Friday, January 19, 2007

Friday 20

I was sorry to hear that Bookseller Chick's store is closing at the end of this month. I'm hoping she'll soon find another job where she's appreciated for her talents and enthusiasm.

Mom found and sent me an old home video of a writers' workshop for Archetype Storytelling Cards I did seven years ago; the first workshop I'd ever given as a pro writer. I'd never watched it, so I popped it in the VCR and let it roll. It seemed very weird to see a younger, better-dressed, redheaded version of myself. I'm wearing a suit I remember hating, and I uhmmed a bit and laughed a lot during my speaking. I appear quite happy and very enthusiastic about my topic.

I was also, well, armed. Yes, among other things, I waved around a sword and two guns as I role-played some archetype characters in the middle of the workshop. At a local RWA chapter meeting, no less. I bet those women popped some major champagne when I finally quit.

But that's who I was seven years ago: an energetic redhead who hated suits but loved writing, and especially loved to talk about writing. Who played the fool, put on a pirate's eyepatch and waved around toy weapons to communicate that love to others and make them laugh. The gilt was still on in those days; I had yet to be knocked on my ass. I'd spent so many years writing alone that I was overjoyed to finally find other people who I thought were like me, and who I trusted to accept me and help me and share the love.

Lord, I was such a rookie. No wonder I got stomped so hard.

You know what's really funny? What you don't see on the tape. Thanks to the home video quality, you can't tell that I was blushing through most of the workshop. I blush when I'm embarrassed, and what I remember most was feeling horribly self-conscious because everyone was watching me and I'd never done any public speaking. I would have fallen on my toy sword before I'd have admitted it, too.

Anyway, I transferred the video over to DVD, and contacted Lon Koenig Games to see if the Archetype Storytelling cards are still available, and they are. I think I might have a copy of the original workshop handout around here somewhere, too. I'm ordering some card decks, and I'll make a few copies of the DVD, and put together a PBW's first workshop giveaway as soon as I get all the stuff together.

Why? Mainly because I think it's still a pretty good workshop on characterization. Although the hair is silver-white now, I'm back to being a hermit and I traded in my suits for jeans and bunny slippers, the love for what we do hasn't changed. It is unstompable. Plus the part with the sword and the guns is cute.

That's all from my corner of the writing world. Anything happening with you guys? Have any questions for me this week?

57 comments:

  1. I would love that!!! Don't have any questions. Brain hurts. It's been an interesting week. I started a thing called Fast Draft two days ago. I'm sure by the end of it, I'll be sitting in a corner, sucking my thumb. Kudos for your mom finding the workshop. Please thank her for me. :)

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  2. So what's the secret to giving great workshop? I'm giving my first near the end of February and have yet to sit down and think it through...

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  3. Blanca3:45 AM

    I met you through a friend, and it's been wonderful to read your books. While I don't know if they have made it to bookstores in my corner of the world (Argentina) the Internet has made it a very small world, hasn't it?

    Anyway, after introducing myself, I wanted to know if you have written in collaboration, or at least entertained the idea. While my dabbling at this art deals not with fiction but with architecture, a Spanish friend asked if I'd be willing to write with him... and the idea worries me a bit.

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  4. Question (please don't laugh):

    In your experience, which hair color (real or fake) brings the most respect/authority to a writer?

    A) Red
    B) Blonde
    C) Brown
    D) Black
    E) Gray
    F) White

    (I couldn't ask China Mieville that question, could I...? ;-))

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  5. At a local RWA chapter meeting, no less. I bet those women popped some major champagne when I finally quit.


    Shoot, I'd would pop champagne if you CAME to any of our local chap. meetings. Our group would love it.

    No questions here, but I've been working on the WIP and have had a huge amount of events/scenes/circumstances/plot twists coming to me lately. Usually,I just tuck it away in my head but I decided to try the scene timeline...or at least my version of it, lol. I wasn't sure if it would work or not, since I suck at outlining, or any kind of thorough plotting.... *G* it's working.

    thanks!

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  6. I started a thing called Fast Draft two days ago. I'm sure by the end of it, I'll be sitting in a corner, sucking my thumb.

    So glad i'm not the only one, Jordan...

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  7. Jordan wrote: I would love that!!! Don't have any questions. Brain hurts.

    That sounds like a writer's SOS: "Don't have any questions. Brain hurts. Send CHOCOLATE."

    It's been an interesting week. I started a thing called Fast Draft two days ago. I'm sure by the end of it, I'll be sitting in a corner, sucking my thumb.

    Lol. I was reading about that on your weblog -- if you get a chance, will you blog about how it goes? Sounds really neat.

    Kudos for your mom finding the workshop. Please thank her for me.

    Will do. Mom is also hunting for the one she filmed the following year, where I plot out a whole novel in under two hours. I do a Blue Brothers imitation in that one. :)

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  8. Rob wrote: So what's the secret to giving great workshop?

    I always went for humor, simplicity and audience participation with mine. Talk with people rather than lecture. Giving out short bits of information and then inviting the audience to participate in some fashion makes the workshop more interactive.

    If you can make them laugh, go for it -- I've seen a thousand speakers, and the one I remember best was Pat Gaffney recounting the ways she spent avoiding writing for one day. She delivered it totally deadpan and had us rolling on the floor for the better part of an hour.

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  9. Anonymous7:43 AM

    Hi PBW! So I'm sitting in the student center at twenty to eight in the morning, snorting with laughter... I can just imagine that workshop! How fun. I hope all is well in your little part of the world. I settled on a senior project that I will commence writing in about an hour, and I need to plot my latest WIP about which I actually have a question!

    I know you're a notorious planner, but as far as sci-fi goes, how did/do you go about it? Start with your characters? Your world? Whaaat? Somehow spending two hours reading in-depth articles about Einstein's theory of relativity just to say "Ok, I can put a space station near Jupiter, more likely one of her moons" seems kind of... silly. At least if I ever want to get writing!
    Jess

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  10. Writing's pretty much dead in the water here; I'm lucky to have time to shower.

    Have any good kid-friendly crock pot recipes? Evenings have become an exercise in insanity!

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  11. Blanca wrote: I met you through a friend, and it's been wonderful to read your books. While I don't know if they have made it to bookstores in my corner of the world (Argentina) the Internet has made it a very small world, hasn't it?

    It definitely has. Welcome -- it's lovely to meet you.

    Anyway, after introducing myself, I wanted to know if you have written in collaboration, or at least entertained the idea. While my dabbling at this art deals not with fiction but with architecture, a Spanish friend asked if I'd be willing to write with him... and the idea worries me a bit.

    I've written one collaboration; a screenplay that finaled in a national contest but that has never been produced. The experience was interesting, but the problems involved with working with another writer on the project convinced me that I didn't have the patience or the personality to collaborate.

    When you collaborate, you're automatically giving up at least 50% of the rights and the potential income for the work. You no longer are the sole owner of the idea. All decisions have to be shared. You can't change your mind about the partnership unless you can buy out the other co-author's rights, and if your project takes off, the other author probably won't want to sell them to you.

    On the plus side, if the other person brings something valuable to the work, something that you personally don't have that will enhance its chances for success, then it may be worth it. Your co-author should also handle half of the labor involved, so the time committment is not as intense as it would be if you work alone. I know of three duos who have very successful collaborations, but two out of the three are married to each other. :)

    On the negative side, in all things relating to the co-authored book, you are probably going to be bound to that co-author forever. If at some time in the future you have a disagreement and part ways, this will create difficulties (this is what happened to me and my co-author.) I'd love to write a novel series version of my screenplay by myself, but I would be obligated to share half of the profits and possibly the creative direction of the series, and that's not something I'm willing to do.

    I would recommend thinking it through carefully. Think about how the book would be co-authored as opposed to you writing it yourself. Is your co-author someone with whom you would work well? Would you take turns with the writing? What happens to the project if you have an argument, or want to go in different directions?

    If you do decide to collaborate, I strongly advise that you and your co-author go to an attorney or legal advisor and have a contract drawn up spelling out the rights and obligations of both parties in regard to the work before you start working together. That way there are no surprises later on down the line.

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  12. A.R. wrote: In your experience, which hair color (real or fake) brings the most respect/authority to a writer?

    A) Red
    B) Blonde
    C) Brown
    D) Black
    E) Gray
    F) White


    There are stereotypes commonly associated with hair color that often shape conscious or subconscious associations: redheads are thought to be (cough) hot-tempered, blondes are dumb, brunettes are common, black-haired people are handsome, gray-haired folks are distinguished, white-haired people are old, etc. Based on those perceptions, I'd say black or gray.

    I could be wrong, too. I have noticed that since I let my hair go from red back to its natural color -- a silver/white mix -- that the general public pays less attention to me. "Old" people practically are invisible, especially to the young.

    (I couldn't ask China Mieville that question, could I...? ;-))

    He still has eyebrows. China, are you out there? You still have eyebrows, don't you? Lol.

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  13. Shiloh Walker said...

    I started a thing called Fast Draft two days ago. I'm sure by the end of it, I'll be sitting in a corner, sucking my thumb.

    Obviously I'm a newbie, as will be amply demonstrated by my question:

    What is Fast Draft?

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  14. Shiloh wrote: No questions here, but I've been working on the WIP and have had a huge amount of events/scenes/circumstances/plot twists coming to me lately. Usually,I just tuck it away in my head but I decided to try the scene timeline...or at least my version of it, lol. I wasn't sure if it would work or not, since I suck at outlining, or any kind of thorough plotting.... *G* it's working.

    That's great. Timelining always works better for me when I'm choreographing a scene because it doesn't hem me in as much as a traditional outline. It's more like a to-do list than a synopsis, if that makes sense.

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  15. I have a question about the ebook challenge. Have you finished reading all of the entrants? What did you think about the variety you got? (Okay the truth, what I really want to know is if you thought mine sucked eggs) :o).

    And to Jordan who can be found in the corner sucking her thumb, I know what you mean. If this week gets any crazier, I'm going to leave work this evening, climb into bed and pull the covers over my head and hide. The machines are possessed, all of them: computers, printers, and cash register. Eek?
    Ann

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  16. I have a question. What do you do when you have difficulties with the final scenes of a novel? I'm struggling with the last couple of scenes and I can't decide if it is from sheer exhaustion with the project, serious plot problems or characterization problems that are finally manifesting, or I'm just plain lazy.

    Thanks! And the DVD workshop sounds fascninating. I could think of a con up here that would totally go for that sort of energy.

    Ris

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  17. Anonymous10:57 AM

    I have recently found out that the social service program that I work for is being closed down in 6 months. I love what I do, it is amazing and beautiful, and fufilling. And in one moment of greed, ambition, and corporate politics it is gone. I could attempt to find something else in this field, but unfortunately there are no other comparable services.
    I also love writing, but it was always just for me. My oasis. I have read about all of the challenges on your site regarding a professional writing career. My extremely long winded question is this. Knowing everything you do about this industry and all of the battles you have fought, would you choose it again? Or more specifically, did you have anything else that ran a close second that would make you question your decision?
    Why can't I have ten lifetimes to pursue all of the exciting experiences that the world has to offer?

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  18. Jess wrote: I settled on a senior project that I will commence writing in about an hour, and I need to plot my latest WIP about which I actually have a question!

    You're making me feel extremely lazy, woman. :)

    I know you're a notorious planner, but as far as sci-fi goes, how did/do you go about it? Start with your characters? Your world? Whaaat? Somehow spending two hours reading in-depth articles about Einstein's theory of relativity just to say "Ok, I can put a space station near Jupiter, more likely one of her moons" seems kind of... silly. At least if I ever want to get writing!

    Everyone plots differently, but what I did with the SF was basically start with an epic, open-ended theme that became the central hub for all the books; the same way a star can be a hub point for a solar system. The theme governs the series in two ways: the way I show the reader through the series conflict, which in turn provides the foundation for each book's standalone conflict, and one the reader doesn't see, which is a whomping, prose-encrypted personal metaphor for something else entirely.

    There are also chronicle-type themes, which follow a specific series of events, often the lifetime of a protagonist or a family dynasty.

    As an example, let's look at the theory of relativity, which actually refers to two different elements of the same theory: general relativity, which deals with the relative motion between accelerated frames of reference, and leads to the field theory of gravity; and special relativity, which gives a unified account of the laws of mechanics and electromagnetism.

    You in the back row there, stop yawning.

    I know, that's all very well and good if you're into that high brain stuff, but how do you translate theory = novel? Consider our Global Positioning System. It uses satellite signals to accurately pinpoint the location of an object on earth via GPS satellites. Most new cars have a GPS locator in them, as do mobile phones, radios and so forth.

    Did you know that GPS technology uses corrections based on the general and special theories of relativity to function properly? Probably not, but without it, GPS would not be able to track anything with as precise accuracy as it does. Now imagine a SF novel with a plot based on Einstein's theory: you translate the theory for the reader via practical application. In other words, take something like GPS technology and run with it. What else could we locate or track from orbit? Fugitives? Asteroids? Plutonium? Aliens? If you're planning a series, you need an idea that's going to have lasting power.

    Once you have your hub or chronicle theme, everything is built around it revolves around it, like planets to their sun. Book one could serve as the intro to your theme (Aliens invade the earth on plutonium-laden asteroids and start a war.) Book two may take it to a new level (the aliens turn out to be intergalactic fugitives on the run from other aliens who invaded their homeworld.) Book three may challenge it (the plutonium and alien meddling causes humans to mutate and strike back at the aliens.) Book four could twist it (the other aliens arrive on earth and turn out to be worse than the invaders, who then join forces with the mutated humans to fight their common enemy) and so on.

    Once you have a them and a general schematic sketched out for your series, you can get very detail-oriented and set the books apart from one another with standalone conflicts, different casts of characters, new settings, etc.

    This won't work for everyone, naturally, but try it -- you might be able to adapt the idea in certain ways to make it a better fit for your planning and plotting style.

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  19. Would love to see the video of your workshop! I bowed out of RWA before the asskicking started and am so glad I did!

    I posted a piece on book reviews earlier in the week and wondered what your thoughts are. As a writer, how much importance do you place on obtaining reviews? Do you believe they actually help your sales and how much time and effort do you spend soliciting them?

    Happy Weekend!

    Peace,
    Jill

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  20. Tam wrote: Writing's pretty much dead in the water here; I'm lucky to have time to shower.

    Eeek. Hang in there.

    Have any good kid-friendly crock pot recipes? Evenings have become an exercise in insanity!

    Cooking Light has some good slow-cooker recipes; if you enter "slow-cooker" in the main page search box you can get a whole page of recipe links.

    The other night I tried one from Southern Living that my kids devoured: basically you brown an eye of round roast, then and then slow-cook it for eight hours with a can of mushroom with roasted garlic soup, a can of condensed beef broth, and an envelope of dry onion-mushroom soup mix (I added some thyme to the recipe and stuck some cloves of garlic in the roast because I can't leave well enough alone.) It worked better than braising; when I served it you could cut the roast with a fork. I'm going to try some of the others listed online here.

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  21. Not thinking that anybody would actually be interested, I asked people whether they'd like to write a novella with me next month--first to final draft.

    Except that there are people interested, including Cece/Celia/Amie Stuart, and I'm afraid of Amie. Also, I've never written a novella or anything else that got even remotely to The End.

    What am I to do? *panicks*

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  22. I would love this, too! The first time you linked to the Archetype Storytelling Cards, I tried it out and got a neat twist I hadn't thought of yet for my wip.

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  23. In your experience, which hair color (real or fake) brings the most respect/authority to a writer?

    I would think that carrying guns and swords might help increase your authority no matter what color your hair.

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  24. Anonymous2:26 PM

    Thanks PBW! That helps. I know it's different for everyone but sometimes being told, "Well, this could be a good place to start" is just what I need. Because right now all I can think of is, "I need mounds of research." (not that I mind, I'd just like to make progress of the writing sort.)

    I *think* I see what you mean about the theme. It's like, the GPS tracking of plutonium functions as the central premise, but then buried within the stories is some deeper meaning, like the NSA is a crock? Hmmm.

    Must ponder.
    Jess

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  25. When you began using voice recogniton software did you have any problems getting used to talking your work instead of typing it?

    So far I like Dragon, but the process of writing with it feels weird.

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  26. Genghiscon4:48 PM

    Have you ever attended convention as a guest author?

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  27. Oo, swords and guns! I'm SO there. No questions from me, I'm Fast Drafting and thumbsucking with Jordan.

    Tam, I read about your onslaught of new people in your blog. You can find tons of crockpot recipes here:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/crockpot_recipes/

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  28. I'm actually relieved to hear about the jeans and bunny slippers. I don't even OWN a suit.

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  29. How do I prevent that cute little novelette plotbunny from growing more heads than the Hydra, breed a farm of subblots and develop into yet another big, epic, sprawling novel? The way it happened with my Saxon Ricmar who, the moment I started outlining, went out of the 25-30K marge faster than I could look and has now a place in my Future Project files instead of your ebook challenge.

    Don't want this to happen with my new plotbunny, too. ;)

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  30. Gabriele:

    Are you sure they're plot *bunnies*? Maybe they are actually soft furry plot cubs that plan to grow up to be top-of-the-food-chain predators? Or cute little infant plot-Saxons who can't wait to grow up and start terrorizing villages?

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  31. Lol, Katherine,
    this time it's a Roman selkie. Sort of - surely the craziest plot bunny or plot cub or plot selkie I ever got.

    All the tribune Marcus Flavius Aquila wants is to belong. But there is his uncanny ability to swim in waters no human would survive and his innate knowledge of a foreign language. When someone recognises it for a Caledonian dialect, Aquila is dispatched to the army in Britannia where the governor Julius Agricola fights against the Caledonian tribes. During a skirmish, Aquila is taken captive and discovered to be Selkie Born from his mother's side and heir to the leadership of the Cerones. They accept Aquila's magic, but he remains a stranger to their culture. When his attempts to negotiate peace between the Romans and Caledonians fail, Aquila is forced to decide for one side of his double heritage and become a traitor to the other.

    Took me less than half an hour to come up with that, which is a good sign for the bunny to work as story. Now it's only about the length...

    Since the novel projects on which I'm working right now all deal with the Romans and the Roman provices in western Europe, that selkie will at least fit in, research-wise.

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  32. I hope I'm not too late for the Friday 20. I have a question: do you have any recommendations about how to improve self discipline? I know I should write, but I find myself more often than not doing something else, whatever I happen to think of. "Oh I should apply for this job." "Oh, this room is a mess, I need to clean it." "Oh, I need to put my clothes in the laundry." Any advice, or am I just that lazy?

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  33. Lara wrote: What is Fast Draft?

    According to the link Jordan Summers posted on her weblog, it's a class being conducted by Write_Workshop, who have a yahoogroup here (Jordan, jump in and correct me if I'm wrong.)

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  34. Ann wrote: have a question about the ebook challenge. Have you finished reading all of the entrants? What did you think about the variety you got? (Okay the truth, what I really want to know is if you thought mine sucked eggs)

    I have read all of the e-books from the challenge (I need to check my notes against the list one more time in that obsessive-compulsive manner I have of checking lists thirty times.) I'm in the process of typing up the critiques, which got a little more involved than I anticipated (the Dragon doesn't want to talk to my Adobe, so I'm putting them together in Microsoft Word and trying to import them.) I'll be starting to mail them out in the next couple of days. I apologize for keeping everyone waiting on these.

    Ann, if yours is the one I think it is, it definitely did not suck eggs. :)

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  35. Ris wrote: What do you do when you have difficulties with the final scenes of a novel?

    Currently if I think the last chapter is going to be difficult, I write it first. Even a very rough draft seems to help.

    I'm struggling with the last couple of scenes and I can't decide if it is from sheer exhaustion with the project, serious plot problems or characterization problems that are finally manifesting, or I'm just plain lazy.

    There are a couple of things to consider. It may be that you're dragging because you've got too much ending, which can be solved by ending the book a few scenes back. Look at the scenes before the ones you're struggling with and see if any of them (with small modifications, if needed) would make an ending.

    Or it could be that you've left something unresolved, and your writer-subconscious is making you drag your feet. Check all your running threads and subplots and make sure you tied them up neatly.

    It could be a simple thing, too. Sometimes I don't want to finish a book just because I don't want to finish the book. It's a bit like story separation anxiety; maybe because on some level I'm not ready to let other people read it, put their hands on it, rip it to pieces, etc. I don't have an easy answer for this one. However you can, you have to set aside your feelings, write the end, and let it go.

    If there are story problems, you'll likely catch them during the editing phase. If you're feeling tired, don't beat yourself up over it. Writing can be exhausting, especially toward the end of the novel.

    If you have to write an unsatisfying ending to finish the book for now, write it. You can always change an ending. You can't do anything with an unfinished novel.

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  36. Anonymous wrote: I have recently found out that the social service program that I work for is being closed down in 6 months. I love what I do, it is amazing and beautiful, and fufilling. And in one moment of greed, ambition, and corporate politics it is gone. I could attempt to find something else in this field, but unfortunately there are no other comparable services.

    I'm so sorry to hear this. Too many worthy services are lost to capitalist indifference.

    I also love writing, but it was always just for me. My oasis. I have read about all of the challenges on your site regarding a professional writing career. My extremely long winded question is this. Knowing everything you do about this industry and all of the battles you have fought, would you choose it again?

    Yes, I believe I would.

    Or more specifically, did you have anything else that ran a close second that would make you question your decision?

    Unfortunately a very bad car accident and rheumatoid arthritis starting making most of my decisions for me back when I was in my twenties. I'll probably always wonder if I had gone to medical school and gotten my MD that I might have somehow found a way to manage a practice along with my family and my disease, but I think you always do that "might have been" stuff. I made the right decision.

    Why can't I have ten lifetimes to pursue all of the exciting experiences that the world has to offer?

    I wish I knew the answer to that one. But in the end we only get one shot at life, and it's up to each of us to decide how best to use our time on the planet.

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  37. Jill wrote: As a writer, how much importance do you place on obtaining reviews?

    Me personally? None. Getting a book reviewed is PR, and that's the publisher's responsibility, not the writer's.

    Do you believe they actually help your sales and how much time and effort do you spend soliciting them?

    I don't solicit reviews at all. If I have extra ARCs or copies on hand, I provide them at my cost to reviewers who request them, as long as I'm reasonably sure that the reviewer isn't going to turn around and sell them on eBay.

    The last time I gave my general opinion on the impact of reviews on sales, I had to deal with mountains of hate e-mail from every dingbat on the internet. Some of the dingbats still come here every day looking to start trouble, and frankly, I'm too tired to deal with yet another e-mail bombing this month. I'm sorry, Jill, but under the circumstances would you mind if I bow out of answering that part of your question?

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  38. I followed your advice and spent the last few months re-writing my novel for the fifth time (instead of hiring someone to do it.) It was the best advice. I had not realized how much I had to offer to my own novel (!) or how the process of editing is teaching me more about writing than many classes I’ve taken. Silly, huh?
    I'm a month away from completion, and then... then I don't know yet. I hope to find an agent, get published. But no public speaking for me. I too blush. Terribly. Congratulations for not letting it stop you in life
    Thank you for a hugely helpful blog.

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  39. May wrote: Not thinking that anybody would actually be interested, I asked people whether they'd like to write a novella with me next month--first to final draft.

    Hey, we're interested here. Neat idea, too. :)

    Except that there are people interested, including Cece/Celia/Amie Stuart, and I'm afraid of Amie.

    We've all been afraid of Amie at one time or another. When we're not drooling over her cover art.

    Also, I've never written a novella or anything else that got even remotely to The End.

    Yet. YET!

    What am I to do? *panicks*

    Write it anyway. You can do this; it's the right time or you wouldn't be challenging yourself like this. Trust yourself, lady.

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  40. Joely Sue wrote: I would love this, too! The first time you linked to the Archetype Storytelling Cards, I tried it out and got a neat twist I hadn't thought of yet for my wip.

    The cards are really beautiful, and have given me more ideas than I can count. I use them constantly, too. Gabriel Seran and Nick Jefferson from Night Lost evolved from imagery and ideas I got from the cards.

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  41. Mark wrote: I would think that carrying guns and swords might help increase your authority no matter what color your hair.

    Not at the airport, lol.

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  42. Jess wrote: I *think* I see what you mean about the theme. It's like, the GPS tracking of plutonium functions as the central premise, but then buried within the stories is some deeper meaning, like the NSA is a crock?

    You've got it.

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  43. Darlene wrote: When you began using voice recogniton software did you have any problems getting used to talking your work instead of typing it?

    The first couple days were fun, as they are with any new toy, but then I had to work, and I went through typing withdrawal. Thirty-odd years of using keys to write is hard to get over cold turkey.

    So far I like Dragon, but the process of writing with it feels weird.

    I think it's because the connections are different. With typing your brain tells your hands what to do; with VRS you have to use your voice as the keyboard.

    When I'm using the Dragon, I try to shift into kid-storytelling mode. You know how you are when you're reading a bedtime story out loud? The only difference is that you're making up the story as you go along. :)

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  44. Genghiscon wrote: Have you ever attended convention as a guest author?

    You mean as a guest speaker? Not for the publishing industry. I've attended plenty of writer cons as an author, given workshops, signed books, that sort of thing.

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  45. Charlene wrote: Oo, swords and guns! I'm SO there.

    Which is why we never mess with Charlene. ;)

    Cora wrote: I'm actually relieved to hear about the jeans and bunny slippers. I don't even OWN a suit.

    Sister! Lol. I wrote about all the fun of buying my very first writer suit back on the old blog here.

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  46. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  47. (I deleted the previous comment because of an ugly typo.)

    Gabriele wrote: How do I prevent that cute little novelette plotbunny from growing more heads than the Hydra, breed a farm of subblots and develop into yet another big, epic, sprawling novel?

    Write an outline for the novelette that limits its ability to breed (this is when I think planning a sequence of events comes in very handy.) It's the best way I've found to put an idea on a short story leash. And if it does turn out to be the stuff of a novel, you can always expand the story later.

    The way it happened with my Saxon Ricmar who, the moment I started outlining, went out of the 25-30K marge faster than I could look and has now a place in my Future Project files instead of your ebook challenge.

    Understood. If it does start to get away from you, try focusing on the novelette as an standalone-worthy excerpt from the future work. Think of the project like a very good teaser for your reader, and that may relieve some of the internal pressure to expand on the idea.

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  48. Jason wrote: do you have any recommendations about how to improve self discipline? I know I should write, but I find myself more often than not doing something else, whatever I happen to think of. "Oh I should apply for this job." "Oh, this room is a mess, I need to clean it." "Oh, I need to put my clothes in the laundry." Any advice, or am I just that lazy?

    We all struggle with writing time management issues, along with self-inlficted guilt trips because we often perceive writing as fun and/or not as "important" as other tasks and responsibilities. Family members sometimes don't help by interrupting or not respecting writing time or the writing space.

    The best way I've found to cope with the problem is to set up a firm writing time each day, during which you are to write and only write, not do anything else. If you don't feel like writing during this time, or think you should do something else, make yourself sit at your computer and stare at it. After about ten minutes I start writing just because I can't stand staring at the computer and doing nothing.

    Also, make sure your family and loved ones are okay with your designated writing time, and then ask them to help you get your work done by not intruding on your space, distracting you or doing anything else to disrupt you while you're working.

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  49. Furious wrote: I followed your advice and spent the last few months re-writing my novel for the fifth time (instead of hiring someone to do it.) It was the best advice. I had not realized how much I had to offer to my own novel (!) or how the process of editing is teaching me more about writing than many classes I’ve taken. Silly, huh?

    Not at all. I've been in the exact same boat, experienced the same doubts and fears. That you overcame all that and trusted yourself to give it a go took a lot of courage. You should be really proud of yourself.

    I'm a month away from completion, and then... then I don't know yet. I hope to find an agent, get published. But no public speaking for me. I too blush. Terribly.

    Having the fairest skin of all isn't all it's cracked up to be. Good luck with the agent search; I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.

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  50. Will blog about it at the end. :) Right now I'm tracking my progress in a nifty journal. *g*

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  51. Back on October 26th 2006, you annouced you were finalinzing the next 2 Stardoc novels for your editiors review. Any word yet on when Book 8 will be out?

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  52. Jordan wrote: Will blog about it at the end.

    Thank you, ma'am.

    The Atari Kid wrote: Any word yet on when Book 8 will be out?

    I haven't signed a contract yet, but if all goes well I should have some news soon.

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  53. My apologies. I didn’t realize in broaching the subject of reviews that I was inadvertently opening Pandora’s Box.

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  54. PBW,

    Thanks for the link to the cards! Question...are the descriptions of the cards on the back? Or does a booklet come with the cards?

    I'm doing the First Draft thing Jordan mentioned. I too will be in the corner...LOL! But at least (for the most part *g*) it keeps me off the net and writing MORE. :)

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  55. Lleeo2:03 AM

    Ah, my respect for you grows each time I come here. I would have loved to have seen your workshop! You notice it all the time with teachers and professors--if you're not passionate about what you do, it doesn't come through in your teaching.

    I usually tried out for the male parts in high school plays because they got to have more fun with swords. ^_~

    And I really think RWA need to get their act together and accept that times are a changin' and that versatility is a very good thing. =)

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  56. Awww ... if you were continually blushing, I bet they just thought the lights were hot, or maybe they thought you had rosacea. :)

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  57. Blanca1:11 AM

    I came down with tonsilitis... so only now can I come back and read your reply. You happened to address all my concerns, and a few others I hadn't thought about. Thank you!

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