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Showing posts from July, 2010

Cinders Update

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I've started Cinders and so far it is awesome. I am not envious of Michelle's writing talent AT ALL because she is my friend and I am more mature than that. Damn you, Michelle!

The Worst Query Letter Ever

Are you ever plagued by the worry, "What if I haven't written enough drek?" I've been going through boxes of my old papers recovered from my mom's garage. One held a trove of old stories. I've already found a few lost manuscripts. Now I'm finding manuscripts that were not only lost but entirely forgotten. In most cases, for good reason. Short stories, novellas, worldbuilding notes on worlds I never finished building, Frex, I've found mysterious messages scrawled across the top of a scene that begins and ends on page 5. "Note to self: I'm not sure what ATEN is, but it is really important." Self to Note: WTF? On the one hand, I think, well, if I was worried I hadn't written the million words of drek it supposedly takes to become a decent writer, clearly that fear was unfounded. But, egad, it is SO BAD. The worst embarrassment of all has got to be the query letter I found. The author talks about herself in third person for thr

Snarky Villains You Love to Hate

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Villains like to steal things, and specifically, they like to steal the scene. Some authors write the best villains. Totally creepy, frightening, powerful. My villains are more snarky than scary, even when they meet in a cafe to dine on human hearts! That pinch of snark, combined with a dollop of badass, or vice versa, makes them fun to write, so fun, I wonder if they are planning on scene-stealing. I have about an equal number of villains as good guys, and I'm not sure if that's normal or not. Villains are an interesting breed. They can't be boring, but is there a danger in making them too intriguing? Especially if they have good qualities balancing out the bad, so they are genuinely likable. My villains have a number of ghastly habits. If one of them tells you, "eat your heart out," he might just mean it literally. Still, I think they're likable. One or two of them gets redeemed at the end of the book, the rest have to be content with swearing revenge

This Gave Me Chills

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Gizmodo has an article on how Photoshop opens Time Portals into a World War II Ghost Dimension. And boy is it freaky. You know that old creativity exercise where you take a picture and let it inspire a story? There are some pictures you can't look at and not imagine a story.

Sacrificing a Scene You Like for a Scene You Need

I just wrote a great scene. I introduced fun new characters, some cool shit for them to blow up, a whole mess of awesome. It's gotta go. Doen't fit. What I need instead of all my new shiny toys is a quiet word from a entirely different fellow, a much less engaging character, but one who, ultimately, will be more relevant to the theme of the novel. I know, this is all unduly mysterious. It comes down to this: I have to sacrifice a scene I like for a scene the book needs. I think I finally, finally understand that annoying injunction, "kill your darlings." Yeah, yeah. I get it. The darlings are now gutted corpses on the cutting room floor. Are you satisfied, you bloodthirsty Muse? Has this ever happened to you? What do you do with the chopped scenes? Personally, I hope to resurrect them in some other context.

Another Cool Quote from the Mahabharata

"She fell into a swoon and the five brothers caught her, as the five senses, attached to their object, catch their pleasure." 32,745 words

Sugar 'n' Spicing Up My Heroine

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Earlier I mentioned the need to add some flavor to my vanilla yogurt hero. I think I succeeded. I've certainly been having a great deal of fun writing his scenes. The heroine's scenes, not so much, despite some great battles. I realized the battles were falling flat because we didn't know enough about the heroine to care if she got eaten by Ooze. She was suffering vanilla syndrome. So I've added some sugar and spice to her as well -- but not everything nice. She needed some flaws too. Now I'm having a lot more fun with her scenes. What's especially cool is that the hero and heroine have complementary strengths and weaknesses. She's prone to tell tall tales; he ferrets out people's secrets. And so on. I can't wait until they actually meet. (Yeah, it's one of those things where we follow them each on their separate paths for a while, until, bam! paths collide.) I'm also just enjoying being a groove. You know how it is, when the story fl

Ecology of a Fantasy World

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It's understood that if characters travel about anywhere in a fantasy realm, they won't be able to get more than five pages before they encounter some toothy beastie intent upon devouring them. This leads to the impression, sometimes never explained by the author (I'm looking at you, Edgar Rice Burroughs) of a landscape inhabited exclusively by vicious carnivores. Um. Hello? Who are all the eight-legged lions eating when our hero and heroine aren't traipsing by in chain-mail lingerie? Violating the laws of ecology always bothers me in stories. Yes, it's fantasy, you can make your own rules, but, for the love of crabgrass, at least take recommendations from ecology. It's really fun to have monsters try to eat your characters, so we wouldn't want to cut that part. (Chain-mail lingerie is another must-keep, I don't care what the weather is.) We just need to include some herbivores for the carnivores to eat, and some herbs for the herbivores to eat. W

Mood Swings USA

Ok, this is just weird. This is what 300 million tweets look like when analyzed by mood and number of tweets. Researchers at Harvard and Northeastern University analysed 300 million tweets sent between September 2006 and August 2009, then produced a 'cartogram', a map where areas represent values (in this case the number of tweets) rather than the land area. Put the video on loop, stick it next to your lava lamp, and grok the freak, baby, grok the freak. And don't forget to tweet this.

A Million Ebooks

BusinessWire reports that The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo is the first novel to sell a million Kindle ebooks. Given the lovingly detailed descriptions of early-2000s computers and technology the late Stieg Larsson peppered into The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, we're pretty sure he'd love to know that he's just become the first author to sell over a million Amazon Kindle e-books -- and we can only imagine what kind of trouble Larsson's Lisbeth Salander would have gotten into with a Droid X or an iPad. Considering the dominance of Amazon's platform and company's recent announcement that Kindle titles are now outselling hardcovers we'd guess that also makes him the first author to sell a million e-books period, which is fairly notable -- and with the upcoming Hollywood adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, we'd guess these numbers aren't going to slow down any time s

Should I Stick With Genre Writing?

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Remember the Secret Novel? I haven't been able to write it yet. I have a plot, characters, theme, setting, everything... but... nothing pulls the book together at the end. It doesn't go anywhere. That's a separate problem from what I wish to discuss right now. (Maybe.) The Secret Novel, as I conceive it, is meant to be literary. Or "general commercial." Whatever. Not sf or fantasy, like everything else I write or have ever been inspired to write. And I wonder if that's a good idea. What if the reason the Secret Novel idea isn't clicking is because I'm fooling myself and my real interests aren't going to be engaged unless I throw in a werewolf or something. I have to wonder. Do I want to write this book set in the real, historical period because that is what is best for the book, or because I have deluded myself this will make it have wider appeal than a fantasy, and make my book a bestseller, Oprah bookclub book, Hollywood film? And even sup

Except - Dragon and Unicorn Discuss the Value of a College Education

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Here's an excerpt just for fun. Both characters are devi, magical creatures who spend much of their time in human form. He is the Dragon Emperor, and she, a Sea Unicorn, is his prisoner. Her people are pacifists. He offered her the goblet, but she shook her head. He shrugged, lounged in the chair and gulped deeply. “What do you do all day long in a city where no one ever fights? I can’t even imagine it.” “We commune. Share ourselves. Don’t look at me like that. I don’t mean physically. I speak of emotional connections, intellectual connections. I myself was enrolled in my sixth decade of college.” She added proudly, “We have a number of universities.” “What do you study with no history of war?” “We learn how to build castles in the sand. To herd bubbles. To discern at once and discuss at length. To distinguish between melancholy and nostalgia, between reverence and envy. To see a world in a grain of sand.” “I sympathize. My schooling was a complete waste as well.” “I didn’t

Roses By Many Other Names - Finding the Right Title

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An agent once told me, "I dismissed your book based on the title. It was so trite, I expected the writing to be bad too." Fortunately, she went on to say that the writing was much better than she expected, and she requested a partial. I still felt aghast that I had almost shot myself in the foot with a lousy title. Interestingly, the other agent at the same session said that the title hadn't struck her as trite at all -- quite the opposite. It had intrigued her. The problem: she didn't rep my genre. Her area was literary fiction. So if I had been pushing lit fic under the same title, maybe it would have worked. Not to be coy, the book in question was Dindi Book 1, and the title I was trying out at that time was, "The Secret Society of Warrior Dancers. Book 1: The Initiate." When you are naming a series, you have the added difficulty that you ought to have a pattern for the series. I would have moved on to Book 2: The Serving Maid, Book 3: The Warrior

Excerpt

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Here's an excerpt, with the the flashback scene included. Does it work? Do I need to separate the flashback from previous and following scenes with asterisks, or does it make sense simply flowing from the the current action to the past and back? * * * Jivad learned nothing of Hoxja’s plans for more than a week. He slept in a small barred cell at Hoxja’s mansion during that time, a prisoner, but not maltreated. Slaves from the kitchen brought him generous meals. No one tortured him. He did not see Hoxja or the Archons. In fact, he saw almost no one. This suited him. The little Bhia’ing boy he had saved – if he had a chance to do it over again, would he? Probably the boy had been caught and killed anyway, and his rescue had been futile from the start. What would the old blacksmith have advised? Jivad thought of him frequently during the eventless days in the cell. The waves crash; the mountain is not moved. A Great Soul does good because it must be done, expecting no reward, di

Flashbacks

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Right around chapter three, I succumbed to the uncontrollable urge to insert flashbacks into my wip. Four of 'em. About 300 words each, italicized. I decided to make my hero, if not actually an anti-hero, at least conflicted. To wit, he's working as a snitch for the tyrants, and then agrees to their scheme to pretend to be the predestined liberator of the slaves, so as to expose and deliver any potential rebels to their oppressors. Since this is less than laudable, I wanted to show the reader how he came to do this, and how he justifies it. It's possible I didn't need to use flashbacks. I think they work. I actually prefer to have a scene that shows us the past as if it is unfolding now rather than read dreary paragraphs of "he had thought" "he had said," etc. If it were a tv show, it would be the piece where suddenly the film turns a slightly different hue. I love those scenes. If integrated right, they add a richness to the storyline. In a s

Pirates and Gladiators

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I've finished retouching the first three chapters, adding about 12,000 words in the process. This puts the book on track to be 70,000-90,000 words when complete, which is what I'm aiming for. I've made the hero a pawn of the villains -- at least to start with. I added a plotline for the heroine, who now has her own PoV scenes and an exciting career in piracy. Yup. My fantasy wip has it all. Pirates. Gladiators. What could be more fun than a story with pirates and gladiators? Smartass.

Cinders

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Michelle's book Cinders is (almost) available for purchase. She's an awesome writer, an awesome photographer and now she's having a giveaway of awesomeness. Check it out!

Delivery Status Notification (Failure)

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This is flash fiction. Any resemblance to the events of this morning is purely coincidental. Stoic, I think. My character needs to be stoic. I wrote half the scene on my laptop but to finish it I must email it to myself on my main computer. For some reason, each time I Send, I end up with a Delivery Status Notification (Failure). In the middle of my third Delivery Status Notification (Failure), my mother calls. "What's going on with the swim lessons?" I've put off this conversation two days. I try to explain about the cost of gas, the distance to her house, the other pool option. She doesn't want to hear it. "He just doesn't want your kids to spend time with their grandmother," she complains. I email the attachment to a different address. This time it works. My file fills my screen. I put my cell on speaker phone so I can type without interrupting my mother. She is working out a number of different alternative schedules. Tuesdays and Thursda

Capturing Tone And Assaulting It With Your Mighty Fists

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A day or two ago, Scott Bailey, over at The Literary Lab , had a post on tone, which I found very helpful, and I've been meaning to discuss it. The book I'm working on now is a stand-alone fantasy, but since I had also planned a series for this world, the world-building is already quite rich. I have a bible filled with maps, histories, magics and legends. I know how they dress and what they eat. This is one reason I decided it was worth the effort to re-write rather than walk away from this series. But how does this relate to tone? From the start, and I mean the from teeniest, earliest spark of an idea I ever had for this story, I started knowing what kind of world I wanted and the tone I wanted to write the books in. In fact, my idea about the tone may even have been the FIRST thing I decided upon. Even though I had no idea to call it "tone." Huh? A story idea can start with a character, or a plot, or a setting. Even a theme. But a tone? Here's why.

Every Time I Turn My Back...

...my WIP starts Telling instead of Showing. Argh. I start out a writing session full of elegance and subtly, and then, as soon as I get roaring along in the scene, I find myself writing: She felt sad. Very sad. She wanted to cry. 'I'm going to cry!' she cried to him. He was sad she felt so bad. "Don't cry," he urged her urgently. Lovely. I have complete sympathy for authors whose third or forth, or thirty-fourth book is worse than their first. These frickin' words are like chimpanzees, they have to be watched for errant mischief all the time or pretty soon they start throwing poo at the guests. Other than that, I'm doing rather well. Clipping right along with my new pirate scene. No piracy has actually transpired yet, but the heroine just murdered a fat prince and I think she's about to jump out the cabin porthole to avoid the inevitably unfortunate consequences.

Blog Bolts

I'm working on changes to my blog. I'm not happy with it yet, so expect to see further futzing around with the template.

Yo Ho Yo Ho

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I think I'll make my heroine a pirate.

Fantasy WIP Excerpt-Chapter One

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I've rewritten the first chapter of the fantasy WIP I mentioned. Here's the new opening. I'm not sure about the first line. Chapter One The Pearl Diver Jivad had been watching the boys all morning, which was why he saw what happened. When he and the other Demaitrian slaves arrived, around mid-morning, at the wharf, the boys were already on the raft further out in the bay. The boys ranged in age from six to fourteen, all of them with skin like resined teak, all slender, graceful and full of laughter. Each had a stubby pigtail sticking straight up on his head, and each wore a black-and-white checked dhoti. They were pearl divers. By turns they plunged into the water, though the younger boys spent more time roughhousing on the raft than diving. Two little ones waved their arms and kicked their feet, mock gladiators from the arena. Their shrieks of laughter reached the slaves on the wharf, faintly, mingled with the cries of the gulls. The slaves unloaded a Thedrosian gal

What's the Opposite of Self-Deception?

I was contemplating the lofty topic of Theme. A character in one of my wips has the major flaw of self-deception. I wondered what the character would have to do to overcome this flaw. (Suggestions are welcome, btw.) What is the opposite of self-deception? I wondered this aloud at dinner, and my husband replied without hesitation. "Regular deception."

Better

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I've been working on the re-write for the first chapter of the fantasy novella. I notice a habit of mine, to cut myself down while I'm writing. "This doesn't have to be good." It's a defense, a way to warn myself, "This won't be too good." That way, if I finish and it's not, in fact, good at all, I can say, "I wasn't really trying." The defense is not without its charms. I have other projects I would like to work on, but can't, because my expectations paralyze me. Those are projects which I want to be good. To fall short would crucify me. The result is that I write nothing at all. Surely there must be some middle ground between these extremes. I would like to hold myself to a high standard for every project, and not just toss out shoddy writing because I am "saving" my "real" efforts for something better -- which I never do anyway, because having to keep my own promise intimidates me. I aim to do bet

Never Let Me Go

I just finished reading Never Let Me Go, which apparently, though unsurprisingly, has now been made into a movie. It's of particular interest to me because it's a crossover genre: science fiction, but clearly literary. In fact, it starts from the same premises as The Island. The Island is not as bad as the trailer makes out (kick! kiss! crash! bam!). Despite appearances, it's not devoid of deeper philosophy. And frankly, if I go see Never Let Me Go, in the theatre, I may rent The Island the next day to prevent myself from committing suicide, because, I can tell you, I was crying so hard after reading the book, I really needed a helicopter chase scene to cheer me up. I think Kazuo Ishiguro is amazing. I have a love/hate relationship with him. The reader in me loves his books. The writer in me hates him because he is racing a unicycle in the Tour de France and I am still using training-wheels on my 3-speed. So in between sobbing into my cheerios as I finished the st

Lost Manuscript, addendum

I haven't typed it in yet, but I performed a quick calculation of the number of words per page and number of pages, so I can already tell it's shorter than I remembered. Only about 37,000 words. It's pretty painful to read, although not for the reasons I'd anticipated.

Lost Manuscript Found!

A post or two back, I mentioned an old manuscript about a dystopia that I feared might be lost. Amazingly, I just found it. Not because I decided to go look for it, which I didn't. I swapped out the bookshelves in my living room for new ones, and in the process, found some papers of mine had been stacked with the books. It is possible, however, that if I hadn't been thinking about the lost manuscript, I wouldn't have been curious enough to flip through the papers. I'm a bit afraid to read the thing, since I expect to be blown away by how awful it is. In my memory, it has a sort of glow. What a pity for glow to meet reality and die. Nonetheless, I want to put it on my computer, so sooner or later, I shall have to copy it. In the process, I expect I'll have to read it whether I like it or not. I am glad I found it.

Vanilla Yogurt Hero

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I mentioned in the last post I wondered if I should make my hero more of an anti-hero. Right now he's got all the personality of vanilla yogurt. My three year old will only eat one kind of yogurt, the blandest flavor that can still be counted as a flavor, and that's apparently the same formula my seventeen-year-old-self served in the "Hero" food group. To be fair to Younger Me, this was never meant to be published, it was just some 36,000 words of background material for the 400,000 word Ye Olde Epic Fantasy Tome. I wanted the hero of the prequel to be Standard Hero Fare to contrast with my tortured and utterly awesome hero of Ye Olde Epic. I ask you, is that fair? Not really. Why should the hero of the prequel have to be a cardboard cutout to make another hero look good by comparison? I think, in those days, I lacked confidence in my ability to craft well-fleshed out characters, as if I would run out if I squandered them. Now I believe it's the other way aroun

Villains, Anti-heroes and Unlikable Heroes

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I've been reading Les Liaisons Dangereuses. The protagonists are hardly likable, and though by the end one feels a certain sympathy for them, what drives the reader through the book is not the hope they will succeed in their scheming, but that they will fail disastrously. The ending satisfies because they reap the harvest of their own cruelty. A similar dynamic governs the duology Jean de Florette and Manon De Source. The characters you root for are not the protagonists, but their opponents/victims, Jean and Manon. Are these protagonists anti-heros? I don't think so. I'd call them, rather, villains who happen to be protagonists. I would distinguish between different kinds of Main Characters (MCs): Villains - Villainous MCs aren't necessarily unlikable, at least not completely. The Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont are so fiendishly clever and hypocritical, it is a guilty pleasure to watch them spar. They have enough faults to outweigh their good

Other Monsters Under the Bed

This is not, btw, my first, or only monster under the bed. I wrote other monstrosities before this one, even uglier. I never even considered trying to publish those. Even Young Me knew they weren't publishable. Here's an inventory of the ones I remember: Fanfic Star Trek (original series) novel. About 70,000 words. I co-wrote this novel with my mother when I was in Jr. High; she wrote the Spock scenes, I wrote the Kirk scenes. I will always have fond memories of it. Long live fanfic! SF adventure novel about aliens conquering the Earth. (Sooooooo original). I hand-wrote this masterpiece with an eraserless pencil while living in a remote Mexican village when I was fifteen. Word count? Hard to say. Pencil scrawl filled several wide-ruled spiral-bound Mead notebooks. I impressed myself at the time. Knowing what I do now about word count, I'd guess it was probably no more than 30,000 words. The mss is lost. History weeps. Epic Fantasy. 400,000 words. (Yikes!) I wr

Can the Monster Under the Bed Be Saved?

By "monster under the bed" I refer to a novel written many moons ago, with all the vim, verve and lack of finesse early novels can possess. I like the vim, love the verve, but could really lose the trite, overwrought and cliched prose my earlier self wrapped around the story. Granted, I'm a sucker for the B-movie swashbucklers. That's how I like 'em, so that's how I write 'em. Give me pirates and kidnapped princesses, give me vamps and zombies, give me robots and planet-sized brains secretly running the galaxy, and I'm happy. Even a genre-hack must draw the line somewhere, however. B-movie quality is one thing; "SyFy Original" monster-movie-of-the-week is a whole new low. Even I won't sink that far. Exhibit A : Final showdown between villain and hero. The villain "looked down at his chest, muttered, 'Oh damn!' and died. He sounded quite annoyed." It was not meant to be humorous. WTF was I thinking when I wrote that?

Writers Who Can't Read

Here's an interesting addendum to the whole matter of writers who don't read... a writer who can't read.

Justify Your Purchasing Habits

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the fish swim to me my basket is always full a river of books (Or: Why I shop for books on Amazon.) I read on about this on Kristin Nelson's blog. A publishing house is asking writers who submit without an agent to show a receipt of a book they've recently purchased from a brick-and-mortar bookstore. Writers who cannot afford to buy a book or cannot get to an actual bookstore are encouraged to explain why in haiku or one sentence (100 words or fewer). Tin House Books and Tin House magazine will consider the purchase of e-books as a substitute only if the writer explains: why he or she cannot go to his or her neighborhood bookstore, why he or she prefers digital reads, what device, and why. Writers are invited to videotape, film, paint, photograph, animate, twitter, or memorialize in any way (that is logical and/or decipherable) the process of stepping into a bookstore and buying a book to send along for our possible amusement and/or use on our Web site." I buy 99%

Words Light as Rocks

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Ugh. One ugly sentence after another. Every word is like a rock. I lay down one, another, another and another... then they all spill at my feet, hurting my brain.

Shelter for a Fragil Thought

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"A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face. It is one of the few havens remaining where a man's mind can get both provocation and privacy." ~Edward P. Morgan There are emotions too shameful, or fleeting, or strange to admit to any form of documentation except fiction.

How I Structure Books

I'm strict about the structure of my books. I tend to write too much, so I limit my number of available chapters as a way to limit my word count. I cheat, at times, by sticking 7,000 words into a chapter that's supposed to only be 5,000, but if I start to have a chapter with a 9,000 or 10,000 word count, I know something HAS to go. If I can't cut the scenes there, I have to cut in a chapter before or after and shift scenes up or down. That's the bare bones of the book structure. Muscling over the bones, I also have a plot/character structure. In addition to the main plotline, which is Dindi's, I give a different set of secondary characters their own plotline in each book. In Book 1, the secondary characters were the widow Brena, her love interest villain-hero Rthan, and her hypocondriac daughter, Gwenika. In Book 2, the secondary characters are Kemla and Tamio, who are scheming together, à la Les Liaisons dangereuses, against Dindi, and Finnadro, who wields the S

Draft of Book 2

I've been working on Dindi Book 2, operating on the idea this will be a Quartet. First off, I dragged every scene I'd ever written into one file. That gave me about 80,000 words right there, but the order was haphazard, some whole chapters were duplicates, there were the wrong number of chapters overall -- in short, a pretty mess. Using my post-it note outline method, I culled through the draft chapter by chapter. I removed duplicate scenes. Each book in the Dindi series is to have three sections of seven chapters each, for a total of twenty-one scenes. Altogether I have a minimum of fourteen new scenes to write. Since one of those is a newly beefed-up battle, and another an all new climax sequence for the book, it will probably be more like twenty to twenty-five new scenes. Not to mention every other scene in the book has to be re-written. I need only change a few details and polish the style in some cases, but many other chapters require substantial re-writes. I've le

Art vs Capitalism

In the comments of my last post, "You're going to be eaten by hyenas," my friend Ban remarked, "When someone rejects something you've created it's in essence a rejection of one's inner self. You are that book - you are those characters - they live in your head. When someone says they don't like - they ARE in fact saying they don't like a part of you - however small or big that part my be." Allow me to repsond. No. They aren't. It just feels as though they are. Which was my point. Seriously, my fellow writers, think about it. I sent out a query letter. It was 179 words. Hey, sure, I put a lot of thought into those 179 words. An amazing amount of thought. I did research on query letters, read other query letters, read agent blogs, even parted with cold, hard cash to learn to polish those 179 words. And yes, it sucked rocks that those 179 words were still not good enough to entice even a request for a partial. It means I have more wor

You're Going To Be Eaten By Hyenas

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Over at BookEnds, LLC, a writer asked, "Does It Get Any Better?" My dilemma is this; I seem to have lost the joy to write anything. When I was writing my novel, I was divinely engrossed in doing so. I was so eager to see what was going to happen myself that I stayed up till 4am almost every morning writing (even though I had to wake up with my 2 year old and go to work). I continuously did research on writing, querying, etc. I loved it. After I sent my queries, I was excited every time I saw the light flashing on my blackberry. Then with each passing rejection, it felt like someone was twisting a knife in my gut a little more each time. Now, I literally hate opening my e-mail. I still have several more responses I’m waiting on, and I’m dreading them. It's like these rejections are pretty much a slap in the face. The replies in the comment section overflowed, so I will post my own thoughts here. Many of the other writers offer good advice. My own answer? The more rej

Trilogies, Quartets, Septets

I haven't settled on how many books should be in the Dindi series yet. As I've said, the story arc is plotted, and much of it is written, but how much is "much"? Stories are fractal. I can always work in new complications. When I broke the megabook into a series, for some reason, it would not work as a trilogy. I decided it had to be seven books, although I knew a septet would require quite a lot of additional writing. At that time, I was writing full time. Now that my writing time is more constrained, I've considered this question again. I still can't seem to work the story into a trilogy, unfortunately. I wanted the number of books in the series to fit the "color magic" in the story. So the seven book series would have looked like this: Book 1: Yellow Book 2: Green Book 3: Purple Book 4: Blue Book 5: Orange Book 6: Red Book 7: Black I could, however, divide the series into only four books, highlighting the conflicts between colors: Book 1: Ye