Greywalker film/TV option renewed for another 6 months. (*small squee*) Hoping for further exciting news on the work front.
I started a new project today based on an old project I can remember but not find the scraps and notes for. So far it’s weird in ways that make me happy and I did 1,531 words. I shall show you the following 69 of them:
They probably think he’s dead—he hopes they think he’s dead. He thought he was dead. But he’d thought that since he saw the two thugs on his tail. What’s Threcki got to be so pissed about, anyhow? It’s not like Ince killed anybody—or even stole anything. He just… borrowed the signal scrambler for a little while. He put it back! God’s death… There’s no pleasing some people.
The second half of my Round Table Podcast, the Workshop Episode, is coming up tomorrow!
I’m on the Round Table Podcast “20 Minutes With…” segment today with Dave Robison and Heather Welliver!
Whoohoo! I’ll be on the upcoming “20 Minutes with…” interview at Round Table Podcast this coming Tuesday, May 31!
We have a cover!
My short story “Peacock in Hell” is part of this amazing anthology, Shadowed Souls, that will be released in November (and you can preorder it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your favorite Indie!). I’m in great company, here. Edited by Kerrie Hughes and Jim Butcher, with stories by Jim, Tanya Huff, Erik Scott de Bie, Kevin J Anderson, Rob Thurman, Seanan McGuire, Jim Hines, Lucy A. Snyder, Anton Strout, and Kristine Kathryn Rusch.
Outlet of the Research Rabbit Hole: I’ve been looking at a lot of material about the Great Depression of the 1930s and one of the interesting things I’ve discovered is that Herbert Hoover–who is sometimes called one of the worst presidents in American history–turns out to be a fascinating, contradictory, and complex guy and probably a better president than he’s given credit for. It’s interesting reading during a particularly bizarre election year.
Ironically, it was Hoover–a Republican–who started many of the programs that FDR adopted into “the New Deal.” He backed the Glass-Steagall banking act we now hear so much about, and the Bacon-Davis Act that established the maximum 8-hour work day. He outlined what became FDR’s “Good Neighbor Policy”. He was a Quaker, pro-labor Progressive, humanitarian, relief worker, and reformer. He was a mining engineer, and self-made millionaire who rejected Andrew Mellon’s “laissez faire” policies, a progressive, but also a prohibitionist, who was both courted and reviled by both major parties at various times in his career. He backed Teddy Roosevelt’s Progressive “Bull Moose Party”, but was a registered Republican. He was appointed to offices by a Democratic president, and had been wooed to run for President earlier as a Democrat, but chose not to run at that time and later ran for President as a Republican, while having the support of FDR and other Democrats, but not the Republican president (Coolidge) whom he was about to succeed.
At the same time he made political enemies of Winston Churchill and other key European leaders by organizing various food relief projects for Belgians, Germans, and Russians after the first World War. At home, he strangled the licensing of “non-useful” radio stations, and was unable to stop (or turned a blind eye at the time) to the brutalization of black farmers during relief and relocation efforts after the Mississippi flood of 1927, which he then persuaded Robert Russa Moton–President of the Tuskegee Institute–to help him cover up so his presidential campaign would not be damaged.
I was exchanging replies to a post on Facebook with a reader and he asked about my editing process, because I am currently struggling with a tough revision. I have been tearing chunks out and rewriting to a tight deadline and the process is frustratingly ugly—it always feels like two steps back to take one forward, even if that isn’t the truth of it. The reader asked if that was my usual process and I had to say, “yes and no” essentially. That may be my process as a writer, but as a fiction editor, it isn’t. (And yes, editing fiction is not like editing non-fiction—they’re related, but different beasts.)
As a fiction editor—and as a crit partner, writing coach, or workshop instructor—my job is not to put my stamp on someone else’s work, but to help the writer realize their own goal for that work. So I have to approach with respect and care. I make suggestions and observations more often than changes. I point out places where an opportunity was missed or where voice or a structure could be strengthened, where information was missing, muddy, or heavy-handed, where pieces might be swapped, characters or arcs adjusted, inconsistencies, “clangers,” and so on. I also make sure that the writer is aware of the things that they did well—because it’s easy to forget to say “Oh, did you know this is Damned Fine Writing?” I never take someone else’s piece apart and rebuild it. That’s the writer’s job and it’s a necessary process in improving as writer.
But when I start revising or editing my own material, I’m both writer and editor at the same time and I have to listen to advice, weigh it, and analyze both the advice and my own work, as well as revising, cleaning, fixing, and re-building. I’m a lot more brutal on my own work, because no one else can be. The other aspect of editing my own work is using what I learn from reading, analyzing, and editing the work of others. So critiquing or editing my peers is part of my process of becoming a better writer, and after that a better crit partner, better editor, better workshop leader, better coach, and a better writer… And back full circle, endlessly.
Writing and editing (or critiquing) are cooperative processes, not adversarial. I learn from each to do the others better and I treat each writer I crit or edit as I would like to be treated by my crit partners or editor.
The Kickstarter for Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling is finally live! Hurray! Look at that great list of authors, editors, artists, and essayists shaking up the clichés and tropes of genre fiction–including one by me! Go, make it happen!
This morning I was told that the TV option my agents at Cooke and APA have been working on is finally official. As of last night, The Greywalker novels have been optioned for development of a Greywalker TV series. That doesn’t mean there’s a show coming for sure, but it is the first step. The folks at the agencies and at production company have been really wonderful throughout the process and I hope there will be more good news on this soon. (And thanks to Qwill for the heads up.)
This was the official announcement from Publishers Weekly under TV option sales:
Kat Richardson’s GREYWALKER series, about a private investigator who, beaten and left for dead, recovers to find she can step into the Grey, a place between this world and the next, and is attracting otherworldly business, to Back Alley Films and Muse Entertainment Enterprises, by Debbie Deuble Hill of APA Agency on behalf of Sally Harding of The Cooke Agency.
So. Now I’m going to to outside and scream with joy. I hope the neighbors don’t freak out too much….
Yesterday, I found a blog post in my feed titled “Only 40 Self-Published Authors are a Success, says Amazon.” I decry this headline (not the author, who’s clearly thinking about this a lot), because it focusses on a really narrow definition of success for self-published writers (or any writer) and that pisses me off. “‘Making money’ here means selling more than one million e-book copies in the last five years.” Wow… a million copies in one format over five years? That’s a hell of an accomplishment for any author, regardless of format or publishing mode. But the idea that we all should be selling like Hugh Howey or Amanda Hocking–regardless of format or platform–is a problem. It tempts so many worthy writers to see moderate success as dismal failure.
I wish there was more discussion of the “mid list” in digital–that segment of writers who are paying their bills with steady, moderate sales, but not going out and selling blockbuster numbers. That’s where most steady, commercial writers have traditionally stood, regardless of format or platform, but that slow-and-steady segment is shrinking (as is also noted later in the post) in the print world, and I’m not sure how it’s doing in digital (why won’t people talk about this?)
There are some other interesting numbers here, like, in spite of higher pricing, “legacy” publishers held 2/3 of the digital market and 36% of book buyers are print-only buyers. These things are related and they’re important. The blogger recognizes that digital only-authors are missing potential sales in the print-book market segment. She then goes on to talk about ways some authors have reached out to that segment. And she talks about the problem of “book discovery” in a highly saturated and volatile market. That last is one of the things I’ve been bothered by for years. How do writers reach potential readers in an information system that is now so huge and so saturated?
The discovery problem is part of the reason the Big Publishers continue to dominate the market even with a model that’s deeply flawed–they are “trusted sources” and have more control over current modes of book discovery and market penetration than independents, small presses, and self-published writers do. The combination of print sales, discovery, and market penetration are the real keys to making or breaking in the book industry. Over all, it’s an interesting post with some interesting links, and I’m amused by the ironic black-humor of the ending. (At least I hope it’s irony….)
I found this beast in what I would call a junk store in Northeast Bremerton just before Christmas. Aside from sawdust all over it and a lot of wear on the case, it was in excellent condition and the shop owner was thinking of stripping off the keys and selling them for craft materials, since the “weird” machine was unlikely to sell for a good price intact. I just couldn’t let that happen, so I bought it. Not super-cheap, but certainly a lot cheaper than if I’d bought if from someone who was more “into” typewriters. I took it straight to the local repair shop–known for their knowledge of vintage machines–and left it to be cleaned and made serviceable. Today I got it back.
I have named it “August” (or “Auggie”) in honor of Dr. Dvorak–who designed the keyboard arrangement. Auggie has pride of place on the vintage library table. We’ve determined that Auggie is a Royal Portable model (specifically an OT), built in early 1934, and shipped to the University of Washington. Dvorak keyboards weren’t a standardized item yet, since Dvorak’s patent was still in review (it was filed in 1932, but not granted until 1936). Paul, the technician and owner of Bremerton Office Machine Company, tells me that custom keyboards could be ordered at the Royal dealer’s offices by anyone, so long as they met a minimum order cost. A photo from the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle shows several of the older, heavier Standard “Model 10” Royal typewriters in use in Dr. Dvorak’s 1932 typing class at UW. I’m hoping to get in contact with MOHAI and the University’s archivists and see if I can discover more about Auggie’s past–not because it’s likely to be worth money, but because I’m a research hound and can’t resist a historical mystery.
Auggie has an unexpectedly light touch, but a long stroke, so while I’m hitting the keys harder than they need, I don’t push them down far enough to get good contact on every keystroke. I don’t yet touch type Dvorak, so it may take a while to get up to speed on Auggie. I’m also trying to discover what makes the sub-type OT different from the parent model O, and I hope to find an owner’s manual for it as well. This isn’t a museum piece–the finish is imperfect, scratched here and there, foggy in some places, the keys are not enamel but metal with paper tags under protective glass disks, and the model wasn’t rare–except for the Dvorak layout–but it still makes me happy to have it lurking in the library.