Thursday, January 11, 2007

Time to Switch

Being a busy person [and who isn't?!] I'm not able to keep up with both Blogger and LiveJournal. Since I'm liking LiveJournal better, I'm posting there now: http://kc-heath.livejournal.com/

I will, however, leave this Blog up for awhile because there's some good reading in here--con reports, etc.--and some great links!

Monday, December 11, 2006

A Pole for Readers

As an author, reviewer, editor, and reader, it is very important to me to understand why people read fiction. I know my own reasons.

What are yours? What is it about certain books that makes you want to pick that one up? What is it about certain stories that keeps you reading to the last page and wanting to buy that author's work again?

The answers will not be the same for everyone. That's half the fun!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Exact Wording & Regulatory Compliance

Being that I think of myself as an editor becomes a bit of a bother sometimes, like in conversation when I edit other people's sentences to make more sense [heehee]. I get glared at.

But being good with words helps a lot with the day job, usually. Sometimes though... like this letter I got from one of the high-and-mighty entities that oversees our operations: there's all of this anal picking [I'm used to that] and then the author of this legalese says, "The applicant shall provide all mineral interest ownership under the facility." O-kay. Literally, this means the high-and-mighty entity wants us to give them all of our mineral interest ownership. Uh, I don't think so. The man who wrote this meant to say he wants information on that subject, but that's not how the very very proper letter reads. So, I'm already irritated by the rest of the letter, and I sit down to compose my response. My first reaction is: "Do you mean information regarding mineral interest?" Cough. No, I'm not going to be as anal as the guy who wrote that letter. Try again: "We do not have mineral interests to give you." Scratch that too--too sarcastic. Sigh. I'm finally going with: "Mineral interest under our facility: we do not own it." Period. Then I wax long with the details, including: "It does not appear that the previous owner had mineral interest either. Our lawyer informs me that in order to determine who does have the mineral interests, a title search would be required, the expense of which we cannot afford." [My sarcasm took hold...] "Since this facility uses only the surface of the land, we are not going to persue further an expensive matter that has no pertinence to our operations."

State and Federal regulations are costing small buisnesses more than they can afford. I'm constantly fending off garbage like this! At least my writing backgroup pays off for something.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

View Point

The writing group I'm in is fun. We do all kinds of different writing projects. One of those is exchange of novel pages we're each working on. This has been a real eye-opener for me on the subject of view point. Now, I'm a stickler when it comes to this subject because not only do I write novels, I also read a lot of them for review at yetanotherbookreview.com. But it's come to my attention that romance writers have an entirely different opinion on the subject. Their stories switch heads in the same paragraph! Sorry gals, for the screeching, but this reader doesn't like that.

It is my opinion ANY story can be made stronger when special consideration is made for view point. Years ago when I was writing my first novel, I wasn't happy with a particular scene, so decided to rewrite it from the other character's point of veiw. Wow! --that turned out to be the best scene in the book [a manuscript that now collects dust on the shelf and probably won't ever see publication]. I'm reminded of an old cliche: "Don't criticize someone until you've walked 10 miles in his shoes." You have to LIVE that OTHER character even if your background work remains in the background. Spend time in that other character's shoes. Then come back to your story and watch it blossom! I enjoy reading romance, I really do. I especially like it when I can understand both main characters, and feel like each one is a real person. Any story that reads like all characters are just props for the main character is a flat read and doen't hook many fans. This is especially true when head-hopping writers have trouble SHOWing the reader whose head we're in at any given moment.

Need an example of good view point? Rudyard Kipling's CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS is a good example; so is the recently published author Sarah Monette [MELUSINE; & THE VIRTU]. In film I can think of two good examples: the ancient but still worth watching FATHER GOOSE; and ROMANCING THE STONE. These are incredible examples of view point. Please list more....

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Invisible Trip-Wires

Submitting a work of writing for publication is difficult to start with, then the publishing industry has to go and make it harder by creating inivisible trip-wires to cull the unsuspecting beginner, except even those of us who've been at this for awhile still get tripped up. Case in point: I submitted to a NYC agent. His webpage said: Contact Information--and gave an email address. I followed the Guidelines, then queried electronically. A month later, still no feedback, so I ask a friend who's already with that agency. He questioned me on how I sent it, then he said, "Ooo, bad form; you should have sent it snail." Okay, if that agent wants it snail, then how come the Contact Information doesn't give the snail address? Because it's one of those hidden trip-wires. I sent a copy of the query snail, but now I've gone and dirtied my nose by doing something that's secretly Bad Form. But just last year I found out that a publisher that I'd submitted to in hardcopy preferred it electronically--and that wasn't written anywhere either!

Writer Beware--even when you follow the Submissions Guidelines, you can still fall into a dark hole!

Monday, November 13, 2006

final scent

Last thoughts on the con....

One is a memory that at more than one panel the pros were discussing how readers affect the story. I know this is true, because I've stopped reading three very good fantasy authors because their wonderful stories did not fulfill my expectations of what I wanted to read. At the con, this topic was discussed. Some pros try to adjust their stories to fit the expectations of their readers--writers beware, this doesn't work, according to the pros. But what to do? Accept it as a fact, they say. Every reader brings expectations to the story that the author cannot write around.
The other thing I'm remembering from the con was a wonderful "Reading Session" by Lee Modesitt. Sometime next year, I believe, he's going to have an Anthology of his own short stories coming out. He read one to us. This is what happened: First, we were late into the room because the previous person had run long, so Lee got a late start. So--when it came time for the next panel to enter our room, we were still busy listening. AND WE ALL REFUSED TO MOVE OUT OF THE ROOM UNTIL HE FINISHED! Yup, that sounds very much like a winner!

Friday, November 10, 2006

vapors

As the memories of last weekend simmer on the back burner of my mind, vapors rise and demand attention. Things like: I found out that I'll need one pairing of agent/publisher for my female protagonist books and another pair for my male protagonist books--they probably won't sell in the same place [huh! go figure]. Another thing that bubbled to the surface was the discovery of why TOR probably turned down two of my novels. It seems Tom D. prefers black and white characterization "because it sells" and I'm not into absolutism. Oh well, guess I won't be submitting there again. And on another topic: one of the guest speakers who has at least 35 books out said that he doesn't believe his publisher has read more than two of them--now I believe that [have you ever read a stinker from a Name? --that's why--the Name sells, and only the author cares if the writing is any good or not...hopefully the author cares; I think I've read a few books where I think the author stopped caring]. Rumor has it that another famous author put out some stinkers because he made the mistake of listening to his fans and doing what they wanted and multiple inputs destroyed the vision [whoa!].

The convention really got me fired up, but horror stories abound. Like this one: One published author had an editor ask for a book "through the agent" but the agent wouldn't forward it because "it won't sell" even though the author already sold it, but the editor wouldn't take it without it going through the agent and that took a lot of fast talking to get the stuborn agent to Send It! Can't remember the names on that story, but seem to remember that the book won an award once out. Of course! :)