Monthly Archives: November 2012

Doing what?

Well, I don’t do everything Kelly tells me. But I’ll do this, because it makes an easy post.

Plus, I doubt it will go well if I start riffing on the swimsuit thing…

1. What is the title of your book?

The current working title is- The First Alchemist

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

I did about half of a short story about a virgin sacrifice to a dragon in a victorian setting. The story ended up not working out, but thinking about it lead to more ambitious things.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Fantasy.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

If the contract allows me to choose the actors, I’ve signed with the wrong studio.

5. What is a one-sentence synopsis of the book?

Hmm. I’m not far enough along to have a good elevator pitch yet. Something along the lines of not fitting into the world, so they broke it. If I can make that work without seeming too goofily pretentious.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

It’s going to be published exclusively on my hard drive until it’s done.

7.  How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Well it’s not done yet, so hard to say. Around six months, if everything goes like usual.

8. What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?

Let’s stay broad and just go with styles now– New Weird + Paranormal Romance + Epic Fantasy.

9.  Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I’ll blame Jaleigh and her “Try romance” comment. Although it’s not really romance anymore.
10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Pirates, disease, evil elves, dragons and guns. What more do you want? Bestiality?

(Don’t worry, it’s very tastefully done of course.)

 

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Editing and swimsuits

In a few months I’ll be able to add “editor” to my credentials.

Well, I already can in my day job, but you know. Fiction editor.

I’m running the Library at the Origins Game Fair in 2013, and one of my responsibilities is assembling an anthology that includes all the Library’s participants. I’ve been writing professionally since 2006 and I’ve critiqued probably hundreds of stories for a variety of writers since then. But you know what? Turns out that editing is a different beast entirely than critiquing. When I agree to crit a story, it means a) the author knows me well enough to trust me with his work, b) I know the author well enough to be completely honest about said work, and c) there’s an unspoken agreement between us: I can suggest everything from tweaking a character’s motivation to massive, sweeping rewrites and he can ignore any or all of my suggestions. It’s sort of like swimsuit shopping with your friends; you trust them to not let you look like an idiot in public, and you promise you’ll do the same. They won’t let you walk out of the dressing room in a speedo and you won’t let them buy polka-dots.

Not so much with editing. By the time the story gets to me, it’s been through the wringer. It’s been written, rewritten, self-edited, and passed through a few crit partners. In an ideal world, by the time a story gets to me, it’s the best an author can do. My job’s not to change their story; my job as an editor is to strengthen the story while maintaining their vision. They’re wearing the cutest fucking swimsuit in the whole store, the one that flatters them the most, the one that makes them look spectacular. It’s not my job to tell them they should have stayed away from orange or that maybe, just maybe, a one-piece would be a better idea than a string bikini. My job is to take that swimsuit to the next level. Yeah, they look good. I try to make them look better … while staying out of the way. Suggest a new phrasing here. Change up the punctuation here. Point out a section or concept I want strengthened or tightened. I don’t tell them they can’t wear a bikini. I tell them the waistband on their bottoms needs to come up an inch and the straps should be tied like a halter.

It’s a fine line to walk. I’m looking forward to working on my balance in the coming years.

;

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Current project meme

Kelly gave us homework. I do everything she tells me to, so:

1. What is the title of your book?

Out of Time

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

I think it started when I was wondering what you do if you live in a world where nearly everyone has magic and an evil sorcerer steals yours. Also, huge, old university libraries.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

The best one–secondary world fantasy.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Good ones. Seriously, I don’t watch much tv or see many movies, and I rarely recognize an actor in a new role.

5. What is a one-sentence synopsis of the book?

While I enjoy writing blurb type things, the short summary I have right now is to help me write it, rather than market it, and I don’t want to share. Ask again next year.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

With luck, represented by an agency.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

About 4.5 months so far. I’ve probably got another 4-6 weeks to go. I have a bad habit of taking long breaks to work on short stories. *looks innocently at this week’s plan*

8. What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?

Have to admit I haven’t done the research on that yet. I’m good at pointing out how it’s different from other books. No quests or enigmatic old wizards who could solve a lot of problems if they’d just spit out everything they know.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

For me that’s the same as question 2.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Magical laboratories! Romance! Secrets! Complicated spells that go wrong in the worst way!

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What I’m up to now

I promised a response to Kelly, who tagged me in “The Next Big Thing” meme, so here goes.

1. What is the title of your book?

It’s been “that YA steampunk book I’m working on” for so long, it’s hard not to think of that as the title.  😉

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

I think it came from me wondering where all the lost and forgotten things from our world (or other worlds) end up.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Young adult second-world steampunk fantasy.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I’ll leave that to the casting director.

5. What is a one-sentence synopsis of the book?

A sixteen-year-old scrapper discovers that her gift for fixing machines may be the only thing that can save her best friend.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Hopefully represented by an agency.

7.  How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

About four months.

8. What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?

The adventure elements may appeal to fans of Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan series.

9.  Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My protagonist.  Once I had her in my head, I had to write her story.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

There are trains, and sky raiders, and poisonous dust…and some kissing.

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What I want

Caught between a con and a turkey coma, I’m just going to say this–

If I could write something as cool as that song, I would be very happy.

 

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Thankful

It’s been a good year. I have a lot to be thankful for. In no particular order:
* Today isn’t Monday
* I’m healthy and fit enough to do anything I want, as long as I don’t want to drink caffeine or finish better than the last couple of places in any given sports competition
* No traveling for Thanksgiving
* Living in this day and age gives me so many opportunities for learning about writing, meeting other writers, etc.
* Being an adult means I can do things I utterly suck at and no one tells me to quit
* My wonderful crit group

I could make this list longer, but then I’d be late for work. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Turkey ‘n stuff

It’s Thanksgiving this week, and though I don’t really have a blog post, I do have a couple of dinners to attend, my birthday to celebrate, a book to continue promoting (Spider and Stone on sale now!), a convention to go to with Chambanacon being on the 23-25th, and probably Christmas decorations to eventually put up.  I turned my back for one second and bam! the holidays are here.

Everyone have a safe and satisfying Turkey Day if you’re celebrating, and tune in next Monday when I answer Kelly’s meme with details on my “Next Big Thing.”

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Of course I heard you. That’s why I’m going the other way.

Enough with the whining about the current WIP. Instead, I choose to rip off someone else’s genius.

Go here.

Just in case your religion forbids you from clicking links, it’s an Oatmeal comic about writing. And it’s fabulous. So quit that stupid religion and click the link.

The part I’m going to riff on right now–

I sometimes solicit ideas from other people, but I rarely use their suggestions. Instead, hearing their idea make me see another one more clearly.

That’s not only brilliant, but a fairly polite way to articulate something that happens to me all the time. I’ll submit something for critique, listen carefully to everyones suggestions, then completely ignore them and make up my own crap. I always figured that’s just because I’m a controlling ass when it comes to my writing. This makes it sound better though. The critiques I’m getting are pointing out problems, and while I might not always (never!) agree with their proposed solutions, I usually end up coming up with something that fixes it.

My critique partners ideas are the walls that my creativity slams into- not with a crushing thud, but with a springy ricochet that sends me hurtling towards my goal.

Hmm. I’m not sure that analogy works at all. Suggestions?

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My first-ever meme!

For this blog, anyway.

 

My buddy Vincent Jorgersen tagged me for “The Next Big Thing” blog meme, wherein I blather about what I’m working on and I tag a few folks to do the same. I met Vince at the Wellspring Writer’s Workshop a few years ago, and when he asked me to do this I jumped at the chance. Without further ado, here’s my Next Big Thing.

 

1. What is the title of your book?

This May Go On Your Permanent Record.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

A few years ago, a coworker of mine told me a about a guy her son knew. He attended Webster University in St. Louis, and apparently at this university, if they don’t have the degree you want they’ll build a program for you. Her son knew someone whose major was World Domination. After my initial question–is that a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science?–my wheels started to turn. What would a program like that look like? What if it wasn’t just a program but a whole school? I wrote a few short stories then settled down to write a book set in high school.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Contemporary Young Adult. I really want to throw “fantasy” in there, too, but I have to admit that might be a stretch.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I have no idea, probably because while I have pictures of my characters in my head, I don’t clip out pictures for inspiration. Unknown actors, most likely. Someone like Jennifer Lawrence after she did Winter’s Heart.

5. What is a one-sentence synopsis of the book?

A girl who can’t lie gets sentenced to a school for world domination.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Represented by an agency, fingers crossed.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Four-and-a-half months, which is a land-speed record for me.

8. What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?

The closest would be I’d Tell You That I Love You But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ali Larter. Sort of.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My coworker who gave me the original idea and the folks who read the short story and said, “hey, this should be a novel.”

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Sally is a freshman in high school dealing with a drunk mother, a mysterious benefactor, and an arch nemesis.  Not to mention a crush on a cute boy in her class. She’s got a lot on her plate.

Include the link of who tagged you and an explanation for the people you have tagged.

Vince Jorgersen tagged me. He’s a damn fine writer, fun to be around, and a good human being. You can read about his satirical novel here.


I’ll tag my fellow All Rights Reserved peeps–Elizabeth Shack, Gary Kloster, and Jaleigh Johnson, if only to force them to toot their own horns.

 

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Not really about ideas

Someone once said to me–and I gather this is a thing that is often said to writers–that she would love to write a novel if she could just come up with something to write about.

This made no sense to me, since I spent my time making up stories before I ever thought about writing, and I hadn’t realized that other people weren’t constantly playing movies in their heads. I started writing so I could turn the stories into something solid and coherent. (Also, the realization that my made-up stories, written down, could be books was like a lightning bolt. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I was in college at the time. Sometimes I’m not very bright.)

One of the best ways for me to get ideas is by reading. The more I read, the more I want to write. I started out reading and writing mostly novels. As I read more short stories, I started getting ideas for short stories. Writing itself creates ideas, as characters or subplots get cut, or choices made that preclude other interesting plots.

It works with blog posts too. About two years ago I decided I wanted to write two posts a week. At first it was a struggle. What was I going to write about? I started keeping a list of topics. Now I have enough topics to do three posts a week for months.

But like writing, the problem with actually doing it isn’t the ideas, it’s the execution. Sometime I don’t have time to write a post, or I’d rather use that time for, you know, writing fiction.

Then you get meandering things like this one.

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