Happy New Year!

Two days later.  That’s because ON New Year’s rain fell, wind blew, the thermometer dropped and I was busy keeping horses hayed up and (relatively) happy.   It cleared off in the evening so people could shoot off their fireworks and the horses could disapprove.  New Year’s Eve was also rainy, windy, cold.  We got 2.6 Read More…

Revision Review

Since revision this time digs right into the foundation structure of NewBook, a post on where the revision is at the moment seems a good time to discuss the kinds of problems a book’s underpinnings or foundation–the deeper structure–can have, and strategies for fixing  same.   This is not a problem I have often, but it’s Read More…

Revision, revision, revision: still not done?

Still not done.  Little chunks have come out.  Bigger chunks of new material have appeared.   Sequence tangles have been extricated, laid out, and put in order, with necessary transitions.  It’s taken this long to get the first thirty-two days of the story cleaned up, and to introduce things that were left out.  It’s gonna be Read More…

SF and Soup

When a science fiction writer makes soup and then wants to take a picture of it…my, what strange things get into into the picture.  Is that cute little alien *pregnant*??? What’s with the one straddling a big of carrot and holding (?) a black bean?   (This being a winter soup, it started with 4 cups Read More…

Another Note on Research

Having just explained that I do not outline books…you may wonder how I can research backgrounds, both physical and social.  As of today, I can offer a new example. Usually, when I start a book, especially in a series, I have in mind a setting of some sort…my characters have shown me where they are, Read More…

Revision, Revision, Where Art Thou, O Revision?

Made it through the first 30 days of this book (book-days, not our days) and straightened out the more obvious problems.  Then came a floating scene…one I’d labeled “move to where it belongs”…that dragged behind it a big important Event connected–alas–to a particular timing that no longer had space to fit it in.  Logical space.  Read More…

The Agent Calls

My writing for publication goes first to my agent, then to an editor, then (if accepted) to a copy editor and production.   So the agent’s call or email to give me his reaction to whatever (book, shorter work) is usually my first *professional* assessment of its strengths and weaknesses.   The eyes on the work are Read More…

Fast Tips for Tightening Your Writing

Whether it’s a letter, essay, short story, or longer pieces, here are some easy ways to make it tighter, snappier, and (if you’re up against a word limit) shorter.  Go active:  change passive voice (“He was hit by a truck”) to active voice  (“A truck hit him.”)   Watch for sneaky forms of passive by scanning Read More…