Tuesday, March 23, 2010

So Many Books So Little Time


I am generally not the person to pursue many books at the same time, but it so happens that I am juggling with quite a few titles as of late. I am linear and anal in my reading, so I am quite irritable, when my impeccable [*snort*] schedule is soured. It's beside the point that I did not include some books I have already made reviewing commitments for and this is the result:

And also 'Demon Keepers' by Jessica Andersen, which does not have a decent sized cover art right now and I have a pink-bound Uncorrected Proofs, so no good there. I also had an anthology in here as well, but I am thankfully done with it before all this becomes impossible to manage.

This more or less raises the topic of writing [I am always writer-oriented]. Are you guys linear or do you write more than one projects on an equally active basis? I will elaborate on this later on, because I am really interested to explore the boundaries of the creative mind. Comments are appreciated and will be featured in the next post.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Nefarious Traitor


I’ve been suffering from abnormal headaches all week, which have been preventing me from actively becoming retrospective and contemplate on something profound and/or engaging to say here. While I go about with a complete schedule and a tone on Temple Library Reviews, I am more or less unused to blogging here. Hence the diminutive amount of posting transpiring, but I have finally experienced, where my scheduling mastermind has erred and you may see a burst of activity blossom.

However, before I meddle into serious contemplations, as presumptuous as it may sound, I’ll complain about my computer. Turns out the steady and noticeable drone is wearing me down more than usual. Hence the persistent headaches. Before serious technical intervention is within my financial reach, I am actively going to shut it down, when I plan to be away from it. Which to a point, I gather will raise my productivity, since I waste way too much time on the web instead of writing, reading or studying. Status checking, tweeting and googling random funnies may be fun, but they do not add 0s to the word count, so I bet it will be for the best.

Today I even managed to appreciate the sound of silence. No television. No radio. No drone and no computer generated playlist. Just urban noises and the solitude at home. Blissful.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Soon-to-be Mega Star Author Showcase [Pimping]


While I am drawing time tables and figuring how to invent a time machine in order to achieve more in a day, I have something wonderful to announce. Karen Mahoney has finally left her cozy corner in the Internet [her faithful LiveJournal] and is rocking a brand new green [emphasis] domain. I know Karen from the time she was writing her book and watched her submit, hook up with a dream agent and she is soon to have her debut 'The Iron Witch' released in early 2011.

She is brimming with enthusiasm and insight and I can definitely foresee a long and healthy career in front of her.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Editor Interview Goodness


As I am trying to install order [I have decided I want to do way too many things, so chaos is not going to cut it], I will direct to author Mark Charan Newton. He has posted an excellent interview with his editor Julie Crisp from Tor UK. It is informative and shows an angle not every person can glimpse so easily.

Here is a minor clip:

It gets asked all the time: “What are editors looking for in a submission?” But what writers might not realise is that every editor is in fact a different human being. What does Julie Crisp look for in a submission, and what’s the best bit of advice for a writer?

Editors are all different and we all have varying tastes but I think the one thing we all look for – no matter what the genre – is someone who can tell a story.

At heart, I’m a fan first and foremost, so I look for books that I’d read for pleasure and that I’d want to recommend to other people. We also have to be quite pragmatic about it though, and keep an eye on what’s doing well in the marketplace. It’s no good being a huge enthusiast of, oh I don’t know, dwarven adventures with magic ponies, if there’s a demonstrated sales record that proves this doesn’t work. So it’s a balancing act between passion and business.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Only Forward


Project: “Forged in Blood”
New Words Written: 800
Present Total Word Count: 17,458
Goal: 100,000 by Mid-May

Percent Reached: 17%

Things Accomplished in Fiction:

The tranquil [relatively] act has almost come to an end. With it, I estimate the largest part with the setting will be completed and I will be glad to skip on the dialogues. I love writing people in the middle of threatening one another, but I want some blood, gore and explosions, which are more or less scheduled to arrive.

Things Accomplished in Real Life:

I got a wake-up call to start planning ahead on what I can do in order to move to the UK, get a Masters in a field I enjoy [linguistics for instance] and become involved with the publishing industry. London would be a dream, but will see.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Chapter Revelation


After completing Chapter 2 and hearing back the good and the bad, I came to the conclusion that I have an affinity to bloat chapters to a ten thousand word giants. I initially wanted to talk about the process behind creation of a novel physically: paper vs. screen vs. mind process and such, but I do am quite the fleeting the bird.

From the books I have read chapters span from might long [twenty pages] to mighty short [less than one page, even a paragraph] and it varies from writer to writer. But chapter breaks are as elusive as everything else [hence, the sudden burst of individuality, when talking about them]. It all depends on the story and the eyes with which the writer looks at the story. In 'Spellwright' by Blake Charlton, I have seen some interesting chapter breaks, which jarred the reading process at times as they came mid-mid-scene [if such a term exists]. In a different novel, though I do not quite recall the title, the author had a sentence long sentences.

I, myself, have an affinity for the longer chapters, though I think I view the story as a whole and while I work, I neglect to add natural pauses for the reader. The skill to sever the story into new standing segments to give the reader a chance to rest and still hook him/her to continue reading is quite vital. In this regard I decided to cut up the chapters I have and from two produce five, but it took some time to see through the bigger scenes to find the best spots to operate upon.

When writing a novel, do you always nail the chapter break or do you mince the text later on?

Friday, March 5, 2010

In Which I dissect my Brain


Novel writing is mysticism. A process, where everybody speculates and offers wisdom, but it is up to the individual to discover what works best. February evaporated from the calendar at a frightening speed. From that month and this week I’m left with circa 17 000 words [16, 658 to be exact, but who is counting] and although I’m not happy with the pace, I am comfortable with the quality of the works. These are 17 000 words I am quite confident of letting anyone read them. I admit that this is a pre-final draft, but my work process distilled to a very peculiar ritual.

I start with an outline. Write what the scene will hold. Then jot down ideas for how to write the ‘in-between-the-lines’ material aka meaning to what I am doing. After that I sit in front of the journal [yes, I hand write] and write the first draft. When I am done with the chapter, I sit down and type it up, which ties everything I have written over the days into one whole [yes, I possess an extremely short term memory]. After that I edit, which consists of adding weight to the rough draft and tinker the narrative to pass the character. This is what I learned that I have to do in order to not get distracted by a different novel project.

Because, this more or less deviates from how novelists do this these days and I have a weird psychoanalytical streak in me, I’ll try to generalize my behavior and list its elements. For fun and possibly educational purposes, but I don’t plan it to be too long to bother with. Short, to the point and sweet.

~ In which I grow impatient. Fact is, I am one of the very few underwriters in existence. The normal people overwrite and then edit out, while I always need to edit in. I explain this with my natural urge to complete and dash madly to the finale without hitting several checkpoints. I am a dirty cheater, but I also think quite fast and my hand usually cannot compete.

~ In which I get distracted. Fact is, the fastest way to write these days is to type, but modern technology is evil. It distracts me. When I grab my PC’s keyboard, my mind thinks what else could be done with the keyboard and the mouse as a dastardly duo. A quick reference Google session ends with mail checking and Twitter. While at the same time I cannot establish any connection with the Word File. I am paper bound, when writing, I am afraid.

~ In which I experience fear. Novels are long. Their length is scary. Outlining a whole book, world-building, check-finding, writing a first draft and then revising a whole book is massive and just screams long work. With a short term memory such as mine, this is an even greater task to accomplish, so I deconstructed the truck load work to a chapter by chapter module. I do because I am a dynamic thinker and the smallest detail can offset my general outline.

The moral of this story, apart from me justifying not confining to general rules and doctrines, is that a writer should be able to find his center [speaking Zen of course] and complete his or her novel in his/hers own fashion.

That and DO not pursue word count, less good will come out of it, if you are not comfortable with the quality and with a first novel, the journey matters.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Note from Beyond


I have been a bit under the weather and February sped past me. I have been dutifully spending brain cells at ‘Forged in Blood’ and work is progressing. Pace is quite slow, but the model I am pursuing is the most satisfactory so far. I plan on more posts soon. Sorry for the brief note and the radio silence.