Down & Out In Milton Keynes – One Writer's Blog

July 31, 2010

youwriteon – good or bad?

Filed under: Uncategorized — miltonkeyneswriter @ 10:30 am

The latest youwriteon newsletter is out, with evidence yet again that for a lucky few this is a route to publication.

And the very best of luck to them, but I still think it’s a bizarre way to find a publisher.

I’m still on the fence about whether youwriteon is a good or bad idea overall. Having to give marks out of five for things like plot and character development when seeing only the first seven thousand words of a story of perhaps 150,000 or more is simply bizarre.

Even worse when being asked to judge writing in a genre one wouldn’t normally touch with a barge-pole.

But it is certainly interesting, and occasionally very rewarding, to be able to view the early stages of other writers’ work.

By pure coincidence the latest issue of Writer’s Forum is out this week and the cover story is a previous youwriteon success story. Katherine Webb’s The Legacy was featured on youwriteon in the usual way and found its way into the high rankings from peer reviewers and eventually the attention of an agent and publisher. The Legacy was by no means Katherine’s first novel, and I’m guessing her experience ensured the submission was of the finest quality.

One of the real problems with youwriteon is the ability for absolute beginners to submit first drafts which are barely readable, not remotely proof-read, and often show no promise whatsoever. Pity the poor reviewer assigned one of these…

But the more assignments I get to read, the more I am enjoying the process, and occasionally coming across works which I’d like to read more of. Two worth mentioning here are No Evil Shall I Fear, a Stephen King style horror in the making, and An Afghan Winter, which is an evocative study of life in contemporary Afghanistan. (Remember, you don’t need to submit work to be able to read author’s submissions. Just sign up as a free-reader.)

But one stands out for its huge commercial potential. I’ve mentioned Equilibrium in my previous blog, but make no apology for doing so again. I’ve since been privileged to have seen further chapters of this work beyond the introduction on youwriteon and can confirm its initial promise is exceeded as it goes on.

Just when you think the whole vampire thing has exhausted itself and it’s time to move on, along comes an original writer with a distinct narrative voice and a new take on the blood-sucking theme. This is Twilight for grown-ups, and is sure to find a loyal audience in the young-teen Stephenie Meyer fans as they come-of-age and look to more mature reading. The author now has her own blog dedicated to the novel (go to http://wp.me/p10v7v-y for the latest instalment – God knows how she finds the time!) and apparently a presence on Facebook too, so expect to see a lot more of key characters Jess and Gabrielle as time goes by.

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