Saturday, November 21, 2009

RWA Go Boom

Eight things comprise the Association of Authors Representatives' Code of Ethics. These things are specifically listed because there are so-called agents who use fraud to play on the hopes of aspiring authors. These agents steal thousands of dollars from individual writers and give genuine agents a bad name. Because of the educational endeavors of author groups such as Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and Mystery Writers of America, writers are weary of scams.

So why did Harlequin Enterprises think they could pull one over on us? By us I mean the writing community. Why did they think they were above the most basic ethical principles? Did they think RWA, SFWA, and MWA would sit by and let them prey on the dreams of writers? Did they think that educated authors were just going to sit by and not warn others? Of course RWA is going to issue alerts. Of course writers are going to be up in arms. These are not new games. All that is new is that a formerly reputable publisher is now playing them (or giving them the benefit of the doubt, are being forced to play them by their parent company).

I am proud and grateful to belong to an organization like RWA, and one day hope to qualify for membership to SFWA. I am hopeful that now that Harlequin's actions have seen the light of day, they will wither and die and this won't affect future RWA conferences.

Now onto other things, like what do to after Horizons is removed and Carina, Harlequin's new epub imprint, still exists. RWA Nationals will be interesting.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Full Monty

My kids LOVE Monty Python. My youngest is particularly fond of the albatross sketch. If she hears the word, she launches into "Albatross...albatross...ALBATROSS" including the Pink Floyd song "Echoes," which makes Hubby very happy.

While Younger was at a sleep over, we let Older (age 12) see The Holy Grail minus one scene
(we'll let Younger (age 8) see it later. We just needed something fun for Older to do)
me: She can't see this scene.
hubby: Sure she can.
me: NO she can't. Don't you remember what it's about? If she asks questions, you get to answer them.
Hubby doesn't change it until the scene reminds him why she can't see it. I didn't think human fingers could move so quickly.

Older loved the movie and now knows where all those quotes Hubby and I say are from.

Today I needed something absurd for Daniel to find on the net and the airspeed velocity of an unladen African swallow came to mind. It fits since he likes to quote movies and you can't get any more absurd. I wanted to make sure I had the quote exactly right so I googled it and found this:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

How I write

Some of the feedback I receive about my writing is overwhelming. I print out the compliments and keep them in a "good feelings" file for those moments of doubt when I want to throw the computer across the room and cry. Many of these compliments aren't for The Mark of Abel, but short emails I've written. My voice was developed writing highly personal essays. I'm trying to transfer that level of emotion to my fiction.

I wrote much of the original story stream of consciousness during National Novel Writing Month 2007. I'm basically what you call a pantser, though I prefer that I write into the mist. I rarely wear pants. Skirtser sounds even weirder and dresser makes me sound like furniture. Now I'm trying to make sense of the various changes the story has gone through.

When I concentrate on the plot, scenes tend to fall flat. When I ask myself "what do I want to show about this character" the scenes often sing. That's how I wrote the beginning. What was important for the reader to know? Then I designed a scene around that.

The little stories I tell about my life on the various email loops are written with this approach. I want to convey share something about myself or convey an emotions, so I tell a story that illustrates this.

I fell into a trap. Conflict conflict conflict. Over and over again conflict's importance is stressed. I internalized this so much, when I had to write the final scene, where conflict doesn't rule, I couldn't. Conflict isn't my voice. Emotional connection is. When I focused on conflict, I lost that, I lost the characters and I lost myself.

So I'm rediscovering this. What do I want to show the reader about my character in each scene? Goal-Motivation-Conflict are important, but "Craft is always secondary to the truth of emotional connection" Kontanti Stanislavsky. I will do my best to remember that.

Or to put it another way, one of the agents at Upstart Crowe put it this way "I promise to approach your manuscript with an open mind, if you promise to approach your writing with an open heart."