Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Going Away - Again

This time I hope to be back by Friday.

I did prepare anthology markets for you but had no time to post it.

See you Friday or Saturday at the latest.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Editors Are Evil Writing Contest

Despite what I said about not being a big fan of Writing Contests, I thought that this one deserved a special treatment after all.

WRITE SIDE announces its first annual "Editors Are Evil" Writing Contest.

Via Places for Writers

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Monday, July 25, 2005

Research Resources

I have to add to my post Research for Your Writing. In that post I concentrated on how much and when I (and other authors) research, but I thought that it might good to add a few of the resources I use:

  • How Stuff Works
    This site has everything. If you need to be a bit more thorough when you write about the court system, then this site will tell you How Supreme Court Appointments Work. If you're writing about botox then you can find out How Botox Works, or if you want to write intelligibly about satellite TV then go to the Electronics Channel and find outHow Satellite TV Works.

  • Columbia Encyclopedia - Sixth Edition
    Containing nearly 51,000 entries (marshalling six and one-half million words on a vast range of topics), and with more than 80,000 hypertext cross-references, the current Sixth Edition is among the most complete and up-to-date encyclopedias ever produced.

  • And of course - who hasn't heard of - Wikipedia
    The free-content encyclopedia that anyone can edit. In the English version, started in 2001, they are currently working on 652,524 articles.

  • For city and street maps I always go to Mapquest

  • infoplease is a great site with an almanac, encyclopedia, dictionary and thesaurus, but I use it mostly for their Atlas or I use World Sites Atlas
And lest we forget Google , Yahoo, Technorati and the likes.

And if all this isn't enough, and also just for fun and to get out of the dungeon, I mean office, every once in a while and see people, then the local library branch and even better the local reference library is a great source you should use often.

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Saturday, July 23, 2005

Book News and Trends

Here's a couple of interesting things I found in Places for Writers:

  • Bestsellers Are a Woman's World, Baby
    Male writers may soon become obsolete, according to a new study by POD publisher After conducting a study of the bestselling books of the past 50 years, the website has boldly predicted that writing books will soon become a woman's job. "If present trends continue," the company announced in a release, "bestsellers by women will imminently overtake those by men, before going on to make male bestsellers extinct."

    Now I don't know about that, but who does. I bet that if we took trends in some other professions, we would discover a similar one, like doctors and lawyers for example. Some law and med schools now have more females enrolled than males, but does that mean lawyers and doctors will soon be all female? I doubt it. But it's good to hear that women are progressing in so many areas.

  • Gritty Books Appeal to Teens

    Teenagers belong to a generation that's more literate than any other in history, says David Booth, a children's book author ... But he cautions, "Don't confuse literate with literature. One is process and the other is product. The question shouldn't be, 'Is my kid reading?' but rather, 'What is my kid reading?' "

    Television's impact on reading is obvious in the evolution of the wildly popular graphic novels and Japanese manga, genres particularly popular with young boys.
    Kids read all the time at their in school and on their computers, "but what I'm missing in kids is time spent in reflective, intensive text," Booth says.

    I'm still not 100% certain what all this means. It's probably a change that we (non-teenagers) have a hard time comprehending. We can grasp the change in the publishing industry, we can see it with the internet, print on demand etc., but can we grasp the change in literature? I mean, can my parents listen to grunge or techno music?
And if I've already mentioned at the top of this post the Places for Writers site, don't forget to check out the Calls and Contests pages as well as the other great things offered in the site.

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Friday, July 22, 2005


A very interesting little debate has been going on in more than a few blogs I have visited lately - characterization vs. ideas -- what's more important?
The debate started with someone claiming that there's a difference between male and female writers, the former writers concentrate on ideas, that person claimed, while the latter on characterization.
I don't think that the gender issue warrants even the slightest consideration, but the concept of what's more important in fiction -- ideas vs. characterization -- is very interesting.

In literary fiction (and by literary I exclude Grishamand the likes, any genre whatsoever, and popular mainstream), we can find that both play an important and integral role in the success of a book.
While Catch 22,Beloved,The Catcher in the Ryeand To Kill a Mockingbirdare all character driven, one can't say the ideas don't flow from these books like water from an endless fountain. And what about other classics whose ideas are more visible like 1984,Brave New Worldand Fahrenheit 451,are the characters in these books flat? Not at all, quite the contrary.

Maybe my definition of ideas is different from others, broader, so let's look at a genre where ideas are crucial to the plot - science-fiction. Science-fiction books, have to have good ideas in order to be considered good. But are good ideas enough? Again, after close examination, we see that the really successful books are always the ones that manage to have very good characters in addition to good ideas. And please don't jump down my throat and scream Asimovin my face, I'm talking in general terms. Just take, Le Guin,Sawyer,Kressand Card,for example, and see what I mean.

Now, I read very little mainstream, so I can't comment much on Grishamand the likes, but I did have the dubious pleasure of reading The Da Vinci Code,which I thought had flat characters, and therefore I didn't think it was a good book. Ideas galore, but characterization none. Successful - yes, but literary - no.

Harry Potter,on the other hand, is in a different class altogether. Ideas and characterization. Well done in both departments. Does that fact make it literary? I doubt it, but it makes it successful.

And what about Romanceand Chicklit? (Aside: seems like any book with a female main character nowadays is considered chicklit). Too much generalization in these genres. And Mysteryand Horror?Are Agatha Christieand Stephen Kingcharacter or idea driven? I'll allow the fans of these genres to answer that, but I suspect I already know the answer.

This whole discussion is extremely interesting and my thoughts seem to be slightly different from what I read others have said about the subject. I think that both ideas and characterization are not only important but are crucial elements to the making of a good book.

Here are some other posts on the subject:
It's All About Character
Toward a Utopia of Book Reviewing for Women

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I Give Up - Quizzes Galore

Okay, okay, I give up.
The web and the blogsphere seem to be riddled with quizzes.
Maybe one day I'll post all the quizzes in one post, but for now, here's a couple:

The first quiz found out that me, that is moi, am a Jock. Ha! No more no less. If they only knew. Well... I'll take it.

Take the What High School
Stereotype Are You?

via Monica Jackson

And Another:
Now this one on the other hand found me to be the innocent. Ha! again.
I am very inquisitive though. So I'll take this one too.

You are Form 3, Unicorn: The Innocent.

And The Unicorn knew she wasn't meant to
go into the Dark Wood. Disregarding the advice
given to her by the spirits, Unicorn went
inside and bled silver blood.. For her
misdeed, the world knew evil.

Some examples of the Unicorn Form are Eve (Christian)
and Pandora (Greek).
The Unicorn is associated with the concept of innocence,
the number 3, and the element of water.
Her sign is the twilight sun.

As a member of Form 3, you are a curious individual.
You are drawn to new things and become fascinated
with ideas you've never come in contact with before.
Some people may say you are too nosey, but it's only
because you like getting to the bottom of things and
solving them. Unicorns are the best friends to have
because they are inquisitive.

Which Mythological Form Are You?
brought to you by

via Rantings and Ravings of an Insane Writer

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Thursday, July 21, 2005


When I've started this blog, I honestly wanted to help new writers. I remembered how at first I had no clue about anything. All I knew was that I had been writing and that maybe I could actually do something with it. I had no idea what manuscript, query, submission, etc. were. I had to break the barrier of finding how to send a manuscript and who to send it to. And that was how I wanted to help new writers.

With me, I had beginners luck, but I think it was more of a curse. After only three submissions, I sold my first short story and for quite a bit of money too. I was so happy; the sky was the limit.

But guess what, it took me another two years before I sold another piece. I was beside myself until my second sale came through. Today, it is still a struggle and the rejection letters keep piling up at a rate of 1:20 (or more ) acceptance letter to rejection notes.

Now that I've been working on my second novel (never even bothered with sending out the first), I'm almost certain I'll never be able to publish it. I know, I know. This kind of defeatist attitude doesn't help, but I almost feel it to be a realistic rather than a defeatist attitude. Of course, it doesn't help to read posts like this one about The Secret Lives of Editors.

So now I'm thinking - is there even any point in helping new writers? The hardship, the heartache, the struggle - is it worth it? Maybe it would have been better not to get into it in the first place, just to keep writing for the drawer.

But of course it's not all bleak, and maybe in another post I will write about the brighter sides of the writing business. For now, though, I have to get back to my novel :)

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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Markets - Small Press

  • Anvil Press
    Anvil Press is a literary publisher interested in contemporary, progressive literature in all genres.
    -- fiction, poetry, drama, non-fiction

  • Soft Skull Press
    "One of the most visible and respected alternative houses in the Grove Press in the 1950's and 1960's." --Quill & Quire
    -- history, politics/current events, fiction, memoir/biography, music, poetry, art/graphics/comix, gay/lesbian, erotica

  • Aanansi Press
    Anansi publishes Canadian and international writers of literary fiction, poetry, and serious nonfiction.
    -- literary fiction, poetry, nonfiction
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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

More About Writing as Work

Having just spent nearly a month and a half in a crowded house, full of people who just don't get it, I understand those writers who always live like that better.

I had a very hard time ignoring the constant interruptions until eventually I simply stopped trying. Who knows, maybe if I knew this wasn't temporary I would find a way to deal with it and be more forceful about it, but I didn't. I ended up writing only late at night when I was so tired I couldn't get more than a few hundred words out at best.

However, I did find an advice article about this called Caution: Parent at Work. Might help those with kids who struggle with the issue on a daily basis.

For me, for now, I'm so happy to be sitting again in my office, at my desk, typing away at my keyboard with my familiar computer and -- without a soul around.

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No Internet Access

After nearly three whole weeks without much internet access where I couldn't post, visit the blogs I usually visit, check my mail or read the news, I'm happy to be connected again.

My blog has suffered from a significant decrease in traffic, but I hope to rectify that quickly and again post some interesting things and/or valuable information. I missed this and I missed everybody.

I never thought I would be so happy to be back - yey!

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