Author Topic: A message from Stephen Barbara  (Read 13609 times)

Offline Miss Java

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Re: A message from Stephen Barbara
« Reply #15 on: October 01, 2007, 10:59:13 PM »
Quote
I live 2 miles from the Mississippi.  Maybe I should go sit by it and get some inspiration.
There's a thought. It worked for some fellow named Clemens.  ;)

But how does one work fantasy into it...maybe the lockness monster coming out of the Mississippi? 

Offline justwrite

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Re: A message from Stephen Barbara
« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2007, 11:05:06 PM »
Phew..don't slay the messenger!

Offline audal

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Re: A message from Stephen Barbara
« Reply #17 on: October 01, 2007, 11:31:56 PM »
Phew..don't slay the messenger!

OK, JW - you're off the hook ;D  It's just frustrating - the whole battle betwixt originality & psuedo-plagiarism.  My Hollywood years will so full of executives basically looking to remake the last blockbuster.  I felt I'd get more freedom in publishing, but to see this just disheartens a bit.  Won't slow me down, won't make me alter the course of my story, just makes me say, "Ugh.  Another obstacle."

And then I'd go like this:  :bang: :bang: :bang:
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Offline LeahClifford

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Re: A message from Stephen Barbara
« Reply #18 on: October 02, 2007, 10:04:51 AM »
Yes, they're all idiots there.  No one query until at least November.  Don't bother at all...


 I'll be swooping in with my contemporary ghost story by the end of the month!  :clap:
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Offline Legionsynch

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Re: A message from Stephen Barbara
« Reply #19 on: October 19, 2007, 09:09:01 AM »
This is from Jennifer Jackson's blog, and sheds a little more light on what they're looking for by a "contemporary ghost story."

The "ghost story that's truly contemporary" seems to have netted some interest but people are confused about what was meant by that. I asked Donald Maass for clarification and with his kind permission, post it herewith:

So, what do I mean by a “truly contemporary” ghost story? Remember the Amityville Horror? When Jay Anson’s novel hit in 1977, it shocked in part because it introduced a haunting into a contemporary (then) suburban home. What, then, in 2007 would be a contemporary setting in which one would not expect to find a haunting? I would love to read a (well-written, of course) novel about a malevolent spirit in a mall, perhaps with a night security guard protagonist? Can you see the ghost animating toys, mannequins, shopping carts, etc? It’s always a challenge to frighten jaded readers. There are tricks to it, including long and deep build up with bridging conflicts to keep us reading until we’re thoroughly sucked in before the horror starts. (Read Jaws.) Once hooked, the unexpected can help overcome the yawns induced by old houses, fog and other clichéd devices.

What about a high tech office building? A house-techno nightclub? A NASCAR track? What about ghosts that manifest through iPhones, JPEG’s, California closets, etc.? Also, what about living protagonists who aren’t ghost hunters (yawn), suburban moms (yawn) or other obvious choices? What about skateboard dudes, ska musicians, hip-hop grrls…people you wouldn’t have met ten years ago? I wonder if there are any ghost novelists who’ve got the personal knowledge or research dedication to make such things detailed, credible and genuinely frightening?

One thing I’m not anxious to read is yet another conventional haunted house novel. Although there are wonderful classics (e.g. Hell House), the job of making that sub-genre fresh and chilling is going to be next to impossible. It would take Richard Matheson pull it off.
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Offline LeahClifford

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Re: A message from Stephen Barbara
« Reply #20 on: October 19, 2007, 09:49:38 AM »
Ah crap. Thanks Lege once again for smackin the dreams down.  :rolleyes:
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Offline audal

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Re: A message from Stephen Barbara
« Reply #21 on: October 19, 2007, 10:10:59 AM »
Well, if you ask me, pretty much the majority of those attending NASCAR races are already possessed by something demonic...

I'm pondering a project about an office temp who goes haywire and takes over the entire office.  It's called Lord Of The Files.
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Offline joanjunkmail

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Re: A message from Stephen Barbara
« Reply #22 on: October 19, 2007, 03:36:23 PM »
Well, if you ask me, pretty much the majority of those attending NASCAR races are already possessed by something demonic...

I'm pondering a project about an office temp who goes haywire and takes over the entire office.  It's called Lord Of The Files.

that's very very good - very aud-esque, and i am going to steal it on tuesday when i go into my temp job...which, btw, MIGHT turn into a permanent job (woot).

but, my boss on tuesday will hear the idea for 'my' new book.... can't wait to see his face!
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Offline Legionsynch

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Re: A message from Stephen Barbara
« Reply #23 on: October 20, 2007, 08:43:31 AM »
Well, if you ask me, pretty much the majority of those attending NASCAR races are already possessed by something demonic...

I'm pondering a project about an office temp who goes haywire and takes over the entire office.  It's called Lord Of The Files.

Awesome.
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Offline JeanneT

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Re: A message from Stephen Barbara
« Reply #24 on: October 25, 2007, 12:59:08 AM »
And of course let's not forget that you should be a male writer--or have a male sounding name anyway.
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Offline joanjunkmail

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Re: A message from Stephen Barbara
« Reply #25 on: October 25, 2007, 05:25:10 AM »
And of course let's not forget that you should be a male writer--or have a male sounding name anyway.

that was recent discussion (on a different thread) and I still am not sure that holds true in a cross-the-board sexism way.  it might in a genre way, is my conclusion - thrillers need to be male authors, romancers need to be female, and mysteries can be both?  as far as 'literature' goes, the majority of the booker prize finalists in the last few years have been women (surely a new phenomenon).

i dunno - did QT come to a consensus on this?
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Offline JeanneT

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Re: A message from Stephen Barbara
« Reply #26 on: October 25, 2007, 09:45:12 PM »
No, you evidently didn't read the Maass website.

Quote from the Maass website:

A literary romance with a heroine for all time and a tragic ending, preferably written by a man.

As for sexism in publishing in general, that is another subject. It exists and Maass is hardly the only one to  prefer male authors but this thread is about Maass and what they are looking for. They make it pretty clear they are looking for MALE authors.

Edit: And although I hardly think Maass cares, it did indeed cause me to cross them off my list of agencies I would submit to.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2007, 09:53:51 PM by JeanneT »
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Offline joanjunkmail

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Re: A message from Stephen Barbara
« Reply #27 on: October 26, 2007, 06:27:17 AM »
no, i didn't read the Maass website, but their preference for a male author in a romance genre is hardly proof of sexism - it could very well be an attempt to be different from crowd, as a way to get publicity. 

i don't read romance novels, but if i did, i probably would not choose ones written by a man, not unless it was recommended by someone i knew.  not deliberately, but subconsciously i would choose a female writer, and i'll bet i'm in the majority with that.

sexism within the industry is endemic, for sure - no argument there. i just think one needs to look at the situation with a more discerning eye to mount a valid critique.
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