Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Writers are Thieves

For writer's advice I consider great, please visit HollyLisle.com. You might recognize her as a fantasy author but she has also written some romance. She was formerly a R.N. and had a bumpy road to writing success and wishes us to know that it shall always be bumpy if you choose a writing career. She is frank and to the point and not wordy, something I find refreshing. It is something of a paradox as to why a writer would help for free so many struggling to write, there are some who say that writers do not compete with one another. I don't remember the origin of the quote, but a famous writer said that truly Norah Robert's sales will not hurt for instance Stephen King's because people follow that genre and who read King's stuff wouldn't read Ms. Roberts books anyway. It seems, if you just surf the Web, that everyone wants to be a writer these days. I think that people believe that it is easy, but once attempted, one will never think that again. Some I think just want to be a struggling writing and not do any writing at all, inspiration is skittish and our lives are busy and demanding. I am reminded that creativity often takes time. I am impressed at how often writers say that they start by doing nothing, idly taking long walks or working in a garden, or any activity that doesn't use a lot of brain power. Then, at odd moments, inspiration comes to you they say, when least expected.
(I find that I never get an idea when I have a pen in hand and blank paper in front of me and start commanding myself to think of something. It kills the process it seems, at least for me.)
I know that I have these wild and wicked dreams, to live off imagination seems as far away as dragons, or clouds. There is a great deal of work involved also, book writing is like ballet you know. Ballet is said to be "Making the difficult seem effortless." I think writing is the same.
I think "Know Your Ending" before you write good advice, tho' not written in stone by any means. Stephen King, that great writer who has earned millions, does not write this way. However the Harry Potter books were thought up at least, from the ending to the beginning, backwards. Reading how she created Harry Potter was one of the most fascinating things, she literally tells every detail of how she worked her books out. Amazing.
I hope that computers and great generous people like Ms. Lisle will create even more writers, because there is nothing I like better than to read. There can never be too many books in the world.
I am a great borrower of books and recently I read a post at Absolute Write that says that when you spend money on books you help the publishing industry. This is so obvious it shouldn't need to be said but I never thought about it that way. I spend as little on books as I can, wait for the paperback to come out on new books or for friends to loan me theirs, I am quite wicked. Now I buy more and I hope you will too. Let's support the bringers of dreams.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Where is my Manuscript?

The time it takes for a publisher to get back to you can drive some people bananas. There is an online magazine named "Clarksworld" which I hear accepts a manuscript in a mere 3 days. There is a lot of great fiction on the site and a request for donations and you can buy the fiction in book form. It seems a sci-fi magazine but it has good writing. Most publishers recommend you enclose a postcard so they can let you know that they've recieved your manuscript. Good Idea. There is even a site called The Black Hole which keeps statistics on how long it takes publishers to get back to you, which is a sci-fi, horror, fantasy site it appears also. There is a lot of help online for those of sci-fi persuasion. Cobblestone Press has a community you can join with workshops to help aspiring writers. It's all helpful, especially if you're wondering if your manuscript you are waiting to hear about so desperately isn't, really, lining someone's birdcage and catching poo.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Can You Judge A Book by it's Cover?

I think we do judge books by their covers, it's like a promise made to us of what is inside. I remember seeing "An Accidental Tourist" by Anne Tyler and I just had to read it. I was wondering about the title. For me it is the title that makes me pick up a book, and not the cover. They say men are more moved by photos and women more by the written word, so it may be that since I am female it is the title that draws me. I know a title drew me in and before I knew it I had devoured over five Anne Tyler books. Tyler is married to a phsychiatrist, which seems to contribute some to her style of writing since there is always a psychological reason for what the characters too. None of them seem to suffer from out there abuse or poverty and that is just so, just 'cause the author has been in this sort of sheltered life where the biggest problems seem to be in just finding one's way and identity.
Andre Norton, who took a man's name because she wrote man like books and who would read them done by a woman?, has passed away. Mercedes Lackey seem to fill that void very well with stunning language in the Norton tradition. Andre Norton refered to herself as a "staid teller of old-fashioned stories". The Norton title that first drew me in was "Moon of Three Rings" and in it were people who changed to animals and back again on a world where the Moon had 3 rings. This world of villages where people live in the Middle Ages is one we come to again and again, as if this is the home we best understand.
I remember seeing the "Sword of Shanana" and I had to read it this book in the Tolkein tradition.
I guess I will keep on judging books by the title and for the most part, this seems to work in helping me find a good book, very well.