You Don’t Say

“We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried. Most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita; Vishnu is trying to persuade the  Prince that he should do his duty and, to impress him, takes on his multi-armed form and says, 'Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.' I suppose we all thought that, one way or another.” 

J. Robert Oppenheimer commenting on the first successful atomic bomb test

You’ve heard of the author advisory, “Write what you know”? Not bad as homilies go but this one doesn’t go far enough. We all know something. Knowing doesn’t guarantee write-ability and write-ability feeds on more than just knowing. Writing solely from knowledge tempts a body to chase marketing data.

The bottom has (or should have) fallen out of the vampire, YA end-of-the-world and dragon-done-me-wrong-song series for the most predictable of reasons. The bottom can’t support the combined weight. Too predictable, too Xeroxed, too much! Jaded but without the fun.

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Don't Be Short With Me

Just kidding

Back in the day, an into similar to “Once upon a Time”, SyFy was a thing of short stories. Equal, maybe even superior, in every way to the Novel. Actually the novels of then usually resembled the Novellas of today and there are (mostly) no novellas today. Amazing Stories, Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, Astounding Science Fiction, Analog and others had all the good stuff.

Well that was then and, as they say, today is…well, today. Frankly, there are many more opportunities for really excellent “sell ‘em by the pound” back-breaker sagas then back in the golden age. I mentioned a few of them already. Of course, the inverse is also true. Today, we are buried in such a huge pile of published stinkeroos that it should make a grown editor blush. Considering the present microscopic point of entry offered by the Pro-pubs, you’d assume targeted due-diligence would squirt pure gold off the off-set. Not so.

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Dialogue is Delicious

…and Setting sublime

Or at least it should be. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Plot is the dust jacket, the fly leaf, the carney barker of prose. The enticement to lay the coin of me-time down on the counter and invest a quick scan of the book’s back cover (pBook or eBook, it’s all the same idea). The scan may morph to the browse but what converts to the buy? Dialogue, most like.

For some plot aficionados, the buy is preordained. They’ll not be dissuaded by a misfiring dialogue engine. Cover to cover, an engaging plot serves. Better yet, the fortuitous inclusion of plot’s more dulcet handmaiden, calibrated Story, is a bonus. What Plot promises, fine story telling may deliver. Maybe.

I’ll even go you one better. Of late, there is a greater reliance in the Pro-Pub(lishing) world on the “performance enhancing drug” of Plot, The High Concept. Sometimes called the “Gut Grab”, High Concept plays to the notion that, if Plot keeps your socks up, High Concept knocks them off.  

Gee. All this time we thought it was the dryer’s fault!

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Good Writing Melts in Your Head…

…not in your hands

Apologies to the M&M boys

Well written, engaging, integral prose is like dessert. Satisfying to eye and (maybe) nose; yummy all the way down. You know what I mean. I know you do. Name the book(s) that you read over and over through the years. Books so head healthful that they become actual rewards to yourself for personal patience, absence, endurance, magnificence whatev’.

Yeah, yeah that's right. Those books!

Well, I discovered one more and, for me at least, it’s a bizarre addition. I just finished read number one but already I see number two far off, winking in the sunlight. I typically save single book reviews for Good Reads but this one deserves its own post. I wax poetic because I’m stalling. Why? Because the book is…

The Hunger Games

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An Army of One

Maybe you can’t truly appreciate the promise of iBooks Author until you publish an eBook. Paradigm shift? Really? Is that the best I can do? I call myself a writer and can’t give Apple’s new app its true due?


Wait! Give me another chance. I’ve been sick.

How do you describe a tool that allows an author to essentially drag and drop his book into existence with class? Widgets for formatting, widgets for almost any kind of media file (video, audio, slideshow), widgets for illustrative rotational 3D and gorgeous, gorgeous output. Just like the Cybernetic Authoring Tool (CAT). The ultimate way to facilitate thought to “paper”.

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