Archive for October, 2009

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In case I’m not on the internets this weekend (I’m trying to limit myself as part of a “stop rewarding the procrastination and get more work done” plan, seriously, I haven’t even posted pictures from VP yet), have a good Halloween everybody.

eBear (matociquala) discusses the progress of novel writing. Yeah, and all that.

Ken McConnell is having a book release party tonight. Good luck with the book, Ken.

Stewart Sternberg just sent off his novel to the editor. He also talks a little about how writers in movies end their novels and how writers in the real world do it.

Agent Kristin talks about some changes to contracts regarding e-royalties. Macmillan isn’t a publisher one can sneeze at, so if they’re trying to push something it might become “standard” across the board. Yet another argument of why you want an agent.

Eric over at Pimp My Novel talks about chasing trends. Sigh. And I really wanted to work on that Zombie Apocalypse Averted by Christian Vampires novel next. (Actually I’m wondering if the Post Rapture Industries novel may fall in there somewhere). Anyway, Eric’s post is why you should write the novel you want to write and not worry about what’s hot and what’s not. Write the best damn novel you can. Of course this is contrary to John Scalzi’s story of how he got into writing military sci-fi. I think the difference here, though, is one is theme and the other is gimick.

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Rachelle Gardner discusses the process of getting and agent from the agent side. Knowing both sides of the board can certainly help your chances of success.

Agents do more than sell books, a post form the BookEnds agency. Yes, and this is why you want an agent. Sure, there are some authors who do the whole thing themselves. And there’s the occasional author who doubles as their own agent (sometimes with a fake name, sometimes not). But, just like I really don’t want to negotiate distribution contracts, an agent earns their 15% by doing a great many things, both what is spelled out in the blog post and much more.

Since this seems to be an agent linkage post, here’s Agent Kristin with some author behavior that doesn’t normally get mentioned. And then she has a follow-up here. What she said. If your agent isn’t working out, definitely find another route. I’ve seen getting an agent compared to marriage, and it’s close. You and your agent are relying on each other. If either side isn’t carrying their water then cut your loses and move on. However, just because you have an agent, this doesn’t mean you can stop paying attention to the markets and the business end of publishing. As she says, things are tough all over.

Justine Larbalestier talks about hopes and goals. What she said. Yes, most writers have two fantasies in their heads (and here I’ll speak for you all, you’re welcome). The first fantasy has to do with being so incredibly successful that media outlets contact you for interviews instead of having to beg for them. The second fantasy has to do with being so incredibly successful that you ask people who come to your signings if they want your to supersize that order, or would they like an apple pie.

And this may seem like a random interjection, but it’s about a book, so I think it’s good.

Glenn Beck’s website (yes, I know, but it’s good to keep tabs on the person who may go postal, just saying) is now promoting his new book “The Christmas Sweater: A return to redemption.” There’s now a landing page on his site that is basically a big ad for it. I guess we’re all going to get mind control sweaters this Xmas and suddenly we’ll all be conservatives again. Or a few good sweaters will end the “War on Xmas.” Or something like that. I guess “Xmas Shoes” were all ready spoken for.

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Elmore Leonard spills his rules of writing. The subtitle sums it up, “Easy on the adverbs, exclamation points and especially hooptedoodle.” (Grokked from Astrid)

Justine Larbalestier muses on hating female characters. That’s an interesting ponderable.

And then there were two (Cat Valente sells Fairlyand for publication as a YA book). Two do not a trend make, but it’s interesting. And no, I don’t think I’m going to put Bladesman on the blog anytime soon.

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I’m just getting back to normalcy, so I’m almost ready to start talking about it.

First rule of VP, what happens at VP stays at VP. It’s just like Vegas, but without the strippers. Or at least I didn’t see any strippers, I was working a lot. I did get to see jellyfish though. Glowing jellyfish to boot.

So first thing is the emotional issues. When I received my acceptance notice nobody was more surprised than I was. This started the roller-coaster. One moment up, the “damn I’m good” feeling, and the next down, “I’m not worthy.” Although I should say, it was more up than down. Then at the end of August I started to try and think of questions I should ask. I went over the materials online to strategize how the workshop would go, and trying to map a successful strategy. And, I’ll add here that this attempt was full of fail. Nothing came to mind. The page remained blank.

I was very glad of the flight deals I scored. It reduced my money worries by being able to fly all three of us there for the cost I expected for one of us. Then the offer of a ride from Todd not only gave me the opportunity to meet him, but also pushed down the costs to the point I wasn’t hyperventilating whenever I thought about it.

For the month before VP I tried to get enough sleep, however that didn’t work. Between issues at the day thing and the fun-fest of the night job that didn’t happen. Mix in my own apprehensiveness of making the most out of the situation and it was a brew of incomplete sleep cycles. So instead of getting to VP rested and ready, I arrived exhausted and spent.

When I’m fully rested I can go days at a time with very little sleep. While at VP I got about 5 hours of mostly blackout time a night and I downed as much caffeine as I could. There was an early morning walk I wanted to participate in, but I woke to late to go. When I arrived on the island I should have probably slept as long as I could on Sunday, but that was going to be the only day I felt I would have a chance to see the island, so I didn’t sleep in.

From then on it was work work work. I’m a slow reader (especially when I am being critical). I’m not the slowest I’ve ever encountered, but I’m not near the fastest by any measure. Neither am I the fastest writer, so the work load put me seriously behind and I would stay up until I couldn’t see straight. It was only on the last few days that I could socialize at night. That added to my stress that I was missing something important (and I probably was).

When we left I was very near the breakdown limit. That’s the point that I know that I need serious sleep time and by myself time. So I wasn’t up to my usual level of alertness on the way home.

The final emotional thing is happening now. Several of my fellow VPXIIIers (the Fightin’ 13th) have talked about what a transformative experience it was. How they’re newly remade and fired up. I’m not feeling it, at least not yet. Although the week was mostly a blur (and reviewing my notes to find a link for a fellow Fightin’ 13ther, I saw many things that I remember I was there for, but there’s a haze between me and the full memory). So maybe when I get a chance to review all my notes I’ll get the full effect. I think, though, that the experience I brought into the workshop blunted a little of the “epiphany” moment. I’ve been critiqued by professionals before (although I would have been willing to pay more for more time with Teresa), I’ve met professional writers and have studied their habits, I wasn’t the student the farthest along the writer path (if there is a path) (and we were all writers at the workshop) but I also have some success. Am I different? Yes, I think so. I have more confidence, my research is slightly more focused, and some other little things, but I don’t feel transformed. More like that extra quarter twist of the wrench on a nut you’re setting.

So for not feeling transformed I’m feeling guilty and a little confused. Did I miss something? Was I half asleep at the wrong moment? I’m still not feeling all here so is the transformative moment a comin’? WIll it happen when I process it all? Was I so blasted for lack of sleep that I missed my opportunity? Or was this a jump start for some people and what they’ve experienced I already had made it through, or see, or felt? I don’t know. The guilt comes in from spending all that money and time and maybe taking the spot of someone who could have used the workshop more. Confused from thinking I’m missing something, when I’m normally quicker on the uptake.

One thing that did happen is that I drank way too much pop. I tried to keep with tea. Most times though I only had a moment so I grabbed a pop instead. When I weighed myself I was up 9 pounds (now some of that might by the natural 2lb variance, but still). I’m now down about 4lbs from that.

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So my challenge this month is to write as many posts as possible across as many of my blogs as possible about the release of my latest novel. The idea is to spark a perfect storm of interest in the novel and in the author. I have decided to serialize the novel on my main blog – MyView, and to do interviews with the main characters. On the web site dedicated to the novel, I’m giving readers a rare look behind the scenes of writing a novel. Where do character names come from? How long did you write each day? And the dreaded, where did you get your idea from?

I’m accomplishing this task by writing as many posts as possible ahead of time and then scheduling them through the blogging program. This actually does work on WordPress and Ning. Another nifty trick is that every time I post an article, WordPress sends my Twitter stream an update. I have the posts coming out at midnight local time. This releases them during the day in Europe. Remember to act local and think global!

I also mention my posts on Scribd which has its own Twitter-like feature. My follower numbers on Scribd are insanely large, compared to Twitter, but they reach a different audience. Most of the people who follow me on Twitter are industry related, where those who are on Scribd are more of a general interest group.

I also do posts on my FaceBook account, although to be honest, I don’t have a big following there, yet. MySpace, you ask? What’s that? Knowing when a particular social network is all but dead, is part of the staying on top of things aspect about being a writer these days.

I will be sending the local papers, Radio Stations and TV channels a press release about the signing and the book, using the angle that the book is set in Boise and written by a local author. TV and Radio interviews would be great, but not holding my breath for that.

My next project is to create a one-sheet for the book that mentions the signing, and print up a few hundred copies to distribute throughout the city wherever I can. Coffee shops, telephone poles, whatever and wherever. I may even look into billboards on the backs of city benches. Hey, how far do you go to promote your book?

P.S. Did anyone catch I never mentioned the book by name?

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Writerly Linkee-poo

The Staffordshire Hoard Flickr set. I love stuff like this. It gets my hack and slash geekery on. Of course, this year’s gift of choice for the little curtain pee-ers? Metal detectors! I expect to see a few hundred of those things in garage sales next year. (link grokked from Making Light).

Justine Larbalestier pontificates on excuses white writers use for not writing non-white characters. As someone whose stories are filled with hispanic surnames and latest novel has Chinese dropping from the skies (not in a “real” sense but in a “that’s easy, they’re all around us” kind of thing), and I’m not either, that I also struggle with. The best I can do is make them real people. Sure, many are fodder for the sword, but the other people do all the interesting things people do (one Chinese side character speaks perfect English, but when confronted by obnoxious police conveniently forgets they know how, many are shop owners). But it does require knowing “something” about the people you’re writing about (name conventions are especially important, not just picking appropriate names but knowing how to put them together, such as the daughter is Kasandra Bonita, not just Kansandra or Kassie).

New stalker meat writer I’m following on blogs (Harry Connolly) writes something I’ve also dealt with. Hope is the mind-killer. I had a whole different commentary for this, but then I had some work to do, and my brain engaged. For me, this reaction is a defense (and therefore a part) of the big D. When you’re raised to judge yourself harshly, say by someone who is a perfectionist or abusive, you try to eliminate all possible avenues of criticism (differing from writing critiques, this is self-destructive criticism I’m talking about). If I’m hopeful, if I succumb to the siren song only to have that hope swallowed by the Charybdis, the gremlin voices grow louder. It’s better to skirt the rocks of the Scylla accepting there will be losses. It part of what I struggle with to live a somewhat happier life.

McSweeney’s with their comments written by actual students extracted from workshopped manuscripts at a major university. “Apes, aliens, then dead vampire family = too much Sci-Fi.” ha ha ha ha (grokked from Jay Lake, I think)

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