A couple of weeks ago, Diana mentioned in a post the latest publishing kerfuffle, which pits Barnes & Noble against Simon & Schuster. (Feel free to check out Di’s post, as well as the other posts to which she links. I’ll wait.) The issues in this fight, as with so many other publishing industry conflicts, are murky at best. When corporate behemoths do battle, it’s hard to take sides because neither entity is terribly sympathetic. But you can always count on one thing: Whatever costs the giants incur as a result of their disagreement will be passed on a) to authors, and b) to consumers. Certainly that has been the case this time around.
I bring this up because lately I have been feeling deeply frustrated by this business and my precarious-as-always place in it. I’m a mid-lister. I’m not one of fantasy/science fiction’s big names. I’m too old [...]
Continue reading A Writer’s Manifesto: The Doubts and Resolve of a Midlister
As many of you know, release day for BLOOD TRADE was yesterday. Once a book comes out, all preparation and blogging and hope and hard BIC and planning and more BIC in the world is … never enough. A writer just has to wait and see what happens. With the market changing daily, even hourly, it’s hard to say what the result and the final numbers will mean. Will Jane Yellowrock rise in the listing or fall flat on her face? I just don’t know.
When David and Misty and I started MagicalWords.net, it was with a hope and prayer that we’d find a way to draw in fans and writers and make a home for all of us. We had also hoped that we might grow the site, make friends with other writers, and make new fans for our writing. None of us have a lot of time on [...]
Continue reading Snippet Blood Trade
I am staring down the barrel of several guns—all shotguns, all loaded, all with buckshot. And I am fine with it. Now please understand that I have panic attacks. Last year this time I was in the same boat and panicking. This year, no panic. I find this odd behavior on my part. It differs from the character building, it differs from past actions, it does not fit the pattern. Not at all. So I am musing on the changes that I see in me. Not ranting, mind you. Just … pondering my way through it.
If I was a character in one of my books, I—the writer—would have to deal with this deviation from the norm. I’d have to find a way for the character changes to make sense or I’d have to do a lot of rewriting and reinsert the panic attacks. Fortunately, I am not a character [...]
Continue reading The Shotgun Barrell of the Writing Life
I was listening to an NPR show one morning on the way to the lab, (a rerun, surely) and they were talking about books, interesting characters, the psychology of loss, and Scrooge. I never got the name of the show, but it had a varied and almost dissonant cast of professionals, including a psychologist, a book reviewer, and the host, among others. If I hadn’t been driving I’d have taken notes, but it’s a long winding country road to the lab, and so I didn’t. What I did was let the ideas being tossed around by the guests ferment in my brain and combine with the thoughts from the post that I wrote on the 6th about Chaos and Order. This could be part two. Or not. We’ll see how it plays out.
In the previous post I said that: Order without chaos is entropy, and entropy is death. That [...]
Continue reading Of Loss, Brokenness, and Scrooge
Order without chaos is entropy, and entropy is death.
I was a Trekie for many years, and one of my early Star Trek memories (original Star Trek) was the episode where Captain Kirk was spilt into two parts by the transporter malfunction. (No one ever mentioned where the extra mass came from to make another whole human. Maybe from the stuff that the replicator used to create piping hot coffee and fudge and uniforms and spare parts, though I never thought the two were connected in any way. But I digress. Back to the episode – The Enemy Within.) The enemy was Chaos.
Kirk was split into two parts, the good Kirk and the bad Kirk, or the creative, passionate, selfish, violent Kirk, and the boring, compassionate, kind Kirk. The evil Kirk went about trying to take over the ship, and the good Kirk huddled in the corner whimpering, unable [...]
Continue reading Of Chaos and Order
Or I could call this — The InfoDump of Morality
This will be my last infodump post, because I’ve said it all, or enough of it to stop. No one here needs every instance of possible infodump-ery listed and suggestions of ways to avoid it. We are writers. Give us an idea and we can twist it every which way all by ourselves. But I want to make one last (short) note on infodumps, and to me this is a biggie. Morality.
In each fantasy novel, in each fantasy world, we (the writers) incorporate the concept of morality. It may not be by intent, and, in fact, we may desire to avoid the idea of morality in our books entirely. But it always sneaks in.
Sometimes it is the morality of religion, and we keep a handy list of “Thou Shalts” or “Thou Shalt Nots” beside us while we write. Sometimes [...]
Continue reading The Infodump Scene Part Last — Morality
Happy New Year Everyone! I am so glad to see 2012 go I can hardly stand it. Whew.
This is likely to be the last InfoDump segment, unless I get inspired. We’ll see. This entire series (1,2,3, and now 4) has been an example of how to take info and use to further the scene, the character development, and the plot with the info, rather than let it slow the plot down.
Some of these *info things* we always need in a novel, and some would be at the direction of an editor, requested in the textual rewrite letter. This is what happened to me when the acquisitions editor wanted world-building before the first action scene. I like action scenes, so I wrote an *almost action scene* into the 28 page new first chapter, using it to further the info-world-building.
Here is that partial list of the editor’s requirements [...]
Continue reading The InfoDump Scene, Part 4.