Jan 30

Book Reports

Posted: under Contents, Revisions, the writing life.
Tags: , ,  January 30th, 2012

Agent had some worthwhile comments on Book IV which sent it back to me for more work.   This will result in an added chapter early in the book and the “perking up” (my term, not Agent’s)  of some fairly large chunks considered “flat” as well as showing one character more active and tough than before (hadn’t realized that character had softened that much between books.)     Some of that will involve shortening, and some will involve lengthening, as usual.   Agent has contacted Editor, who gave permission for an extension to do the work he suggested, pointing out that we could send her the version I sent him today, or a better version in ten days.  (Agent has had the book since January 20 and I appreciate the fast, analytical reading Agent gave it. )

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Jan 28

Knitting & Writing

Posted: under Craft, Life beyond writing, the writing life.
Tags: , ,  January 28th, 2012

My mother was a terrific knitter (and seamstress, and designer, and needlepointer, and…well just about everything.  Engineer, nurse, built some furniture, designed everything from houses to ranch pens to clothes, carved wood, painted pictures…and made biscuits I will never equal.)    Watching her pull together a knit-in-the-round sweater with no seams (especially one of the patterned ones) was a visual metaphor for what I do writing books (I realized this years later, after she’d died.)    You could talk to her while she was knitting a sleeve.  Often you could talk to her while she was knitting the body.  But when it came to The Joining, when the two sleeve tubes were mated to the body tube at the correct angle , with her signature little cable running up the join,  when there would be enough double-pointed needles in the project for several hours  to make it look like a torture device, there was no talking.    There was silent removal of empty coffee cup and setting down of a filled one.

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Jan 25

Craft: Words

Posted: under Craft.
Tags:  January 25th, 2012

I can’t remember if this question has been asked here, but it comes up in other venues, at least, and I’m in the mood to write a little about it so…”Do writers really need a big vocabulary?”

That’s kind of like asking a world-renowned chef if she really needs all those spices, herbs,  ingredients, all those pots and pans and tools.

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Jan 22

Submission Packages

Posted: under Background, Craft, the writing life.
Tags: , , ,  January 22nd, 2012

What you send to Agent or Editor varies with the kind of book, but I’m now working on the not-book parts of the submission package.   NewEditors who are assigned in the middle and latter parts of a group of books–especially something as complicated as the Paksworld books–usually appreciate something that will get them up to speed quicker than just reading the whole (in this case eight previous) books.   Copyeditors always like to have a list of unique character names, words, etc.   And that’s what I’m doing now, taking a break from the wildlife management report for a few hours to work on this.

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Jan 20

It’s on its way…

Posted: under Good News, Submitting, the writing life.
Tags:  January 20th, 2012

Book IV left via the electronic express this morning, after a brief conversation with Agent on the topic of titles.   It’s gone off with an obviously not-suitable (but descriptive) title that will ensure Editor realizes it needs a different one.    It’s going first to Agent,  who will read through it just in case I’ve missed something really awful, and then to Editor.    And it’s out of my hands for right now, which is WHEE! time.

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Jan 18

And other bits of good news

Posted: under Echoes of Betrayal, Good News, Kings of the North, Marketing, the writing life.
Tags: ,  January 18th, 2012

OrbitUK  has me in their Author Spotlight this month.   I’ve also been told my author copies are shipping this week.  Yay, hurray, and rejoicing by writer (esp. with Book IV about to head for the big city.)

For US readers,  the mass market paperback of Kings of the North is coming out very soon, and the hardcover of Echoes of Betrayal releases February 28.   Even better (for those who still buy hardcover books) I’ve been told it will be on the Random House Triangle displays at Barnes & Noble.

Now I really must get back to work.   It’s kind of like the cross-country of three-day-eventing….you have to ride the whole course, including the last fence.

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Jan 18

Anyone Running a Pool?

Posted: under Good News, the writing life.
Tags: ,  January 18th, 2012

What I think (and devoutly hope) is the last pre-submission scene to be ripped up and rewritten was finished this morning by 10 am local time.    I was writing like crazy until 2:45 am when I pretty much froze up, joints and brain together, and started again this morning at 7:30am.  You are reading the typing of a very tired writer.

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Jan 16

A Moment of Insane Levity

Posted: under the writing life.
Tags:  January 16th, 2012

Because I mentioned the existence of this thing in a tweet to Tanya Huff (whose Valor books are favorites in this household) , and she and another asked for it to be posted somewhere…I dragged it out of obscurity, corrected a couple of typos, wrote up a brief explanation of its origins and…posted it on the Paksworld website.   Here’s what happened.

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Jan 15

Finishing Touches

Posted: under Craft, Revisions, the writing life.
Tags: , ,  January 15th, 2012

Chapter numbers.   Chapter numbers don’t go on until I’m sure all the chapters are there, in the right order (OK, MOSTLY sure.)    Before that, chapters have a title, such as “Chapter: Kieri & Elves Talk History” (not actual title.)  That way I can use a search on “Chapter” to find the beginnings of chapters, and the title tells me if I have the one I want.  Chapter numbers change during the writing, as I may be off-chronology.    Chapters are numbered now, all forty-one of them.

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Jan 11

Another Rule of Names

Posted: under Craft.
Tags: ,  January 11th, 2012

If you have over a million words of fiction set in the same world, you’re very likely going to have a lot of characters and those characters need names.   The names have to fit the world, and each other.  In real life, many people may have the same name (which is how the innocent get blamed for crimes they didn’t commit): there are dozens of Elizabeth Moons across the country, with at least one in most states and at least nine in Texas.   But in a book (as I discovered in my first one, when I didn’t know better) readers expect one name per character and one character per name.   They need those names to be easily pronounced (and “easily” varies with the reader) and distinctive.

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