Articles Tagged with writing

dunham-200x300

The making of Dunham

And so begins a post (or series of them) (you know how wishy-washy I am) on Dunham, the privateer-heroine and pirate-hero Revolutionary War swashbuckler, which, for those of you not following the serial, will be available for sale July 4, 2013.

To kick it off, here’s the final cover for the official book:

dunham-fullflat-web

I struggled with the question of whether to go with a slightly modified version of the serial’s cover to deal with familiarity to those who’ve followed the story all year (yes, almost a year!). But in the end, I decided not to. Why? Several reasons.

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Creepy collective consciousness is creepy

It appears I’m not the only writer with her knickers in a twist over The Book That Shall Not Be Named, and not only that, but it appears the writerly collective conscious had gotten its knockers knickers in a twist somewhere between Sunday night and Monday morning. Usually when the twist in my knickers gets too tight, I simply avoid the source. In this case, I can’t. It’s everywhere, including my snail mail box after my 70-year-old aunt in Salt Lake took the time to cut an article on it from Deseret News and drop it in the mail to me. I can’t get away from it.

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Journal entry: February 3, 2007

I used to be a writer.  I wrote lots of stuff.  It never got published and I gave up.  I just…stopped…one day.  Sometimes I read what I wrote and I get a charge from it, and I catch myself wondering how the author would have finished it if she had finished it.  I suppose I’ll never know.

(I started writing The Proviso in August 2007.)

How to destroy a brand in one easy (lazy) step

So most of us DIYers out here are trying to brand ourselves. We spend our time on Twitter and Facebook and message boards and whatnot trying to build an audience and a fanbase.

Then the midlist authors come along and digitize their backlists, and everybody’s happy because they already have a brand and they’re simply supplying a product that people want. Yay.

And then there are the midlist and higher-up authors who self-publish new stuff. That’s kind of an interesting experiment. I like watching it all play out even though, well, their brand trumps my brand and I have to work harder at establishing my brand.

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Writing: Ur Doin it Rong

I saw this in an author post somewhere on the ’net:

Thinking isn’t writing.
Outlining isn’t writing.
Research isn’t writing.
Rewriting isn’t writing.

Putting pen to paper is writing.

Really.

That’s odd, because I’ve been writing in my head for years, starting circa fifth grade when I couldn’t understand the concept of an outline, but could construct a well-organized essay in my head after a great deal of reading, assimilating, and thinking. When I finally put pen to paper, the work was already done.

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People watching

Yesterday I had surgery for the first time ever (not counting wisdom teeth). It was elective and went well, so everything’s fine.

Anyway. I very rarely go out. I’m a serious hermit. When I do go out, I avoid people like the plague. I don’t care to be touched or talked at by total strangers. I’m very conscious and protective of my personal space. But.

I watch.

Maybe out of the corner of my eye. Maybe I use my ears to see (comes from years and years of transcribing for a living—you get to know people pretty well by voice inflection). Maybe a small gesture catches my eye. It doesn’t happen all the time, but it does happen enough that I get lots of ideas for characterization. I take lots of notes in my head. I’ve even taken notes on paper.

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Reviewing too close to home

I wrote on this topic two months ago.

I still don’t know what to do, but I’m losing my patience because I discovered that writers of some of the stuff that’s really bad are giving writing advice. Oy. Stop it. You’re not qualified to give writing advice. Really*.

In light of this post and this comment,

in light of a recent romancelandia kerfuffle about writers/unpublished authors reviewing,

in light of Mormons’ cultural tendency to say nice or nothing at all,

in light of the fact that I’m a reader first and I’ve spent money on these books and I have a reader’s perspective and want to express it,

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“Clean” does not equal good.

I want to talk about LDS fiction, the kind Deseret Book and Covenant and Cedar Fort publish.

This is not a rant. I’m not being sarcastic, nasty, snarky, hateful, bitter, or any other pejorative one might chalk up to my tone. Whatever one might read into it, what I’m feeling right now is a deep sense of disappointment.

I have several LDS novels in my bookshelf by well-known LDS niche authors. There are two I have tried to start, but while the premises are interesting, they aren’t exactly my cuppa. The prose is adequate. They aren’t boring. I put them aside for when I’m in the mindset to read them.

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I am god

I have a lot of fun with my imaginary friends, thinking of them as if they’re real, telling my tax deductions about mommy’s imaginary friends and laughing about what they do with Dude, talking about them to other writers who like to talk about what their imaginary friends do, too.

We talk about them as if we have no control over them, as if they’re driving the train. In a review of Stay, reviewer Julie Weight said,

When you read Jovan’s books, you just know these characters are like real people to her. She knows them like she knows her own family. Actually, she knows them better than her own family, since she knows their motives and what they’re thinking. If you get her talking about them, you’ll forget that they are just the imaginary people who live in her head. She makes them real, however and wherever she presents them. And because of that, she also agonizes over their lives – to the point where sometimes it seems like she forgets that she’s the one in charge of their lives! All of this familiarity and love for these people comes out in the writing and the story. Because she believes in them, you will start to believe in them. She writes the characters and the stories so well that you, the reader, will become wrapped up in their lives and care deeply about what is going to happen to them.

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Free agency

Mormon publishing is a small world, but since I only hover on the outskirts of the community as a fiction writer who is Mormon and not as a writer of Mormon fiction (albeit I have Mormon characters), I don’t have much invested in the state of the Mormon art.

Currently I’m involved in a discussion on the Association for Mormon Letters blog that led to these comments:

Author Annette Lyon said:

Angela also hit it right on the head when she said that it’s a bit tricky naming names and titles when you’re one of the LDS writers yourself. It was a different story before I was part of that group. It’s easy to praise, but this is a tiny sandbox. An offhanded remark can make an enemy, so imagine if I were to give an honest review of that other book. Yeah. Let’s just say I don’t dare.

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Theme of the week

Dude DVRs all the series dramas (and a few sitcoms) he can pack into the box, and he watches them in chronological order (natch).

About two years ago, we started noticing something very odd: Across all the dramas, across all the networks, there would be a theme of the week. It’s as if The Great Producer in the Sky (aka James Cameron) said to all the writers in television, “Okay. This week’s writing prompt is underground BDSM sex parties, a murder, and collector’s wine. GO!”

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New Year’s resolutions

1. Make a concerted effort to contact the authors of books I enjoy and tell them that, and why.

I only know how wonderful it makes me feel when someone took the time to email me and tell me that they enjoyed one or both of my books and why.  I can’t imagine any other author wouldn’t like it as much as I do.

2. Seek out and read more independently published work.

I think I have a skewed view of self-publishing, since I came to this via really good writers who decided to self-publish.  Thus, I’ve never encountered this mythical slush pile of dreck I keep hearing about. Maybe I’ll find some, and maybe I’ll let you know if I do. Or not.

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Doc McGhee, literary agent

Hang with me for a series of seemingly unrelated factoids. 
doc_mcghee

  1. Y’all know who Doc McGhee is, right? He was Mötley Crüe‘s manager way back in the day and pretty much made them rich and famous. (Oh, shut up. You know I’m a Mötley Crüe fangrrrrl. But Mick Mars does look a little, um, ready for a nursing home, doesn’t he?)
  2. In early November, Amazon “suck[ed] up to literary agents” in a bid to kill its monsterly image. Really? They need literary agents to kill its monsterly image? Who’d’a thunk it?
  3. Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Hachette all announced they would be holding off releasing ebooks of new (hardcover) titles by six months. The brilliance never ends.
  4. Stephen Covey just told Simon & Schuster to fuck off.  Well. I’m pretty sure that’s not exactly what he said.
  5. There is one thing an unknown or midlist self-published author can’t get that s/he needs most.
  6. There is only one thing a bestselling name-brand author has but doesn’t need at all.

I’m not going to explain any of this stuff. The graphic should make it, well, graphically obvious. Take the above seemingly unrelated items, throw it in with this, and see what you come up with. Assume the writer has not himself arranged for the actual production of his manuscript into print and electronic:

literary-agent-flow-chart

Pop quiz: What word is nowhere to be found in the above flowchart?

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And another thing…

…if you didn’t have a touch (or more) of madness, of moodiness and emotional lability, of doubt and depression and fear, of uncontrollable rage and joy, things you should probably go see a therapist about… You wouldn’t be an artist. You wouldn’t be driven to write or create or paint or compose or or or or or or whatever it is that you do…

My high school physics teacher said he didn’t believe in artistic temperament and that it was a copout. I struggled under the guilt of having one of those (an “artistic temperament”) off and on ever since. But you know, the key word there is “physics.” Naw. He didn’t get it. But I still try to hide it, even though it comes out here and there. It’s a lot easier to hide online, but Dude lives with me. He knows.

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