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Posts from the ‘SARAH A. HOYT’ Category

Why read me when there are new books out?

The new Alternate History Anthology edited by James Young, Trouble in the Wind, has stories by current and MGC members Sarah Hoyt, Brad Torgersen, and Peter Grant… as well as S.M. Stirling, Kevin J Anderson, and David Weber!
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How Not To Run Around With Your Pants Down-Redux

Sarah is busy fighting a very tight deadline today. Because of that, I’ve pulled one of her posts from 2016 she wrote that is as true now as it was then. Also, as an aside, you can find the post she references in her first paragraph here. The comments are, as she said “amazing”.

So, I’m still finishing Darkship Revenge which means this is a quicky post.  I was — ahem — inspired by the sad spectacle in Amanda’s comments yesterday (no, really sample them, they’re amazing.)

It occurred to me that to an extent you’re all my, or perhaps our (shared) fledgelings.  Except of course for those of you who have more experience than we do and can therefore add to the points, if you wish. Read more

Put The Stuff on the Page

(This is a blast from the not to distant past. Sarah is away from her keyboard and asked me to cover for her. Being lazy resourceful, I thought the best thing to do was find one of her earlier posts and, well, post it. Since this is a problem I have at times and see quite a bit in new writers, I felt this fit the bill perfectly–ASG)

When I was a young writer, I wrote a rape scene.  It was full of pathos and horror.  It made me cringe and cry. I thought I might be too graphic.

Then my reader — yes, that’s right, at the time I only had one — aka my husband read it.  “Why is she so upset because the guy came into her room?” Read more

Words And The Lonely Writer IV – COMMUNICATE!

Now we reach the part of our program in which Sarah gets testy.  Yeah, I know, that’s such a rare sight that you’re all going to be awe struck.

No, seriously.  Stop laughing.

One of the weirdest things about writers it’s that we love language, and we study it and pet it, and take it home, and call it George.  What we tend to forget is that Language is really used for ONE thing: communication. Read more

Uncharted!!

(exclamation points mine. Both of ‘em)

Hey, all you crazy, wonderful writerly/readerly types, our own Sarah, and friend of the blog, Kevin J. Anderson, have a new book out, and everybody loves it! Okay, okay, maybe not everybody-everybody, but right now Barnes & Noble has it in a list of the best SF of May! Kindle edition available at Amazon and Baen Ebooks. Audio at the ‘Zon, as well, for those who like getting their fiction aurally. Check it out, commit commerce, and leave a review.

For those who want their very own, beautiful hardcover of Uncharted, Amazon is taking pre-orders for fulfillment on the 8th of May.

Look what I found!

Never say I don’t do nice things for you guys. Look what I found today. Shh, don’t tell Sarah though. She doesn’t know I “borrowed” this. Hehehehe.

No, you aren’t imagining it. This is the cover for the NEW Dyce Dare mystery. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait. Dyce is wacky and fun. E is one of those kids you think you want and then you’re really glad he’s not yours because he’s much too smart — for you and for his own good. And let’s not forget about Peegrass the cat. I can’t wait. Read more

Blast from the recent past — Write like the Wind

(Sarah is at TVIW this week and asked me to fill in for her. Well, in light of some of the comments we received in the various threads asking what you’d like us to write about as well as some conversations I’ve had recently with other writers, I thought this post Sarah did back in April might be appropriate. — ASG)

Write Like the Wind

There was a time I wrote a short story in six months.  I took days to write it, weeks to lovingly polish it, MONTHS of agonizing over every word.  Then I sent it out.  And it was rejected.  (All but one, which was accepted eight times, but killed magazines and/or editors. No, I don’t know why.)

Then I attended the Kris and Dean Oregon Coast Professional Writers Workshop (the first) and in those two weeks we HAD to — had to — produce five short stories and two novel proposals.  I did.  Also, at this point all of those short stories have sold.

After that I launched into a year of a short story a week (while writing two novels.)  It was a challenge of my writers’ group.

We didn’t succeed.  I think I ONLY wrote forty short stories.

The funny thing was, recently, reading over my past stories (I was transferring things from diskette) that the quality difference, after about a quarter of a story a week, more or less, was marked, visible and obvious.  I was much better after a quarter of forced production.  And from that point on, pretty much all the short stories have sold.

Novels too started being much faster.  Honestly, if I can stabilize my health at some point, a novel a month is neither unfeasible nor unreasonable.  I once wrote two novels (Heart and Soul and Plain Jane) in a month, and finished another one, though I can’t remember which (might have been one of the Musketeer books.)  In fact the main reason I didn’t write a book a month back when I was healthy was that in traditional publishing there was nothing I could do with that many books.  (Ah, for a way to send my old-self a little note.)

One of you emailed me last week and asked me if writing that fast was some trick that could be taught.

Sort of.  I’m not sure it can be taught, but it can be learned.  It’s a frame of mind you put yourself in, a mental block you remove.  And the only way to put it firmly in place is if you PRACTICE it and set yourself deadlines and goals.

However to the extent I can help, there are some principles to keep in mind that might help break the barrier.

1- how long you take to write a story doesn’t make it better or worse.  My highest-selling book was written in two days, and the next-highest-selling in two weeks.  By the standard that counts “how many people pay out good money to read this?” my faster written books are the best.

2- nine times out of ten the things you’re agonizing about on the story aren’t really important.  No, seriously.  Things like passive voice, overuse of to-be and too many adjectives and adverbs are things editors and critics care about, but most readers don’t notice, not if your voice is confident and strong enough.

3- Keeping a strong voice is much easier if you write the story fast.

So, that’s why.  Now HOW to do it.

1- Write as fast as you can.  If you are a slow typist, try voice dictation.  Put your mind in the story and write as fast as humanly possible.

2- Don’t edit.  I can’t say that enough DO NOT EDIT.  Write to the end without editing.  If you typed teh instead of the, it will wait till you’re done.

3- To facilitate do not edit, DO NOT read back to see what you did yesterday.  For best results leave yourself a sticky note about where you are going next.  That way you don’t need to read what you wrote and be tempted into editing.

4- if you’re an outliner, have a complete outline before you start, and then mark on the outline what you’re doing tomorrow.

5- if you’re a partial outliner like me, outline what you’re doing tomorrow at the end of the work day.

6- Did I mention write as fast as you possibly can?  Short story or novel race to the end.

7- Once you’re done fix typos then let it sit for a week.  This is an excellent time to send it to your betas, unless like me your idea changed in the middle and your beginning and end don’t match.

8- Fix continuity issues.

9- Make sure all your foreshadowing points right.

10- Make sure you got all your points in.

11- Do not revise/get caught in rewrites more than three times.  Three times, and let it go.

12 – move on to the next project.

Now I can say all this till I’m blue in the face, but you HAVE to practice it.  You HAVE TO PRACTICE it.  But if you do, I guarantee you’ll get better.