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Topics - Tiffany Kysis Tackett

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Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Steampunk as a Genre
« on: March 01, 2013, 01:08:22 AM »
Looking through the 2013 Writer's Market for Short Stories and Novels, I noticed that only one publishing company had Steampunk listed as a genre they are looking for, which is slightly worrying.  This inspired a few questions on my part.

1) I'm relatively new to the genre. I've been reading short stories and books listed in the genre, as well as researching the artwork for visual references, but I wonder if I am missing something.  What qualifies something as Steampunk, in your opinion?

2) Is there another way to classify a Steampunk novel, ie as historical or urban fantasy, sci-fi fantasy, or the like?

3) Am I not seeing many listings in the Writer's Market because Steampunk is not a large genre in America? In that same line of questioning: Is Steampunk a more recognized/accepted genre in the UK?

As a short background, I generally write epic fantasy when tackling something novel length .  There's magic, a world changing struggle, heavy use of religion with undertones of social control and philosophical questioning.  In short stories, I tend to stick with dystopic sci-fi, which has done me half-decently in the past few years.  However, I have recently been entranced with post-Civil War America and have been writing a series of short stories in that setting-- with a steampunk twist.  So, as per my usual, I'm researching all aspects of it, from how other authors tackle such a thing to the market itself.

Thank you guys for any information you provide! I'm really excited about getting some new perspectives on this!


Writers' Corner / I need votes!!!
« on: March 07, 2012, 12:45:01 AM »
The Book Doctors opened up to pitches from all of NaNoWriMo 2011's participants, and from that pool, they randomly pulled 25 pitches to post on their site! The fan favorite (ie, the one with the most votes) gets a full consultation with them on how to improve their pitch so they can get the book published!

My pitch is one of them on the site.

Where to vote: http://www.thebookdoctors.com/category/2012-nanowrimo
My pitch: http://www.thebookdoctors.com/tiffany-tackett

Already, two of them have given me some great feedback, but I'd really love more! In order to get that, I'm going to need a lot of votes. T_T

So, it's under my real name, Tiffany Tackett, and you can read my pitch for Hope of the Mirra on the site. Please help me out, guys.

This is really exciting. *brain explodes*

Writers' Corner / Where do you write best?
« on: December 17, 2011, 11:10:22 PM »
I'm currently gathering personal data on a productivity spreadsheet, part of which has to do with where I get my writing done.  The purpose of this spreadsheet is to figure out what conditions lead to the most productive writing, so I can get on a regular schedule.

So far, I've discovered that Parish Library (it's the business library at the local university) is my best writing location, which may be because my computer generally won't connect to the wireless there, or because not much interesting happens in there, or maybe because it's pretty quiet there.  Or a combination of all three. *shrug*

Last year, okay, probably a year and a half ago, my best writing location was a Starbucks about 15 to 20 minutes away from my house, because it was usually quiet in there, and I always got a nice table by the side door.  There was wireless, but I could generally pump out between 1500 to 3000 words in one sitting there, with one iced soy latte, which would last me the whole sitting (these were anywhere from an hour to three hours).  Being that I'm incredibly poor right now (yay student loans!), I can't go to coffee shops anymore, soooooooo.... yeah, making do everywhere else right now.

How about you guys?  Where are your most productive writing locations?

Writers' Corner / Chapter Titles?
« on: December 15, 2011, 01:24:16 AM »
Part one of the question: How do you feel about titled chapters?

I, personally, enjoy titled chapters.  Something in me especially enjoys it when a chapter title has a double meaning which can only be discerned by reading the chapter itself.  I can't really explain it, but it's a lot like puzzling out a riddle.  I thoroughly enjoy this.

This is definitely why I use chapter titles in my own books.  This is also why my titles tend to have a second meaning, some of which can be figured out by reading the chapter, others which cannot truly be puzzled through until the entirety of the book has been devoured.

There is something about just seeing a 1 at the top of a page, or a 5, or a 27, which makes me cringe a little, and makes me sad.  I feel slightly cheated, the same way I feel slightly cheated when I see a term paper at the college I work at with the title "Essay 4" or "Research Paper".  Maybe it's just me.

On that same note, I generally have a very hard time concentrating when writing if the chapter I am working on does not have a title.  I can't just go fill one in later.  I need one now.  If I end up changing that chapter name half way through, fine, but it has to be there.

Second part of the question: How do you feel about a chapter sharing the same name as the book it is in?

This is a more personalized question.  The book I am working on right now, Hope of the Mirra has been a labor of love for about five years now, and for four of those five years, the final chapter was called "Sacrifice and Cycle" and, all in all, it really fit.  It was a very dark book with a pretty downer ended.  And then, last year, I changed the name to Hope of the Mirra (it was previously Mikara Falling), and the whole slant of the book changed.  Yes, it is still dark, but there is hope at the end of the tunnel.

So, now that the book is nearing completion (draft 6 is almost done, after a long year of work), I have come to the realization that "Sacrifice and Cycle" no longer fits as the name of the final chapter.  That chapter title implies that nothing has changed, and that it's just another cycle come to pass.  That's not how it ends at all!  This realization was horrifying (because I'd been set on this chapter title for four years) and liberating (it's been four years) at the same time! 

Not long after I had this realization, I also came to the understanding that the best title would be "Hope of the Mirra", which really backs me into a corner.  Is it cliche to have a chapter with the same title as the title of the book?

Writers' Corner / Brainstorming Breakdown
« on: December 04, 2011, 03:34:31 AM »
Here's the question: do any of you brainstorm, and if so, how?

This can be anything from drawing out maps, doing an outline, jotting down notes for upcoming scenes and chapters, or just character bios. (also, there are many other options, as well)

So, do you do any of these things?

For me... I tend to do a rough chapter outline (generally just the main idea of what the chapter will be about) once I have finished writing the previous chapter (this never happens with a first chapter).  It's not very detailed, but it gives me a sense of where I will be going, so I don't write myself in a corner or write in circles.

Lately, I've been writing down brief descriptions of what happens in an upcoming scene before I write it.  It makes the writing a lot easier, in my opinion; or rather, I know where I am going, so I don't have to flail around to figure out what to do. XD

The only time I really do up character bios is after the first draft is over.  I feel like, at that point, I've gotten to know my characters better, and can properly write one up.

*shrug* And that's about it!

General Discussion / Halloween?
« on: October 29, 2011, 08:51:44 PM »
I know Halloween isn't celebrated everywhere, but I figured I'd ask.  What are you guys doing on Halloween?  Are you dressing in costume? (pictures!) Going to a party?  Handing out candy?

We're having our midnight kick-off for NaNoWriMo at a local restaurant, and I've challenged all of the local Wrimos to dress up as a character from their NaNo project.  That means I have to do it as well.  Right now I am working on getting my costume together (painted the mask yesterday, working on the robes today; yeah, I procrastinate).  I'll put up pictures when I have them!

So, how about you guys?

Writers' Corner / Nation Novel Writing Month is here!
« on: October 08, 2011, 09:34:15 PM »
National Novel Writing Month (better known as NaNoWriMo) is an event that takes place every November, and thousands of novelists sit down to undertake the ultimate challenge of literary abandon: writing 50,000 words of a novel, a single novel, in a mere 30 days.

Here are the basics!

Who: you!  And 200,000+ other writers all over the world!
What: A 50,000 word novel of fiction, any genre you want, in first or third person point of view.
When: November!  You have from 12:00:01, midnight, of November first until 11:59:59, midnight, of November 30th to write the words.
Where: Everywhere!  There are tons of regions all around the world, most of which are run by Municipal Liaisons (they organize local events and bring goodies for participants, and generally cheerlead everyone on to their goals), and on the website, all you have to do is affiliate with your region to see all the events they have planed.
Why: So you can finish that pesky first draft of a novel.  So that you are no longer one of those writers who says "one day, I'll write a novel".  So you can meet lots of other writers in your area.  Whatever your reason, there are monkey barrels of fun in store for you in November!

I'm just now posting this notice because NaNoWriMo is getting ready to roll out a brand new site, with all sorts of shiny, new features!  This new site should be up on Monday (US Pacific Time), which means lots of late nights for the staff, but we hope to get it all done!

Right about now is the time to start planning for your November novel, if you are going to participate.  You don't have to plan at all, but if you like getting some character and plot details done before writing, now's the time to do it! (two years I did absolutely no planning and only decided what kind of book I was going to write a few days before the start of November... and once right when the midnight bell went off; my third year I did tons of planning; all three attempts, I reached over 50k, so both methods really do work)

Go ahead and put up your profile link!  We'll be able to cheer each other on from afar, since we aren't likely to end up in the same region: http://www.nanowrimo.org/en/participants/kysis

Writers' Corner / Chuck Palahnuik on Writer's Block
« on: September 15, 2011, 09:48:26 PM »
I kind of like this theory...

[youtube]Chuck Palahniuk explains "writer's constipation."[/youtube]

Writers' Corner / Most productive time of the week?
« on: July 22, 2011, 09:25:34 PM »
As a writer, I tend to develop a routine.  From what I've read in writing books and magazines, I'm not the only one.

So, what tends to be your most productive day for writing?  (I've left open three votes per user, just in case there is some sort of pattern to writing other than what's listed)

For me, it's weekdays... usually.  On the weekends, I go out and get rowdy and generally get nothing done. XD (hey, I'm 23)  However, during the week, I tend to spend most of my time at my desk writing.

Normally it's mornings. Then some afternoons.  Friday afternoon is generally pretty productive for me, considering I meet with a friend for a little write-in.  And some evenings I run writing sprints from Twitter, so those are always amazing.

Saturday is notoriously my least productive day.  I do stuff with the family, then I do stuff with friends, and there is no concentration time in between.

How about you guys?

Writers' Corner / Discovery Writer vs. Outline Writer (new version)
« on: July 18, 2011, 11:53:28 PM »
So, we had a poll a while back asking the writers of Fantasy Faction if they were a pantser or a plotter.  That was a while ago, however, only had the options of pantser or plotter, and there are a lot of fresh faces around here lately, so I figured I'd ask it again and get a poll going with far more options.

How do you approach writing?

Please vote first before you look at my expanded answer, which is below.

For the first draft, I am a discovery writer.  I sit down with one character in mind and throw said character into a setting and see what happens.  Mayhem ensues.  Normally by halfway through the first draft, nothing is consistent anymore, and the plot has morphed so much that I know the front end will be worthless, so I start draft two, with the first bit plotted out.  Then when I reach the end of the plotting, I go discovery writer again and plod my way through the marshes of uncertainty until I've hit a wall again.

By the fourth draft I usually have a clue of what goes on through the entire book, outline the hell out of it, then start a complete rewrite loosely following the outline.

In a sense, I fall into both boats.

Writers' Corner / Guide to Literary Agents (The Writer's Market Blog)
« on: July 12, 2011, 11:26:59 PM »
So, the Writer's Market always releases a Guide to Literary Agents, which I have seriously thought about getting, and I just discovered that they have a website.  Not only that, they have a blog, too.


I'm currently going through some of the blogs posted, trying to see what's the most useful.  I'll be back with more links and recommendations, but so far, I'm thinking this might be a good resource for those of you out there going the traditional publishing route.

Writers' Corner / How long does it take you to write a book?
« on: July 06, 2011, 08:03:21 PM »
So, this came up on twitter, and I decided to make a full topic here, because it is a very interesting subject.

How long does it take you to write a book?

I'm going to break down my answer a bit, since I don't have a project that I would consider "finished", though I have completed drafts before and polished them.

First drafts: anywhere from one month flat to a year.  I am a discovery writer on first drafts, so I just fly through it quickly.

So far, I have worked on Hope of the Mirra for five years (started in 2006) and have worked on First Flight for 10 years (started in 2001).  Hope is the one closest to completion, though.  In my opinion, each project will take however long it has to take in order to be right.  Do I think it will ever be perfect?  No, probably not, HOWEVER, it can be right.

How about you guys?

Writers' Corner / What do you do to remind yourself why you write?
« on: July 05, 2011, 10:16:39 PM »
There are times when writing is hard.  There are times when the writing hurts.  There are times where you feel like you are getting nowhere.  And there are times when you feel like you writing will never be good enough.

What causes this?  A whole flurry of things.  Rejection letters from literary agencies and publishing companies are a big one.  Anything less than an A in a writing class can do it for other people.  Family members being unsupportive can douse the fire too.  Either way, in order to keep writing, we as writers need something to rekindle that fire.

So, what do you guys do to buoy your moral and get your muses dancing again?

Writers' Corner / The Dreaded Query
« on: July 05, 2011, 04:51:34 PM »
This is a collection of articles and whatnot on writing probably the worst part of trying to get published: the Query.  Yes, that's right, the thing you write to try and interest an agent or editor in your work, before you have had a chance to let your story talk for itself.

The stronger your query, the higher your chances are that an editor or agent will actually read your work, rather than throwing it in the recycle bin before giving it the light of day.  The fact that I may be shooting myself in the foot with my lack of query finesse is absolutely terrifying, so I decided to do as much research as humanly possible.

Here's the links:

This blog has a whole host of articles on querying.  There are tons of other links inside each of these articles, too, so explore a bit!  Hopefully it helps!
How to Write a Query Letter
The Batch Querying Theory
On the Quality of Queries

This is a great audio blog thingy on query letters, originally posted in the elevator pitch forum by WizardofWestmarch.  It has some great stuff in there, especially since an agent breaks it down.
Writing Excuses: Query Letters

Another interesting blog on queries, taking it step by step:
Agent Series: How to Write a Query Letter

Here's one that talks about what NOT to do in a query:
The Bad, the Ugly, and the Hideously Grotesque of Query Blunders

Add your own links!  Share your wisdom, or any sort of feedback you might have gotten.  Who knows how much it will help, or how much help find from what is shared.

The next four Mondays I am attending a class in writing synopses and queries, so I'll post tips I learn in there as well.  And I have a lot of books with chapters on this part of the process, so I'll be going through those as well and reporting back.

If I find more links, I'll post them up on here!

Writers' Corner / Subgenres, classifications, and all that jazz.
« on: June 30, 2011, 12:12:05 AM »
Well, I didn't see a topic about subgenres and whatnot, so here we go!  Fun times!

I figured this could be a place to say what subgenre of fantasy you write, what other genres you bring into the mix, and your stipulated definition of what that subgenre actually is (I say stipulated, because that leaves it open to interpretation, and we won't get "well that's not what so and so says it is" because it is stipulated.  Meaning I just made up the definition, and that's what it means to me).

So, to start this out....

Most of my writing I would classify as high fantasy though some of it bends pretty close to epic fantasy.  My books are set in worlds I have built, and generally deal with problems, like religions gone wrong, though there is a quest aspect to some of them, thus the epic bent.  I used to do straight up sword and sorcery fantasy, but then I got too interested in philosophy and cultural issues and the like, so I just kind of exploded up into that.

How about you guys?

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