Yesterday I listened to Michael Butler do a track by track of the new Darkness album Last of Our Kind. I liked it, I like the Darkness in general. This album is something special though. It is somewhere between a theme album and a rock opera. What do you suppose the theme would be? Well, no. It is about medieval life and warfare. The opening song “Barbarians” is about the Danish invasion of East Anglia in 869. I like the video too, which is goofy, violent, and full of visual jokes that play off the themes and lyrics.
In this BONUS episode, I mostly discuss my experiences with the Song of Ice and Fire novel series and my recent viewings of the beginnings of the Game of Thrones television series. In there is a little discussion of my new lavalier microphone, comic book retailing and other good bits.
I discuss my life changes; I talk about Android and installing FourSquare and Saga on my phone; I talk about the YouTube comment controversy; I recommend works by Nicola Griffith and Dave Hill and toodle out of the show ungracefully.
My friend Nicola has a great post today on narrative grammar at her editing site. As I write my NaNoWriMo novel I struggle with this every single paragraph. I’m not an experienced fiction writer so I’m feeling my way through. I have been doing my best to follow some of these advice before reading it. I do pay attention to where my characters are in the space they occupy, and try to make sure that the order of actions makes sense for their viewpoint. I don’t randomly add details, I try to bring them into the flow as a person in that location would notice them, largest and most salient and attention getting things first and then honing in later.
Nicola throws out a challenge to rewrite a paragraph first given to her by Samuel R. Delany. Here is my stab at it:
Harris grabbed the intricate metal handles and pushed open the heavy boardroom door. As he walked in, the sensor circuit transpared the great panes of a huge picture window. He could see the great and silver buildings of the city through it. In the center of the room chairs were set haphazardly around a board table, framed by a gold rug.
My friends Kelley Eskridge and Nicola Griffith are writers who between them have written a significant chunk of my favorite books of the last twenty years. Earlier this year, before I decided to attempt NaNoWriMo and before they formed their agency, I had already reached out to them as first readers to help me with my novel draft. Not only am I a first novelist, but I haven’t written much fiction of any length so I wanted to get some critiques of the general structure of the work. I wasn’t looking for a line edit, but more along the lines of answering the questions “Does this book achieve what it tries to? Does it pay off what it sets up? Does this thing flow like a novel?” My novel has two timelines running in parallel, which Nicola did with three in her novel Slow Riverand I’d like to know how successfully they think I pull that off. It’s scary stuff for a dilettante writer to attempt and I definitely want a second opinion on it.
Now they they have formed their agency Sterling Editing, they are doing that sort of work for a wider clientele. They have decided to offer a NaNoWriMo special. If you are a participant (have to be able to point to your progress page and results), they’ll offer an evaluation of your book at a deep discount from what that service normally costs. I’ll be taking them up on this in the post NaNoWriMo editing madness of turning my first draft into something that will get published, either by an existing publisher or by me myself. One way or another, this is going out into the world and I want their help tuning it up.
November is all about losing the excuses, getting motivated and putting some words on paper. When you’ve done that and you are looking for taking your NaNoWriMo novel from first to subsequent drafts, I’d suggest looking at Sterling Editing. That’s who will be helping me.
I frequently blog about my friends Nicola Griffith and Kelley Eskridge because not only do I love them very much but they are both ridiculously talented. I love all their writing, and now they have a new venture in the world. They’ve formed Sterling Editing, a service for editing, mentoring and coaching writers. These ladies know their stuff, having many awards and nominations between them and having written two of my favorite books: Slow River and Solitaire.
In a world where we have an increasing number of podcast fiction writers publishing directly to audio and then their own book release via Lulu.com or the like, it makes a lot of sense to get some editorial eyes on your work in that process. They do overall assessments of generalized things to work on, line edits, mentoring and coaching. Basically, this is the stuff you need to move your writing into the next gear.
I can tell you personally that I’ve had the opportunity to get their critical eyes on my own writing, and it was a terrific and helpful experience. It never failed to improve the work at hand and also to step up my skill level. Particularly in the cases where you are going the self-publication route or think you need just a little bit more to get your novel across the hump to getting purchased, look into their services. It will be well worth your money.
I’m familiar with cloud type graphics. I have a tag cloud in the sidebar of this blog and I even implemented a tag cloud for AmigoFish. It’s not like the basic idea is unfamiliar to me, but I hadn’t previously used Wordle for doing it with arbitrary chunks of text. Recently it captured the attention of both my friends Nicola and Kelley, which they both turned to their own works. Literally, after 2 seconds of thought there was only one thing that I wanted put into it, and so I did. Nothing against it, but I think this one says it all so I’m probably done now. Here it is, so enjoy!
Here is the direct MP3 download for the EGC clambake for August 19, 2008. I play a song from Rocket City Riot and then try and fail to read some user mail; I play a song by the Harvey Girls; I discuss this being the fourth anniversary of this podcast, why I started doing this show and why I continue and how I feel about the state of our medium; I mention New Media Expo and Michael Geoghegan and the “death of podcasting”; I play a song by Glass Eye and then groove my way on into the night.
This turns out to have been an unusually foul-mouthed episode. I guess it happens when you wind the monkey up. That’s why I disclaim this up front, kids.
I’ve been blase about the issue since I attended Nicola and Kelley’s wedding in 1993. It certainly caused me no ill effects, and I thought it was one of the loveliest ceremonies I ever experienced. As a side benefit my wife and I had a nice little chat with Charlie Stross, long before he was the famous SF mojombo he is now.
2. Kelley posts that she was one of the people interviewed by AfterEllen.com. It’s short but it captures the essence of her. If you want to get up to speed on what makes Kelley tick, start there but please keep going.
3. Nicola and Kelley will be doing a reading in Los Angeles on Friday May 30th at a Different Light bookstore in West Hollywood at 7:30 PM. They are in town to attend the Lambda Literary awards where Nicola is nominated for best novel. I think she’s won every time she’s been nominated, so I’m betting on her.
4. Many moons ago (like 13 years to be exact) I was Nicola’s first webmaster. I set up and encouraged the Ask Nicola section of the site and for many years I hand formatted the HTML for all the questions and answers. That same section is now it’s own Ask Nicola blog site. Check it out, it’s a lot of fun.
I’m sure if I dug a little more I could find more stuff because they are cool people that do much cool stuff. If you watch my Google Reader shared items you’ll see many items from both of them. Enjoy, netizens!
My dear friend Nicola Griffith is performing her own interesting blogospheric experiment. She is writing a novel about Hild of Whitby and to aid in her research she has started a research blog about it. I think this is a smart move. By sharing what she learns, she attracts whatever community there is about that era of history to her. Since this is an esoteric subject, any suggestions brought by that community might be highly valuable. She also builds up excitement about this subject in Hild of Whitby fans if there be any. I just don’t see any downside and a lot of potentially valuable upsides. Check it out if you can. This is indicative of what our online future holds. Any time you want some information, you start by giving what you have. Hello, infotopia!
Two of my best friends in the world are a couple, both are writers and both of them have brand new books out now or very soon. Kelley Eskridge has her story collection Dangerous Space out shortly from Aqueduct Press. It’s not too soon to put in your order. Her debut novel Solitaire was one of my favorite book of the decade, so she is a strong bad-assed writer.
Nicola Griffith’s new novel Always is already out from Riverhead. My wife and I were readers for chemical and scientific accuracy for her novel Slow River which went on to win big awards. After a few science fiction novels, she shifted gears to the Aud Torvingen series, of which this new novel is the third. They are not exactly mystery per se, but more tough novels of a hard woman making hard choices. I really love the books and am looking forward to reading Always. Buy both books, friends. You’ll be glad that you did.
More about my friend Nicola Griffith. This weekend she was on The Best of our Knowledge. It actually airs in my area but I missed it live on the radio (which is not uncommon.) Apparently they have a podcast feed which means that you can get an MP3 of the show, rather than the craptacular unportability that is any Real Audio file (which seems to be the defacto standard for NPR archives.) This episode is not yet in the podcast feed yet, but I suspect they delay it a little. I’ll be on the look out.
One of my friends gets on radio shows with the tagline “Lesbian Crime Writer.” If you have to have your career boiled down into three words, those are three you don’t see together every day. I can’t wait to hear this show, because although I’ve interviewed her about her science fiction, I’ve never heard a radio interview on her since she’s been writing the Aud books, which are more mystery/action/thriller type novels. Right on, Nicola!