Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tackling a Dreaded Job

I had a very difficult writing task to perform. I didn't want to do it, not only because the subject matter was emotional, but because I didn't want to face what it meant. And because it's a type of writing I just don't do well. But with a deadline glaring in my face, I finally rolled up my sleeves, sat down, and just did it.

It hurt, it feels badly written (like that one episode of Galaxy Quest Gwen complained about), but it's done. Rough draft anyway.

You'll be able to read it in the Overlords' Lair of Issue 57 of Ray Gun Revival.


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Monday, August 30, 2010

Smart or Heart?

I've been juggling stories all summer. I have alleged deadlines (nothing fixed, just due soon) for two of them, and might have a publisher interested in two others, so you'd think those stories would be top of my list.


So what has been on my mind? A short story I haven't got a home for yet. Do I give in and keep working on it, or shove it on the back burner to work on the alleged deadline stories? I know the smart answer, but my heart wants to pursue the short story.



Friday, August 27, 2010

How Moms Write

Boy, I can identify with this:

How Mom Writes a Novel

Oh yeah, baby!

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Those Characters!

I was talking to a fellow writer this morning and she complained one of her characters is mad at her, but she doesn't know why. He won't talk to her.

I've had characters who were uncooperative, so I could sympathize. What about you? Have you had characters who didn't want to cooperate? Have they stalled your story? Told you flat out that was not what they would do?

What have your characters put you through, and what did you do to resolve the situation?


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Comma and a Copyeditor

Long ago, I wrote a Writer's Cramps article about how one can never proofread enough. As an example, I used a dratted comma that totally messed up the meaning of a sentence in a short story I had sold. I moaned at my stupidity for overlooking said comma, never checking my original manuscript.

I later found out that I hadn't added that comma, a copyeditor had. It totally changed the meaning of the sentence, and considering that sentence was backstory for my Enaisi series, I was really doing a face-palm. Not to worry, because that story's rights have reverted to me, and I now have that story on my website - corrected of course.

I've worked with copyeditors and have worked as a copyeditor on Ray Gun Revival. I will tell you, a copyeditor's job is not easy. We have to catch typos, fix grammatical and punctuation oopses, check formatting, and if done properly, do so without interfering with the author's voice. The toughest job I've ever done, writing-wise, has by far been copyediting.

Notice the "if done properly" in the above paragraph? I've seen copyeditors who will overlook typos and obvious grammatical errors to correct their personal pet peeves - to the point of totally rewriting paragraphs and destroying an author's voice and the tone of the scene.

The biggest, baddest story I've ever heard of "copyeditor hell" belongs to Piers Anthony. He contracted with a publisher to write a book in the '70s called But What of Earth? Long story short, the editor gave the book to a team of copyeditors who played god with it - changing the story, the characters' personalities and motivations, just totally ripping it to shreds, then they gave it to another writer who wrote up all the changes. The editor then published the book with both writers' names. When Anthony found out, he had a cow and went after them legally - since he had a contract for the book *he* wrote not some vaguely familiar thing "co-authored" by him and this other writer. (The other writer, for his part, didn't know what the editor was up to - he was sort of caught in the middle.)

If you want to read the whole shebang, Piers Anthony re-released the book some years ago with many of the notes of the copyeditors as footnotes. From an author's viewpoint, it's frightening to read those notes. Those copyeditors went far beyond their job description.

So the book tells two stories, the original story Anthony wrote (which is worth a read), and the publishing story. Every author and copyeditor should read this book, so authors know what to watch for, and so copyeditors can see the power-trip trap they (hopefully) don't want to fall into.

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Comma Conundrums

I know the current trend is to not worry about using commas. Let's just ignore them. We don't need them to join two independent clauses. Or hey, here's a thought, let's just put them where we want according to our whims!

Sure I'm a stickler, I know that. And commas have been my bane. I have always felt I didn't understand the myriad rules concerning them. I admit I am still learning new nuances of how to use them. And I've learned various rule books have differing views on what is correct. Great. So much for clear-cut answers when I need them. (As an aside, when in doubt, I use CMOS as my guide, just so I can be consistent within my own work.)

But it bothers me to read a book by a long-time author that can go sentences with no commas, even though they are needed to keep meanings clear. Is it the author, the copy editors? Does the publishing world not care anymore?


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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Here we go again...

You would think I'd get used to my characters taking off and messing up my plots, but each time they do I throw up my hands and walk away in frustration, then have to force myself to come back.

Keep writing, yeah. I am, but I think I have a headache right now. Time to switch to another story and let this one simmer a bit.

Characters are as bad as kids; never do what they're told...


Friday, August 20, 2010

Living Dangerously

Tristan has been driving me crazy lately, and taking my life in my own hands, I've been putting him off. I really want to get this short story of Alcandhor's finished. I hope Tristan doesn't get too peeved at me. Since I have a short story due out in a couple of months with Alcandhor in it, as well as a novel by Christmas, I guess that's why I'm letting him take priority.

Perhaps if I give Tristan a nice tisane he'll settle down a bit. What do you think?

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Plugging Away

I'm not giving up!

6482 words for this short story so far and I'm not sure I've found The Solution for the problem yet. I am, however, going back and changing one character's attitude just a little. Whether it's enough to fix the story, I don't know yet. We'll see...


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Is It Enough?

The constant gnawing fear of not letting my readers know what they need to know - it haunts me.

Every time I start another story in an already created universe, such as Deuces Wild, or the Enaisi universe, I wonder if I'm giving basic information needed to know What's Going On.

I don't want to infodump, or bore my readers, but do I give them enough for a foundation?

I went through that when I did the stand-alone story Deuces Wild story "The Grift" for Digital Dragon Magazine last spring. Also for a short story in the Enaisi universe entitled "Petition" which will appear in Residential Aliens in a few months.

And this is one case where critique partners may not be helpful because they are familiar with one's worlds. Ah me, no, not making this a pity party this time. Just scratching my head, lost...

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Little Whine

I'm trying very hard to ratchet the tension and conflict in a short story that is just lying there pathetically. I just got a heavy revvie on how to end the story, but the conflict isn't good enough. What to do? What to do?

I need a literary torque wrench. Or a magic wand.

Okay, finished whining, back to writing...


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Research ups and downs

Doing research for novels can be so enjoyable; I do love learning new things, even if I can only comprehend the basics.

But it's also frustrating at times, because it seems the more I learn, the more complicated a situation becomes. It's difficult at times to not feel overwhelmed at some of the problems I create for myself with the stories I am trying to write. Oh well, the alternative would be to quit, and I couldn't if I wanted to; my characters won't let me.

I'm sure other writers have similar frustrations, which is a consolation, not to mention one definite upside of all of this is that I get to continue to cause great vexation for My Physicistâ„¢. Yes, definitely a plus!


Friday, August 13, 2010

a very strange feeling

I love to reread novels. A scene will pop in my head and I'll think, "Gotta get that book out and reread it!" Nothing like curling up with a hot cuppa and a good book, after all.

At times I do this with my stories as well although it's not so cozy. I'll pull up the manuscript and have to sit at the computer to reread at least the section that had scurried through my mind.

This morning I remembered a scene that was one of my favorites and I sat down at the computer to pull up the story and stopped with a shock: it was already in print!

So with a very strange feeling of my mind being boggled, I picked up my own book and sat down in a chair with a cuppa and began to read Deuces Wild.

It's the little things in life you treasure...

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Saturday, August 07, 2010

Writer's Cramps

 New article up for Writer's Cramps. "Just Write - part 2":  


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Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Sword's Edge

I am stunned. I have a publisher for the first book of my sword'n'planet series. More news as it happens.

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