15 March 2014

Crowd-subsidized Publishing

It's been a terribly long time since I have posted anything on this blog, and indeed, it's been a long time since I've written much of anything.  Why?  I've been busy working on a project called Fictivity Press.  In short, it's an experiment in what we are calling "crowd-subsidized publishing," a method of self-publishing similar to a vanity press (also known as subsidy press).  The main difference is that—instead of the writer paying to have his or her book prepared for publishing—Fictivity Press raises much of the funds through so-called crowd-funding sites such as IndieGoGo.

The first book selected for Fictivity Press's BookLaunch program is Pete Oxley's The Infernal Aether, which I've already invested a lot of time in.  I'll be doing the line editing and proofreading for the book some time after the IndieGoGo campaign has ended.  We're off to a very convincing start on this inaugural project but we can use all the help we can get.  You can pre-order an electronic version of the book for a contribution as small as $5.00.  Please visit the campaign home page and contribute what you can, even if it's just helping spread the word.

Is "crowd-subsidized publishing" for real?  So far, it looks pretty good!

02 August 2013

Pantsers vs. Plotters

I've written here, here, and there on the topic of creating plots, outlines and story lines in fiction, but I still frequently become embroiled in the "Pantser vs. Plotter" wars.  In other words, some writers sit down and write "by the seat of their pants," while others meticulously plot every jot and tittle before writing a line.  For some reason, many seem to think this is an all-or-nothing decision, but I disagree.

I am a notorious fence-sitter, which permits me the luxury of criticizing every ideological tribe with abandon.  With respect to writing, I find this manifests as a virulent strain of Plotting Pantserism, as I prefer to use a hybrid method combining elements--and advantages--of both strategies.  Lee Strayer at Atomic 27 Media has interviewed me on my peculiar (but eminently sensible) approach, and featured an excerpt of our conversation in his latest Magnetic Wireless podcast.

Give it a listen, won't you?  I mean, can't we all just get along?

28 July 2013

Can You Hear Me Now?

A year and a half after publishing The Last Adventure of Dr. Yngve Hogalum, I'm now venturing into the brave new (for me, anyway) world of audio publishing in two different media forms.

I'm in the early stages of an Audible.com audiobook production read by the incomparable Lee Strayer of Atomic 27 Media.  The plan is to release the Magnetron Chronicles stories as they were originally conceived: in serialized form.  More details as they become available...

In other news, New Zealand-based Booktrack has created a new hybrid media form that enhances ebooks with synchronized music, sound effects and ambient sound (sample).  Booktrack has invited me to try out their upcoming beta studio, so I hope to have some titles available in their store soon.  That's assuming they have an appropriate sound effect for a zombified severed head piloting a steam-powered spacecraft.

Strong Verbs: The Writer's Action Heroes

This is the ninth installment in the continuing story of "Editing Mister D," a joint project to coach British nonfiction writer Pete Oxley through completion and publication of his first novel-length fiction work, now tentatively titled "The Infernal Aether."

Perhaps my most distressing writing bugbear is the scourge known as the “weak verb.”  Verbs are action words, so it would seem that simply using a verb would tend to jazz up an otherwise unremarkable noun but, alas, that is not always the case.  Some verbs are just so wan and lethargic they sap the life from entire paragraphs.

What is a weak verb?  My definition is: a verb which conveys too little information or description.  Hold on—a verb is supposed to be descriptive?  Isn’t that the job of adjectives and adverbs?  Well yes, adjectives and adverbs describe, but verbs can often do so as well, often better than any adjective or string of adjectives.  A verb can even contain a metaphor, all in  a single word.  And a verb that can do all of that is what I call a “strong verb.”

06 July 2013

Where to Start: Opening Your Story

This is the eighth installment in the continuing story of "Editing Mister D," a joint project to coach British nonfiction writer Pete Oxley through completion and publication of his first novel-length fiction work.

You’ve been quite disciplined about your new story idea, laying out the whole plot, getting a good handle on your storyline and characters, and so you sit down to write.  The blank screen is your canvas, the keyboard your brush, and the world is full to bursting with possibilities.  Getting started is half the battle, you tell yourself, and you hunker down to write that smashing first sentence, which will flow naturally into your sparkling first paragraph, setting the stage for your compelling first chapter.  After a few false starts, you begin to type:

“It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents — except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.”