Whoohoo! I’ll be on the upcoming “20 Minutes with…” interview at Round Table Podcast this coming Tuesday, May 31!
May 26, 2016
May 2, 2016
Some people still think I should write the dragon story I was kidding around about last year, so here’s part of it, just to show that I’m really not an epic fantasy writer, nor a comedy writer, alas.
March 8, 2016
We have a cover!
My short story “Peacock in Hell” is part of this amazing anthology, Shadowed Souls, that will be released in November (and you can preorder it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your favorite Indie!). I’m in great company, here. Edited by Kerrie Hughes and Jim Butcher, with stories by Jim, Tanya Huff, Erik Scott de Bie, Kevin J Anderson, Rob Thurman, Seanan McGuire, Jim Hines, Lucy A. Snyder, Anton Strout, and Kristine Kathryn Rusch.
March 4, 2016
February 29, 2016
I was exchanging replies to a post on Facebook with a reader and he asked about my editing process, because I am currently struggling with a tough revision. I have been tearing chunks out and rewriting to a tight deadline and the process is frustratingly ugly—it always feels like two steps back to take one forward, even if that isn’t the truth of it. The reader asked if that was my usual process and I had to say, “yes and no” essentially. That may be my process as a writer, but as a fiction editor, it isn’t. (And yes, editing fiction is not like editing non-fiction—they’re related, but different beasts.)
As a fiction editor—and as a crit partner, writing coach, or workshop instructor—my job is not to put my stamp on someone else’s work, but to help the writer realize their own goal for that work. So I have to approach with respect and care. I make suggestions and observations more often than changes. I point out places where an opportunity was missed or where voice or a structure could be strengthened, where information was missing, muddy, or heavy-handed, where pieces might be swapped, characters or arcs adjusted, inconsistencies, “clangers,” and so on. I also make sure that the writer is aware of the things that they did well—because it’s easy to forget to say “Oh, did you know this is Damned Fine Writing?” I never take someone else’s piece apart and rebuild it. That’s the writer’s job and it’s a necessary process in improving as writer.
But when I start revising or editing my own material, I’m both writer and editor at the same time and I have to listen to advice, weigh it, and analyze both the advice and my own work, as well as revising, cleaning, fixing, and re-building. I’m a lot more brutal on my own work, because no one else can be. The other aspect of editing my own work is using what I learn from reading, analyzing, and editing the work of others. So critiquing or editing my peers is part of my process of becoming a better writer, and after that a better crit partner, better editor, better workshop leader, better coach, and a better writer… And back full circle, endlessly.
Writing and editing (or critiquing) are cooperative processes, not adversarial. I learn from each to do the others better and I treat each writer I crit or edit as I would like to be treated by my crit partners or editor.
February 25, 2016
The Kickstarter for Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling is finally live! Hurray! Look at that great list of authors, editors, artists, and essayists shaking up the clichés and tropes of genre fiction–including one by me! Go, make it happen!
February 10, 2016
This morning I was told that the TV option my agents at Cooke and APA have been working on is finally official. As of last night, The Greywalker novels have been optioned for development of a Greywalker TV series. That doesn’t mean there’s a show coming for sure, but it is the first step. The folks at the agencies and at production company have been really wonderful throughout the process and I hope there will be more good news on this soon. (And thanks to Qwill for the heads up.)
This was the official announcement from Publishers Weekly under TV option sales:
Kat Richardson’s GREYWALKER series, about a private investigator who, beaten and left for dead, recovers to find she can step into the Grey, a place between this world and the next, and is attracting otherworldly business, to Back Alley Films and Muse Entertainment Enterprises, by Debbie Deuble Hill of APA Agency on behalf of Sally Harding of The Cooke Agency.
So. Now I’m going to to outside and scream with joy. I hope the neighbors don’t freak out too much….
February 9, 2016
Yesterday, I found a blog post in my feed titled “Only 40 Self-Published Authors are a Success, says Amazon.” I decry this headline (not the author, who’s clearly thinking about this a lot), because it focusses on a really narrow definition of success for self-published writers (or any writer) and that pisses me off. “‘Making money’ here means selling more than one million e-book copies in the last five years.” Wow… a million copies in one format over five years? That’s a hell of an accomplishment for any author, regardless of format or publishing mode. But the idea that we all should be selling like Hugh Howey or Amanda Hocking–regardless of format or platform–is a problem. It tempts so many worthy writers to see moderate success as dismal failure.
I wish there was more discussion of the “mid list” in digital–that segment of writers who are paying their bills with steady, moderate sales, but not going out and selling blockbuster numbers. That’s where most steady, commercial writers have traditionally stood, regardless of format or platform, but that slow-and-steady segment is shrinking (as is also noted later in the post) in the print world, and I’m not sure how it’s doing in digital (why won’t people talk about this?)
There are some other interesting numbers here, like, in spite of higher pricing, “legacy” publishers held 2/3 of the digital market and 36% of book buyers are print-only buyers. These things are related and they’re important. The blogger recognizes that digital only-authors are missing potential sales in the print-book market segment. She then goes on to talk about ways some authors have reached out to that segment. And she talks about the problem of “book discovery” in a highly saturated and volatile market. That last is one of the things I’ve been bothered by for years. How do writers reach potential readers in an information system that is now so huge and so saturated?
The discovery problem is part of the reason the Big Publishers continue to dominate the market even with a model that’s deeply flawed–they are “trusted sources” and have more control over current modes of book discovery and market penetration than independents, small presses, and self-published writers do. The combination of print sales, discovery, and market penetration are the real keys to making or breaking in the book industry. Over all, it’s an interesting post with some interesting links, and I’m amused by the ironic black-humor of the ending. (At least I hope it’s irony….)
January 27, 2016
I found this beast in what I would call a junk store in Northeast Bremerton just before Christmas. Aside from sawdust all over it and a lot of wear on the case, it was in excellent condition and the shop owner was thinking of stripping off the keys and selling them for craft materials, since the “weird” machine was unlikely to sell for a good price intact. I just couldn’t let that happen, so I bought it. Not super-cheap, but certainly a lot cheaper than if I’d bought if from someone who was more “into” typewriters. I took it straight to the local repair shop–known for their knowledge of vintage machines–and left it to be cleaned and made serviceable. Today I got it back.
I have named it “August” (or “Auggie”) in honor of Dr. Dvorak–who designed the keyboard arrangement. Auggie has pride of place on the vintage library table. We’ve determined that Auggie is a Royal Portable model (specifically an OT), built in early 1934, and shipped to the University of Washington. Dvorak keyboards weren’t a standardized item yet, since Dvorak’s patent was still in review (it was filed in 1932, but not granted until 1936). Paul, the technician and owner of Bremerton Office Machine Company, tells me that custom keyboards could be ordered at the Royal dealer’s offices by anyone, so long as they met a minimum order cost. A photo from the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle shows several of the older, heavier Standard “Model 10” Royal typewriters in use in Dr. Dvorak’s 1932 typing class at UW. I’m hoping to get in contact with MOHAI and the University’s archivists and see if I can discover more about Auggie’s past–not because it’s likely to be worth money, but because I’m a research hound and can’t resist a historical mystery.
Auggie has an unexpectedly light touch, but a long stroke, so while I’m hitting the keys harder than they need, I don’t push them down far enough to get good contact on every keystroke. I don’t yet touch type Dvorak, so it may take a while to get up to speed on Auggie. I’m also trying to discover what makes the sub-type OT different from the parent model O, and I hope to find an owner’s manual for it as well. This isn’t a museum piece–the finish is imperfect, scratched here and there, foggy in some places, the keys are not enamel but metal with paper tags under protective glass disks, and the model wasn’t rare–except for the Dvorak layout–but it still makes me happy to have it lurking in the library.
(Sorry I’m still having trouble with comments here–I really need to figure out why they don’t work.)
December 27, 2015
The last quarter of 2014 and most of 2015 was heavy going for me: The Greywalker series came to a close; I was diagnosed with a tumor and had a lot of tests and surgery, then a long, slow recovery both in the hospital and out of it; assuming that would affect me less than it did, I committed to 5 short stories and a cooperative/chain novel as well as revision of a new novel; then I agreed to an additional short story and a novella.
While most of the stories haven’t yet been published, the chain novel and novella are both still in draft, and some other projects are still in the air, I met all of my original obligations plus a bit. And this is how 2015’s project word counts look now:
Novel: 150,000 words revised twice, plus some additional wrangling.
Short stories: 30,354 combined total words.
Chain story: approximately 3,700 (+1,300 words of notes and one more chapter to do between 3,500 and 5,000 words in 2016).
Novella: approximately 10,000 words (plus notes and 15,000 words or so to do in 2016–unless it decides to be a novel).
I have to finish up the last short story before the end of the year and I promised a certain meerkat that I’d get this novella done by the Ides of March, so I have to get back to work as soon as the Holiday Period is past. But, for the most part, I’m happy with the work I’ve done. Now I just need to get back up to speed on my health and fitness. Guess what I’ll be doing in the New Year….