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After I left Chapel Hill, I thought of many things I wish I'd said to you. Here are some of them. Dedicate (donate, give all) your life to something larger than yourself and pleasure to the largest thing you can: to God, to relieving suffering, to contributing to knowledge, to adding to literature, or something else. Happiness lies this way, and it beats pleasure hollow.
When Radiohead dropped the curtain on their "name your own price" experiment, many media commentators and music industry execs were quick to pronounce it a failure. For those who aren't Radiohead fans, or indeed, never heard about it, the experiment involved the band making available their latest album, "In Rainbows" available as a download from their web site. Fans were asked to specify the price they were prepared to pay to get the album - a price from nothing up to whatever the individual felt it was worth. According to a report by research company comScore - disputed by Radiohead themselves, but in the absence of official figures, comScore are sticking to their guns - less than 40% of people who downloaded the album actually paid for it; most - over 60% - chose the to take it for free. Of those who did pay for it, the bulk opted to pay less than USD $4, although there were reports of some overzealous (or overgenerous?)
Back in 1988, Kurt Busiek was putting together what he called Ad Astra , an anthology of original science fiction stories in comic book format set in a shared universe in which humanity was beginning its spread beyond the planet Earth. It would later see life as Open Space . Because he wanted this project to really work as SF, Kurt wanted to bring in SF authors to do true SF. Most of those authors had never worked in comics, and Kurt wrote "On Writing for Comics" as a tutorial to help ease the transition from the pure prose of written SF to the largely visual world of comics. Some caveats: The memo largely covers script format, but contains some advice on how to think in comic book terms.
Who spreads stories and why? Sociologists at the University of Pennsylvania have been studying data provided by The New York Times showing which of the paper’s articles are the most often e-mailed. Their conclusions have some relevance for fiction writers because they reveal what it is about stories that probably generate word of mouth. This month and next I’m going to discuss these elements and show how you can apply them in your novels.
Thanks to everyone for the thoughtful comments on author blogging and whether or not it’s a good use of time. If you haven't already, you might want to drop by . As a quick recap, my beef with author blogging is that writers rarely keep target audience in mind. They’re writing fiction for kids, thriller lovers, or [insert some other reader profile], but they turn around and blog exclusively for writers.
The author platform isn’t what it used to be. A new definition is emerging, based on the reality that in the 21st century, readers don’t depend on the Today Show or the feature pages of the New York Times to find a new book to read. Instead, they’re looking online and expecting to find a more direct path to a favorite or yet-to-be-discovered author. The tired old model
Written by Poul Anderson [This essay was published some years ago and is very difficult to find now, which is why I asked Poul to let me publish it on the Web. He points out that a few things have changed since he wrote it — the essay mentions the Soviet Union, for example, but does not mention navigation satellites — and that he has had some arguments from a few readers about one detail or another. But "there isn't time now to go into all that," he says, "and anyway, I never claimed infallibility.
Here is Lester Dent's Master Plot Formula. Thanks Mister Dent, and apologies to Savoy for us lifting it here! This is a formula, a master plot, for any 6000 word pulp story.
Michael Moorcock's tips for writing complete adventure novels in three days are the fruit of his early career, when he was writing novels (including his Elric classics) in three to ten days each. The advice comes from the opening chapter of the out-of-print Michael Moorcock: Death Is No Obstacle , which consists of interviews Moorcock conducted with Colin Greenwood. It's really good insight into how you can take mechanical plots and plot-devices and use them to make a book charge forward at a rate of knots, and still hang many different kinds of story, insight, and language off of them. * "[The formula is] The Maltese Falcon. Or the Holy Grail.
This article is the first part of a series about one of my favorite writers, Michael Moorcock, which will culminate in an interview with the man himself. In the early days of Michael Moorcock's 50-plus-years career, when he was living paycheck-to-paycheck, he wrote a whole slew of action-adventure sword-and-sorcery novels very, very quickly, including his most famous books about the tortured anti-hero Elric. In 1992, he published a collection of interviews conducted by Colin Greenland called Michael Moorcock: Death is No Obstacle , in which he discusses his writing method.
Posted by Lindsay | Posted in E-publishing | Posted on 18-07-2011 If you’re an author and you started out thinking you’d publish traditionally (i.e. find an agent who would then find you a huge multi-book contract with a major publisher, thus ensuring you could quit your day job and write full time for the rest of your life), you probably heard it was a bad idea to write a series. Because, the conventional wisdom goes, if you don’t sell the first one, how on earth are you going to sell the second, third, etc.? Well, you aren’t.
Linchpin will be the last book I publish in a traditional way. One of the poxes on an author's otherwise blessed life is people who ask, "what's your next book," even if some of them haven't read the last one. ( Jeff did, of course). To answer your question, this book is my next book. I think the ideas in Linchpin are my life's work, and I'm going to figure out the best way to spread those ideas, in whatever form they take. I also have some new, smaller projects in the works, and no doubt some bigger ones around the corner. [PS the best analysis of this whole thing, particularly the punchline is by Mitch .]
Ever have that feeling that somewhere inside you is a great book, just waiting to happen? Well, this is one of those “good news, bad news” situations. On the good end of things, it has never been easier to publish; on the bad side, you might be foolish enough to go it on your own. Yes, You Can Write a Book I share the following suggestions with you, for whatever they’re worth, while recognizing that my approach to this process is likely different from than the one you’ll take.
You go to the races? Yes, occasionally. Then you read the Racing Form . . . . There you have the true art of fiction. —Conversation in a Madrid café, May 1954 Ernest Hemingway writes in the bedroom of his house in the Havana suburb of San Francisco de Paula.
The purpose of these posts is not to advise writers whether to go traditional or indie. I am for writers being informed.