• american fiction

    Things I Like: American Fiction

    It’s hard to make a movie about writers. There’s “The Man Who Invented Christmas” about Charles Dickens. And “Best Sellers” which has Aubrey Plaza trying to get Michael Caine–a J.D. Salinger style curmudgeonly shut-in–to promote his new book. Neither of these were particularly exciting because writing just isn’t exciting. But American Fiction is very good, especially if you’re a writer. In the same way I was charmed by Chants of Sennar, I was intrigued by American Fiction. It’s about an affluent African-American professor (his sister’s a doctor and his brother’s a plastic surgeon). He writes normal literary books, but they aren’t selling because publishers only want stories about Black people…

  • thinking emoji

    Should an Author Change a Story for Commercial Viability?

    So while I’m composing the outline for “naga hide” story, I thought I’d share this anecdote. I was with my wife, walking our two poop-makers floor-destroyers inbred suicidal moronic pains-in-the-ass with fur dogs. And as I’m always desperate for conversation topics (being an introvert) I talked about the two novels I was planning — seeing which idea she thought had more merit. When I talked about “naga hide”, she had qualms about the main character. She said “women don’t like snakes” so that might diminish the marketability/commercial viability. That certainly got my attention. Commercial viability = people paying money to publisher = happy publisher = publisher paying money to agent…

  • ereader alice in wonderland

    Publishers Are About to Face Heel Turn

    Last week, I got a scary e-mail in my inbox from David Farland. I subscribe to his “Weekly Kick” which sends out writing tips every once in a while. Today’s tip was titled “Perhaps the Most Important Kick You’ll Ever Read”. It described a well-drawn summary of the current state of the publishing industry. You know the story: paper books down, eBooks up. So what’s the publishing industry going to be doing about it? Well, a lot of evil things, none of which are good for authors. They can print fewer books, save on advertising, paper stock, and most importantly, take money from authors. They can renegotiate contracts for worse…

  • reaching for book with tongue

    Why I Don’t Care For Short Stories

    Let’s talk about Stephen King short stories. Sherwood Smith linked to an interesting video about where Stephen King attempts to explain why the world has “fallen out of love with the short story”. First, I’m not entirely sure the world has been in love with the short story for a long time, except for maybe the 1950s with the rise of science fiction. It seems to me that novels have dominated since they first came on the scene. But I’m not a historian, and I’m not here to talk about the past. One of the big problems with King’s argument is that he says humans are feeding at the trough…

  • Avatar – The Reckoning

    All writers are insecure. And I was insecure to begin with, so that’s like a double stuff oreo of insecurity. It seems like my skill in writing is two steps forward, two steps back. Here’s the example, after I had my Stephen King dream on Sunday, I needed some comfort because I was feeling insecure that my story – Avatar – is now on Critters, but hasn’t gotten many reviews. That disappointed me because, unlike Blood 2, this represents my current writing talent. This one I really tried on, I made it a subject I know, I blended humor, drama. It’s not a whiny kid. There’s a plot. And so…

  • Contradictions in Publishing are Delightful

    These are two quotes from John Scalzi. They’re paraphrased here, because I don’t feel like looking them up word for word now.“The Writer’s Market has about 4,000+ listings for agents, publishers, and magazines so you stand a reasonably good chance that someone out there wants to publish your stuff if you write at a decent level.”-Sometime in 2004“You can expect a 98% rejection rate, on a good day.”-One of his more famous writing advice entries, check the Best Ofs

  • Progress of the Day

    Still working on Galerians pre-writing, gathering ideas and characterization and such. Was going good this weekend, but has slowed down today. What I really need to do is submit some works to be published, so I can get an idea of what to expect from these people. Get an idea of the process, so I don’t screw it up when I submit the things I really want to get published. I equate it to getting a job – you have to be very professional, follow all the rules, and one mistake can cost you your chance. I’ve filled out many applications, many cover letters and resumes, so I know how…