Pub Rants: Creating An Editorial Road Map

Even the pros do it:

Via the outline, I can clearly point out what works, what doesn’t work, where it should build tension or escalate the stakes, what could be deleted to tightened or even if the story has gone off the rails completely.

Pub Rants: Creating An Editorial Road Map.

On writing the first draft | Malinda Lo

Most recently, as I was writing the first draft of the sequel to Adaptation, I kept thinking about revision as this kind of shining oasis waiting for me in the future. All I had to do to get there was lay down this track of rough draft. It could have bad sentences and plot holes all over the place. It didn’t matter as long as I laid it down, because I knew that once I had those first draft words, then and only then would I have something to work with.

via On writing the first draft | Malinda Lo.

Two book releases

A quick shout-out to two writing friends of mine, Tama Wise and Christopher Ruz, for the release of their debuts.  Congratulations, guys!

Street Dreams by Tama Wise

Street Dreams by Tama Wise

Tyson Rua has more than his fair share of problems growing up in South Auckland. Working a night job to support his mother and helping bring up his two younger brothers is just the half of it. His best friend Rawiri is falling afoul of a broken home, and now Tyson’s fallen in love at first sight.

Only thing is, it’s another guy.

Living life on the sidelines of the local hip-hop scene, Tyson finds that to succeed in becoming a local graffiti artist or in getting the man of his dreams, he’s going to have to get a whole lot more involved. And that means more problems. The least of which is the leader of the local rap crew he’s found himself running with. Love, life, and hip-hop never do things by half.

Check out the first review at The Muses’ Circle:

I give Street Dreams a solid 4 out of 5 star rating for its distinctive, colorful characters, its controversial subject matter, and also showing us a slice of life most people would never know about. If you like hip hop, break dancing, and graffiti art, then you will fall under Tama Wise’s spell and want to know more about Siege, Ihaia, and Loot, characters I haven’t even had the chance to talk about, but will bring this Auckland hip hop world to life before your very own eyes. Street Dreams is not one of those books that makes your heart race; its one of those novels that is powerful in its subtlety. It makes you think long after the last page has been read. It can be a influential tool in the right hands, a great source that addresses the ever controversial topics of gay stereotypes and homosexuality vs. cultural identity.

Century of Sand by Christopher Ruz

Century of Sand by Christopher Ruz

Richard and Ana are on the run.

As a young soldier, Richard led a rebellion that installed the King’s sociopathic Magician as the new regent. Now, after forty years of watching his comrades vanish into the dungeons of Stonebridge Castle, Richard has fled the kingdom with his mute daughter in tow, escaping into the desert wastes where magic still boils in the clouds and demons walk the dunes inside the bodies of men.

The Magician isn’t far behind, and he’s brought a pet: the Culling, an undead stitched-together tracking dog with a taste for blood. But Richard has his own weapon, stolen from the Magician himself: the calcified heart of a demon, which he hopes to trade back to its original owner in exchange for sanctuary. What he doesn’t know is that his daughter, Ana, is far more valuable than the stone. She was the last piece in the Magician’s grand weapon, and he’ll tear the desert in half to get her back…

Read an interview with Chris on Big Shiny Robot:

I’m not accusing fantasy of being a stale genre. There are many fantastic authors pushing the boundaries – Sanderson, Mieville and Wolfe to name a few. But it’s easy to follow the well-worn path. Need a rags-to-riches story? You can’t get more raggedy than a farmboy who becomes a hero. Need to raise the stakes? Threaten the reader with the end of the world. Need some fantasy elements to spice things up? Why not toss in some dwarves and drow?

So when it came time for me to plan Century of Sand, I decided to create something unpredictable. I wrote about Richard, an old man running away from terrible decisions, and Ana, a girl raised in a dungeon, trained to fight but not to speak. I pushed them as far away from the traditional hero archetypes as I could, making them ambiguous and flighty. Save the world? Hell, Richard’s only interested in saving his daughter, and on his bad days he’s only concerned with himself.

Revising with Scrivener | Malinda Lo

How the professionals do it:

On the index card for each scene, I wrote a very short summary of what the scene did. Seriously, like five words: Snow White is born. Evil queen is jealous. Snow White runs away. If a scene didn’t do anything, I moved it to the end of the stack and ultimately I deleted them. (I had about five scenes in which the characters just talked to each other. No action. Bye-bye.)

Revising with Scrivener | Malinda Lo.

C’MERE says K. Marie Criddle: Well, well, well…we meet again, Chapter Forty Two.

Stuck in revision hell?  Marie has some humour to make it all better again.

C’MERE says K. Marie Criddle: Well, well, well…we meet again, Chapter Forty Two..

Upcoming Classes Through June | The World Remains Mysterious

More awesome classes by Cat Rambo.  If you write novels, take her First Pages class with Louise Marley.  Seriously.  TAKE IT.

Upcoming Classes Through June | The World Remains Mysterious.

Do Some Damage: Are you and your manuscript ready for submission?

Via Joelle Charbonneau via Chuck Wendig, 15 ways an author can know a manuscript is ready for submission.

7. Your first chapter ends on a fabulous, page turning hook. You know those authors that you love to curse out because they kept you up all night reading when you should have been getting sleep. You want to be one of those people. If your characters go to sleep at the end of a chapter, your reader will probably remember that they are supposed to get rest and put the book down. End the first chapter in a great hook and the reader will flip the page with you and suffer at work for it the next day.

Do Some Damage: Are you and your manuscript ready for submission?.

The Other Side of the Story: Shake and Bake: Re-Structuring Your Novel

I was going to do a post on restructuring your draft, but then I found a link to this nice, succinct gem.  Go read it.  It’s what I wanted to say anyway.

There’s a good story there, it just needs to be shaped and polished to bring that story out and put the protag back in the narrative driver’s seat.

via The Other Side of the Story: Shake and Bake: Re-Structuring Your Novel.

25 Things I Want To Say To So-Called “Aspiring” Writers

Good advice today (haha) from Chuck Wendig:

Writing is a technical skill. A craft. You can argue that storytelling is an art. You can argue that art emerges from good writing the way a dolphin riding a jet-ski emerges the longer you stare at a Magic Eye painting. But don’t get ahead of yourself, hoss. You still need to know how to communicate. You need to learn the laws of this maddening land. I’ve seen too many authors want to jump ahead of the skill and just start telling stories — you ever try to get ahead of your own skill level? I used to imagine pictures in my head and I’d try to paint them in watercolor and they’d end up looking like someone barfed up watery yogurt onto the canvas. I’d rail against this: WHY DON’T THEY LOOK BEAUTIFUL? Uhh, because you don’t know how to actually paint, dumb-fuck. You cannot exert your talent unless you first have the skill to bolster that talent.

via 25 Things I Want To Say To So-Called “Aspiring” Writers.