Sunday, November 9, 2014

Stuff is Happening

If you don't already follow, get over there and do it before the contest over there.  It starts tomorrow, but you get extra entries if you are already following when the contest starts.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Flim-Flam Alert

Okay, folks, this is just an FYI - in case you don't already follow Writer Beware (which you should be following... go and follow it now):

PublishAmerica changed its name.

Sounds like they're the same old flim-flam men they were before, but now with a prettier website. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Scam Alert

If you're out there thinking you need to copyright your material before you start querying it...DON'T!

And in this day of limitless information, why would you even think you need to?  Research everything about this business before you take your first steps into it - and for godsakes, certainly before you pay some shyster money to 'help' you. 

If you're here, though, you're probably already smart enough to not get caught in this scheme, so pass it along to unwary friends.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Check This Out - Writing Effective Battle Scenes

This just in from the Ace/Roc blog:

How to Write an Effective Battle Scene by Epic Fantasy Author Anthony Ryan

"A good battle scene is like a beautifully choreographed dance–equally pleasing to military history acolytes and laymen."

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Check This Out

If you're thinking about self-publishing, or have already made the leap, check out this post from Kristen Lamb:

Five Mistakes KILLING Self-Published Authors

She makes some really interesting points worth thinking about.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Really Stupid Things to Do

I don't remember if I've done this before and I'm too lazy to go back and look.  If I have, it's worth repeating, though, so here goes...

These are some really stupid things you can do when you're trying to get your book published (and most of them will get the door slammed in your face and possibly get you blacklisted*):

- Act like yours is the most important book anyone is ever going to read and query accordingly.

- Tell an agent that in order to read your query, they need to go to your website.

- Trash other writers.

- Send things with your query that no one asked for (like your entire manuscript, glitter in the envelope*, prezzies...)

- Call the agency out of the blue.

Okay, those are pretty obvious, but how about...

- Blubbering in your query letter about how you know they won't like your book, but it'd be nice if they looked at it anyways.

- Not checking ahead of time whether the Chris or Pat or Terry you're sending to is a Mr. or a Ms.

- Not bothering to do all the other kinds of research you can on an agent, agency, etc.  If they say they never ever represent fantasy, what the hell are you doing sending them the next Shannara series?

- Whining on your website, blog, Facebook page, Twitter account, Myspace, Livejournal... or any of combination thereof... about the submission process.**

- Send your submissions or any other writing business correspondence from a cutesy ass email address.  FluffyBunny4U or IHeartKitties or SmexyDude812 or NYourPointIsWhat does not engender confidence or professionalism.

- Ambush any agent or editor or publishing professional in an elevator, bathroom, parking ramp, clothing store, farmhouse, outhouse or doghouse.  Just don't.  It makes you look like a stalker, and who wants to work with a stalker?

And the most important thing of all...

- Letting any of this process get to you to the point where you stop writing.  That would not only be stupid, it would be tragic.

How about you?  Anything I missed?  Any thoughts on the stupid things you can do during this process?  Feel free to share stories of stupid things you've done, but if you share stories about stupid things others have done, change the names to protect the embarrassed.  No one needs to get hurt here.

*  Okay, I don't know for sure if there really is a blacklist, but sometimes it feels like there's one, doesn't it?

**  Whining is actually part of the process.  Rejection hurts.  Just don't whine too publicly or too much.  No one likes a whiner.

Friday, November 29, 2013

NaNoWriMo Pitfall #9

NaNoWriMo Pitfall #9

And we arrive at the last of my NaNo Pitfall posts... I hope you enjoyed them all.

:cue tightrope music:

With tomorrow fast approaching - a little too fast, if you ask me - we come to the ninth and final pitfall of the year...

NaNo Pitfall #9 - The Fine Line

Sure, you've written loads of words.  Hopefully they've worked together and made a somewhat cogent story with coherent characters.  All this time you've been creating, though, you've been walking a fine line between needing to get x-number of words on paper and making those words work as a logical story.

Maybe you plotted the story out ahead of time.  If you did, you probably don't need to read this post.  Your word count and your storyline are probably running parallel.  Congratulations. 

Me?  I rarely plot out anything.  Therefore, the fine line I walk sometimes isn't any thicker than frog's hair.  I'm sure when I look back over those scenes, I'll be asking myself "What the hell were you thinking here?"   Sometimes I'll be able to figure it out.  Other times I'll read a scene and never be able to discern what I was going for.  (Here's hoping this book has more of the former than the latter, eh?)

Why is this a pitfall?  Because as we reach the final words for NaNo and thus the final scenes for our books, we need to be able to remember all those threads we created over the past month and weave them to their natural conclusion. And that, my friends, can totally stop you in your tracks.

Hence, the Pitfall.  See?  I knew I'd wrap it together somehow...

As I was laying in bed last night, once again battling my subconsious for some snooze-time, my brain was racing through all the threads.  With only a few thousand words left, am I absolutely sure I wrapped up the thread about Nigel?  Am I bringing the whole thing with the dog to a logical conclusion?  Is the dastardly killer getting what he deserves or should I insert another twist that will carry through to the subsequent books in the series?  And what about that weirdo being who crept into the fight scene?  Did I really introduce a hint of romance, and what the hell am I going to do about THAT?

Needless to say, my brain was on overdrive and I woke up this morning not knowing what the hell to do with the next few scenes.  I could wrap it all up with a pretty bow for now and fix it later.  On the other hand, I could write a dozen more scenes to explain...  Bleh, I hate reading pages of things the writer should've already explained.  Or, I could stop what I'm doing and go back - rereading and editing until I can finish the end.

See?  This could conceivably stop me in my tracks inches from the finish line.  Will it?  Nah.  I'm just using myself as an example.  If this is happening to you, though, you might not be able to get past this Pitfall without a litte nudge.  Here's what I'm going to do.

Take the bit in my teeth and run like hell.

Probably not the advice you were expecting.  Definitely not the best advice for writing the end of your story any other time of the year.  This is NaNo, though.  Right now, thinking about loose ends is only going to stall your progress.

Am I advocating writing 5000 words of nonsense??  Certainly not.  I mean, it's still going to be part of your story.  What I'm saying is, get the words out and worry about tying it all up later.  That's what editing is for.  So what if I introduced some threads five chapters ago that I now realized I never fully finished?  I'll catch them all when I sit down to edit. 

Sorry if this wasn't the post you were expecting.  I didn't edit this any more than I'm editing my work right now.  Plus, my brain is the equivalent of pumpkin puree.  Maybe soon I'll write a post on the mush my brain turns into after writing so many words in one month. 

Have a great day, everyone.  Tune in tomorrow for what I hope will be a less meandering post.