What is "Doom Eager"?

Lorrie Moore, from "Better and Sicker"
"Martha Graham speaks of the Icelandic term "doom eager" to denote that ordeal of isolation, restlessness, caughtness and artistic experiences when he or she is sick with an idea. When a writer is doom eager, the writing won't be sludge on the page; it will give readers -- and the writer, of course, is the very first reader -- an experience they've never had before, or perhaps a little and at last the words for an experience they have."

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Indie Press Tries Minimum Advertised Pricing

Indie Press Tries Minimum Advertised Pricing: ""There's such rampant discounting. The idea is really to keep the ..."

I applaud Schiffer Publishing's efforts to impose Minimum Advertised Pricing with new releases. I was disappointed to find out the three titles Schiffer was attaching MAP restrictions to were not fiction titles, but their efforts, nonetheless, should not go unnoticed by the bookselling and writing communities.

As a former independent bookseller and someone working to break into fiction writing, it is important to press for fairness in pricing, especially in regard to the big retailers. Publishers and authors, don't let yourselves be pushed around. People don't buy books solely on the the price of the product, but they will buy the title they want at a retailer who will sell it for less, regardless of how those prices effect other retailers, publishers, and authors. Support local bookstores and indie publishers and authors.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Riggio: Barnes & Noble to Become E-Commerce Retailer

Riggio: Barnes & Noble to Become E-Commerce Retailer: "Barnes & Noble CEO Steve Riggio gave the most detailedaccount of how ..."

I'm not against progress. I'm not a technophobe. Yet, it bothers me that Barnes & Noble is projecting that e-books will soon become the dominate form of sale on new books and that their profit margin is greater with e-books than with print books.

Publishing and book-selling are businesses and the bottomline drives businesses. This is a concern to me both as someone working to break into the business as a writer and as a reader. As a writer, I worry that authors are getting squeezed in terms of contracts and royalities. As retailers scramble to grab market share, the push to offer e-books at lower and lower prics (the Wal-mart model) becomes greater. Consider the recent fight between Macmillan and Amazon over e-book pricing. As a reader, I don't want print books to go away. I want to hold books in my hand, flip through the pages, turn the book over to look at the author's picture. I want to go into a bookstore and circle the "new release" table like a shark circles prey. Which book shall I devour next?

In truth, I'm hoping e-books will end up a trendy fad and go the way of the Jay Leno Prime Time Show, a bad idea no matter the cost savings, no matter the bottomline.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

showing others your work

Raymond Chandler said about showing others your work:

I have made three rules of writing for myself that are absolutes: Never take advice. Never show or discuss work in progress. Never answer a critic.

I've never been good at following rules. I like them, but for everyone else. Not, for me. Yet, I think I should adopt Chandler's three absolutes. My stomach has been in knots for days. I sent off the manuscript so far to a good friend, one of my closest.

She was eager to receive it, but had some crappy events happen just as I sent it. I don't think she's had a chance or the energy to look at it yet, so I've been holding my breath. What kind of friend says, sorry things suck for you right now but have you read my draft?

I missed a call from her last night and, though of course I'll call her back today, I'm anxious about talking to her. What if she read it and thinks it's rot? What if she didn't, and I eventually break and beg her to read it, even while she's trying to deal with more important concerns? Worse, what if it is rot and she does the nice friend thing and just tells me it's great?

To make matters more stressful, this friend is a former creative writing student of mine, so where does that leave me as her teacher that once inspired her who needs to go back to teaching English and leave the writing for those who can? Those who can, do. Those who can't do, teach. Those who can't teach, teach English.

I've gotten myself in a pickle. I guess the only thing I can do is wait, not bring it up, and hope she feels she can be honest with me. If she doesn't like it, I guess I'll follow Chandler's rules, not answer her, not take her advice, and not show a work in progress to anyone else.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Write Your Tush Off Weekend! Ends

Write Your Ass Off Weekend has officially ended, but I'm in the middle of an important scene and can't sleep, so I'm going on, weekend or not. I made some good progress this weekend, even though What Not To Wear proved too irresistible and I ended up watching two episodes after dinner. I'm sure Clinton and Stacey would object to my watching their show wearing my striped, crochet slipper socks. But they keep my toes toasty warm!

Can you believe someone donated these to the Salvation Army? I got them on half-price Wednesday. Fifty cents for warm feet. What a find.

Okay, so back to work. My two main characters are still falling in love. I don't want the dialogue sounding cliche and clunky. I need to eavesdrop on two teenagers on a romantic date. Think The Teen would let me follow him around a few days? Maybe if I pay for the dates?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Write Your Tush Off Weekend! part 2

It's Sunday and yesterday was disappointing, though not a complete bust. I wrote 792 words, give or take a 100 lost in revision work. I wanted 1,000 but kept letting myself get distracted. Totally my own fault. I own it.

After my Diet Dr. Pepper and snack, which turned out to be warmed up bratwurst and homemade stuffed cabbage (okay, it was more than a snack), I was seduced by episodes of Supernatural. Dean is such a scrumptious treat. Belly full of bratwurst and toes warm in my crocheted slipper socks, I succumbed to the power of The Nap. The Nap is a dangerous force in my household, sucking one in at the most inconvenient times. When The Nap release me, it was 6:30. I finished up my four hours of writing just in time to trek across town to pick up the teen. Or, these days, should I say The Teen. He's a force to be reckoned with himself.

While the hubby is busy watching the game and The Teen is off with the newest girlfriend, I'm fixing to hunker down and put in my second half of Write Your Ass Off time. I may have learned my lesson about committing to write on the weekend. I'll post how it goes later. I've got to work on a scene where my two main characters fall in love. Not as easy as one might think, avoiding all the cliches about love and such. What makes us fall in love anyway?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Progress so far with WYAOD

So I'm almost two hours in to Write Your Ass Off Day. I've completed some revision work on chapter ten and after a short break for a snack and Diet Dr. Pepper, it's full speed ahead with chapter eleven.

With revision I cut some words but ended up adding 337 words to the chapter. I'm not fond of overly long chapters, especially in YA fiction. Mine end up averaging about 15 or 16 pages.

Chapter ten is 18 pages and switches scenes several times between two events happening simultaneously. In this chapter, my main character, Ruby, discovers her true nature, a Shedim, a spirit commonly referred to as a demon, but, in the world of the novel, neither specifically good nor evil.

Writing fantasy fiction is new for me. I usually stick with mainstream literary. Deciding how to reveal a supernatural existence in a way that is believable and powerful, while keeping the level of tension tight, has been difficult. I decided to approach it by having the secret revealed by other characters in separate scenes and flashing back and forth between short passages, revealing several important aspects of the novel's plot at the same time. It feels like it works. I think the next chapter will begin with a bridge scene where she has time to think and take in all the strange recent events of her life. I don't want every scene to contain new action. She needs time to digest what's happening. I'll post how it's going in a few hours.

Write Your Tush Off Day! commences

Okay, so best laid plans ... and all that.
I'm posting my comment from the blog Editorial Ass as explanation of why I didn't start my Write Your Ass Off Day on time.

Better late than never. I signed up to write my @ss off from 11am to 7pm today and instead slept my @ss off until 11:30 then ran my teenage son around town. But it's 1:30ish and I'm starting now. I'm splitting the eight hours between today and tomorrow, so one butt cheek off Saturday and one Sunday. What else can I do tomorrow when everyone else I know is watching the big game. Go, eh? Who's playing? Anyway ... starting off with a blog post @ Doom-Eager (my blog about the rapture and misery of writing (http://doom-eager.blogspot.com) and then working on my YA manuscript. I'm about 28,000 words in (130 pages or so) and looking to knock out 2,000 words this weekend. Wish me luck!

Saturday, February 06, 2010 1:41:00 PM

I'll be posting my progress participating in WYAOD over the weekend. I've just about finished my Grande Sugar-free Cinnamon Dolche Americano and it's off to work on Chapter 11 of the book. It's such a beautiful day outside in sunny Florida. I'm going to try hard to stay motivated.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

the rules of writing

I continue my theme of "the rules of writing" with this quote from W. Somerset Maugham:

There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.

Maugham's Of Human Bondage begins with a brief description of the weather and the actions of a woman servant on a day when the protagonist's mother dies. What interests me about this opening is that the reader enters the story when the protagonist is very young. The first fifteen chapters take the reader through various points in the young boy's childhood. By page 56 in the Penguin Book edition I own, Philip is thirteen and attending school, The King's School at Tercanbury.

I guess what interests me here is the question of "low" versus "high" openings. It seems these days that all I hear about openings are "grab the reader's attention" and "begin as close to the end as possible." I contend Maugham does not do this and wonder if his manuscript would have been repeatedly rejected based on this opening.

Are openings of setting description and backstory (even when worked into action and dialogue) universally dismissed these days? If I've got an agent's or publisher's attention for maybe three to five minutes, do I even dare a "low" or "quiet" opening? Is this question of the best opening just a matter of current fashion?

This "no rules" thing really bugs me.

Check out this writing blog

Just stumbled upon a new writing blog to follow. Well, new to me, at least. It's Writer Unboxed. Give it a look-see. I read an interesting post on prologues vs. prefaces vs. forwards. Not a big fan of prologues (tend to skip those), but I usually read the preface or forward of a nonfiction book.

For more on prologues, check out the latest post on Pub Rants, "Why prologues often don't work." Just click on my link to Pub Rants under My Blog List.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Cool Writing E-vent

What a great idea. Moonrat at the blog Editorial Ass has set up a Write Your @ss Off E-vent this weekend. I've signed up for Saturday from 11am to 7pm. Eight glourious hours of writing. Now that I've committed myself to an actual event, I think I'll get some productive work done this weekend. It's easy to slack on the weekends. Then, again, I find it's easy to slack anytime. I'm nearing the half-way mark in the manuscript but have been stuck the last few days in a difficult chapter.

Check out Write Your @ass Off Day at Editorial Ass. See My Blog List below.
I'll be posting my writing progress on Saturday, Feb. 6th. on Moonrat's blog.