Thursday, February 28, 2013

Baby Evil Writers 101: Finding Your Voice

Baby Evil Writers 101: Finding Your Voice
Julie Butcher

The first time I heard the term Voice, as it applies to writing, was at an SCBWI Conference in St Louis. It was the first time I’d ever met a real-life editor and I was terrified. She very kindly told me that I hadn’t found my voice yet. (FYI this is a bad thing.)

A writer’s voice is almost indefinable and always different from every other. It consists of the way the author combines words, phrases, and idioms. Pacing is part of a voice, as well as character and world building elements.

Okay now I’ll give examples (in English) because I re-read what I’ve written and realize that in 2004, this wouldn’t have helped me one little bit. First we’ll do dark and light voices.

One ray of light broke through the brooding cloud cover, swallowed almost immediately by darkness.

One beam danced through the clouds and skipped like a happy child back behind the grey.

You might write one or the other, or a combination of both. Some people will be drawn to the dark and others to the light. Few people will be drawn to both. This is important to know because some people will never like your writing. You’ll always have a percentage who love your work and a percentage who hate it. Get over yourself because that’s how it goes. You’ll make yourself crazy trying to please everyone. It can’t happen. Period.

No matter how many books you sell, there will always be people who don’t like them. I like vanilla ice cream. You might like chocolate-marshmallow-fudge-chunky-monkey. You’re not a bad person because you like monkey ice cream. We just like different things.  Probably that is why there are so many different books, you think?

The thing about voice is that you’ll only find it by writing. I hear beginning writers say that they can’t read other writers when they’re working on a story. To this I say, “DID YOUR BRAIN FALL RIGHT OUT OF YOUR HEAD?” The only way you get better is by reading people who do it right.

In the best case scenario, your first manuscript will have to be re-written at least ten times before it would be acceptable to an agent or an editor. (Probably more. I’m only saying ten because if I used real numbers it would be overwhelming.) It won’t matter if you pick up a phrase or two along the way. Keep reading the good stuff. That’s how you learn. There isn’t a substitute for well-written work. Not your critique buddies work, and not all of the free self-published material in the world are a substitute for reading professional material.

Eventually, about a million words in, you’ll find your unique voice. Then you’ll find people who love, and hate it.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


I practice manipulative parenting. I'm not proud of it, nor am I ashamed. It works, you see, and with kids you do what works. Parenting classes, books, videos etc. talk a lot about finding your child's currency. It's a big deal, and funnily enough, it has nothing whatsoever to do with money.

It means finding the one thing that your kiddo cares about enough, wants badly enough that it will work as a sort of leverage. It's not as mean as it sounds, really. And at the risk of inciting child rearing debate (my kids are super spoiled and healthy as horses) I'll switch to my point, which is how this applies to writing.

You see, I recently found my own currency. Other authors will recognize this as "motivation." We talk about it a lot, in particular when the royalty checks are slim and we're considering day jobs at the check-out stand. "Why do I do this?" or alternately, "What am I really going through all of this for? Money? Fame? Masochism?"

I've never been ashamed to admit that the money was important. I believe authors should get paid, and it would be really great if one of them was me. Fame scares the shit out of me, so that's pretty much off the table, but making a living at this, I always assumed, was the goal.

Until I found out what my best friend was doing.

It's not as weird as it sounds. You see, she's amazingly supportive and kind and generous and has been purchasing every one of my books religiously. She's ponied up good money to have a copy of everything Frances Pauli has written, because she's just that kick-ass of a friend.

But she hasn't been reading them.

I get a little horrified shiver just thinking about it. "You...You what?" I stutter, clutching at my chest.

"But I bought them all."


But she doesn't know what happens in book two. She never met character X, never watched so and so die, never read the ending.... aaaaaaaaaaaaagh! I lost sleep over this, and let me tell you, sleep is a big deal at my house.

And suddenly it was crystal clear. I don't give a rat's hiney about the money, not really. Not when it comes down to it. I want people to read the books. I want to share the stories. This shouldn't surprise me, not me, who like a zealot force feeds every one of my favorite movies to anyone I can get to sit in a chair  and look, looooook, LOOK! (watch, Joyeux Noel, asap)

Don't you dare talk through it.

Motivation is a funny thing. So is perspective, and though I still like the idea of getting paid, I feel a lot more relaxed about it now. Of course, I have a whole new kind of panic about readers, and feedback and...well you get it. It was a big aha moment for me, and one that has really changed my outlook. Currency is a funny word for it, but it fits.

Now if I could just find hers, I could make her read......


Monday, February 25, 2013

Series Post: Ask Dr. Dina - Altered States

DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. I do not hold a current medical license or certification (I let them lapse because I no longer work in the medical field and don't intend to ever again). What I do have is an extensive medical background in various fields. Everything you read here is the result of either education, training, research and interpretation, or personal experience. The information in this post is not to be taken as a substitute for professional medical advice or examination. Seriously, if you're having an immediate medical problem and you're reading this blog for help, get off the damned computer and call an ambulance! That being said, let us continue.

This is the second post in a series inspired by our lovely Bitchstress Dreamkiller called "Ask Dr. Dina." As the above disclaimer states, I'm not really a doctor, nor have I ever been. I have worked in the medical field in various settings and have an extensive and varied medical background. These posts will all focus on how medicine applies to your writing.

Last post I talked about loss of consciousness, or LOC as it's abbreviated in medical charts. Today I want to talk about another aspect of consciousness called "altered level of consciousness." This is abbreviated "ALOC" or "alt. LOC" in medical charts (it's also called "altered mental status/AMS" in some places) , but I don't claim to be an expert in medical terminology. Plus, charting notes change all the time and every place has its own system, and it's been awhile since I worked in a medical setting. Google "medical charting abbreviations" if you're intensely curious about this. (Some of them are made up and deliberately dark humor/not supposed to be taken seriously even when they get used, so be warned. Medical people have to have a sense of humor like this because working in the field is very grim and it's our way of talking about assholes/communicating with staff when someone is clearly just taking up space in my emergency room because they're lonely or drug-seeking. "FFF" and "GOMER" come to mind readily. Also, if you're ever prescribed or know someone taking "Obecalp," just read it backwards. You get my point.).

In this post I'm talking about the condition, not how it's noted in your chart.

Now, your LOC can be altered in a variety of ways. Some of these are interesting, some aren't.

Interesting ways include intoxication and euphorics. Non-interesting ways include trauma and health issues. For example:

A diabetic whose blood glucose ("blood sugar") level has spiked into the 250-300mg/dl+ range – called "hyperglycemia" (the current "normal" for diabetics is generally below 180mg/dl after meals) – can result in confusion, drowsiness, unconsciousness/coma. The same can happen if the blood glucose level drops below 40mg/dl. Everyone is different and some people experience symptoms of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) at 70mg/dl. There's even a non-diabetic condition called "hypoglycemia" that screws mightily with blood sugar levels.

Most non-diabetics have experienced the jittery, shaky, weak feeling you get when you haven't eaten all day and need something NOW at least once in their life. Some people call it "hangry" - you're grouchy and pissed off and really hungry and a sandwich makes everything all right again. There's a reason for that. Your blood sugar was low. Just because you aren't diabetic doesn't mean you can't suffer temporarily from either high or low blood sugar, and this can affect your LOC.

The same applies to your character. If your book takes place over three days and not once has your character had anything to eat, there's going to be problems. Just because you write fiction doesn't mean your human character doesn't need something to fuel their body every now and again. (You can even make this a thing, like Harry Dresden and his Burger King addiction or Woody Harrelson in Zombieland and his search for Twinkies.)

If your character has a condition like diabetes, this is especially important. Glucose levels are critical to maintain and monitor for diabetics and hypoglycemics. Any swing one way or the other and their LOC can change in seconds. I'm not just talking about mood swings here (though they're common with immediate changes in blood glucose levels). I'm talking about one minute they're talking to you just fine, and the next they ask you where they are or don't know who you are. This is why many diabetic patients wear medical alert bracelets or necklaces, because if they're found unconscious, a simple check of their blood sugar level can alert responders and caregivers what the possible cause might be and they can get immediate treatment. It's amazing how quickly a shot of insulin or glucagon (medication used to decrease glucose levels in hyperglycemia faster than insulin - used when immediate treatment is needed) can "bring someone around."

You'll hear a term thrown around hospitals – "stable." This means a patient's condition, no matter what it may be, is leveled out for the moment. You might not think of a coma patient as being stable, but in the medical profession, it can be. Why? Because they're not declining (getting worse). Stable is better than decline. It's a hell of a lot better than "decompensating," which is nice, safe medical speak for "dying." Stable is a good thing, no matter how it's used in a hospital setting. It might not be the best, but it's better than the alternative(s).

You want to stabilize a diabetic's blood sugar level when their LOC is altered. Stable can also mean "under control."

An example of intoxicants altering your LOC is that lovely familiar term "DUI." (This is different from "DWI," because DUI is "Driving Under the Influence" and DWI is "Driving While Intoxicated." DWI is generally reserved for alcohol ["drunk driving"], while DUI covers alcohol, drugs [legally prescribed or not], and other substances like gas fumes or anything else that "influences" your level of consciousness.)

Ever read those little labels on your prescription bottles that say "do not operate machinery, may cause drowsiness" and so on? They're not there just for fun. They're warning you that that medication is capable of altering level of consciousness in some people. Some drugs are designed for just this purpose (anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medication and so on) and say RIGHT ON THE LABEL – "do not do these things until you know how this medication affects you." Why? Because some people pass out or can't function normally when they take them.

Cold medicines. Read the label on a few of those bad boys sometime. Nyquil says right on it – "may cause drowsiness." (That's kind of the point with that one, really, but some people don't get that.)

Which brings me to the point of this post. If your character is a drinker, different kinds of booze are going to affect them differently. Some characters can knock back a fifth of scotch and be utterly fine. Others touch a wine cooler and hit the floor. Know how things work for both your character and the situation. If you've already established that your character faints at the sight of blood (ALTERED LOC! FAINTING!), you can't have them happily wading through the bloody corpses of fallen comrades in your post-apocalyptic dystopian novel.

If your character is on any kind of medication, know the effects of it (and for fuck's sake, GET THE NAME AND EFFECT RIGHT – I've thrown books across the room from supposed "professionals" who didn't get this basic concept) and how it affects your character. You can even make this a quirk, like how ADHD pills actually have the opposite effect on adults versus kids (I'm not making this up! This is why Mommy steals little Johnny's Ritalin. I'm serious! This happens! So you can have a character that does this.).

This is why it helps to know the side effects in addition to the intended effect. A lot of side effects include drowsiness/altered LOC. Just because they don't affect EVERYONE that way doesn't mean they don't have that affect on some people.

In your writing, keep your character's LOC in mind. If they've just been in a fight and taken a knock upside the head, they're likely to experience mild to severe ALOC, especially if they've been knocked out.

If they've been given or have taken drugs, keep the effect in mind. Alcohol, health issues, trauma. Anything. Trauma can be emotional as well as physical. If Joan just saw her best friend/husband/roommate/dog/other she cares about get eaten by zombies or whatever, she can (and likely is) "emotionally compromised" as the Starfleet Regulation says. (Shut up, I'm a geek.) Some people shut down completely – and literally – when they're emotionally compromised. You know, like the fainting at the sight of blood thing.

So keep LOC in mind when writing your story. Know your character and how their environment and actions affect them. Not only will it add more realism, but you won't be in danger of using an animal medication on a human.

(Seriously…I read (okay, didn't finish) a book that had this in it. AND IT WAS PUBLISHED LIKE THAT. Hello! A five minute Google search would have told the author that this medication was not used in that way, by anyone, EVER. Or maybe they did Google it and used the first drug name that popped up in the search engine and didn't bother to read the link. This is why it's important to do your research on things.)

Questions about medical issues with your writing? Leave them in the comments below and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. (THESE MUST APPLY TO FICTIONAL SITUATIONS ONLY. I AM NOT YOUR DOCTOR, NOR A SUBSTITUTE FOR ONE.)

P.S. Today is the last day to participate in the Evil Auction, so get over there and bid!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Something about rolling stones and moss

I'm on vacation right now, be warned. I may have had a few umbrella drinks, so this could be a less coherent post than usual.

Actually, I kid. I am on vacation, but it's been a busy vacation. Sure, spending time with the family, sleeping in, and eating too much have all been part and parcel of the vacation, but I've been working on writing quite a bit. Not only have I been fulfilling my duties for the Evil Auction (go, bid, there's still awesome stuff!) by critiquing chapters and query letters, but I've also been working on my own stuff. Gasp!  I know, right? I was shocked too.

It's been so long since I wrote anything (hello, Nanowrimo) that I kind of forgot how motivation gathers momentum. I mean, I'd finished a round of revisions and asked one of my lovely family members to read through it to see if it made sense and while i was waiting for them to get back to me, I still wanted to work. I, who haven't even opened the document in months, was eagerly waiting to get a critique back so I could work more. I even considered starting the next book in the series. Yeah, crazy!

But it's all about overcoming inertia. I've written about this before, I'm pretty sure. But once you get started, it's easier to stay on track than it is to get over that first hump. For me, getting over that hump (hee, hump!) meant going on vacation where I could ignore my day job (well, at least as much as having my work email delivered to my phone lets me) and focus on the things I actually wanted to do. Like work on my YA sci-fi story that I just barely managed to eke out a win for Nanowrimo with.

So now that vacation is almost over, I need to keep being inspired to work on this. It's so easy to slack off and watch TV instead of actually working on my book, but I'd forgotten how much fun I have when I get really invested in a project.

The moral of the story today is many fold: 1. Get up off your ass and go write. 2. If you keep at it, it gets easier. 3. Vacation rocks (don't make me go home tomorrow!).

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I Got This

Two things happened last weekend. First, I was in the middle of a pretty substantial revision. Second, I was on my family’s annual ski trip (and by family I mean parents, siblings, spouses and kids O.O) I could tell you how revising is like spending time with the extended family, but I’d rather talk to you about skiing.

You see, I didn’t learn to ski until I was an adult. Not sure why, but it never happened when I was in school, so I hit the slopes for the first time when I came home from college to visit friends. The fact that two of those friends proceeded to rate every fall I took (and believe me, I took some magnificent tumbles) will tell you a little bit about what skiing was like for me at first. It took quite a while before things improved at all. You know those little kids who snowplow all the way down a ski hill? Yeah. They were better than me.

Over time (and four years in Colorado) I got better. Not great by any stretch (black diamonds still scare the crap out of me and if I end up skiing in the terrain park, I promise it was by accident), but I can hold my own.

Then two years ago, my ski boots died a tragic death (I’d say untimely, but they were the ones I’d owned since my second-ever time skiing.) The bottom bits of plastic (that hold them in the skis) literally crumbled. They were done. Kaput. Finis. The hunt for new boots was not a fun one.

You see, my family has very sturdy legs and generally very short legs. That means our calves are bulky (this was true even when I was thinner.) We need rear-entry boots. When I went shopping, I was told everyone had stopped making them. So I found what I thought were comfortable boots. We could close them securely and they didn’t hurt too much.

Until I wore them skiing last year. They hurt so bad that I was not only bruised, I actually broke into tears skiing from the pain. Fast-forward a year, and I stupidly hoped we’d just put them on wrong (plastic bits under when they should have been over…that sort of thing). Not so much. However, I made it through the first day with no tears and only some bruising. (Because I’m a tough bitch and tough bitches can take that much pain.)

Then we went out again the next day, and the boots were pressing on my swollen and bruised bits. You know those assholes who see a person with a bruise and poke at it to see if it hurts? My ski boots are those assholes. But I’m a tough bitch, so I was skiing anyway.

Went down the first hill and I had a little less control than I liked, but I figured I just needed to warm up. The plan was to find my sister and her husband so the boys could go do their thing and she and I would hang. So hubs and I took the little side path to a different lift.

I hate this path. HATE it. But I skied it with no problems the day before, so I’m all “I got this shit covered.” Until I didn’t.

You’re probably reading this (if you held on so far) wondering what the hell any of this has to do with writing. So I should clue you in. Revisions (no matter how necessary) are painful (like bad ski boots). It doesn’t matter how shiny those boots were when you first bought them or how much you think you can handle, the moment comes when you get cocky and think “I got this shit”… only you don’t. You know what happens then?

Your ski/story hits a rough patch and your skis cross… and you get up close and personal with the side of the mountain. Yes, boys and girls, I skied off the edge of the trail. And I recently did that with revisions too.

What they have in common is the pain that you’re trying to work through and the panic when you hit that moment where everything has gone to hell and you don’t know if you can fix it. At that moment, the best thing you can hope for is a quick stop and a soft landing. (Skiing I was lucky enough to have both, otherwise the tree and I would have become good friends.)

And just like with skiing, the best thing to do when that happens with revisions is to haul your ass back up the mountain, look at the story that tried to do you in and flip it the proverbial bird. You know why? Because even if it hurts so bad it makes you cry and leaves you beaten and bruised in the end…you got that shit.

So when revision time rolls around, strap on your boots, pack your attitude—and for all that is good and holy wear a damn helmet!—point yourself down the mountain and go. Because nothing worth doing comes without a little work and hurt. And the only difference between skiers/writers and non-skiers/writers is the willingness to get back up and do it all over again despite the pain.

You got this shit. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Happy Birthday Katee!

Today we celebrate the birth of our Malicious Mistress of Tactics, the lovely and evil Katee Robert.

Katee joined us at the Evil League of Evil Writers in the fall, bringing her own brand of unique eviltry to the mix (yes, despite being Seleste's other half, still unique!) and we are thrilled to count her among our circle of villains. 

The most evilest of birthdays to you, Mistress!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Baby Evil Writers 101: Seriously Guys, You Need Help

Baby Evil Writers 101: Seriously Guys, You Need Help
Julie Butcher

I'm not talking about MENTAL HEALTH HELP. If you're reading this post then you're writing and of course you are this close | | to criminally insane. That goes without saying. I'm talking about help with your writing.

How do you know if you're any good?
What if your scribbles are laughable and will make agents and editors scream and immediately put your name on the NO PUBLISH NEVER-EVER LIST?
Do you have a voice (and does it make the angels cry in an appropriately evil fashion)?

The answers to these questions and more can be answered by promoting evil and helping Crestline School. There are deals to be had guys.

Mentorships: Where the Evil League of Evil Writers and others will critique your manuscript ruthlessly and scorn your tears. Legal critiques, fight scene critiques, full manuscript critiques by awesome (and secretly evil) authors. A partial critique by a LITERARY AGENT!

Since you are baby evil writers you do not know how hard it is to capture the attention of a stellar agent or to get a critique by a publishing professional. It could CHANGE YOUR LIFE. (Seriously guys, professional writers see more than your crit buddies)

Are you afraid? Of course you are! This is acceptable and we enjoy your fear. BUT it is time to sink or swim, time to fly and leave your safe little nest. Time to turn into a butterfly or something else soft and pretty and brightly colored.

So suck it up,quit being a namby-pamby and help some kids.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

How Do You Do?

It’s a funny saying, isn’t it? “How do you do?” Not the most obvious choice for a first meeting greeting.

Most of you will have seen the Evil for Crestline auction happening over here. If not, please go look now. See how I said please? The event, among other things, has brought to my mind again just how many amazing people I’ve encountered on my odd little writerly journey.

I’ve met the best people. The best. And the odd thing is, some of them are brand new, never published a thing people, and some of them are massively prolific professional authors. Some of them are “Indies” and some are Traditionally published. Some of them “know people” and some of them don’t even know who they should know. Many of them believe very strongly about how this process should go, and many of those are on exactly opposite sides of the fence. Any fence.

And they all rock.

Because it turns out none of that matters. It doesn’t. What matters is a busy editor giving a chance to a clueless author who doesn’t even know what a passive verb is. What matters is a pro at a convention seeing someone at her very first panel who is absolutely petrified and flashing a purse filled with chocolate, a smile and an “I’ve got us covered.” What matters is a hopeful author with her eyes full of stars taking a hard crit on the chin, reeling, and then shaking it off, standing up with even more determination and saying, “Yeah, I can do this. Give me another shot.”

What matters is a bunch of people hearing about a tragedy and not even questioning for a second that they are going to do something to help. Not for a second. Of course they will. Great people.

How do you do?

Maybe that makes sense after all. Maybe, life is less about looking in the mirror and liking what you see, and more about lying down at night before bed and liking what you did that day. Not liking what your sales were, or what you wrote even, not liking your Amazon ranking, not liking who you know or who knows you, but liking what you did. Maybe, “How do you do?” is the most important thing we can know about anyone, and that’s why it’s the first thing we ask.

It’s probably the last thing we ask too. When the dust settles and the smoke clears, we’ll stand up, brush off the crud and give a little shake. Maybe we’ll laugh and say, “How did I do?”

Friday, February 8, 2013

Can't Buy Me Love

Actually, you totally can buy my love. Go bid on something at our auction to help fundraise to rebuild an elementary school. You'll earn my undying appreciation.

This blog isn't the place to promote ourselves, but this isn't about us. It's about helping out a community that lost something precious. Oh yes, and supporting our Bad Horse, Lilith Saintcrow.

There are more and more amazing things appearing in the auction, including signed books from amazing writers, fun crafty things, and plenty of amazing critique opportunities from a bunch of published authors.

So get your butts over there and start bidding!

Skye out. *microphone drop*

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Evil Writers Will Fix It

On Monday I warned that eviltry was afoot.

On Tuesday the evil began in earnest behind the scenes.

On Wednesday we were ready but for a few details.

And today, I bring you:

Step 1: Bid
Step 2: Raise Monday
Step 3: Help Kids

It's evil.

There is currently a listing of items ending February 15. You'll find signed books, critiques, mentorships, guest posts, knitted and crafty goods, character naming rights, treats and goodies. There are even signed author copies of Lili St. Crow's upcoming YA novel Nameless. The ELEW itself is offering two three month mentorship slots, as well as guest posts.

And more is coming: we have a handful of items going up tomorrow (bringing the first round to over fifty items) and a second round of items coming February 22.

You know, I'm not going to woo you here. I'm going to guilt you. Because every member of the ELEW has thrown in major support for this, Dina has been shaking trees and chasing people down, and I've worked for two and a half days straight, letting out my inner Virgo to organize like a mofo and drive everyone crazy by being an obsessive control freak.

We've even tapped our respective deities for help with this auction (Dear World: It turns out when Christians, pagans, and atheists get together, THEY CAN MOVE MOUNTAINS--maybe give it a try). The least you can do is bid. Bid high, bid often, boost the signal, and get these kids the help they deserve.

And besides the kids, do it for Bad Horse. For she entertains and delights and inspires with effortless ease. Her books have made me cry on many occasions and now it's only fair to make her weep with our overwhelming support (look, I am NOT picky about where tears come from, okay?).

Visit the auction site, look at the shinies, and tell your friends!

Check Your Preconceptions as the Door

People make a lot of assumptions about writers. Some of it is stuff you’ve heard before: Writers LOVE coffee! And chocolate! And alcohol! And cats!

Some of it, my friends, is pure bullshit.

Let’s start with the easiest of these, since I’m a romance writer. Wait for it! WHOOAAAA, you must like… NEVER have sex! Or, conversely, you must be a RAGING HUSSY!

I could get into the argument of romance vs. other genres (dude, I write horror too… Does that mean I have bodies buried in my back yard? …Maybe!), but it’s been done by people much more eloquent than me. Personally, I devolve pretty quickly into throwing things and stomping around like Godzilla.

But what about the more general assumptions that are crap? Like the ones about how you are a writer, therefore you must spend all your time hiding out alone in a dark room with no windows, playing with your internet friends? You must OBVIOUSLY be a total freakoid who is incapable of dealing with the outside world, so you retreat to the one you made up in your head.

Dude, seriously?

Don’t get me wrong, there are those of us who prefer the interwebs to reality (*cough*ME*cough*), but a large part of that is because social media has made it so easy to connect with people across the world. You have a significantly larger peer group than was accessible even 10 years ago.

And, quite frankly, people are assholes. Why go out and deal with the idiots of the world when you can filter through the ones you actually like? It’s no different than going to happy hour with my girls every once and awhile—it’s just online.

But if you ever been to a writer’s conference, you’ll see the truth of the matter once you get us folks all in one place. We’re different and unique(SHOCKER, right?). Some of us are the quiet, shy types, and some of us are so good with people we could be in any profession in the world.

So next time you interact with a writer, how about checking the preconceptions at the door?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

I Hate... I Love...

For those of you who aren't aware, I'm on Pinterest (this is me). There have been quite a few people posting writerly type quotes lately. Here are a couple that hit me:

"Writing a first novel takes so much effort, with such little promise of result or reward, that it must necessarily be a labour of love bordering on madness." ~Steven Saylor


"Writing a synopsis is my favorite thing to do. 
Said no author, ever." ~ (I have no clue who to credit this to. It's been around a while though)

And it got me to thinking... being an author is hard. I know, I know, this isn't a surprise, but sometimes I do forget. You see, I love my job. LOVE my job. Parts of it are less fun than others though. So let's go through the list of things some author somewhere hates (generally in the order they are done):

  • Research
  • Drafting
  • Revising
  • Critique partners
  • Synopsis writing
  • Querying
  • Waiting (at any stage of the game)
  • Contract deciphering
  • Cover info sheets
  • Cover copy writing
  • Editorial letters
  • More edits
  • Line edits
  • Copy edits
  • Release day
  • Promo
  • Reviews
  • Conventions
  • Sequels

Now, there are parts of that list that I love, parts I like, parts I have love-hate relationships with, parts I'm not fond of and parts that make me cry. Best parts for me? Drafting, my crit partners, revising, early stage edits, & conventions. Worst? Research, waiting, contracts, cover copy,  & promo.

What about you? If you're published, use the whole list. If you aren't yet, use the list as you see fit (either just what you have experience with or how you think you'll feel about it later)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Signal Boost: Crestline Elementary School

If you haven't heard the news, the fabulous school Lilith Saintcrow's son attended burned to the ground yesterday.


This is awful news for the staff, children, and their families. Please head to Lili's blog to read about what a wonderful school this has been for her son and how devastated people are. A snippet:
This is the kind of school Crestline is, where on the strength of one child saying “No, I saw him on the bus” the principal goes out to either find the kid or talk to the parent, less than ten minutes after school starts that day. This is the school where the office staff knows every student’s name and the teachers pour their souls–and most of their paychecks–into every kid in every class, not just their own. This is the school where any adult that’s not known on sight AND carrying a red volunteer badge or sticker is clustered by very polite but inflexible staff and volunteers, to be escorted to the office to sign in. It’s the school a ten-year-old boy loves so much he’s excited on Sunday night because Monday means he can go back. The place was held together by the steady commitment of teachers and office staff, who made it work with spit and baling wire some days, and volunteers who pitched in where they could even after their kids went on to other schools.
This is the school where nobody goes home until all the kids are accounted for at the end of the day.

Read more here. It's a powerful statement of support from our Bad Horse.

At the moment, the school is accepting monetary donations. You'll find more information on their Facebook page.

For those wanting to help - monetary donations can be made to the Evergreen School District Foundation for Crestline Elementary School. For more information, contact the district's Community Relations office during normal business hours at 360.604.4088.
If you can help immediately, please do so.

I solemnly swear we at the Evil League of Evil Writers are officially up to no good; we are plotting eviltry and will update soon with our fundraising efforts. For now, please toss some pennies directly their way and keep an eye out for more ways you can help.

ETA: here are more ways you can currently help.

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