Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Tale of Two Costumes

Two little girls met up one Halloween to go trick-or-treating together. They greeted each other with smiles then looked at each other's costumes.

One of the girls wore a sparkly fairy princess costume, complete with magic wand and tiara. She had a pair of colored wings, bought, and she'd picked out the fabric for her dress for her mother to sew.

The other little girl gave a little shrug and said flatly, "Your costume is nice." You see, she wasn't into princesses or fairies very much.

The second little girl had also had a say in her costume. She helped make her mask and the picture emblazoned on the leotard she wore. She had a cape and boots. Arms akimbo, legs spread heroically she waited for the first little girl to ooh and aah over her Batgirl costume.

The first little girl said, "Who are you supposed to be?" For you see, the first little girl hadn't been exposed to superhero culture.

The moral of the story isn't which costume was better. No indeed. The point is that the things we like are exclusive to ourselves. Sometimes we meet someone else who also appreciates one or two of the things we do. You will never find someone who loves everything you do or who has had all the same experiences you have. Life is subjective. Our tastes are subjective.

While one person may love military science fiction, another may think those kinds of stories dribble. One person may devour romance novels, another cringe at the covers, let alone the contents.

We tend to write the kinds of stories we love, stories that reflect the things we've learned and know. It's wrong to assume everyone else will love our stories as much as we do. Because, they won't. And we won't love their stories as much as they do.

That doesn't mean there isn't a place for all kinds of stories and readers. It's important to know your audience.

*Incidentally, the costume story is based on a real life encounter.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Epic Quest: Update #2

Today I'm going to do the first cluster of authors I've researched. Take a look at them, if you write epic speculative fiction, and see if their works are comparable to yours. It gives a good indicator of what their agents and/or publishers like. Also what these same agents and publishers already have. Some won't take on projects too close in competition to titles they already represent.

1) Aaron, Rachel
Website/blog: http://rachelaaron.net/
First book published: 2010
Publisher: Orbit Books
Agent/agency: Matt Bialer of Sanford J. Greenburger Associates

2) Abercrombie, Joe
Website/blog: http://joeabercrombie.com/
First book published: 2006
Publisher: Gollancz (UK), Orbit Books, Pyr (US)
Agent/agency: Robert Kirby of United Agents (UK)

3) Abraham, Daniel (also writes under two pseudonyms)
Website/blog: http://danielabraham.com/
First book published: 2006
Publisher: Pocket, Orbit, Tor
Agent/agency: Shawna McCarthy of The McCarthy Agency, LLC

4) Ahmed, Saladin
Website/blog: http://saladinahmed.com/
First book published: 2012
Publisher: DAW
Agent/agency: Jennifer Jackson of The Donald Maass Literary Agency

5) Anderson, Kevin J.
Website/blog: http://wordfire.com/ ; http://kjablog.com/
First book published: 1988
Publisher: Spectra, Aspect, HarperPaperbacks, William Morrow, Orbit, Simon Schuster, and more
Agent/agency: John Silbersack of Trident Media Group

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Withdrawal and Renewal

After September's pressure to write-to-deadline, I took a week off from writing. Should be enough, right? Yes and no. In preparing to begin a new novel in all its raw and rough glory, I've struggled. A book as complex and large as my last one locked me into editor mode for a number of years. I did take a one month break to do NANOWRIMO a couple of years ago. The internal editor screamed at me the entire time. I persevered, used tons of imaginary duct tape, and finished that fun project. Then I stored it in a file and ungagged the internal editor to get back to work on the first.

One week off led to two. The finished story continued to haunt me, even as I tried to brainstorm for the new one (since I'm merging two old story ideas into one new one.) So my question for you, loyal readers, is this: How do you release your internal editor in order to begin a new project unhindered? Do you have any tips or advice?

While I have finished other stories before, none have undergone the length and breadth of editing this last one did. In some ways, I fear I won't top those efforts with anything new. In some ways, I don't want to leave the world of this other book or the characters. Am I hopeless case?