About Lucienne Diver
My apologies for posting so late today! I’m here with another reprint from my Agent Anonymous articles from SFWA, this one on Work for Hire. I promise something new next month, but for today…I’ve been working at half-mast since news that Rob Thurman, one of my amazing authors, is in critical condition, and this was about all I could manage. Good thoughts and prayers for her recovery would be much appreciated.
Work for hire
I’ve set down to write my latest Agent Anonymous article on a train out of New York City to see my cousin and her new baby (the first of this new generation and a source of great excitement for us all). Unfortunately, someone in my compartment has apparently just opened up a package containing a very—let’s call it aromatic—cheese. The kind no jury of your peers would convict you for lobbing out the nearest window. [...]
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This article was originally written for my Agent Anonymous column for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. I’m reprising it here, because it’s information everyone should know about copyright and other legal issues pertinent to publishing.
Piracy on the High Cs
Okay, serious-face everyone. Often I start off my articles with a quip or a quote (amusement value may vary), but today I want to talk about a whole bunch of serious issues, particularly what can be copyrighted or trademarked, what’s considered fair use and what’s considered piracy or plagiarism. You would think some things to be self-evident, but I find that misinformation and rationalization have in some instances replaced reason.
To start: titles aren’t copyrightable. We have only so many words in the English language. Quel suprise…many of them get used more than once. Type “Transformation” or “Divergence” into your Barnes & Noble search engine some time [...]
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As far as I’m concerned, anyone who always behaves exactly as expected is a construct and not a character, literary or otherwise. That’s because living, breathing people—and your characters should certainly come across that way to the reader—are unscripted. They’ll frequently frustrate and surprise you. In that way, my characters are to me just like people, family particularly, because no one else gets under the skin in quite the same way.
The reason I’m a pantser rather than a plotter is that by the time I come to the end of a scene or a chapter, I’ve frequently learned something I didn’t know when I sat down to write. Sometimes it’s a bit of background on the character, something he or she has suddenly revealed to me (yes, writing often feels to me more like discovery than creation). Sometimes it a dogleg in the action, because I thought one of [...]
Continue reading Of Quirks and Characters
I’m doing a webinar for Writers Digest Books on June 9th at 1 pm on Writing Science Fiction, Fantasy and Paranormal, so, as you can imagine, I’ve done a lot of thinking lately on the subject of writing and on genre in particular. One special challenge you often have with speculative fiction is that at the same time you have to introduce your readers to new characters and situations, you’ve also got to create an entire world in their mind’s eye. This can lead to a lot of info dump at the beginning of novels.
I find that one of the best ways to head this off is to be sure to begin in the right place. If you start the novel too long before the main story so that you can provide set-up and context, you may lose the reader through the lack of immediacy. If you start too [...]
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I’ve got an hour and a half before I leave for a conference (it’s been a crazy travel month), and suddenly realized that I hadn’t posted my monthly Magical Words blog. Bad agent. No cookie. So herewith, a never-before-been-posted but previously published article from the SFWA Bulletin on Subrights. I hope you enjoy!
S-S-Subrights…. If you’ve been following my Agent Anonymous articles, you know that I have a demented little DJ in my head, constantly spinning twisted tunes. For some reason, when I was asked to write about subrights, David Bowie started singing (imagine Ch-ch-changes instead and you’ll get what I’m playing at). But the whole thing falls apart at the line, “Don’t want to be a richer man.”
My agently heart quails at the very thought. Perhaps glam rockers don’t have to worry about such things as finances, but the rest of us, well, we’re down here hanging with [...]
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Author-me is part of a wonderful group called the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit, a gang of wonderful young adult writers who join together to promote each other’s work during our publication months. One of my regular questions over the past year has been, “Do you think in themes and, if so, what’s the theme of your book?” Answers have varied. Some authors knew going into the writing exactly what they wanted to say, others realized somewhere along the line that there was a message embedded in the story they wanted to tell. Without fail, every novel will have a theme…something at its emotional heart.
I bring this up because it’s important for an author to identify his or her themes for several reasons. Perhaps the most important is that knowing what’s at the heart of your story helps you develop the character arc. Each and every novel you write should involve [...]
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