March 21, 2012
A fellow writer, thoroughly jammed with writer's block, shared with me that he never attends genre conventions (mystery, SF, fantasy) because, "It's just not his cup of tea." After a few minutes of additional probing, it turned out he was afraid of meeting new people. Those he had never met before hadn't been vetted, hence, might commit one of the following errors:
1. The person in question might impart that he never cared much for that writer's works.
2. He or she may not have even heard of that writer.
3. The bothersome attendees might besiege him for autographs.
4. During the autograph session, no one might show up.
March 8, 2012
I really enjoyed this guy's first book. Fresh, racy, on the edge, I didn't know from one page to the next where the story was going. I seemed to be able to count on it, though, being outrageously unexpected. Just couldn't wait for his second book.
I should have.
In his second book the author committed the Big Crime. I can forgive almost any error except for bumping me out of the story to deliver a political message. What is perplexing with this book is that it's only the fellow's second. Usually, a mystery writer has to have several tomes and at least a decade of a well-established publishing career before the author becomes dotty enough to think that stopping his tale to deliver a political message or to spleen vent all over some disliked politician is a good idea. (more…)
February 21, 2012
The rest of us are staring at a shrinking market, an increase in the number of writers, and in an economy in which more of us will be flipping burgers and greeting folks at Walmart than had planned to do so. The ticket into the literary life, we are told, is a sale. Survival requires more sales. A writing career requires even more sales and for big bucks.
Yet, in the midst of this economic disaster, there are any number of writers who go out of their way to teach the art of writing to aspiring key-ticklers, and are very free with their experiences and hard-won bits of knowledge. By so doing, they increase the number of manuscripts competing against their own (more…)
December 24, 2011
by Louie (Barry Longyear, really)
A Tale of Redemption
It's da night before Xmas, and on da cell block ,
Da lights was shut down, da screws checkin' da locks.
Bernie 'n' me, shut up high on third tier,
Da same as we been for t'ree friggin' years,
Da rest a da cons was passed out in dere racks
Blasted out on pruno, smack, oxy, 'n' blacks.
And Bernie wit' his ear plugs, in da top bunk
An' me down below gettin' into a funk,
When from da air vent dere arose such a grumble,
I pulled out my shank and got ready to rumble.
November 27, 2011
Observe: On October 23rd of this year, a shade more than a month ago, I blogged about defining literary success, and how defining it in terms of art, instead of money, is the path to true literary fulfillment, happiness, and sanity. So there I was, beginning a week ago until last night, on a hook because I was so frustrated that a certain book of mine is not a commercial $ucce$$.
"Hypocrite!" you shout from the battlements, or from your window if your castle has no battlements. Perhaps you only mutter it. In any event, (more…)
November 22, 2011
For example, the word "Friend." Dictionary definitions for this word have always been lame. I like the "Someone who knows the worst about you and loves you anyway; someone upon whom, for that love, you can depend on and trust; someone who wishes only the best for you." By this definition, twenty years ago I had perhaps three friends. Then came Facebook and GovSpinSpeak. (more…)
October 27, 2011
Skiers: Ever freeze up at the top of a steep new double black-diamond trail? Your heart's in your throat beating a good 500/min, your mouth's suddenly dry as dust, you're seeing yourself flying a thousand miles per hour into a solid wall of ice, but your skis are bolted solid to the snow. Not going anywhere; You are jammed. The upshot is that your tracks don't make it down the trail at all.
It was easy for me to recognize the similarity between the two situations because I both ski and write. (more…)
October 23, 2011
Where does that leave writers? Okay, the big-name blockbuster writers, the airport newsstand authors, those blessed by Imus and Oprah, might possibly see a slight decrease in sales. Perhaps they might have to put off the diamond-studded yacht until next year. They are not running from the wolves.
The so-called "midlist authors," however, are wolf meat. As it was explained to me once, "midlist author" is a term of sales art used by marketers to avoid identifying a publisher's other-than-bestselling-writers as "bottom list" or "bottom-of-the-barrel." The reality, however, is that the vast majority of professional freelance writers are "bottom list." And don't get your nose out of joint--I number myself among them. (more…)
September 9, 2011
The term "tightening up" a story or scene is easy to understand. It is getting from point A to point B with fewer words. It is an editorial comment still aimed in my direction on occasion. If you find yourself in similar straits in your rejection mail, try writing your story as a series of tweets on Twitter. You simply can't do those page-long blocks of description in 140 character squirts (including spaces). I'm having a lot of fun with aTwitMystery, but it is scary. It's writing with the readers looking over your shoulder, and commenting, going into publication with each tweet. I originally did this to bring folks to my website, and it is doing that. However, the twit story genre is the writing equivalent of doing improv.
August 28, 2011
What About This Blog?
For writers & readers. For writers, this is stuff I've learned, am in the process of discovering, and stuff that is imparted to me by other writers. For readers, I believe the more one knows about what goes into the writing of a story, and into the life of being a writer, the more one appreciates an author's writings.
This is a two-way blog. Your comments on the blogs are welcome, as are your questions. Comments on blogs can be made directly on each blog entry. For questions and comments not related to specific blogs, use the eMail link below.
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Barry B. Longyear is the first writer to win the Hugo, Nebula, and John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer all in the same year. In addition to his acclaimed Enemy Mine Series, his works include the Circus World and Infinity Hold series, Sea of Glass, other SF & fantasy novels, recovery and writing instruction works, and numerous short stories.
Barry has just completed the first novel in his Confessions of a Confederate Vampire Series, The Night.