Thursday, April 30, 2009

ThrillerFest in July - Will You Be Going

If you're writing a thriller, odds are you know about this already, but just in case you don't, here's a little update on ThrillerFest. I'm not sure yet if I'm going. My beautiful wife and I are working hard to see if we can fit it into our schedule. But if you're writing a thriller, you probably ought to give it a shot.

thrillerfest-logo09-400.jpgThe place to be for thriller lovers is New York in July. It'll be hot outside but inside ... it'll be hot, too! Hot bestsellers, hot topics, hot authors. Better than going to the beach with your favorite new thriller book! You can mingle with your favorite thriller authors instead.

A preliminary schedule is available now at CraftFest, held July 8-9, 2009, is devoted to writers of all levels, including aspiring writers working on their first books. AgentFest, on the afternoon of July 9th, will thrill you in a different fashion if you're looking for an agent. Over forty top agents will be available to hear your pitch.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Printing the Manuscript - Terror and Anguish Wrapped Up in One Hour and 15 Minutes

Does anyone have the same anguish I have. The same fear and absolute dread I feel. The acidic pit boring through my stomach lining like battery acid through an unprotected cornea. The abject terror that I only experience when I'm doing one specific task. One thing that should be so simple, so painless, yet it's usually frustrating enough to make this grown man want to stand on his desk and smash his chair against the wall.

Yes, I'm talking about my absolute least favorite writing activity. . . printing the novel.

(Aarrrgggghhhhh! Run away in terrror)

It's amazing how much trepidation I feel when I know it's time to print the entire manuscript. It shouldn't be this hard, but it is, every time.

I'm not talking about insecurities, or worries that the manuscript isn't good enough or will be rejected. I can deal with those. That's all part of being a writer. What I can't deal with are technical problems that always seem to arise, like flies hoovering over a dumpster, during the printing process. And damn, if there doesn't always seem to be at least one.

Can anyone relate to this or is this my private burden?

I went out and bought the most reliable, fastest printer I could, hoping to ease the process, to no avail. Still, a mini-drama every time.

Twice this evening, the printing job stopped midway through for no apparent reason other than a micro-shift in the wind direction over lower Angola. When I restarted the job after the first stoppage, it did restart, at the beginning, reprinting the entire 258 pages that it had already printed before it stopped the first time. Leaving me searching for newer and more exciting swear words (perhaps in an exotic language) and wondering what to do with the half-finished, printed novel now lying in a heap on my floor.

I dare never leave the side of the printer, watching each and every page like a nursery school teacher watching her kids over recess. Checking to make sure the paper doesn't jam or the printer doesn't spit out one page of text over the length of two pages that were stuck together. Occasionally, the printer spits our blank pages for no apparent reason, these have to be fished out. Each page crawls out of the printer unleashing a Stephen King novel's worth of terrible possibilities.

As the job progresses, the printer gets so internally warm that the outgoing paper starts to curl. This, of course, makes it lie irregular on the receiving bed so the next page printed scrolls underneath the previous page. Or pushes it off the printer on to the floor. So I stand there, watching each page come out, tapping the paper down so it lines up properly. Page after page.

For one hour and fifteen minutes.

Wait. . . the paper's jammed. Got to start the whole thing over again.

Ah, the joys of publishing.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

An incredibly short post today, but an important one, one that I'm trying to integrate into my head, heart and soul. It's all based around a quote I heard recently, don't recall where. As I was going back to make a few changes to my opening chapter, searching to find the key sentences to make that chapter come alive, the quote jumped back into my head, and somehow, it all made sense.

Now I won't say that this simple quote solved all my problems with the chapter, but I do think it helped me to focus and what may have been missing.

Here's the quote:

Live Your Life Out Loud.

You may have seen this one before. I certainly won't claim credit for it. People use it refer to everything from creating the life you want to getting tattoos and nose piercings.

But for writing, it suddenly resonated with me. Don't be timid. Don't be afraid. Be big and bold and out there. Create big scenes and big characters and big situations. Not bombastic, but not withheld. Let go of the inner critic and just write. Or perhaps . . .

Write Your Novel Out Loud.

Don't be afraid. Just do it.

Hmmmm, words for thought. Time to get back to writing. Please send me your thoughts on this.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Best Blogs by Literary Agents

Right now, I'm knee deep in the Literary Agent quest. The novel is being reviewed by a few agents in New York, and I'm waiting to see where my future lies.

I need to get started on writing the next novel, but I keep tweaking the opening to the last book, constantly trying to find a way to make in unputdownable. (that's a word right, to not be able to be put down? Anyways, it is now.)

In the meantime, as I've been browsing so many agents pages, I thought I'd share with you this list that came from the Guide To Literary Agents site. It's a very informative, helpful list of insider information. Hope it helps you on your quest. This is the list of the Writer's Digest 5 best agent blog pages.

1. Pub Rants

Denver-based agent Kristin Nelson of Nelson Literary has kept this blog up for several years, and has covered just about every topic - contracts, queries, book covers, you name it. It's one of the best all-around agent blogs out there.

2. Nathan Bransford

Sure he looks young, but Nathan, an agent at Curtis Brown in San Francisco, knows a lot about publishing, and his blog is wide in scope. He hosts small contests, talks queries, discusses the craft of writing, keeps writers' spirits up, and does it all blogging through the night. Each week, he has a roundup news post that links to dozens of stories and happenings in the publishing world.

3. Rachelle Gardner

Rachelle, at Wordserve, hasn't been agenting that long - just two years or so, and her blog was very new last year when it ended up on our 101 short list. So why did we include it last year? Because we saw potential and wisdom, and Rachelle has only upped the ante by blogging more and more. Although she specializes in Christian/inspirational works, her advice is universal and practical - dissecting book proposals and sharing query tips.

4. Query Shark

There are more "query critique" sites now, but this site was one of the first and still the best. Agent Janet Reid of FinePrint Literary invites writers to submit queries for dissection and criticism/praise. If you wonder what a query looks like - or, more so, what a good query looks like, just visit Query Shark.
The site isn't updated as often as the others on this list, but there's a reason for that. (See No. 5)

5. Janet Reid

That's right. Janet Reid runs not only the Query Shark blog but also her own blog about agenting and publishing. She talks about all things agenting and publishing, and her brutal-honesty style is like no other.

Although there was only room for five, there are several other great agent blogs to visit. Off the top of my head, I would encourage you to visit The Swivet (Colleen Lindsay of FinePrint), Dystel & Goderich (a community agent blog), and BookEnds.