The Week in Words (July 10)

At the Editor’s Desk

Wow! Thanks to the holiday and some clever use of vacation time I ended up with a six-day weekend this week…and I’m still exhausted. The world is moving in fascinating directions, though.

The Girl Who Stayed the Same

I’ve stumbled a little bit with The Girl Who Stayed the Same this week. Monday’s post didn’t actually go up until Wednesday (although, to be fair, I wrote it out longhand in its entirety before lunch on Tuesday). Thursday’s is still waiting. I’ll get it live before the new one comes due on Monday, but it might be close.

There was a bit of an exciting development there, though. When I finished Part I (with its entire last chapter taking place in Paris), I shared it with Andi Fisher, a friend of my blogger friend, who happens to be in love with Paris. She’s now in love with The Girl Who Stayed the Same, too. (I think I’m allowed to repeat that….)

She gave me some fabulous feedback and valuable criticism, but mostly it helps to know that someone who has no real incentive to flatter me considers it a worthwhile project. And that’s on just 20% of the book. And in a state barely better than rough draft.


New Book Idea

This one doesn’t even have a working title. It’s that new.

But yes, as you may have seen if you follow me on Twitter, I came up with a fantastic new story idea this week. I don’t have time for a fantastic new story idea. I’m going to follow my own advice, though, and at least do a full prewriting package for it. That should be enough to capture the inspiration until such time as I can give it the attention it deserves.

Extraordinarily brief synopsis: the wizard Claighan, Master of the Sarian Academy of Wizardry, somehow gets banished to our universe where he finds the magic too erratic and feral for him to return home. Based on nothing but the preview of the Nicholas Cage movie, I’d say this story is like The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, but not dumb.

I’ve been wanting to do an action-packed urban fantasy for a little while now, I’ve been wanting to discuss “Science as the last magic” for a decade, and Courtney has gone and rekindled my love for my old fantasy stuff. This project is the result of all those forces.

On Unstressed Syllables

This week we covered two major topics: Microsoft Word Styles, and copyright.

Sunday I introduced the Technical Writing series on Microsoft Word styles by telling a story of the time I used a well-styled document and created an automated Table of Contents in seconds. It blew their minds.

Then on Monday I backed away from the magic a little bit to show you the goings-on behind the curtain. After all, before you can make a Table of Contents in seconds, you’ve got to put in half an hour or so setting up and applying your custom styles. Once that’s done, you’re in business.

Then Tuesday I pretended to backpedal some more, admitting that there is a little bit of work to do to create a beautiful Table of Contents. I dove right into the illustrated tutorial, though, and it took all of four steps. So easy, they’ll think you cheated somehow.

On Wednesday, Courtney served up some knowledge (and a tantalizing book description) with her high praise for Descent by Jeff Long. The lesson she shared was that as writers, we should all be adventurers. So get to it!

Thursday I introduced the Creative Writing series on copyright with a story about the I got paid to write some fiction. Yes, “time,” singular. Shut up.

On Friday I dove into some discussion of how you could get paid to be a writer, with a brief primer on how copyright works. It’s not easy and it’s not terribly reliable (and it might be a little bit easy), but that’s the system we’ve got to work with. If you missed the article by Dean Wesley Smith in there, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Go read it.

I wrapped that up today with some words that might get me in a little bit of trouble. I’ll blame it on Courtney’s WILAWriTWe, though. I was being adventurous. Frankly, though, I don’t believe copyright is good — for the public or for artists — and I said as much in a detailed look at what it costs you to make money off of copyright.

Around the Web

I also read some fascinating articles this week that all did a pretty solid job challenging some of my positions. In the interest of fair play, I’ll go ahead and share them with you.

  • First, I’m going to throw in Dean Wesley Smith’s Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing: Can’t Make Money in Fiction because I don’t entirely trust you to have gone and looked it up again for yourself. I know it’s long. You’re a good reader, though. Make your way through it.

  • Then Joel Friedlander from The Book Designer went and undermined my advice that you write a serial novel with Top 5 Reasons Authors Shouldn’t Blog Their Books. I don’t consider either of these articles crushing blows, but it’s worth your time to get both sides of the story.

  • Oh yeah! And this one doesn’t defy me in the slightest. Thank you, internet! Iain Broome over at Write for Your Life wrote up a tutorial on How to Write Smarter in Microsoft Word with Document Map. That’s a fantastic supplement to this week’s Technical Writing series, and will let you take that well-styled document even further.