Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas To All!

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Season's Greetings.

Enjoy family and friends, relax, and have a great and safe holiday.

Thanks for hanging out with me in this little corner of the Interwebz.

(photo: Talis Source Blog/scottfeldstein)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

In Which I Pimp Upcoming Books by Regan Summers and Tiffany Allee

A couple of my author compatriots have books coming out next year (which means in a few weeks). Both are UF, and both look like a lot of fun.

Don't Bite The Messenger by Regan Summers is from Carina Press

Banshee Charmer by Tiffany Allee is from Entangled Publishing

Put them on your list, pre-order now, or get them when they're hot off the presses.

Go. Now. Do it.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Let Me Help Your Christmas Shopping

(Here begins the shameless self-promotion)

One less thing to worry about on your Christmas Shopping/To Do List, right?

Buy them on Kindle and you can gift them. Or purchase a B&N gift card for someone to use and send them the Nook link.

Here's what I got fer ya...

Do you like cyberpunk? Near-future SF? Stories about kick-ass women with guns and swords? Or maybe you know someone who likes these types of stories? Then KAT AND MOUSE, GUNS FOR HIRE is right up their alley. And right now, it's on sale for only $0.99 for your Kindle or Nook

Fancy some urban fantasy instead? Maybe something light to read? A GIRL AND HER DEMON is for you. Just $0.99 for Kindle or Nook.

Want some fun short stories? Want to know what happens when girl scouts attack? Find out in NIGHT OF THE GIRL SCOUTS AND OTHER STORIES, just $0.99 for Kindle or Nook.

And there you have it, folks. Quick and easy Christmas shopping.

(Here ends the shameless self-promotion)


(photo: marciostk/stock.xchng)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Progress Notes


Tales of Episode #207
I have to confess that the writing has been slow-going, mostly because of a certain incident with a certain...er...call it an "entity" for lack of a better word. (You can read about that here.)

Despite that, some work has been done to the tune of:

1,519 / 6,000

I hope to pull more teeth write more as soon as possible. Considering the current episode ends soon.

ack.

As for those other Non-K+M Projects (NKNMP) I talked about previously:

NKNMP #1 - #3: On hold.

NKNMP #4: Back from markets. No other possible markets to be found. I may need to do more checking around. Or I might just turn it into an e-book for Kindle and Nook. I haven't decided.


(photo: abcdz2000/stock.xchng)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Damn You, NaNoWriMo! Damn You To Hell!

Hello, Blog Readers.

As you might have seen from these two posts, an entity has now joined us.

And I blame NaNoWriMo for letting him escape from the maximum security psychiatric ward of my subconscious.

You see, the esteemed Doctor Ace T. Jericho has been out before, wreaking havoc and holy anarchic hell in '93, '01, and '07.

But he was relatively controllable then.

In late 2007, using a strategically placed carton or ten of Swedish Fish and an Underwood manual typewriter, we were able to lure him and lock him back into his ten-by-ten room with a touch lamp, cot, TV, DVD player, and a stack of books and movies.

However, he's grown powerful now. Powerful enough to bypass the wards that were thrown up around him. Wards like six layers of concertina wire, a piranha-filled moat, and a minefield.

NaNo, by its very creative nature, gave Doctor Jericho the loophole through which he crawled.

And now he is among us. He has co-opted this blog. And he has placed an uncanny mental block upon me so that I cannot delete any of his posts.

The little turd.

As I said before, may the gods have mercy on our souls.

My apologies ahead of time.

And I shake my fist and curse you, NaNoWriMo.

Friday, November 18, 2011

F*ck A Duck. He's Back.

Jericho.

May the gods have mercy on our souls.

In Which I Co-Opt The Signal

I am come (cue Charlton Heston voice) to bring you out of Darkness and lead you into the Light. I am here not just to instill Wisdom into the Unbelievers out there, but to ram it so far down their throats that their next bowel movement resembles a Zen garden.

And yes, I said "revered." The native tribe of a small South Pacific island called "Fred" considers me a god, a righteous, fiery deity with blazing eyes and steaming loins, and they have erected towering monuments in my honor, and named their children after me. Bless them.

And so it is time. Time once again to spread my Buttery Self upon the Slice of Toast that is The World.

Gentle Readers, I salute you from The Lair, sans pants and with coffee in hand. Join me as we examine Life through rose-colored 3D glasses...then bash it into submission with the Rubber Chicken of Truth.

You can trust me.

I'm Doctor Ace T. Jericho. Rogue Journalist.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

NaNo Halfway Mark!!

We're half done with November and the crazy days of Thanksgiving are soon to be upon us.

How are you coming along with NaNo?

Are you also halfway to your 50K? Are you behind? Are you finished?

Share your progress!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Confession Time: Leading a Double Life

I have a confession to make. One that was prompted by NaNo.

I had decided to unofficially use NaNo Time to work on Episode #207 of Kat and Mouse.

But while writing the episode, I also found myself doing another kind of writing. One that I hadn't done in some time.

And one that's currently exploding from my fingers.

See, back in April of 2007, I started a little blog called The Madman Raves. It was a blog focused on gun rights and on exposing the misinformation campaign of gun control groups.

If you haven't guessed, I am pro-gun. And a gun owner.

Now before you all go screaming and bolting for the hills, I feel it necessary to say I'm also a firm believer of our personal freedoms and civil liberties. Privacy. Pro-choice. Religious tolerance. Gender equality. Sexual preference. Free speech. Free press.

So yes, I'm probably an odd duck.

Now--what's this writing that's exploding from my fingers?

That other blog I mentioned. Previously called The Madman Raves, it's now morphed into Confessions of an Armed Californian.

Why am I bringing it up?

In case you were curious what else I'm using my writing powers for.

If you are, pop on over to Confessions of an Armed Californian.

If you're not, no need to go.

That's fine, too.

Just thought I'd share.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Here We Come A-NaNo-ing...

It's that time of year again.

NaNo time.

So tell us: Are you NaNo-ing?

Are you official? Unofficial?

Or maybe you're not NaNo-ing? Feel it's just a waste of time? Or you don't have time?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Up On Drabblecast

I narrate the story "A Happy Family" by Nathaniel Tower over on the newest episode of the Drabblecast.

Have a listen and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Today's Writing Quote

You say "trope" I say "time-honed tool."
--John Rogers, producer and writer, Leverage

Monday, October 24, 2011

Progress Notes


Tales of Episode #207
After some research reading and episode breakdowns (aka outlining), I think I have enough to get started. Act 3 is still about 60-65% worked out, but I figure I'll get cracking with what I've got.

I can always work things out when I get to that point in the story.

As for those other Non-K+M Projects (NKNMP) I mentioned a while back:

NKNMP #1: Swashbuckling fantasy. About 700 prelim words. On hold.

NKNMP #2: Portal fantasy. About 400 prelim words. Also on hold.

NKNMP #3: Bay City story. Still in notes form. And yet another on hold.

NKNMP #4: Bay City story #2 completed at about 3,200 words and now out to market #3


(photo: abcdz2000/stock.xchng)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Where The F**k Are The Wednesday Tips?!?

Where are they, Abner? Where the hell are my Writing Tip Wednesdays?!?!

Hold your horses. They're still around. But I have to ask--

Are they helpful? Do you enjoy them? Anything you want to see me talk about?

Leave a comment and let me know.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Reading From the Book of Wendig

For your listening pleasure, I shall now read "Beware of Owner," by Chuck Wendig.

Friday, October 7, 2011

"Read By..."

The other night I happened to land on Clarkeworld's website and noticed the link to "audiofiction."

And saw the notation: "Read by".

And it suddenly hit me--there are peeps doing this online! Right now!

Narrating fiction!

Holy testicle Tuesday! I gotta get in on this!

I mean, I've already had experience acting in audiodramas.

And I did narrate one bit of audiofiction.

So, in conjunction with me finding out how to get started narrating for places like Clarkesworld, I'm also gonna hang out my shingle as an audiobook narrator. Dramatic readings for SF/F flash, shorts, novelettes, and novellas.

Okay. Not quite audiobooks. More like audiofiction.

You get the picture.

Click the link to "Narration" up there under the header for my rates and contact info.

Here's hoping to work with you soon!

Monday, September 26, 2011

KAT AND MOUSE Updates

Part 1 of "Into The Woods" is now live on the site.

Happy reading, gang!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"Shut Yer Cake-hole!": Dealing With Dialogue

Let's cover dialogue today.

You'll hear this advice a lot (and I'm paraphrasing here): "Your dialogue should sound like real people talking."

Good advice, right?

Right.

Except when it's not.

See, when most folks here this, they immediately think: "My dialogue needs to sound exactly like people talking at Starbucks."

And instead of dialogue, they end up writing what amounts to a transcript.

Now why the hell would someone want to read a transcript?

Dialogue--dramatic dialogue--isn't a transcript of conversation. It simulates real conversation. It doesn't replicate it.

Let's go over that again:
Dramatic dialogue simulates real conversation. It doesn't replicate it.

"Simulate" is the operative word here.

So how do we do that? How do we simulate real conversation?

Here are three keys to keep in mind...

SAY YOU, SAY ME
People speak different depending on a variety of factors: place of origin, educational level, culture, etc. A literature professor at Oxford will speak very differently from an Appalachian miner. And that miner won't speak the same as a surfing enthusiast from Santa Monica, California. William F. Buckley sounds completely different from Joe Pesci in Goodfellas.

Next time you're at the mall or sitting in Starbucks, listen to the conversations around you and take notes. Listen to the rhythms of speech and look for the following elements:
  • Fast or slow
  • Melodic or monotone
  • Complex vocabulary or lots of slang
  • Word choice
  • Favorite expressions
  • Complete sentences or fragmented sentences
Don't take that as an exhaustive list, but just a few things to get you started.

Once you hear those elements in speech, give them to the characters in your WIP. Have one person speak quickly but using a complex vocabulary. Or another speak slow and melodic but uses lots of slang. Mix and match.


SAY IT FORWARD
Dialogue should move the story forward.

Real conversations spends a lot of time chit-chatting. The weather. The kids and family. The game last night. The latest gossip. A lot of this before you actually get to the point of the conversation.

Drop the chit-chat.

Every spoken line needs to have a purpose in the story. Will it reveal character? Will it establish backstory? Will it heighten tension or conflict?

If it doesn't none of these things, cut it, cut it, cut it.

Get right to the meat of the conversation.


SAY IT, BUT DON'T REALLY SAY IT
Avoid "on the nose" dialogue.

I'm stealing this advice from the world of screenwriting.

"On the nose" dialogue is dialogue that says exactly what it means.

It's boring.

Avoid it as much as possible.

People will rarely say what they truly feel and truly mean. They'll hedge. They'll tiptoe. Beat around the bush. And if they think they've been found out, they'll vehemently deny it.

Let's look at this example:
LEIA: I love you.
HAN: I love you, too.
Ugh. Booooring.

Now compare it to the exchange we all know and adore:
LEIA: I love you.
HAN: I know.
Speaks volumes, doesn't it.

Or this one:
"Dana--How could you sleep with him?"
"You drove me away."
"I love you."
"No, you don't. You love your job more than me."
Blah blah blah-bitty blah.

Now try this:
"Was it worth it, Dana?"
"What do you care?"
"I do care."
"By coming home late every night? You're kidding. Tell me you're kidding."
"And Bill?"
"I felt like me again. The real me."
I'd keep reading. Wouldn't you?

So there you have it. My three keys to dramatic dialogue. Use them.

Or at the very least, try them out and see if they put a kick into your dialogue.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Surveyin' Mah Readers

Tomorrow marks the 14th installment of my Writing Tip Wednesdays post series.

I'm hoping to write more but before I do, I want to find out the following from you, Mah Readers:
  • How helpful are these posts?
  • What topics would you like me to cover?
Or, am I way outta my league with these and should go do something else? Like herding cats?

Let me know in comments.

And now, over to all-ya'll...

Monday, September 19, 2011

On TURN COAT by Jim Butcher

I just finished Turn Coat*, book 11 of the Dresden Files. A fun read, as usual.

But really, Jim Butcher, sir? I figured by now Harry would know the difference between a "clip" and a "magazine."

Yeah, yeah--I understand it's from Harry's POV. But the incorrect usage makes me go "gaahhk".

Oh and the Indiana Jones-revolver comment? Let's not forget Indy also used a Browning during the fight in Marion's tavern.

If you haven't read the series, go get started. Now.

If you are reading the series, yes, I'm behind.


*This is an affiliate link to Amazon. If you buy from this link, I get a little extra to help pay for a mocha or two.

KAT AND MOUSE Updates

"Skeletons" is now live on the site.

Happy reading, folks!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

KAT AND MOUSE Returns

That's right!

The Duo are back with more cyberpunk pulp adventure.

The serial starts up again on Monday the 19th.

If you're subscribed, check your RSS feed or your email inbox next Monday for the latest installment.

If you're not subscribed, get it by RSS Feed or via email.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Enter, Kicking Ass: Your Story's Opening

Your beginning is gonna be key. If it sucks, you're losing your reader right at the start and that's bad.

In order to make your beginnings work, you need to make sure you have the following:
  • Hook
  • Status Quo
  • Shift
HOOK
First thing you gotta do is "hook" your reader.

Most people think this means starting with a bang--literally. A gunfight. A big chase, battle, or other action sequence. A grisly murder. A shocking line of dialogue.

Sure. If that works for the type of story you're writing then go for it.

Basically you're trying to open with an image, an action, or a description that pulls the reader into your story and immediately impacts a primary character.

If you decide to open your story with the weather, make sure it's more than just a description. Make that description work. Instead of opening with
It was a dark and stormy night
and then going on to describe how dark and how stormy it was, why not open with something like
It was a dark and stormy night and Caitlin cringed as the wind slammed into the picture windows yet again, praying hard they wouldn't break.

Because those things were out there.

And they went through open windows first.
Here, you're not just opening with a description of the weather. You're also giving context to that weather in terms of plot development.

The whole point of the "hook" is to make the reader want to read more and with this kind of a beginning, your reader will want to read more, to find out what those "things" are and why they go through open windows first.

STATUS QUO
Once you've got them, set up the world of the story. That means introducing the setting, the protagonist, the antagonist, and the various relationships between important characters.

Here, you're describing the "normal" before the "un-normal" happens. Your MC has a dog, is estranged from his parents, and lives a dull, boring life. Or your MC is an angsty teen who just wants to go to the Academy but constantly gets stuck behind at home to work on the condensers on the south ridge.

Once you've done that, it's time for the "un-normal," otherwise known as...

SHIFT
You've drawn the reader into the story world. You've shown him the "normal" state of the world for the protagonist.

Now we get to the end of the beginning.

Now we violently unquo the quo.

We turn the protagonist's world upside down. Horribly upside down. An event happens that upsets the status quo and moves the story into the middle.

This is where your hero discovers the ring he's inherited is a powerful object and it's being hunted by servants of the Dark Lord. This is where the galactic farmboy from a backwater planet finds his aunt and uncle have been killed by the bad guys so he has to leave the planet or get killed.

From here, your story spins itself toward the middle.

And things start to get interesting.

(Check out this post for more on writing the middle.)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Go Buy Other People's Books

A couple of fellow writer folks I want to promote here on the blog.



First is D.S. Moen and her short "A Sword Called Rhonda" now available on Kindle.



And Diana Rajchel has written a workbook for you magic practitioners out there called The Spellcasting Picture Book. Available on Kindle.



Show 'em some support and grab a copy.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Prevent Ball-Sucking Middles

You know it happens. Every time. Every story.

Your beginning opens with a bang. You have an ending that zings.

But your middle sucks balls.

So how do you fix it? How do you give it cojones?

How do you conquer your story's middle?

Here are two ways:
  • Failed Solutions

  • Rock Throwing
FAILED SOLUTIONS
Think of it as "two steps forward, one step back."

Your main character sets out to overcome the story problem. As soon as he tries, it fails. He tries another solution. More fail. Tries another. Another fail. Over and over until he figures out the one solution that actually works. From there, your story moves toward the ending.

But the point is this: He tries. He fails. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

And don't forget--make your hero fail hard.

ROCK THROWING
I remember reading a great description of how to build a story: "Get your hero up a tree. Throw rocks at him. Get him down from the tree."

The story middle is where you throw rocks at your hero.

That means you put obstacles in his way that keep him from directly solving the story problem. You make things hard. You turn up the heat.

If he's trying to reach the magic sword, the Dark Lord's henchmen and minions attack him at every turn. If he's trying to solve the disappearance of the rich debutante, this is where he finds red herrings, puzzling clues, and heavies that harrass him.

Get the picture?

You can even combine them. When your main character tries to solve the story problem, the bad guys attack.

Let's say you're writing a fantasy novel. Your hero has to find the magic sword to save the kingdom. First, he's gotta find the wiseman who knows the location of said sword. When he finds the wiseman, have him run into the villain's henchmen. Even better--have the henchmen kidnap the wiseman. Now our hero's gotta rescue the wiseman and defeat the henchmen before he can find out where the sword's located.

So now you've got these two methods to create a good story middle. Question is: How many failed solutions do you use in your story? How many thrown rocks? How many of both?

Depends on your story. There's really no hard and fast rule for this.

My tip: Have at least one failed solution or one thrown rock. If you don't, you won't have a story. You'll just have an event.

And an event sucks more balls than a saggy middle.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

It's Alive! It's Aliiive!

We're back.



Hope y'all had a good Labor Day weekend.



Announcements:



WRITING TIPS WEDNESDAY resumes tomorrow. Check back here or on your RSS feed for the next post.



KAT AND MOUSE starts up again on the 19th. Head on over to the site to resume the escapades of our favorite ronin.



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Light Postings Ahead...

Busy days ahead, folks, so the blog's gonna be a little sparse.



Writing Tip Wednesdays will resume on September 7th.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Research Craziness

Certain genres of fiction need research.

Science fiction. Police procedurals. Fantasy. Technothriller. Historical.

If you don't take the time to do the research, your readers will be pissed. And they'll let you know about it, mainly by never buying your books and telling their friends not to buy your books because you don't know what you're talking about.

Yeah, even fantasy novels can get research wrong. Or get none at all. Horses, for instance, aren't four-legged cars that eat grass and go nonstop for hours on end.

No.

But some fantasy writers will forget that.

I'm all for research. Research is good.

Do the research. Know your shit.

But.

(And here's the big "But".)

Don't get lost in the research.

How do you get lost?

When you spend more time researching than writing your story.

You're writing a story.

Not a dissertation.

Story.

First and foremost.

Figure out what you need to know.

Then friggin' get back to writing your story.

Otherwise, you're wasting time.


Monday, August 15, 2011

The Motivation Whine

"How do I get motivated to write?"



Another often-asked question I see in writing forums.



And this one bugs the crap out of me.



If you're serious about writing, why do you need to ask this question?



What do I mean by serious?



Serious = wanting to do this professionally.



As in making money from writing, getting your stories into magazines and your novels into stores, and doing it full-time. Or as close to full-time as you can get.



If that's the case, then not writing means you won't get paid means you can't pay bills means you can't buy food.



So you write.



Come hell or high water.



You sit your ass down and you write.



But if this isn't you, if this isn't what you want to do, if you're just in it for the art, then I have to ask: Why are you worried about being motivated?



Don't you just "write when you feel inspired"?



If that's the case, you just answered your question about motivation.



You write when you're inspired.



So don't complain about motivation.



And as I've said before: Writers write.



/rant



Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Conflict, Conflict, Conflict!

You gotta have it in your story. It's crucial. Always always keep this in mind:
YOUR STORY WILL NOT WORK WITHOUT CONFLICT.
Remember your structure: at the beginning of your story, your main character's life gets thrashed. Turned upside down. Ass over teakettle. Now he's got a big problem in his hands. And he's gotta take care of it or there'll be hell to pay. There's your conflict. You need it because conflict is your story's primary driving force. It's the thing that's getting in your MC's path and keeping him from getting to his goal. That goal is the solution to the problem. So your MC has to find a way over, under, around, or through that conflict. And that makes for good story. And that's what you want: Good story. Now pay attention to this next tidbit. Conflict doesn't have to be explosions, running gun battles with ninjas, or laser sword duels with alien invaders. Sure, it's fun. But not always necessary. See, conflict can take one of three forms:
  • Man vs. Nature/Society
  • Man vs. Man
  • Man vs. Self
Use it. Use it, use it, use it. For the love of all that's holy, use it!! Use all three forms if you want to. But use it. Or you won't have a story. You'll have crap.

Monday, August 8, 2011

"Should I Be A Writer?"

I saw this question on one of the forums I lurk at.

Which brought to mind a recent email newsletter item I received from SF/F writer Holly Lisle.

The email was titled "If you CAN be talked out of it, quit."

There's a story Lawrence Block relates in Telling Lies for Fun and Profit:
There's an old story about a young man who cornered a world-famous violinist and begged to be allowed to play for him. If the master offered him encouragement, he would devote is life to music. But if his talent was not equal to his calling, he wanted to know ahead of time so he could avoid wasting his life. He played, and the great violinist shook his head. "You lack the fire," he said.

Decades later the two met again, and the would-be violinist, now a prosperous businessman, recalled their previous meeting. "You changed my entire life," he explained. "It was a bitter disappointment, giving up music, but I forced myself to accept your judgment. Thus, instead of becoming a fourth-rate musician, I've had a good life in the world of commerce. But tell me, how could you tell so readily that I lacked the fire?"

"Oh. I hardly listened when you played," the old master said. "That's what I tell everyone who plays for me--that they lack the fire."

"But that's unforgivable!" the businessman cried. "How could you do that? You altered the entire course of my life. Perhaps I could have been another Kreisler, another Heifetz--"

The old man shook his head again. "You don't understand," he said. "If you had had the fire, you would have paid no attention to me."
So here's my take on the question above: If you have to ask, you're better off doing something else.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Another KAT AND MOUSE Review

This time, from Sift Book Reviews.

Have a look.

My thanks for Kevin for taking the time to read and review.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Progress Notes


Tales of Episode #206
We are now at:
5,464 / 6,000

Looks like we'll be upping the "final" word count in our next progress report since the story is far from finished.

As for those other Non-K+M Projects (NKNMP):

NKNMP #1: Swashbuckling fantasy. About 700 prelim words.

NKNMP #2: Portal fantasy. About 400 prelim words.

NKNMP #3: Bay City Story. Still in notes form.

NKNMP #4: A call for an antho submission has generated Bay City Story #2 which needs to be completed and ready to sub my month's end. Ack.


(photo: abcdz2000/stock.xchng)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Plotting Your Story

Now let's talk about plotting and outlines.

Before your freak out, panic, and get overwhelmed, just remember what we talked about last time:
STRUCTURE IS YOUR FRIEND.

So...how do you plot your story?

Easy.

Here's what you do.

Get a blank sheet of paper or open up a new document in your word processor.

Then, answer these questions about your story:
  • Who is the story about (this is your main character)?

  • What's the problem this person is facing? What event turns my main character's world upside down and moves him to resolve the situation?

  • What solution does my main character decide on to resolve the situation?
Now, figure out the following:
  • As your main character moves toward the solution, what obstacles, each "bigger" than the one before, get in his way to try and knock him down and what does he do to get past them?

  • When your main character seems to be almost within reach of the solution, some event occurs than knocks them almost all the way back to the beginning of their struggles, and all hope seems lost. What's this event?

  • Right after that blackest event, another event takes place that throws the main character toward the solution. What's that event? (Doesn't have to happen right after the black event. Maybe a short time later. But don't let too much time pass.)

  • How does the main character resolve the problem? Basically, how does the story end?
Think of this as a loose blueprint. You don't need to know every single tiny detail when you start.

Just know the main points.

When you get down to writing, you'll be able to fill in the details using what you know of your story world, your characters, and the situation.

For now, just a quick sketch of story.

Next time, we'll look at a key ingredient you're gonna need.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

KAT AND MOUSE On Consignment

A local bookstore has agreed to carry KAT AND MOUSE, GUNS FOR HIRE on consignment.

So if you happen to be local to the San Francisco East Bay, head over to Berkshire Books in Concord, CA to grab a dead-tree edition of the book.

Or go to look and ogle and point.

I'm all excited.

Feeling tingly and stuff..

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Plotters and Pantsers and Outlines, Oh My!

Sooner or later you're going to run into the old debate about plotters and pantsers.

Plotters are folks who outline and do prep work before they start writing their novel. Pansters don't do any of that. They just go in "by the seat of their pants" (hence the term "pantsers.")

Pantsers are the folks who tend to turn their nose up at outlines. They're the ones who say things like "I write about character, not plot." Or "I let the characters tell me the story."

To this I give the ol' one finger salute.

Here's the thing: There is no such thing as pantsing.

What pantsers are actually doing is what I call "micro-outlining."

Even Stephen King, self-professed pantser who says he has never plotted a story in his life, is really a micro-outliner.

What is micro-outlining?

Simple.

Instead of planning out your story in broad strokes, you're working small scale.

A little at a time.

Start with your character in a situation.

Ask "Then what?"

And answer the question.

When you finish answering the question, look at where your character is at. Look at the situation they're in.

Then ask the question again.

And answer it again.

Repeat.

So, really--we're all plotters.

And those "pantsers" who say that they just write to discover the story and after 60,000 words they finally know and can revise with the real story in mind?

Guess what, dude--you just outlined.

Keep this in mind: Plot is key.

You'll hear lots of folks tell you otherwise.

Crap.

That's what it is.

A load of crap.

Look--when someone's telling you a story, what do you usually say when they pause?

Yeah.

"What happened next?"

Right?

That's where plot comes in.

And if your story is gonna work, you need to know your plot.

And that means outlining.

A couple of reasons people hate outlining and plotting:
"It hinders creativity."
and
"I'll be trapped with an outline."
To these I say "bullshit" and "bullshit."

Plotting and using an outline actually sharpens creativity.

Instead of being all over the place in your story, it provides focus (remember when we talked about focus last time?).

It forces you to figure out what your story is about.

Remember this:
STRUCTURE IS YOUR FRIEND.

Another thing to remember:
AN OUTLINE IS NOT SET IN STONE.

The outline, the plot, is a framework.

Broad strokes.

As you write, details that fill in that parts of the framework will come to you based on the characters and situations and the world of the story.

And yes, that can change.

So how do we outline? So do we set up that framework?

Check back next time.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Progress Notes


Tales of Episode #206

We are now at:
3,825 / 6,000

Still chugging along. Possibly finishing the draft by the first week of August (?).

Possibly.

In addition, I now have two other non-K+M projects (NKNMP) taking shape and asking begging to be written.
  • NKNMP #1: a swashbuckling fantasy story, possibly a long short story, maybe a novella.

  • NKNMP #2: a portal fantasy of undetermined length that, interestingly enough, involves the same world as NKNMP #1. Which made the worldbuilding part kinda simple. (And I say "made" because I've spent that last week-ish sketching out the world basics.)
There's also a possible NKNMP #3 that's bubbling to the surface, this one set in K+M's Bay City. But it's still bubbling so nothing further on that.

Yes. That's right. My head's on its way to exploding.


(photo: abcdz2000/stock.xchng)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Focus, Focus, Focus

I see this a lot in writing forums and hear it from various "writing folks" I talk to.

I'll ask, "What's your story about?"

They'll say, "Oh, it's very complex."

And then they'll begin to tell you the main character's backstory.

Translation: "I don't know what my story is about."

No no no, Dudes and Dudettes.

Know what your story is about.

This is important!

Saying "it's complex" is a cop out. Lazy.

Also, I'll see or get this answer to the question: "It's about government oppression."

No.

That's not a story.

It's a theme. It's a premise for a story.

A story has a beginning, middle, and an end. It features a character or characters.

If you don't know what your story is about, you're gonna waste a lot of time trying to write it.

So--how do you figure it out?

Nathan Bransford uses a great format in this post about query letters.
[protagonist name] is a [description of protagonist] living in [setting]. But when [complicating incident], [protagonist name] must [protagonist's quest] and [verb] [villain] in order to [protagonist's goal]
That's one good way to do it.

My favorite way is to write what Hollywood calls a "log line." Basically, a one sentence description of your story that follows this format:
  • who the story is about (protagonist)
  • what he strives for (goal)
  • what stands in his way (antagonistic force)
Here's a few examples of loglines.
  • In a future where criminals are arrested before the crime occurs, a cop struggles on the lam to prove his innocence for a murder he has not yet committed. (Minority Report)
  • A 17th Century tale of adventure on the Caribbean Sea where the roguish yet charming Captain Jack Sparrow joins forces with a young blacksmith in a gallant attempt to rescue the Governor of England's daughter and reclaim his ship. (Pirates of the Caribbean)
  • After a twister transports a lonely Kansas farm girl to a magical land, she sets out on a dangerous journey to find a wizard with the power to send her home. (The Wizard of Oz)
  • When a Roman general is betrayed and his family murdered by an insane and corrupt prince, he comes to Rome as a gladiator to seek revenge. (Gladiator)
  • After a series of grisly shark attacks, a sheriff struggles to protect his small beach community against the bloodthirsty monster, in spite of the greedy chamber of commerce. (Jaws)
Yeah, we're talking about fiction and these are for movies. But the concept is the same.

Focus.

Get to the meat of your story.

Because all the other stuff is flavoring for the meat.

All those sub-plots and labyrinthine plot twists and intriguery and double crosses and double-double crosses and ginormous set pieces?

Spicy goodness and various other nommy bits.

But what you want to know right off is the meat of your tale.

From there, we can move to the (gasp! ZOMG!) outline.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Random Thoughts: Transformers 3 , Sacred Blacksmith, Kaze No Stigma

Transformers 3
Recently saw this and I have to say--better than the second one. About as fun as the first. Entertaining, overall. Wasn't really expecting any more than that.

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley replaced Megan Fox as Shia LeBeouf's new love interest and did a decent job. Although shame on Hollywood for making her run around in high heels during action sequences. C'mon, Hollywood. Make with the reality check.

Then again, I'm talking about Hollywood here, right?

And we all know: Hollywood + reality = does not compute.

Nice to see Peter Cullen back as the voice of Optimus.

And kudos to bringing in Leonard Nimoy as the voice of Sentinel Prime. Looks like Nimoy tips a hat to his previous Transformers appearance (the 1986 animated movie; he played Galvatron).

Was it planned? Hmm. Can't tell. Not sure how much of a geek Michael Bay is.


The Sacred Blacksmith
LadyAce suggested this 12-episode anime to me after she'd just watched it on Netflix streaming. Good fantasy series.

I could've done without the gratuitous boob jokes, tho. Yeah, they were giggle-worthy for the first ep. Maybe the second. But when you're on the fourth and fifth and they're still cracking boob jokes? C'mon. Enough already.

And Cecily, despite wanting to be a Knight Guard, shows the heart but not the follow-through. Several times in the early episodes, she hesitates in battle and Luke ends up saving her ass.

Yeah, she eventually comes into her own but I wanted to see more fighting spirit in action rather than in words. More pluckiness and still getting beat down rather than shying away and getting beat down.

I recommend it.


Kaze No Stigma
Started this one after finishing Blacksmith. It's like Avatar: The Last Airbender but set in present day Tokyo and the airbender air magic user isn't bald with arrow tattoos. Different families control and manipulate the elemental powers.

Pretty good.

Cherami Leigh, who voiced Cecily Campbell in Blacksmith, returns here as Ayano Kannagi and does an excellent job. I noticed, though, that Ayano seems to be prone to "'Khaaaan!' a la Captain Kirk" outcries. Usually directed at Kazuma, our male protagonist.

Thankfully the boob jokes are gone. But there seems to be a pervasive penchant for panty shots here. Not a lot. But I noticed several over three successive episodes.

There's also a nice little romantic subplot involving Ayano and Kazuma, including subtle-but-not-so-subtle attempts by Jugo Kannagi, Ayano's father, to hook up the two crazy kids. The amusement park episode is hilarious.

Also, Ayano's classmates Yukari and Nanase are a hoot.

There is a rather disturbing turn of events in episode 10. Made me flinch a bit. You'll see when you watch.

Finished Part One, which covered the first 12 episodes. Now watching Part Two. Part Two introduces Catherine McDonald, an American firebender fire magic user who comes to Japan to challenge Ayano in fire magic supremacy. And according to the anime's creators, American women dress like 1800s frontier women? 'Cuz Catherine's outfit reminds me of a woman out of an old Western show like Gunsmoke or Bonanza.

Okie dokie.

Overall, another recommended series.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Progress Notes


Tales of Episode #206

Plugging away. Currently at:
2,994 / 6,000

Yeah. A bit slow going.

But still going.

Hoping to start ramping up production soon.

(photo: abcdz2000/stock.xchng)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Danger With Dialogue Tags

Ran into this advice on dialogue tags whilst surfing the Interwebs the other day and just had to respond with a post.

The title should really be "Here's One Way To Use Attribution Tags When Writing Dialogue."

Because the author makes it seem like this is only way.

Nope.

It's just one way of using tags.

Read that again:

This is just one way of using attritbution tags.

For instance, the author writes:
Short quotes:
  • Place the attribution tag at the end, so your reader pays attention to the quote itself.
    • "I’m feeling confident about how to punctuate direct quotes," Sheila said.
Actually
Sheila said, "I’m feeling confident about how to punctuate direct quotes."
is also correct.

She also advises:
In most cases, place the speaker’s name first, followed by the attribution word:
  • Sheila said
NOT said Sheila
Um...not quite.

"Said Sheila" is also correct.

Author Juliette Wade has a post on the "Sheila said/said Sheila" issue.

Read it. There's some good stuff in there.

So what's the lesson for today?

The only rule in writing is to write a good story.

Dialogue attritubion tags?

Whatever way works best.

Seriously.

Arizona Senator Lori Klein Is A Dumbshit

Pardon my politics but I think this needs to be said.

Senator Lori Klein is a dumbshit for pulling a stunt like this.

Jim Hines said it best in his recent post on the matter.

Go read it. You'll enjoy it.

Okay. I'll put my politics away now...

(Yeah, yeah. So I'm behind. Gimme a break. I'm playing "catch up.")

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Idea Overthink

I see this a lot in writing forums. Folks will post and ask "Does this sound like a good idea?" Or "What do you think of this idea?"
Stop.
Just stop.
Stop thinking. Start writing.
Ideas are everywhere. Everybody and their dog has an idea. (We talked about this last time, remember?)
What counts is the execution of that idea.
Think about it for a sec.
 Idea: Boy and girl from two different world/societies fall in love despite differences. 
Execution: Romeo and Juliet. West Side Story. Titanic. Avatar.

Here's another--
 Idea: Two mismatched cops become friends and partners and solve the case. 
Execution: Lethal Weapon. Rush Hour. Miami Vice. Bad Boys.

One more--
Idea: Zombie invasion. 
Execution: Night of the Living Dead. 28 Days. Resident Evil. World War Z.

Getting the point yet?
Good.
Now stop overthinking and get back to writing.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

KAT AND MOUSE Featured at Indie Books Blog

That's right!

The Ladies are still making the rounds on the Interwebs.

Today, they're featured at the Indie Books Blog.

Head on over yonder and cheer them on.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Truth About Inspiration And Your Muse

Waiting for inspiration is the mark of the amateur.
Why are you waiting?
You should be wanting to write.
To not write should be painful. Or at least uncomfortable.
If you're waiting to be inspired just so you can work on your current story or novel, you're doing it wrong.
Start writing. Even if it's just a sentence. Or even a word.
Just the act of doing it will get the ball rolling, get those mental gears moving.
It's all about momentum.
And don't just take my word for it.
Try it.
Now.
"But I'm waiting for ideas to come to me," you say.
Oh, yeah--you'll hear people say "I need to find my Muse" or "I'm waiting for my Muse."
You're probably saying the same thing to yourself.
Hell, I sometimes do it.
But them I remember the truth: the Muse is always there.
It never really goes away.
What makes the difference is how much you've fed your Muse.
Wait. I'm giving it to you straight. No mumbo jumbo here. No esoteric bullcrap.
What we call "the Muse" is just that storehouse of information in your brain. All that "useless" trivia you picked up over the years. All the stuff you've read and seen and heard and experienced.
That's your Muse.
Nothing mystical about it.
You don't need to wait or find your Muse.
It's already there.
Dig into all the stuff that you've stored in your head and you'll find 90% of what you need.
In On Writing, King talks about the "inspiration" for the novel Carrie.
Two unrelated instances that were already in his head (in his information storehouse, in his Muse) came together to form the premise that turned into the novel.
Go dig out your copy (or go get the book) and read it. (In my edition, it's Chapter/Part 28, starting on page 65.)
And speaking of reading from books, here's another one.
In Zen in the Art of Writing, Ray Bradbury has a great essay on how to feed your muse.
Go dig out your copy (or go get the book) and read that essay.
You'll see what I'm talking about.
And you'll also see why in last week's post, I talked about reading a lot of stuff.
(P.S. If you click those links above, you'll be able to get the books through Amazon. Or head over to your nearest bookstore to grab a copy.)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

More Jesse James Dawson!!

Just sending out the word that fellow writer K. A. Stewart just released A Shot in the Dark*, the second book in her series about Jesse James Dawson.
You may remember K. A. from my post about Comic-Con last year in which I was her proxy for the con.

Here's a picture of me, K. A., and her editor, Anne Sowards.

A Shot in the Dark should be available now at fine booksellers everywhere.

And if you haven't read A Devil in the Details, the first in the series, go get that one.

Then get A Shot in the Dark

Better yet, get them both at the same time.

Go.

Get ye to yon bookshop.

NOW.

*This is an affiliate link to Amazon. If you buy from this link, I get a little extra to help pay for a mocha or two.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

"Here's to America's colors, the colors that never run. May the wings of Liberty never lose a feather."

Have a great 4th of July.


(photo: The Expired Meter)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Writers Write...And Read

In addition to writing, you're gonna need to read. A lot. Because writers don't just write. Writers also read.
A lot.

Fiction. (That's a no-brainer.) Non-fiction. Essays. History. Science. Poetry. Read them all. As much as you can.

And if you're planning to write romance, mystery, science fiction, or any other genre, read them.

For the love of all that's holy, read them.

Read them a lot.

Grab a stack of whatever genre you're gonna write and read them.

Find their classics and read them.

Why?

So you learn what makes them tick.

So you don't try to reinvent the genre wheel.

So you know what's been done--and know variations of what's been done.

So you know what your readers are gonna expect from you.

Look--if you decide to write sword and sorcery and you end up with high fantasy, you've got a problem.

If you try for a hard-boiled story and end up writing a cozy, your readers'll be pissed.*

There's another reason you should be reading (fiction, non-fiction, essays, poetry, etc.), but we'll cover that in an upcoming post.

For now, go get you some books and get started reading.

*If you have no clue what "hard-boiled," "cozy," "sword and sorcery," or "high fantasy" means, you're gonna have problems. Look them up. Learn them. Remember them. You need to know this stuff, Dudes and Dudettes.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Hollywood Gunfight Bullshit

Let's get this straight once and for all: Hollywood-style gun use is purely theatrical.

That's right. It has no basis in actual use.

All show. All done just to look cool.

The cop hero who stands by the wall, waiting to duck around the corner, his gun raised up near his face?

Doesn't happen.

Shooting a gun sideways?

Idiocy.

Silenced pistol going phht-phht?

Nope.

If you've been using Hollywood as your source of gun use, you're doing it wrong.

Lela Gwenn gets it in her post, Dear Erotica: You Fight Like a Girl*.

Please, writers. When it comes to fights and depictions of weapons use, get it right.

If your character plans to use a gun, get yourself to a gun range and try out some guns. Or if you have a friend who is a gun enthusiast, ask them to take you to the range and sample some firearms. Learn how it feels, how it sounds, how it smells (yes, there's a definite smell to gunsmoke).

Most importantly, learn how they operate.

Even if you're not planning to give the exact model of handgun your character will use, at least know whether it's a revolver or semi-automatic pistol.

Talk to the fine folks at your local gun shop. Ask them questions. Tell them you're a writer and you're trying not to fall into the clich├ęs of Hollywood-style gun fights. Most will be more than happy to help.

(And contrary to popular belief, gun store owners--heck, gun owners in general--are not illiterate, no-neck, knuckle-dragging neanderthals. I should know. I'm a gun owner myself. We're actually nice people. *gets off soapbox*)

So the lesson here is to go out, get your hands dirty, and get your details right.

*Yes, I know it's an old post. So what? I stumbled onto it recently. Remember: Good advice is evergreen.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The "I Don't Have Time to Write" Whine

I don't care what you call it.

It's a whine.

If this is yours, it's time to rethink wanting to be a writer.

Too harsh?

Get over it.

See, a writer "writes."

Period.

I've said it before. I'll say it again.

A writer doesn't talk about writing. A writer doesn't think about writing. A writer doesn't sit at Starbucks with a large mocha and a laptop only to stare and frown at a blank document on the screen.

No.

A writer writes.

Now, let me clear something up here.

Yes, a writer will talk and think about the craft of writing.

But 90% of what a writer does is write.

"Write" is a verb.

Action.

Doing.

Writing.

If you've read this far into the post and you're still whining, go do something else. Lay brick. Fix cars. Become a rock star.

Because you don't want to be a writer.

But if you're serious about this and you want to stop whining and you're still reading, I salute you.

You're still in the game.

So...how do we kick that whine in the ass?

GIVING THE WHINE SOMETHING TO WHINE ABOUT
Here's what you do...

You write for 15 minutes.

You have 15 minutes, don't you?

If you say you don't you're a frickin' liar.

Everybody has 15 minutes. Waiting for your coffee to brew. Waiting for your bus or train. Sitting in a waiting room. Waiting for water to boil. Waiting for dinner to cook.

Hell, while you're on the toilet.

Write.

For 15 minutes, do nothing but write.

Get a kitchen timer or stopwatch. Find an app. Something that can count down 15 minutes for you and ring a bell or buzzer or alarm or go "Ping!" when time's up.

Then....

...you write.

"That's it?" I hear you say.

That's it.

Now go write.

You have 15 minutes.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Rutger Hauer Goes Apeshit

Whilst browsing the Intertubes, I spotted this post of random links from Spazz!! Books.

The fourth link under Item #2 caught my eye.

Hobo With A Shotgun.
Come on.

How can you not like that title?

And Rutger Hauer!

I swear it's gotta be better than Attack of the Gryphon, Megashark vs. Giant Octopus, or (may the gods help us all) Troll 2.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Currently Reading

Here's what's on my Current Reading stack:And I'm in the middle of re-reading:

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Writer's Block Is A Myth, Motherf***ers!

Let's tackle this before we get any further along 'cuz it's gonna come up eventually.

Writer's Block.

Here's the truth:

WRITER'S BLOCK IS A MYTH.

Say it again with me: "Writer's Block is a myth."

Have you noticed no one ever talks about Plumber's Block? Or Car Mechanic's Block?

If you brought your car to the mechanic and he tells you "Sorry, I can't fix this right now, I'm not inspired," you'd take your business to someone who can fix it.

Lawyer's Block? Doesn't exist.

Doctor's block? Never happens.

But mention writing and at some point, the conversation makes its way to a discussion about "writer's block this" and "writer's block that."

Why does writing get to have a block?

Answer: It doesn't.

Say it again with me, Dudes and Dudettes: "Writer's Block is a myth."

And, sadly, it's a myth that's been making the rounds for a long time.

First things first: Get over the idea of writer's block.

Less stress when you do.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Progress Notes


Tales of Episode #205 and #206
Episode #205 is now completed. It's a short one, a bridging episode.

After a few weeks of research and behind-the-scenes work, #206 is now in progress. Currently at:

730 / 6,000

(photo: abcdz2000/stock.xchng)

Take Note, Fellow Comrades

Monday, June 13, 2011

No. Not Alone.

Fellow blogger EEV recently ran a post called "The Loneliness of Pursuing Your Dream."

This part stood out:
Pursuing your dream is a lonely task. You can have online friends who want the same as you, and still, you're lonely. You can have, like me, a person very close of you who share your dream of long-time-hard-work-penning-words. I have my Husband. And he understands me, and I understand him, but still, each one of us has their own work to do, their own buttons to push, their own craft to polish.
It immediately called to mind a similar post I'd done sometime back on that same topic, the loneliness of the writing life.

To me, though, the loneliness is temporary because
Yes, our work is often done alone. By ourselves. And nobody sees our struggles. But remember that your fellow writers are also in the same boat. Sometimes, looking up to see what your compatriots are doing can make you see that you're not really alone.

Because you're not.
And I say it's still true.

(photo: loleia/stock.xchng)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

"I'm The Kwisatz Haderach"

In honor of it being part of the #1 post according to my traffic stats, I give you "I'm The Kwisatz Haderach"--with music video.


Here's the mp3 version if you want to download it.

And lyrics. To sing along with.

I'M THE KWISATZ HADERACH
I came from planet Caladan.
On Arrakis I became a man
When they killed my father, the Duke,
Sent me and mother to the desert.
Joined a Fremen tribe and survived.
Became the leader Muad'Dib, also known as Usul.

Now there's a Fremen storm a-risin'.
See Shai-Hulud on the horizon.
I'll lead the jihad
And fulfill the prophecy.

I'm the Kwisatz Haderach.
Riding out on a worm
With the Fedaykin by my side.
I'm the Kwisatz Haderach.
One day my name will be known
To people far and wide.
And Irulan will write about me.

With the power of worms and sand,
And the Fremen at my command.
We'll stop the spice flow
And take on the Baron Harkonnen.
Not worried 'bout Rabban or Feyd
Or the Bene Gesserit, the Guild,
The Imperium, the landsraad

'Cuz there's a Fremen storm a-risin'.
See Shai-Hulud on the horizon.
I'll lead the jihad
And fulfill the prophecy.

I'm the Kwisatz Haderach.
Riding out on a worm
With the Fedaykin by my side.
I'm the Kwisatz Haderach.
One day my name will be known
To people far and wide.
And Irulan will write about me.

I'm the Kwisatz Haderach.
Riding out on a worm
With the Fedaykin by my side.
I'm the Kwisatz Haderach.
One day my name will be known
To people far and wide.
And Irulan will write about me.


(And if for some reason the video isn't working up there, here's the YouTube link to the song for your enjoyment.)

DUNE Song Parody Wins

Took at look at my blog stats the other day and found that my top 5 posts are:
Not quite sure why an Updates post for the serial racked up 117 pageviews but okay, I'll take it.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Legacy Pub-Indie Pub-Small Pub Hullabaloo


The publishing battle continues.

Recently SF/F author Michael Stackpole tweeted the following
Writers banned from website for spreading truth about digital self-pub: http://tinyurl.com/3zmcxym (HT Terry Mixon) Vital stuff folks. RT!
If you follow the link in the tweet, you can find another link to the forum thread that resulted in the ban.

I read the original thread.

Okay--I think it's time to really come up with solid definitions for what we're doing.

Everybody seems to be upset at what we're calling ourselves.

We're borrowing from "indie music," "indie films," "indie comics," and even "indie role-playing games." You know them--guys and gals who decided not to go with the Big Name film, record, comic book companies, and role-playing game publishers and struck out on their own.

We're doing the same. Why can't we call ourselves that? What's wrong with doing so? Where does it say we can't call ourselves that?

Hell, a lot of comic book creators are being told "You want to break into comics? Try self-publishing. Print your own. Create an ashcan. Use that as your sample."

One of the posts on that thread said "indie publishing" referred to "small presses," those companies who aren't one of the gigantic publishing conglomerates and who have "annual sales below a certain level."

How about this: call the small presses "small press" and call ourselves "indie authors."

It can work.

Rly.

Srsly.

Consider the conversation going like this:
YOU: "I'm an indie author."

THE OTHER GUY: "Oh, you're with a small press? Which one?"

YOU: "No. Not small press."

THE OTHER GUY: "But isn't a small press the same as an indie author?"

YOU: " 'Small press' just means a publisher that's not one of the big name ones. 'Indie' means I did it myself."

THE OTHER GUY: "So you self-published."

YOU: "I prefer the term 'indie author' myself."
Is it spin? Yeah. It is.

But spin doesn't have to be negative. I say make spin work for us.

"Indie author."

Touch it. Love it. Use it.

If you repeat it to people enough times and they'll get it.

Go on.

Give it a try.

(photo: ilco/stock.xchng)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

More Interview-y Goodness

David Wisehart at the Kindle Author blog has an interview with me about KAT AND MOUSE.

Head on over yonder to read.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to mention the "no pants" thing this time around. Oh well.

Thanks to David for running the piece!

In Which KAT AND MOUSE Gets Another Review

As I mentioned in a previous post, Frida over at Frida Fantastic was going to be reviewing KAT AND MOUSE.

And voila! the review's been posted.

Frida--thanks for the review!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

How To Be A Writer And Kick Ass

In order to kick ass as a writer, you gotta do four things:
  • Write
  • Submit to Market
  • Grow a Thick Skin
  • Write More
WRITE
For the love of all that's holy--write. Don't talk about writing. Don't go to a coffee shop with your laptop and pose. You don't need a $5,000 computer. You don't need a huge mahogany desk.

At the very least you need a pen and a notebook or legal pad or loose leaf paper. Go to Staples or some other office supply store and buy a 2-pack of the Pilot G2 gel pen and a pack of the yellow or white writing pads.

There. You've got your equipment.

Next up?

Write.

Write your short story. Write your novella. Write your novel.

Whatever it is, sit your ass down and write it.

Begin at the beginning or some other good spot in the story.

And write.

Period.

SUBMIT TO MARKET
When your story is done and you've revised, edited, and polished it, send it out to your chosen markets.

If you don't know what markets you should send them to, find out. Do the legwork. Check out Writer's Market. If you're going for short fiction, look it up on Duotrope or Ralan.com. For agents, go find them on AgentQuery or similar.

GROW A THICK SKIN
If your story doesn't make it to market, it's been rejected.

Rejections are gonna happen. Your story may not be right for the market or it may not be right for the editor. Maybe, it's not even right for the editor at that time.

Doesn't matter. When it comes back, suck it up and send it back out to the next market on your list.

WRITE MORE
Again. Back to this.

Write write write write.

Then write some more.

* * *

Got all that?

Good.

Now go get writing.

A Quick Word About "Writing Tip Wednesdays"

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I'll be sharing writing tips on Wednesdays.

Be warned: I'm not going to pull any punches. Straight talk. No-nonsense. Bullshit-free. It's not gonna be for everyone. If you want this to be "art," if you're all about the mystique of being a writer, skip these posts. I mean it.

This won't be for you.

To me, a writer is first and foremost a tradesman. We deal in stories.

Still with me?

Good deal.

Check back shortly for the first post in this series.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Wednesdays Will Now Get All Writerly

Since this is a writer's blog, I figured I'd finally do some posts on the actual craft of writing. And after sharing some of my thoughts on techniques with a couple of fellow writers, I thought "Hey--why not share them with you, Dear Readers?"

After all, I know there's a few of you who are writers out there in IntertubeLand.

So that's what I'm a-gonna do.

I hereby dub Wednesdays "Writing Tip Wednesdays."

Check in tomorrow for the first post in the series.

Gryphon Droppings

Attack of the Gryphon stars Amber Benson (yes, Tara from BtVS) as a princess who teams up with a rival prince to seek out an ancient weapon that can kill the gryphon of the title.

One word for this movie: Why?

It was a birthday present from LadyAce (last Friday was my birthday) so I figured I'd at least watch it. Maybe it was halfway decent.

No.

It hurt my brain. In a bad way.

Atrocious dialogue. Logic holes. Crappy writing all around.

I'll say the same thing to Amber as I said to Debbie--excuse me, Deborah Gibson about Megashark: Why?

(Actually, what I said was: please please pick a better movie next time.)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mecha Anthology!

John Joseph Adams posted this on his blog last month and I, for one, am stoked and looking forward to it.
Come on--how can you not look forward to that?

I blame it on growing up with giant robot and powered battle armor goodness like Tranzor Z (aka Mazinger Z), Robotech (aka Macross, Southern Cross, Mospeada), Gundam, Patlabor, Megazone 23, Bubblegum Crisis, and Appleseed.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Goodreads Review!

And Lo! we've got a review of KAT AND MOUSE posted on Goodreads.

Have a look over yonder.

If you're also on Goodreads and have read KAT AND MOUSE, do please post a review describing your experience if you get a moment.

And if you want to post one for Amazon, too, by all means please do so.