Friday, November 30, 2007

Tidbits and Big Novels.

Some link love first:

Remember how I came up with the brilliant idea of taking E-Ink to color? Well, evidently others have not only thought of it before me, but they’ve already invented the technology. Go figure. And it’s even capable of making a reader one could roll up and bend!

The Good Girls are having another party, this Friday with Peter Stothard of the Times Literary Supplement. Yeah, I’m an idiot because I didn’t know what that was. Now I do. And it is really cool.

Peter Stothard also keeps a lively blog. He seems really cool, too.

Onward, upward.

Last night I finished John Irving’s A Widow for One Year. Best ending I’ve ever read, I’m pretty sure. Best last line in recent memory. Last lines drive me nuts. His is not good as a standalone, but as the end of the novel? It kicks ass.

And because it’s about a writer, it’s got some great quotes:

  • "...hers were the tears a writer cried whenever a writer heard something better than anything he or she could have written." (Which is how I felt upon reading the ending of A Widow for One Year. I did cry, but I also threw a temper tantrum at myself.)
  • "My novels aren’t ideas--I don’t have any ideas," Ruth replied. "I begin with the characters, which leads me to the problems that the characters are prone to have, which yields a story--every time."
  • (About brainstorming and daydreaming up a new novel.) "In a way, I like this phase of a novel better than the writing of it. In the beginning, there are so many possibilities. With each detail you choose, with every word you commit yourself to, your options close down."
  • "A novel is always more complicated than it seems at the beginning. Indeed, a novel should be more complicated than it seems at the beginning."
  • "’No one knows what they [semicolons] are anymore,’ he says. ’If you’re not in the habit of reading nineteenth-century novels, you think that the author has killed fruit fly directly above a comma--semicolons have become nothing but a distraction.’"
  • "What did it matter if a detail was real or imagined? What mattered was that the detail seemed real, and that it was absolutely the best detail for the circumstances."
  • "What writer wouldn’t want to have his or her own housewife?" (Amen to that!)

Lastly, I’m starting a Dickens novel tomorrow. But which one? I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to squeeze in more than one Dickens, because there are so many new books I haven’t read, beckoning to me. So which Dickens would you vote for? Do you have a favorite?

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Reading Habits?

Check out PJ Parrish’s post on the Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Awards. It’s only open to modern literary fiction, and this year Norman Mailer took the top prize. It’s a hoot!

My reading habits are all weird. I have tendency to lose books. They’re in the house, and I know that, but instead of searching for them, I’ll start a new one. Then I have books I’m reading next to my bed (I can’t read with the TV on, so I rarely get to read these unless DH has the TV off--HAH!), books I’m carrying around in the car (I never read in the car, so this is a sort of wishful thinking/security blanket thing), and then finally, the books I have in the bathroom.

Most of my reading gets done at Borders. In fact, when I buy books, I end up not reading them because they’re at home and no longer at Borders where I do most of my reading.

When I do read at home, it’s in the bathtub. I have a little bookcase in the bathroom. See, my house is literally my business, so the only place to kick back and read is in the bathtub.

Since I’ve taken the last couple days off of writing, I have been spending about four hours a day reading -- in the bathtub. I am a shriveled prune, but I am almost done with A Widow for One Year. By my count, this book is about 263,000 words long! Wow!

And I love every single word.

All my life I’ve written short. I am just dying to be completely self-indulgent and take more time to build my world, more time developing the characters, and more time to write the whole story.

Even though I didn’t finish my novella in time to do NaNo, I embraced the spirit of it. I ended up with more words than I needed and more scenes than could fit in under 50,000 words.

Having to cut words and scenes forced me to look at my story in a whole new way. I had to really know my story, really know what was vitally important to end the story satisfactorily.

I usually write short and flesh out, but I really liked the free feeling of writing more than I needed, then focusing it shorter.

And I made a mess. That was kinda cool. I tend not to make messes, so the process of cleaning it up was enlightening, too.

So that’s what I learned from NaNo this year, even though I didn’t get to it officially.

What are you reading habits like? Where and when do you read?

What about writing? Do you write short then flesh out, or long then cut? And if you did NaNo, how’d it go?

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Blogger's Block

I haven’t written for two days.

But you see, I only write at Borders, unless it’s an emergency, and circumstances have dictated that I stay at home for a few days. And since I just finished a project, I figured it would be fun to take a day or two off and watch myself crawl out of my skin.

DH wanted to watch a Christmas movie together. May I ask, dear Lifetime, with all the writers in the world clambering to get their work published, if this is really the best script you can find? What, are you paying $500 a script or something? I mean, really.

Heck, I think nearly every writer that I know, unpublished and published, can write a better script than the one I just watched.

But have you seen Chuck lately? Remember how I was unsure about it?

It got good. Real good.

I wish they had life coaching for children. We humans are our own worst enemies, and we give ourselves so many mental blocks. I’d be a child’s life coach in a second. Oh wait, I kinda do that already. Well, still. It’d be more fun to just sit and chat with them about their whole life. Oh wait, I kinda do that already, too.

Does anyone watch The Unit? I’m behind a couple episodes. How’s it going this season?

Let’s see ... um ...

That’s it.

And this is your brain on blogger’s block.

.

Life is really boring without writing. I think I’m ready to write at home now.

Does your brain kinda stop working when you stop writing, too?

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Reader Trust

Sometimes you hear it said, "Sure, Author X can get away with that because he’s already established. No new author could get away with that."

I sometimes feel like the assumption is once you get your foot in the door, it’s not so hard, or maybe you get extra freedom or lenience. But I’m not convinced that’s the whole story.

Take, for example, the first sentence of Neil Gaiman’s and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens.

"It was a nice day."

If you stripped away the author’s name and analyzed that first sentence with today’s standards of first sentences, you could call it one of the worst first sentences ever. But if you attach Neil Gaiman’s name to that first sentence, it takes on a whole new meaning.

First, it fits his voice. Neil Gaiman’s voice is nothing if not understated and humble, and that sentence matches. His characters are just ordinary guys thrown in weird situations. Knowing the author’s other work, a reader understands that "It was a nice day" is the understatement of the century. As a reader, I not only trust that this is going to get good, really good, but I also feel like I’m in on the secret. Because I know Neil Gaiman’s work, I know that such an understated beginning is just the beginning of a huge day of twists that will be fun and delightful.

And take John Irving. In A Widow for One Year, he says this about his protagonist, a children’s author:

"It was a Ted Cole story; you always see what you’re supposed to be afraid of; you see it coming, and coming. The problem is, you never see everything that’s coming."

Although John Irving doesn’t write stories you’re supposed to be afraid of, he does have a tendency to tell his stories by giving the ending first. And like he says about his character, you never see everything that’s coming.

Irving writes whole novels that way, whole scenes, whole parts of the book. He’ll tell you up front what’s going to happen, but we know his writing. We know his style and we know that when he says something that’s going to happen, we know that’s not the story. The story is going to be in the twists and details to come. The suspense is not in what will happen, but how it will happen.

I believe it all boils down to reader trust, to the relationship you’ve developed with a reader. It’s like a guy. My husband can smack me on the butt and I’m going to giggle and start kissing him and feel all good inside. If any other man dared, well, let’s just say I’d be kicking and punching and yelling and hissing.

It all boils down to the relationship, to knowing someone.

I’ve heard some writers say they can write a crappy synopsis because they’re established and because they’re proven. I think they miss the point, too. I can write my editor and say I want to write a story about a purple people-eater, and that’s all I say. They understand, not because I’m any good, not because I’m anything. It’s only that they’ve read my other stuff, and they understand that Me + X twist equals something they can envision. That’s it, nothing special.

I’m a big believer in the fact that we have to understand how our words are going to affect a reader. We not only need to take in account our story as it stands alone, but our story as it is seen by the colored glasses of those who know us and know our voice, style, and other stories.

You’d be surprised how much a reader who’s read a good portion of our work knows us. Like, really knows us. Pretty damn scary when you think about it. And also pretty cool. I always feel so weird with reader email, because they know so many intimate parts of me, so well that they could easily call me a good acquaintance or friend, but I know nothing of them. It’s a weird thing and it makes me kind of sad.

I suppose it’s not like that with all authors. We all bare varying degrees and parts of our souls in our stories.

The problem is, almost all of us need to find more readers, which means they’re coming to the story brand new. So we have to consider those readers that know us and give them something special, and those readers who don’t know us and will need to be seduced by cover, by blurb, by first sentence, and by first page.

Just some rambles today, no conclusions. What do you think?

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Favorite Holiday Season Ever?

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Five or six or seven years ago (too lazy to do the math), we spent Christmas at the Luxor in Las Vegas. You can’t tell from the picture, but the statue stands two stories tall. That was one of my favorite Christmases ever, because it was the first holiday season I felt like I had my own true family, and the first season I just felt ... completely safe and loved. I think it was our second Christmas together.

When was your very favorite holiday season in your whole life? Why?

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Yes, Damnit, You Deserve To Get Paid.

I just read a very thoughtful post, a great post, so forgive my rant that’s not directed against that post I swear. But since I seem to have nothing else to say tonight and this is one of my favorite rants, let me say this:

As a writer, you deserve to get paid.

If you dedicate your life to this writing craft, if you achieve a competitive amount of mastery, and if you produce a product that entertains a number of people, you deserve to get paid. You may have to get creative to be paid, you may have to do some gruntwork to get paid, but you deserve to get paid. You may have to twist things a bit to get paid, but them’s the breaks.

I have no idea why, but people get so wishy-washy when it comes to art and money. You know, there is talent and genius in every single career. Donald Trump, if he were a musician, would be Mozart. He would be a genius. He is a talented genius at making deals. He’s turned making deals into an art form. Does anyone say he doesn’t deserve to be paid? Do people say those who want to go into real estate shouldn’t quit their day job? No.

All art is some sort of trade. You practice, you study, you practice, you learn, you practice, and when you achieve the skill needed to make some money, you share what you’ve practiced and you get paid for it.

Sure, there’s inspiration, but let me tell you, there’s inspiration in every single career. You’ve seen movies about inspired teachers, politicians, lawyers, detectives. Art is just another skill, another career. Just because a large number of people derive enjoyment from your art does not mean you work any less. Just because people pay you for what you produce does not make your work any less artistic.

You wouldn’t believe how inspired I can get when we have no money, LOL. I guarantee you it doesn’t lower the quality of my work one bit. I will say that I have spent one or two extra weeks eating potatoes and not eating Thanksgiving dinner because I wanted to make my story better before turning it in, but ... what can you do?

There is no woo-woo-ahhrteeestry. That’s a myth which we may use to our advantage to help us get paid a little more from those who believe in it. That’s a myth we may keep as a trade secret, but it is a myth all the same.

It’s work and you deserve to be paid for that work.

When I was a young musician, I was "socially guided" into certain standards. None of us joined the musician’s union (not sure it does much for classical musicians around here), but we watched each other’s back and maintained certain standards with the same spirit. I could not play for free without feeling guilty for what I am doing to my fellow musician’s abilities to make a living. Not to mention if I’m up there playing, I’m going to play well enough that I deserve to get paid.

So here’s my idea for our world. If every writer who says "don’t quit your day job" or "it’s nearly impossible to make a living at this" starts saying "writers deserve to make a living from their craft" three times, maybe we can start moving our energies in a more profitable direction for ourselves.

Even if you don’t believe in woo-woo-universal-energy, you can believe that focusing on the latter will help us figure out the how, and focusing on the former will end up being a self-fulfilling prophecy.

If we writers don’t believe in the value of our art, who else will?

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

One Step At A Time.

//static.flickr.com/2216/2060654099_fb4e76f69e_mA Christmas light display’s take on "Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima," DH and I’s first Christmas light drive-through display together a long while ago. One of his favorites.

Pssst ... anyone have any more holiday pictures to share?

The itch to complain when life gets you down is one powerful itch, isn’t it? I’ve been trying SO hard not to scratch that itch, lately, trying to look at things on the positive side. (Mostly because of you guys, so thank you!)

But even when I try to frame things in a positive manner, sometimes a snarky little voice can’t help but take a sideways, backwards, hidden stab at complaining, you know?

There are just some days I want life to be easier. And it seems like everyone else handles things so much better and more gracefully than I do, and I wonder how.

Anyways, I firmly believe that if you keep your eye on the ball and just take one more step towards that ball every day, then you’ll get to the damn ball. And then you can start rolling it.

There are always points when you feel like you are not going to get out of a mess, when you feel like things aren’t going to get better, when you feel like there’s no clear path.

But you just gotta take one more step.

Okay, now that I’ve given myself a pep talk, can I tell you I’ve been craving Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, etc.? We’re talking a craving as strong as chocolate, which for me means I’d be willing to get out of bed at two a.m., get dressed, and drive ten minutes to the nearest all-night store just for chocolate.

Ever have a really strong craving for a particular novel or genre?

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Friday, November 23, 2007

Bah-Humbug.

//static.flickr.com/2416/2056995655_4aeb1cc9db_mContrary to my enthusiasm for the holiday season, I actually do not much care for holidays. I enjoy Halloween, but that’s about it. (Although, I celebrate Halloween for the entire month of October ...) I celebrate January 1 for a good two weeks or so, evaluating my life. That’s nice, too.

I’ve always tried to live my life doing the things I want to do. I wanted to play piano, so I did. I didn’t want to get sick, but I did, and I ended up teaching. I was never going to be one of those teachers that didn’t want to teach, though. I figured the universe had made me sick particularly so I could find my way to teaching, and I was grateful.

So I teach, I play. I like to write, so I write. I like to spend time with DH, so I do. I like to read, so I try to read. I like to workout, so I try.

I try to be thankful everyday. I often forget to say it, but I feel it. And I try to pass it on a lot. If someone does something that touches me, that’s really kind and unexpected, I try to find a way to pass it on. Passing it back always feels like you’re devaluing it, you know? Mostly because I always feel that what I pass back is so very little in comparison to how I was touched.

So you know what really gets me about the day of a holiday? Not only do I have to STOP going along and enjoying the life that my little family has chosen, but we have to be happy about doing none of what we love to do and all of what makes me uncomfortable, like dealing with family politics, students not paying their bills, and worrying about making everyone else feel happy.

Because there is high performance pressure on that ONE DAY to be happy, and if you’re not happy, then you’ve failed at something HUGE. You get depressed. Well, at least DH does. It’s really ridiculous.

Me? I’d rather just go about my business and pretend that one day doesn’t exist. Really, truly.

I do, however, love the holiday season, which is why I celebrate Christmas lights several times a day, every day, from November 1 until January 1. The only reason I take them down on January 1 is because of the electric bill, and I can respect that if I left them up all year long, they wouldn’t hold the same magic.

I’d much rather have a Thanksgiving life than a Thanksgiving day.

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Perfect Novel.

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A turkey that landed in my driveway last year. DH cracked up because he never sees a turkey when he goes hunting, and here one lands in our driveway and stays awhile. It was fun to snap eighty pictures of him, LOL ...

Happy Thanksgiving, all! We’re just working around the house and going to Cracker Barrel. We cook a mean turkey dinner, but it’ll have to wait until Christmas Day. Yummy ... I can’t wait! I hope you’re all having a blast, and this is the time of year to get all gushy and say how grateful I am you blog and hang out around the blogosphere! Thank You!

As I was reading around and getting inspired for my novel, I realized that as I search through the stacks, I’m looking for the perfect novel. Something I can aspire to. Something that is everything I’ve ever dreamed of writing.

But I’m not sure books are that way. Every book we read becomes part of our foundation rather than our goal, part of the writer we end up being rather than the writer we strive to be.

Art is always striving to surpass perfection, to create perfection but with our added heart and style and spark, but it’s art’s curse that it always falls short of perfection. Still, we get up the next day and strive some more.

So, I figured it would be fun to have some idea of what the perfect novel for me would be, something I’m reaching towards, even if I fall short. Instead of playing fantasy football, let’s play fantasy author!

Here’s my dream team. What would be yours?

  • Genre: Spy Thriller
  • Tone: A mixture of Alias, Barry Eisler, Joseph Finder, Lee Child, MJ Rose, John Burdett, John le Carre
  • Twists: J.J. Abrams
  • Gut-grabbers: 24
  • Style: M.J. Rose (She makes simple prose sound erotic. I don’ t know how or why, but she can make words turn me on, swear to God.) Nevada Barr, Bernita Harris. (Okay, I should say my style is vastly different, but ... it would be my perfect novel.)
  • Heart: Star Trek: I miss the hope for humanity that pervaded the series, the acceptance of others and the striving for utopia. If I had even a drop of that in my story, I’d be thrilled!

    And, of course, Erica Orloff, how heart seeps onto every page and through every character.
  • Characters: For the ability to make a character vivid in one sentence, Stephen King. For the ability to flesh out quirky so thoroughly that a quirky character feels completely plausible and almost normal, John Irving. For the ability to go deep, deep, DEEP into a character, Erica Orloff.
  • Details: Marcus Sakey
  • Pure, raw talent: Marcus Sakey
  • Pure Something Spark: Nora Roberts
  • Hooks: Neil Gaiman: no one hooks like Neil Gaiman. He hooks short and long and all over the place. It’s breathtaking to watch.
  • Suspending Disbelief: John Irving writes fiction with a capital F. He writes fiction’s fiction, a novel’s novel. In this latest trend of realism in novels, sometimes I feel like I’m reading a true story rather than fiction. I love the feeling of John Irving’s fiction. It feels like fiction, but there’s disbelief to suspend, which he does through character, usually.
  • Pacing: Jason Pinter
  • Plot: It’s been years since I’ve read a Jasmine Cresswell novel (shame on me), but when I did read them, I thought they were the most finely-crafted plots I’d ever read. Seamless, but hooked everywhere. Really cool and amazing. I never understood why she’s not as big as some of the other suspense writers out there; when it comes to romantic suspense, she was definitely one of my favorites!
  • Female kick-ass characters: I don’t know how he does it, but Mark Terry writes them better than anyone. He just lets them be them, doesn’t make excuses or fuss with them or anything. I really can’t put my finger on it. Of course I have no idea, but it feels like he just respects women and of course they’d be kick-ass in their own right. Whereas some female authors tend to unconsciously, I think, try to prove they’re just as good as a man (or better), and some male authors tend to try too hard to make them female. (I’m sorry to say, I’m not sure a male author should ever mention a women’s period.) I just like the way Mark Terry writes women. I’m sure he thinks me bizarre for saying that so much, LOL.

    Oh! How could I forget J.D. Robb? Eve Dallas is awesome! And so is Laurell K. Hamilton’s Meridith Gentry and Anita Blake!
  • World-Building: Hard one. Probably the best world-building I’ve read I can’t remember at the moment. Janet Evanovich, for making Trenton and the Burg and New Jersey as fleshed-out as any character. Way cool! Same with John Burdett and Bangkok. Barry Eisler does an awesome job of it, too, but he doesn’t go so far as to make it a character, in my mind. Not usually. Joseph Finder makes corporate America really vivid, too. Oh! How could I forget J.K. Rowling and C.S. Lewis?!

    WAIT! Not so hard! Laurell K. Hamilton! Although the world rules get a little bent and nearly changed as she goes along, she builds a vivid, vivid world, a fascinating world.
  • The Everyman: For their ability to put ordinary people that we can totally relate to in extraordinary circumstances, I nominate Janet Evanovich, Harlan Coben, Joseph Finder.
  • Pure Storycrafting: John Irving, Neil Gaiman, Robert Heinlein.

What am I leaving out? Tons of stuff, tons of authors. I just can’t think of them off the top of my head. And that’s how I think the books we read influence us. They exist somewhere in our deep in our psyche, inspiring our subconscious as we consciously craft something of our own.

So what would your perfect novel be like? What ideal do you strive for when you write? Of course, in the end, as we strive to write the perfect novel we must give ourselves permission to write crap. Writing, for me, is the hardest mental game I’ve ever played.

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The Neurotics of the End.

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The picture is one of our babies, Dixie Doodle Bug, a few years ago. Isn’t she precious?

I finished today! Polished, revised, tweaked, everything! Finishing a story is always an emotional roller coaster ride for me. First, of course, is relief. Then there’s a burst of exhilaration and a rush of giddiness so strong I had to walk it off in Borders. I suspect it’s just a release of the intense concentration and focus.

Gradually, a sickening sensation works its way into my stomach.

But then I try to forget it and reward myself with two hours of poking around the stacks. I’m writing a whole new book. Time for a shiny new idea! As I poke around, I’m looking for a perfect book, the one book that is everything I ever dreamed of in a novel, the one book that will inspire me to write better than I ever have before!

Nothing is precisely and exactly what I want. (Which, I suspect, is why most writers write.)

Pretty soon I start getting this itchy, panicky feeling at the base of my spine. I feel all jittery and nervous. I’m not writing anything. It’s like standing naked in a bookstore or something. It’s like, if I’m not mired in the depths of a story, I’m no longer a writer.

I start pacing the bookstore, trying to figure out how I’m going to write this next novel, trying not to let fear creep in, but my determination feels all jittery and caffeinated.

I gotta get started on the next one, prove I can write better.

Sometimes it feels like there is no sweet spot in a novel. At the beginning, I fear I won’t have enough story. At the quarter point, I fear I’ll never make it to the end. In the middle, I fear I’ve made a mess of everything. Near the end, I worry that it won’t be satisfying enough, strong enough, powerful enough. And then comes one moment of exhilaration before the insecurities kick in, before I’m worrying about whether or not I’ll be able to write the next book.

I swear, the only peace I get is when I’m actually writing, when I’m living in my fictional world and putting it on the page.

What about you? Do you have a sweet spot that is most pleasurable in the process?

And just for fun, I played with Mark Terry’s Word Count stats:

Word words: 47,238
TNR words: 184 x 350 = 64,400
Courier words: 238 x 250 = 59,500

Funky. That’s kinda neat, kinda disconcerting. Probably my last novella woulda been a novel around 71,000 words by NY standards. Okay, I usually don’t think about this kinda stuff, but now I’m feeling slightly neurotic about this, too.

Well hey, there’s a bright side. If I use these types of word counts, I can say I’ve written plenty of short novels rather than long novellas ...

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Endings.

First, huge congratulations go out to Bernita Harris! The Weirdly anthology that stars her story, Stone Child, is available in print via Amazon here. (And here’s my review, if you want to remember what it’s about.) I’ve had the chance to read a few more of the stories and it’s a good collection, different in a refreshing way.

I’ve been struggling with endings, lately. In fact, I’m so intent on improving my endings that I want to write a ton of them.

While writing beginnings can improve your beginnings, I’m not convinced anything but writing a whole story can improve your endings. But maybe I could imagine beginnings and middles, and just write a few endings for practice?

That would be weird, but I’m into practicing in weird ways. Maybe because in piano, if you practice something in a harder way or force yourself to practice it in a different way, you not only improve what you’re working on but you make it feel easier. You make it something you can wield with more artistic control.

But writing is like a solitary performance, a mixture of practicing and performing where the lines are blurred, you know? I have to call on the mental game of practicing as much as I call upon the mental game of performing, and they’re two different things.

If something is hard for me, I force myself to do it a bunch. If I think I can’t work a certain way, I make myself work that way. If I resist trying something or hear myself say "I don’t/can’t do that," or "That doesn’t work for me," then I force myself to do it.

For some odd reason, I always resist whatever would be best for me. The more it would be good for me, the stronger I resist.

I’ve always thought that you can find your ending in the beginning, but John Irving says the exact opposite. He says he writes his ending first, writes his book backwards. That’s interesting. (If I understand correctly, he sits and imagines the whole story before he writes that ending, though.)

I should probably try writing my ending first sometime, since I believe I can’t, LOL. Neil Gaiman writes brilliant beginnings and endings, but the middle is "just" great with flashes of brilliance.

But it’s easy to see why that happens. There’s something very similar about the beginning and the end. They’re like the same two beasts, except the ending goes backwards. The beginning hooks into the middle and the end hooks into the middle. And the beginning and the end are like twin sisters on opposite sides. Sort of. I don’t know, I’m just rambling my thoughts.

Jenny Crusie writes the most satisfying endings I’ve ever read. I can’t quite put my finger on why.

Writing how-to books are pretty quiet about endings. Many of them will ruthlessly talk about the beginning and may even address the middle, but I can’t remember a real focused study on endings.

I guess I have no conclusion today. Any thoughts? On endings or practicing or the mental game of writing?

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Kindle, Your Blogs and Your Books.

I had a great post about MySpace and characterization, but I turned on my space heater. Now that DH has ALL the Christmas lights up, of course this blew a fuse. Luckily, this didn’t happen before I finally got my blogrolls installed on my blog. (See far right sidebar over there.)

Have you seen the new Amazon Kindle? It’s like the Sony Reader, in that you can read it easily in broad daylight and it’s easy on the eyes.

DH reluctantly likes the idea of it. I think I’d rather have an Amazon Kindle than a Sony Reader, but DH is grumbling about the fact that we can’t pick one up and hold it and test it and look at it. That's a major drawback for me.

My favorite features, though, are:

  • I need to slim down my "carrying weight" in a big way, and a reader will help me feed my book habit without taking up so much space.
  • You don't have to be connected to your computer or the internet; it automatically connects to Amazon via wireless cellphone-type technology.
  • You can sample the first chapter of anything for free, first.
  • Newspaper subscriptions can be delivered wirelessly every morning!
  • You can add notes to the text with the thumb keyboard thing.
  • Built-in Dictionary
  • Access to Wikipedia!
  • AND NY Times Bestsellers and New Releases are always $9.99 or less. That's a huge savings!

Hey, about the blogroll links in my sidebar: I still haven’t added all of the links that are in my thunderbird reader yet. I’ve been trying to when I visit, but half the time I forgot. So if you’re not linked, please let me know. I know I read more blogs than are over there!

Speaking of updating my blog, do any of y’all have new books or a book that I don’t have in my orange sidebar? And see those flashing dots next to the recently updated blogs in the blogroll? Is that annoying or useful?

PS: The picture of the Amazon Kindle counts as a holiday picture, because it's on my Christmas list for 2008 ... including 2007, and my birthday ... LOL. But please send me some pictures! :-)

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The Good Side.

A baby picture! From Kate Sterling, 1992. I'm not sure who to coo over more, LOL. They both look cute and adorable!

You’ve probably heard of Dr. Pausch’s last lecture? (I heard about it from Jenny Rappaport.) Carnegie-Mellon has a series of lectures, where the speakers say what they would say if it were their last lecture. In Randy Pausch’s case, it is pretty much true. But that’s not the point. It’s just an inspiring lecture on living life.

I love this quote best: "If you wait long enough, other people will show you their good side."

Below is just a clip, but if you go to YouTube there’s a ten-part series. Thousands of people have watched the whole thing here, and here’s a transcript of his lecture. Edie, his spirit reminds me of you. :-)

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Day Better: the CUTEST video EVER!

This is the cutest video I have ever seen.

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One of those days ...

I’m having one of those days. I don’t think I can rightly explain it, except that my brain is on mental strike. I work best under some pressure, but there’s a point at which I shut down.

DH keeps harping on how much we need the money from my current WIP, which he wouldn’t except we’ve got a bunch of money owed to us and it’s not coming in. I don’t think he understands how deeply this affects me, how I feel like I’m carrying around a little knot of terror in my chest and my mind goes completely blank when I look at that darned WIP, which, to make matters worse, is almost at the end, at that point where I’ve gone over the damn thing so much I’m convinced it’s the worst thing I’ve ever written.

And I feel like I put too much of myself in it. I’m all for baring one’s soul in one’s art, but there’s a point at which you step back and suddenly feel like shit! I didn’t mean to be that honest, really, and now I feel like tearing it in little pieces or stuffing it in a drawer and hiding it or starting over and writing something much safer.

What I really want is a giant bowl (I’m talking serving bowl here, like two-quarts or something) just filled with hot, bubbly molten chocolate. And I want to take that bowl to bed, crawl under the covers and knit and watch TV all day.

But ignore all that. Let me quote a little of Neil Gaiman’s pep talk from NaNoWriMo:

A dry-stone wall is a lovely thing when you see it bordering a field in the middle of nowhere but becomes more impressive when you realise that it was built without mortar, that the builder needed to choose each interlocking stone and fit it in. Writing is like building a wall. It’s a continual search for the word that will fit in the text, in your mind, on the page. Plot and character and metaphor and style, all these become secondary to the words. The wall-builder erects her wall one rock at a time until she reaches the far end of the field. If she doesn’t build it it won’t be there. So she looks down at her pile of rocks, picks the one that looks like it will best suit her purpose, and puts it in.

So maybe I’ll just write a few more words. But today I’m writing in my pajamas and my bed. With cookies.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

I love these little things.

We have eight, and today we’re putting new batteries in. I found this adddoooorable video on YouTube. Enjoy!

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Dignity of Risk

Aimless Writer sent me this gorgeous picture of her two dogs in a snowstorm. Aren't they adorable? And I think snow is so pretty. I can't wait to hear that silent, muffled sound! I’m itching for snow tonight. I love snow before and during (and only before and during) the holidays!

More pictures, anyone, pretty please? Thanks so much for sharing! They do cheer one up, don’t they? (Okay, they cheer me up, but I hope they do you, too!)

When I first worked with kids with disabilities at a horse farm, I was pretty nervous. I mean, what if they fell? What if they got hurt? But a wiser woman than me explained the dignity in risk, and that taking that dignity away is much worse for a person than a cut or a scrape or a broken bone.

When I was in conservatory, we were expected to make our living from music. We were told ninety-some percent of our alumni were working in the music field, and the implied expectation was that we would either maintain or bump up that percentage. Day jobs were not mentioned, ever. In fact, I can remember an actor once telling me, "whatever you do, don’t get a day job." (He was right, too.)

In the writing world, um, people go on and on about not quitting your day job. I wonder if we should focus our efforts more on making writing a viable living for ourselves and less on incessantly harping on newcomers about this day job bit.

This advice is repeated so ad nauseum that even unpublished writers spout it.

Recently, Bernita mentioned a conversation on Dear Author and how some commenters took a blame the victim attitude towards those whose e-pubs had gone under. What really surprises me in all these discussions is that it feels like the majority of those talking bad-mouth these venues and disrespect those that enter in contracts with those venues.

All I really want to say about it is this: these are adults. They have given some thought to the risk and made the decision that felt right for them.

And what if they haven’t?

Big deal. They’re adults. Give them the dignity of risk and give them respect for their efforts. After all, publishing in NY isn’t exactly risk-free.

And although we should take note of all the warnings and pitfalls, my life experience tells me I should look at what I want, keep my eye on the ball, and figure out how to get it. That I should take heart and learn from those who have gotten what I want.

Instead of saying impossible, ask how? Get creative and plan. If I went deaf tomorrow I have three possible paths my pseudonym could take to bring in income, and that’s not because she’s any good at writing.

Here’s a story of a man who believed in his wife’s book so much, he did everything wrong without knowing anything about the business. Sure, it has a success story at the end but that’s not the point. The point is that he barrelled ahead, making mistakes and learning the hard way. He seems to have every intention of barrelling ahead with other projects, doing things his way.

First, I think it’s sweet and romantic that he believed in his wife’s book so much. Secondly, that’s cool. It’s his life and his path, period. I can’t tell you how many students just will not learn unless they learn the hard way.

And why should they? There’s nothing wrong with wanting to experience the spectrum of life for yourself. The journey has lots of valleys, but at least you’re living.

I have a writer friend who quit her day job. Ended up, she hated the pressure and running out to the mailbox every day, panicking for a check. There were times she was downright miserable.

But you know what? Because she quit her day job, she ended up meeting the man of her heart. When he almost died, she had the ability to pick up and go and sit with him in the hospital for months on end. (And bring him home alive so she could marry him!)

There is something glorious and fulfilling to jumping in with both feet. Maybe it’s not the easiest path or the easiest life, but you can’t say it’s boring. Some of the best things in my life happened when I fell down, made a mistake, or took the wrong path. At least I lived, followed my heart, and didn’t shy from experiences good or bad.

Give others the dignity of risk, because you never know what great thing will come of their life if they make the "wrong" or "foolish" choice.

So what wrong path has given you something SO right?

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Tee-hee. And an invitation.

//static.flickr.com/187/434110843_dde6911f81_mHey, I had an idea! I love the Christmas season, and I was wondering if you all would want to play along with my idea. Wouldn’t it be fun for me (maybe only for me, LOL) to post holiday pictures(any November/December holiday) for all my posts this season?

I have plenty, but it’d be even cooler if I could post some of your pictures. Anything goes as long as it’s holiday-related and G-rated. Babies, kittens and puppies get extra credit. Oh! And I love Christmas lights, but you already know that. :-)

Will you please share a picture or two or three at spyscribbler at gmail dot com?

Oh! And guess what?

DH has decided he’s going to write a novel in January. I can’t wait for him to learn to appreciate how hard it is to write a novel. He’s said more than once that if he were writing a story, he’d just sit down and get it down, poo-poo on thinking and stalling and working out plot problems and all that nonsense.

I am waiting with an evil sort of glee. But I hope he has fun. And I think it’s cool that he’s going to learn more about what I do, understand me a little more deeply.

What’s your SO think of the writing process? Of the writing work?

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Happy Thoughts.

DH is putting up the Christmas lights. We don’t much celebrate Christmas, but we do celebrate Christmas lights. I love the magical feeling, and they are such a pick-me-up. When I feel down or frustrated or just plain tired, I open up my front door and stare at our Christmas lights. They’re not magnificent or anything special, but they make me happy. :-) And I know we’re early this year, but tough, LOL.

Instant smile. What puts an instant smile on your face?

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Thrilling Sales: 11/5 - 11/11

Thanks to Publisher’s Marketplace!

You know, Borders Group seems to be buying a lot, lately. Is that the new exclusive Borders thingy? And supernatural thrillers seem to be all the rage, these days.

Did you notice the premise for Tom Avitable’s thriller? I think he’s got a point about bureaucracy and the US.

Thriller

AUTHOR: Allan Folsom
TITLE: The Hadrian Memorandum
EDITORS: Bob Gleason at Forge
AGENT: Robert Gottlieb at Trident Media Group

AUTHOR: Tom Avitable
TITLE: The Eighth Day
EDITOR: Tom Dwyer at Borders Group
AGENT: Donald Maass of Donald Maass Literary Agency

"in which the science advisor to the President races to investigate simultaneous bombings of 17 US research facilities, but bureaucracy and power may be the greater enemies of America than the real world villians"

AUTHOR: Alex Sokoloff
TITLE: next two untitled supernatural thrillers
EDITOR: Marc Resnick at St. Martin’s Press
AGENT: Scott Miller at Trident Media Group

AUTHOR: Phillip Tomasso III
TITLE: Surrender
EDITOR: Christine Whitaker at Whitaker House
AGENT: Janet Benrey at Benrey Literary Agency
PUBLICATION: Spring 2008
DEAL: "nice deal" ($1 - $49,000)

"about a man who walks away from a life of crime, but is called upon by his pastor to help find a missing church administrator"

Mystery/Crime

AUTHOR: A. N. Smith
TITLE: Yellow Medicine and Hogdoggin’
EDITOR: Benjamin Leroy at Bleak House
AGENT: Allan Guthrie at Jenny Brown Associates
DEAL: "nice deal" ($1 - $49,000)

"in which a corrupt sheriff’s deputy confronts Malaysian terrorists in rural Minnesota"

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Too Much Fiction?

I’m trying to finish a novella, and it’s not going well. The last quarter of a story is the hardest for me. I’m not a plotter, but by the time I get two-thirds to four-fifths of the way through my novel, I know what those last few scenes are going to be.

And endings are a bitch. I hate finishing things. I lose interest once I’ve "discovered" the story, once I know the ending and how we get there. I’m also neurotic about them: tying up all the loose ends, reading through what I have over and over trying to find more loose ends, and trying to finish the story coherently when it’s begun to be a big blur of shit, LOL.

But you gotta do what you gotta do, so you sit down and finish what was once "my favorite story so far" and is now "the goddamned thing." I gotta finish it by last week.

I’ve been living in this story, imagining the scenes in the shower, as I lay in bed waking up, as I lay in bed going to sleep, as we drive down the road.

To escape from this fictional world, I’ve been reading more fiction. I’ve found two worlds I love so much, I’m reading them concurrently.

Yes, this means I am currently living in THREE fictional worlds.

And as I sat down to write today, I was tired with the beginnings of a headache. Do you know what I thought? I thought that I’d much rather go home, lay in the bathtub or lay in bed, and daydream in my fictional world than actually bother to write it down.

At that thought, I grew a little worried about my sanity, LOL.

Well, it’s disconcerting to rather live in the fictional worlds I’ve created than the real world. Isn’t that bordering on some sort of psychological problem???

(Am I doing that thinking-too-much thing again?)

Hmm, no conclusions today, the brain is too fuzzy and tired. Except the wonderful thing about writing for NY would be the slower pace of writing. Sure would be nice to write only 300,000 or so words a year at best.

But to get there, I gotta write more, faster, better, and with a headache.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Dead of the Day

Dead of the Day: An Annie Seymour Mystery (Annie Seymour Mysteries)We have a guest blogger today! Our friend, Karen E. Olson’s Dead of the Day was just released on Tuesday. Aside from a fabulous new book with a fabulous new cover, she’s got a fabulous new look on her website. Check it out!

After a skerfuffle at Borders about whether this book was supposed to be on the shelves yet or not (I was right), I got my hands on one of these books.

Oh yeah, Dead of the Day is good. :-)

And now, Karen E. Olson:

I never want to write the same book twice. That said, it’s not easy to change it up with each book when you’re writing a series, in first-person POV. But I’m doing the best I can, and it’s not just for the reader, but it’s for me. I don’t want to get bored, either.

SACRED COWS, my first Annie Seymour mystery, is a straight traditional mystery with a newspaper reporter sleuth and a dead Yale student. SECONDHAND SMOKE became my Mafia book, although there are no horse heads found in beds. And in this third in the series, DEAD OF THE DAY, which is just out this week, I turned up the action a lot and tried to do my best to write a mystery that has some thriller aspects.

The lines of what makes a “mystery” and what makes a “thriller” are rather smudged in most cases. Normally when we think of “thriller,” we think something like the Bourne series or Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series. When we think “mystery,” we think of Agatha Christie, Sue Grafton, Michael Connelly.

One of the clearest ways I’ve heard to distinguish the two types of books is that in a thriller, the book’s protagonist is trying to prevent a crime, and in a mystery, the protagonist is trying to solve a crime that’s already happened. A thriller is more fast-paced and takes place over a shorter time period than a mystery.

In DEAD OF THE DAY, there are two crimes that must be solved, thus the mystery. But the book takes place only over one weekend, and the action moves at light-speed, therefore, the thriller part. I’ve got cliffhanger chaper endings, something my editors pushed for in the second book and I took even further in this one. It’s fun writing a sentence and realizing I’ve got the “aha!” that ends the chapter but hopefully keeps the reader wanting more and turning the pages. This was not an easy thing to learn; it’s more one of those instinctual things that comes with reading more and
writing more.

It was interesting straddling the two genres, and then throwing in the romance between Annie and Tom and Vinny. So I’ve really got three genres for the price of one!

How do you feel about combining genres to create something that can’t be put in a box?

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Ever get pooped?

I worked hard unraveling the mess. Going okay. For the third time in the past three months, I deleted a whole scene that I later realized I wanted. So I had to rewrite it. You’d’ve thought I would’ve learned the first time not to throw stuff away.

Ah well. Brain is fried.

You know, it takes a hell of a lot of concentration to write a novel, you know that? You can’t half-concentrate. You gotta shut everything else down and really focus.

I’m too tired to cook, too tired to watch tv, too tired to eat, too tired to clean the house that the fixer-people made a humongous mess of.

Ever get brain-fried pooped? Too tired to sleep? How do you find that second wind?

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Your Muse?

So what’s your muse like?

I was just considering how negative I sounded today. Well, I’m in a funk. I won’t repeat ad nauseum how much I screwed up this stupid story, but I did. (Okay, I know once I sit down with a calm, clear mind, it won’t be anywhere near as bad as it feels.)

But there are some days I like my funks. And I have the coolest muse. Like, take today for instance. We’ve been hurling insults at each other all day. I mean, really tearing each other to pieces, like growling dogs ripping flesh with our teeth, blood gushing from our mouths.

(Uh-huh. Read that last sentence. That’s how badly writing went today.)

For some odd reason, I take a sick sort of pleasure from these days. I have no idea why. It’s not like fighting with DH. He doesn’t fight well. He goes silent-angry or he sulks. And if I hurled insults at him, I don’t know. I think he’d leave or something. It’s just past the line, you know?

But when the muse and I yell at each other, we kinda enjoy it. We take a gritty pleasure out of going for the jugular. I rant and rave at the insanity of writing and he rants and raves at the ineptitude of, um, me. He shreds my writing to pieces and I do the same to him.

It’s cool, ’cause neither of us get hurt feelings or pays much mind to what we say to each other. It’s like a contest of sorts, gets our competitive spirit revved.

We use the energy as fuel to gear ourselves up for the next round in the writing ring.

Whatever works, I guess. So what’s your muse like? What’s your relationship like?

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Making a Mess.

I’ve made a HUGE mess with my WIP. I’m not usually messy; I usually pre-write in my head before I put fingers to keyboard. This time, however, the story sputtered out a little backwards, in pieces and scenes all out of order.

Yesterday, I wrote: It’s kind of fun, like thrusting your hands in a big mess of dirt and clay and rain, like getting the gook all over you as you try to make something coherent and fun. I feel like I’m a kid, taking my shoes off and stomping through puddles, letting the mud squish through my toes and delighting in getting as dirty as possible.

Today, I wrote: I sure prefer my old process. Playing in dirt is much more fun than cleaning up the mess it makes.

It doesn’t matter how many stories you write, the process always seems to evolve. I thought I had my process down pat after sixteen novel/las, but that’s not how it works, LOL. Each story has its own challenges, you know?

A wise woman once told me that if you’re uncomfortable, then you’re growing. Let’s hope I’m hope I’m growing.

You know, the hardest part for me, when I’m mired knee-deep in the mud of my own project, is seeing the whole thing, the big arc, the whole project put together. I have such a hard time getting my brain to see it all at once. My brain is way too compartmental.

I’m sorta playing around today. (I really don’t have the time, but tough.) Have you heard of Mindola SuperNotecard? Well, you can spread out a bunch of virtual notecards and play with them, like a storyboard.

Each notecard can be given a title, then a summary ... or, in my case, each notecard can be given a title and then I just paste the text of each scene into the body. (Only the first snippet shows up on the notecard; you have to click it to see your whole text.)

This has been an interesting exercise.

First, by laying out the titles, I can see the whole project at once. Then I can sort the notecards into "decks:" into three acts, into chapters, even.

Although I did this so I could lay out and see the project as a whole, I was surprised by the second benefit: having each scene set off by itself makes my compartmental mind very happy. I can see the goal of each scene--and how it serves the big arc--a little more clearly. Now I can tweak a little here or there so each scene fulfills its purpose in a stronger way.

So what’s up with you? What are you uncomfortable with/growing with? What’s the hardest part of writing, for you? What part of your process have you fiddled with, lately?

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Weirdly, Reincarnationist.

(I wrote this post EONS ago. I can’t seem to find where I actually posted it, but ... um, if I’ve already posted it, LOL ... then can you just kinda pretend I didn’t post it yet and pretend I don’t have the world’s worst memory ... please? And when I say things like "today" and "yesterday," it really means a couple months ago ...)

When I walked into Borders today, I found six, shiny, brand-new copies of The Reincarnationist by MJ Rose. I felt immensely proud, as if by choosing to patronize the store that is wise enough to restock The Reincarnationist, I have a right to be proud.

For some odd reason, I’ve attached to this book. If this book doesn’t do fantastic, doesn’t go beyond all the warning stories and pitfalls and bad luck we hear about in the business, then ... then ... then ...

Well, it would just make me happy and hopeful to see this book rise above all that. Simply because it’s so good, it has to rise above all that. Please?

Speaking of good stories, I finally got my palm pilot working. I curled up in bed with Bernita Harris’s short story, Stone Child, in the Weirdly anthology. I loved it! She once said it’s not a horror story, but I kinda feel like it is. (What do I know?) For lack of something else to call it, it’s a horror story about trolls. So original! In just that short story, she built a whole world, fully fleshed out, with world rules that felt original and new.

Trolls! Can you believe it?

Trolls sound cutesy, but it’s not cutesy. It’s a gritty story that will leave you feeling appalled and horrified, featuring a determined, kickass, and compassionate investigator, Lillie St. Claire. Justice is served, but in an unexpected (and better, imo) way.

And beyond all that, she writes with the same vivid, beautiful voice you read on her blog.

Who says short stories are a dying art? Do you read them? Do you love them? Do you write them?

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Thrilling Sales (10/29 - 11/4)

Thanks to Publisher’s Marketplace!

Thriller

AUTHOR: Joy Fielding
TITLE: Still Life
EDITORS: Emily Bestler and Sarah Branham of Atria
AGENT: Tracy Fisher at William Morris Agency
DEAL: "major deal" ($500,000 and up)

AUTHOR: E.D. Drood
TITLE: The Armageddon Code
EDITOR: Bob Gleason at Forge
AGENT: Robert Gottlieb at Trident Media Group

"connected to John’s biblical Revelations and the End of Times"

AUTHOR: Norman Green
TITLE: The Last Gig (two-book deal)
EDITOR: Kelley Ragland at St. Martin’s
AGENT: Brian DeFiore at DeFiore and Company

"featuring a tough stree-smart Brooklyn woman hired gun who takes on a job to investigate a shipping scam, and quickly finds herself wrapped up in murder"

AUTHOR: Tom Sawyer
TITLE: No Place To Run
EDITOR: Drew Nederpelt at Sterling & Ross
PUBLICATION: Fall 2008
"a thriller that posits the 9/11 hijackers had help from influential sources inside the US"

Mystery/Crime

AUTHOR: R.T. Jordan
TITLE: A Talent for Murder (two-book deal)
EDITOR: John Scognamiglio at Kensington
AGENT: Joelle Delbourgo at Joelle Delbourgo Associates
PUBLICATION: Spring 2008

"in the humorous series, featuring an aging Hollywood starlet drama queen turned sleuth"

Horror

AUTHOR: Stephen Lukac
TITLE: Oogie Boogie Bounce and Oogie Boogie Central
EDITOR: Shane Ryan Staley at Delirium Books
PUBLICATION: February 2008
DEAL: "nice deal" ($1 - $49,000)

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Sunday, November 04, 2007

John Irving

"The test of any accomplishment is how self-critical you can be. If you can’t be self-critical, you may do something that’s pretty good but you’ll never be able to make it any better ... if you’re not able to ... attack your first effort and break it down and build it up." ~ John Irving

I love that word, "attack." I constantly attack my work. It’s enjoyable, even! Sometimes aggravating. But if you don’t keep pushing yourself, then how are you going to get better? The day I can’t see my faults is the day I’ll fear I can’t get any better.

The link above has a full-length interview, starting at about the twenty minute mark. The video below is just a short dose of inspiration on being a "craftsman." There’s more John Irving here.

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Friday, November 02, 2007

RWA Ridiculousness.

I can’t tell you how much it saddens me because I LOVE the people, but every day it seems RWA does something else which just makes my jaw drop open. (I’ll be short, I promise. Rant ahead, though.)

RWA has about 9,000 members who all pay the same fee.

(The same fee is the important bit.)

Then, they allow published authors (IF they are not published by a vanity press, and every press not listed in their list is, by their language, a vanity press ... even though they "don’t connect their list with PAN criteria) to get EXTRAS. Like a special part of the website no one else is allowed to see, extra sessions at National that no one else is allowed to go to, extra articles that the general membership is not allowed to see.

They don’t pay for these extras.

Then there’s PRO authors, who have finished a manuscript and jumped through their hoops. They get extras, too. Extra lists, extra articles, extra parts of the website, and extra sessions an National.

They don’t pay for these extras.

Well, today RWA sent out an email.

They wonder if those of us involved in electronic presses would like to attend special workshops FOR AN EXTRA FEE.

Give me a break.

70 - 80% of the members do not get these extras, and yet they pay for them. This REALLY strikes me as biting the hand that feeds you. I would never, ever, not in a million years, I’d walk through fire, cut off my hand, whatever, but I would never do that to my readers.

I just heard a bestselling author who is in full support of this segregation say that the RWA’s RWR magazine is a great way for authors to reach 9,000 members cheaply. It made me roll my eyes at her hypocrisy because RWA is taking money from regular members and giving the benefits to a select group.

(I guesstimate they receive around $700,000 in membership fees from general members, and about $200,000 from PRO and PAN members.) (Sorry about the laziness of math. It’s somewhere around there.)

It would be fine if they allowed access to all things to everyone who PAYS THE SAME MEMBERSHIP FEE. It would be fine if they decided they wanted RWA to be a PAN-only group, and they stopped taking money from general members. But they don’t want to do that, because they want the money.

It’s clear, however, that they want the best of both worlds: the money general members bring into the organization, and the feeling of an author-only group.

I can’t think of a single organization I would rather NOT support more, and yet there are so many wonderful people in the organization, that it’s really given me a struggle. My only two choices are to stay and keep hounding for no segregation, or to quit.

The only benefits of writer’s organizations are cameradie. The rest is all bullshit, really. But that doesn’t mean we can close our eyes when PANs and PROs take advantage of the general membership (I agree that they are doing it unintentionally, but ... the end result speaks for itself). We have to look at and talk about the bullshit, don’t we?

Just because it’s not pleasant to talk about, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to improve things.

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Freedom of Speech.

Freedom of speech, is, I believe, something worth dying for.

She seems so pretty ... she seems so nice ... she looks so confident, all tall and blonde and perfect.

But then she opens her mouth. And then I have no words.

(I’ll be gone this weekend. Happy writing!)

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