Friday, June 01, 2007

Friday 20

I'm making a late start again today; sorry, folks. The Dragon does not like me congested, and this week has been interpreting nearly everything I say as something you could sing to the tune of Camptown Ladies: I'd aching a laid dart a gain do day, doodah, doodah.

A couple of RWA writers have e-mailed to ask if they can pass around my old post, Why PAN was the God of Sheep, in response to the latest RWA mess. (Note: Edited to clarify, as I am not part of the Creative Commons crowd) As with anything from the blog, you may e-mail my posts as long as it's not for profit and you give me byline credit or link love. Fair use excerpts are fine, too.

If you don't buy into it, elitism in the industry is always entertaining. Ranking systems are rarely objective, especially when competitive human beings looking for shortcuts are involved, but they play on the almost universal lack of self-esteem writers suffer, and then the pissing contests commence. Groups like the the Borg are particularly gifted at this sort of infighting, but the nature of publishing encourages group hostility and professional cannabalism.

Imagine that the industry is a bake sale, and this is all about who makes the prettiest cupcakes, and then you can see how trivial it is.

That's all from my sniffly corner of publishing this week. Anyone out there have any questions for me?

27 comments:

  1. Could you define "novella" and "novelette" as you see them? Or am I missing a standard industry definition?

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  2. Was it you gave me this cold?

    First I have to imagine what a bake sale is, and go on from there :D.

    Okay, my question is this. What do you do with a husband who insists, at three am, that you put down Blade Dancer, turn off the light, and go to sleep, even though you haven't FINISHED?

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  3. By the way, I've finally completed my perusal through your archives. Thank you for your candor and your generosity in sharing what you've learned.

    I eagerly await my book and surprise!

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  4. Nice to see someone else using dictation although you probably do a better job correcting that I do.

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  5. PBW wrote: "As with anything from the blog, as long as it's not for profit and you give me byline credit or link love, be my guest."

    In that case, may I suggest changing your copyright notice at the bottom to include a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works license, as described here?

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  6. Anonymous4:42 PM

    Totally off topic but could you insert a link for the list of your "37 NOVELS FROM 5 GENRES" as I am an obsessive compulsive bibliophile and need to purchase every book and authors written when I discover an author I like.

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  7. Seeing as how today is day one of the Tudor's Desk blog, and you have a wonderful blog, can I ask how you got started in the beginning? Anything special to promo? Any advice for me given I'm unpub? Thanks, PBW!

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  8. Is resistance really futile?

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  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  10. Is it my imagination, or are all vampires (or is it just the Darkyn?) Catholics?

    (Deleted the last one due to a typo I wanted to correct.)

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  11. Revalkorn wrote: Could you define "novella" and "novelette" as you see them? Or am I missing a standard industry definition?

    I tend to think of a novella as a very short novel, and a novelette as a very long short story, but that's not much of a definition. I always advise writers to check individual publishers' guidelines to see what they consider novel, novella and novelette length, as they all have slightly different standards for their imprints.

    The most commonly-referenced story length standard I've seen writers use is as follows:

    Novel — 40,000 + words
    Novella — 17,500–39,999 words
    Novelette — 7,500–17,499 words
    Short Story — 7,499 words or less

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  12. Buffysquirrel wrote: Was it you gave me this cold?

    Not unless you were at my doctor's office today. And if you were, I think your implants look marvelous. :)

    First I have to imagine what a bake sale is, and go on from there :D.

    A bake sale is a charming American ritual among the mothers of grade school children, held to raise money to supplement the school's woeful funding in some area or for charitable purposes (like a village fete.) Each mother is expected to donate baked goods for the sale, as well as sit at the table and sell the donations to other mothers who come to inspect the goods and see who made pre-packaged slice cookies (bad mothers) and who made homemade two-tier cupcakes with handmade chocolate curls (good mothers.) It doesn't matter how the goods taste, only how they look on the table. Whoever has their donation sell out first is considered Top Bake Sale Mom.

    Okay, my question is this. What do you do with a husband who insists, at three am, that you put down Blade Dancer, turn off the light, and go to sleep, even though you haven't FINISHED?

    Is divorce out of the question? Lol.

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  13. Sorry about the cold, Lynn. Hope you get to feeling better.

    What tips do you have for getting calmed down if you're really angry and you can't leave you're post because you're in the middle of a rush? I'll need that for tomorrow.

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  14. Revalkorn wrote: By the way, I've finally completed my perusal through your archives. Thank you for your candor and your generosity in sharing what you've learned.

    You're welcome, kind sir, but I'm only paying it forward. I hope that everyone who benefits from this blog will do the same.

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  15. Jmnlman wrote: Nice to see someone else using dictation although you probably do a better job correcting that I do.

    I use the Dragon four to five hours a day, and it understands me 95% of the time, so I'm a little spoiled when it comes to making corrections -- I don't often have this many. Still, it keeps me from taking the software for granted. :)

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  16. Jules wrote: In that case, may I suggest changing your copyright notice at the bottom to include a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works license, as described here?

    I appreciate the suggestion, but I would rather not join the Creative Commons crowd.

    I will reword that bit in the post to clarify, though.

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  17. Robin B10:12 PM

    What do you do when you know what you want to write but can't settle on the right words to express it? Lately it seems that I'm stuck in a rut, using the same words over and over. It is very frustrating.

    I hope that question makes sense. LOL

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  18. Anonymous wrote: Totally off topic but could you insert a link for the list of your "37 NOVELS FROM 5 GENRES" as I am an obsessive compulsive bibliophile and need to purchase every book and authors written when I discover an author I like.

    I have a bibliography here, but I have written several books as a writer-for-hire that I can't publicize, so it's not complete (and I can see I need to update what's there, too.) I have another thirty or so in addition to that list which are privately published, either for my gild, my family, my friends or myself.

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  19. Jess wrote: Seeing as how today is day one of the Tudor's Desk blog, and you have a wonderful blog, can I ask how you got started in the beginning?

    I've kept a handwritten daily journal since (eek!) 1974, but my arthritis was making it harder and harder to keep that up. When some readers asked me if I would consider starting a weblog seven years ago, I thought it would be fun and also an answer to my problem.

    My first public blog, StarLines, was really more of a writing/career diary than a proper weblog, but it ran for a couple of years and allowed me to learn what I needed to know about HTML and blogging-related stuff.

    Anything special to promo? Any advice for me given I'm unpub?

    Whatever you put into your blog should be what you most enjoy to write, talk about and explore. That way it's always a labor of love, and you won't get tired of it. If you're having fun with it, you'll also find you give it your best efforts.

    Links bring traffic, and participating in discussions on other weblogs do, too. Think about features you can offer that would be unique and make your weblog stand out, too. I've had a lot of success with the Monday 10 and Friday 20; my new Reader Wednesday is also working out pretty well.

    Writers are always interested in talking shop, readers enjoy finding out more about writers, and we all love books. Offer a little something for everyone and you'll get a nice variety of visitors.

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  20. Raine wrote: Is resistance really futile?

    Only if you're wrestling nekkid with George Clooney.

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  21. Jean wrote: Is it my imagination, or are all vampires (or is it just the Darkyn?) Catholics?

    The Darkyn are, for the most part, as they were once Templars. I do introduce some new, non-Catholic Kyn in Evermore.

    Not all vampires are Catholic, though. Vampires or vampiric creatures exist in the mythology of many non-Catholic cultures, such as the kuang-shi of China, the bhuta of India, and the kasha of Japan. The earliest known depiction of a vampire was on a Babylonia cylinder seal dating back to the third century BCE; they called their bloodsuckers utukku and ekimmu.

    Most of today's popular vampire fiction depicts the undead as formerly Catholic humans, or living among Christians and Catholics, but there have been authors who have done more with the old legends. Seabury Quinn's 1940 novel Mortmain, for example, features a ching shih, a Mongolian vampire who was definitely not Catholic. :)

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  22. Jason wrote: Sorry about the cold, Lynn. Hope you get to feeling better.

    Thanks, Jason. I finally took some of those liquigel things, and they seem to be working.

    What tips do you have for getting calmed down if you're really angry and you can't leave you're post because you're in the middle of a rush?

    There's an excellent article on anger management here if you have time to read it, Jason. I think the best approaches to controlling anger it mentions are humor and cognitive restructuring.

    I have real anger management issues myself, and I've learned to deal with my unreasonable emotions two ways: working them out through physical activity (usually cleaning the house until it glows) or channeling them into a story (any time you see one of my protagonists punch someone in the face, I can guarantee I was having a bad day when I wrote the scene.)
    I also find writing parodies about situations that make me angry helps me laugh my way through the outrage.

    All three of those methods result in me feeling better and no one else getting hurt, which I think is the best way to manage anger.

    If you don't think the above will help, consider talking it out with an understanding family member of friend. Sharing frustrations and disappointments with someone who cares helps to ease some of the internal pressure, and you might get some helpful suggestions in return. I know when I need to vent, I call my Mom. She may not have all the answers to my problems, but she always sees the funny side to things. I know by the time I finish the call I'm going to be laughing with her about it.

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  23. Robin wrote: What do you do when you know what you want to write but can't settle on the right words to express it?

    I just write it and don't pay attention to the wording, and then add a tag to come back and rewrite when I'm in a more creative mood.

    Lately it seems that I'm stuck in a rut, using the same words over and over. It is very frustrating.

    There's a trick I do when I get stuck like this. It sounds silly but actually works: I pretend I'm someone else. I had a WFH book to write that needed a very distinct voice, but one that was nothing like my own. When I sat down to write the first scene, I imagined that I was a good friend of mine. I channeled my friend's voice, personality and style (all very different from mine) as I wrote, and found I started making his word choices, not my own.

    Another way to get around word doldrums is to reread some of the books that you love and/or that inspired you to write. I know when I touch base with a couple of books from my writer's writer or poetry shelf, I come away feeling like a stronger writer. If only poor e.e.cummings knew how often he's rescued me from the pit of vocabulary depression. :)

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  24. The PAN post was brilliant, Lynn. I'm liking you more and more (and not just because I won a book last month either).

    Here's a question I was holding for you (that you've probably already answered): Do you write more than one book at a time, and if so, how do you juggle them all without dropping the ball? I've got so many ideas right now waiting in line to get onto paper, I'm looking for a way to let them out without going insane. (Maybe I just need to acquire more patience.)

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  25. B.E. wrote: The PAN post was brilliant, Lynn. I'm liking you more and more (and not just because I won a book last month either).

    Thank you. And you know, I am not above bribing people to like me. :)

    Here's a question I was holding for you (that you've probably already answered): Do you write more than one book at a time, and if so, how do you juggle them all without dropping the ball?

    I usually work on three to four novels at once. If possible, I keep them segregated by work day: StarDoc on Monday, Darkyn on Tuesday, On-Spec on Wednesday, etc. If I can't work on only one project per day, I take an hour break before I hop into something different.

    I've got so many ideas right now waiting in line to get onto paper, I'm looking for a way to let them out without going insane. (Maybe I just need to acquire more patience.)

    I have story ideas that always come up and jump on my back when I'm working on paying stuff, so I deal with them by writing a brief outline or couple of pages. The very strong ones that won't go away get a chapter now and then.

    Focusing on the work at hand and immersing yourself in one thing during your writing time is an important mental discipline. I try to give myself one day a week to play, and I sometimes make bargains with myself: if I finish today's scheduled work, I can write whatever is bugging me for an hour afterward. That often works like dangling a carrot, I find I work faster and more efficiently if I have something else I want to do waiting at the finish line.

    Another thing I go is take a blank notebook or journal with me onto the porch in the morning, and write down whatever is distracting me from work (usually personal stuff, but sometimes characters, scenes and stories I just don't have time to write.) Then I meditate and send it all off to percolate in the back of my head so I'm clear when I go into my writing space.

    Giving ideas time to mature and work themselves out in your head is beneficial. You can always think about them when you're away from your WIP, and I find that the more I think out an idea, the more fully-realized it lands on the page when I eventually do sit down to write it.

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  26. Excellent. Thank you. I do keep a file of story ideas and update it regularly, but like you said, some ideas just jump on your back when you're trying to do something else. Thanks again for the tips. =oD

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  27. I hope you feel better soon. Thanks for educating me on the inter cultural history of vampires. I had not realized it was that extensive. (For the most part, I'm not a fan of vampires, but I liked Dark Shadows as a kid -- mostly because my mom wouldn't let me watch it, and I enjoy reading the Darkyn series, so I have limited exposure.)

    We strongly suspect Natasha may have some vampire in her -- she has this biting tendency, drawing her best blood between the thumb and forefinger. She's never far from me, and I've been feeling more and more dragged out over the last year. When my PA asked if I was losing blood anywhere, I should have thought of the cat... (grin)

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