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Background INfo: I am Hugh McCracken currently living in Ottawa, Canada to be near two sons, daughter-in-law, and three grandchildren. I was educated in Scotland and graduated from St. Andrews University with degrees in Chemistry and Mathematics. After some adventures in France, I worked for some time as an Industrial Chemist before finally becoming a teacher. Emigrated to Canada in 1967. Earned B.Ed. and M.Ed. In Psychology from University of Manitoba and was Headmaster of St. John's-Ravenscourt Upper School in Winnipeg for thirteen years. Since retiring from teaching in 1992, I have worked as a freelance writer and editor.
"1,400 words. That's what I have space for. No more no less."
In the same period I sold several short stories to magazines in the America.
Advice: Read as widely as possible even in genres that you might not usually choose. Don't try to edit or polish as you write. Let the ideas flow, but before you submit make sure the material has been thoroughly edited. Read the submission guidelines for the publisher and tailor your manuscript to them. Read and reread your piece for such errors as: typos; howlers like, its where it's is appropriate; wrong punctuation; homonyms missed by the spellchecker like, here where hear is intended. At one time authors could expect editors to turn their brilliant ideas into manuscripts ready to publish. Now, badly presented submissions rarely get beyond the slush pile.
Internet Presence: It's important for exposure so I have my own at: http://firstname.lastname@example.org
The Future: Currently I am in process of writing the final book of my Hunt series.
Young Adult Paperbacks published by BeWrite Books, UK
Background INfo: My first job was as an engineer working in the nuclear power industry. At that time I used to read a lot of westerns, especially those by such quality authors as Paul J. Wellman, Will Henry and Louis L'Amour. As time went on, I decided to write one of my own. After completion, the manuscript went out to the genre publishers. I knew that very soon I would be taking up shelf space next to Louis.
The rejection slips began to land on the carpet with some regularity, accompanied by the words: "unfortunately the manuscript is not suitable for our list, but you may well find another publisher who thinks differently, a list of whom you will find in the Writer's & Artist's Yearbook." Naively thinking that these letters were personal to me and me alone I persevered until finally, the penny dropped like a ship's anchor. Through the pain of a massive headache, I began to understand about indentation, justification, colons, semicolons, et al. At the same time I was also writing some children's stories for my two daughters, which involved them and their pet rabbit Snowy. Fortunately, their school found them good enough to print for the other kids.
INfluences: Being very independent I tend to do what I believe is right, instinctively on occasions, and on the assumption that if others are telling me what to do then I am leading their life and not my own. So, influences are few. However, on the discovery of a novel by Tom Barling called, The Smoke, I was instantly hooked on crime fiction. I told Tom that I was going to write a novel about modern day criminals in London, he replied: "Come on, Sean. Don't tell me that Manchester is so crime-free you have to invade my territory. Get lost." I got the message.
So, you're writing for money. Now you have to do whatever it takes to get there. Learn your trade. Write to authors whose style is similar to your own, take in what they say. You don't have to use it, but somewhere along the line something will click it all into place.
Did you know that all publishers have readers who go through the slush pile? If they don't like the first line, the manuscript is rejected. Same thing happens again if they don't like the first paragraph; first chapter; or first line of the second chapter. So what does that tell you?
Get a copy of The Elements of Style, by William Strunk & E. B. White. Simple advice on the lines of: Never use a word that is not needed; or a sentence; or a paragraph or a chapter. Take it all in and turn out the best work you are capable of. Rewrite it, and then cut, cut, and cut again.Internet Presence: This is vital. At the moment, publishers pay an advance; printing and advertising costs; warehouse space and then have to hope the orders cover those costs. In the near future they will have to follow publishers like BeWrite and use POD. I can see booksellers having a printing machine that allows a reader to select the required book, push the appropriate button, and within minutes receive a perfect copy. As simple as buying a coke from a machine.
The Future: The second novel, which is complete, involves the same characters and is called Clap Hands Here Comes Charlie. The last in the trilogy is about a cousin of Charlie and Burnett. Jack Mitchell is another Gypsy head case who, on the odd occasion, enlists the help of the Manchester mob in sorting out some Liverpool villains. It's at the halfway stage so I don't have a clue about the ending, other that it will be a violent one.
The Complete Training Diary, nonfiction published by Foulsham & Foulsham
Inkwell Newswatch (IN)
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