Okay, guys, I’m going to cheat a little today. But it’s all in the name of making you happy! I’ve been asked to appear at some upcoming cons (one of the really fun aspects of a writer’s life!) and of course, I have to help by making suggestions for panels. Normally I can come up with a half-dozen or so reasonably good ideas, but I suddenly found myself worrying that we’re repeating the same old panels over and over. I know we can always talk about “Strong Female Characters” or “How To Approach An Agent” and hopefully reach a few people who haven’t seen that panel a hundred times, but maybe there are other subjects we’ve neglected.
Normally the blog is about bringing information to you, the readers, but today I’m asking for your help. Are there any panel ideas you’ve always wished would turn up at a con? [...]
Continue reading What Do You Want?
So you’ve sold your first book. You’ve arranged a signing or two at local bookstores. You’ve been asked to give podcast interviews and participate in blog tours. Today you checked your email and you see you’ve been invited to be a guest panelist at a con. How exciting! You’ll be sitting at the table with three or four other authors, possibly even some you’ve admired for years. You’ll be sharing your thoughts with the eager fans gathered to hear what you have to say. When the time draws near, you receive your panel schedule for the con and notice you’ve been assigned moderator status for The Future of Publication After The Coming Zombiepocalypse. Moderator? Wait a minute…a second ago you were just going to say brilliant things to adoring fans, and suddenly they want you to be a writer wrangler. What does it even mean to moderate?
I got home [...]
Continue reading Moderating in Moderation
Once upon a time, the genre standards were very clearly defined. Mystery meant the discovery of a dead body and the subsequent investigation to find the killer. Romance was a beautiful young woman meeting a handsome man she at first hates, and only comes to love after 200-odd pages of tribulation. Westerns were cowboys on the lonesome prairie, with the obligatory gunfight. Horror terrified the reader and only in the last pages let the hero win. Thrillers were exciting tales of kidnappings, heists or political intrigue. Erotic fiction was….well, you get the idea.
Fantasy and science fiction had, and to an extent still have, their own conventions. But somewhere along the way, writers got bored with sticking to the rule books, and started playing with the standards, borrowing plot devices of other genres and weaving them into the mix to make their own work a little different. These used to [...]
Continue reading Genres Part Five – Crossovers
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 [...]
Continue reading Beginnings
As briefly mentioned in the comments to David’s Labor Day post, I used to be shy. Extraordinarily so. I knew all the popular kids in high school, but I wasn’t invited to their parties and I didn’t get asked out much. During my junior year, I worked in the library during senior lunch, manning the pass desk. Students dropped off their passes to me, and I marked their entry and exit times. Pretty mindless work, so I used the time to read. I’d discovered Heinlein a couple of years before, and I was working my way through his books, as well as Asimov and Bradbury. Eventually, a senior boy I’d been admiring for months stopped and spoke to me about the book I was reading. (Don’t ask me which one it was. My attention was riveted on the boy.) He admitted he loved SF, and suggested I read Frank Herbert’s [...]
Continue reading You Have To Read This!
With this being Labor Day Weekend, and with Monday being a national holiday, which typically means little traffic at the site, I thought I would post something a little lighter than usual. If you happen across the post and feel like playing along, great. If not, no problem.
Throughout this summer, which unofficially ends this weekend, we’ve talked about lots of things — villains, titles, many aspects of writing and creative process. And I thought I would weigh in on a few of these in the most superficial way possible. Sounds like fun, right? I know. I’m all excited, too.
So here, in no particular order, are a few of my favorites, either in category form or list form. I can safely say that I heartily recommend every book and film mentioned in what follows. Enjoy!
Continue reading Favorites: Some Labor Day Fun
Greetings, dear readers!
I’m Jessica Wade, and I’m an editor at Ace and Roc, the science fiction and fantasy imprints of Penguin. The lovely Faith (AKA Gwen) Hunter asked me to write a guest post for you all, and in this case I’m going to follow the age-old dictate that says ‘write what you know’ (strange advice for fantasy writers I suppose!) and try to give a sense of what it is that I do as an editor—mostly how I shepherd a book through to publication. I hope that getting a feel for what goes on after a book is bought will be of interest, and will maybe shed some light on what sometimes seems like the faceless military-industrial complex of publishing.
So. What is it that an editor does? The answer varies from house to house, and from imprint to imprint within each house (the imprint being [...]
Continue reading Special Guest: Jessica Wade!