Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Write Well Wednesday: Creating the Visual Character

I'm going to create a series of entries over the next few weeks!  This series is going to be on characterization.  Specifically, how to create multidimensional, believable characters.  I'm breaking it up into multiple entries because putting everything about characterization into one blog would make it quite long! 

Today's topic is the easiest part of characterization: Creating the visual of your character.

If you're going to create a character of any kind, you have to provide the reader with a template by which to visualize your character.  This, like setting, should be established early on to prevent the reader from creating their own idea of what the character looks like.  The most confusing thing to a reader is learning that your heroine has brown hair and eyes three books into the series.

1.  Establish the basics.  Decide what your character's driver's license would say about them.  What is their hair and eye color?  How tall are they?  How old?  These are the basic things that readers want to know so they can at least create a shadow puppet of your character.

2.  As you continue writing, provide additional physical descriptives.  Lots of readers want to know what the character's build is, what their face is shaped like, and what sort of fashion sense they have.  Depending on how important you feel a feature is to a character's personality is how close it should be to your basic description.  If your character is overweight and you feel that it's important to the story and the character's development, you need to alert the reader to this feature.  Discovering little quirks like knowing someone has a birthmark on their elbow or a gap in their front teeth lets the reader feel like they are learning about the character and the character thus becomes more like a real person.  Almost like making friends!

3.  Avoid the cliches.  Most authors think the whole character in front of the mirror thing does an awesome job of giving you the physical description (especially if the piece is written in first person).  It doesn't!  Think of a more creative way of portraying these details.  Avoid laundry lists of features!  One of the marks of a good writer is being able to pepper physical features in without saying, "He was 6'2," had sharp brown eyes, and wore an expression that matched his military buzzed black hair."

4.  Bedazzle the ordinary.  Don't just say she had pale skin.  How pale is it?  Is it like a canvas or maybe like freshly pressed paper?  What's it like? Does it glow?  Does it have a pink hue?  Is it soft or firm?  Does it remind the person looking at her of something in particular?  Maybe rose petals or velvet?  What about those black eyes of his?  How do they twinkle?  Are they bright like stars or more ominous, like obsidian?  What do they make her feel like?  Do they stare right through her or make her feel a dark comfort?  These details add additional building blocks to your character (which we'll talk about later) while laying the foundation.  Plus, spreading things out with additional descriptives helps prevent that laundry list from piling up!  However, be careful not to get cliche here either.

5.  Don't go overboard.  A little goes a long way with a reader.  Readers like to imagine when they read a story, if you feed them everything, then there's nothing fun left about learning your character.  Save certain tid-bits for later or never mention them at all.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Toolbox Tuesday: Ironclad Will

By "will" I mean the will to do things.  This runs the gamut from simply having that self-starter mentality that will get you approaching the subject of becoming a novelist all the way to the sheer bull-headed (or pigheadedness) that you're eventually going to need not to give up.  In other words, stubbornness.  From general willingness to being strong willed.

Especially, the strong will.  This is where you go all medieval knight on your career and get Ironclad.

Starting a novel is easy.  Finishing it might even be easy.  It's when you start going through the edits and people are going to start criticizing you; pitching agents for YEARS; dealing with being on submission to editors and continually getting rejected by your dream houses; fighting with your publisist who pick bad covers and make useless book trailers; AND THEN having to adhere to a grueling touring schedule, making deadlines for the next book, and possibly STILL getting dropped because sales are too low -- where people start to crack.  Gosh that's a long sentence!

Many people just can't deal with it.  They either give up or take alternate routes.  I'm not saying that taking the alternate route is bad, I'm a strong believer in options for everyone.  While NY is my goal; I am, myself published through a small e-publisher and will probably, once in my life self-publish something.  But being an Indie author has its own set of trials and tribulations, especially if you aren't coming from NY and bringing your readers along with you.  If you want to sell at all, you have to promote yourself ENTIRELY on your own, often without being carried by larger retailers.  A hecktic self-promo schedule and, very often, (since you don't have the financial support of the big publishing house) a chunk of money coming out of your own pocket can run an enthusiastic self-published author into the ground.

I'm not sure many people realize just how frustrating and trying being an author can actually be.  People might even think it's easy...and maybe for someone like Nora Roberts it is.  But I bet it wasn't in the beginning.  Even J.K. Rowling and Stephanie Meyer had trouble in the beginning.  It's always hard in the beginning.  And it takes wanting something so bad it hurts to keep you trudging through it all (even if the trudging hurts more).  Just envsion yourself an intrepid explorer on Mount Everest.  The air is frigid, you can barely breath, and every move hurts.  Will you lay downa dn let the snow bury you or will you continue plodding against the razor-sharp wind?  Depends.  How badly do you want to get to the top?

If your thinking of being an author, ask yourself that simple question.  Do you want it that bad?  Are you willing to do anything to get to the top?  Are you that kind of writer? 

If you are, then welcome to the very exclusive group of those with ironclad wills.  For you, the universe will hold nothing back...probably because you're just stuborn enough to beat it up for trying. :) 

Write on, dear friends.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

How to Punk Your Steampunk

This posting is a follow up to Get Punk'd.

So, one of my followers asked me to talk about HOW to get punk'd when writing a Steampunk piece.  This is a little difficult for me to explain because punking things up seems organic to me (blame it on my revisionist tendencies), but I'm going to try my best to explain how I do it.  In the process I'm going to cover, in general, how to write Steampunk.  In the interest of space and time, this is a little disjointed and it's quite close to midnight and I've been going since the wee hours of the morning, so yeah, apologies ahead of time.

Action One: Decide on a story to tell.

One: TELL A STORY.  Just because there is Steampunk in your book doesn't necessarily mean it has to completely swallow your MC whole.  Stop focusing so much on making everything Steampunk and let it develop organically. I think where a lot of people get caught up with writing Steampunk is the fact that they focus too much on how it will be received.  "Is my technology right?"  "Did I adequately describe the taste of treacle?"  "Would a woman say that back then?"  "Is it "punk" enough?"  It becomes all about how your readers could bash you for getting it wrong.  Before you worry about any of that, you need to worry about the kind of story you want to tell.  Is it about a romance between a maid and an airship captain?  Because if she's the main character, she's not going to understand anything about the technology she's seeing on your Captain's lovely ship.  And, if you're that worried about what your readers are going to say, then perhaps she is the POV you should be writing?  There's an idea:  Write to your handicap!  If you are the type than can imagine something up but have no clue how it might work in real life, then write from the perspective of a character that doesn't get it OR knows it so well that they talk and think about it like you're an idiot for questioning how it works.

Two: TEASPOONS vs. SHOVELS.  Once you know what kind of story you want to write, figure out WHO your readers are.  Are they YA readers?  Cause they aren't going to get half the techno-babble you throw at them and you may be making that political entanglement too complicated for them to follow.  Are you writing romance?  Romance readers care a lot more about the way someone's dress looks than how the mechanical "toys" function. Your readership is going to determine how much of what goes into the story, including how punky you want to get.

Action Two: Once you have a story to tell, punk it up.

One: PERIOD CHARM.  The first part of Steampunk is "steam," which means you need to have a "steam" period element in your piece.  This is pretty much the Steam Era or the industrial revolution. Though it has a mostly Victorian connotation, I've seen Steampunk swing all the way into what others might consider Dieselpunk.  Since I have an anthropology background, I enjoy building entire cultures; which is why my Steampunk tales take place on an alternate world that looks similar to earth during the Victorian Era.  But most Steampunk is alternate history, so I'll focus on that.  Writing alternate history isn't easy.  Remember that whole Writing What You Know post  I wrote?  Well, you should know as much about something as you possibly can before you completely pull it apart and re-write it.  Depending on WHEN and WHERE your blip in history takes place will depend on how much you need to do research.  If, for example, your blip happens during the Victorian Era, then you're going to have to build a believable Victoriana.  Know the area, the clothes, the language, the social hierarchy, the political structure, etc.  Then find out who was in charge and who didn't like it.  That's a perfect platform for your punk establishment. 

Two: ATMOSPHERE.  Whether you're building from the ground up or going back in time and trying to re-write history, if you're going to put the "punk" in your steam, you need to have some kind of socio-political hierarchy.  If there's no one to rebel against, there's no room for your punks.  I think first and foremost, if you write fantasy or science fiction of any kind, you need to get in touch with your inner social scientist.  Having a believable socio-political structure is one of the pillars of making you a good writer in any reader's mind.  Whether your focus is social, political, economic, or religious, there needs to be an established system and there needs to be someone who doesn't like it.  There will always be discontents in a society and in your Steampunk these will be your "punks."  If you've studied anthropology, political science, or sociology it should be easier for you to build a believable socio-political system for your characters.  If you make a set up where someone benefits more than the others then you've got a very easy situation where there is an obvious villain and an obvious person who will fight to get what the one on top has.  Then, all you need to do is make the person who want son top to be active in that desire.  Women wanting to break out of social molds can dress or act certain ways, miners can picket, young lads being drafted into the military can start holding up trains.  Anything goes in punk.

Three: INSPECT THE GADGETS.  Part of what makes Steampunk appealing is all the fun gadgets.  You'll have to decide who makes the gadgets, why, and when they started coming about.  Also, make sure to research what was available to tinkers during the Victorian era.  If you incorporate something that was not available in that time period, you'll have to explain why it's there in this alternate history.  Keep in mind that part of the punk ideology is a strong DIY mentality, so it might be beneficial to have a couple of tinkers or engineers in your punk group, and it might be necessary to let your imagination run wild.  If you can't churn out tons of fantastical things to play with, then you may want just one crazy piece of technology that your MC is working on (like a time machine or a weather balloon or something), and have everything else be normal.

Four:  NOT ALL PUNKS ARE ROCKERS.  Remember that your punks can run the gamut between just being a little off-color to blatantly wanting to bomb parliament.  All people are different, some more extreme than others.  Keep that in mind when deciding just how punky you want your punks.  You could have something as simple as a cooky old codger who tinkers in his basement, to an avaunt garde aristocratic explorer, to a surly airship pirate, to an alchemist who's into pyrotechnics.  The beauty of Steampunk is that your MCs don't have to be the "punks."  What we need to understand as writers is that there are always bystanders in any world.  The hero doesn't always have to be the guy with the ball-peen hammer or the airship. Watson anyone?   And even if they are, these characters are people too!  They have other aspects to their lives than just repairing clockwork soldiers or hijacking the Empire's latest dirigible.  You could write about an airship pirate who doesn't go anywhere near an airship for the duration of the story; or your character can be someone who has never experienced the punks until one fateful day when XYZ happens; or they can be someone who is watching the "punks" from afar.  Whatever you choose, just make sure that your punks know what they want and aren't afraid to fight for it!

Five:  HAVE FUN.

I hope that helps?  Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Toolbox Tuesday: Humility

This isn't a big surprise.  Aside from being in the writer toolbox, this should be in your good human being toolbox. 

Have you ever met someone who just thought they were The Bee's Knees -- even though they kinda suck?  Yeah, we're talking about not being that guy.  The people with the big heads.  The people with the superiority complexes.  The people who step on the little people.  Even if you're not as bad as this, you should endeavor to have some humility.

Let's, put things into perspective: You're one of how many billion humans on the planet?  And your work is one out of how many hundred thousand pieces of literature available?  And you expect to stay on the shelves for decades why?  You really think you're that good?  I doubt it.

You can be good, sure; but, you could be better.

Everyone has the capacity to be a better writer.  You should always keep that in mind.  It's that whole "there's always going to be someone better than you" mentality.  So what if you're published through a big house?  So what if you're a NYT Bestseller?  So what if people are practically falling over themselves to get you to be the guest of honor at conventions and you've got stalkers on five continents?  You're still not perfect.  Neither is your writing.  Get over yourself and realize that the only way you get respect in this industry is by trying your hardest to be the best you can be and helping others get there as well.

For all of us who aren't at that Bigheaded Moviestar stage of our lives, here's how to avoid getting there in the first place.

1.  When someone criticizes your work, take it seriously.  Instead of getting defensive about it and telling them they don't understand or scratching them off of your beta list, really think about what they are saying.  Ask questions and try to figure out why they feel the way they do.  In this way, you're taking the time to realize that your work may not be ready and you're showing that you're willing to step back and accommodate for changes.

2.  If you ever find yourself looking at another writer and getting a feeling of superiority, you'd better march yourself over there and make best friends with that person.  This isn't so that you can feel like the Queen of France for the next three years, this is so you can get to know this person and help them.  If you honestly feel that you have a superior quality, then you shouldn't be hoarding it.  Get out there and spread the love.  With others out there that are as good as you in this area, you'll "flood the market" and there will be no reason to feel superior.

3.  If someone is better than you, acknowledge it and look to them for guidance.  No matter how many awards or bestsellers I get in the future, I know I'm never going to consider myself an equal to someone like Neil Gaiman.  Even if I were the next Stephanie Meyer or J.K. Rowling, I don't think I could look Neil in the eye and say, "I've achieved what you have."  Or even that I've achieved more.  That feeling of awe in another will keep you humble.

4.  Be accessible and real to your fans.  You're a person, just like they are.  There's a line between slightly altering your behavior to fit your author persona and turning into a holier than thou demi-god.  No matter what, remain approachable to your fans...even the mouth breathing basement dwellers.  Fans make this industry, you cross them, you cross a sacred boundary of trust.  Be kind and accommodating to their wants and needs.

5. Count your blessings and remember the little people.  Never lose sight of the journey that you took to get to your final destination.  Remember the tears, the frustration, the self doubt.  Now, thank God, Gaia, Allah, or whoever you please for giving you the strength to get beyond that hardship.  Remember the people who loved and supported you, let you cry on their shoulder, and read edit after edit of your newest manuscript.  These are people that know you -- the real you.  Keep them close and appreciate them for everything they've done for you.  Never forget who you are and where you came from.  :)

6.  You don't know all the answers.  You never did.  So, don't act like you do.  Don't be afraid to ask questions or defer to others.  Always admit your mistakes and try to right them.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday Muse: The Airborne Toxic Event - Sometime Around Midnight

I give kudos to this band in general. Why? One, they are named after a book. Two, the lead vocalist is a writer by trade. <3

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Finally Friday (On a Sunday): Everything Changes

This is super late.  Apologies, I've been dealing with yet another migraine.  One day, I'm going to blog about having to live with chronic migraines.  I think they and how disruptive they are to one's lifestyle are grossly underrated.  Anyway...

There are a lot of new developments happening here!

1.  I'm once again altering my rate of blogging.  As some of you know, I went from blogging about once a month to once a week to every weekday.  While I truly enjoy blogging on a daily basis, I simply don't think I have enough to say!  Plus, I feel like the quality of my blogs often suffers because I can't put a lot of time into writing them.  I, like many other humans, have a life that requires more than just writing and promoting myself.  That said, I'm going to do away with Thoughtful Thursday.  Monday Muse, Toolbox Tuesday, Write Well Wednesday will still go up as usual and, like always, I'll put up Finally Friday as needed.  I hope that doesn't bother anyone?  I figured since Wednesday was becoming so much like Thursday anyway, that you wouldn't worry too much.

2.  I'm beginning to enter myself into Blog Hops and Giveaways.  This is way past due.  Since I don't necessarily think it's appropriate to blog about books if you're an author (this can lead to some unwanted friction with other writers) I don't get a ton of traffic directed to my blog.  In an effort to get some followers, I'm going to start doing these hops.  This will increase the volume of traffic and sometimes become disruptive to the look of the blog.  Please be patient and enthusiastic about these giveaways.  You are, of course, quite welcome to participate!  It's a great way to find new blogs to follow and earn some amazing freebies.  That said, does anyone have any requests for items they'd like to see given away?  As my loyal followers, you all get first pics!

3.  Finally, thank you all of you who participated in listening to Hill Dweller Radio on Thursday!  I really feel like it made a huge difference because...I got another full request from an editor!  Your continued prayers and support are greatly appreciated!  I'll keep you updated!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Salvation Station

I'm interrupting Thoughtful Thursday to give you a happy piece of news!  My short story, Salvation Station, just got released on OmniLit today!  It's going to be on Amazon/Kindle soon.  Either way, it's only .99 cents.  Your support is greatly appreciated!  Click the link to the left!

Also, I'm asking everyone to help raise some positive energy toward the publication of my YA paranormal romance novel, Scar-Crossed.  It's currently on submission with two editors who just might say, "Yes!"

I've created Hill Dweller Radio, a station dedicated to the story, on You-Tube.  If you'd be so kind, have a listen?  In my New Aged mind, that's the equivalent of plugging into the same energy wavelength :)  ...And, of course, with more people on the same wavelength, the likelihood of success is much higher!  Please click play below!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Write Well Wednesday: Know What You're Writing

This goes without saying, but I'm saying it anyway because people still seem to mess it up!  There's a reason why we tell writers to write what they know...Because it's more real to a reader if you write what you're familiar with. 

If you write about someone who rides horses, but you've never been near a horse or bothered to do research, you're going to come off sounding like an idiot.  For example, horses have hooves, not feet.  Anyone who has spent five minutes caring about horses should know that.  So, therefore; your horseback rider should think and talk about the horse's hooves, not the feet.  Anatomy is only a small part of it.  You should be familiar with simple ritual barn acts such as mucking stalls, picking hooves, and grooming procedures.  You should know the tools and the tack, the structure of the barn, the scents and sounds of a barn.  Does the character ride Western, English, Hunt Seat, Dressage?  What breed is the horse?  That will impact the horse's temperament.  If you get a chance, you should take some riding lessons.  This will help you understand gait, riding posture, and the horse's behavior.  Don't just assume that because you've watched a couple of westerns that you know what you are talking about!

The horse thing is just a sample!  This goes for anything.  Wine, yachting, cars.  If your character drives a '08 Dodge Caravan, you should know what one looks like inside, feels like/sounds like when driven.  You should know if it's standard or automatic.  You should know if it has any model flaws. 

Simple things like this can enrich a story beyond simply writing dialogue and describing the character's bedroom.  Like with most pieces of literature, the final manuscript shouldn't include the bulk of the author's knowledge on the subject.  Just look at J.R.R. Tolkien!  You don't need to tell the reader everything you've learned to get your expertise across; if you really know what you are talking about then your familiarity with the subject should come out on it's own.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Toolbox Tuesday: A Clock

Whether it's your great-grandfather's pocket watch or the tricked out timepiece you purchased at the last Steampunk convention, every writer needs some kind of clock.  I mean this in both the literal and figurative sense -- in other words -- both an internal and external clock. 

While it seems that the publishing industry moves at a snail's pace, that doesn't mean you should follow suit.  In fact, you want to be the opposite.  I'm not saying be the hare, because often slow and steady does win the race.  But you do need to be conscious of the time and you need to use it wisely.

Try the following:

1.  Don't procrastinate.  If you get an idea, write it down.  If you design the perfect dialogue while driving to Wisconsin, pull over and write it down.  It doesn't matter how busy you are, you need to make little concessions for your muse when she speaks to you.  Otherwise, when you eventually sit down to write, she might give you the silent treatment for ignoring her.  I'm not saying write that whole battle scene between Carlos and Gustav -- just a quick outline will do.  A few seconds here or there won't hurt.

2. Offer fast, reliable turn-around when your agent or editor sends you edits.  Don't sit there and say, "Well it took them five months to send me these, they'll have to wait for me now."  First of all, that's just a crappy attitude.  Second, if you want anything out of the industry, you've got to make it happen for yourself.  You want speed?  Do it yourself, cause you are the only thing you can control about this industry.  Plus, if you make yourself a punctual and reliable individual to work with, you're more likely to get more projects.

3.  Work on a clearly defined, reasonable schedule for the production of new work.  At this point, you should know yourself and what you are capable of.  How long would it take you to write, edit, and polish a manuscript cover-to-cover?  Use that time-line and allow yourself up to a month of buffer time (just in case you hit a snag or a little bit of writer's block).  Then, try to budget that time into a daily or weekly writing routine that you can stick to.  I know that, if I give myself time, I can finish a book in a month, but I give myself up to a year because I have external responsibilities that I can't ignore and my job often makes it so that I can't adhere to my daily writing schedule.

4.  You want to budget your time and energy so that you are producing literature while still participating as a member of the human race.  My first few novels were produced in this muddy haze of being lost in a 60 hour a week job and then coming home and hammering at a computer until I couldn't keep my eyes open.  I pretty much disappeared off of the face of the earth for a year.  No hanging out with friends, limited contact with family, and no R and R time.  Granted, I can and often do argue that writing is therapy for me, but that's no excuse for missing out on an entire year of the lives of people that I love and care about (not to mention missing out on a year I'll never get back).  I look back on that year and all I can remember is work and writing.  Be certain to wear the writer hat, but also make sure you're giving yourself time to wear the other hats.

5.  Avoid White Rabbit Syndrome.  You want to be aware of time, but don't let it rule your life.  You are an artist and masterpieces take time and patience to complete.  This is why we need realistic goals.  If you want to be published then you need a very clear understanding of just how much time it's going to take to get to the finished product and you need to understand that not all writers work well under pressure.  I learned that the hard way.  I know I can't go crazy obsessing over how long everything is taking because I'll just make myself sick or negatively impact my creativity.  If you find that you're having trouble writing while something is on submission, take a step back and analyze how you're handling the submission process.  Sometimes it's as easy as taking your bunny to a yoga class. :)

Hope that helps!  See you tomorrow!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Finally Friday: In The Works.

Phew, finally a Friday where I'm not away!

Here some exciting things:

Scar-Crossed is still on submission!  Pray that she sells by the end of the year!

The Will of the Fallen is getting a face lift that will hopefully make it shorter and more in tune with my current writing style.  I'm hoping to finish edits by the end of the month (it's my NANOWRIMO project) and have betas complete reviews by January.  I'd like that on submission by June, if not earlier.

The Cyberpunk and the Steampunk are both on the boiler plate, I'm hoping to finish one by next June and the other by December.  You'll all be excited to know that the Steampunk is a novel set in the same world as The Alchemist's Perfect Instrument.

There is plotting with Kady Cross, Lia Habel, and possibly Leanna Renee Hieber to do panel(s) at The Great New England Steampunk Exhibition.

I've given up on telling you guys that Salvation Station is coming out...because my publisher always changes the supposed release date, but it will come out eventually.  It's going to be part of an anthology with a pretty cover and Jennifer Armintrout, so I can't complain about the delays.

I'm attempting to become at panelist at Arisia, Boskone, and Lunacon.  I may possibly attend Marcon or ICon...I don't know which one if either yet.

Faeriecon was awesome.  Delhi 2 Dublin is way better live than on their cds.  I still have a crush on Adam Hurst -- nothing hotter than a guy with a classical instrument...and actually knows how to play it!  I want the New York Faerie Festival Queen's crown.  ...and I want a faerie house ...and a pair of wings ...and... yeah, it's just a big pile of want and longing over here.  Too much "Ooo, shiny!" to deal with.

I've talked to my agent, The "Real" Zombie Survival Guide was accepted into the top secret anthology, but it still has to get pitched to a publisher.  I'm really excited for this one cause it has some big name authors in it, so pray that it gets accepted.

Also, my Steampunk erotic short, Engineers of the Heart was accepted into an anthology, though I have no clue when that is coming out either.  While this is another Dormorn story, it will probably be published under another name.  No need to frighten my YA readers away.

There will be two more Dormorn shorts completed by the end of the year.  One, Unbinding Elizabeth, is an erotic (again, probably to be published under a different name) and the other, The Krie Seekers, will be another weird tale, this one more in the vein of paranormal horror meets Sherlock Holmes.

Also, I'm side-plotting a possible anthology for the members of The Airship Pen and Ink.  I'd really like the release to coincide with the event we're having at Authors After Dark 2012, so pray for that too please.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday: Fie on These Days!

Warning: I'm having one of those days. 

This isn't your normal installment of Thoughtful Thursday.

Just letting you know. :)

Alas, I am without thought today.  Well, that's not exactly true.  I have plenty of thoughts, just not a drop of anything worth sticking in today's blog.  I wasted this weeks nuggets of wisdom on Tuesday and Wednesday.  We blonds only get so many a month, LOL.

I'm having one of those days...Which I guess can be the topic of today's blog. 

Today is one of those high anxiety, bite my nails, obsessively check to see if my agent has emailed me days.  I get them every-so-often...Probably, more often than is healthy considering I give myself vertebral subluxation when I get too anxious.

Anyway, we're on round two of pitches for Scar-Crossed and the remainder of my dream houses are on the list.  So, I pretty much have to get accepted by someone in this round or I will die.  *swoons*  Seriously though, this process is turning out to be far more frustrating than I bargained for.  I was expecting most editors to hate it and the few who liked it to offer it a home.  Simple logic, right?  You like it, you buy it.  End of story. Nope. 

Seems I'm one of those cases were editors really like it, but they just can't take it because the market is too flooded or they already represent something similar and can't risk competing with their own list. So, basically my book is awesome and there's nothing anybody can do about it or for it.  So, it's just kind of sitting over here looking pitiful and longing.  It's so much worse knowing you have a piece of gold and there are those who would buy your gold, but it's worth nothing in an inflated market.

I do have hope for it though. My agent and I both feel that some editor somewhere will be feeling particularly risky on the day they read it....Or have the stuffing beaten out of them by the majesty of my Muse

*cackles manically* *chokes* *coughs* *clears throat*

(Sorry guys, I'm really tired). 

Where was I?  Oh, yeah...  So, this Editor of Epic Wonderment and Bliss will extend his or her hand and welcome us into the fold of publication.

*Dream bubble pops*

Until then, I wait and have strings of days like this: Where I feel like a thirsty woman at the bottom of a very deep, dark abyss making noise and flailing, seeking any sign of life above.

Yes, I'm being dramatic.

Any moment I'm expecting news.  Sometimes, I tell myself that I wouldn't care if it were good or bad news -- as long as I just got some news. 

Seems like backwards thinking, I know, but I liken this piece of the process to giving labor. 

I just want the d*** thing out already!

*End Rant*  You normal programming will resume tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Write Well Wednesday: Get Punk'd

Do you really know what Steampunk is?  Mini top hats and brass ray-guns, right?  I thought I knew...until I went to a Steampunk convention and ended up watching a panel full of Anarchists talking about upholding the Steampunk culture...Wait, there's more to this genre than pretty Victorian clothing and airships?  I can't just take my YA paranormal romance, put in a few canes, cogs, and corsets and sell it like that???

Nope, not if you want it to actually be good Steampunk.  There's a reason why "Punk" is in the title. 

If you write Steampunk, it's a good idea to have a clear grasp on what the mentality behind the genre and the movement actually are.  Why "steam" why "punk."  Don't just keep it contained to Steampunk either!  Trust me, adding the "punk" mentality to any piece of literature will only serve to enrich your work.

Wikipedia, always a good place to start: GET PUNK'D

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Toolbox Tuesday: Sword

I've already addressed a writer's need for armor in this industry, but what warrior of the pen would be complete without a sword?  Yes, even those of us who choose the pen to fight our battles need to get down and dirty every-so-often.  I'm not talking literally stashing away some throwing stars with the names of people who reject you on them.  I'm talking about standing up for yourself and fighting back when the industry attempts to roll you over.

What do I mean by this?  You need to be your own chevalier if you don't want to get stomped on or lose sight of who you are and what you represent.  If you have an agent then you have an ally.  They can help fight a publisher for your contractual rights and the true worth of your work.  BUT there may be times when you even need to use your sword against your agent.  A perfect example from my own experience came about during the editing process for Scar-Crossed.  For the most part, I agreed with what my agent told me needed to be fixed, but there were certain things I refused to budge on.  I didn't want to change certain words because she thought they might be too difficult for YA readers.  I said, "They need to be challenged."  So, I left them in there.  And, like a good agent, she respected my opinion.  We came to an understanding and now my choice of words is something that will stand for future pieces.

If you don't have an agent you need to be even more inclined to take up your sword and fight.  You'll be working out your own contracts and agreeing on your own fees.  Your going to need to work to keep your head above water, get yourself noticed, and prevent publishers from taking advantage of you.

It sounds like something so simple, but often we get into this habit of telling ourselves, "Well, they know the industry better, so they must be right."  While that is true a lot of the time, it's not always true.  YOU are the novelist, you know your characters and your story best.  You know what you want in a contract, you know how much you are worth, and you know what you are comfortable with.  If something rubs you the wrong way, (as long as there is a clear and reasonable reason behind it) then don't do it.  You'll ruin the integrity of your own work and lose respect in yourself.  If your agent or editor refuses to accept your feelings, then you'll have to compromise...or duel.  Each one of you should come out of the situation feeling like you haven't lost everything.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Finally Friday: Faeriecon

Today I'm off to spend the weekend with a friend and attend Faeriecon!  I'm not a panelist at this convention (maybe one day), this is just for fun.  Some of my favorite writers (Charles de Lint and Melissa Marr + more) and artists (Amy Brown, Brian and Wendy Froud, Renae Taylor + more) are going to be there, so I look forward to seeing them.  There's also going to be a Bad Faerie Ball and a Good Faerie Ball where some excellent bands (Qntal and Delhi 2 Dublin + more) will be playing.  In addition to all of this, Faeriecon has one of the best vendor collections I've seen at a con.  If you are a faerie enthusiast, this is the next best event since Faerieworlds!

If you're in the Baltimore area, I encourage you to attend!

So excited to put on my ears and get my Fae on! 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday: Without Ease

Still no power!  Since it's NANOWRIMO and I have a goal to meet, I've been resorting to the arcane method of handwriting by candlelight.  I'd like to take today to tip my hat in respect to the writers of old. 

We often take for granted just how lucky we are to be part of the information age.  Our PCs make it incredibly easy for us to write and edit a book.  Yet, we still complain!  Imagine having to rewrite -- by hand -- the dozens of versions of a manuscript it takes to create a polished book.  No wonder there are so few books from the past!  I can certainly understand why books and scrolls were once so very valuable.  Besides the fact that the resources required to create a written document (ink, paper, quills (even the ability to read and write) were often rare and expensive; the simple manpower required to write a legible book by hand is mind boggling. 

So, ladies and gentlemen, before you start whining about how little time you have or how annoying the process of trying to edit is, take a moment to think about what it used to be like for those poor souls who had to do everything by hand. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Write Well Wednesday: Tempestuous

I'm dealing with the aftershock of an untimely Nor-Easter so today's word is:

Toolbox Tuesday: Glue

This week's post are going to be short and might be late! 

Sorry guys, I still don't have power at my house and I'm being sneaky writing my blog while I'm at work. :)

To go along with the scissors in your writer's toolbox, you're going to need some glue.  Not everything that you cut out of a manuscript is going to have to get trashed.  Much of the time, you simply need to tighten or rearrange your plot.  In order to do this, you're going to have to use your mental glue.  You will have to use forsight and a good bit of imagination to figure out where certain pieces should go and how to reframe them.