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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Guest Blog: Viviane Brentanos: You've Completed Your Manuscript. Who Cares?

A warm welcome to you all from the beautiful Corfu. It is a great honour to be invited here. Today, I want to pose the question – who cares?

So, you have that first manuscript complete. Optimism soaring, you gaily set off on the search for agents and publishers open to submissions in your genre. Your query is honed to perfection, the dreaded synopsis ready and waiting. Fingers fly over the keyboard, pressing down hard on the send button. Oh dear – rejection after rejection overflow in your inbox. Where did you go wrong? The reasons for a submission virgin’s rejection can be many but, more often than not, it all comes down to learning the craft for, as with all gifts, be it acting , singing, painting, raw talent is needed, yes, but the tools of the trade must be learned. Talent needs tweaking; technique must be taught. One must learn the rules before one becomes famous enough to be allowed to break them. But what is this POV, passive voice, back-story malarkey? They didn’t teach anything about that at school?

I recall a conversation I had with my sister and her two teenage daughters. They were waxing lyrical on the joys of Twilight. It was ironic because a few days before, I’d found myself embroiled in a heated debate on one of the author loops about Miss Meyers works. Some of the criticisms leveled at her were fairly scathing. I took objection to this author bashing. Ok, so she isn’t Tolstoy of Austen or Bronte; few of us are. Yes, there are glaring faults in her works but – and on to my question – who cares? Certainly not her millions of readers.

I explained to my sister and family the ‘art’ of writing fiction, I told them about pov, passive etc. They looked at me as if I had stepped off an alien space ship. My sister said she never notices such things when she reads. All she is interested in is a damn good story. On the back seat, her daughters laughed. “Who cares about pov whatever. We just adore Edward Cullen. I understand them. They are young girl, caught up in the magical worlds of Bella and Edward and that is how it should be.

Of course, as a published author, I look at things a little differently. Now, when I read, I cringe at the mistakes I find and then rack my brains trying to remember if I may have made such booboos in my w.i.p. In a way, being craft savvy has spoiled my enjoyment of reading. I was wondering, what if we were to go and read all of our favourite authors from our youth – before we decided to become writers? Would we be disappointed? Perhaps ignorance is truly bliss.

I was born in Reading UK in 1958. My father is English and my mother is French although there is a strong vein of Spanish on my maternal grandmother’s side. I was educated at various schools before completing Form College at St Peter's Huntingdon. I somehow managed to collect A levels in English, French and History and I subsequently won a place at Sheffield University where I decided to read Classical Civilization. Once there, however, I decided that I had had enough of the academic life; I found the student mentality rather false and having been brought up in student circles, rather boring. Much to my mother's horror, I gave up my studies and went to London to begin a course as a Canine Beautician. In 1984, my first husband and I parted ways amicably and I decided to visit the Ionian island of Corfu to celebrate my new freedom. It proved to be a life-changing decision. I still remember to this day, sitting in a café-bar, overlooking the crystal clear azure sea and saying to my friend. "I never want to leave here". I absolutely love the life-style here. I would recommend it to anyone. I remarried and have two children.

But I decided that there was more to me than being a mother and wife {although, I hasten to add, it is a worthy assignment.} I decided to finally get my head down and do what I'd always promised myself; I was going to write. I have been writing romance since my early teens, mostly for my own satisfaction and for my friends but now I really want to work at it. Writing has become my passion. I have always been a "Romantic", often accused of not living in the real world but who wants to do that? I like to call my work Romance with a quirky, humorous Brit twist and I am always striving to make my characters real, characters we can all relate to. I hope you all enjoy my world.

BLURB: Written in Stone
Cassandra Hall decides not to waste the honeymoon. She sets off to London. What was supposed to be her dream week turns into a nightmare time of introspect, self-doubt. Then she meets James, literally falling at his feet in an attempt to save his Afghan hound from colliding head on with the traffic.

James is witty, charming, too good-looking and also--not available. Despite this, Cassie is captivated by him. What follows is a week of fun, companionship and a bonding that Cassie has never experienced.

James, sensing Cassie’s unhappiness, goes out of his way to make up for her jerk of a fiancé’s rejection. He is drawn to her vulnerability--something he finds disturbing, threatening to shatter all he thought he knew about himself. Cassie, he senses, is falling in love with him. He ought to back away but cannot. Cassie bravely makes her true feelings known and when he rejects her, he knows he has broken her heart. He is left confused, guilty because....James has a secret.


Sandy said...

Your blurb is very intriguing, Viviane.

Writing has also ruined my enjoyment of reading. It's a shame.

jean hart stewart said...

WRiting has only increased my reading enjoyment...if it's good it give me something more to strive for. If it's bad after giving it a try I move on. Your blurb was great...Jean

Viviane Brentanos said...

Thanks, ladies, for your comments and thanks to all who dropped by

Maggie Toussaint said...


Writing is the best and worst thing that ever happened to me. Good because I can finally get those stories out of my head. Bad because now I see glaring errors in books, movies, TV shows etc because I know a bit about story construction.

Even so, as your sister said, a good story will overcome a weak construction every time.

Best of luck with your muse release!

fellow Muse author

Sassy Brit said...

Hi Viv!

I understand that, being craft savvy can ruin the ability to just sit back and read a story for the pure hell of enjoying it. Instead it's easy to over analyse, picking faults in things that could be better, or trying to work out how an author managed to work something so clever into it, that we want to learn how to do it ourselves!

Great post,

Sassy Brit

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