Monthly Archives March 2012

Should I bother with Writing Rules?

All my writing life I have come across Rules. Of late, however, the prevalence of these, and worse, people happily quoting them as though they were The Only Way To Write, has become a bane. Let’s get a few things clear, especially for newbie writers out there who may be inadvertently lured in by these snippets of writing wisdom. Writing Rules are usually written by successful writers; often quoted out of context; offer no guarantees whatever (thank God!); and can easily lead a writer astray. You may be mistaken for thinking that if you follow Kurt Vonnegut’s Eight Rules for
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5 Reasons Indie Publishing is the Future

If you told me five years ago that Indie authors would be the driving force of the publishing industry, I’d have called your bluff. Today, I’m sure of it: indie authors will be more the norm, less the black sheep of publishing sooner than we all thought. In fact, it’s already happened. It is the age of the author. Here’s why: 1. Big traditional publishers no longer have the “prestige” they once did It used to be that having a book deal with a big traditional press was akin to earning a coveted place among the literary elite. Now readers
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Why Sci-Fi?

As a genre, science fiction and its relatives (from horror, to fantasy, to dystopias) are by in large dismissed by the literary community. To me, to dismiss sci-fi and fantasy is to dismiss George Orwell (1984), Margaret Atwood (Handmaid’s Tale), Mary Shelly (Frankenstein), Bram Stoker (Dracula), Jonathan Swift (Gulliver’s Travels), and Beowulf, to name a few.  Recently, Pulitzer-Prize winning author, Michael Chabon wrote of his frustrations early in his writing career when his sci-fi flavored stories were dismissed and ridiculed.  On the surface, the literary community makes some good points. The otherworldly impossibilities are often times nothing more than imaginative
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The Big Argument

Yes, friends, it’s here. Actually, it’s been here for quite some time, and no one has figured out how to get rid of it. Neither Black Flag nor borax has any effect. The big argument is, of course: Where does science fiction end and fantasy begin? I’ll grant you that this one will never be settled. There are both good and not-so-good reasons for that. But before we get really serious, let’s have a gander at the most serious problem an SF writer must face: whether and when to violate known physical laws. If you enjoy science fiction (which I
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Before You Write

There are plenty of days where I can think of nothing else other than getting home so I can get back to writing. However, there are plenty of times that as the day goes on, my enthusiasm and creative charge fades by the time I can finally get to it. So I’ve developed a system to help me out, and I thought I’d share my ideas. You could think of it as a method for setting yourself up for a creative and productive writing session. Before you write: 1.) Read Read something, even if it’s just a paragraph. You should
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A Writer’s Introduction to… Copyright

“The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources” – Albert Einstein, physicist, 1879 – 1955 When I decided to write this particular article, I was somewhat wary. I am not, never have been, nor wish to be a lawyer, less so one specialized in this area. So as an important caveat before continuing: if, as a writer, you suspect, or know, you are going to have issues with copyright, seek out professional, specialized legal advice. Do not rely on what follows; this is meant to be a simplified guide to the basics of this subject. Also, given
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Online Opportunities for Writers Are Popping Out All Over

Spring may be coming early for writers who want to try new online sites on which to promote their books or other writing. While some of you may already be on these sites, many of you will find these sites to be green pastures for your online promotional efforts. Pinterest.com This is reportedly the fastest growing social media site at this time. While it is about pins (a photo with a short description and a link) on boards (pins grouped under one theme, such as “My Books”), Pinterest offers some interesting opportunities for writers who are willing to be innovative
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Navigating The Indie Writer’s Network

The Indie Writer’s Network is full of opportunities for you to meet other writers, join in discussions, join special interest and genre groups, and learn from other writers by exploring networked blogs. The question is: once you’ve joined, where do you begin?  Start with your IndieWriteNet profile. This might seem like a silly place to start, but once I show you all it has to offer, it might not seem so silly after all. How do I access my profile? When you are logged in on the network’s home page, your profile can be found by clicking on your name
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The Art of Getting “Snowed In”–Notes from a Writer’s Retreat

I can still recall the first time I visited Walden Pond on a misty winter’s day.  Having read deeply, or rather “sucked out all the marrow” from Henry David Thoreau’s literary retreat into the woods, I vowed that one day I too would live so deliberately, so solitarily, so close to nature that I might feel that inspiration which is lovelier than diamonds descending all around me like heaven’s crystalline tears. Back then, I was a college student in Boston and there were classes to attend, unfinished reports and exams to consider—not to mention the constant demands of friends and
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Six Tips for a Memorable Book Trailer

To make this simple, let me say this: Book trailers are not, and should not, be movie trailers. The two medium are far too different and shouldn’t be sold in the same way. Books are a personal experience. No one can really read a book with you. Reading asks you to interpret and imagine the text in a way that no one else will. And as such, the reader needs the freedom to be able to imagine their own version of the story, and make it come to life in their mind’s eye. A movie is a totally different experience.
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