Friday, November 17, 2006

Friday 20

Bryon Quertermous and Dave White are trying to wrap up writing their current novels by seeing who can finish theirs first. To offer some friendly, no-pressure support for this effort, Jim Winter and I have put down our money on them.

If Dave wins, I’ll make a donation to Jim’s charity, Habitat for Humanity, and when, I mean if, Bryon wins, Jim will make a donation to my charity, The Make-A-Wish Foundation. (Jim, you do have your checkbook handy, right?)

I’m sure the guys will do their best to make it to the finish line. Dave has a contracted book, so he’s got an editor waiting on it. An editor who will probably be going on vacation for the holidays and won’t have time to actually read the manuscript until after the first of the year, but still. I’m sure Bryon will be happy to know the writer backing him has worked for and remains on good terms with more than a dozen major publishing editors who often ask her opinion of new novelists.

One can never know precisely who will win a manuscript race – well, not counting that time I bet that Jim would win his, and he did – but it’s all in good fun. May the best writer (*cough*Bryon*cough*) win.

Meanwhile, it's that time of week again -- any questions out there for me?

35 comments:

  1. Why is the sky blue? Why is it so hard to lose weight? And why does a puppy's breath smell so good? ;)

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  2. Jordan wrote: Why is the sky blue?

    Because if it were black we'd never get up in the morning.

    Why is it so hard to lose weight?

    Because no one has figured out a way to make vigorous exercise orally gratifying. Except when you and your guy....okay, maybe I'll e-mail you on this one.

    And why does a puppy's breath smell so good? ;)

    It's God's way of making up for all the times we're stuck in an elevator or on the subway next to a beer lover who hasn't brushed his teeth since the 80's.

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  3. I write when the sky is black. Hard to concentrate when it's blue.

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  4. Why does Muse like to pelt things at me that are pretty and shiny that I feel driven to catch and then have to juggle?

    I want to work on just one WIP at a time again.

    PS I'm sure you'll win the bet.

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  5. Why does Dave even think he can beat since I'm backed by PBW?

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  6. Rob wrote: I write when the sky is black. Hard to concentrate when it's blue.

    There is a theory that people with inflammatory diseases (like my RA) have symptom flares and brain blips as a direct result of being exposed to too much sunlight. Radiant light metabolizes vitamin D, which in turn triggers a negative immune response in us. We also tend to experience fatigue and difficulty in concentrating more often during the day than night.

    Or maybe we're all vampires. Lol.

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  7. May wrote: Why does Muse like to pelt things at me that are pretty and shiny that I feel driven to catch and then have to juggle?

    Because the Muse is like a bored queen with too much jewelry. It demands to be entertained, and will throw as many diamonds as it can at you so it can laugh and watch you try to keep them all up in the air.

    I want to work on just one WIP at a time again.

    I try to live by the idea filing system. Whenever the muse tosses something my way, I jot down a brief outline or knock out some pages (no more than ten) and then I file whatever I did in my idea file. Writing a little bit of it seems to placate my queen without dragging me away from my job too long.

    PS I'm sure you'll win the bet.

    Thanks. :)

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  8. Bryon wrote: Why does Dave even think he can beat since I'm backed by PBW?

    We must be kind and allow our writer friends these brief delusions. Makes the gloating afterward so much more enjoyable, don't you think?

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  9. Anonymous9:27 AM

    What a fun bet! Good causes too.

    PBW, I've noticed before from your blog posts that you like to gamble. Do you ever go to Atlantic City or Vegas? What's your favorite game of chance?

    Lynda

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  10. Lynda wrote: PBW, I've noticed before from your blog posts that you like to gamble.

    Just a little, lol.

    Do you ever go to Atlantic City or Vegas? What's your favorite game of chance?

    I drove through Atlantic City once, but I've never been to Vegas. When I was younger I worked for someone with a gambling addiction who ended up losing his business over it, so that cured me of any desire I might have had to try gambling for profit. I do occasionally make wagers with other writers, but I always donate my winnings to charity.

    My favorite game of chance, hmmmm, chess probably doesn't count. Monopoly?

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  11. Anonymous11:12 AM

    Well, I am too tired to think of any of my really good questions today, so I'll ask two that I'vw just been wondering; PBW, have you ever written a children's novel, and anyone -- what is the biggest deficit anyone has ever come back from to win Nanowrimo? (wondering if I cann really achieve 3000 words a day for the next 10 days. . .)
    JulieB

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  12. Anonymous11:13 AM

    Note to all, Sorry -- should start to preview these comments when typing on a laptop. . .

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  13. Whoa whoa whoa... what the hell? You can support Bryon... but he's the better writer????? He may be the faster writer... but... awwww, I don't like this smack talk.

    And yeah, my editor may be on vacation during the holidays, but since our deadline is April, he should be around.

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  14. Anonymous11:46 AM

    LOL Sorry, Mr. White, but didn't you hear? In America, the faster you are, the obviously better you are, period. Yanno, instant gratification and whatnot... :) JK

    And PBW: How much planning is too much for you? When do you feel confident in your ideas to start writing? How fleshed out need the characters be? How fully ought the worldbuilding and plot be developed before you can comfily say, "okay, draft time"?

    Jess

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  15. If I give my WIP this Very Sad End I've been planning, will anyone ever speak to me again?

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  16. Julie B Wrote: PBW, have you ever written a children's novel

    Not by myself, but I've co-authored a few with my children: Captain Weird Beard, sort of a Pirates of the Caribbean spoof, and The Island of Lost Kids, an ongoing novel series about a group of castaway orphans.

    ...what is the biggest deficit anyone has ever come back from to win Nanowrimo? (wondering if I cann really achieve 3000 words a day for the next 10 days. . .)

    I'm not sure about the buggest deficit NaNo comeback, but 3000 words works out to about twelve to fifteen pages per day. That's a lot of writing if you're not used to it. You might try splitting your writing time in half, if possible, and try to knock out half in the am and half in the pm; that sometimes helps.

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  17. Dave wrote: Whoa whoa whoa... what the hell? You can support Bryon... but he's the better writer????? He may be the faster writer... but...

    But faster in this case? Wins! Lol.

    awwww, I don't like this smack talk.

    Oh, we won't give you too much grief. Bryon will be finished long before that.

    And yeah, my editor may be on vacation during the holidays, but since our deadline is April, he should be around.

    There you go. Don't hurry. You've got plenty of time.

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  18. Jess wrote: How much planning is too much for you?

    Probably at the point I start mapping the characters' gene strands.

    When do you feel confident in your ideas to start writing?

    I feel ready to write when I can see the entire novel, from start to finish, in my head. I know visualizing a book doesn't work for everyone, especially organic writers, but I prefer to know exactly where I'm going before I put one word of the story down.

    How fleshed out need the characters be?

    I like to work my way via a character worksheet with a detailed personality outline and timeline of experience from birth to present age. Though I always like to know way more about my characters than the reader ever will.

    How fully ought the worldbuilding and plot be developed before you can comfily say, "okay, draft time"?

    I don't think there's a standard preparation template or guideline that every non-organic writer can use; rather I think you have to feel ready to write based on what you've got roughed out in your notes, outline, synopsis, etc.

    There's a sense of readiness inside me, too, that tells me I'm ready to tackle the writing part. I think in part in comes from just having written so many books, but it's also that gut instinct I keep advising writers to rely on. I may have all my Ts crossed and Is dotted as far as my prep work goes, but if I don't feel right, I go back over everything until I figure out what's missing. Often it's a minor detail that I missed, but sometimes it's a snarl that requires a major plot shift.

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  19. PBW, what novel are you the most proud of and why?

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  20. Buffysquirrel wrote: If I give my WIP this Very Sad End I've been planning, will anyone ever speak to me again?

    Depends. If your readers are Happily Ever After junkies, you'll probably get some grief for it. It's definitely a no-no to have a sad end when writing in the romance genre, too.

    Personally I think you have to write the end that is logical to you and best serves the story. If that happens to be a very sad end, then I'd go with it. We write to tell stories, not to placate readers.

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  21. Patrice wrote: PBW, what novel are you the most proud of and why?

    One that unfortunately was part of a confidential WFH job that under contract I'm not permitted to publicize.

    The novel was really a nightmare job, first scratched at the proposal stage and then dropped on me out of the blue while I was working on something else. I had to lock up my writing brakes and do a complete 360.

    The story I was asked to write under the constraints I was given was the toughest I've ever attempted. When I first looked at it, I seriously doubted it could be done. I was also given a brand-new editor I didn't know from Adam for the book, and the deadline fell into that snowball's-chance-in-hell category all WFHs dread.

    Everything about that book was a set-up for utter disaster, and I'm still not sure how I did it, but what I pulled off worked. It knocked the socks off the editor, who didn't ask for any revisions, only one additional mini-scene at the end to cover something we were both concerned over. It went straight to copy-edit and came back as the cleanest ms. I've gotten. Technically speaking, it is one of the best books that I think I'll ever write.

    And wouldn't you know it? I'll never be able to claim it as my work on anything but a publisher resume. But then such is the price of doing WFH work....

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  22. Aw, man, what a shame, PBW. Why do you think it was your best work? Was is because it was 'almost impossible' to do and you not only did it but did it well? Do you work best under crazy kind of pressure?

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  23. I'm in the race too. ;) No editor looking at it but I want to get the book done before the end of the year.

    Question: Outie or innie? ;)

    Okay seriously: What's something you've learned recently about writing that you wish you'd known years ago? :) Just a fun question.

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  24. Patrice wrote: Why do you think it was your best work? Was is because it was 'almost impossible' to do and you not only did it but did it well? Do you work best under crazy kind of pressure?

    Every book is a huge challenge, but I guess this one was the first time I went into writing a novel thinking "No way in hell can I do this" and finding the nerve to do it anyway. I was shooting for competent, but what I got out of the experience felt like an epiphany. I have no idea why it played out that way, either. It certainly wasn't the lousy story elements or the terrified writer trying to pull them together. :)

    I do okay under pressure, but I've never much liked it. I'm finding that as I get older it's harder to deal with the physical effects of work-related stress. I probably won't do many WFH jobs in the future because of that; they are a hundred times more stressful than my own work.

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  25. Pixel Faerie wrote: I'm in the race too. ;) No editor looking at it but I want to get the book done before the end of the year.

    Well, then, we'll have to come over to your place and bug, I mean motivate you. ;)

    Question: Outie or innie? ;)

    At this point, both, actually. Or more precisely, a sunken outie.

    Okay seriously: What's something you've learned recently about writing that you wish you'd known years ago?

    Good question. Let me think. I have yet to learn the lay/lie thing. Still terrible at proper name capitalization. Could not pass an English grammar course even if my ilfe depended on it....

    I road tested an interesting writer trick this year that I thought would never work for me personally -- writing the final chapter of the book first, before I wrote anything else.

    I've tried it with short stories but never with a novel, and I've always been a start-to-finish writer. I wanted to lay out this scene first, though, so I could build toward it. It was a little weird, but it actually helped me with the writing of the rest of the novel, knowing I was working toward that scene.

    I don't think you can use it for every book, but it's a neat thing to try.

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  26. I have a question about copyrights and pen names. If you write under a pen name should you copyright under your own name? Could you get the copyright in your pen name? Just kind of curious and confused.
    I'm finally breaking down and getting internet access at home (DSL), so I'll be able to lurk around more often. Have a good weekend.
    Ann

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  27. Anonymous3:18 PM

    Sucks about the proudest of a novel you can't talk about thing, I say. But that's the irony of it, and I think Holly would say -- if you aren't in the for writing itself well then... so it really doesn't matter in the long run if you can't talk about it, right? You get to be content with it anyway.

    And thanks for answering my questions. I know it's different for everybody but I just like to get a bunch of different takes on things and hear about how other people do it, especially since I'm still figuring out if I'm organic or not. I hate not knowing where I'm going and all but the writing is horrible if I plan it too much. I don't suppose you have that problem?
    Jess

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  28. Lleeo4:12 PM

    With all these hints you've been giving about tying in other story lines into your Stardoc books--you've been getting me so excited! Plague of Memory is going to be a special after-Christmas treat and I can't wait! I'll just be starting second semester with all new classes, so I'll really have time to enjoy it. ^_~

    I just have a general questions related to your books. I love the Jorenians, and I think they are one of the most interesting alien races you've come up with--and I love story arcs about them. Teulon's story arc in Rebel Ice was especially interesting. My question is: would you ever consider someday writing a book featuring a female Jorenian warrior? I just find it interesting that their entire race is equally warrior-trained, and I'd like to explore a little more into the female Jorenian world. Also, there just aren't enough kick-ass, warrior trained gals out there. ^_~

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  29. Thank you for answering my question, PBW. I'm finding the ending so hard to write that I wonder how hard it'll be to read.

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  30. Ann wrote: I have a question about copyrights and pen names. If you write under a pen name should you copyright under your own name?

    Unless they have a reason for concealing it, most writers do copyright under their legal name. For tax purposes, some writers incorporate and use the corporate name for their copyright.

    Could you get the copyright in your pen name?

    Sure. Remember that there may be some tax considerations involved, so talk to your tax preparer or personal accountant before you make that decision.

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  31. Jess wrote: I think Holly would say -- if you aren't in the for writing itself well then... so it really doesn't matter in the long run if you can't talk about it, right? You get to be content with it anyway.

    Holly would be right, too. I don't resent it. I try not to talk about any of my books because it's like painting a bulls-eye on them. This way, at least, the work is protected from malicious attention. That's the main satisfaction in keeping some of my work icognito.

    And thanks for answering my questions. I know it's different for everybody but I just like to get a bunch of different takes on things and hear about how other people do it, especially since I'm still figuring out if I'm organic or not. I hate not knowing where I'm going and all but the writing is horrible if I plan it too much. I don't suppose you have that problem?

    No problem. I am a compulsive planner and organizer, but that's how the process that works best for me. Being slightly obsessive about prep work allows me to produce the cleanest, most marketable work.

    Finding and refining a writing method until it suits you can be a cool part of the journey. It's part of discovering who you are as a writer. I'd relax and enjoy the ride. :)

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  32. lleeo wrote many nice things about StarDoc, the Jorenians, and: would you ever consider someday writing a book featuring a female Jorenian warrior? I just find it interesting that their entire race is equally warrior-trained, and I'd like to explore a little more into the female Jorenian world. Also, there just aren't enough kick-ass, warrior trained gals out there.

    In novel length, probably not, unless for some reason the SF market explodes for me. Mainly the problem is that it's next to impossible to sell what would be another spin-off from a series that's been more successful than all of its spin-offs. Publishers want what sells the best.

    I have been planning to do an all-Jorenian e-book anthology for StarDoc readers as a giveaway, as I have a bunch of stories set on Joren or featuring Jorenian characters that I've been writing over the years (I just need to edit them and put them in some sort of order.) Enale Raska, Jory's Jorenian aunt from Blade Dancer, is the protagonist in one of them. Shee's a fully-trained, combat experienced warrior serving as captain of the Raska flagship in the aftermath of the Jado Massacre, and gets caught in an unusual Faction-League skirmish during the war, so I think that one might appeal to you.

    You've also just given me a great nudge on getting off my backside and working on it, so maybe I can get it together for early next year. Thanks. :)

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  33. Buffysquirrel wrote: Thank you for answering my question, PBW. I'm finding the ending so hard to write that I wonder how hard it'll be to read.

    You're welcome -- and good luck with it. One more thing just occured to me. You know another thing you might try? Writing an alternative ending, like in the movies. That way you can test a couple of endings, and see which one works best for you.

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  34. Why did I sign up for Nano. Again? Now I have another ongoing project and a set of characters yelling, write me, write me.

    Will I ever learn not to follow the lure of Nano and keep those plotbunnies locked up in the dungeon of my hard drive? ;)

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  35. Thanks again :). Sounds like that idea could be my way out of the corner I've written myself into...again.

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