful practice, and you'll learn so much about writing and your style and what works and what doesn't. Personally, I'm really glad my first four novels were fanfics rather than books I'd want to try and and get published, because I'm a much better writer now. :p
  8. Blue_10 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2001
    star 4
    I view myself in the same boat. I'm working on a first draft for a Star Wars Novel that I hope to one day get published. In addition to Mara and Breezy's advice, I'd recomend setting some rules for your story to help set it apart. You can take or leave them as you will, but this is what I go by.

    1. Keep a semi-familiar timeframe that fans might recognize (not necessarily a locale, I'm tired of Tatooine being the biggest nowhere in the galaxy personally)
    2. Already established characters (anyone from Han Solo to Talon Karrde) could make a cameo appearance but not be a main character (Seriously, how many lifetimes has Han Solo lived now?)
    3. Try to stay "true" to the spirit of the movies (I personally believe that your target audience is generally between ten and twenty years old and things like "pleasure bots" are just simply out of place)

    Anywhoo, that's my advice, and best of luck to us both.
    Last edited by Blue_10, Jan 31, 2013
  9. Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Feb 25, 2010
    star 5
    I hate to say it, but Lucas film/Lucas Arts (which I guess is now Disney) has a very 'don't call us, we'll call you' type of policy. My best advice would be to develop your skills as a writer using fanfic (who ever said fanfic was a waste of time never thought of how it has improved so many people's writing ability... for free), then branch out into original works and try to become an established author in your own rights, then maybe a business such as Lucas Arts, Bioware, etc will hire you to write for them. But I hate to be the realist, but Lucas Arts hardly ever hires people - even the most established authors have a hard time even getting their work considered by Lucas Arts.
  10. LLL Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2000
    star 4
    Well, that's true, but in my case, I was so in love with Star Wars and so in love with the characters and the universe and the on and on and on, that not only couldn't I think up anything original, I didn't believe I ever would be able to. And that kept me stuck, for ten years.

    This is bad. Very bad. Unless you just want to dabble in fan fic for the rest of your life, by which, BTW, you will avoid a HELL of a lot of disappointment. There's nothing wrong with fan fic. If it's out of copyright, real authors get real book contracts for doing the exact same thing we do, for real money. (Google Lenore Hart.)

    That said, I have seen very bad writers with very good ideas make a whole career for themselves. (I will not name names.) The point is: If you have a good idea, your writing can always be improved. But if you do not have an idea you can publish, it will never matter how beautifully you can write. It won't get published. Period.

    My husband has always said it's better to be lucky than good. My saying is, I'd rather have IDEAS than craft.
  11. LLL Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2000
    star 4
    Correction: Unless You Know Someone.

    Then, all bets are off.
  12. DARTH_MU Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2005
    star 4
    That said, I have seen very bad writers with very good ideas make a whole career for themselves. (I will not name names.)

    [Vader] NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO *Pauses* nOOOOOOOooooooOOOOooooo[/Vader]

    LLL ^:)^

    You have shamed me. I deserved that.

    I'm actually quite serious. Thank you. ^:)^
  13. Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Feb 25, 2010
    star 5
    Yeah, I have said this before: you do not need to write like you have an English doctorate to get published (I could name some people, but I think we all know who I am talking about). It's not how you tell it, but WHAT you tell. You simply need a story that people want to read, although having some talent in telling that story can help when you get to the publishing stage.

    Luck (or knowing the right people) can help, a lot.
  14. thesevegetables Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 11, 2012
    star 4
    If one wants to become a professional writer, one must master the basics of grammar. Proficiency in grammar is even valued highly in fanfiction communities.
    Speaking of fanfiction...50 Shades of Grey started out as Twilight fanfiction...
  15. DARTH_MU Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2005
    star 4
    write short stories first.
    submit them to asimov's or analog or fantasy and science fiction. (magazine names)
  16. TrakNar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2011
    star 5
    Short answer: Don't call them, they'll call you... IF you are already a published author and they like your work.

    Honestly, it's been hard enough for me to break into the artist market, and I may finally have gotten my foot in the door after I showed my portfolio to Topps. In the art world, if you didn't go to school... you're in for a battle. A very long battle. Nothing you do will be "good enough" unless you have a degree. And even then, you start small. You won't get your dream job right away, as only a lucky few see that. The rest of us have to slog our way through portfolio reviews over and over, and unless we start with small press and work our way up, in order to get noticed by the Big Names, our best bet is to travel across the country to a large convention, wait in line for hours (or get lucky enough to catch the right person) for a review, gather business cards, hand out business cards, and if we get that magical "we're interested" line... It's off to play the waiting game.

    I've been playing the waiting game since August. Though, I do send Topps artwork once a month to show that I am still interested. However, like tie-in fiction, it is also a "don't call us, we'll call you," and I am waiting for that call.

    The writer's market is a lot like that... only harder. Your best bet? Take creative writing courses and get started in the local small press. Work your way up from there. Build a resume and a portfolio, put your work out there, and attend conventions. Any convention. Any convention anywhere that is financially feasible for you to attend. At those conventions, visit all of the publishers, both large and small. Get business cards and inquire about their submission process. Then, the first chance you get... SUBMIT YOUR STUFF. I was told to submit JPEGs to Topps when I got back to Pennsylvania. That night, I sent two e-mails, three JPEGs each. Once a month, I send one or two images. Persistence does help, but don't overdo it.

    Then, once you have gotten that far... Do it all over again at the next convention. Once you get that deal, no matter what it is, small press or periodical, you had better write as if you are writing for the big guys. Go above and beyond, and that will open the doors to more opportunities. And farther down the path, who knows? Perhaps Lucasfilm will see something they like.
  17. LLL Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2000
    star 4
    Huh?

    Those in question do not frequent these boards.
  18. LLL Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2000
    star 4
    The Powers That Be always write about struggling to get Big Name Pros they like to find time to deign to write for them, at the price they want to pay them.

    If they gave people a chance while they still gave a ****, they wouldn't have that problem.
  19. leiamoody Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2005
    star 4
    I wonder if it's even worth trying to get into the writing business anymore. Print media is dying, dead, mummified, and the nature of the written word in digital media changes depending on the attention span of the reader. Let's face it, most people reading anything nowadays aren't interested in long works with intricate plots and three-dimensional characters. The age of 140 characters means what does get published isn't very engaging on more than a superficial level. Everything from fiction to non-fiction is meant to be consumed then promptly forgotten. How can a writer reconcile a desire to write with the very real possibility what they write just cannot work in the current market?
  20. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    That's actually not the way to go about it. Magazines get so many short story submissions that it's hard to find time to go through them all. Most get chucked immediately upon the first person having time to read them (usually several months after you submit).

    If you want to be a published writer, write. Write fanfic. Join a writing group. Take a creative writing course. Something where you get to practice and you receive feedback. Learn what works and what doesn't.

    And don't just have friends read your stuff. Have other writers--people who are going to be totally honest--critique it. The fact that your friends like it doesn't mean anything to an agent.

    If you've really taken the right steps, grown as an author, and you can't find an agent (it is hard, even for really good writers), self-publishing has been a launching point for plenty of people.
    Last edited by NYCitygurl, Feb 1, 2013
  21. mavjade It's so Fluffy Fanfic & New Movies Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2005
    star 5
    @Kade Skirata - I hope you don't feel like people here are being purposely discouraging or mean, people are just being honest. I figure most people here would love to write a Star Wars novel, it's just most of those people are also aware it will never happen. Being an author is a cutthroat business and even if you are a fantastic writer, you may never get a publishing deal.

    I was fortunate enough to go to all the writing panels at Celebrations V and VI, where SW authors talked about writing, getting published etc. Troy Denning said something at CV that really struck a chord with me (I don't know the exact quote so I'm paraphrasing), basically you have to write at least a million words before you can even hope to get published. You'll submit hundreds of thousands and they will probably get thrown away.

    Even getting a rejection letter from a publisher is something to celebrate, that someone even looked at your manuscript is amazing. But, times are changing and self-publishing is making that big change. My brother works for a start-up company that is working to help the self-publisher get noticed (among other things) and to see how that is growing is amazing. (That being said, even self-publishing doesn't mean you are going to make it big as an author.)

    As far as SW novels go, it's like most everyone else has said, "Don't call us, we'll call you."

    My advice: write. If it makes you happy and you love to do it, then do it. I do think writing fanfiction is a good thing, you get feedback, you develop your voice as a writer. Write original stuff, have others read it/edit it, don't allow them to be nice because the publishing world isn't nice. Then, if you want, submit to publishers, try and find an agent, just realize it is not an easy thing and it could take years and years, if it ever works at all. In the mean time, just write what makes you happy.
  22. LLL Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2000
    star 4

    You just have to forget about it.

    Every time I sit down to write, I say to myself, "This is nothing and I am doing this for absolutely no reason whatsoever."

    It's kinda like the saying, Everybody has to be somewhere. Everybody has to be doing something, so why not? Just give up all delusions of grandeur and you're all good.


    But if you submit novels, even to an agent, the exact same thing is also true.

    This is the end result of many factors: Technology has made it easy to churn out a manuscript (no more typing and retyping hundreds of pages every time you need to change one sentence), everybody dreams of writing but nobody wants to read anymore, and all the publishing houses have consolidated and consolidated until there are a lot fewer opportunities anymore. Plus, names like J. K. Rowling have made publishers want such huge profit margins, profit that isn't realistic to expect for a book, that they just take on wayyy more new authors than they want to or have the marketing staff to support, throw them at the wall like spaghetti, and the one person who sticks and brings in the big bucks gets asked back to the dance. The rest...Well, thank you for playing.
  23. ardavenport Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2004
    star 4
    If you want to be a writer, just write. That's it.

    You want to be a professional writer and get paid for it, you need to write original stuff - Lucasfilm (now Disney) is only interested in sub-contracting Star Wars work out to established authors/artists who have published their own original work. And there just are not enough hours in the day to write original fiction, hold a day job, have a life, etc. AND write fan fiction. Because of the internet, the whole publishing world is in turmoil now so look for lots of different sources of information on what's going on, if anyone knows.
  24. leiamoody Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2005
    star 4
    Oh, I never suffered from delusions when it came to my writing. I just did it to get the ideas out of my head. Now I do it to keep me going in life (depression sucks and you need some little purpose to focus your mental energies upon. It's not a bad approach).
  25. moosemousse CR - FF:UK South

    Chapter Rep
    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2004
    star 6
    Ahh, depression. I kind of find it stops me doing anything I normally find enjoyable, and that includes writing. I have a sort of idea that I'm working on now though. I'm hoping to submit it to Analog to see if they want it.
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