There was supposed to be a post this morning. Instead, my darling husband was taking me off to the chiropractor, who took one look at me limping in and said, “Put your back out again?”
Oops. I’ll be better soon. Read more
I have very recently been informed that what I am doing is vitally important, and should count as, if not a career, then a respectable detour. I’m still unconvinced I genuinely believe this (I certainly don’t grok it, but I’ve had confidence and perception issues for decades), but whether I do or not, this isn’t truly the issue.
What’s going on right now is that I’ve spent two days fighting with my children instead of writing. I JUST NOW spent nearly an hour building Lego instead of writing this post. Because the noise and wails when only one had a motorcycle.
I’m slowly coming to the realization that anything I want undamaged, anything from which I don’t want pieces missing must be cryosealed and buried, to be opened only after the last one has been unceremoniously ejected from all the Spaces That Are Mine.
This is the first time in almost five days that I’ve opened my laptop to do anything other than a quick check of email. I haven’t blogged. I haven’t put down a single new word of fiction. I even quit carrying my iPad around with me wherever I went. Better yet, I haven’t felt a single pang of guilt about it. How could I do such a thing, especially with a deadline looming less than two weeks away? Easy. A friend was coming into town. For the first time in years, I was allowing myself time to relax and not worry about the next book or editing the current one or anything else like that.
And I loved it.
More importantly, I realize now that I needed it. Read more
“Always write about what you know about”
That’s standard advice to writers, doled out like the wisdom of the ages to aspiring writers trying to write about the wilds of 1970 Irian Jaya, and the charm of the young nurse working there and the mechanics of the genetic illnesses in isolated tribal populations there… when the wilds of Poughkeepsie would be a bridge too far… and the nursing profession as alien as paleo-botany. As for genetics… they are almost sure it had something to do with genes. Or maybe jeans.
To the average mine of useless information (AKA professional writer) it shows, painfully.
Like most writing advice (actually, make that most advice) –it’s a crock… with a tiny gem of truth somewhere near the bottom. Read more
The moment has arrived; your book is ready for its debutante ball. But no matter how finely honed its grace and manners, formatting and prose, it still needs to be dressed in an eye-catching cover that lets the readers of the world know exactly what genre and subgenre she is, and what promises are being made that will be revealed if they can take her home…
And if you’re like me, you’re not an artist. (Really; I just feed them.) So you have to get someone else to do that. Read more
One of the minor pleasures of writing is setting up your major characters to have not just rocks thrown at them, but a major rock slide. Metaphorically speaking.
And for maximum impact, you want the reader to say not “Where the hell did those rocks come from?” but, “Oh, of course that was going to happen, I should have seen it coming.”
For that, you need to keep the reader aware of these stresses and hot buttons that make your characters particularly likely to walk under that cliff, and the clues that tell them the cliff is dangerously unstable. It’s the difference between having your character knocked out by a random rock slide, and having him knocked out by a rock slide in a place clearly labeled Fallen Rock Zone. After he’s made his speech about how modern civil engineers never, ever make a road cut that leaves unstable masses above the road.
Okay, now to specifics.
I woke up this morning to see that the beautiful, wealthy people at the top of the American publishing scene are telling me publishing is doing well! Whew. That’s a load off. And here, I can’t actually remember the last time I purchased a hardcopy genre novel. I suspect it was before Wee Dave was born, for a couple of reasons. First, disposable income. Second, I don’t remember a whole lot of the last four years.
Ok, the truly entertaining part of John Sargent’s (CEO of Macmillan) comments wasn’t thanking President Trump for trying to block the publication of Michael Wolff’s magnificent work of fiction Fire & Fury. (I still think the POTUS’ mobilization of the DOJ – aside from being apparently juvenile – was mostly trolling his political and cultural opponents.) Oh, no. That’s what followed, where he pulled off his gleaming helmet, wiped his noble brow, and assured us he believes “free speech … is the greatest value” in publishing. Such a paladin. I’m so glad powerful businessmen are there to defend our rights. I just wish they’d do it consistently, since that’s what they claim to be for.