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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Writing Wibbles

Every time I sit down to write a blog post, it seems like I get distracted by shiny writing things. So, let’s start by welcoming the newest visitors to the free-range insane asylum…

  • Alyssa McKendry — she blogs! she writes! she’s 13!
  • Jazon Dion Fletcher — author of Skull Flowers, which sounds whimsically interesting…
  • L. G. Keltner — “aspiring writer and mother.” (Does that mean she aspires to be a mother as well as a writer? Hm. Both of them involve creative endeavor, and the results of both are often referred to as “my baby.”)

Badges are on the desk. Someone forgot to recharge the Tasers, so don’t get too close to the inmates!

I know, White Pickups hasn’t left the garage… yet. The editor got tied up with other stuff about a third of the way through, but most of her comments were recurring things. I went through the rest of the book, tidying up based on what she’d been saying, and I finished that over the weekend. At this point, I really feel like the book is ready to go. I’m going to have her give it one quick pass though, to (ahem) pick up anything I missed. Then I load the Launch Cannon and open the Crown Royal! It’s not definite for July 28, but it’ll be pretty darn close.

I’ve not been idle while waiting for the edits. I finished Accidental Sorcerers a while back, and it’s a 30,000 word novella. I have a beta reader lined up, and she’s about Mik and Sura’s age—so it’ll be good to see what misconceptions about YA I have.

Speaking of YA, I followed a link to a Guardian (UK) article interviewing an author about Why teens in books can’t swear. This led to a brief but fun discussion with G.P. Ching and Sonia G. Medeiros. Age ratings might be a coming thing, to help parents find appropriate reads for their kids. Of course, they had both read Stephen King as teens (I was in college when I first read The Dead Zone). I’m keenly interested in find out what kind of audience White Pickups is going to have1. The language and sex definitely push it into the “17+” camp—but since it revolves around high-schoolers, I expect there will be younger people reading it as well. Cody is a moody teen, who uses strong language. He’s also sleeping with Sondra, and they are both quite happy with that arrangement. I’ve said all along that this could have been YA, if I’d figured out how to clip out the strong language and sex scenes without diluting the story.

Anyway, once I fire the Launch Cannon, there isn’t much call for a break. I still have to finish Pickups and Pestilence, and start Wings: Unfurled (which won’t have a problem being YA). A sequel to Accidental Sorcerers wants to get onto the waiting-to-write-this list, but it hasn’t really told me enough about itself to qualify just yet. I’ve been working on my Termag wiki, and I might make it publicly accessible so I can work on it from not-home. Plugins for the wiki software would let me deploy a Termag-specific blog, and let readers comment on pages even if I have editing locked down. One thing at a time, though…

1Yes, I’m being optimistic and assuming there will be a general audience for my book.


  1. Wow you're nearly there - exciting launch date just a couple of weeks away! My husband got tied up with work and hasn't been able to put in the minor alterations I made while reading the formatted manuscript - then its ready to upload, when I ask?

    Good luck with your Larry I'm sure it will be successful. ^_^

  2. First off: that is wonderful about the progress on White Pickups. I'm looking forward to seeing the Launch Cannon in action!

    What you wrote about censorship in YA stories is no doubt accurate (I taught high school for six years; I had to enforce crap like that in the curriculum), but it's also so sad. All the age range rules will do is make more teens hide the adult stuff from their parents and read it in a discourse-free environment. When I was a teen, my next-door neighbours were incredibly strict with their daughter. That girl had more steamy romance novels hidden under her mattress than I've read in my entire lifetime, as of today.

    As for swearing, I like how JK Rowling steps around it: she just writes something like "Ron swore" and lets the reader fill in the most appropriate expletive. Or else she has one character interrupt the other just before the part that would cause objections gets uttered. It's stupid those tricks have to be played, but it's one way of getting the job done that doesn't include denial.

    Bit of a vent there.

    But yes, looking forward to the launch!

  3. Good luck to you, Helen! Those little delays add up, but they're all part of the process. I'm going to be 10 months behind my original planned launch date, but I'm glad I didn't stick to the schedule. It wasn't ready then. It's ready now.

    Katherine, no problem with the vent — it's on-topic. In Accidental Sorcerers, there's a scene where two young apprentices play a prank on an older one and get him to take a pratfall. The older guy says a lot of things, but I used the "fill in the blanks" trick. I like that idea of interrupting the speaker… they did that in Finding Nemo (movie) and it was pretty funny. ("Do you realize we're swimming in our own—" "Shhhh! Here he comes!")

  4. Unsurprised that PG-13-like content ratings exist for YA, especially mainstream YA. Reminds me of the MPAA harsh rating for Bully, the documentary about child bullying that got an R-rating because some of the kids swore in describing what had been done to them.


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