March 22nd, 2006

bear by san

(no subject)

Dude, first off, Hugo/Not-a-Hugo nomination congratulations go out to scalzi, truepenny, autopope, mabfan, davidlevine, and a bunch of other people whom I approve of highly, but who have no livejournals. drplotka has the whole list.

On the subject of truepenny, here she is talking about genre again in the usual interesting ways.

On the subject of cool things, The Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship Fund.
  • Current Mood
    sleepy why am I awake again?
bear by san

(no subject)

second off, kids, don't do this at home.

I have spam this morning from some internet service (addressed to "liz at elizabethbear dot com"--which is one of those email addresses that only exist because anything at elizabethbear dot com gets dumped into my mailbox--and the only people who actually know me who call me "Liz" are scott_lynch and guipago, and they only get away with it because Scott is bigger than I am and Jenny is too cute to hit, so I have capitulated.... ) which is offering "...currently allowing writers that receive this email to use its email query service for 50% OFF.   They send your manuscript description addressed BY INDIVIDUAL NAME to well over a thousand publishers and literary agents."

So, in other words, they'll use a bulkmail protocol to send your untailored query to a whole bunch of people who will roll their eyes and delete it. Do I need to explain why this is a bad idea, or can everybody pretty much do the math their own self?

Generally speaking, when a reputable agent pitches a book to an editor, the agent, you know, knows something about what the editor is looking for and tailors the pitch. Generally speaking, when an unrepresented writer is seeking an agent (or going direct to a publisher) she tailors her query letter to that specific agent or publisher.

Generally speaking, people with a book in print at anything resembling a publishing house where they-pay-you-you-don't-pay-them aren't going to be interested in a bulk-mail e-query service. And I would normally think that this "50% off coupon" (for a service you don't want, trust me) is the result of a web spider looking for web pages with the word "writer" or "novel" on them and harvesting email addresses...

...except the email address on my web page is not "liz" at anything.


Anyway, if you get one of these, there are better things to waste your money on. Get a massage; it'll be better for your career in the long run.
bear by san

gosh, I'm more tired than I thought.

 A lawyer for eight gay couples argued in court Tuesday that Connecticut's marriage laws illegally create a separate class of people based on sexual orientation.

Of course, the obvious solution is secular civil unions for everyone, and dealing with "marriage" strictly on a religious basis. But that sort of smacks of separation of church and state, or possibly of giving equal rights to those icky gay people, and we can't have that.
bear by san

(no subject)

Am I the only one who finds a certain black, farcical irony in that whether Zacharias Moussaoui will face the death penalty or life in prison rests not on his own actions, but on whether the FBI was too incompetent to do anything about it?

Also, nice to know the new government in Afghanistan is holding up those high standards of human rights and freedoms.

bear by san

(no subject)

bear by san

ten things I have learned from writing popular fiction

  1. Most people do not read. They skim, and make assumptions. This tendency, however, can be manipulated.
  2. It helps if you honestly like to blow stuff up. Or at least write about blowing stuff up.
  3. All books are broken. Some are less broken than others. Some are broken in ways that a particular set of readers do not mind in the least. If you can find out the group of people who do not mind the ways in which your books are broken, you have identified your target audience. Unfortunately, this fact does not excuse you from actually learning to write.
  4. Can't please nobody if you try to please everybody.
  5. In terms of the market, the quality of your voice is often more important than what you have to say, unless what you have to say is really interesting.
  6. What you have to say matters, anyway.
  7. If you make it too accessible, people will assume it's not artistic. If you make it too artistic, people will assume it's not accessible. Go ahead and blow something up if it makes you feel better.
  8. Despite the number of people who will write in to tell you that they never read the sex scenes, sex does, in fact, sell. It does however mean that if you put the major plot revelations in sex scenes, a certain percentage of your audience will not notice them. [8(a).] don't put the crux of the plot in the middle of the homoerotic kissing scene you've been building to for three books: nobody will notice. Even the ones who aren't skimming.
  9. Be honest. Not all readers can tell when you're phoning it in, but a significant fraction can, and they will despise you for it. And while it might in fact make rejection and critical dismissal hurt less when you can tell yourself that it wasn't your best effort, it's still cheating.
  10. There is always somebody better paid, more acclaimed, or whose books will make you turn green with jealousy. It is the nature of the universe. Carry on.


bear by san

I won't tell him about "Two Noble Kinsmen" if you don't.

...after a brief description of Jonson's drinking buddies Beaumont, Fletcher, and Donne, Riggs notes:

"Despite the fanciful ruminations of nineteenth-century biographers, there is no reason to suppose that William Shakespeare, the glover's son of Stratford, who was ten years their senior, would have felt at home in this circle of younger sons and declasse gentry, but Jonson clearly did."

My Shakespeare, rise; I will not lodge thee by
Chaucer, or Spenser, or bid Beaumont lie
A little further, to make thee a room:
Thou art a monument without a tomb,
And art alive still, while thy book doth live,
And we have wits to read, and praise to give.
That I not mix thee so, my brain excuses,
I mean with great but disproportioned Muses,
For if I thought my judgement were of years,
I should commit thee surely with thy peers,
And tell how far thou didst our Lyly outshine,
Or sporting Kyd, or Marlowe’s mighty line.
And though thou hadst small Latin and less Greek,
From thence to honour thee I would not seek
For names; but call forth thundering Aeschylus,
Euripides, and Sophocles to us,
Pacuvius, Accius, him of Cordova dead,
To live again, to hear thy buskin tread,
And shake a stage; or, when thy socks were on,
Leave thee alone for the comparison
Of all that insolent Greece or haughty Rome
Sent forth, or since did from their ashes come.

--Ben Jonson

I should probably not point out that this particular poem, despite its mention of Shakespeare as poet and Shakespeare as actor, is one of the ones that Oxfordians like to use to establish Edward de Vere's alleged claim on the plays.

But I cut my foot earlier, and I'm in a crappy mood.
bear by san

via juliansinger and others.

Cecilia Fire Thunder, who is the President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, is not pleased about recent events in South Dakota.

So, she's trying to start up a Planned Parenthood on the Pine Ridge Reservation. (They will be able to provide abortions, if necessary, because they've got sovereign authority over their own land. However, Planned Parenthood also provides basic reproductive healthcare to people without insurance.)

If you want to mail donations/support to the reservation, you may do so at:

Oglala Sioux Tribe
ATTN: President Fire Thunder
P. O. Box 2070
Pine Ridge, SD 57770

OR: and this may be preferred, due to mail volume:

PO BOX 990
Martin, SD 57751

Make it clear that the donation is for the Planned Parenthood clinic. At the moment, until further information says otherwise, checks can be made out to Oglala Sioux Tribe.

nogoodnik offers another suggestion for collective action.

Hi, Bill? Should I wear the red socks, or the black???

On a lighter note, angevin2 manages to rhyme "atextual" and "heterosexual."

Twelfth Night, or What You Will
Though Orsino's denial may vex you all,
The cure, sad to say, is atextual:
Though he falls for Cesario,
The closing scenario
Lets him say he's still heterosexual.

(more, if you follow the link)

NB to the people who just added me: I don't usually post this much in a day, I promise. Soon, we will return you to your regularly scheduled intermittent muttering about deadlines. In the meantime, please feel free to introduce yourselves. There's some ginger ale in the wet bar, but I think we're out of booze after last week's Anthony Burgess smut party.