I should warn you ahead of time – what I’m about to say may upset one or two of you out there. I don’t mean to cause anyone any harm, but I also need to communicate what I’m feeling. So if you’re the fragile type, here’s a picture of some happy little baby bats. Just stare at them and smile.
Okay, for the rest of us, here goes. Many, many times I hear writers complain how much they hate getting form rejections from editors, because such things do nothing to help them understand why the editor didn’t want to buy their story. Editors don’t understand, they cry, that writers can’t fix stories if they aren’t told what went wrong in the first place. Some writers say editors are lazy, others think they’re cruel. For whatever reason, it’s always the editor’s fault.
A couple of years ago, David Coe […]
Continue reading Getting What You Ask For
I’m home from a great weekend with MY people. If you haven’t been to Atomacon, it’s a glorious little con full of laughter and silliness with a smattering of super-smarts if you look behind the right door. Not only is it in Charleston, SC, one of my favorite places on Earth, but the people behind this con are lovely and kind and ready to have a good time the minute they start planning.
Friday night I “starred” as one of the celebrity guests for Sci-Fi Hollywood Game Night. We spent an hour facing off as teams in games of SciFi Charades, Where You Going (the interplanetary version) and SciFi Who Am I. We laughed, we yelled, we accused the guys of cheating (no props in Charades, y’all!) and generally had a marvelous time. Just never ask me to hum the theme song to Stargate, because I can’t, no matter how […]
Continue reading Atomacon!
I knew someone long ago who had written a novel he believed would be his breakout. It was crazy-long (300K words, I think?) and had been turned down on that basis more than once. Instead of breaking it into three novels or doing a massive edit to trim the word count, my friend decided to try breaking the rules of submissions. He sent his query to Famous Literary Agent, with the words “Personal and confidential” written on the front of the envelope. Mr Agent’s secretary passed the letter on to her boss uninspected, Mr Agent read the query and contacted my friend, because the story intrigued him. Eventually it was another rejection, but it inspired my friend to keep trying.
A few weeks ago, the news was abuzz with the story about a white male poet who’d submitted a poem to eleventy-four literary journals, all of which said ‘No thanks.’ […]
Continue reading Breaking the Rules
Have you ever bought a book that everyone said was wonderful? I don’t mean a few of your friends recommended it. I’m talking about the book that is being hailed by all the big review sites and most of the smaller ones, raved about up one side of Facebook and down the other side of Twitter, and has a #5 sales rating on Amazon. Everyone from your local librarian to your favorite author has bought and loved this book, so you fork over your hard-earned cash and buy yourself a copy, only to discover that… you hate it. Suddenly you’re holding a book you can’t even bear to finish, wondering what on earth is wrong with you. So many people shouted their love for this book for all the world to hear, and there you sit, unable to stomach another chapter.
The hardest part is facing everyone who loved the […]
Continue reading Everyone Likes It, So Why Don’t I?
Once more, we are pleased to bring you Laura Anne Gilman, author of Silver on the Road (Book 1 of The Devil’s West), a marvelous adventure set in an American West that isn’t quite the one you know, and featuring Isobel, the Devil’s Left Hand who is “the quick knife in the darkness, the cold eye and the final word.” Laura Anne is here today to talk about the research involved in writing an alternate-world fantasy.
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One of the biggest lies (along with “this won’t hurt a bit” and “the check is in the mail”) is “writing fantasy is easy – you just make shit up.”
You already know that’s a lie, so I won’t bother to rant about that. But what you may not know is that. It. Never. Ends. It literally, never ends. You think you’ve gotten everything nailed down nicely, you’ve sent fact-checking emails, […]
Continue reading Oh Yay, More Research!
Folks, we once again welcome Laura Anne Gilman, author of Silver on the Road (Book 1 of The Devil’s West), a thrilling adventure set in an American West that isn’t quite ours, ruled by the Devil and watched over by Isobel, his Left Hand. It’s a wonderful start to what I expect will be an exceptional series, and I hope all of you have been able to score your own copy by now. Today Laura Anne presents a little chat about bucking trends.
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Back when I first came up with the idea that would become SILVER ON THE ROAD, I sent it to my then-agent, asking “what do you think?”
Her response was that she loved it, thought it was great…but that it didn’t seem very commercial, and I probably should stick with what we knew was working, the urban fantasy. And because my then-agent was savvy […]
Continue reading The Business Side of Bucking Trends
I started reading a new book the other night. It was a science fiction tale of soldiers fighting with advanced weaponry that the real-world army can only dream of, against an enemy determined to take them out at any cost. For a page or two, we were doing fine… until the author started introducing more characters. There was the beautiful soldier headed into combat who made sure to perfectly coif her hair. A technician who didn’t seem to know that she was beautiful. There was the lovely-even-without-any-makeup woman of color, proud and unflappable in the face of a life-shattering injury. And of course the adorable pixie dream girl who somehow has the physical strength to take down a man four times her size.
There were men, of course. A compactly built, stern-faced sergeant, a hulking asshole and the skinny genius kid. And the main character, of course, who, as of […]
Continue reading At Least She’s Pretty