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Messages - AnneLyle

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Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: What are you currently reading?
« on: January 23, 2014, 12:25:11 PM »
I'm reading The Dragon's Path by Daniel Abraham, first in his Dagger and Coin epic fantasy series.

So far, it kinda reads like some of the characters from my own Elizabethan series wandered into a Joe Abercrombie novel by mistake :)

(Which is not a bad thing, btw...)

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: stand alone novels
« on: January 23, 2014, 12:21:31 PM »
Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels are all basically standalones - there's a whole thread here about the best place to start:


Shame on the publisher, I say. What a lack of faith. It's happening more and more, though, sadly. In the current climate, publishers are even more risk averse.

Honestly, I can't blame them. They're in the business of making money - how can they be expected to keep putting books out that no-one is buying? The profit margins on most titles are slim enough as it is (remember, half the cover price goes to the retailer - less money gets back to the publisher and author than most people realise...)

Writers' Corner / Re: Starting on an epic
« on: January 15, 2014, 02:47:19 PM »
First person (with or without present tense) seems to be much more popular in YA, perhaps because it feels more immediate. Like David, I'm not keen at all on present tense myself, at least not when it comes to novel-length fiction, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't use it if it's what feels natural to the story.

I seem to recall from Writing Excuses that Pat Rothfuss took a long time (I want to say 12 years, but not sure if I just made that up) writing The Name of the Wind, and then struggled with book 2 as he'd not had to write to order before.

This is definitely a thing that debut novelists struggle with. The transition from unpublished writer working at your own pace to published writer with deadlines looming is a massive culture shock. Plus you have to find time to promote your first book whilst you're writing the second (or whilst you're editing the second and writing the third) - nothing really prepares you for how hard it is to keep up with the relentless pace of publishing.

That said, the huge gaps between some of the books mentioned above do ask a lot of the reader, particularly if the individual volumes don't have self-contained plots.

Writers' Corner / Re: Where fantasy writers go wrong
« on: January 14, 2014, 12:46:38 PM »
I myself read scripts for fantasy shows/movies along with lesser known fantasy titles (I always try to keep my reading assortment diverse so it'll give me better perspective as a writer rather than engulfing only good fantasy books down), and I also read tons of literature/romance books and scripts. Generally speaking from what I read it's always fantasy/sci fi scripts and books that are lacking in character depth in comparison to every other genre.

I'd like to point out that books and movie/TV scripts are totally different animals. It's true that most SFF scripts (esp Hollywood movies) are very formulaic and seem written purely to show off the SFX involved. Novelists, OTOH, don't have the advantage of 21st-century CGI and are therefore obliged to put more effort into characterisation. I suspect the characterisation might be less thorough than in literary fiction (and non-formula romance), but that's true of most action-oriented genre fiction.

Also, I'm not sure why you equate "lesser known" with "not just the good fantasy books", with the implication that only well-known books are any good. In my experience, it's rare for a book to be both highly popular and excellently written; literary SFF tends to appeal to a smaller audience than the competent but less demanding variety.

Writers' Corner / Re: Starting on an epic
« on: January 14, 2014, 11:42:09 AM »
I want to do my absolute best with this.

I think maybe I'm being anal about it. Should I just accept that there are intrinsic flaws in the method and move on? Yes? And write it even knowing that I'm doing something flawed?

To quote Hemingway, "All first drafts are shit."

Your first attempt will probably be terrible. This is OK. As Mur Lafferty says, "You are allowed to suck". You don't expect to play the Albert Hall after a few piano lessons, so why expect your first attempts at writing a novel to be any different?

Yes, read some good examples of first person, but be aware that unless you are a genius*, you will have to edit your first attempt. Probably several times. My first two novels were completely rewritten from scratch, then revised after feedback from my writing group, and then substantially revised for my publisher. Art is never finished, only abandoned :)

* Apparently Mark Lawrence does almost no editing of his first drafts. I can't think of another published fantasy author of which this is true.

Writers' Corner / Re: Starting on an epic
« on: January 13, 2014, 03:13:01 PM »
Personally, dragons bore me to tears, but that's just my pet peeve. No way would I impose my tastes on another writer.

So, I'll third the opinion - write what you love. I mean really love and are obsessed with. Because if you don't love the book, that will show through and bore the reader. Solid, heartfelt writing trumps content. Every. Time.

Also, if you're unpublished, you need to focus on writing, not on what other people think of your work. You need practice, and that's what you're not getting right now because you're second-guessing yourself. Ignore the naysayers and Write The Damned Book! :)

I shall be going as well - I had so much fun (did the "water-dancing" workshop with Miltos Yerolemou, and bought a lovely dagger in the dealers' room!) :)

I shall be there - I signed up at my first WorldCon (Chicago, in 2012) and bought the t-shirt there too :)

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: (Bad vs. Evil) VS. (Good vs. Evil)
« on: January 09, 2014, 03:40:40 PM »
Good vs good is something I explored in my Night's Masque trilogy. The "good guys" and "bad guys" both want the same thing (keeping the Conquistadors out of the Americas) but they have very different ways of going about it! (The bad guys have a stronger plan, but the means to the end is none too pleasant...)

Personally, I prefer moral ambiguity to old-fashioned Good vs Evil. Not complete bastards like Jorg Ancrath, but shady types like Locke Lamora - they're just far more fun :)

That's great news! I was hoping that Scott would read to us from The Thorn of Emberlain at WFC, but he was running late and read a section from his "Rogues" short story instead. Maybe he'll do a reading of Thorn at LonCon next summer  ;D

Hi I've just reserved this novel from the library and been to your website and noticed you have deleted scenes from the novel there does this happen a lot when writing a book ? any plans to see the river joust come back in an omnibus version or a short story?

Hi Eclipse!

Sorry for taking a few days to answer your questions - I've been really busy at my day-job this month, and only just found this revived thread.

In answer to your first question, I throw away a lot less now that I've had more practice at planning and writing novels! You'll notice that I didn't release a whole bunch of deleted scenes for Books 2 and 3, for two main reasons:

1) I now tend to discard anything that's not working at a much earlier stage in the drafting process, so even if I wanted to release it, it would take a lot more work to bring it up to a publishable standard.

2) because I was releasing deleted scenes as tasters, I wanted them to be fairly spoiler free, which limited my options to scenes from early in the book

As for your second question, no, I don't plan on including the river joust in a future edition - it doesn't fit in with the rest of the plot of The Alchemist of Souls (which is why I deleted it during a plot restructure). As a "short story", there's no story as such - it's just an episode in what is clearly a much bigger piece, and I feel that a short story should be complete in itself.

As an aside, anyone who's interested in the creative decisions behind deleted scenes in movies should check out the DVD of "A Knight's Tale", which (apart from being a fun movie with great jousting scenes!) has audio commentary from the directory on the deleted scenes, explaining why they were cut.

« on: November 27, 2013, 01:47:32 PM »
Do you 'win' Nanowrimo by doing your 50K words or is there actually a 'winner' winner? I've never been brave enough to participate, plus November is probably my worst possible month for writing anyway...

You "win" by writing 50k - you can have that verified on the official website if you like, but it's entirely optional. After all, you could have written "I hate NaNoWriMo" 16,667 times, and the verification software would count that as a win!

Some people write a lot, lot more than 50k, but they don't get extra points for doing so. I know people who typically write 100k plus, every single year, but have yet to even submit a manuscript for publication. OTOH I only (only!) wrote 50k during November 2006 but went on to revise that into a longer manuscript that got published.

This year I've been ill all month, so I've set myself a revised target of 40k. Of course I've been writing lots anyway over the past few years, so 1000 words a day isn't a huge target for me. There's no reason why you can't set yourself a smaller target than 50k - the important thing is to write regularly and to a deadline.

If November doesn't work for you, there's also Camp NaNoWriMo which runs in July and August :)

In the case of those who download music, most of them are very fond of concerts by the same bands whose music they have pirated.

Not a valid point of comparison - authors have no equivalent income stream unless they are mega-stars like JKR or GRRM, with merchandising etc (which usually requires massive book sales in any case).

OK, so there's evidence that pirates are heavy ebook buyers in general, but that doesn't make it any nicer from the author's perspective to have someone turn up on a piracy site requesting a free copy of your brand new book "just because they can". We have no way of knowing which (if any) of these people go on to buy our books.

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