Friday, February 03, 2006

Friday 20

Is it animal, vegetable or mineral?

21 comments:

  1. Okay, I'll start. My question is, what is the stupidest thing you've seen writers do?

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  2. Darlene wrote: what is the stupidest thing you've seen writers do?

    Pay to get published because some moron convinced them the This is What All the Important Big Name Authors Do.

    Runner-up: spend all their advance money promoting a single book and not giving their writing any attention while doing so. I recommend spending no more than 20% of your advance on self-promotion, and stay ahead of your deadlines no matter what con you have to sacrifice.

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  3. How do you come up with names? Esp in the StarDoc series and its standalones...I just love them!


    Cheers,
    Erin K.

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  4. Anonymous8:30 AM

    What do you do when life and worries get in the way?

    Pencilone

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  5. vamp_writer wrote: How do you come up with names?

    Some of my characters, such as Cherijo, Reever, Teulon and others are named for friends and/or people I admire. I also use words from other languages, anagrams, and recombined parts of ordinary names. Occasionally a name (i.e. Jadaira, Shon, Byorn) will arbitrarily pop into my head out of nowehere.

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  6. Pencilone wrote: What do you do when life and worries get in the way?

    I deal with life by confronting it head-on and finding practical solutions. If I can't solve it on my own, then I ask for help from family and friends.

    Worries, like depression, are harder to wrestle into submission. I try to view that sort of thinking as a complete waste of my time when possible. It helps that I'm not the type to lock myself in a dark room and wring my hands while I weep and worry.

    If the worries are too big, as they often are, to push aside, then I take out a journal and write down what I'm feeling. Getting it out on paper helps ease some of the internal tension from keeping it bottled up. Then I go and clean something or take a walk. Nothing beats physical exercise for exhausting the worry-demons.

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  7. Have you ever come at a crossroads in writing where two ideas pop into your head at once for the same novel? Both of them sound very good and even when you write both of them, they still sound good but it is for the same stretch of timeframe for the novel for your characters. How do you choose between them?

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  8. Pixel Faerie wrote: Have you ever come at a crossroads in writing where two ideas pop into your head at once for the same novel?

    Generally not. I plan out my novels before I write them to avoid that kind of thing.

    I have had situations where either the character becomes more interesting than I had planned, or the plan doesn't work out on the page, and then I have to change the plan, which doesn't make me happy but is probably very good for me.

    Both of them sound very good and even when you write both of them, they still sound good but it is for the same stretch of timeframe for the novel for your characters. How do you choose between them?

    From the way you're describing it, I'd go with the one that is what the reader would least expect as long as it doesn't derail the rest of the novel.

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  9. How do you remain focused on one story idea at a time? Given that you write a few books across a few genres at any given moment, how do you stay completely focused on one idea? How do you avoid the pull of another WIP or idea, especially when, perhaps, what you are working on at the moment has hit a rough spot?

    I guess I'm asking, how do you avoid the butterfly tendency to jump around, thus getting nothing accomplished. And how do you keep brand new ideas from taking over completely?

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  10. Lynn M wrote: How do you remain focused on one story idea at a time? Given that you write a few books across a few genres at any given moment, how do you stay completely focused on one idea?

    I'm probably wired differently. Since I was a kid, I've been able to go into a place in my head where I can shut out everything else and devote myself to one thing. All the words come very fast and clear when I'm there in the zone. I know some people achieve a similar type of thought discipline by taking meditation classes, studying Asian philosophy, or undergoing neurotherapies like biofeedback.

    How do you avoid the pull of another WIP or idea, especially when, perhaps, what you are working on at the moment has hit a rough spot?

    If I have an idea that won't get out of my head, I'll write it up in shorthand notes and stick it in the appropriate file. I find scheduling out the work evenly helps, too. I spread my WIPs out evenly through the week and try to give them all the same amount of attention on their day.

    I guess I'm asking, how do you avoid the butterfly tendency to jump around, thus getting nothing accomplished. And how do you keep brand new ideas from taking over completely?

    I place more value in getting something finished than in starting something new. I also have a maximum number of new projects I'll work on at any time; six is my absolute limit.

    There's a simple rule you can make to control your WIP volume: for every novel or story you finish, you're allowed to start a new one.

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  11. I'm not a writer. I read your blog because I love your books. Love them. My question is: When can we expect another Jessica Hall book out? :)

    And congrats on your puppy!

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  12. You write in a lot of different genres; do you have a favorite? If so, why, and if not, what different things attract you to the different genres?

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  13. How rough are your 1st drafts?

    I'm starting to wonder whether it's worth slowing down on my next first draft (written to tight outline) so I won't have to majorly revise it on pass 2.

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  14. Casee wrote: I'm not a writer. I read your blog because I love your books. Love them. My question is: When can we expect another Jessica Hall book out?

    Thanks for the kind words. I have not yet sold another Jessica Hall book, and the publisher of my JH books is focusing on my dark fantasy fiction at the moment, so it is unlikely that I will unless I move to another imprint, change the pseudonym, or find another publisher, all of which I've done multiple times and feel reluctant to do anymore. As I still have two more JH books planned, and readers who want to see them in print, I'll be talking to my agent about it next month when we go over my proposals for 2007.

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  15. Zoe wrote: You write in a lot of different genres; do you have a favorite? If so, why, and if not, what different things attract you to the different genres?

    As a reader, romance is still my favorite genre, although the politics of romance have spoiled a lot of it for me lately. It's like medicine; once you have too much working knowledge of what happens behind the scenes, the mystical qualities dim.

    As a writer, I started out thinking of myself as a romance writer but I've gone beyond that now. Every genre presents a certain amount of challenge, and they're all fun in their own way, so I like all of them.

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  16. Zornhau wrote: How rough are your 1st drafts?

    Smoother than they were in the beginning of my career, when I let too many people try to tell me how to write. :) Of the worst drafts I write at present, I'd say I probably end up revising 1/8 to 1/10 of the book. Of the best drafts, I zip through them with only technical corrections and the occasional logic detangle. On the latter, I usually don't have to do revisions for the editor -- they go straight to production.

    I'm starting to wonder whether it's worth slowing down on my next first draft (written to tight outline) so I won't have to majorly revise it on pass 2.

    That's got to be your call. One of things I've found that indicates early on that I'm going to have to do a lot of rewriting is how much I have to fight to get the story onto the page while I'm writing it. Some stories are beautifully easy and practically write themselves. Others are a struggle from page one to the end -- and those are the ones I end up rewriting most.

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  17. Ah, I wrestle with outlines, not prose. So I think I'll slow down a little and see if I can get it right(ish) first time.

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  18. I know I asked one question, but I'm dying to know: are there any more Bio Rescue books in the works? I'm currently reading Afterburn, and that I know is the sequel. The world and Dair and Burn and the 'Zangians are all fascinating. I hope there's more coming.

    I LOVED, absolutely LOVED, Bio Rescue. It was riveting and beautiful.

    Cheers,
    Erin K.

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  19. Erin K. wrote: are there any more Bio Rescue books in the works?

    There is one more novel I have planned for the 'Zangian saga, working title Contrail, which would feature Shon Valtas as the protagonist and wrap up the open threads from Bio and Afterburn. It's not under contract, but if Afterburn does as well in paperback as it did in hardcover, then the publisher may be interested in publishing it.

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  20. What writing and/or time management advice do you have for moms of young children who work out of the home and want to write?

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  21. Mariann wrote: What writing and/or time management advice do you have for moms of young children who work out of the home and want to write?

    Writing moms have it tough, especially when the kids are preschool age. My kids were very attention-intensive when they were little, so I made writing time by waking up an hour early while the children were still asleep, writing during nap times and carrying notebooks with me to jot down notes while waiting at the doctor's office or play group. Their dad and I traded off evening duty, too, so that while one of us focused on bath time, story time and so forth the other could work an hour or two.

    If you have a sibling with kids who lives close by, you can also trade off afternoons (i.e. you babysit her kids one Saturday, she takes yours the next) to make some extra writing time.

    Some mothers are able to write while their kids share their work space, and one of my neighbors has one end of her home office set up as a play room for her toddler. I think you have to experiment with this sort of thing to see if your children are amenable, and keep your work hours reasonable.

    I'm not an advocate of using the TV or movies as a babysitter, but some moms have told me they can get an hour of work done in another part of the house while their child watches a favorite preschool TV show or DVD -- usually a show the kids would watch anyway. If you do this, particularly with more than one kid in the room, I'd keep a baby monitor on.

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