June Links


Angel’s Bits: You Own a Yacht, Right?
Angel Martinez on the Queer Sci-Fi blog talks about some common myths newbie writers believe and can damage their publishing chances.

Turns out said friend writes LGBT Fantasy and was interested in learning about finding a publisher vs. self publishing. And here’s where the tearing of hair and sprinkling of ashes begins. Now, to be fair, Mr. Friend of Friend is new to this game. We were all new at one point, and many of us were led astray by bad information. Many of his statements and/ or questions are common ones from new authors and some of them are ones I’ve heard all along the way.

Guest Post: The Immortal Fairy Tale by Amy Lane
Amy Lane on The Novel Approach talking about the influence fairy tales have had on her work and how those stories stay with us as adults. Fairy tales, not just for kids.

“Ah,” but you’re thinking, “children grow up and then they learn that fairy tales aren’t for grownups at all!”

Uhm, no, actually. Then I grew up and took a boatload of classes in literature and storytelling and how the history of the language evolved and the history of the stories we tell reflects the deeper currents of the world. And I learned some pretty good shit.

Dear Writers: None Of Us Know What The Fuck We’re Doing
Chuck Wendig spills the beans. Writers – we’re just figuring it out as we go along.

It’s not just about the writing — writing is, itself, not a difficult task. Like I said: tippy-tappy typey-typey and ta-da, you wrote something. But the problem lies in the hurricane winds of bewilderment that roar and whirl around that central act. What’s good writing? What are the rules? What is your voice? What’s everyone else doing? Will you get published? Agent? Editor? Self-published? What’s good storytelling? What the hell is a genre and why does it matter? Whoza? Wuzza? Why am I doing this? Why does my soul feel this way? Do I want to cry? Am I crying? I’m crying. I’m eating Cheezits at 3AM and I don’t have a shirt on and I wrote another short story and it’s probably not any good or maybe it’s really good I don’t know AHHHH I don’t have any context at all for anything that I’m doing.

The Culture of Nasty: Where Everyone Has a Right To Share Their Opinion
Sarah Madison on the online “culture of Nasty, where Meanness is King.”

Perhaps it’s naive of me to think it hasn’t been there all along, but I have to say that in the last ten years, I’ve seen a huge shift in the attitudes and behavior of others, and I think it has a lot to do with the social media platforms where people spend the majority of their time.

My co-workers and I have discussed how short-tempered and irritable clients are, as well as how demanding they are. They want what they want when they want it. If you can’t drop everything and see to their needs immediately, they snarl, “Well, I’ll just take my business elsewhere, then.” The threat doesn’t change anything. If we could have helped them then and there, we would have. Instead, the attitude puts our backs up. Fine, so be it, we sniff, when they hang up on us.

Big Mouth Strikes Again
Simon Pegg expands on thoughts that nerd culture is co-opted by forces who want to keep people occupied with the less important matters in life.

In the 18 years since we wrote Spaced, this extended adolescence has been cannily co-opted by market forces, who have identified this relatively new demographic as an incredibly lucrative wellspring of consumerist potential. Suddenly, here was an entire generation crying out for an evolved version of the things they were consuming as children. This demographic is now well and truly serviced in all facets of entertainment and the first and second childhoods have merged into a mainstream phenomenon.

Why Do You Have to Say She’s Black?
Christopher Golden on the backlash a writer can get including “minority” characters in their books.

My first novel is about a male private detective who just happens to be a vampire. That was key for me, from page one. The “just happens to be” part. I wrote the female protagonist the same way, but she’s not a vampire. She’s an ordinary professional woman who just happens to be bisexual. In 88/89, that didn’t seem unusual to me. The only hint I had that it might be was when one of the authors kind enough to blurb that novel, Of Saints and Shadows, told me that he wouldn’t have dared to write that character. Only later did I realize that he was talking about backlash.

The Confidence Cycle In Novel Writing
Liam Livings on the ups and downs of drafting a novel.

A – This is the PLOTTING AND PLANNING section, before you write any words on the story itself. Even if you don’t plot this would be the moment you think more about an idea you’ve had and consider if it is strong enough to become a whole story or if it’s just something that’s interesting. A good example is when someone who’s not a writer says they’ve got an amazing story idea for you and you ask what is it, they say, ‘Undertakers!’* like that’s the whole idea. That isn’t an idea to sustain a story through 60,00 words or more, that’s a setting. This is the stage you sort out the difference between these two concepts.

Terrible Editors and Why You Shouldn’t
KJ Charles about what the writer should do if they find themselves in a toxic editing relationship.

You may be great at identifying what’s wrong with a book. You may have the rarer skill of seeing how to make it right. But if you can’t convey those things to the author in a professional manner that keeps the author onside and engaged, you aren’t fit to be an editor. And if a publisher employs an editor who lacks that skill, I’m not sure where they get off claiming to be a publisher.

From the Editor’s Desk: Dialogue
As you know, Bob, dialogue can be tricky. Carina Press editor Rhonda Helms has some advice on writing dialogue that editors won’t wince over.

Snip that info dump! As an editor, I see this a lot, authors using dialogue exchanges to relay information to the reader. I’ve heard people call it the “as you know, Bob” syndrome. If your characters are telling each other stuff they both already know (“As you know, Bob, our father ran away with his secretary last year”), then it’s not reading realistically. In fact, it’s kind of annoying and even weird in real life when people do this to us, right? So find a better way to layer in key story information—preferably in the narrative, and only when it’s relevant to helping us understand your current scene.

Launching Romance Into Space, New Horizons In Sci-Fi Romance
Athena Grayson on Romance University blog on a subject close to my heart – Sci-Fi romance. Includes a great list of online resources on the subject.

Authors are flocking to this small, but tenacious, sub-genre that’s sometimes seen as the “nerdy little sister” of both Romance and Science Fiction. The main groups of readers in each of these genres don’t traditionally have a large intersection. SF fans often don’t want to be “bothered” with one-on-one relationships in the midst of all the wonder and strangeness of the vast cosmos, and Romance fans tend to count as a “distraction” story elements that drift away from the interpersonal relationships.

…Or so we’ve been told…

Are You Willing to Pay as Much for a Book as You Are for a Burger?
Jody Hedlund’s thoughts on the ongoing debate on ebook pricing.

Part of me also wonders if having such low priced books is really a good thing anyway. Over time, I’ve noticed a subtle shift in the mind-set of many readers. Since so many of us have grown accustomed to cheaply priced or free Ebooks, we balk if we have to pay full price on any Ebook.

The blonde and the brunette
Fletcher DeLancey on one of the bad fanfic habits to leave behind if you’re making the transition to original fic.

The joy of fanfic is that authors learn from each other. The great limitation of fanfic is that…authors learn from each other. Without the helping hand of paid editors, authors absorb habits from each other and perpetuate them. And nothing, but nothing screams “fanfic author” quite as loudly as eschewing proper nouns and pronouns in favor of descriptive nouns.

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