Scott Marlowe, fantasy author

Scott Marlowe

Author of the Alchemancer and Assassin Without a Name fantasy series

Jane Lindskold on Book Covers

Information about Jane Lindskold is becoming a regular fixture around here. Over on, Lindskold has been writing a series of articles on book covers—how they're chosen, who does the deciding, etc. I found the articles interesting reads, so thought I'd share.

There's three four articles so far in all. Here they are:

  1. Look at What They’ve Wrapped Around My Baby!
  2. When Right is Completely Wrong
  3. Series Doesn’t Equal Set
  4. Second Look: Good Idea?

Thoughts from Brandon Sanderson

image I was going through my usual blog reading routine this morning and came across a link to some thoughts from Brandon Sanderson on his history as a writer. Brandon Sanderson was tagged to write the final volumes in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, the first of which is The Gathering Storm. Jordan passed away before he could finish the series. The details of Sanderson's post are significant enough that I thought I would share.

Sanderson's Mistborn was a Tor Free E-book Giveaway back in July. He's also the guy tasked with completing Jordan's final Wheel of Time book after that author's death. There's also a recent video interview with the author that I came across.

The most profound thing I took away from Sanderson's post is that I (and I imagine many writers) found myself empathizing with many of his feelings and thoughts. I saw in his words some of the same questions I ask myself, such as "is this good enough?", "will this stand up to reader scrutiny?", "is anyone going to even want to read this let alone publish it?". It's, in an odd way, comforting.

At one point, Sanderson says this:

Here I was, having written twelve novels, and I seemed to be getting WORSE with each one. I wasn't selling, I was out of school working a wage job graveyard shift, and my social life consisted pretty much of my friends taking pity on me and coming to hang out at the hotel once in a while.

Sounds rather dismal. The thing that really blew me away was his statement that he'd written twelve novels (twelve!) without a publishing credit to his name. That's disheartening and inspiring at the same time. The latter because of his fortitude and perseverance, both obviously of heroic proportions.

Later, he says this:

I was NEVER AGAIN going to write toward the market.

After some initial failures, Sanderson changed tactics, trying to write what he thought publishers wanted. The results were sub-standard work simply because his heart was not in the material. The above statement marks a turning point, whereupon he decides to write for himself. He finds success not too long after that.

On that last point, I've seen it go the other way, too. I know of one writer in particular who also faced some small amount of defeat in getting published before he also decided to change tactics—study the market, see what publishers were buying (and what people were reading)—then take that information and write. The result was his first sale of many.

In light of that, it would seem there's no foolproof approach. What works for some may not work for others. It's both inspiring and sobering to read such posts as Sanderson's, though. Go check it out.

Reviews forthcoming of Bujold's The Sharing Knife series

image I know I recently said I was going to pass on ARC's and reviews for a bit while I finish my own projects, but this one was too good to pass up.

EOS Books put out a call for advanced readers for the fourth installment in Lois McMaster Bujold's Sharing Knife series, Horizon:

It's that time again -- we've got ten galleys of the highly anticipated conclusion to Lois McMaster Bujold's Sharing Knife series.  We'll send you one in return for a review we can post on our blog.  E-mail to enter.

They sweetened the deal by offering to send out the complete set if you hadn't yet read books one through three. That, my friends, was an offer I could not refuse.

So, once the set arrives, I'll be diving in immediately. I plan to review all four books, not just Horizon, each in its own blog post rather than throwing them all together like I did with The Soldier Son Trilogy. It should make for a whirlwind of reading and reviewing, one that I hope does not disrupt my own writing schedule.

Writing Progress Around the Web

1017292_bar_graph_2 Since I started writing weekly posts reporting my ongoing writing progress I've found I've been more engaged with the writing process. I'm not necessarily setting any records as far as pages edited/written, but I'm making solid, steady progress. It's provided a good mechanism to keep me motivated.

That being said, I thought it would be fun to look around to see what other writers (professional or still in-progress like me) are saying about their own writing progress.

Adrian of Chronicling the Novel says "I wanted to complete the first draft of the JASPER novel by 9/30, and I did! The word count came in at 95k, which is quite a bit over the original goal of 60k, and even the revised goal of 80k. This is now technically a completed first draft…". (Nice job, Adrian.)

Scott Pearson comments "Took Friday off to attack the writing projects. Friday and Saturday I finished writing a mystery story for an open-call anthology due Oct. 1. Sunday I put the final touches on a sci-fi story for an invitation-only anthology, due Sep. 30, as well as polishing the mystery story."

Ken of The Eye Sore Times: "This weekend was one of the most productive weekends I've had in a long time. On Friday, I knocked out over 3,000 words on a new story called "Kissing Death." It's my first foray into sci-fi…"

Alma Alexander: "I've broken 90%. Whooo! I think what I have left is either one LONG chapter or two relatively shorter ones - depending if and when there is a break in what has to happen next. That, and the epilogue."

Terri of Musings from the Blonde Side: "I actually did pretty good this week…I worked on View a bit, and will continue to do so over the next two weeks, just to make sure I’m putting the best possible revision out there. On my fireman novella, I actually had to scratch at least 1500 words because the direction I was taking just wasn’t working."

Wistling of At Wist End: "First draft done: Night of the Manticore at 8,200 words, and comments back from 2 first readers."

And, last, Robin Hobb, "For the last couple of days, I've been going back through the earlier chapters, tweaking and fixing and updating my vocabulary file.  It's always a good thing for me to do at this stage of the book.  It recharges my energy for the final long run to the end.  It helps me see places where the story sags, or where the action moves too fast.  It helps me catch character contradictions and helps me see if I've got a balanced series of point of views, or if any one character dominates or is neglected. It's a general comb-through to catch any tangles before they can turn into a big snarl later on in the book."