Aside from the market and agent listings in the back pages, the October issue of The Writer was pretty much another waste of dime. Short version: Vampires are over, zombies are the next big thing; craft way-cool characters with only 4, count 'em, 4 steps; self-publishing's all right for nonfic or niche; bitching over the worth of writer blogs; plus the usual roundup of successful Names to tantalize us with their success. Right. Thank you.
My issues with this issue: Vampires have been over for what, two, three years now? And zombies, well, if you're the author of a how-to on writing zombies, sure, you'd want them to be the next big thing (I want genetically-enhanced superhumans to be the next big thing; should I write an article saying they are?) And apparently there is zombie erotica out there, and I need that phrase soldered out of my brain, immediately. Seriously, I say write whatever makes your readers happy, but if reanimated rotting corpses getting it on truly are the next big thing, then PBW is going back to ghost writing. Or maybe ghosts will be the next big thing. Somebody, go check with Jennifer Crusie, see what she thinks.
Know what? I'm tired of the next big thing. I say let's figure out what the next little thing is going to be. Or the next weird thing. Or the thing that has no buzzword. That would make a cool opening pitch line, wouldn't it? "Enclosed please find my proposal for The Vampire Brotherhood vs. The Promiscuous Zombie Chicks, which I believe will be the next thing. What that thing is, I can't really say. It's a closely-guarded secret. You understand."
But I digress.
I regret to say that in my experience (which is fairly extensive) it generally takes more than four steps to create a decent character. I've never counted but I think it takes somewhere around 4,967 steps. Maybe 4,968. On a good day. And sure, there is promo and platform and fanbasing in blogging, and of course, there are a gazillion blogs and there is no money in blogging. Evidently there is money in writing generic articles about the pros and cons of writer blogs, but I'll guess the market is glutted now.
Naturally I could be wrong, but then again, I just do this for a living. I do know that when I find myself arguing out loud with the articles I'm reading, it usually means I must stop renewing the subscription (or, in this case, quit picking it up from the newstand.)
You guys reading any writing advice 'zines out there lately that aren't leaving your eyes blinking in disbelief?