Saturday, December 21, 2013

Evil Takes A Holiday


Look, evil never sleeps, but it does kick back every now and then, and the Evil League of Evil Writers is going to do just that. Starting today, we're taking something of a holiday hiatus. We did this last year, and will probably do it again next year about this time, as the holidays are always a busy time for everyone.

There might be the occasional post of an evil Bob Cratchit member, toiling away over the holidays, but there won't be any regular/consistent/scheduled posts for the next couple weeks.

Thank you to all our evil readers for making the Year of Eviltry an awesome one! We here at the ELEW have gotten up to a lot of no good this year, and we couldn't have done it without you.

We'll see you all back here next year. We'll be kicking off 2014 with our Bitchstress Dreamkiller on January 6!

Whatever holiday you celebrate (or not), we here at the ELEW wish you an evil happy!

The Sithmas Tree of our Gothic Goddess Dina James represents the ELEW holiday spirit!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Baby Evil Writers 101: The Holidays

Baby Evil Writers 101: The Holidays
Julie Butcher

So now that a few of you have off for the holidays, I'm sure your evil glee extends to sending queries! You have time, you have a computer. Your internet is working, so why not?
No. Because the agents are all like this—

And the editors are all like this—

I know this because I am a writer and I am all like this—

Even my kids are all like this—

And the dog—

And the cat—

Everyone is all like this—

So, wait until after the New Year, mkay?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Holiday Wishes

On the first day of (pickyourholidayofchoicefolks) my evil minions brought to me....

An movie deal with options on the series!

On the second day of (werejustgonnagowithChristmasforthesakeoftheverse) my evil minions brought to me...

Two partial requests and and  movie deal with options on the series!

On the third day of Christmas (pleasedontbeoffendedIlikethemall) my evil minions brought to me...

Three contract offers, two partial requests and a movie deal with options on the series!

On the fourth day of (youcanjustsingwhateveryoulike) my evil minions brought to me...

Four fans a writing, three contract offers two partial requests and a movie deal with options on the series!

On the fifth day of ________________________ my evil minions brought to me...


four fans a writing, three contract offers two partial requests and a movie deal with options on the series!


Six glowing reviews
four fans a'writing
three contract offers
two partial requests
and a movie deal with options on the series

lalalalala....lets sum up.

TWELVE (heheheh) foreign translations
Eleven dancing ponies (howdidtheygetinhere?)
Ten thousand hits on youtube
Nine audio versions
Eight editors editing (likewhatelsewouldtheydo?)
Seven scifi conventions (woot)
Six glowing reviews
Four fans a'writing
Three contract offers
Two partial requests
and a movie deal with options on the series


Pass the eggnog

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Happy Birthday Skye!

Did you bring your cupcakes? And your booze? And some hot, half-naked men? Well, gather 'round then and set your offerings down before our Lieutenant Quillstabber, for today we celebrate the birth of Skye Forbes.

A member who has been with us since the beginning, Skye has worked tirelessly behind the scenes in support of the organization. Her dedication and commitment is beyond comparison, and we at the ELEW are fortunate to have her among our ranks.

Please join me in raising a glass to her awesomeness on this blessed evil day!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

December deadlines

Ugh, deadlines. Am I right?

I feel like December is supposed to be all festive, but it's always filled with so many deadlines. I mean, Christmas/holidays - you have to make sure everything is all ready - bought, wrapped, and pretty. Plus if you're in school or have family members in school, there's often finals and end of semester stuff.

Add in family, food, and festivities, plus about a million parties, and it's a crazy month. Plus, I'm a lawyer and there are always people who want to deal with tax stuff before the end of the year.

I feel a little crazed this time of year. Don't even talk to me about adding in the possibility of writing deadlines.

So, are you all going crazy with deadlines or are you loving all the fun times?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Essential Tools for the Serious Writer

If you are going to write, then there are a few things that you can't do without. The list is individualized somewhat to every writer's needs, but these are the basics as I understand them.

First, an instrument with which to write.

Personally, I'm very fond of my Mac. It doesn't shut down in the middle of writing things, and asks very politely whether I'm interested in restarting now or later. I appreciate this. In the past I've mostly used Word, but for the current WIP I'm experimenting with Scrivener. 

Coffee. Good coffee, freshly ground if possible. Dina will argue that tea is where it's at, but this is my post. So - COFFEE.

A cat. Yes, every writer must have a cat. I'm not entirely certain why, as the feline creature seems hell bent on making trouble for the already struggling writer. They sit on books and papers and laptops, knock things off shelves, and insist on being petted when hands are supposed to be deployed for writing.

Ice cream, brand of your choice. This is pretty self explanatory.

Whether for inspiration, celebration, or drowning your writer's woes, nothing beats a good bottle of wine. 

Yep. Sometimes you run out of kleenex. Drying your tears (and your nose) on your sleeve is just not good. And there will inevitably be tears. There will also be moments of great joy and celebration. One of the great things about being a writer is that your readers will never know whether your tissues come from a box or a roll.

I probably ought to also mention friends. Because without them, no writer would have the courage and the faith to keep on writing.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Seeking Inspiration

I recently joined an online dating site (I know, I know, don't start…or do, it'll make the comments interesting. Anyway…) and I keep getting the same question from guys who are interested in my writing. Where do you get your inspiration?

Yes, it's also a popular interview question, and I always try to explain my "everywhere" answer. This morning, as I sit in my kitchen, eating my breakfast (and remembering I forgot to write a post yesterday--oops), I looked out my window at my neighbor's US flag.

They have a very nice flag pole in their backyard--almost as tall as their house--but the flag is…sad. The stripes are so faded as to be nearly invisible and the entire thing looks more like someone strung up an old flag-style beach towel rather than a proper flag. (During recent visits, both my parents pointed out the flag, which is probably why it got more of my notice today than other days.) But as I sit here, watching it whip back and forth in the wind, proudly snapping like any other flag, it hit me that the damn thing has to have a story.

You see, the neighbors that live there are not the type to leave it out for no reason. They tend their garden daily. Their house is one of the best kept in the neighborhood (they are the original owners--which means they've been here for 40+ years). In short, there is no way they'd leave a dillapidated flag flying if it didn't hold significance.

And so I started subconsciously making up the story behind that faded rectangle of fabric. (Honestly, I started making up a few because the first ones that popped into my head were horribly tragic and sad.) But I think the one I'd go with if I ever wrote it would be the one about the guy who left behind a girl when he went off to war. Unbeknownst to him… she was pregnant. During a battle, another soldier (probably they started out hating each other, but became grudging friends over time) did something heroic to save his life…losing his own in the process. Our soldier makes it home after his tour, determined to hunt down the girl, only to find out about their child…

You get the idea. Oh, and the flag? Somehow it came from the frenemy who saved his life, the one without which he never would have refound his true love and never have met his child. And that's why it's flying every day, no matter how faded or sad it is.

So yeah. Inspiration is truly everywhere. In the song you hear a random snippet of, in the conversation between strangers, in the email you get from some jerk on a dating site, and in the view you see out your window every day.

I was going to end with a quote that I love, but then I discovered it was said by an author who I refuse to promote because I know and hate his politics. So we'll go with this one instead (he might be an ass too, but I don't know so I feel safer with it…)

If you look at anything long enough, say just that wall in front of you -- it will come out of that wall.
- Anton Chekhov

So stare at your wall, take a walk, talk to a stranger, but find your story out there. Find one every day. That way when the time comes to write, you have a bevy of them to sift through looking for the best one.

(Also, this is my last post before the holiday hiatus here at the ELEW. So I'd like to wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season. Catch you in the new year!)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Baby Evil Writers 101: Beginings Part Two

Baby Evil Writers 101: Beginnings Part Two
Julie Butcher

When you meet a new friend, and they’re nice to you, then you like them. In a book, we can only stand in the shadows and watch to see if we like a character. We notice what they do, how they treat others, how they speak, if they're an asshat—or not.

We judge them. With their actions and dialogue in only a few pages, we make a final decision if we want to spend time in their world. If you don’t believe me, go and people watch at the bookstore. Customers don’t skip to the middle, they look on the first page.

So this is why your beginning is the most important part of the story. If you can’t hook the reader, the rest of the book is a waste of your time. I content edit books for a lot of people and I’ve noticed a few things that happen often enough to be trends.

1.       The character is alone. Okay guys, when you’re at the park or the store and you’re say, waiting in a line. Do you watch someone quietly standing by themselves or do you watch a couple talking, or a boisterous family? Now, if you are watching the guy by himself and he’s talking to no one, do you want to hike yourself across the store for a visit with the crazy person? Of course you don’t. People who talk to themselves are dangerous—certainly more so that a couple or a family. If you wouldn’t go right into that book and talk to the character, don’t write it that way.

2.       The character is angry, or depressed, or just being a booger-head. We all have friends who have bad days and we have to deal with them and their problems because they are already our friends. If I meet someone and they’re glowering, and kicking puppies, and farting or whatever—the first thought in my head is absolutely not that I want to spend time with them. Oh heck no.

3.       The character is responding to someone else. Your main character should be the first one to speak. It is his story. He should be the one to steer the conversation boat. The first thing out of his mouth should be positive. (We like to meet positive people) His first action should be a tiny glimpse into his soul. Is he gallant? He can hold the door open for someone. Is he brave? He could chase a criminal or grab a child out of traffic. Is his family the most important thing in his life? He could call his mom to say hello. Yes, most of these things are kind of boring . But we need to see your main character as a likeable person before all of the terrible things happen to him. If we don’t like him, we could care less if he loses all his money or if he fails a test or if someone smashes his car.

4.       The character is looking in a mirror. We don’t need to know what he looks like, we need to know who he is, where he is, what he’s doing, and how he treats people. Don’t insult your reader by thinking that they’re so shallow that they’ll like someone because of their looks. How rude.

Right now don’t worry about the perfect first sentence. Let us meet your character for a page or two before the end of the world happens. Let us like him because that is important.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Series of Fortunate Events

Well, I'm coming off a long holiday weekend of family, cooking, and a nasty cold bug. Fa la la laaaachooo. So, I'm recycling an older post this week, and though I wrote it ages ago, I'm still on the fence about long series. I think I read one in particular in the eighties that stretched into thirty plus books. Might have jaded me on the topic. Then again, I did keep reading....


Once upon a time, I swore I’d never write a long series. My fellow authors and friends loved them, but I just couldn’t see the appeal. Maybe I have issues with commitment, but I felt like a trilogy was about the most I wanted to tackle in a single universe. I read a lot of trilogies, so maybe that was a factor.

 Recently, however, I’ve come to see the beauty in a longer run. It just happened on its own, you see. I’d plotted and planned my way through a three book series when the fourth book reared its pretty little head and said, “I told you so.” I should probably get used to hearing that.

 Why the change? Maybe this world had too much in it to be contained in three books. It does take place across a backdrop of infinite, alternate dimensions. Maybe the characters themselves had much longer stories to tell than I ever expected. Or maybe, I just caught my stride. I like to think that last one, that now I’ve gotten deeply into the world, I can see more angles to explore, more places to go and more intricate plot lines to follow. .. Still, I suspect those characters had something to do with it.

 Either way, I’m in this for the long haul now. Thankfully, I’m enjoying it just the same. Who knew? Oh, yeah, my friends did. Maybe I owe them some chocolate.

 I do wonder how long is too long? Is there such a thing? I always thought so, but then, we know how that turned out. I realize that this story may take more than four, that it may continue farther than I’ve seen, even at this point, and I hope that I’ll know when it’s had it’s fair shake and is ready to rest.

 As a reader, I may have to pry open that mind a little more as well, maybe tackle a nice long series and see how I like it. But those trilogies just have such a nice, neat feel to them. So, I wonder, is it just me that has a numeric preference? Do you prefer a stand alone or a series? Do you have a minimum or a maximum number of books before your attention either wanes or feels unsatisfied? Or, as I suspect, perhaps it’s just all about the specific stories.

 At the end of the day, that’s what really matters isn’t it? What serves the story best? At least, I hope that is. Here’s to a long line of great stories, whatever world they’re set it.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Happy Birthday Dina!

Did you feel the evil chill in the air this morning? Something that raised the hairs on the back of your neck and dragged the cold, clammy hands of death down your spine?

There was a reason.

Today we celebrate the birth of the extremely evil Goth Goddess, Dina James.

Dina has done tremendously evil things this year. Besides putting in massive work with the Evil Auction in February, releasing a new novel, and running a fabulous medical-info-for-writers here called Ask Dr. Dina, she has continued inspiring other writers throughout the year in that special way she knows how: by stabbing them with knitting needles and pushing them to be their most evil selves. She has also lent me incredible support this year during various trying times, always ready with sharp wit and a shovel when something threatening draws near.

On behalf of the Evil League of Evil Writers, I wish you the evilest of birthdays, Dina.

And since I am poor and did not get you anything, I give you 1. the day off from posting, and 2...

A gif party.

Just for you.

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