Archive for March, 2010

The Name of the Game… er… Novel


2010
03.26

How many of you have ever browsed through a book store and picked up a book just because of its name? Come on, be honest! I’ll be the first to admit that I have, so now that the ice is broken, free yourself and admit it.

Similar to picking up a book based on a super awesome cover, as Natalie Whipple discussed, people will (whether you like it or not) pick up a book because of a catchy title. That may not be the only reason people pick up books, but it surely is one of them.

So what should you name your novel? Whatever you want. Chances are the publisher will change it anyway. That is not to say that you shouldn’t give it a title, though. In fact, if you already have a great title, you have a chance of keeping it, but don’t be upset if it gets changed.

Additionally, a great title might make a slush reader give it a solid look. If readers are picking up books based on titles, you can bet that good title will stand out in a slush pile as well. Here are some random examples of groovy titles that I made up on the fly:

The Untimely Divorce of Josephine Williams

Beyond Death’s Grasp

On the Fringe of Existence

Beneath His Feet

The Shaman of South Central

In History We Trust

Don’t some of these just grab you by the brain stem, forcing your hungry eyes to take in more? I hope so, otherwise this post turned out to be lame.

So how do you come up with a great title? I can’t help you there. :(   My method isn’t really a method: I think, then it happens. Almost instantly. If it doesn’t happen instantly, I put it on the “back burner” in my head, and a week later it will just pop in. I wish I could tell you more, but there’s nothing more to tell.

So, if the title of your current manuscript is, “Work in Progress,” I challenge you to come up with something great. You would be surprised how a good title will inspire you to keep writing.

Attention everyone!


2010
03.22

So I was published in Digital Dragon Mag, remember? Anyway, turns out the head guy there has a podcast, something I am also endeavoring to produce (again).

While I haven’t heard it yet, I can say that is simply looks awesome! Go check it out!

http://www.timandjeff.com/

Rejection is a good thing… honest!


2010
03.19

I may sound a little optimistic here, but look what treasure I found in my email today.

Thank you for your submission to SUPER AWESOME MAGAZINE.  Unfortunately, it’s not what we’re looking for at the moment.  Thank you for sharing, and best of luck in the future.

-The Editors
(Chris-  I’d like to commend you for the pacing of the first few pages.  It’s quite eloquent.  Keep working. -SUPER AWESOME EDITOR)
Obviously I changed the name of the magazine and the editor, but other than that, this is totally real! Woo hoo!
While this email makes it easier to see rejections as a good thing, this isn’t a new revelation. Getting published is a numbers game. Sure, you have to actually know how to write, and it has to be interesting, but all things being equal, it’s all about how often you submit.
Every rejection you get is one step closer to being accepted. Start thinking of it this way, and you will actually get excited to see rejections. I know it sounds strange, but seriously, you will.
And, you also need to realize that it isn’t just you. EVERYONE gets rejected. I know someone will comment or email me to prove me wrong, but 99% of the worlds published authors have been rejected… several times. Even the greats like Stephen King, Michael Crichton, insert your favorite author here.
Next time you get a rejection I want you to jump up and down, sing, dance, and email everyone you know. You know why? Because it means you and the best of the best have something in common. ;)

That versus Who


2010
03.18

I was IM’ing with a buddy of mine today when he asked me to proof read a blog post before he published it. I obliged, and found practically no errors (not a surprise, the man is a genius).

Anyway, later in he day, he teased me about missing several instances of the word “that” when it should have been “who.” Example:

“I know a guy that once at a McDonlad’s Cheeseburger in one bite.”

versus

“I know a guy who once at a McDonlad’s Cheeseburger in one bite.”

This sparked a little debate between us. Oh, don’t worry; it was a fun debate… we have them all the time (in fact, we have practically started a list of debates that we can pull from whenever bored). You see, I am not a believer. I don’t think that using “who” when the object is a person is a must.

His point was that there are several (probably in the thousands) of websites that prove that point. Go ahead, google it. To his credit, it is the popular consensus. I, however, do not always believe the popular consensus. This is the perfect example.

I think that you can use either. “That” has been used in literature, instead of “who,” for YEARS. In fact, Websters Dictionary AND American Heritage Dictionary BOTH openly reject the idea that you must use “who” when the object is a person. I found a handful of other websites to back up my point as well, and that brings me to the real point of this little post…

If it isn’t a 100%, undisputed, without a doubt grammar rule, don’t try to nitpick it. Why? Because someone like me, who debates just for the sake of it, will find a legitimate source (like a dictionary) to prove you wrong. Ha!

Now, while I discourage you from nitpicking grammar when there is no “absolute,” I will NEVER discourage you from sharing your opinion with other writers. Just make sure that you disclose it as your “opinion.”

Official Disclaimer: I only took the side of “that” because it was a fun debate. I do think you can do it either way, but I don’t think those who believe that you have to use “who” are unintelligent. I hold no grudges toward those THAT (lol) choose to use “who” instead of “that”. And, for the record, Ryan (the person I debated with) may use it however he wants, and I will still think he is an excellent writer. :)

Cheater Post


2010
03.16

I am tired. Still. I have been neglectful of my blog. Still. I am going to cheat here, and instead of writing an awesome post, I will merely point out an awesome post.

My friend, R. Garrett Wilson, has started a WONDERFUL series of posts on Character Development. This is EXACTLY the type of thing I would like to do… when I have time. For now, check out his posts, and prepare to be amazed. Seriously. You should probably sit down, so when your mind is blown, you won’t fall over ;)

A long week


2010
03.07

It’s been a loooong week. The wife is sick. The toddler is sick. The 7 year old… well… he’s 7.

I’ve been working long hours and sleeping few. I have, though, finished the first draft of a short story for my writing group’s Anthology project! Yay!

Another win today… I finished recording interviews for the first 6 episodes of The Write Podcast. Many of the interviewees had some really encouraging words for writers like me, and today turned out to be one of those “I can make it as a writer” days.

By the way, if some of my posts seem like fragmented, random thoughts… it’s because they are! Thank you, lack of sleep! I couldn’t have made a confusing post without you!

Family Time


2010
03.04

I read something that a friend of my wrote today (R. Garrett Wilson) about family time. This week I have barely seen my family at all. With work, extra work, writing group, podcast stuff, and life in general, I am exhausted.

Tonight I want to hang with my family and just enjoy them. Of course, when everyone is off to bed, it’s back to work I go.