Resurrecting a manuscript

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fionaw
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Resurrecting a manuscript

Post by fionaw » February 13th, 2010, 4:33 pm

On a writing course last year we read excerpts from our work to one another in the evenings. One of the pieces I read was from a ten year old MS, and I was startled, when I finished, to discover there wasn't a dry eye in the house. Everyone, without exception, urged me to submit it for publication, but I put this down to the euphoria you sometimes get on these courses.

I did submit it to a few places, back in 2000; mainly to the bigger agents/publishers. I got a number of full requests and some wonderful comments, but the rejections were all on the grounds of commerciality. [summary of story below, if you're curious]. Several agents invited me to sub something else to them (life intervened, of course, but that's another story)

Anyway, I hauled out the MS yesterday and reread it. It's a literary romance/tragedy, and to my utter astonishment I sobbed for nearly an hour after I'd finished it. I lay awake until 4am with my emotions all atwitch.

It does need a little bit of brushing up, but not that much.

I have a few questions for the floor:

1. Is ten years long enough for my emotional reaction to the text to be valid as a reader rather than as a writer? (I have no personal connection to any of the events in this story.)

2. Is ten years too long? - the style of this MS is very different from how I write now, though I do have a draft for a second book set in the same historical period, and a chapter plan for a third. It's also first person, and the voice of the narrator is very specific to this story. Nothing I've written since sounds anything like him.

3. Should I sub it to some small publishers, and if so, who? It's essentially a story about gay men, and I haven't found anyone in W&A or Writer's Market who says they welcome this sort of thing. (I live in a very rural area, and can't simply wander to my local bookstore and look in the GLBT section because they don't have one.)

4. Should I go the Amazon ebook route, take out ads in the pink press to publicise it?

5. Should I treat this as a minor hiccup to which all writers are prone and ignore it?



Short Synopsis

Stefan, a young Polish man falls in love with Gunter, a German Bauhaus-trained artist in Berlin in 1934. They embark on a grand passion, but decisions they make before and during the war result in their being imprisoned in Auschwitz as pink triangle criminals. Stefan survives the camp alone and emigrates to London to rebuild his life. After the wall comes down, he returns to the family in Poland that he believes abandoned him. The discovery of a cache of Gunter's paintings in a gallery in East Berlin allows him finally to accept both his loss and the renewed offer of love.

tameson
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Re: Resurrecting a manuscript

Post by tameson » February 13th, 2010, 4:54 pm

Not really sure about any of your other questions, but one thought I had- in the past ten year's, the public's view on homosexuality had changed and the marketability of such a work has probably improved as well. I am not an expert in any way though- just something to look into.

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fionaw
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Re: Resurrecting a manuscript

Post by fionaw » February 13th, 2010, 5:08 pm

That's from the US perspective, though, isn't it?

In Australia and Europe the attitudes towards homosexuality really shifted in the late 80s/early 90s, though even before then, attitudes in literature were much more laissez faire. And where it did matter, it was treated more in a 'don't frighten the horses' way than the screaming religious bigotry I've seen elsewhere.

I may have got a few rejections that were due to homophobia, but my general impression of the market back then was that it wasn't a big issue. With writers like Edmund White, Robert Dessaix and Hector Bianciotti (whose What the Night Tells the Day is possibly one of the world's most beautiful pieces of writing) considered part of the literary canon, I think a gay love story was pretty unexceptionable in 2000.

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Holly
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Re: Resurrecting a manuscript

Post by Holly » February 13th, 2010, 5:11 pm

fionaw wrote:Should I sub it to some small publishers, and if so, who? It's essentially a story about gay men, and I haven't found anyone in W&A or Writer's Market who says they welcome this sort of thing. (I live in a very rural area, and can't simply wander to my local bookstore and look in the GLBT section because they don't have one.)
Colleen Lindsay is an agent who handles GLBT fiction. She has a website called The Swivet. Look under her submission guidelines, fiction.

http://theswivet.blogspot.com/2007/01/s ... lines.html

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fionaw
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Re: Resurrecting a manuscript

Post by fionaw » February 13th, 2010, 5:18 pm

Thanks, Holly, that's very useful. I actually have Colleen on Google reader, but didn't know she had a GLBT bent. (Hah! A pun!).

Hmm. Maybe I will have to do a little MS polishing...

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Holly
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Re: Resurrecting a manuscript

Post by Holly » February 13th, 2010, 5:22 pm

fionaw wrote:Thanks, Holly, that's very useful. I actually have Colleen on Google reader, but didn't know she had a GLBT bent. (Hah! A pun!).

Hmm. Maybe I will have to do a little MS polishing...
Fionaw, also go to http://www.agentquery.com/search.aspx Choose fiction or nonfiction and do a search. Quite a few agents handle this category. I would contact all the agents before looking at other options.

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