But. Halloween is our redemption. Four classes = four opportunities for cupcakes and candy.
So, whether you're trick-or-treating, tossing out candy to the younguns, or wondering how to roll yourself out of school with five cupcakes in your belly...
It would be very easy to cling on to the Tardis console for ever and I fear that if I don’t take a deep breath and make the decision to move on now, then I simply never will.OK...back to real linkspam and away from my crying Scottish heart...
So back into the writer cave I went, wondering why I put up with this when I can make literally dozens of dollars making internet movies. Why I do put up with this is divided into three parts.Finally, BBC (*sigh*DavidTennant) is starting up a new show that looks quite good, hope BBCA will pick it up (go check out the picture for this, it's pretty intriguing):
One: They're not wrong. Oh, we don't see eye-to-eye on everything, but wanting the first episodes to be exciting and accessible is not exactly Satanic. ...
Two: Nothing essential has changed about the universe. The ideas and relationships that intrigued me from the start are all there (though some have shifted, more on that), and the progression of the first thirteen eps has me massively excited. The episode we're shooting now I wrote as fast as anything I have before, not because I had to (although, funny side-note: I had to) but because I couldn't stop the words from coming. Because I can feel the show talking to me; delighting, scaring and occasionally even offending me. It's alive. Alive! Which is a far cry from how I felt a month ago.....
Merlin (BBC One)
No Robin Hood this autumn (that’s back in the new year); Saturday teatimes will instead get a magical, Arthurian makeover. Colin Morgan will star as the fledgeling wizard, opposite Richard Wilson, Anthony Head, Michelle Ryan and a dragon sounding suspiciously like John Hurt.
At a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fates. That’s the world’s greatest lie. Whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.And this is what it means to be a writer. In the beginning, you believe in the dream of publication, you believe that doing it makes it so. And there is Beginner's Luck--those good, inspiring comments early in our writing life that gives us faith in ourselves and our dream. And things happen to make you want to give up--bad rejections, form rejections, rejection in general. Even good things--like family and careers--make you want to give up on writing. But, knowing and believing in my own Personal Legend--and not giving up on it--is all that I can do. And hopefully, that world out there is conspiring to make my Personal Legend come true.
My book is free because my husband always asks me to bring home cookies from Sant Ambrose whenever I go into New York City. It's because I wear one of the L'Oeuvre Noire perfumes by Kilian. And it's because we both use L'Occitane Verbena Shower Gel. And what all those things have in common is at one point in my life as a consumer - or his - we sampled them.
...trying something for free is the best way of discovering it. And free doesn't mean sampling a quarter of a cookie - it means the whole cookie. ... It doesn't mean reading the first five pages of my book online - it means reading my whole book for free as a way of discovering me as an author.
Back in 1999 and 2000 a few of us... a very few of us... Douglas Clegg, Seth Godin and I... offered free electronic copies of our books in an effort to reach an audience we otherwise wouldn't have reached and to test out a new marketing concept for books. Despite the industry screaming we were crazy, it worked. We each wound up selling many more copies of the books that we gave away than anyone expected and for each of us the experiment was a success. Back then many thought it an audacious move and even though we proved free books led to increased books sales it's been hard for me to convince any of my publishers to try it again. Until now. I guess it's an idea whose time has come, or I've gotten more persuasive, or the VP I asked at my publishing house recently got a nice sample of a new moisturizer at the department store and understood the idea ... but whatever the reason, I'm thrilled.
But mainly my problem is that I'm still working out the guts of the story while I'm writing it. I know the beginning, some scenes scattered throughout the book, and I know the ending. The trick is to come up with the story to link all of those together. The key there is come up with the story. Get it right the first time, and I've got relatively smooth sailing. But if I take a wrong turn, I lose valuable writing time trying to get myself back on the right track.This article is so good, that it may merit a full post later.
Do you know PJ? If not, go find out about her--and then buy her book! Tabitha's got an interview on her today, and you'll see mine up tomorrow.
Publishers Weekly critic and YA writer Gwenda Bond...[says], "Fantasy and SF aren't starting from the disadvantage of being segregated, and the publishers aren't desperately trying to keep the fantasy titles from brushing up against the mainstream stuff. Fantasy is, arguably, the mainstream in YA. It's a much more equal playing field."[Scott Westerfield says,] "...A fantasy where a protagonist has to save the world is fundamentally more believable to a teen. Adults don't think they can save the world anymore, and they rarely feel their setbacks as acutely."
Outlined the book, and figured out where I was going to add scenes and where I was going to remove them. Where I had to move a scene, I used the outline to help me figure out the best way to do that. When it comes to first-draft writing, I'm a "plunger." Sometimes I use a very sketchy outline, but I drift from it as I write. However, I find outlines useful in the revision stage, when I have all the puzzle pieces and I'm deciding how to arrange them.Although I'm looking at my first draft as an outline in and of itself, I'm also considering doing a true outline on the re-write. I've already re-arranged scenes and added different ones, enough so that I need some system to keep track of everything. When you're dealing with magic and mystery, you've got to have some sort of logical order!
This is what revising is for me. Writing; deciding it works; putting it away; taking it out again; realizing it doesn't actually work; rewriting; deciding it works; putting it away; taking it out again; realizing it doesn't actually work; rewriting... you get the idea.And for me, right now, I'm about there. See, it's the set-up that's killing me. I've got a great plot, but I need to make it work.
For me — for pretty much every writer — the big problem isn’t piracy, it’s obscurity (thanks to Tim O’Reilly for this great aphorism). Of all the people who failed to buy this book today, the majority did so because they never heard of it, not because someone gave them a free copy.
If you'll forgive a little blatant self-promotion, I am excited to
announce that my third book, Something Wicked, comes out this week! The
official on-sale date is Thursday, October 16th, but the way things go
it may show up on bookstore shelves sooner or later than that. Something
Wicked is a contemporary young adult mystery based on Macbeth and set in
the mountains of East Tennessee. It's the second book in my Horatio
Wilkes series, each of which is based on a different Shakespeare play.
To celebrate the release of Something Wicked, Dial Books is offering a
special promotion: they're letting you read the first Horatio Wilkes
mystery, Something Rotten, for free.
You read that right. Free. Gratis. Complimentary. No charge.
You don't have to register, you don't have to give your e-mail address,
you don't have to buy something else to read it.
All you have to do is click here:
Why are we letting people read Something Rotten for free while it's
still on sale at your favorite bookseller? Because the number one
challenge facing most authors is obscurity. Of all the people who didn't
buy Something Rotten today, the majority did so because they simply
didn't know it existed--not because someone gave them a free copy of it.
Like Cory Doctorow, author of Little Brother, says, we think it's more
important to get more people into our tent than to make sure everybody
inside bought a ticket.
So please click the link above and give Something Rotten a read if you
haven't already, and PLEASE HELP ME SPREAD THE WORD! This promotion from
my publisher took a lot of convincing on my part, and I want to show
them I'm not crazy! Tell friends, tell teachers, tell librarians, TELL
KIDS. If you have a blog, please blog about the offer! I want to do
everything I can to make sure as many people read Something Rotten
online before the promotion ends on November 30th, 2008.
Thanks so much!
Read more about Something Wicked:
Read more about Something Rotten:
Read Something Rotten FOR FREE: <http://www.alangratz.com/
Samurai Shortstop (Dial 2006)
Something Rotten (Dial 2007)
Something Wicked (Dial 2008)
The Brooklyn Nine (Dial 2009)
I love to write
I don't care. I only care about whether you can write well enough to tell a good compelling story.
One of the reasons I love the English language so much is on account of how crazy flexible it is. I can bend and twist it. Sometimes make it go SNAP and BANG and BROKEN. But it always bounces back good and nice. It’s the job of copyeditors to disagree with me.
I wonder what Alan would say about this "new" age range they are calling the 'tweens, the official grey zone bridging MG and YA?I emailed Alan this morning, and he was kind enough to send me this reponse:
The "Tween" age range is, indeed, a gray zone between middle grade and young adult. Look up "tween" and you'll get a variety of definitions, but I think the "tween" market is the upper end of middle grade--that 11 to 12 age. One of the best descriptions I've read of it is, "kids who desperately want to be teens, but aren't ready to stop being kids." To my mind, a majority of the Disney "teen" programs (shows like Hanna Montana and High School Musical) are aimed squarely at these kids. "Tween," like most categories, is a marketing device--another way to sell media to a very specific group of people. and yet there usually isn't a "tween" section in the bookstore. Most books that use some kind of age range coding system on their covers put "tween" books in the middle grade category, coding them as 8-12 or 9-12, while I think their appeal will be the upper end of that range.
I ran into a similar coding problem with Samurai Shortstop. The book deals with more mature themes--suicide, death, hazing, loyalty, honor, political tensions--but it also has no sex, drugs, or profane language. Most bookstores put it in the young adult section, which is where I think it belongs. Barnes and Noble shelved it in their "Young Readers" section, which is essentially their middle grade section. While I think it can be read by both ages, I think its core readership may fall into that 11-12 "tween" demographic. Off the top of my head, other books I think work as "tween": The Spiderwick Chronicles, the Sammy Keyes mysteries, Lauren Myracle's Eleven and Twelve, the Molly Moon series, Flush, Skullduggery Pleasant...
I'm interested to hear what others think though. There's certainly no industry consensus....
Bad news for American writers hoping for a Nobel Prize next week: the top member of the award jury believes the United States is too insular and ignorant to compete with Europe when it comes to great writing.An editor's thought process on picking up a new title.
...never do I read the synopsis first, and I always wonder why people put the synopsis on the top of the chapters since the chapters are what you really want me to read, but that’s a post for another time.Christy just put up her own take on the Tension workshop on her blog. She's formatting it in a little bit different of a way (and quite smart way) than how I did: she's taking the rules (or the first one) that Johnston talked about and applying it directly to some sample books. Good stuff; go check it out.
...sites like these two give us hope that the naysayers have simply lost touch with an audience (a bunch of audiences, really) that still exists and will continue to exist... and that the future of publishing will be led by those who are able to bring that audience together.Scroll down for an agent's timely advice on revisions:
Everyone is frightened of revision, deep down. Because it means pulling up everything you’ve carefully put together thus far and opening it up once again to the cold and dispassionate light of analysis, rigour and logic.
[On the writing profession] It is craft. It is art. It is music. It is philosophy and psychology. It is structure, It is all things creative and analytical, all rolled into one form. It is well worth learning in any way you possibly can...
...a librarian at my local public library confessed that she had no interest in learning “what unreadable Newbery the committee was going to foist on us this year.” Then, a few weeks later at an education conference, I was startled to hear several teachers and media specialists admit they hadn’t bought a copy of the Newbery winner for the last few years. Why? “They don’t appeal to our children,” they explained patiently.