Category Archives: The Writing Biz

Another Book, the Third

Once again, it takes a book by Carrie Patel to break my long silence in the blogosphere.  As you can tell by comparing the cover to previous entries in the trilogy, things have taken a less chaotic turn, but things are still very exciting indeed.  And now dirigibles are involved!

Thanks to my long delay in posting, of course, you may have already read about it elsewhere, but in any case, pick up a copy today.  It makes a great Father’s Day gift.

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You Just Sound Defensive There, Trail

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you, the erudite and well-read follower of this blog, about the latest developments in the comic strip Mark Trail, but for those of you that have been too busy to keep up with it, or absorbed in Ziggy or something, I’ll catch you up.

First, upon arriving in Rapid City on assignment, Mark was accosted by a kidnapper who was looking to add to his stable of victims, and who was interested in the careers of said victims:

The kidnapper’s intuition about the reason someone would have to visit the Cheyenne River reservation proved correct, as Mark confirmed:

So far, the conversation is pretty civil.  I mean, the “never heard of it” is arguably a bit rude (as is, perhaps, the non-standard pronunciation of “huh”), but as far as conversations with kidnappers go, you can’t ask for much more.  The man is expressing interest in Mark’s career, after all.  But things take a turn for the worse:

I have to say, I’m disappointed in Mark’s verbal sparring here, especially considering he’s a writer.  The guy gave you a nice opening, there, to defend the craft of writing on intellectual and spiritual grounds.  You could go with “Just because it takes you forever to get through an article about ferrets because your lips move when you read doesn’t mean everyone is semi-literate”, and that’s just off the top of my head.  Mumbling something along the lines of “Well, I make pretty good money at it” is just sad, especially to a kidnapper/bank robber.  Step up your game, man.

(Hat tip to Comics Curmudgeon)

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Get Me, Being Like Scalzi Again

As frequent readers know, I occasionally pull off Scalzi moves by getting Books and such.  Well, here I am again, showing off the view from my hotel room at Worldcon, just like Scalzi:

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That’s Not an Idea! None of Those Are Ideas!

twilight-fiftyshadesSomewhat against my will, I’ve been following recent developments in the Twilight saga.  I vaguely recall the big hoofara when someone leaked part of “Midnight Sun”, a retelling of Twilight from a different character’s POV, a while back.  I can certainly understand Stephanie Meyer being ticked about having a messy first draft released.  I can also understand her being mildly irritated at someone’s poorly-written fanfic based on her story turning into a massive bestseller.  But apparently now no one’s going to get a properly-edited POV-character shift of Twilight because there’s going to be a POV-switched “50 Shades of Grey”.  Instead, fans will have to make do with a different rewriting of Twilight with genders swapped.

But here’s the thing.  None of these things – rewriting a book with a different POV character, or swapping genders, are ideas, exactly, are they?  I mean, yeah, in the broadest sense they are, but they mostly sound like writing exercises.  I’ve rewritten parts of books in different POVs just so I have a better idea what’s going on, but I never thought of saving that stuff to publish later.  So it seems peculiar to get all wrapped ’round the axle about someone “stealing” something that isn’t much of an idea to begin with.  And I can’t help but feel that everyone would be better off finding some other book to write, like my idea about S&M vampires in the old west.  None of you are allowed to use that, by the way.

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Reviews

The.Encounter-wash-680x1024A nice review of my story (and others) in the latest Kaleidotrope at Eric Landreneau’s site.

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Another Book, Again!

I’ve been remiss in posting lately, which is particularly troubling because I missed talking about this new book from Carrie Patel back when I could lord my insider status in the writing biz as someone who had already read it, like I did with her last book.

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Of course, by now, ya’ll have probably already read it.  If not, what are you waiting for?

 

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Revisions

I was recently directed to a certain author’s blog, who, possibly jumping off from Heinlein’s third rule of writing, tells aspiring writers never to revise their work (or possibly even re-read anything they’ve written).  Rather, he says just keep cranking out the prose and sending it out and/or publishing it, then moving on to the next thing.

Personally, the very idea of doing that horrifies me, since when I look at some of the old stuff I’ve written I can only be grateful no one else had a chance to see it until I had a chance to make it better, and figure out how I actually want the plot to function.  But I understand that every writer is different, and no doubt many are slow, careful types who get things down pretty much the way they like the first time.  But I can’t help but wonder if functioning this way might result in some books like the one in the old Bob and Ray skit:

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Thrilling, But Not Blood-Curdling

outlineIt is my sad lot to be a pantser.  I bear up under it, mostly, but I do sometimes wish I was an outliner.  Those anal-retentive buggers seem to have things easier in a lot of ways (nano notwithstanding).

But my recent discovery of these outlines from the Stratemeyer syndicate have been a revelation.  All I need is an Edward Stratemeyer of my own, to provide me with sizzling outlines that I can fill out into bestselling novels.  Preferably ones like those of the proposed “X-bar-X Boys series” that are thrilling, but not blood-curdling.  I’d also like to be published in hard cover like the Hardy Boys books, so as to appear respectable to parents.  Important consideration, that.

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Another Book!

TheBuriedLife-300dpiAnother day, another fine book close to my heart arrives at the old homestead (I would have taken a nice photo of the physical book as proof, but my camera has gotten all fancy-pants and insists on batteries that aren’t “mostly dead”).  As I mentioned before, I’ve already read the book thanks to my industry insider status.  Technically, it was beta reading, though it was more of a learning experience for me than anything.  You can read more at Carrie’s blog, including other blogs where the book will be chatted about: your Scalzis, your Wendigs, your Robinette Kowals, etc.

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Crabby Post of the Day

Look, I realize that celebrities are going to publish books.  And I realize that they’ll occasionally end up being interviewed about them–just because they’re celebrities doesn’t mean they don’t care about sales, and I don’t begrudge them going for a bit of publicity.  But can interviewers please stop asking them about the publishing process?  And if they are asked about finding agents or the editing process or how many books earn out advances and what that means or whatever, can the authors in question please just admit they don’t know, and don’t need to?

If you’re a movie star who decided to sit down and write a children’s book and got it published in 3 months, you probably don’t have any advice that would be all that useful to the rest of us, is all I’m saying.

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