Free reads, originally shared by Widdershins…
Exposure used to be the treatment/cure, but the world has evolved to be exposure-resistent. Exposure is like tossing regular penicillin at flesh-eating MRSA and expecting it to work.
I’ll keep this ROW80 check-in brief. Classes start this week, so I spent some of the last week doing some prep work, and I know my word counts will probably decrease in the coming weeks as the semester begins.
My plan for the next few months is lots of revision. I have a short novel, a novella, and a short story to revise. Hopefully by the middle of the year I can start querying.
This week’s ROW80 check-in:
Writing: Wrote 4,616 words in A Prince in Patience Point. That story has officially become a novel. It will end up being a short novel after I finish this draft, but at least it’s now in novel-length territory. (I originally wrote it as a novelette, and then expanded it to novella length before realizing it needed to be even longer.)
Reading: Finished Thoroughly Kissed by Kristine Grayson. I have to admit the middle was really slow and there were times when it seemed to drag, but it picked up toward the end. I’m about halfway through The Fairy’s Wish by Maggie Shayne, a really sweet retelling of The Little Mermaid—only instead of a mermaid, the main character is a fairy. Started reading Story Engineering by Larry Brooks.
A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. Click here to cheer on fellow participants.
Exciting news from a fellow writer. Steampunk fans might be interested in her new book.
My book, The Viper and the Urchin is finished! It is now a Thing That Exists, and that Thing (or rather the ebook copy for now) is available for pre-order on Amazon at the very bargain pre-launch price of $0.99. It will be properly out in the world late July. To say that I’m excited is an understatement of epic proportion, and likewise about being nervous.
D’you want to see the cover? Here it is in all its full-sized glory:
What do you think, do you like it? It’s by Ravven, and I’m so pleased with it! And not just because of my very childish excitement at seeing my name on the cover.
The story’s steampunk but set in a world of my creation — the tropical city of Damsport. There’s a bit of mystery and humour thrown in there for good measure too. Here’s the blurb:
The Viper and…
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Over at the A Round of Words in 80 Days blog, Julie Glover is blogging about how to breathe new life into a story that just isn’t working. Here’s what she had to say.
This past year, I wrestled and wrangled with a manuscript over and over, trying to skillfully execute what I knew was a good story idea with engaging characters.
But it wasn’t coming together.
No matter how many times I pored over the chapters, marked up the drafts, and reconsidered point of view and setting and tense and so on, the book just didn’t feel right. It wasn’t yet the book it could be, the book I would want to pull off a bookstore shelf.
The book wasn’t working.
So I stepped back and took a fresh look at the whole kit-and-caboodle. Where had I gone astray? Why was my wonderful story with characters I loved so difficult to get onto the page?
If you feel your manuscript is going off track, don’t give up. You can turn it around.
Replot the book. If you’re a plotter, you already…
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Author Buffy Greentree had some great words of wisdom to share this week over at the “A Round of Words in 80 Days” writing challenge website. I thought I’d share her words here.
Start thinking ahead.
The sooner you start calling yourself a writer, the sooner you will start seeing the world is full of opportunities for writers. If you introduce yourself as an office worker, your conversation will start off focused on what everyone knows about office workers, which is not much. If, however, you start by saying that you are a writer, people will immediately think of all they know…
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Today, author and “recovering lawyer” Diane Capri is joining me on the blog to offer some advice for writers considering going it without an agent.
Much as I would love to think that it’s all cotton candy and roses out there, the writing biz, like any industry, does not work that way. Contracts are complex legal documents not to be taken lightly. The industry is changing, and it’s easier to find editors who are willing to accept unagented manuscripts. Many writers are now willing to go it without an agent, at least at first. Making the decision to publish without an agent means that the author will have to learn a new skill–or hire someone with expertise in publishing contracts.
Bottom line, we should understand the terms of the contract before we sign on the dotted line. Diane is lending us her legal expertise to point unagented authors in the right direction. Feel free to ask questions!
Q: As writers, we hear so many scary stories about authors who signed contracts without realizing what they were signing. It’s hard to tell what’s exaggerated urban myth and what’s an issue for genuine concern. For writers who go it without an agent, what should their main concerns be? Any red flags or big no-no’s?
A: There are many clauses in a publishing contract, and any writer who represents herself in negotiations should be aware of the most common ones. Copyright, royalties, advances, acceptance of manuscript, subsidiary rights, special sales, manuscript revisions, warranties, indemnification, termination of rights, options, and so on. Pay particular attention to how unexpected events will be handled. What if the publisher goes out of business? When and under what circumstances can you retrieve your rights to this project and what must happen to get the rights back to you? A good primer is “Negotiating a Book Contract: A Guide for Authors, Agents and Lawyers” by Mark L. Levine.
Q: A publishing contract is a legal document–and a very complicated one. What are some resources for writers who want to learn more about the legalese of contracts? Are there any key terms we should know?
A: In addition to Mark L. Levine’s book, you might want to review “The Writer’s Legal Companion,” by Brad Bunnin and Peter Beren. Writers organizations such as Mystery Writers of America and Romance Writers of America and the Author’s Guild are also good resources for contract questions. You can find the answers to most common questions online, but beware of the source of information. Understand that the law varies and is very fact specific, meaning that changing even one small fact in a question can make a difference in the outcome.
Q: Do you recommend that first-timers (or even experienced authors) hire a lawyer to review their contracts? If so, how can writers find lawyers who specialize in publishing contracts? What should they expect to pay for these services?
A: The easy answer is that I am a lawyer and I hire a lawyer to review my contracts. Realize that no one can anticipate everything and a fresh eye is often helpful. Unexpected stuff happens. All you can do is apply the best of your knowledge under the circumstances. Understand that the deal could go south and before you sign, always ask yourself what you’ll do if this deal does fall apart. Everyone needs a “plan B.”
If you have a reputable and knowledgeable agent, s/he should be able to negotiate your publishing contract. But it never hurts to hire aknowledgeable lawyer to advise you privately. Just be sure the lawyer you hire has current experience in publishing contracts from the type of publisher you’re considering because the business changes constantly.
Lawyers charge either a flat fee or an hourly fee. For a first publishing contract, a flat fee is probably the way to go. Prices vary based on location (everything costs more in New York than, say, Iowa), expertise (the more expert the lawyer, the more expensive she’ll be), and jurisdiction, among other things.
When navigating uncharted legal territory, generally it’s good to ask yourself whether the fee is worth paying under your specific circumstances. A $500 legal fee may not be the best idea for a royalty-only book deal with no advance. Only you can put a price on your project. No one knows the work and its value like the author herself.
Bestselling author Diane Capri is a recovering lawyer. She’s a snowbird who divides her time between Florida and Michigan. An active member of Mystery Writers of America, Author’s Guild, International Thriller Writers, and Sisters in Crime, she loves to hear from readers and is hard at work on her next novel. Diane’s books, including “Annabelle’s Attack” and “Carly’s Conspiracy,” are available wherever e-books are sold. See her Amazon author page for more info.
Connect with her online:
So I just received word that YA writer and my crit partner Kathleen Foucart has unveiled her new website and her critique service is now open for business. Kathleen and I met in graduate school and have been critiquing each other’s work ever since. She is a talented writer and an amazing person, someone who’s well-read and who has the patience to follow a manuscript from the seed of an idea to a fully grown and well-polished story.
In celebration of the launch of her new website, Kathleen is offering a chance to win one of two free first-chapter critiques (contest open now through Oct. 6). So make sure to pop over, find out more about the contest, and say hi. Read more here.
In other writing news, when I’m not grading papers or writing/editing for the magazine, I’m making my way through revising Pierce My Heart. Grading papers reminds me of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Those mops keep appearing and appearing and appearing. This semester, papers seem to do the same thing. Thank goodness for pastries and coffee; they’ve seen me through plenty of cram sessions as a writer, a student, and a teacher!
I’m pondering jumping into the next round of A Round of Words in 80 Days. Kristen Lamb is offering a “Blog to Build Your Brand” workshop in October and November, and I’ll be doing that is well. It’s going to be a busy rest of the year, but hopefully 2012 sees me querying manuscripts. I’ll be querying Pierce My Heart, at minimum.
Side Note: The Autumn Reads Amazon gift-card contest is open through Oct. 8, if you’re interested.
This Week’s Dash of Awesomesauce: Cool posts from around the Web
Our lives are full of meaningful dates, of birthdays and anniversaries marked on calendars and celebrated with cards, cake, and champagne. And then there are the days we don’t choose, dates that imbed themselves into our hearts in ways we never would have chosen. Among them: Sept. 11, 2001, the year terrorism left its mark on the 21st-century American psyche.
On Sept. 11, 2001, I walked into German class in my rural, Western-PA high school; the teacher had turned the TV set on. Smoke poured from skyscrapers. The media played the clip of a plane flying into the building repeatedly; each time, it made less sense.
I’d just been to NYC for the first time that April, a small-town girl dazzled by the Big Apple. Students and teachers watched in shock as the second plane hit. As the first tower began to crumble, the teacher turned the television off.
Thank god. I’m glad I didn’t have to watch what happened next on live TV, but I did see it in the coming days: people running for their lives through NYC as skyscrapers crumbled around them.
We’d never expected it. But I lived in the middle-of-nowhere, PA, and we were far enough away from the Pentagon and NYC that we felt isolated and removed.
Until Flight 93 crashed in a field less than an hour away.
Small byways that flowed through town crammed with tractor-trailers as they shut down the interstate. They closed the small regional airport that welcomed a few flights each day.
And parents flooded the schools to collect their confused children. We all knew something was wrong, but the youngest of us had been shielded. The oldest of us were in denial or shock.
My mother arrived to bring us home. I refused to go. I wasn’t about to let a terrorist steer my life from a place of fear. My brother, a year younger, stood by my side, following my lead as I told my mother we weren’t going home.
Everything in our small-town world had changed.
Not long after my mother left, they let us out of school. The normally quiet roads were full of traffic from the interstate. That was the first time it dawned on me. We weren’t just living through a tragedy. We were experiencing an act of war, something I’d only read about in history books or witnessed on documentaries. Another date that will live in infamy.
American life changed. We lost people we won’t get back. Dec. 7, 1941: Pearl Harbor. Sept. 11, 2001: a tragedy so grave, we only need to say a date.
I attended a remembrance ceremony on campus today, brief and clear and beautiful. No matter how many candles we light, speeches we give, or memorials we dedicate, those memories don’t fade. The loss remains. I’d like to honor the lives we lost, the innocents who died, and the brave men and women who risked their lives then and continue to now in order to save us or to keep us safe.
There aren’t enough words. To those we’ve lost, we miss you. To those who fight, we thank you.