writing

The Convention Bag Detailed

I’ve been doing conventions for a while now, selling books. Running a con table takes a lot of stuff and a bunch of thought and so I found myself needing to prepare more and more every show. Eventually I decided on gathering up a con bag. One bag that I could put everything, except stock (and now except one other thing I’ll get to), into and just grab and go. I used to use a giant diaper bag from Target for it, as it was big enough, and sturdy enough for the job but over the time the fact that it didn’t have a rigid shape started to cause problems. It was hard to load onto the hand truck, it was a pain to carry, and it sort of flopped enough to take up too much extra room under tables….

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Networking

So I feel the need to talk about networking. You know, just did ECCC and a lot of ppl go in about “Well it’s a great show to network at, I don’t know how to network, aaaa” and really there are two schools of thought to it I know of. ONLY ONE WORKS. There are some people that see “networking” to mean going back and forth between any group you think will be an advantage to you, or your career. It’s raw opportunistic hunting. It can look like it works. It 100% doesn’t, though. See, everyone knows who that person is, and that they will only be your friend for exactly as long as they think you are of value to them. No one will tell them, to their face, that we all know. But we all talk, and names…

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Publishing news

A few months ago my first novel in quite some time, THIS STARRY DEEP, was published. In the back of the book it had a small teaser for the sequel THE ENDLESS SKY, to come in 2017. Well that date might slip by a few months into 2018 but to make up for it 2017 will see the first ever ebook version of my novella CRAZY LITTLE THING. CLT is one of my all-time fave things I’ve written. So I am super excited to be able to share it with you guys again. It’s a love story. I mean a love story the way I do them, which…look it’s a love story, all right? But that’s not all! Along with those two bits of news I can officially announce that around (roughly) a year after THE ENDLESS SKY another novel…

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Everyone has a secret origin.

Everyone has a secret origin. This is mine. Both my parents were in publishing. My father sold his first short story to a magazine when he was 13. This is not bragging. This is a warning. I grew up being taught how story works. When I was around six I remember sitting at a playground with my dad and him insisting I finish the scene I was working on in in a short story before I could go play. My childhood was…strange. When I was 12 I got my first prose rejection from a major anthology. When I was 18 I realized I hadn’t been published yet, and hadn’t submitted in a few years, either, and declared myself a total and utter failure. It was the start of a bit of a breakdown that lasted a few years, not that…

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We all live here

You’re not good enough. Everyone around you hates you because you’re lagging behind where they are. Everyone is laughing in secret. You’re a talentless joke. Keep trying, you can’t catch up but it’s funny to watch you fail. I bet you think that’s well done. You fucking joke. Every day. Every night. The demons come out to play. They whisper and point and giggle and mock as they dance around the room, watching us, hoping to see us flinch, and eventually curl up in despair. We all live here. We all live in this liminal space between creator and creation. This space that is full of demons. They’re your real friends, they’re tell you. They understand you. The demons know what is truly going on, they swear. It’s not pessimistic, or negative, they’re quite sure. It’s realistic, and shouldn’t be…

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A start

The dragon roared as it died, shaking the ground beneath our feet. We could see the arcing lights of whatever high-born magic killed the giant lizard as they stained the sky and burnt the clouds. We just didn’t care. That was the high-born, doing their best to waste our world. We weren’t them, follow? No, we kept up with what we were doing. Well. The others kept up. I kept watching them. They beat on Ken a while longer and then just got bored, drifting away in little clumps. I took notes. Technique: who favored which arm, who liked to kick, to bite, that sort of thing. It came in handy to know. My parents had been high-born, but fell from grace due to serving the crown too well. No one talks about it, that sort of thing couldn’t happen,…

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Do not edit

Stop it. Right now. Stop editing. Look, if you’re writing then your job is to write. That’s your only job. Because here’s the truth: Over 95% of people who try to write things never finish. This is the key to getting where you want. As silly as it sounds it is as simple as: Finish your story. Write. Keep writing. Finish. Then you can go back and edit. I’ve known too many people who want to start writing and write a page or two and then stop and go “Well let me fix that before I move on.” They will, chances are, never finish. Because they don’t move forward. They just move backward. Every half step they take they take two back to “fix things.” When you are writing your job is to write. When you have told your story…

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Blog editors.

I used Grammarly to grammar check this post because I’m a neurotic space monkey with enough spare time to test tools and report on them for you to enjoy. Meanwhile, I remain a monkey, in a capsule, in space. Oh god, I’m running out of aiiiirrrrrrrrrrrrr… But why did I use Grammarly? That’s part of a bigger discussion. Editing is a funny thing. Most pro-writers I know extol the virtues of working with an editor. A lot of self-pub authors, not to bag on them but…, they tend to shun editors. Editors are pricey they say. They can just edit themselves all the way start to finish they say. It’s close enough they say. They are wrong. A good editor is worth double whatever you pay them. They do more than spell check and grammar check. They help you tease…

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Compared to who?

Do not compare yourself to other people. This isn’t easy to do. It really isn’t. But it can be crucial. I can not put out a book and look at the sales and think “Well, Stephen King would have sold more.” – of course he would have. I am not Stephen King. Sad for me. But here is the other truth: he is not me and that is kinda sad for him. I like being me, but that means being me and not someone else. My stuff doesn’t sell like Person A, Person B or Person C. It sells better than Person D, Person E, and Person F. What matters, all that matters, is if it sells enough for me. Did it do better than the last thing? Is it a better bit of craft? Have I learned from it?…

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The highs and lows of writing

This should not be a shock, but I am not the best writer I know. The truth is I am often not the best writer I know who sits at my desk. And I’m the only person who uses my desk. That’s just the way of it. Most times I can feel every word, every phrase and idea that didn’t translate right from my brain to the page – and it’s almost all of them. I will sit and struggle and fuss and worry about how bad a writer I am. Until I’m actually writing. See when I am in the process of laying down words I am the best writer who ever lived. In my head at least. For exactly as long as I’m working. Then it’s back to doubtsville. And that’s right. That’s the correct way of things,…

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