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Posts from the ‘WRITING’ Category

Making young bookworms: looking to the future

Today’s post comes out of a librarian acquaintance commenting on the new YA and MG list he had to buy from, and this post on YA from David Farland. Now David Farland is one of the mildest and politest people in the entire writing world. He makes a genuine effort to be supportive of other writers, and he goes out of his way to be nice and kind – even to those who really are behaving like their up-bringing was done in a sty. You can read his post here,  and you might want to consider rewarding a decent man by buying the YA book he mentions at the end. Read more

World Building – Details

You’ve done all the research. You’ve mapped out (literally perhaps) your new world, and have crafted a story worthy of a Dragon, several other awards, and lots and lots of Benjamins*, but your alpha and beta readers say, “I’m just not feeling it. I can’t see your world.”

What went wrong?

Details. You need enough detail to make the world real, especially real to the characters who live in it, but not so much that the reader drowns. This is, alas, no longer the 19th Century and we can’t go on for pages and pages about fashion, food, or other things. Unless it is critical to the plot, or you are writing a milieu novel, and even then, see “the problems of the unrestrained info-dump.” Read more

Messages in our minds

Man is a rationalizing creature, not a rational one. We can no more order ourselves perfectly from top-down principles than we can tell ourselves “I’m going to eat right, exercise, and get all my chores done from now on!” (Well, we can say that. You all know exactly how well it works.)

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The boy-child is at vacation Bible school mornings this week. This is good, as I was starting to look for itinerant entertainers interested in taking on apprentices. It’s good to start them early on such things, right? Anyway, the life of a temporarily single parent is no joke, and the real single parents out there have my utmost respect. This $&%# is hard.

Case in point: the younger one is rotting her brain (yeah, I’m not really happy about it, either) while I type this. There’s simply no other way – right now – for me to get anything done without it taking two or three times as long, and exhausting me completely. And even then, it’d probably get dropped for something more urgent.
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Shaking things up

It’s hard to believe I’ve been indie publishing as long as I have. Thanks to Sarah, I crossed over to the Dark Side as soon as Amazon opened the doors to the unwashed masses that had been kept out of traditional publishing by the oft-lauded gatekeepers. In the years that followed, I’ve made a pretty good living at it. However, it could be better and I’ve spent a great deal of time over the last month or so looking at what I do as a writer and indie publisher and what I need to do to increase not only my exposure but my bottom line.

The final judgment? I need to shake things up some. Read more


I haven’t paid a great deal of attention WorldCon this year: not my circus, not my monkeys. I must admit I’m very bitter with Nora Jemison. If she’d managed to hold off for another 24 hours with her magnanimous decision that she would, after all, grace the fortunate attendees with her participation in programming, I’d have been 50 bucks richer, instead of 10 bucks down (yes, 5:1 best odds I could get.) But other than that expected result, I haven’t paid much attention.  Apparently John Scalzi informed us that the ‘SJW’ did not in fact eat each other alive, but created ‘a field of programming that is interesting, educational, and representative of the current state of sf.’ Oh, and apparently ‘mostly everyone’s happy.’ Read more


How best to handle introducing new characters, new stories, and readers to one another? Well, my preference both as a writer and a reader is to get a sense of them, but not necessarily learn everything about them all up front at once. It’s a slow dance, a tease, a little here, a little there, and you get to know them, just like you do in real life. When you are introduced to a person in front of you, you might get their full name, or you might not. There’s formal introductions: “may I present Princess Hildegard of Aronia to you, Grand Duchess of Rexington?” and then there is: “so this is Joe, my plumber. He’s pretty good, if’n you don’t want it done fast.” With a wink and an elbow nudge. Read more