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?
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
I love to lift weights with my husband. But doing the same exercises every week becomes dull awfully fast, and the surest way to kill enthusiasm for an exercise routine is to let it get boring. The same truth holds for creative exercise. Sometimes sitting down and putting your hands on the keyboard isn’t quite enough to wake up your muse. Today I’m going to share a few nifty exercises for you to try next time there’s a wall between your brain and the empty page.
Dictionary Open up a dictionary and find a word you’ve never seen before. Read its definition. What does it say to you? Is it frightening? Amusing? Confusing? Good. Now using that thought, try to come up with a short story featuring that word. You don’t need to write the whole story (unless you’re inspired!) Just scribble yourself a few lines.
For extra-credit, see if […]
Continue reading Writing Workout