Showing posts from May, 2011

Are Teachers Allowed To Write Erotica?

In the news: In the last week of April, a Pennsylvania high school teacher was “outed” for writing romance novels under the pen name Judy Mays. Guess what she teaches? Yep, English – like my grandmother –and so the connections start to be made. Worse yet, according to nay-sayers, these aren’t inspirational romances; Mays delves in the erotic realm. Although Mays does not discuss her writ- ing in the classroom and she’s taken a pseudonym, some parents have called for her to either give up one career or the other. Since then, Mays’ students, the romance world of readers and writers, and others have bonded together in support of her right to write. At the time of this writing, a support group of readers, writers, and others have bonded together in support of her right to write . Hat tip: Night Owl Reviews

Three Reasons To Research Right

Writers can sometimes overdo research.... Ha. I'm kidding. You can never have too much research. Yes, fine, eventually you need to stop researching and start writing. But most writers stop researching far too early. There are three good reasons to take the time to do your research. (1) You should never be wrong by mistake. It's not just that if you are writing a historical novel you have an obligation to get the history right, and if you are writing science fiction to get the science right. Actually, you don't necessarily have to have accuracy in these things. (I know, I'm shocked I said that too.) The thing is, the story comes first, so yes, if you need to pretend that your imaginary early modern British coal mine already had a Thomas Savery steam engine in 1675 because you want it to coincide with the Great Fire of Northampton, go ahead, just so long as you know it wasn't patented until 1679. Don't get the details wrong out of ignorance. In The Un

Trends and Stuff

Author/Agent Mandy Hubbard has some interesting links on trends in MG and YA fiction . Also, if you didn't catch it before, she breaks down how much an author makes with a traditional publishing advance . Dystopian is the new hottie in YA. Agents and editors are prophesying that MG will be the new YA, and sci fi will be the new dystopian, so apparently the big money is a breakout sci fi MG novel. That's great news for me, because I've got nothing remotely like that, although I am working on a chapter book about a Dragon Doctor. Just remember, when you actually go to write, that the two things you must never, never think about are (1) Chasing Trends and (2) Making Money. I don't know about you but I obsess about those those things all the time, and it's like eating ho hos to lose weight, which, yes, I've also tried. Nothing is more guaranteed to scare off my muse than demanding to know how much money she's going to make me.

The Typo Lois Missed

Smallville fans and copy editors everywhere, this one's for you. Lois copyedited Clark's paper.... but she missed one.

Ten Tricks To Make Your Fight Scene Realistic

Today, I'm happy to present a guest post by Rayne Hall. Rayne Hall has many hats. In addition to being a terrific writer of both genre fiction (fantasy and horror) and non-fiction, she's also a terrific teacher and writing mentor. She runs a writing group which I've belonged to for a couple years now, and has helped me immeasurably over the years with her thoughtful and incisive critiques. She was one of the Beta Readers for Initiate. Rayne will be giving a workshop on ' Writing Fight Scenes ', which starts on 1 June 2011:   No matter what genre you write, if someone's going to throw a punch, swing a sword or shoot a gun, this is a great class to get the fight scene juices flowing. Ten Tricks To Make Your Fight Scene Realistic Spacial restrictions. Your scene will gain realism if you show how the available space limits the fighting: Perhaps the ceiling is too low to swing the sword overhead, or the cop heroine c

The First Rule About Fight Scenes

The first rule about fight scenes is not to discuss fight scenes. Ok, well, when you end up punching your own face in a parking lot, don't say I didn't warn you. Tomorrow, I'm going to have a guest blogger, Rayne Hall. She'll be teaching a workshop on ' Writing Fight Scenes ', which starts on 1 June 2011:  and she's going to give us a little taste. And no, I don't  get a kickback for signing up people for the class, I just can't stress enough how much I recommend Rayne as a writing mentor. Rayne has been one of my online buddy friends for a while. We were both on the Online Writers Workshop together, and I also continue to belong to a smaller, more select group of professional authors that she runs, called, cleverly enough, the Professional Authors. The purpose of the group is to help authors who have made one or two sales make the leap to a full time career earning a living wage as a writer. On Joe

3 Things Not to Do When Writing Your First Page

I was fortunate enough to attend the Los Angeles Festival of Books. Misque Press didn't have a booth, although I did bump into some fans and signed some print books. That was pretty sweet. I was also given a free (unsolicited) book myself. I wasn't too surprised to flip over the book and see that the imprint was AuthorHouse, a vanity press. I accepted the book because (1) I never turn down a free book and (2) I was curious to know if this was actually a viable way to gain new readers. Is it worth the expense and trouble for an author who is vanity-press published, self-published or with a small press to foist books upon passing strangers? My conclusion? No. The problem is that passing strangers are likely to include only a tiny proportion of your target audience. This book, for instance, was not my usual genre. I'm still trying to figure out what genre it is. It's not even clear if it is supposed to be fiction or non-fiction. The back blurb doesn't tell me,

Nook or Die

Remember that post where I descended into an infantile rant against B&N, cursing so excessively that some of my four letter words had five letters? Hopefully not, because I erased it, and it's a good thing too, because it turns out the delay getting my books onto Nookbooks was, ahem, entirely my fault. Damme. Moving on. The good news is that Initiate and Taboo are now available for the Nook! Woohoo! Finally! Here's the link: The Unfinished Song: Initiate (Book 1) The Unfinished Song: Taboo (Book 2) Now, Nook lovers, if you haven't already gerrymandered your own copy from the DMR-free Kindle editions , please go buy now, because I hate looking at the number 0.  :P An extra big Thank You to SF Reader, Octopus Ink and Kiki Deister for having reviews up before the book itself. You guys rock.

Killing Off Characters

Sometimes, it is true, writers have to commit murder. Some stories require us to kill off characters. I get that. It can make a story more real, more believable, even more satisfying, if it's the right character. Even if it is a character whose death we grieve rather than cheer, it can feel "right" and perfect the story. Sometimes, however, a character dies in a book I'm reading or movie I'm watching, especially if I was taken by surprise, I feel like, "Damn, I don't need that extra dark in my day right now, thanks much." If I see a movie about the Holocaust or read the memoir of a Rwandan refugee, as I often do, I go in knowing what to expect, and I can decide ahead of time if I am up to something heavy. But if the story has been billed as a light romantic comedy and then suddenly Mommy and Daddy die in a car accident and it's all weeping orphans, I am not a happy camper. As an example, take Stepmom which was billed as a comedy but [ SPOI