Friday, November 26, 2010

Are Ereaders Environmentally Friendly?

I started a second blog, The Whispering Sea Sprite, for things not related to writing or publishing. There's a link over there <---. This post focuses on the environmental impact of ereaders so it's sort of about publishing, though not small publishing, and may be of interest to you.

I suppose I could have morphed this blog into talking about whatever I want to talk about, but some of the thoughts that run around my head are controversial. I don't want to go there on here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

These Times They are a Changing Rapidly

The past few months, I have been rereading some of my favorite novels. Some of them written back in the 80's and 90's without a cell phone or the internet in sight. Which got me to thinking that using a contemporary setting for your novel will date it. Technology is changing so rapidly that a novel written three years ago with details contemporary with that time will now seem dated.

Ten years ago, most people did not have a cell phone, were still watching movies on VHS, were accessing the internet via a phone line IF they had it in their home, and so on. Google, Twitter, Facebook, blogging, Skype, did not exist or were in their infancy. So if you had a character in a situation needing to find a telephone where today they would whip out their cell phone, it's going to be noticeable to the reader. "Gee, why don't they just use their cell phone instead of trying to find a payphone? What is a payphone, anyway?"

This can be a problem for the first time novelist using a contemporary setting. It's going to take years to go from novel idea to finally getting the manuscript into an editor's hands. If you use a contemporary setting and don't edit in the technological changes then it's going to be obvious to the editor that the story isn't "fresh and original" and that it's been shopped around for years. (One of the recommendations for writers is to not formally copyright your work because it attaches a date to it. An editor will know that you've been trying to sell your novel for X number of years.)

I think the simplest solution to the problem is to fix the novel in a specific year and leave it there. A header above the first paragraph like "1986" or "2001" immediately takes the reader back in time and those questions don't arise.

But, if you do set your novel back in 1986 don't have the characters talking on a cellphone while watching movies on netflix via the internet...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Pipeline

Ian Nievens (I hope I spelled his name right.) has developed a writing program to help writers channel their creativity that he calls The Pipeline. That link is to the fifteen minute video that he has made to explain the program.

I've listened to it. I recognize several of the references he has used to develop his program. Based on that, I think some of you might find it useful. Check it out. It's free.

Maybe it will help you avoid this:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Incorrigible Mister Bleak

The Incorrigible Mister Bleak, this month's installment of The Annals of Hypnosia is now up. This story is from the dark side of Hypnosia. Mister Bleak pays Falcrion a visit. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Nanowrimo snuck up on me this year. I'm not sure how that happened.

I first heard about nanowrimo back in 2006. That year, I was all gung ho to do it. I even got my mom to participate. The next two years, I was still into it. And while I didn't "win", I did meet the goals that I set for myself and got what I wanted out of the experience. Last year, I was too busy to even think about trying. But all of this has led me to do some thinking about the process of writing a novel:

Writer's Block - some writers say it doesn't exist. When pressed to explain their position what they are objecting to is using writer's block as an excuse for not having written anything. I agree with that sentiment. If you're not writing because you're blocked and you're not doing anything to get rid of that block, then you get no sympathy from me. But there are things that can dry up the creative flow: depression, illness, stress, fear of failure, success, or being laughed at, etc. If you've identified the cause of your block and are trying to do something about it, then you have all my encouragement and support. Participating in nanowrimo can be a great way to blast that block away.

There's some controversy over whether there should even be a nanowrimo because of the premise behind it: "Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved." In some ways this attitude lessens the talent and skill it takes to write a novel. Writing a good novel that anyone except your mother would want to read is not something everyone can do.

You all would look at me as if I were crazy if I said, "I always wanted to be a surgeon. I'm going to take a month off, give it a go, and remove a few tonsils." Or imagine someone saying, "I always wanted to be an engineer. I'm going to take a month off and design a bridge." So why do we think that anyone can write?

On the other hand, if you have the strong desire to write and need something to blast away the block, then nanowrimo is a great way to do it.

If you're participating in nanowrimo, good luck!

In other news, I've been trying to get the links to contributor blogs updated. I've added Laurie Dalzell, Damien Walters Grintalis, and Stephanie Hamrick to the list. I'm missing a few. If you know someone that I should add, send me an email to diana at scribblersandinkspillers dot com.

And I've been trying to get a handle on facebook. It's become even more user unfriendly than it used to be. Sigh.