Thursday, July 26, 2012

It's not censorship but it sure stinks

Holly Lisle recently posted about trying to get a book published for Apple's iBooks, but was rebuffed because she mentions Amazon in one of her teaching methods.  I don't know about you but that just ain't right.  While it may not be censorship by definition, it's not cool, and Apple is using its power to block any mention of a rival.  Holly pulled all of her self-pubbed books out of iBooks.  I have never been all-in with Apple, but I like most of their products.  I have an iPod, and iPhone and an iPad, and they work pretty damned well, but this behavior stinks and I wanted anyone who reads this blog to know about it.


Clear Ether!




Image attribution Beachblogger42 via creative commons license

Friday, July 20, 2012

Committing to that First Novel

Ava Jae has an interesting post on her blog Writability this morning about first novels.  The question she was answering is, how do you pick the story to write for your fist novel when 95% of first novels never see the light of day?  We refer to these as trunk novels (because they stay in the trunk).
Her answer is right on the money, you have to commit to whatever story you choose.  We can’t possibly commit the time and energy it takes to write a novel to real completion without the belief that we are going to put it out there for sale or distribution (if that was our original goal, not everyone writes to be published).  By complete I mean first draft finished and then several passes to revise and refine; this just to send it to a publisher or agent.  If you are self-publishing you need to add another step.  Send it to a real editor for that professional polish.
Novelists don’t do practice novels.  That is not to say we don’t do writing exercises.  Writers write for practice and it can be in the form of writing challenges or blogs or short stories.  But even short stories require work.  Challenges are easy and don’t take up a lot of time.  Novels are a completely different animal altogether.  They are layered with multiple plots and many characters, that done correctly, have more than two dimensions.   The novel should have theme and soul and requires foreshadowing and planning.  The planning can happen after the draft is done actually and may require you to move things around as the plot elements are often very malleable, but it requires time and energy. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Why Can't We All Just Be Cool?

Every now and then I hear stuff over the internet (okay I read it), where someone is being an asshat to someone.  It is actually a fairly common thing these days but the heat seems to move from place to place, video games, book reviews, paparazzi, news sites, it’s everywhere that people interact.  It’s ubiquitous.   And it seems to be getting slowly worse. Scalzi has a blog about it, Stacia Kane, Chuck Wendig and many others are pointing it out.
Why is that? 
It bothers me that somewhere along the way our society has stopped teaching our children what it means to have manners and even though you can remain anonymous, you still should show some regard for other human beings.   You know, do the right thing.  Sadly, I ‘m not sure a lot of people even realize that what they are doing is wrong.  They spew frothy hatefulness like it is their right and it doesn’t matter that the person that is the target has feelings and a family and a life that they might be impacting.  Do they really want to ruin someone’s life over something that in the big scheme is trivial?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Wired for Story


Chuck Wendig interviewed Lisa Cron this week for his blog Terribleminds and she gave us her take on developing story.  Another great find for interviews by Mr. Wendig, he rarely disappoints.  Lisa has a very fresh take on the importance of STORY and how it relates to the human brain.  She has a new book out called Wired for Story, and I can’t wait to read it.  She is a big time producer for Showtime and Court TV, a writer and also teaches a writing course at UCLA.  She has spent the last ten years researching the connection between neuroscience and how the brain relates to stories.  It’s quite fascinating and illuminating, allowing us to learn techniques that will make your story click with the reader.  They can’t help themselves, the brain is hard wired for receiving stories and if we can strike the right chord it will resonate within the readers mind.
            On Lisa's blog she touched on why books that get panned by critiques can still sell at amazing rates.  It answers the question as to why books like 50 Shades of Gray can sell millions of books.  I remember picking up The Hunger Games, because my wife and daughter love it, and reading the first couple of pages and saying to myself, the prose just aren’t all that, but next thing I knew I was 100 pages in and couldn’t put it down.  Stephanie Myers Twilight books have been criticized for not having elaborate prose also, but the one thing all of these books have in common is they tell a great story and in a way that touches those chords in the mind.