Saturday, 4 July 2009

Writing a sequel

It's trickier than it looks. Or at the very least, trickier than I expected.

Finding the right place to begin a story is always a bit difficult for me. And I'm discovering that it's even harder when I have a previous story to build on. I have such a sense of who these characters are and what they've been through that I leave out information that new readers are going to need. And I throw too many characters into the mix too soon.

After thoroughly confusing my crit group with my opening chapters, it was clear that a simple tweak wasn't going to fix the problems. I had to start over, to a point where I could introduce the characters and situations in small doses. In my case, that meant actually overlapping with the end of Disenchanted, the first book.

Technically speaking, Suffer a Witch is not really a sequel. It is another story, set in the same world, following on the heels of the events of Disenchanted, but with no single story arc.

Can you think of any sequels where this kind of transition was handled gracefully? Or have you written one? What did you learn?

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

When reviewers hand you a lemon

You can choose to get bitter and downright nasty, as Alice Hoffman recently did. She got so incensed about a mildly critical review that she fired off no fewer than 27 nasty tweets, including one that revealed the reviewer's address and phone number so that Hoffman's fans could protest directly. Um yeah. If you believe that no publicity is bad publicity, that was quite the stunt. Publicity it got her. Respect, not so much.

Or you could, like Brad Meltzer, make lemonade. His soon-to-be-released novel, The Book of Lies, got panned by a number of influential critics. And this was his hilarious response.

I don't know about you, but I know which book I am more tempted to read.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

How's that Espresso machine working out?

The book machine of course, not that I think coffee machines are insignificant. And yes, I have been obsessing about this machine, but I really think its impact on publishing could surpass that of digital publishing. And we all know how much press that is getting.

An independent bookstore in Vermont has had the EBM for a while now, and reports in on how that's working out for them. So far, so good.

They were hoping that there would be a wider selection of books available from the machine by now, but have been pleased to discover that in the meanwhile, self-published books have been taking up the slack for them.

While I always realized that self-publishing would be possible with the Espresso Book Machine, it never occurred to me that it would be that significant. It sounds like this will be a viable alternative for self-publishers, short-circuiting a lot of the scam artists out there. Not that it will make marketing a book any easier...

Thanks to Dominique Benoit for bringing this to my attention.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Digital Dragon Magazine

Digital Dragon MagazineThere's a new kid on the Christian speculative fiction block. Digital Dragon has launched its inaugural issue, so click on over if you'd like a look at some free fiction. If you're thinking of contributing, they are not a paying market.

I've only read one of the stories and it was decent. I do note that the copy-editing could be a little more rigorous, but I'm kind of anal that way. I still think spelling mistakes look amateurish.

But draw your own conclusions as to the quality of the stories. I haven't read enough to have a firm opinion.

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