Feb. 22nd, 2017 07:14 pm
carolecummings: (Thinky)

Stephen King posted something yesterday that's still got me thinking. Now, I adore SK. He's written more than one of my "Top 100" books. And I did appreciate his "On Writing" though I never used it as a how-to guide. I'm not fond of how-to guides when it comes to anything creative or artistic. Art is such an individual thing. One genius's "must do this" is another one's "never do that," and it just depends on what works for which. So I don't generally adhere to another writer's how-to.

Anyway, SK made some derisive comments about using the phrases "looked for a long moment" and "for some reason." Those are no-nos, apparently. SK says people don't look for a long moment, they merely look, and "for some reason" is just lazy.

Now, I did not run to my various works and scour them to see if I've ever made these apparent faux pas. I probably have. In fact I'd put money on it. *shrug* It's not something for which any professor has ever cracked my knuckles, nor is it something for which an editor has smacked me. (I get cracked and smacked for plenty of things, but never for that, as far as I can recall.) And it's been a while since I've ventured to any of the review sites, but I don't recall a reader having ever complained about a character looking at another for a long moment.

I guess I can see how "for some reason" could be considered lazy. I've never actually thought about it, but I suppose it might be more deeply descriptive to say something like "He couldn't fathom why he thought she seemed sad," instead of "For some reason he thought she seemed sad." But I'm not really seeing anything particularly dynamic about the first or lazy about the second. They say the same thing, and one is just as clear to the reader as the other.

So this has been on my mind since I saw it yesterday, and I think it's because it annoys me that an author would take the time to complain about another author using common, perfectly useful phrases merely because they're an apparent pet peeve. I mean, I have a weird aversion to the word "lips" but you don't see me telling authors to stop having their characters pucker up. And granted, I'm no SK, but still.

It just seems like unnecessary hubris to me. I was a bit disappointed. Maybe I'm being unfair, but I don't think it's an author's place--any author, no matter how successful--to tell other authors "these phrases irritate me; stop it." So it would probably be a bit hypocritical of me to tell SK "I don't like when you tell other authors not to use phrases that annoy you; stop it." But I kinda want to anyway.
carolecummings: (*head desk* gif)
So this is how today's writing session went:

Character 1: "Okay, I'm taking Character 2 to the hospital."

Me: "No, no, you can't! I need at least another few days for the tension to build!"

Character 2: "I'm surprisingly okay with that."

Character 1: "He's having a very serious problem and is going to the hospital."

Me: "See, this is why I don't write contemporary. He *can't* go to the hospital yet. It'll screw the exposition all to hell, and you need time to figure out he's actually slipping between parallel worlds."

Character 2: *is still surprisingly okay with it*

Character 1: "So, if this was your friend--a friend who was BLEEDING OUT THEIR EYE--you'd make them wait for a few days to build tension and smooth the flow of exposition?"

Me: ...

All my friends now reading this: "Hey!"

Me: "Okay, okay, geez! No. I would take them to the hospital." *thinks* "No, I would."

Character 1: "Which is what I'm doing now."

Character 2: *is not okay with it anymore*

Me: "See?!"

Character 1: "How many times do you have to have an editor delete the exclamation point after a question mark before you stop doing that?"

Me: "I could delete *you*, y'know."

Character 1: "You can try. Remember when you tried to un-kill Caidi? EIGHT TIMES?"

Me: "...I hate you."

Character 1: "Shut up and finish the scene."

Me: *grumbles while shutting up and finishing the scene*
carolecummings: (Writer)
Augh! I'm so confused. Doesn't LJ let you have around 10K per post? It's not even letting me have 5K!

Anyway, obviously I've got a fic to post, but since LJ's being a bastard, I'm just going to have anyone who wants it comment here and I'll send a .doc later today. Anyone whose email I don't have, either leave it in a screened comment or PM me with it.

The story was written for a DSPP anthology coming out... sometime this summer, I think. But I have to have it in by the end of the month so I thought I'd run it by you guys first. Just under 9K and rated... eh, probably Mature. (Ish.) Contemporary Fantasy, with characters you haven't met yet. There's magic and a Big Bad Government and... stuff. (Don't make me come up with a summary. I hate coming up with summaries.)

Let me know if you want it/are willing to let me know if you find errors.

carolecummings: (watch how i soar--green)

So, I said last week I had some good news.

The Wolf's-own series is now officially off the market. No, wait, that really is good news!

Dreamspinner Press is launching a new imprint--DSP Publications--this autumn for genre fiction with M/M content to complement their romance line. Since the Wolf's-own series is fantasy and not romance, they'll be launching its re-release as a second edition run beginning in November. So, all of you who've bought the first editions-- they'll be collectors' items now! *snort*

Also, I'm pleased to announce that DSP Publications has contracted to publish Blue on Black (BoB!), a fantasy/sci-fi novel with an Old West flavor.

Kimolijah Adani—Class 2 gridTech, beloved brother, most promising student the Academy’s ever been privileged to call their own, genius mechanical gridstream engineer, brilliantly pioneering inventor... and dead man. But that’s what happens when a whiz kid messes with dynamic crystals and, apparently, comes to the attention of Baron Petra Stanslo. Young and brilliant and killed for his revolutionary designs, Kimolijah Adani had been set to change the world with his impossible train that runs on nothing more than gridstream locked in a crystal that shouldn’t even be possible but nonetheless works.

Bas is convinced the notoriously covetous and corrupt Stanslo had something to do with Kimolijah Adani’s tragic and suspicious death. A Directorate Tracker, Bas has finally managed to catch the scent of Kimolijah Adani’s killer, and it leads right into Stanslo’s little desert barony. For almost three years, Bas has been trying to find a way into Stanslo’s Bridge, and now that he’s finally made it, “shock” is too small a word for what—or, rather, whom—he finds there.

The release is tentatively scheduled for June of 2015.
carolecummings: (Stewie)
You know that angel story we never finished? Yeah, don’t. And stop angsting about it. Seriously, you don’t know this now, but we end up letting it make us crazy for the next 10 years—get over yourself now and save us a lot of worry lines. We’ll be prettier when we’re my age.

I know, I know, you’re all But I’ve got, like, 80K words! I can’t just let them sit there! but yes, yes you can. In fact, you should. There is such a thing as authenticity in plot and character evolution—stop rolling your eyes at me, it’s a real thing!—and it may be difficult to recognize it and define it when you’re looking at it, but you know when it’s not there, even if you don’t know what’s missing. You’ve read—and subsequently very quickly forgotten—enough books with cookie-cutter plots and 2-dimensional characterizations by now to understand why you even write in the first place, so don’t try to force something because you can’t get past your own impatience and the sometimes unreasonable things you expect of yourself.

Also, that disk we save it on and subsequently guard with our lives for the next 15 years or so? Yeah, just take a hammer to it now. We don’t need it. Anything that was good about the story is still hunkering down in the back-brain and waiting it out, and that disk will morph from a kind of safety blanket into a symbol of failure after a while, and it’s not failure. It’s going to take us a long time to figure that out, and we do get there eventually, but we could’ve saved ourselves a lot of false starts and hits to the confidence if we hadn’t so desperately and wrong-headedly held onto the hard evidence of the initial launch delay. (And you know we never like our old writing anyway—which is why we never once open that disk the whole time we have it—so keeping it “in case we can use some of it later” is pointless and just causes us more angst than necessary.)

Anyway, the story won’t die just because we let it hibernate in the back-brain for longer than usual. I know you worry we’ll forget, but trust me—we don’t. That shiny little coal the seed of the story started out with is still there; you’re just not ready to turn it into a diamond yet. You’ll have to leave that to Older Us. I’m not guaranteeing it’ll be a diamond treasured by all, but it’ll be our diamond, something we can be proud of, and we’ll make that first delicate cut when it’s ready to be made.

And it’s not like any of the original stuff goes to “waste” so quit thinking like that. Every “failure”—or even delay—adds to our maturity as a writer, and everything we do or try enriches our next project in some way. We’ve already used some of the traits of the angel story’s protagonist to build Dallin, and he turned out better for having let his characterization mature. We’ve used some of the characteristics of the world to give backstory and depth to Temshiel and maijin, and their history and evolution is a lot more interesting than what we had going 20 years ago.

Oh, and let me warn you about this now and save our psyche some whinging: We will, in about 15 yrs your time, read a book very similar to the angel story—right down to the occupation of the main character—and we will have actual palpitations, because it’s so close, what the hell, how did that author get in my head?! but relax. The author was not in our head, don’t be a ninny. (That’s what the tinfoil hat is for, idiot.) It’s just that it was a good idea and we’re not the only ones who have them. And it’s good that we read that book, because it makes us understand why we didn’t fail by not writing it, and it also frees up our head to the different direction the original story wanted to take right from the beginning and we just didn’t see it back then. ’Cause we were young and stupid. (Oh, don’t get all uppity; Carole +20 yrs—Carole + 40 yrs to you—will be telling me the same thing.)

Now, you will meet someone in about 5+ yrs time who will eventually become your sounding-board, your confidante, your writing partner and your BFF. You will meet because of writing and the mutual respect thereof, and thereafter discover a kindred spirit with enough polar-opposition in various opinions and methods and philosophies, etc. to keep it constantly interesting, educational and evolving. This BFF will one night have a few too many glasses of wine and drunkenly tell you during a late night IM session—during which she will actually slur her typing, and you will be unable to figure out how she manages it—that she really wants that angel story and you should be writing it for her as a personal favor, because I deserve it, damn it! And while yes, she kinda does, you will nonetheless metaphorically pat her on the head and chuckle and head off to a bed that doesn’t spin when you close your eyes, secretly wishing a mild hangover on the BFF, because she knows, she knows damn it, she knows BoB is all over us like a cheap whore and is giving us fits—we’ll need to have a talk about BoB another time, because holy shit AUGH!—and there are 57 other stories that want out, and there was a reason the angel story never got finished, damn it, we should never have told the BFF about it, we should’ve just let it fester back there like a sore tooth we can’t help poking now and then, because MATURITY! AUTHENTICITY, damn it!

And while we’re busy rolling over and petulantly knocking the husband off our pillow, the angel story will spring forth whole-formed into the front-brain. And it will shine behind our eyes in the watches of night and keep us from much-needed sleep, because it will be good. It will be better than what we could’ve done 20 years ago. It will be the reason it refused to cooperate back before we’d lived a little more, had specific experiences, acquired a different kind of awareness and a subtle shift in perspective. We will curse the BFF her drunken ego-coddling, but we will also (somewhat reluctantly) abruptly understand that the time is drawing near and (very reluctantly) thank her for it.

When we do, finally, write the angel story—and yeah, it’s making demands now, and we’ll probably start it just as soon as BoB stops being such a dick—it will be because the story is ready to be written, because we are ready to write the story it needs to be, and not because we have a shiny idea we have to take our jeweler’s tools to now, regardless of whether or not we should. “Should” is very close. Closer than it was 20 years ago. We’ll know it when it gets here. Probably because it’ll take us by the hair and beat our head against our laptop, but sometimes we like it a little rough. ;)


Carole +20 yrs

P.S.—Oh, and one more thing: Don’t start dying our hair. Yeah, I know, 25 is a little young to start going gray, and we do still like the freedom of changing colors every once in a while when we get bored. But we’re at the age now when we actually should be starting to go a little gray, and salon people apparently have no idea what you mean when you tell them that. The last time we tried to explain we wanted a little bit of natural gray mixed in so we didn’t have to let the color grow out and look like a weird, elderly inverted skunk, we ended up blonde with blonder highlights. We are not blonde. We haven’t been blonde since we were 8 and got fried at the beach. So just suck it up now and let the husband—who is, yes, eight years older, and how fair is that?!—look like your boy toy for a while. It’ll even out eventually.
carolecummings: (Writer)
[ profile] jtulloshennig and I are over on the Armchair Reader today talking about Tropes, Archetypes and Expectations. We’d love to hear from you!
carolecummings: (Thinky)
Shut up, they asked me to!

Interview over on Tim Flanagan’s blog where we talk about writing, inspiration and publishing.

(I really liked the questions on this one!)

Guest Post

Jul. 30th, 2013 10:04 am
carolecummings: (Wolf's-own)
J Tullos Hennig and I are over on The Armchair Reader today talking about Spec Fic and why we’re not really qualified to be spirit guides. Come join us and tell us what popped your Spec Fic cherry!
carolecummings: (:))
Giveaway of The Queen’s Librarian continues through 11:59pm Pacific time on Sunday at The Novel Approach. Rules are listed at the bottom of the post.

(Lisa’s review is here.)
carolecummings: (Bang Head Here)
So, life goes whacko for a while and it seems my brain takes that as a sign that it must generate a bazillion new story ideas that must be written right now omg! and then I get all flustered and have to slouch down to my cave for a while until life calms down and The Muse stops whipping plots at me like darts through her bony fingers. Life has not exactly calmed down, but I’ve been working steadily on one story for a while now, when I can, so I’m taking that as a good thing.

Now, usually I don’t name a story until it’s finished. I go with a horrible computer filing system wherein my WIPs are labeled stupid things like ‘#515’ or ‘Mage with scar’, but at least they’re all in one place now (I used to have them scattered all over my computer and had to search random folders just to find the one I wanted to work on; I found one once in a folder labeled ‘recipes’ so go figure) so that’s an improvement. But this one has ended up with a name-- Blue on Black. There is a reason for that, and it does have something to do with the plot and the characters, but I have to confess that the main reason I went against my usual (stupid) system was because I realized that if I allowed this story to name itself Blue on Black, I could then call it BoB. So I am currently writing a steampunky fantasy involving a train and I call that story BoB. Thank you, yes, I realize my head makes no sense to anyone who lives outside of it.

Anyway. Oh, look--more clowns! )
carolecummings: (Wolf's-own)

Now available in paperback and ebook at Dreamspinner Press.

(Don’t forget—download the free read Rapport and look for the easter egg before you buy!)

The Kindle version is also available at Amazon.

Also—the winner of the random drawing for the ebooks of ghost and Weregild is Kym B. (Kym, if you’re here, I’ll be contacting you shortly.)
carolecummings: (Wall gif)
I screwed up a post yesterday. I was trying to do the post-date thing because I wasn't going to be around, but the post ended up not showing up at all. That might have been because I accidentally dated it for March, but we'll pretend it was LJ's fault. So, if you'd like to read the Wil & Dallin story, it's HERE.

Sorry. I suck at the internet.
carolecummings: (Wil and Dallin)
Okay, I wrote this several years ago, shortly after finishing the Aisling manuscript, because I never got to see what Wil and Dallin were like together without the fate of the world hanging over their heads. And I wanted to know. Silliness and sop ensued. So if you prefer the Tough Guy and Snarly Man-boy, this one is not for you. Either way, this is their last hurrah before Fen and Mal take over, so I do hope you enjoy.

© Carole Cummings
(Rated Adult)
Thanks to Eden Winters for whipping the grammar into shape. (Or at least trying to.)


It was almost a… mystical thing, the exertion. )
carolecummings: (Wolf's-own)
Just wanted to let you know that the galley is done and it's in the print queue. Projected release date: 02/17/2012. DSP already has it up on their site HERE. I can't tell if you can pre-order or not, though. But I'm still loving the cover. *hugs it to bosoms*


Oct. 16th, 2011 12:54 pm
carolecummings: (Wolf's-own)
I'm pleased to announce that Dreamspinner Press has contracted to publish Wolf's-own, Book One: Ghost and Wolf's-own, Book Two: Weregild some time this spring.

I'll update when I have concrete dates and whatnot. In the meantime, you can read a synopsis and excerpt (along with a couple outtake-type stories in the 'verse) on my website.


Aug. 23rd, 2011 05:24 pm
carolecummings: (Default)
For those of you who are with me in the ‘the bigger the book, the better the story/characters/world/everything’ camp, you have to read this--BABY GOT BOOKS from fantasy author Jim C. Hines.

I want to hug it.
carolecummings: (*head desk* gif)
Last night, I ate an entire funnel cake, all by myself. I may have even growled at anyone who came near me. And then I had powdered sugar down my shirt. I was not sorry--about the gluttony or the growling. Maybe a little sorry about the sugar down the shirt. None of which has anything to do with anything. Except that I can apparently be a growly glutton when funnel cake is involved.

Still slogging through book three of Wolf's-own. *sigh* And Jesus Christ, is Fen high-maintenance. I have set a goal of being done with it before I go to Seattle at the end of August, so keep your fingers crossed for me. I might get there. Maybe. Please, God, I so want to be finished with this one so I can write other things besides angsty psycho goth boys and the demigods who love them. *sob* On the other hand, I think I've just invented my own genre.

New release

Jul. 6th, 2011 10:19 am
carolecummings: (Writer)

Now available in multiple electronic formats at Dreamspinner Press.

And hey, I remembered the excerpt this time! )

The price is $1.49, and as I said, I’m pretty sure the only place it’ll be available is Dreamspinner. Those of you who plan to buy, I hope you enjoy!
carolecummings: (Fireman Damsel)
I should probably duck and cover for this one. CREPUSCULE MONSTRUM.

But seriously--look at that picture. I had to! I mean, what would you have done with it? No, seriously--I really wanna know. Tell me! Or better yet, write your own so I can read it. *hopeful grin*

Done for Thousand Word Thursday on the review blog Cryselle's Craziness. Cryselle, who runs the blog, posts a picture and asks authors to come up with a story between 100 and 1000 words to go with it.

You should watch the blog. Free stories on your friends' page, plus some insightful reviews. You can 'friend' the lj feed ----> [ profile] cryselle.

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