It’s paying-off-the-winter-electric-bill time (somewhat later than usual this year, thanks to the pandemic), and it’s also coming up on pay-the-town-property-tax time, so it behooves me to point discreetly to the Editorial and Critique Services link up at the top of this blog.
Short version: If you’ve got a book you think needs an editorial polish before you either self-publish it or send it out into the wide world to seek its fortune, my rates are reasonable and I’m available.
… a lot of people are staving off the side effects of self-isolation by finishing up all their half-done household projects. Some of them are even finishing up their novels.
If you’re one of those people, or know someone who is, then I’m here to help. From now until the end of May, I’m running a discount on my editorial services: My usual fee for a line-edit and critique drops from $1500 to $1000, and my fee for a 100,000-words-and-up doorstop drops down to $1500.
And, yes — as always, you can purchase a slot in advance if you’ve got the money now but won’t have the finished manuscript until later. Or you can buy one as a gift for somebody else, if you like.
Meanwhile, stay well and stay safe and stay six feet away from your friends and neighbors. And keep on writing.
A friendly reminder that my Seasonal Sale ends at midnight on 5 January 2020.
(That’ll be midnight-where-ever-you-are, rather than midnight-where-I-am, just to keep things simple. I’m certainly not going to slam the door on somebody just because they don’t live in the same time zone as I do.)
Treat yourself, or treat a friend; prepaid services can be claimed at any convenient (for you) future time.
Maybe you’ve finished up your NaNoWriMo novel and want to give it a thorough revision and polishing-up now that the first draft’s done. Maybe you’ve got a finished novel that you want to take to the next level before sending it out on the next stage of its life journey. Or maybe you’ve got a friend or a relative who has written, or is writing, or hopes to write a book, and you’re looking for a Christmas present that will help them make their dream a reality.
It’s for people like them — and you — that I’m running my annual holiday special, where from now through Twelfth Night (5 January 2020) my usual rate for a standard-sized novel goes down from $1500 to $1000, and my rate for doorstop-sized novels of 120,000-plus words goes down from $2K to $1500.
As usual, the gift of editorial services (no matter whether you’re giving it to yourself or to a friend) can be purchased now at the seasonal gift rate and redeemed at whatever later date is convenient to the recipient.
Details of payment, format, and so forth can be found here.
I’ve written here before about the necessity — in my opinion — of making one’s villains well-rounded characters and not merely evil mustache-twirling sockpuppets. By which I mean granting them their virtues as well as their vices, and giving them friends as well as enemies, and generally treating them with a certain amount of respect even as they go forth to meet their richly deserved ends at the hands of the protagonist of the tale.
I don’t know if what I’m encountering a lot of lately is the start of a disturbing new trend, or just the result of seeing a lot of plain old-fashioned bad writing and worse criticism . . . but readers and writers both seem to be getting more into villains who are evil all the way through, from the flaky top crust of their characterization down to the soggy underbaked bottom. Anything in the line of subtlety or multidimensionality or (dare I use the word?) empathy is decried as normalizing or valorizing their badness.
This is, in my opinion, wrong. We as writers humanize our monsters in order to drive home the idea that not only are they people just like us . . . we are, if we’re not careful, people just like them.
And yeah, there are always going to be some readers who simply don’t get it, in the same way that there’s always some genius in the English Lit survey class who thinks that Jonathan Swift was speaking literally when he wrote A Modest Proposal.†
But we shouldn’t have to be in the business of writing for those people.
†Spoiler: He wasn’t.
Back when I was first writing for publication, Jim Macdonald and I wrote a number of YA novels, mostly for book packagers (that was one of the entry points back then, before packagers turned into high-profile wheeler-dealers and were instead mostly borderline sleazy providers of work-for-hire content to publishers who were too dainty to make such deals themselves.) Some of the stuff we did I’m still quite proud of; and all of it was the best we could provide given the sometimes-weird constraints we had to work under.
But my golly, I’m glad I’m not working in that end of the business right now. We’ve come to a place where a pre-publication social-media campaign can — shall we say, bully? yes, we shall — bully an up-and-coming author into withdrawing her own book before it can be published. And that sort of thing can happen more than once.
Whatever happened to publishing the book and letting actual readers decide for themselves whether it’s a Bad Thing or not?
(Right. I forgot. This is YA literature, and therefore falls under the purview of all those good-intentioned people who want to Protect Impressionable Young Minds. Thank God for all the impressionable young minds who are already way ahead of them in finding the stuff that young minds actually want to read.)
If you look at Duncan Eagleson’s work in the art show, you can get a sneak peek at the cover art for our planned re-publication of our YA novel Knight’s Wyrd.
(Keep watching this space for more news on that front.)
A word of warning to anybody contemplating the acquisition of offspring: Be aware that anything you do for Christmas just once instantly becomes a Hallowed Holiday Tradition, and you fail to do it again every year thereafter at your peril. By the time all your kids are teenagers heading for college, you will inevitably be dragging a whole sled-load of Tradition behind you as you head into the joyous season.
And a further, happier thought: If you’re still stumped over what to give as a holiday present to the writer in your life (even if that writer is you), remember that my seasonal sale of editorial and critique services is ongoing through Twelfth Night (5 January 2019.)
One of the things I used to wonder about when I read C. S. Lewis’s The Last Battle was that literal died-in-a-train-wreck ending . . . it always seemed to me like a rabbit pulled out of a hat. Then one day while idly mousing around the internet, I found out about the 1952 Harrow and Wealdstone railway crash, a three-train collision where 112 people died and 340 were injured, and I thought, “Yeah . . . for a book published in 1956, something on that scale that happened in 1952 would have still been taking up space in the author’s mind during the writing process.”
Writers aren’t necessarily in control of what sinks into their memories, and they don’t always have a say in how it may bubble back up to the surface later.
While idly mousing about the internet the other day, I followed a link to this page, which is all about an artist in Texas who’s been re-imagining images of classic Western heroes using female models, with awesome results:
And my thought, instantly, was “Damn, I want to read the books that those are the covers for!” Because behind every powerful image is a good story.