Wednesday, January 28, 2015

When the editor needs to be thrashed

I'm in the mad dash for my publishing deadline of March 1 (yes, It's self-imposed and yes, only I will be upset if I miss it, but it's  MY deadline ;))- anywho, I'm writing book two (The Obsidian Chimera), editing book one (The Glass Gargoyle), and making notes for book three (The Emerald Dragon) and as often happens when one is doing three things at once, one thing leaks over into the other.

In this case, my editing-self is going after my writer-self again. The planning-self is fine playing in her corner with ideas and making grandiose plans for book three that will make writer-self insane once she knows about it, but for now she's good.

The editing-self is a bully.

Pure and simple, that self cracks down hard (when forced) and rips things apart. This is great when editing or going over another person's edits, but not when writing.

The writing-self needs to get the words on the page and let someone sort them out later. But she can't do that when the editing-self is pushing her way in and nit-picking while things are being written.

So today I am officially banishing my editor self-- it's either that or beat her up.  I will even go so far as to put on a special shirt when the editor  can come out and work.  Hopefully, a physical change will keep her kibitzing away from my delicate writer-self.

When I write, I write very fast and dirty drafts, then clean up as I run through edits.  I have heard of some folks who can edit as they write, but aside from typos, that's not me. If you're a writer- what's your style?  Am I the only one with an aggressive editor-self?  

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Three times the fun!

Now today I'd like to talk a bit about the number three.  It's a lovely number really, and often shows up in writing for emphasis or humor.  Or emphasis of humor.

I'm not the first to notice it or bring it up, but three seems to be a very powerful number.  The most popular series for books or movies is a trilogy.  Two doesn't seem like enough (if they are well done) and four is sometimes pushing into a re-hash (now some authors do have very successful series way past three, but three seems to be the popular cut off.).

Three books in a series (or a sub-grouping within a larger series) gives a satisfying pay off for the reader.  It allows them to delve further into your world and also pick up things that may not have been fully borne out in even the best single title book.

Three is also very funny.  Humor isn't easy to do, but using the triple of the idea of concept allows for a stronger finish. Since TV shows are usually a broader example, I'll use one from The Big Bang Theory.  

In this episode, Sheldon is afraid of someone breaking into the apartment, so he barricades himself in his room, then has to pee. He says, "I am in complete control of my bladder". It's funny, as it often seems you have to go when you can't get to a bathroom easily- but not extremely funny.  Later, he is in a scary place (outside a building on a ledge) and repeats the line about his bladder.  Again funny, as most of us would probably be freaking out as well- and we have a repetition which reinforces the funny.  The last time is when he gets caught in an electrified net of his own creation and is laying there on the floor.  This time it's "I'm not in control of my own bladder." We have the three and the tie in to the previous times builds up the humor "punch" for the last line (yes, potty humor is crude, but it's still humor ;)).  The last set up probably wouldn't have been funny at all if it wasn't for the other two examples.

When I started my upcoming book, The Glass Gargoyle, I immediately thought of sidekicks for my main character.  Little maniacal, drunken faeries with attitude and a drinking problem.  Didn't want just one, and two seemed too symmetrical (something very unfunny), so I went with three.  Don't ask me why odd numbers seem funnier than even numbers, but they do.  Odd numbers-- even ones other than three, although then you run into other issues-- just seem to inherently leave things up for more humor and conflict. There was a reason there were three stooges.

When I write if I have something I want to emphasize for a humorous pay off I stick to three shots with the third shot being the twist.  I keep track of these funny repeats though, as a joke gets old very very fast and while three is memorable and hopefully will make the reader laugh, more than that can become painful and annoying.

What about you?  Do you have any memorable or funny "threes" from a book, movie, or TV show?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Bleeping Blurbs

Let's talk about blurbs today, shall we?  Not really the type you'd need to bleep out, however depending on the book, some might need that.

I'm talking about those couple of lines on the back of a book that makes a reader go from, "Hmmmm, nice cover."  to "OMG-I must buy and devour this book!"

Now, yes, the majority of my sales for the series coming out this year will most likely be ebook, so no one will be physically picking up the book in a bookstore and pondering the back copy.  But back copy still needs to exist.

First reason, even though most sales will be ebook, I will be making print available for folks to buy should they prefer, so gotta have something there filling up that back page. Second, even for ebooks, a blurb is handy on the web-site, shopping site, swag, etc.

So, I'm going to need blurbs.  The first one shouldn't be too hard, it's mostly there already from previous query letters.  But the second and the third ones?  How do you blurb a book in a series where people who come across said blurb may or may not have read the first book?

Aka- how does one avoid spoilers? (BTW for you Dr. Who fans, I am hearing River Song saying "Spoilers sweetie!" right now in my head.) This issue is compounded by the short turn around time planned for the three books, there's not that year of dilly dallying about like there would be with a traditional publisher.

I'm starting to prowl through favorite series and reading the book blurbs to see how to keep things secret, but still entice a reader. But it's not easy so far.  Many of the blurbs honestly do give too much away from the previous books.

So today I'm asking any of you--got any blurb writing hints?  Have any books whose blurbs just knocked you off your feet?

Help me get past the bleeping part of blurb writing!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

IWSG: Now it just got real....

Welcome to another edition of the Insecure Writers Support Group.  A collection of writers who once a month join forces from across the globe to scream out against the terror lurking in their heads.

Last year I decided for various reasons to go self-published.  I gave myself a year to get my first trilogy ready to launch because I wanted the books to come out fairly close together (an advantage over traditional publishing and one as both a reader and a former bookstore manager I know makes readers very happy!).

That seemed like a long time- a year.  365 days. 52 weeks. No worries, I had a YEAR.  Had now being the operative word.

My original plan was for the first book to launch March 1, 2015- The Glass Gargoyle will be out there creating havoc and strewing drunken faeries near and far. Back on March 1, 2014 this sounded awesome.  Now, on January 7, 2015 it's kinda freaking me out.

I'm still moving forward, like I said before I am in edits for The Glass Gargoyle, almost done with the rough draft of book two (The Obsidian Chimera) and making notes for book three.  Cover art is percolating with a professional, and battle plans are being made.

And this week I started really freaking out.

I keep saying, "next year when my books come out" in a case of subconscious denial that it's THIS year. I'm having heart palpitations at all the things still to do.  I am having a nervous breakdown that after sooooooooooo long my baby drunken faeries book will be out in the wild and total strangers WILL. BE. READING.IT.

It's as if once that clock hit midnight on December 31-- and this became 2015 aka the year I take direct action for my publishing career--every freakout in my head has come to party and brought friends.

Now, I have to admit, I'm also very very excited.  I really love this series, and I hope others do as well.  But, this shit just got real now,and it's  time to put my hard work out there, pull up my big girl panties, and do this thing! Freaking out or not.

Thanks for coming by- if you're interested in finding out more about the IWSG, and more very awesome blogs to read, please check it out!