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Showing posts from March, 2009

New Blog Header

As you can see, I'm trying out a new header. I'm not sure it fits well with the rest of the blog's look, but I'll let it ride for a few days and see if it grows on me. I might try something else. Who knows. I'm going light on blogging right now because I'm knee deep in research for my Secret Novel.

Also Available in Puppy

Silly You Tube vid of the day.

Kindle is Cheaper Than a Newspaper

Apparently, "it costs the Times about twice as much money to print and deliver the newspaper over a year as it would cost to send each of its subscribers  a brand new Amazon Kindle instead."

Cover Art for Hound in Blood and Black

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My friend the Screaming Guppy has written a totally badass zombie story. It's got all the rampaging undead fun you would expect, plus a cool twist which sets it apart from what's been done. I did two mock covers. One attempts to show a scene in an arena built over the ocean, where sharks swim, waiting to devour the losers. I didn't really capture it, so I tried another cover, this time simply going for something creepy and zombiesque.

First Person, Third Person, Omniscient

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I'm trying to decide the proper Point of View for my new novel. This isn't the most urgent question. I still have a ton of  research to do before I can commit to more than jotting down notes and hypothetical scenes. I have my Short Outline for the novel. If I wrote out a few hypothetical scenes, I could always change the Person they're in later. (That sounds so odd to say, "the Person they're in" but how else would you say it?) There are pros and cons for each Person. The question is which will best tell this particular story? Third Person:  Third ("he said, she said") is standard and also my usual favorite. I like to have a lot of PoV characters, which rules out First. Third Person is the most flexible, and at the same time, the least obtrusive. In all probability, I will write the novel in third, unless another Person offers something to the story which third cannot.  Omniscient:  Omniscient ("he thought, she thought") used to be

That's Just Precious

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This brings a whole new meaning to fan fic: "Don't forget folks, this production is just an unofficial home movie, made by a bunch of Tolkien enthusiasts for love of the material. The budget has been scraped together by ourselves, nobody was paid and no money will be made from it. So yep it's purely our way to express our tribute to this magical world. It's exciting that so many other fans like us have posted supporting words on our guestbook. Thank you all for your kind comments and support! The editing of the film will take a lot of work but we hope to put it online in early 2009." It really says something when the quality of your "unofficial home movie" is so blow-me-over awesome you have to keep reminding people of the fact. And it really is just that awesome. At least the trailer is. Check it out. Please, please, do the Simirillian!

Short Outline, Long Outline, Draft

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My outlining will probably go through three stages. (1) Short Outline -  basic story arc of the book (2) Long Outline - list of scenes, with conflict-response for each scene (3) Outline Draft - technically, a first draft, but so awful I can't stand to call it a draft, so I pretend it's just a really long outline * * * I think of the Short Outline as the infrastructure of my book. Here I decide the word count I'm aiming at, the number of chapters and the approximate number of words per chapter. I decide how many PoV characters there will be, and how many storylines. Although it will give me tremendous grief at some point in the writing of the novel, I stick to this infrastructure like a underground splinter cult fanatic clings to an uzi. My word count, however, often suffers from bloat, perhaps brought on by adverb retention, but often as a result of overindulging in subplots. For this novel, I have a central image/metaphor of a well. I envision the still circle of

The Future of Books

Fiction Matters sums up my suspicions about the future of tree books after ebooks become the norm. Tree books will remain, but they will be expensive, high quality objects d'art, mainly for collectors and book lovers. The analogy is to records.

Research

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Research -- and its counterpart, worldbuilding -- used to be my greatest joy in writing. Recently, I often feel so pressured to add beans to the wordcount, I don't feel I can afford to luxuriate in research as I used to. The project I'm working on now is research-intensive. I thought I'd done most of the research already, working on a non-fiction piece. However, as I've  started working on a detailed outline, I've realized the needs of non-fiction and fiction diverge greatly. For non-fiction, I mostly needed to know when , where and who . With those facts, I can speculate on why . For fiction I need to answer much more about how . How did it smell? How did it look? How did it taste? Only then can I speculate on how it felt. My outline/draft so far is peppered with notes to myself: [NEED: description of a fishing ship ] All of these notes are promises to myself to do research.  Characters require research too. Names must fit the culture and period. Every charac

What's in a Pen Name?

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An author by any other pen name would write as sweet. But she might not make as much money. I have a confession. Tara Maya is a pen name. My real name has a lot of syllables. I decided ages ago -- in my year abroad in college, to be precise -- I needed a pen name. Mostly I was too shy to face the idea of anyone knowing I was an author, but partly I thought a nice, short name could be written in a larger font on a paperback. ;) I'm over the shyness and who even knows if there will still be paperbacks by the time any of my writing sees print. Furthermore, I discovered the downside to a pen name. It isn't your real name. I know. Duh. But I wasn't thinking about the importance of social networking, or any other kind of marketing, back when I decided to start writing under a pseudonym.  Why not just start using my real name? Well, for one thing, now I'm married, so that's changed anyway. Another thing, I've been participating in writer's groups, submitting t

A Cover is Born

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I found this peek at what goes into painting the cover art for a novel to be absolutely fascinating.

Illumination

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I have an idea. I have ten thousand ideas for stories, in fact, which is why I love this lightbulb picture. There are many bulbs, but last night one in particular flared to life. I needed to start a new novel, one from scratch (there's a reason, but I'll save that story for another time -- it's secret for now), so I trawled through my notebooks to revisit those dottings every writer has. You know the ones I mean, those odd wisps of inspiration which wake you up after a vivid dream of flying, or make you pull over the car on the freeway near the emergency call box, or have you ignoring everything your boss just said to you in the meeting because you had to write it down here, now on the notes to the power point presentation. I have a few of these every day. I've shared   a few. There are many, many more. These dottings are like bottlecaps. One or two is never enough to send in for the prize. You have to keep collecting them. Some will never go anywhere except that

your're commentz r whacked

Hey, You Tube Spammers,  you're commentz r whacked.

Parable of the Pedestal

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I've done it again. I've put my story on a pedestal. A shiny, glowy Roman column of a pedestal, representing the pinnacle of literary grace, depth and passion. A place quite out of reach for a writer of my meager talents. My story is too good for me. I don't deserve it. I might as well give up on it now, because it's obvious I will never earn the right to even shine the boots of my story. My story contains a glimmer of the empyrean, it tinkles with chimes from the music of the spheres. I, on the other hand, am an eyeless, earless invertebrate lacking any capacity to translate the transcendent notes of my story into a form comprehensible to normal mortals. I suck. There is a solution. I will wait to write this story until I have mastered a style which is more complex, more mature. In the meantime, I will start another story, a B Class story, which is humbler, simpler, more appropriate for my lowly talents. I won't aim high with this story, I won't put Story

Roomba and Baby

Roomba. Meet Baby. In case you haven't heard, a roomba is a robot vacuum  and, apparently, a pram.

How B&N's Fourth Quarter Affects New Writers

Hat tip to author Maya Reynolds who highlighted the most interesting 400 words out of a much longer and more boring document, the Barnes & Noble, Inc. Q4 2008 Earnings Call Transcript. And I'm going to highlight just two points from what she posted. I'll call it the Good News and the Bad News. The Bad News: "The year 2008 was by far the most challenging retail environment we’ve ever experienced. In fact, it was the first year in which our comparable store sales declined every quarter." So book sales in the stores are down. B&N has responded to this by controlling "store payroll", which, if I understand correctly means layoffs and closing stores. However, I can't but think it also would determine how many books they are willing to buy from publishers. If bookstores buy less from publishers, publishers will buy less from agents, agents will accept fewer submissions from writers. But writers are not submitting less to agents. On the contrary

Why Authors Need Agents

Yesterday I highlighted a blog talking about why an author needs and editor, and today I happened across this delightful post/paeon to an agent by a fairly new talent Seanan McGuire, author of the upcoming urban fantasy Rosemary and Rue. Almost two years ago, a friend of mine sent me a letter introducing me to another friend of hers, one who happened to be a literary agent. The Agent and I started chatting via email, taking it slowly, navigating the wilds of acquaintance and understanding long before we reached the point where representation would become an option. It was a courtship, rather than a barroom hookup, and I am incredibly grateful for that, because anybody who's met me knows that my full attention can be an exhausting thing. She gets my full attention a lot. A year ago today, we stopped courting. The past year has been an amazing ride of wonderful, dizzying, confusing things, and The Agent has been there every step along the way to explain, encourage, and assist. I

The Hearts of Men Centuries Dead

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"The world of books is the most remarkable creation of man. Nothing else that he builds ever lasts. Monuments fall; nations perish; civilizations grow old and die out; and, after an era of darkness, new races build others. But in the world of books are volumes that have seen this happen again and again, and yet live on, still young, still as fresh as the day they were written, still telling men's hearts of the hearts of men centuries dead." --Clarence Day, Jr. (I snatched this quote from an agent's site, The Literary Group and the photo is by Dagny Willis, featuring ruins of a house in Alaska.)

Why Authors Need Editors

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There's a fascinating discussion over on Elizabeth Bear's blog about whether an editor hones a writer's vision or crushes her unique genius into cookie cut dough. (And I literally mean vision because one of the issues is whether to include more visual description.) I was quite struck by something E Bear said in the comments: A good editor is a professional whose skill involves bringing out the writer's truest voice. And the skill of a writer is not self-expression: that's a very high-school interpretation of art. Self-expression is the egotist's excuse. Art is about communication; it's about evoking a response in the reader. Oftentimes, a writer is too close to her intention to see the real effect on someone else, because she can see what she intended. If we were talking about the visual arts, it's the difference between a child's drawing and the landscape of a trained artist. A writer who has not learned to judge the effect of her words on an

Warning: You May Dream of This Video

“What you need to know is…that you are going to watch this video more times than you can imagine. You may dream of this video, but the dream won’t be as good because it won’t be this video.” Behold! This video of fantasy cliches put to music looks like it escaped from 1986. The Taste Police from the future sent robots back in time to kill it before it was born but it stole their time travel guitar and came forward to 2009. The review is as a funny as the video itself.

What if Your Story Were a Fairy-tail?

Scott Bailey asked on his blog today, "What is a story?" Why do stories have a beginning, middle and end? Obviously, they start somewhere and end somewhere physically, textually or orally, but is that alone what gives us the urge to give a story form? I have a talkative relative (let's call her a great aunt, like my MC's Great Aunt Sullana) who is always telling me about incidents, people, and events in her life. Never, however, does she arrange these into stories with clear beginnings, middles and ends. Instead, her chatter strings along a seemingly random assortment of sentences about a friend's gall bladder operation, a sock she lost, what she's reading, the weather on her drive to my house and instructions to her dog. You will wait in vain to hear about whether the operation went smoothly or where the sock was found or how any of these things relate to one another. On the other hand, I knew a fisherman who, under the guise of chit-chat, would tell t

Abe Lincoln's Advice on Querying

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Which SF&F Markets Publish the Most New Authors?

I've wondered it. You've wondered it. Or not. But now's your chance to wonder in case you haven't. Which SF&F markets publish the most new authors? (Hat tip to Cat Rambo, who also explains Why You're Always Being Rejected by Fantasy Magazine. ) Here's her breakdown of the percent of fresh blood for each market: F&SF: 3% Analog: 5% Asimov's: 20% Baen's Universe: 21% Intergalactic Medicine Show: 32% Interzone: 40% Realms of Fantasy: 51% Clarkesworld: 61% Strange Horizons: 68% Weird Tales: 72% Chizine: 78% Fantasy Magazine: 88% So if you've never published anything before and your query to F&SF keeps getting SASEd back to you, now you might have an inkling why. * * * Finally, I want to add a plug for SmokeLong Quarterly, even though it's not sf&f, and even though I have no idea what percentage of new writers they publish, because (a) it's the bees knees, and (b) fellow blogger Davin Malasarn helps edit it. Chec

Bad Endings

Natalie has summarized some of the factors that make for bad endings on her blog. She listed: 1. Too unexpected 2. Negates the entire purpose of the story 3. No actual resolution 4. Goes against "the genre" *looks around nervously* I don't see "ends on a cliffhanger" in there. Maybe I'm safe. Or maybe she just forgot to mention it. I think there are a few others I would add: 5. Has less dramatic tension than the earlier parts of the book, so ends with a "whimper". 6. Leaves too many loose ends -- questions raised earlier in the story are never answered. This is a less severe version of #3, but still annoying. 7. The resolution comes from outside the MC's efforts.

Spacebat Flies for the Last Time *Snif*

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"Spacebat Tribute" Video Will Make You Cry Like "We Are the World"

Seducers, Charmers and Con Men

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Candice Kennington has a post wondering if it is possible to make one's villains too charming -- stealing the hero's thunder and the reader's heart. This made me cogitate. (It's my blog. I can use pointless $3 words if I want!) In Book 2, the heroine has three potential love interests. Hero - Her first love, who (she thinks) abandoned her, but who was actually removed by the villain. I don’t want her first love to seem like a wanker or a wimp even though he’s out of the picture. Anti-hero - The villain who falls for the heroine himself though his feelings for her endanger his nefarious schemes. I want the the villain to be the dark, brooding type you fall in love with, even though you know it’s not a good idea. Foil - The charmer who accepts a Dangerous Liaisons type challenge from a villainess to seduce the heroine. I want the charmer to be another kind of bad boy to make the villain/anti-hero seem ironically gallant by comparison. (I.e. the villain may be se

What Bored Welshmen Do With Their Sheep

That's just not natural! They do one in the day, but the real fun comes when they do it in the dark. ;v)

St. Patty's Day Projectiles

We still have guests, and I'm sick, so I may not finish my post on Seduction until later. (Thank you, all of you who chimed in with great stories!) Just wanted to let you know the baby threw up on me. On himself. On the couch. On the floor. On the rug. On the guests. Yeah. It's a non-stop fun fest around my house. But, hey. It wouldn't be St. Patty's if someone didn't drink too much and vomit, would it?

Guests and Players

We have out-of-town guests staying with us this week, and they're sleeping in the room which normally serves as my home office. For that reason, I will probably not get much writing done, and may find it hard to blog as well. However, I can't complain. At least my house was not flooded! I'm not sure what this will do to my writing schedule for Book 2. I fear I was only able to join Sam's Virtual Write-In for about 2 hours. (I only wrote 500 words, but it was on a scene I had been struggling just to start.) I'm trying to use the time productively by doing research for a character and storyline which has been giving me trouble. As I mentioned, one of my subplots is a rip of Dangerous Liaisons ; a female character challenges a male character to seduce the heroine. I want to write some of the seduction scenes from the seducer's PoV. Even more fundamental, I wanted the lines he uses on her to be true to the kinds of lines players use. Being a big nerd, I don't

Virtual Write In

Today I'm participating in Sam Elliott's First Ever Virtual Write-in.   Elsewhere on the net today, there's an agent chat at Castle in the Sky Flight of Fantasy. And I just found a cool site devoted entirely to book trailers called Blazing Trailers.

Scenes from a Writer's Marriage

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[I tried to put this in proper script format, but Blogger wouldn't let me. Blogger and I have some Issues We Need to Work Out. We'll be seeing a counselor soon.] * * * INT. WRITER'S HOME OFFICE. The room shows a mess born of obsession -- papers, books, notebooks, pens and six computers; and neglect -- clean laundary still unfolded in baskets, toddler toys abandoned in parade formations on the floor. Every available wall is lined with books: writing books (Characters and Viewpoint), historical books, (A History of the Plantagenets) and fiction (The Simirillian). It's possible there's a baby crawling on the floor somewhere, but hard to tell because of the mess. WRITER'S HUSBAND:  We can't pay the bills this month. WRITER:  Um. [Beat] Do you have a plan? WRITER'S HUSBAND: My plan was for you to sell a book. WRITER: Oh. [Beat] You do realize that even if I sold a book this exact second, it wouldn't make money for like, another two years. WRITER'S H

Internet Idea Ideation - 02

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"I may be a thief and a liar," he says in beguiling Italian-accented French. "But I am going to tell you a true story." Gotta say, that would make a great first line for a book based on the true story of the world's biggest diamond heist. MARCH 18, 2009 UPDATE: I fixed the link. This is still great story fodder, but before you try to execute a plot heist, be aware it's already been optioned to be made into a movie.

Must Use Words For My Next SF Thriller

There are words I need, which I didn't even know needed until I found out what they were. Then I slapped my forehead and said, "Yowza! So that's the word I was looking for!" hydromodo a "superhydrophobic coating—what the scientists are casually calling 'the cooperative effect of hierarchical micro/nanostructures and a low-surface-energy wax coating'—[which] creates a cushion of air around the boat (or the bug's leg), putting an invisible bubble between it and the water. " lamina "a layer of data over the real world that can be accessed by people with the right interfaces (googles, contacts, direct neural interface)" Quick thoughts on hydromodo:  Floating City. 'Nuf said. Quick thoughts on lamina. Random Thought # 1: A word is still missing. Lamina is the noun. What is the verb? To ... laminate? Hm... Random Thought # 2: As if High School wasn't hell already, now you will walk down the halls knowing people are laminating the

Plot Napster

I admit it. I'm a plot thief. There are no new plots anyway, right? So no matter how original you try to be, you will have inadvertantly stepped on the toes of some previous story's plot. That being the case, why not steal from the best? I steal plots from the classics -- fairytales, medieval epics, religioius canons, classic literature. And even from history, although I'm not sure if history can be said to be properly plotted.  (Historical events tend to be too farfetched to be suitable for fiction, which, unlike reality, has to be belivable.) I've started work on Dindi Book 2, titled-- for now -- The Singing Bow. I'm twelve days behind schedule, and having some trouble diving into it. My mind keeps nibbling away at Book 1; I'm finding it hard to focus on the new work. But thanks to the beuaty of plot napster, at least I have a plot! I start with a stock fairytale (when in doubt, Cinderella always works); add a rip of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, overlay a Dark

Why Does My Blog Insist on Translating My Excerpt Into Chinese?

I tried to post an except, and it came out like this. 潲正‬敮牡祬琠慥楲杮栠獩漠湷愠浲⁳牦浯琠敨物猠捯敫獴椠楨൳桴慲桳湩⹧吠敨瀠楡污潬敷⁤楨潮攠捳灡⹥漼瀺㰾漯瀺㰾瀯ാ㰍ⴡ䔭摮牆条敭瑮ⴭാ⼼潢祤ാ㰍栯浴㹬 Why, Blogger, why?!

Begin As You Mean To Go On

In my previous post, I expressed concern about certain scenes in my book and several people provoked synaptic activity in my brain with their thoughtful questions. (Prodding with a stick also works.) Essentially, whether the scene involves sex or abortion, is it necessary to the novel? Does the book fall apart without it? The answer, for most of the scenes, is no. The first book could survive without those scenes, which all occur in the storylines of supporting characters. However, since I'm writing a series, I'm trying to follow the principle of Begin As You Mean To Go On. Later in the series, my hero and heroine will have several steamy encounters. Later in the series, a character will be brutally and explicitly tortured. Later in the series, there will be war, famine, rape and genocide. Later in the series there are also some foreys into weird literary techniques like second-person scenes. (These are few in number; please don't run). And philosophy. Not much. Hid

Orc Armies, Please Apply Within

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My goal for today is to finish the latest revisions to Book 1, then get it out to armies of beta readers, who, hopefully, will attack it like orcs in an elf village, and not only identify all the scenes which still REALLY REALLY SUCK but also give me some inkling how to improve them. I know. I shouldn't obsess. I should GET ON WITH BOOK 2. And I should STOP TALKING TO MYSELF IN ALL CAPS. Here are the scenes which particularly worry me: * An explicit sex scene. Do I really want to include this in the novel? * A non-explicit sex scene. The only thing worse than explicit sex is vague sex. * A scene which involves an abortion and a talking bear. (No, the bear is not the one getting or performing an abortion.) There's just no way to do a scene like this right. (How did this even sneak into the book? I promise you, this was NOT my idea. I had no clue the characters were going to do this. Help!) * A scene where I try to show my heroine as both suicidal and happy, at the same tim

Secret Trucks Delivering Books

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Might Apple be preparing to take on Amazon for the ebook market? There's something I keep hearing, and I don't think I'd rank it as high as a rumor, but it's an interesting story that I keep hearing, that for awhile, trucks loaded with books would arrive at a loading dock on the Apple campus, and offload big, big, big, big, huge loads of books, and then the trucks would leave empty. And Apple does not have a 100,000-book employee library there on the Apple campus. So one is prone to believe that they're doing something with these books, such as turning them into text for some purpose we can only guess at. There's been a long-standing rumor that Apple has been silently preparing to open a bookstore on the iTunes store, and they want to make sure that they have a very large stock of electronic titles when they do open. Three reactions: Oh yeah! Oh no! and Squeeeeee! Oh yeah, a bookstore on my mac akin to iTunes would rock. Oh no, I hope this doesn't mean

Avoiding Melodrama

I'm writing a scene with high tension. A character has just been forced to choose between the life of her grandchild or her child. In her anger, at the world, at herself, she lashes out at an ally. How do I write this scene without slipping into melodrama? It's espeically difficult because the ally is a talking bear. Any advice? Tips? Tricks?

That's Not a Flashback, I'm Just Chronologically Challenged

The lovely Lady Glamis has once again inspired today's blog post. Appropriately, this entire post is a flashback to something I wrote in the OWW discussion group a while ago. There we were discussing narrative tension. One device which classically saps narrative tension out of a chapter is to begin with the happy end and then flash back. I think this is why so many people advise against flashbacks in a story. Lord Theoddues Kelvin wiped his forehead. Zounds, that was close! He almost hadn't made it safely back to London. When Dr. Devil had left him stranded in the lava pit, surrounded by hungry cyborg dinosaurs, he'd had to think quickly. First, he'd grabbed a nearby rock and thrown it at the control panel on top of the T-Rex's head. But the rock wasn't strong enough to break the plastic casing around the control mechanism. He leaped and rolled out of the way just as the tremendous jaws snapped at the spot where he had just stood... No matter how exiting

Speculative Literary Fiction

I enjoyed this essay on Beyond the Runis of Elechan -- which is also a really cool name for a blog. (For the full article, see here .) The objections to Romance are stronger than mine -- I love a good Love Story, and will accept it for its own sake -- but I agree with this: I want to read about a much broader spectrum of humanity with a much broader spectrum of experiences and interpersonal relationships. While I have a romantic streak, I want to read about same sex partnerships, people exploring their sexuality, about belonging with a group, close friendships, family bonds, siblings, choosing one's tribe... the whole gamut, please. Make me understand what makes people tick. Offer me alternatives. ... I value most highly the books that, on re-reading, I will discover more depth to. This admittedly places me less at the 'adventure' and more on the 'literary' end of the spectrum... So why not just read straight literary fiction? Speculative fiction can offer a dif

Slapped in the Face by Life, Followed by Life's Apology

Last fall I applied to a prestigious graduate academic program. I had a meeting with a professor in my field (history) and we had a wonderful discussion. I admire her work, and she seemed genuinely enthusiastic about what I wanted to study. Early in the new year, I heard, albeit informally, that I had been accepted to the program. Yesterday, a form rejection arrived. As a writer, I'm used to form letter rejections, and, if it hadn't been for the rumor that I had been accepted, I would have soldiered on through this rejection too. But staring down at those words, "We know this must be disappointing, but we must turn away many applicants..." I felt a fool. Bitch-slapped by life. I will never, ever be able to go to graduate school now, I whined inside my head. I will never be able to face my former professors to ask for recommendations a second time. I had only applied to one program. Idiot. Fortunately, I had tried hard not to boast about my acceptance, but I ha

Star Trek

The new movie looks pretty damn good. I'll have to take my mom, an old trekkie from the days of the first series, to go see it.

Apocalypse of the Books

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Repent, sinner. The end is near. I now have a Kindle. Even though I've had two ebooks published (under another pen name), and have often purchased ebooks to read, I've never had a dedicated ebook reader before. I insisted I didn't need one, wouldn't want one, couldn't enjoy one. I love it. As I curled up in bed, cuddling my Kindle, the bittersweet thought hit me, Oh, so it's true. Treebooks are dead. You see, I can't even call them just "books" any more, because "books" for ever after will make me think of the content, without necessarily defining the medium. We no longer have mail, we have email or snail mail. We no longer have books, we have ebooks and treebooks. The image of book apocalypse, by the way, I grokked from a real, recent incident, in which an Amazon shipper abandoned a warehouse full of books. Here's my prophecy. Treebooks will not go extinct. There are too many people, like me, who love to caress old covers,

Internet Idea Ideation

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Fun and easy sources of writing challenges abound on the internet. Here's one method for generating story challenges: news headlines. Usually, when one reads one news article, along the side are three to eight other articles. Here, for instance, are the Telegraph's Most Viewed for today: 1. Venezuela`s Hugo Chavez tightens state control of food amid rocketing inflation and food shortages Government price controls on basic goods have been in place, in various forms, since 2003. But the restrictions have forced Venezuela to become increasingly reliant on imports of these products as local farmers will not supply the selected food staples at government prices.Mr Chavez last month won a referendum allowing him to stand indefinitely for re-election. 2. Pink dolphin appears in US lake  "The dolphin appears to be healthy and normal other than its coloration, which is quite beautiful and stunningly pink. The mammal is entirely pink from tip to tail and has reddish eyes

Twilight the Musical

An amusing musical Twilight parody.

If We Lived in a Holoworld

A love story on the holodeck, no words. Sadly, my first thought on seeing this was, in a world of real holodecks, how many ugly holo-sites there would be, designed by incompetant nimcompoops like yours truly. Imagine the worlds. Orange and pink buildings covered with heart blinkies. Stone skins that don't quite reach the edge of the buildings. and roofs that don't fit. Of course most of the holo sites would be dedicated to porn. And pop-in naked girls would appear in your holo world trying to get you to visit them. Or sell you viagra, or renew your car warranty. On the other hand, think of all the new jobs for vitural architects, virtual interior designers and vitural landscapers.

Why I Shoot an Old Scene from A New Angle

Do you ever re-write the same scene from the PoV of more than one character? Do you include the variation in the novel, or just use it for reference? I do both. A lot of my stories play with Point of View. Not everyone in my world sees things the same way -- literally, because depending on their powers, they can see some forms of magic (some Chromas) but not others. So as I comb over my new version of Chapter One, I am examining the meeting between my main character, Dindi, and the arch-nemesis of the whole series, Lady Death. A bit of my dialogue is overblown and melodramatic, and I don't want that. Plus, Lady Death knows a great many things Dindi would like to know, but  Lady Death has no intention of revealing them. Accidently, however, Death does let slip out a few clues to her plans -- and her vulnerabilities. I have to make sure the secrets and slip-ups make sense from Death's perspective. So I am re-writing the meeting scene from Death's PoV. (In Death's PoV, she

Writing Levels

In the discussion of literary vs genre fiction, two points were brought up regarding litarary fiction. One, is that it is especially important in literary writing to make every single word shine. Two, literary fiction should bring up existential questions. Scott Bailey put it like this on Lady Glamis' blog : Literary fiction, as far as I'm willing to define it, is as much concerned with form as with anything else, and where the subject matter is the experience of life, and the purpose is to give the reader a chance to experience life in a broader way than before. Or, to quote C.S. Lewis, "passion is present for the sake of imagination, and therefore, in the long run, for the sake of wisdom or spiritual health--the rightness and richness of man's total response to the world." I don't consider myself a literary writer; I reserve the right to toss magic-wielding barbarian hunks and kung-fu ten-headed rakshasas at my heroes, as well as to marry them all off to