The fresh-baked blueberry scone to have with a lovely 2nd flush darjeeling tea this afternoon is a complete bonus.
May 26, 2010
May 24, 2010
I’ve done a lot of talking about writing and publishing. I’ve talked about how to find ideas, how to perfect ideas, how to find your market, put together a professional manuscript and query letter and send it out. In all this time, I’ve said there’s one thing I don’t know how to teach, and that’s how to finish. I don’t mean how to write an ending. I mean how to finish, to complete a manuscript, stop writing it, declare that it is as good as you can get it, and get it out the door.
I’ve never had a problem with this aspect of the craft/business. I write, I finish, I send out, I start the next. I started doing this in high school, and I’ve been doing it ever since. And I pray to all the divinities who take pity upon fools and writers that I never will lose this ability.
But I’ve seen plenty of people who can’t manage it. They are talented writers with solid ideas, and they just can’t, or won’t finish. There can be a number of reasons for this. Finding out how much work writing actually is is a big one. Or Real Life might toss a major detour in your way. These things happen. But there are reasons beyond this. Of these, the biggest, the most persistent, is fear.
So I thought I’d do a series about fear as it relates to writing, talk some about what it is, and what it isn’t, and maybe look at some ways to deal with it.
May 21, 2010
May 20, 2010
The proposal for THE CLOCKWORK CUCKOO is finished, and in the email to Bantam. Cross your fingers, folks.
Now onto the next romance for Berkley.
Busy, busy, busy…
May 17, 2010
Whatever happened to that Deep Water Whale romance you sent me awhile ago? I was having lunch today with T. Editor, and he’s actively looking for whale-themed romance
Okay, this is not the actual email my agent sent. But it is close, and I got it just a week ago. My response:
Erm…nothing happened to it. Do you need a fresh copy of the proposal?
She said yes, I went back to my files and it turned out I had not just a proposal, but a completed mss. Wow. When had I written that? Thinking back, I remembered I’d written it at the request of an editor who subsequently rejected it. V. upsetting. But I didn’t throw out the offending mss. I put it in a file, and I kept it. Because I knew the odds were decent that something like the above would be coming in eventually.
This was something else I learned early on. Never EVER throw anything out. Keep the scraps, keep the snippets, and above all, if you’ve finished a project, keep it. Even if it never sold. Especially if it never sold.
Back in the day when I was strictly a denizen of the short story zone, I wrote a deal-with-the-devil story set in the old west. I have an unhealthy fascination with deals-with-the-devil, and I’d just read a good book on old west gamblers and nature took its course.*
It was only after I started sending it around that I found out fantasy editors did not share my fascination. It must have gone to 20 publications, and gathered an equal number of rejections. So, with many a gentle tear, my masterpiece went into the drawer (yes, this was back in the days when the submission process was still mostly paper. Thank G*D those days are done), and it stayed there for two solid years. Until…I got word a new magazine, REALMS OF FANTASY was opening, and actively buying. My story came out of the drawer and went into the envelope. This time, it sold, for a decent rate per word too.
Since then, I’ve saved just about everything. Even if a market doesn’t appear for the work in its current form, I do flip through the archives from time to time and see what still strikes my imagination. Ideas and storylines are malleable things and can be reworked. I (G*d willing!) improve at my craft, and can make improvements, or a good ending to an idea that wasn’t quite there a year, or two, or five ago. Or, a new market has appeared suddenly (see above), and I have something I was toying around with that might now have a shot.
A metaphoric attic full of mss. and ideas is one of the greatest resources a writer has. It means you don’t constantly have to start from scratch, and when a new chance comes, you can be one of the first in line to take advantage of it. So keep them, all of them. You never know when they’ll come in handy.
May 15, 2010
I belong to a writers group. Actually, I belong to two. I’ve been a member of the first one for…years now. At least part of every novel I’ve written has gone through it to be pulled apart and minutely examined.
Now, I am one of those writers who believes creativity is one of those things one does behind closed doors, in private. Despite that, I’ve also decided to try an experiment. From time to time I’ll be posting at least part of my current submission to my writers group. There will be rough drafts, bits and pieces, experiments, rewrites and dead ends, so no guarantees on the quality. Also, no guarantees that what’s here will bear any resemblence to the published book, or that what’s seen here wlll ever be published.
But here’s the first submission: THE CLOCKWORK CUCKOO, Chapter 1, pt. 1.
One reason I’m thinking about this because I just read such a sequel. A few years ago now, I was given a YA book called INGO by Helen Dunmore, about a girl on the Cornish coast who discovers her family connection with the local mermaid population. It was a good book, well-written and compelling. But I was slow off the mark looking for the sequel, THE TIDE KNOT, and it sort of came and went without me. But I finally found it at my local indie bookstore (yet another reason to shop indies), brought it home and tucked in.
Sigh. Unfortunately, the author had so many ideas she wanted to pursue: coming of age, split families, environmental change, balance, trust, to name a few, that she didn’t properly follow up on any of them. The plot was committed in a scattershot fashion and the resolution felt….unresolved. It didn’t tie back to what the heroine had learned or needed to achieve to do that coming of age thing.
May 12, 2010
Book View Café announces:
EXTRAORDINARY STEAMPUNK PHOTO CONTEST!
for your inspiration and edification, we offer a free sample from The Shadow Conspiracy
Do you have a killer steampunk ensemble?
A gorgeous nouveau-Victorian parlour?
A seriously classical retro ray-gun?
Take a photo and send it to Book View Café! Winners chosen by our elite cadre of judges will receive prizes including:
The Shadow Conspiracy volume I
The Shadow Conspiracy volume II (coming in December 2010)
other wonderful ebooks from BVC authors
selected winning photos used as illustrations in The Shadow Conspiracy volume II!
There will also be a Reader’s Choice Award (prize TBA) at the Book View Blog!
Get creative! Dress up your friends! Masquerade as characters from The Shadow Conspiracy such as Ada Lovelace, Charles Babbage, Mary Shelley, Marie Laveau…
As inspiration, Book View Café will offer daily free sample stories from The Shadow Conspiracy I the week of March 24.
1. Photos must be in .jpg format, maximum 1 MB in size.
2. Photos must be emailed to // firstname.lastname@example.org
between March 24, 2010 and June 1, 2010.
3. By submitting your photo to the contest, you verify that:
~ You own the publication rights to the photo.
~ You agree to allow Book View Café and Book View Press to use the photo as an illustration in The Shadow Conspiracy volume II and related promotional materials.
~ Any persons depicted in the photo or owners of private property depicted in the photo agree to allow Book View Café and Book View Press to use the photo as an illustration in The Shadow Conspiracy volume II and related promotional materials.
~ BVC reserves the right to disqualify any photo deemed offensive or inappropriate.
Ask here. Keep it clean. I’ll do my best to answer. If we get enough questions, we can make a regular feature out of it.