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Posts from the ‘research’ Category

How Much Context?

I recently finished slogging through a non-fiction book for Day Job. The book is very well written, but has a cast of hundreds, covers at least six states, and provides no background. The authors are telling the story of a small group of people involved in the Civil Rights movement, so their focus is appropriate. But I kept falling out of the book thinking, “Sheesh, I know why this happened, and I know what that term means, but I bet other folks are really going to be confused.” Unless you already know a great deal of history,  the adventures take place in a vacuum. Read more

Additional Classes

LTUE – Life, The Universe, & Everything – is a symposium in Utah every February by writers for writers. Unlike Comic Cons where panels are likely to on costuming, and literary cons where the panels are by authors for readers, LTUE panels cover things like “writing action” and “balancing the books”, and “boring beginnings” and things like that.

And you don’t even have to go!

Read more

About those Kindle categories

A week ago I finished the first draft of what I’m provisionally calling A Trail of Dragon Scales, and this time I’m doing something a little bit different after that. The first couple of days went as usual: a euphoric sense of accomplishment, slight mystification about why nobody is having a parade for such a fine fellow as I am, the dawning realization that we don’t actually have any champagne… After a few days of trying not to break an arm patting myself on the back, usually I pull up my socks and get started on the next book.

But if you count Dragon Scales – and I do, because it doesn’t appear to need any structural editing, just the usual reading and re-reading for minor fixes – I currently have four completed books in the publication queue. Even I can’t create a sense of urgency about finishing another one in the next couple of months. And the next book isn’t helping out with that, either: there’s this one major theme and resolution floating around in my head, surrounded by huge gaping bubbles of nothing where the rest of the plot ought to be.

And, you know, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Cookies to bake, grandchildren to spoil, all that good stuff.

So I made an Executive Decision: any time I’ve got four books waiting for proofreading and covers and formatting, I’m taking a month off.

That worked fine for the week of babbling idiocy that frequently follows a prolonged writing push, but I started getting twitchy yesterday and revised the plan. Okay, for the rest of the month I will spend half an hour each day fishing around in my subconscious for the rest of that missing plot, and I will do… something… about marketing and promotion every day. Follow up on some of those programs that are recommended for tracking sales or picking keywords or whatever, evaluate some promotion sites, learn how to do Amazon ads. Whatever. I’m just trying to tame the general topic, which right now looks to me like a writhing mass of tentacles straight out of Cthulhu, into… well, at least into a collection of subtopics that can be addressed one at a time. Each of which will, most likely, also look like a writhing mass of tentacles, but you have to start somewhere, right? Read more

A Post. Really. It Even Has Links

For the last couple months, I’ve been pretty good about having something ready to post every other Wednesday afternoon. This week, not so much. I thought I’d have a book ready to go and could do a promo post, but things happen and it’ll probably be ready by the end of the week. Read more

Writing Guns, The 10,000 Foot View by JL Curtis

Today’s guest post is by J.L. Curtis, who blogs at Old NFO, and writes awesome contemporary westerns with cowboys vs. drug smugglers, as well as science fiction.

Get your guns…

Right.

A 10,000 foot view…

First, forget everything you’ve ever seen in the movies, it’s all BS! Read more

Writer’s Guide to Horses Part X

Traveling with and by horse

Most modern horses don’t have to go from Point A to Point B on their own legs; that’s what horse trailers are for. But until the development of cars starting in the late 1800s, nearly everyone traveled on horseback or by carriage if they were going any great distance. Quite a turnabout- horses used to haul us around; now we haul them around. Read more

Writer’s Guide to Horses Part IX

Harnessing and Driving

For much of history, horses were mostly used as draft and driving animals. Read more