Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Science-Fiction Radio Drama

This just in from Rob Sawyer, the best seller science-fiction author:

"Birth" -- an original half-hour science-fiction radio drama written by Robert J. Sawyer and Michael Lennick, and produced by Joe Mahoney -- premieres on Friday, July 8, 2005, at 10:00 p.m. (in all time zones) across Canada on CBC Radio One and simultaneously worldwide on the Internet at http://www.cbc.ca/listen

"Birth" is a pilot for a potential series. A gallery of photos from the recording session -- including authors Sawyer and Lennick as extras -- is here: http://www.sfwriter.com/CBCBirth/

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More About Slush - this time at SCI FICTION

Last time I mentioned the dreaded slush pile was in my post Slush Pile Treatment at Tor. Unlike Tor, a big publishing house, SCI FICTION is an online weekly magazine that publishes short science fiction and fantasy stories. The main difference as it pertains to slush piles is that while Tor works mainly with agented authors, SCI FICTION relies on the slush pile.

The Slush God Speaketh... interviewed Kelly Link, a slush reader for SCI FICTION.

You can find the interview here.

Via shaken & stirred

And if we mentioned Tor and SCI FICTION, why not give their guidelines as well:
SCI FICTION's submission guidelines
Tor's submissions' guidelines

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Monday, June 27, 2005

Research for Your Writing

I'm in the midst of heavy research for my novel.

I had my ideas in place and started writing it. Now I've taken some time off from writing only to study quantum mechanics. While I really like physics, I'd much rather be writing.

You see, my heroes are either physicist or scientists in some way, and I have to study their environment and what they know in order to understand them better. So while I'll never become a physicist myself, I want to be able to "talk" to my heroes eye to eye.

Being a bit anal, my research has expanded and I'm trying to understand more and more physics. It is fun and interesting after all and the brain exercise is stimulating. I keep having to remember though what my main goal is -- get a basic understanding, if that's even possible, of quantum mechanics and the scientific process.

Talking to a few authors, I know that each has their own writing process. Some start with the research, some do it in the middle, like I do, and some, who don't need too much research, simply fill up the missing stuff at the end (like street names and museums in Rome). What none does is to interrupt the writing process itself. When an author writes, they should just write. Not correct spelling mistakes, not look for the perfect word in the Thesaurus and not check facts.

Okay, back to work... back to quantum mechanics...

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Friday, June 24, 2005

Writing as Work

It is always hard to convince others that writing is work just like any other job/carreer.

Usually, at home, I sit in my office (or whatever room I've put the computer in) and there I write in my solitude.

However, now I am visiting my family and am not staying at home. I have yet to get straight ten minutes work without someone "interrupting." I've put interrupting in quotation marks because, bless their hearts, they always have good intentions. My father can pop his head and ask if I want a fruit, my mother wants me to join her for tea, other family members ask what I do, and in general, between trying to be polite to the people I love most in the world but also trying to get some writing done, the writing loses out.

If I had an office I would go to outside the house then they would understand that. But sitting at home and surfing, which is what they think I do, does not compute into work, and so interrupting is okay.

All I have left to do, after explaining for the kazillionth time that I'm working, is to smile, accept the fruit offer, coffee and cake, ice-cream or whatever other food they want to throw at me, chit chat with them, smile, kiss and hug them, hoping to catch up on work when I get home.

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Thursday, June 23, 2005

Writers Unionizing and Free Books

  • Writer's Blog tells us how Reality TV Writers [want] To Unionize. What I didn't know was that there are writers for Reality TV. It's my fault - maybe if I ever watched a reality TV show other than American or Canadian Idol, which shamefully I admit I'm addicted to - I would know that.

    Original article in L.A. Times - Reality Show Writers Seek Representation
    Because writers are deeply involved in the dozens of reality shows, union leaders argue, they should get similar pay and benefits as writers on conventional programs.

    "These are issues of justice for these writers," said Daniel Petrie Jr., president of the WGA, West. He described reality TV as a "sweatshop" for writers.
  • And somewhat on the flip side (arguably, but perhaps not), science-fiction novelist and part of the Boing Boing team, Cory Doctorow, has just released his third novel, Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town, for free download under a Creative Commons license.
    The whole point of giving away electronic books is to experiment with electronic text and spot where the new opportunities for earning a writer's living lie -- working with my audience, not against them. So with every release, I've tried some experimentation. This book is no exception.

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Boys' Life - Children's non-fiction and fiction

BOYS’ LIFE is a general-interest, four-color monthly, circulation 1.3 million, published by the Boy Scouts of America since 1911.

Writers' Guidelines

Woman's Day - Articles and essays
   Need I really introduce this magazine?  One
of the most highly circulated women's magazine.
   Writer's Guidelines

Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine - Mystery short fiction

Founded in 1956, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine features every subgenre of mystery fiction.

Writers' Guidelines

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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Reading on Your iPod

Did you know you could create and read eBooks on your iPod?

Sally Sally and Sagan - The Cats that Read first told me about this amazing feat.
You can use the "Notes" function to convert books into notes on iPod. You can do it yourself by following the instructions in Make, or you can use this converter.

I, unfortunately, don't have an iPod (and my palm is much easier), but if I did, I would most definitely do it.


Monday, June 20, 2005

I Can Do This - I Can Write

I've just finished reading a book. For the purpose of this discussion--more like a monologue--the book itself doesn't matter. What matters is the feelings I had while reading the book and after I've finished it: I can do this, I kept telling myself. I can write like that. I can even write better. I know it, I've done it.

I know that many writers get that feeling. It was the first time for me but I see it as a good sign. I'm gaining confidence, I trust my abilities as a writer and I know what I'm capable of.

Many writers get frustrated and flustered when they feel that way. How come this writer can publish his/her book and I can't? I write at least as good as s/he.

The answer? I wish I had one. A definite one that is. But I believe it has a lot to do with hard work, perseverance, and some luck too. If one has talent to boot, then there's no reason why one can't be published. Key factors here are the things we can control - hard work and perseverance. The luck - well, I'll leave that to the more spiritual people to handle. Talent? Half the time, talent is a subjective matter.

So why haven't I published a novel yet, only shorts and articles? I know the answer and am working to rectify it.
The question is - why haven't you? and what are you doing to rectify it?

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Saturday, June 18, 2005

Today's (and yesterday's and the day before's) Market

When I started Today's Market I really intended to post a market a day. I have an abundance of markets in my database, more than enough to cover a couple of years. And when I say markets, I mean paying markets. Some more, some less, of course.

But things stood in the way, and sometimes I just felt like writing about other things than just give out links to existing guidelines on the web. So I haven't been posting a market a day despite good intentions.

I will try to be more consistent, because I think it's good on a number of different levels. For now, please accept my apologies and these following markets:

  • Pockets - Children's short fiction and non-fiction
    Designed for 6- to 12-year-olds, Pockets magazine offers wholesome devotional readings that teach about God's love and presence in life.
    Writer Guidelines
  • Queen's Quarterly - Articles, reviews, short stories and poetry
    Queen's Quarterly is a multidisciplinary journal aimed at the general educated reader.
    Submission Guidelines

  • CIO Magazine - Articles for IT executives
    Our editorial mission is to address the issues vital to the success of IT in the contemporary business environment.
    Writer's Guidelines

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Friday, June 17, 2005

All Kinds of Writing Blogs

As a blogger, I felt it was time to review some of my favourite writing blogs. They're all so different and give such a unique perspective on the world of writing.

The order in which I put them down doesn't imply anything:

In Writer's Blog, Easywriter shares with us her amazingly descriptive writing. Snippets, thoughts and excerpts written in a beautiful and tantalizing language. She has a way of capturing and conveying the feel of the moment as she does describing a city in the summer in June City, or memories of her grandmother in Dear Diary, or a rainy day in Rain Again Today, where her writing reminded the readers of Bradbury's Something Wicked this Way Comes. Easywriter's longer posts are a well of insightful, sometimes dark, sometimes experimental, but always beautiful pieces of writing, and always worth your time.

Another one of my favourites is Patry Francis' blogs. She has two blogs that I read. Very different from Easywriter, Patry Francis doesn't put much of her writings in her blogs,but writes more about reading and the writing life. I'm Not Really A Waitress, one of the most visited blogs in Publishers Marketplace, and The Marvelous Garden, are blogs in which she shares with us her "double life" as a waitress and writer, the struggles, the conflicts, the frustration. All in a very light manner, easy to read and funny way. Many interesting stuff for readers and for writers. Recommended.

And a bit more from the reader's perspective perhaps, McVane's blog is a delight. Dealing more with the Romance genre, McVane's blog is filled with reader interviews, personal posts, and other things related to Romance books. Just a whole lot of a fun read.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Writing and Jetlag

Writing and jetlag don't mix.

I had a night flight on Monday which was delayed by two hours, then the flight time itself was nearly 12 hours, and then (after passport control and luggage pick-up and all that) I had another two hour drive. I finally arrived at my destination Tuesday night.

I was fine most of the of the day today, but couldn't really concentrate. On anything. Not only on writing, but on other things as well. All I did today was to sit and look at some far away, unidentified point. I hope I wasn't rude to anyone and answered people when they talked to me. I won't even pretend I carried on any kind of conversation.

It is nearly 11 at night here, so I guess I'll pack it in.

Must remember to spell check first if I can retain my concentration for the next three minutes.

Hope to be back in full form tomorrow.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Graphically Challenged

I just had the laugh of my life.

Apparently, my blog is ranked first (that is number one, numero uno) in the Writing/Publishing category of the Top Blogs directory.
This fact isn't funny, quite the opposite. What is funny is that I don't have a banner, so they "gave" me one, as you can very well see below.

Now this is just too funny, and I can't get over it. It is well known amongst my circle of family and friends that any four-year-old can draw better than I could ever dream of. Now, how did Top Blogs know that?

All I have left to do is to say -

            Thank You!

Traveling Again

I'm leaving tonight. Flying across the ocean.
I hope to be able to post Wednesday.
I've prepared this for the flight (12 hours):

  • Palm loaded with:
    • Work, i.e. short stories I'm working on, my current novel, other things
    • Reading - a friend's novel, some old public property novels I downloaded from sites I listed in my post Classical Readings
    • A few Sudokos Relax with Sudoku
  • Laptop loaded with pretty much the same as the palm, only more
  • Books
  • Notebooks
  • Scrap paper

Do you think it's enough?

I mean, I do intend to also sleep, watch a movie or two and get a little drunk, but what I really wanted was a little chess set.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Today's Market - Non-Fiction Kids

Today's market is a children's magazine Learning Through History.

Learning Through History is seeking submissions about the following two subjects:
The Great War (WWI) and Aztec and Maya.

The magazine lists suggested topics within those subjects, but is open to other ideas. Writers would be well advised to familiarize themselves well with the magazine before submitting.

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Ahhh, the weekend is here. It's quiet in the streets and the house is still asleep.

Weekends are the best and the worst.

They're the best because you have a lot more time to dedicate to writing. They're the worst because everybody's preying on your weekend time.

I'm not a late sleeper, so I usually manage to get 2-4 hours of quiet writing time on Saturdays and Sundays mornings, but after that it's useless. There's so much to do on the weekend, and to be honest, I need to go out and do some fun stuff.

So I'm going to leave this post alone now because I might still have time to write about a 1000 words or so this morning.

(The days before my birthday I was very good and wrote an average of about a 1000 words a day. Of course I had to brag about it to a friend, and ever since I bragged, I haven't written a word. Ha! )

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Friday, June 10, 2005

Writing Contests

I personally don't like contests despite being a finalist in a few. I prefer the straight out submission.
I also don't enter any contest with an entry fee although I do know writer that do and that it worked well for them.
You decide how you want to play this one.

Here are a few contests:

  • Carve Magazine - literary fiction - non-genre
  • Judge: Bill Henderson, editor of Pushcart Press. Submissions accepted September 1, 2005 -- Sunday, January 1, 2006.
    First Prize, $2000 Second Prize, $1000 Third Prize, $500 all finalists receive $100

  • Random House - The Twentysomething Essays by Twentysomething Writers Contest

    Random House is looking for the most original voices of the twentysomething generation,writing about their lives, their passions, their world. We will be publishing the best essays in a book titled Twentysomething Essays by Twentysomething Writers: The Best New Voices of 2006. There will be a grand prize of $20,000 to the top winner.

  • Writers of the Future Contest - Genre Short Stories

    All types of science fiction, fantasy and horror with fantastic elements.

    Three cash prizes in each quarter: a First Prize of $1,000, a Second Prize of $750, and a Third Prize of $500, in U.S. dollars.

    The Contest has four quarters, beginning on October 1, January 1, April 1 and July 1.

Good luck!

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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Slush Pile Treatment at TOR

A friend sent me this post Get Rejecting from Romancing the Blog. The writer of this blog post, Anna Genoese, is an editor at TOR/Forge, and she tells about the slim chances of an unagented writer to be selected out of the slush pile. What she has to say is not very encouraging and even somewhat depressing.

... at Tor/Forge, every two weeks, the entire editorial department gets together in a giant room with a big stack of submissions, and we get rejecting.

Nope, I don’t mean reading. I wrote rejecting, and I meant rejecting (grammar aside!).

Tor/Forge, all told, gets somewhere between 25 and 75 unagented, unsolicited submissions every single business day. ... That means we get between about 7,000 and 20,000 submissions every year, not counting stuff from authors we already publish, and agents.

We publish an average of 15 books per month ... That’s about 180 books every year. Subtract from that the number of authors we work with on a regular basis and… well, the odds aren’t good.

How many of those 20,000 submissions actually become real grown up novels?

Not many.

In fact, in the last five years, I can count on one hand the number of books that we pulled out of the slush piles and published. ...
So I ask - is the timing -- a day before my birthday -- intentional?

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Tomorrow is my birth-day, and that means that I'd be out and about the whole day and won't be able to post.

I really hoped to get around to writing a proper progress meter myself, but since I didn't yet and since it would probably take me a while to do it, you can have fun until then with The Word Meter.

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A Writer's Life

Elizabeth Bear gives us a glimpse into her life - the stress, money issues, balancing work and writing as well as a few other things.

Robert J Sawyer in his journal gives us a glimpse into a successful writer's life. Wouldn't we all wish...

And while Holly Lisle has her own journal her 'for writers' page that is combined with a FAQ, I always find most interesting. One of the questions there is about money, of course.

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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Categorizing Your Blogger blogspot Blog

Some time had passed after I started blogging before I realized I needed categories. Desperately. Especially for this kind of blog.

To my dismay, I realized that Blogger doesn't support categories unlike other blog services. I thought for a while of switching services, but it seemed too complicated. Then I though of writing something myself seeing that I have been a programmer in my previous life.

But then it hit me. I can't be the only one who wished for categories in Blogger. A quick search directed me to FreshBlog where I found a wonderful How To and a very helpful blogger. The How To lists bookmarklet from Ted Ernst's Humanize the Earth! blog, and voila, I now have categories. It's not as pretty, elegant and direct as I would have wanted it to be, but it's good enough for now and serves another purpose of tagging my posts.

The How To from FreshBlog - How to use del.icio.us for blogger categories

Ted Ernst's bookmarklet - technorati and delicious tagging


Today's Market - Non Fiction Articles

Orion is a magazine about the issues of our time: how we live, what we value, what sustains us. Informed by a growing ecological awareness and the need for cultural change, it is a forum for thoughtful and creative ideas and practical examples of how we might live justly, wisely, and artfully on Earth.


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All Work and No Play

I've been working very hard the past few days because I'm going away next week. I'll still have access to a computer where I'll be, but not as much, so I decided to write as much as I can before I go.
At least I'll still be able to post.

On top of going away, we've also been doing lots of work in the house and that took up a lot of my time.

On top of that, I have to prepare some critiques for the weekend and I still have a lot to read.

And as if that's not enough, my printer decided to act up and when I went to print at my in-laws so that I could send a submission (snail mail submission unfortunately), I found my in-laws computer plagued with viruses, worms, malware, adware, webdialers, tracking software and what not.

So, to make a short story long, I haven't printed and I haven't submitted despite working hard.

Well, the week is young.


Saturday, June 04, 2005

Breathe In, Breathe Out

Finally, I can breathe.
I've submitted what I needed to submit and while I'm not happy about my overall progress, I'm happy that I've at least accomplished this.

Next week my goal is three more submissions.

I want to always have at least five short stories in circulation. This is on top of the other stuff, of course. But I find that this is the best way to get somewhere. But it's a subject for a whole new post.

Friday, June 03, 2005

The Pressure Cooker is on

I haven't been posting much the past two days because I had a deadline. Something I've been working on for quite a while. It's not a certain thing, just a maybe, and I wanted to give it my best. For that I needed to concentrate and to focus on my main mission.

It's funny, but I've just noticed the time has changed and it's now past midnight, which means I have gone a full day without posting. Something I promised myself not to do.

As much as I stress discipline, I find it the hardest to maintain. Not the discipline to write, but the discipline to be organized in my writing and do the million other things I don't like in the business. Like rewrites, like queries, like submissions, like keeping to deadlines.
I'm very good at keeping to deadlines if I have an assignment, but I suck at keeping to my own deadlines. For example, next week I wish to submit three stories I've been sitting on for a while.

I think that I'm going to take advantage of this blog and the kind people who read it and have a progressometer. Similar to what I've seen on other sites. Something that would track, publicly, how much I write, how much I've submitted etc.
I'll work on that on the weekend maybe.

I do feel the need to give an excuse though. I've had one of the lousiest winters and this past week the weather has finally been nice. I am indulging myself with occasionally sitting at a patio midday. But can you really blame me?

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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Today's Market - SciFi Short Fiction

For those in the science fiction know, Isaac Asimov is synonymous to Shakespeare, well, almost. The magazine, Asimov's Science Fiction, is highly respected for the talent it showcases monthly and the quality of stories published.