On Friday night, I finally saw the new(ish) movie version of The Hobbit — the Peter Jackson version that came out earlier this year. I am a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings movies, despite their flaws, and I was looking forward to seeing what Jackson did with The Hobbit. To be honest, I have been excited about this movie since I first heard that it was being made, and my excitement only increased when I learned that the marvelous Martin Freeman would be playing Bilbo Baggins.
I am sad to say that I found the movie stunningly disappointing. Let me pause here to make clear that I am not a movie purist. I was fine with many of the decisions Jackson made in his retelling of LOTR, including those that strayed from the books as written by J.R.R. Tolkien. I do not believe that a movie [...]
Continue reading On Writing: Book Identity, and Why I Didn’t Like THE HOBBIT Movie
Early in February of this year, I posted to the MW site the opening paragraphs from my WIP, City of Shades, which will be the third Thieftaker book. (It should be out in the summer of 2014; Thieves’ Quarry, the second book in the sequence, will be out on July 2 of this year, as will the paperback edition of Thieftaker. Just sayin’.)
Today, I want to revisit that passage and show you the revised version. First, here is the original:
Ethan Kaille knew that he had been followed. Even as he pursued Peter Salter, who had stolen a pair of ivory-handled dueling pistols from a wealthy attorney in the South End, he himself was pursued. Like a fox running before hounds, he could almost feel Sephira Pryce’s toughs bearing down on him, snarling like curs, determined to take what he had claimed for himself.
Salter had led him [...]
Continue reading Your Critique of My Work Revisited
I have never done NaNoWriMo. I know that there is an ongoing debate about its efficacy for aspiring writers, but I haven’t felt that I could stake out a position one way or another.
Now, though, I am now in the midst of my own NaNo experiment. I started City of Shades (Thieftaker Chronicles, book III, by D.B. Jackson) later than I had intended, which means that I was behind almost from the start. So, I decided that I needed to crank out the pages in February. If I could write 45,000 words this month, I would be back on track. If I could get 50,000 words, I would be ahead of schedule heading into March, which would be good I’ll be taking a week off to travel with my family and celebrate my big milestone birthday. That’s right: I’m about to turn 21 . . .
Anyway, I [...]
Continue reading Holiday Post: My List of the Best Writing Tips
I’ve been spending a lot of time the last couple of months promoting my middle grade fantasy novel, DARKBEAST. That promotion has included going into a lot of schools and speaking many classes about books in general, the life of a writer, DARKBEAST in particular, etc. At each appearance, I take several dozen questions from the audience. A handful of questions is unique; however, most are variations on a few themes:
How much money do you make on your books? When are they going to make a movie out of your book? How did you decide what to draw for the cover of your book? Do you know J.K. Rowling/Jeff Kinney/Stephenie Meyer/Other Uber-Popular Author?
I love school visits — mostly because kids have such relaxed filters. They’re willing to say almost anything, without consideration fro propriety, my feelings, etc.
I do try to teach some lessons with my visits. I [...]
Continue reading Q and A
Like Misty, I’ve been thinking a lot about dialogue this week and I wanted to add to her excellent points. On Monday I was on a flight listening to people talk around me and I remembered a manuscript I read a while ago that began with two characters on a plane. They were strangers and we watched as the hero walked down the aisle (dealing with people in the way, looking for overhead space — the usual stuff) and then him sitting, getting comfortable, and striking up a conversation with his seat-mate. They talked about what you’d expect: wondering if they’d have the middle seat between them free or if someone would snag it at the last minute, where each was headed, was the plane going to take off on time, what were they doing in the departure city and what waited for them in the destination city.
It was [...]
Continue reading Real dialogue isn’t really real
“Whew,” I said in the writing chat room, “finished my galleys.”
“Oh good,” Mikaela said, “does that mean you’ll have time to write your MW post?”
Chastened, I come to write it.:)
Know what I’ve been doing? NOT WRITING. A lot of NOT WRITING. I’ve learned how to do a book layout in InDesign. I’ve been staring a bit miserably at the writing I need to do. I’ve gone to one of the local SF conventions. A week ago I finished all the book layout stuff and said, “Yay! Now maybe I can get back to ACTUAL WRITING.”
And the galleys for MOUNTAIN ECHOES, the 8th Walker Papers novel, landed in my inbox. Seriously, like, while I was writing a blog post saying “Maybe I can get back to the writing now,” before I got to the end of it, the galleys arrived. #NotFair, to coin a Twitter phrase.
Continue reading A Year in the Life: Week 20
A J Hartley
It happens to the best of us. That’s kind of all I have to offer today.
Almost a month ago I got the edit memo from Penguin/Razorbill, the publisher of my middle grades series: fifteen single spaced pages of structural suggestions for Darwen III. Anyone who thinks traditional publishers don’t edit books anymore haven’t been around the Razorbill folk, who are extraordinarily good at their job and as extraordinarily thorough. The downside is that such thoroughness demands a hell of a lot of work from me, and if I thought I was nearly done when I sent the first draft in, I was sadly deluded. In this case, I had known there would be some major changes proffered because we’d been chatting about them over the summer, and when the letter arrived I was actually relieved that the requested edits were not more extensive.
I should also say that a tremendous amount [...]
Continue reading Still Life with Tall Weeds.