Sunday, August 23, 2009

The done pile

My done pile now has chapters 1-3 in it. Aside from needing to make a final pass for typos and/or formatting issues from Word changes, they're done.

Otherwise, still having a love affair with my Sharpie pens and trying to keep editing this weekend. Not having too much luck, though.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I love...

These are the BOMB. Love them for editing.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

And then some more!

Forgot one!

Best line yet is from Rick Daley, keeper of The Public Query Slushpile:

I like to use this example of overwritten prose vs. simplicity:

A) I extend to you an informal expression of welcome.

B) Hi.

Everything and then some!

Links of all shapes and sizes!

Once Upon a Crime is offering a three chapter critique! Following the directions to get in on the fun!

Rachelle Gardner had an excellent post about manuscript tightening yesterday.

The Paperback Writer shares ways to rejuvenate your blog and shares some new sub-ops.

The Pimp My Novel blog is running a series about genre sales. Excellent blog to follow. Here's a link to the first post in the eight part series. The other posts are linked on the right side.

Lynette Labelle has an opening in her critique group for a romance writer. Stop by her blog if you're interested.

Born in the 80s? This is for you.

Are you on facebook, and do you love stupid facebook games? Then join my army in Castle Age! Please? I need more people in my army so I can invade other castles. I pay you with magic missiles. Yes?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Another example of why early drafts aren't good enough.

Today I discovered a pretty severe error in my manuscript. And not a plot or grammar or character or consistency error.

My story is based long after the undead outbreak that destroyed the world as we know it today. How long? Who knows, but long enough that the past is a distant memory, and the world has been rebuilt on shaky foundations. I didn't want to write about an outbreak. Or a horror movie style "run from the zombies." But my story is still based, in its roots, in the real world.

In my manuscript, there's a copy of the Divine Comedy by Dante. The book is somewhat significant for a few reasons. First, I made a bit of metaphor out of it. Oh, clever me! Actually, I'm really quite proud of this passage. (Which, out of context, will probably lack the impact I believe it has in the manuscript, but what the hell, here it is.)

It worked well. Heaven read during the daylight hours or slept under the canvas they pulled out across the roll cage of the Jeep. Her sunburn was getting worse. Even though she took care to keep her delicate skin covered, the light always found a way in. The back of her hands were by far the most uncomfortable, but she sacrificed them in order to get through to Paradiso. Once it was done, she simply started over again, putting herself back to the beginnings of hell.

Second, the copy has changed hands between two characters in the book, and that exchange is important to a third character.

And third, I wanted the fact that the book itself still survived and was very, very old to act as a memory of what once was and now is lost. So old, in fact, that Dante himself touched the pages.

So what's wrong with this whole blog post?

No copy of Dante's original manuscript of the Divine Comedy exists today in 2009.

What started for me as research as to what exactly the book would look like turned in to a big problem. Sure, not many literature buffs or historians might be reading a book about zombies, but it only takes one reader to discredit your book for a screw up like this. This is one of the reasons I always write science fiction and fantasy. It's much easier for me to keep the history of my own made up world in line.

So, some slight tweaking and I should be able to fix this whole mistake. However, had I sent out an earlier draft, I never would have noticed this mistake. It took a number of passes, looking for different things, for this to finally jump out at me in the polishing phase.

So don't rush. Give your manuscript the attention it deserves to make it the best it can possibly be.


Once again, Skyla Dawn gives some excellent advice to aspiring authors.

Friday, August 14, 2009

New study shows that when zombies attack...

...we're screwed.

About time.

I finally beat Sid Mier's Colonization last night.


This game is such a pain in the butt. I have to say, despite the fact that some aspects of game play are fun, I don't think I'm ever, ever going to play it again.

The basic concept is that you're building a new colony on the new world. You have the evil king and your home country that you trade with. Slowly but surely, you get people to join your cause from the motherland. Or you can buy them from money you make via trading with Europe, trading with the natives, and from treasure you find in ancient burial grounds and ruins. People you buy/recruit from Europe each have a set of skills, or are "blanks" which you can train via schools in you build in your colony or by sending them to live with the natives.

You take resources from the land, and turn into products - like sugar for rum. You build roads and farms, and send your little wagon trains to move the goods across land and your ships to send the products back to the homeland. But, don't get happy. The only way to win is to free yourself from the greedy bastard of a king, who taxes you like crazy business and steals all your hard earned loot (unless you have a "tea party" (think Boston tea party) for a resource/product, which means you can never trade that item overseas again).

It's the winning that gets complex. If you build "rebel" points too early, the king adds more people to his army. His army comes when you declare Independence. But...the math behind the process of being ABLE to declare independence is insane. Not to mention that fact that you have to have enough guns stockpiled to equip all your colonists. (P.S. - your colonies can only hold 200 guns each, which equips only four people (eight if you're from England. I was from England. Go team George Washington!). But if you have too many people and too many colonies, its very hard to lift your rebel sentiment high enough to revolt. But...if you don't have a huge army, you can't hold out against the attack. But...

OK well, I'm sure that doesn't make much sense to anyone who hasn't played.

Short version: Unless you like suffering, meticulous game play/strategy or proving your simulation game skills to the damn pretend King of England, skip this game and just buy the normal Civ IV. It's much better, and it doesn't make you want to kill your own citizens. At least not all the time.

If you do decide to try Colonization: The Devil's Playground, visit the CivFantics forum for a general guide. You'll need it.

Added: Hey, is that a typo I see? Shouldn't my victory be "an Independence" victory?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Publishing Terms

I can't imagine all of you haven't see Nathan's blog today, but here's the link just in case. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Saturday, August 8, 2009

My printer.

My baby laser jet printer is fixed!

Apparently, he ate a hair tie. That was my "paper jam" that I haven't been able to resolve for the last month.

So, hells yeah! I don't have to buy a new printer!

/does the M.C. Hammer dance

Friday, August 7, 2009

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Great resource list for writers

Marisol posted an awesome list of books about the craft of writing today. Having read (and purchased with intent to read) a number of books on this list, I support Marisol's blog post. One can never spend too much time learning about the craft and industry. Except, well, if you spend all your time learning about writing and publishing, but never spend any time writing.

Of course, even though different books say different things and no single guide can be labeled gospel, one sure fire way to avoid being a noob or a douche bag is through self education.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Hey you! Yeah, you. The NOOBs.

n. Noob, Newb, N00b, Noober, Newbie – one who is new to something, uneducated, and at times but not always, foolish and super annoying.

Note: This post might come across as rude to some people. This only represents my opinion. It is also a bit of a rant. You’ve been warned.

Editor and writer Skyla Dawn Cameron is writing a blog series about how aspiring (and published) authors can avoid being douche bags. We read posts like this, and other less colorful guidelines from published authors, agents and publishing houses, and think “Well, duh! Of course! That’s so obvious! People who do that ARE douche bags!” We get a good laugh.

But when we see how it affects getting even a foot in the door, it becomes less amusing. Agents are going from form letters to no response means no. Some, like Colleen Lindsay, have been forced to close submission due to the bad query letter influx (and badly behaved wannabe authors).

Tell me then. Why is it people who follow the same informative blogs I read, with all the hints and tidbits on what NOT to do, seem to think the rules don’t apply to them?

Take Authoress’ query contest. Jodi Meadows critiqued the 58 queries and first 250 words. First, it’s great that Authoress dedicates time to help noobs out. Jodi deserves the same kudos for taking her free time to look at even MORE slush. Hell, it's great for all of us that read Authoress' blog. We all get to read the feedback from Jodi.

When I saw this go up, my first thought was holy shit. Jodi (and the agent she works with, Jenny) are one of my top picks for agents to query to once my hunt begins. But guess what?

I READ THE DIRECTIONS AND RULES FOR THE CONTEST. And because my manuscript and query are not COMPLETELY DONE and ready for querying and/or already being sent out to agents, I DID NOT ENTER.

Come on people. WTF?


  • Not “still tweaking/polishing.”
  • Not your first or second or even third draft. (and if you have some magic pixie dust that makes this in the realm of possibility, pass that shit on for me to snort. I could use a good trip).
  • And certainly not for your work that doesn’t fall under the fucking genres they represent (which you didn’t even have to dig up yourself, since Authoress spelled all this out on her blog).
  • Additional stupidity: Or not if you felt the need to revise your query repeatedly in the comments section (since that was also in the instructions of WHAT NOT TO DO).

I think Jodi expected and deserved a bit better from the educated blog community. Authoress even spoke in your favor, assuring Jodi this would be above and beyond the normal slush reading. I’m speaking for my own opinion only. I am not quoting Jodi, nor do I have any communication with her on this topic. But I know for sure I expected better.

So shame on all of you – yes, you know who you are, I hope – for thinking the rules don’t apply to you or not taking the time to read them. Learn the lesson before you really query, or you might as well give up. Getting published might be a dream to you, but it's a business. And you have to be a professional independent businessperson when showcasing your work.

So remember:

Publishing = business. Success in business = being prepared and educated. Being prepared = reading guidelines/rules.

Oh, and just reading guidelines isn’t enough, in case you’re unsure about that one. FOLLOWING them is also required. Even when it’s YOUR manuscript, kids.

You are not special. You are not the exception. None of us are.

And by the way, congratulations to the winners (and I mean that from the bottom of my heart. I'm always, always happy to see others succeed). And congratulations to those who entered and did not ignore the instructions. Obviously this post doesn't apply to you.

But I'm sure all of you that did win aren't frantically running in circles and panicking because you don't have something ready to send her...Right?