Thursday, December 30, 2010
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
2. Denial Part I - Ignore that realization
3. Start querying agents who don't require a synopsis
4. Feel good about yourself
5. Get a partial request from an agent, including the requirement for a synopsis (!)
6. Set aside a night to write your synopsis
7. When that night comes, cry vicious crocodile tears (place hyphen in the spot of your choosing)
8. Die a little inside
9. Denial Part II, aka "Screw this. I just won't respond to this agent's request" - moments later you will deny this denial
10. Discover there are exactly one hundred specific lengths a synopsis "must be"
11a. Spend weekend hammering out ninety-nine drafts of synopsis, each a different length
11b. Die a little more
12. Respond to agent request, and begin querying agents who require synopses between one and ninety-nine pages in length
Friday, December 17, 2010
So how, you ask, can I ever complete a novel?
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
If you want an idea of how difficult it is to write this short a story, please note that the two preceding sentences exceed 25 words. Getting the idea?
Below is my story, followed by the entire talented blog crew.
Couldn't Love You More
Her warm brown eyes and sweet-sketched smile.
Your hands on her bare bronze skin.
This poison isn’t painless, but
If I can’t have you…
jonjon.benjamin direct link to his post
rmgil04 direct link to his post
CScottMorris direct link to his post
Proach direct link to her post
Aheila direct link to her post
AimeeLaine direct link to her post
Regan Leigh direct link to her post
HERE BE HORRORS UNSPEAKABLE. Just Kidding. It's only me.
Dolores Haze http://dianedooley.wordpress.com/
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
"Stop biting my pants."
"Those are my pickles. They're always all my pickles."
"That angry beaver hurt the monster."
"Did you just drink that? That's two days old. Why would you drink that?"
"The baby broke the house."
"Don't floss Juno." (Juno is the cat)
Now guess which lines were spoken by my husband, and which by my 2 1/2 year old son. Feel free to talk amongst yourselves.
Friday, December 10, 2010
Heather Webb - The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
Diane Amy - Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
William Wood - Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey
JN Duncan - Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane
Congratulations, all! And thanks to everyone who entered to win these wonderful books. We'll have another contest after an early 2011 readathon, so do stay tuned.
Winners, please email me with your mailing addresses. Email to right.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
11:01 AM - Opens Twitter, Pandora, AW, the local news, the distant news, made-up news, and news about new forms of news
12:00 PM - Opens Work in Progress. Gets another cup of coffee
12:01 PM - Looks at revision notes. Scowls
12:30 PM - New coffee, same scowl
1:00 PM - Laughs hysterically over a baby monkey riding backwards on a pig
1:30 PM - Clatters away at keyboard, muttering about the limitations of first person POV
2:00 PM - Eats leftover dinner for lunch, eyes laundry and the fortifications the dust bunnies have built in the corner. Considers opening a bottle of wine. Shakes head. Considers opening a bottle of whiskey. Gets dreamy look in eyes
2:30 PM - Checks stats on blog, performs intrinsic background check on new twitter followers. Tweets aimlessly
3:00 PM - MIA
4:00 PM - Stares in disbelief at an entire paragraph containing nothing but dangling modifiers. Tweets about it. Commiserates with other revisers on twitter
5:00 PM - Revises four chapter in quick succession
6:50 PM - Builds a new playlist in Pandora. Gets angry at low level of intuitive artificial intelligence in free application
7:30 PM - Eats dinner. Reintroduces self to spouse and offspring
8:00 PM - Plays with aforementioned offspring, then puts it into its resting box
9:00 PM - Washes dishes by hand, building an entire steampunk-on-Mars plot in head
9:30 PM - Watches seven minutes of television. Steampunk-on-Mars plot evaporates from head
10:00 PM - Revises furiously, competently, and with great joy
12:00 AM - Looks up, eyes bleary, realizes it's Monday. Keeps revising
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
And here ends the shameless (mostly shameless, a little shameful) self-promotion.
P.S. Please note the stellar song dedication I got. Can you say "stoked"?
Saturday, December 4, 2010
So, 10% of the queries I sent for MS#1 went e-wandering and were never received. And what have we learned from this? We've learned to follow up with agents who have not responded within their specified timeline, because sometimes emails get lost. Could those two agents have been my golden ticket? Probably not. That wasn't the tightest story. And besides, I'm very happy with the agent I have, thank you very much.
What else have we learned? That sometimes agents make your day by asking for pages, thrill you again when they take the time to reply to follow-ups, and then ignore you.
Or...or...maybe that reply was lost as well. I just hope it wasn't an offer of representation because I'd hate to think an agent fell in love with that poor, neglected manuscript and has been sitting at her computer, fingers crossed, since March, hoping I'd get back to her. Heehee...as if anyone has time to wait for anything.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
I hereby declare the First Ever Impudent Hatchlings Fantastic Fantasy Giveaway. Behold four books, each the first in their series, all of which I enjoyed immensely.
Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane
They could be yours, to have and to hold, to clutch and stroke in the darkness of night, muttering "precioussssss". The rules of the contest are simple, because I have no stomach for complex maths.
1. Simply leave a comment indicating your desire to win a book, and you will be entered once.
2. (Provided you do step one) Follow this here blog, and be entered once more.
3. (Provided you do step one) Follow me on Twitter, and be entered yet again. (I know, I can hardly believe it!)
4. Please mention in your comments if you're a follower of either Impudent Hatchlings, me on Twitter, or both. (That saves me having to calculate, for which I will be eternally grateful.)
This contest will last for one week. Entrants can only win one book. I shall draw winners on December 10th, via random.org, in honor of St. Crocus, patron saint of readers of urban fantasy, and thieves of cold breakfast meats.
Tell your friends and tweeps.
Winners will be asked to email me (there is no need to include your email address in your comment), SO CHECK BACK IN ON THE 10TH OR JUST AFTER. I'm sorry to say this contest is open only to people with addresses in the United States or APO addresses.
(The rules of this contest are subject to change or amendment at any time. )
Monday, November 29, 2010
And I'm alright with that.
I knew going in that I wouldn't have enough time during the august month of November to generate 50,000 of the right kind of words. I think my goal was something like 25,000. I had a solid outline, and now stand right around 28,000.
Shortly after I acquired an agent, I developed a deepseated terror of revisions. I can do them, mind you, and they inevitably make the story delightfully bettah. But my first reaction upon receiving notes is to sprint for a (metaphorical) knife so that I can commit (metaphorical) seppuku stat.
So I took my time this year. I cranked through Act I, then stopped. I backtracked, chopping excess words with the editorial machete in my right hand and tweaking characters and phrasing with the polishing wrench in my left. I've written about 45,000 words to date in this manuscript, and currently stand at 28,000. But they're a good 28,000, and they're going to roll me into another good 28,000. And, hopefully, by the time I get the last third of the story set, I'll have a draft 1.5. No zero drafts for this girl.
So, my dears, how are you going to be celebrating Endo-Nano? With a bang, or with a whimper?
Saturday, November 27, 2010
I went to pick up Seanan McGuire's Rosemary and Rue, which I sampled on my kindle after hearing wonderful things about it from many people, most recently the lovely Margo. And, while I was there, I picked up a book I had ordered.
I am now faced with an odd situation. A couple of weeks ago I downloaded Richard Kadrey's Sandman Slim on my kindle. It was free (LEGALLY SO), presumably part of the publisher's marketing of the sequel, Kill the Dead. I really liked the book. Nay, I loved it. I loved it so much I drove to a bookstore to buy it. And, when it wasn't on the shelf, I was so determined to show my appreciation to the author by buying it that I ordered it.
So, now I've got it in my hand, a book that I love, that I recommend to anyone I think might enjoy it, and a few people who might not, but should. And I don't want to read it. I mean, I just finished it and I've got other books stacking up on my nightstand at an industrious rate, including the oddly-sized sequel, plus I own another version.
So, what am I to do?
I think I'll give this copy away in one-a-them new-fangled contest thingamajiggers. I might actually drive back down to the bookstore (not tonight - we have a second glass law in my house), purchase a few other books that have delighted me over the years, and then give them away to blog followers. Probably I'll limit it to U.S. states, territories and possessions because my local post office is staffed by two hard-working ladies and one Gorg. I always end up with the Gorg, and the Gorg doesn't know shit. (No offense, Jim Henson)
So, stay tuned...contest a-coming.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
An odd tendency has slipped into my spoken communication lately: the desire to add a punchline in the form of a hashtag. For those of you who don’t use/don’t pay attention to/hate with a burning passion all things Twitter, let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.
A hashtag is this: # (the sign formerly known as “pound”). It’s a way to unite tweets in the twitterverse. For instance, the hashtag #followfriday (or #FF) is a way for people (on Fridays) to suggest that other tweeps follow the same people they follow. #moviesinmypants was a trending topic in which people could take movie titles, add the phrase “in my pants” to it, and laugh until they peed themselves. I think the movie Shaft (in my pants) was the frontrunner, but personally I preferred my entry Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (in my pants).
The hashtag has evolved, though, into a way for individuals to punch up a joke or reveal irony in their tweets. Remember you’ve only got 140 characters, and sometimes you have to condense your thoughts to convey them in a single tweet. A couple examples:
I feel like my sex scene lacks rhythm #whitegirlscanthump
@michaelianblack (Comedian and author of several acclaimed children’s books, including A Pig Parade is a Terrible Idea)
I have no cash on me so I stole one of my daughter's dollars to put under her pillow after she lost a tooth last night. #true #shithead
So now I find myself in conversations where I have something funny to say, but it will only be really funny with a hashtag ending. However, unlike “air quotes”, hashtags don’t yet have an off-the-page equivalent. At least, nothing that doesn’t resemble throwing out gang signs, which are frowned upon at our office.
I assume that, somewhere out there, a university is in the process of applying for a grant to study this phenomenon (the etymology of hashtag humor, not my ignorant and probably offensive use of gang signs). I look forward to the results of the study.
For the time being, I will clasp my hands firmly in front of me while speaking, and work on my comic timing.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
DEAR JOHN~a drabble
“I’m not good with art,” John says, squinting at the note.
I look down at the crisp white paper, the even black script.
“It’s not art.” I point to the three distinct words. How can he not see? “It says…”
He makes an impatient sound, a sound of finality. The world is suddenly blurry and I blink to clear my eyes.
“Sorry. You know I can’t find the meaning in this creative shit.” He scuffs out of the room, drops into his ergo-set and links into the feeds.
The words droop, the ink bleeding away. “It says ‘I love you’.”
Please check out the other fine and varied participants:
Bettedra direct link to her post.
FreshHell direct link to her post
CScottMorris direct link to his post
AuburnAssassin direct link to her post
Aheila direct link to her post
Bibbo direct link to his post
YOU ARE HERE.
Thanks to Bettedra for hosting!
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Sunday, November 7, 2010
I just finished cleaning my office (read: spare bedroom). And by "finished" I mean I became equal parts distracted and frustrated and gave up.
Twice this week I’ve put laundry in the dryer and then walked away without starting it. This is an obvious (to me) sign that I’m overtaxed. Stretched to the point of being rice-paper thin. I used to lock my keys in the car when I was in such a state…while it was running. I don’t do that anymore, but only because my current car does not allow it.
It’s November. My work is gearing up because we’re busiest at year-end. I’ll be traveling later in the month, so I’m trying to get ahead. I have to pull out my ever-expanding Christmas shopping list and get my shop on. I hate getting my shop on.
Coworkers and friends have noticed my frazzled distraction and, in an effort to help, suggested that I pull out of NaNo. Inside my head, this sends me off into peals of hysterical laughter. In the real world, I plaster on a sincere smile and say: “Oh, that’s not the problem.”
Because, what they don’t understand is that I was writing almost every night and weekend before NaNo. I didn’t have as high a daily word count. Sometimes I counted making it into the chair and staying awake while the laptop whirred to life as a success.
Quick Aside: In Defense of NaNo
I’ve heard NaNo decried as a self-glorifying way for a bunch of talentless hacks to crank out loads of crap. Believe me, talentless hacks don’t need to be encouraged to crank out the crap; it comes naturally and inexorably.
NaNo gives people who toil alone a chance to be part of an energetic, enthusiastic community. It gives the writers who haven’t been able to get past the 10K, 20K or 40K mark just enough positive pressure that, this time, they might make it.
Will NaNo2010 result in a lot of very bad stories? Of course. Most will die unfinished deaths, or wither from the writer’s priority list during the revision process, the beta reading process, or the query process. That’s the natural order of things. Some beautiful novels have come out of NaNo. I’ve seen the sales of two intriguing novels within the last year, and I’m sure there are many more I’m unaware of.
My problem isn’t that NaNo is wearing me out. It’s that life is getting in my way. My employer, like many others, is pushing higher profits without providing more shoulders on which to balance the work. My child is fully aware of the time his mother spends away from him, so I’m trying to shift more of that to his sleeping hours. I’m also trying to add two hours of workout time to my week since coming to realize that, despite all the science fiction I read, this is likely the only body I’m going to be allowed.
So, where does this leave me? In a half-clean office but, more importantly, sitting at my computer, about to start writing again. Because, you know what? I have to. I have to go to work because I have bills to pay. I have to clean because, even in the far north, we get vermin in unsanitary environments. But I have to write because, if I don’t, I will go stark-raving mad. It’s my escape and my entertainment, and the effort I put into it is returned tenfold in satisfaction. It is, dear readers, worth it.
Friday, November 5, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Friday, October 1, 2010
YOU ARE HERE
Aimee Laine www.aimeelaine.com/writing/blog
Ralph Pines http://thewonderingswordsman.wordpress.com/
Amy Doodle www.mindovermullis.com
Dolores Haze http://dianedooley.wordpress.com/
Aidan Watson-Morris http://mangaka-tales.blogspot.com/
Hayley E. Lavik http://hayleyelavik.com/
Monday, September 27, 2010
And then it dawned on me. Carrying a cutting board probably conveys the same kind of threat as visibly carrying a knife, except it's worse. Carrying a knife says you think you might need to cut something (or, egads, someone). Carrying a cutting board says you're planning to do some cutting and you're going to be fastidious while you do it. And, as everybody know, fastidiousness is terrifying.**
So, learn from my mistake, unless you enjoy terrifying strangers (terrifying is a verb here). That is all.
* No, wait, do. I'd taken a loaf of Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread in to work and wanted to ensure there was an appropriate cutting surface. It was moderately well received (the bread, not the cutting board).
** X-Ref: Hannibal Lecter.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
I'm just going to hunker down in my tiny, FREEZING office where cold air inexplicably pours in from every corner, and revise and polish. I can't listen to music when I polish, because when I do, I end up with embarrassing typos, particularly related to pronouns, as in: "He bent her arm at an unnatural angle, gritting its teeth against the pain." What?
I will be available on Twitter, where you can catch updates on things like:
-What kind of alcohol I want to drink 15 minutes into the day job. Answer: Just one beer - now who do we know that makes a 64 oz beer?
-And, #todaystypo: "I acknowledge your clam" - meant to be "claim". Acknowledging another person's clam is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay personal.
Keep on keeping on,
Sunday, September 19, 2010
A third short is going out for the first time, all wide-eyed and nervous about its new outfit. It's an odd one, written to a high-context anthology prompt, and I had a big, red devil of a time writing it. It's set in the 1920s, and I wanted a contemporary sound in the prose, especially the dialog. I think I might have captured that. At least, it moves to a different rhythm in my head when I read it. I also wanted modern urban fantasy events portrayed with a noir fiction sensibility that didn't feel too dark. The anthology asked for "fun" stories, and while I consider dark noir fun, I don't think that's the universal consensus.
I think one of the reasons I love reading noir is that it's not intuitive to me. I don't have an innate talent for writing it well (I know, I know - we could say that I don't have an innate talent for writing anything well, but we won't, because that would be colossally rude.) which makes me appreciate it that much more.
So, off my three little pups go. I hoped I packed enough beans to get them through the journey.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Mother - Played by Me
Son - Age 2 - Played by some spastic alien-monkey hybrid masquerading as my offspring
The scene: Wednesday Night, Dinner Table
Son (speaking through small Frankenstein toy): Where's my mommy?
Me: You don't have a mommy. You were created in a lab by a mad scientist.
Internal Monologue: I then think better of this. Perhaps one shouldn't tell one's child, even through a toy, that he is the motherless son of a crazed genius. Perhaps that's what leads to kids sucking their thumbs until they are 24, or going up on to water towers with Kalishnikovs. Perhaps in this one moment, I have just destroyed his sense of security for the rest of his life.
Son: Oh, okay. (resumes eating enchilada)
Monday, September 13, 2010
But back to the treadmill. This small, black "machine" showed up a few weeks ago, conveniently contrived to fold up when not in use so that it doesn't dominate our ridiculously small abode. And fold up it did, like a champ. What it failed to do was mill the tread. Oh, the motor came buzzing on, sounding very serious and like it was in one of those bizarre world's strongest man contests. And the lights came on, and the console beeped approvingly when I increased the speed. But it didn't move. The belt just sat there, reveling in the harsh, constant groan of the motor. It was a hand-me-down from my grandmother, who weighed about seventy-five pounds and never walked more than five minutes a day on it, so I'm pretty sure she didn't wear it out.
I sent it back home with my father, who was just as angry and perplexed as I was that it didn't work. He's something of a fitness
So, after a few weeks of some kind of zombie flu, I finally had a little energy and a few minutes to myself and decided to jump on and feel the burn! Well, the motor is louder than before. As in, I had to close all the windows even though it was almost 80 degrees in the house, because people kept peering up at the house as though they expected it to take off before their very eyes. And the whole thing rattles and creaks like it's made of wood from some recently-recovered Spanish galleon, plus intermittent noises like I'm crushing small birds. Sparrows, maybe. The cats circled me the entire time I was
Anyway, I stopped after twenty minutes, mostly because of a terrible zombie coughing fit (I think a boot came out of my lungs), and because I was afraid I was suffering permanent hearing loss.
What's my point, you ask? I think I've made plenty of good ones. However, the main one is that I suggest that anyone who is going to make time for writing also make time for exercise. At least get up and stretch occasionally. You don't have to "invest" in broken-down pre-WWII exercise equipment, but your body will thank you if you work/stretch it out in between
Saturday, September 11, 2010
It's also time to think about those who don't have homes to pull the pots into, and who don't have hats and gloves for the little ones. As you're cleaning out the closets of the items your kids have outgrown, don't throw them out. Take the extra hour to clean and bag them up and drop them somewhere where they can be used and will be appreciated. I'm not good at rallying people to a cause, but in this case the cause is so good I hope I won't have to convince you, just remind you of good intentions you no doubt already have.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
- - - - - - -
Aheïla: http://thewriteaholicblog.wordpress.com/ and direct link to her post
DavidZahir: http://zahirblue.blogspot.com/ and direct link to his post
orion_mk3: http://nonexistentbooks.wordpress.com/ and direct link to his post
LadyMage: http://www.katherinegilraine.com/ and direct link to her post
semmie: http://semmie.wordpress.com/ and direct link to her post
llalah: http://www.twylanonsequitur.blogspot.com/ and direct link to her post
T.N. Tobias: http://tnt-tek.com/