28 August 2012

The Travelling Fantasy Roundtable : Part 6 : LGBT Issues in Fantasy

Part 6 of the Travelling Fantasy Round Table, our roaming discussion on aspects of fantasy literature, is up at Warren Rochelle's blog.  This month we're looking into LGBT issues in fantasy.

17 August 2012

AAtS - Progress and Promotion

Getting toward the end of And All the Stars' first draft - there's around four chapters still to write, which in theory will be done by the end of August.  Since I've been planning a number of these scenes for quite some time, and also because there's a lot of action in the end-game chapters, this should be do-able.  I write action a great deal quicker than transitional and emotional chapters, and conclusions are often more exciting to write (if only because you can see the light at the end of the tunnel).

[Of course, I'm self-sabotaging a little playing a lot of The Secret World, which is a very good MMO indeed.]

After the first draft is done it's an immediate re-read, which is good for identifying changes of tone, and of course massive great inconsistencies and loose ends you've forgotten to tie.  Then beta readers, then editing rounds, copy-editing rounds, I'm sick to death of this book rounds...  In theory I should make my provisional release date of 3 October.

Now that release is getting closer, one of the things I'm turning my mind to is promotion.

I have a comfortably minimalist approach to promotion (ie. it's not something I enjoy so I don't spoil my fun with it).  I've had my Goodreads giveaway ticking away in the background since May, which has at least made the book a blip on some readers' radar.  I ran a single ad on a blog (The Book Smugglers) where I know I gained a few readers, so that any of those readers who don't follow me have a chance to notice it.  I'll run an ebook giveaway on my blog for those who do follow me!

The one thing I'm yet to decide relates to a site called NetGalley.  NetGalley is a review copy distribution site used by many publishers.  It is possible (but rare) for self-publishers to place a book on the site (for a fee of $399 per book), but whether that will translate to any reviews is another question altogether.  It's not something I'd normally consider, but AAtS is definitely the most commercial book I'm likely to write (the female-focused adult high fantasy I usually produce is _not_ a hot genre) and so I'm at least thinking about it.  [It's not that I can't cover the cost - it's that I'm a self-publisher and thus far less likely to get arc requests than the many many many other books available there.]

But, either way, it's exciting to be nearly finished on this one.  I'm very much looking forward to reader reaction to my pure unmitigated authorial evil some of these plot twists.

06 August 2012

Rule Blinkers

Every so often I run across a critique of someone's writing slating the piece for daring to begin sentences with conjunctions (and, but, etc).  And I look at my novels, proudly flourishing buts in every direction, shrug my shoulders, and go on exactly as before.

I write for clarity.  For pace.  For impact.  I will use sentence fragments.  I will gaily lavish any number of adverbs.  I will spit and hiss, answer, whisper, fill the air with said-bookisms.

So long as it works.

On every writing site or forum I've come across different lists of 'rules' - many of them incorrect (look at a few language usage texts and you'll see there's no rule against beginning sentences with 'and' or 'but').  Once you have a basic understanding of the tools you're using to express yourself, it's well worth checking 'received wisdom': too often it doesn't ring true.

Edit to remove ambiguity, to add emotional impact.  Make sure the words flow.  Cut the extraneous.  But don't clunk up your prose keeping to an arbitrary list of what some person on the internet thinks is 'good' writing.

Three Skips

I started accruing my book collection in my late teens.  Not too many early on, since I moved house a lot.  A couple of shelves of books.  T...