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The Fiction Writing Blog of G. A. Semones
So, yesterday I got an email from Hadley Rille books announcing a new newsletter that will be going out to their subscribers. The newsletter will cover "insider articles about publishing and editing tips, reviews, guest articles by authors and editors, news of upcoming events and book releases, and free flash fiction in every issue, starting October 2011!"

I like Hadley Rille quite a bit. Eric Reynolds and his folks have done a lot for up and coming writers. I've found Eric quite genial and approachable, even if just by email so far. I've enjoyed the things I've read from them so far, and besides, they're relatively close to home. :-)

So, I was glad to get the newsletter.

But it doesn't end there. The free flash fiction mentioned in the newsletter is going to come from a themed flash fiction contest held by Hadley Rille every three months. The first deadline is October 31st, 2011.

Excellent!

Sign up for the newsletter here:
http://www.hadleyrillebooks.com/hadleyrillenews.html

View Hadley Rille's publishing line up here:
http://www.hadleyrillebooks.com/

Flash Fiction Contest details here:
http://www.hadleyrillebooks.com/flashfictionguidelines.html

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Hi all,

will_couvillier posted last week that he is working with Professor James Gunn, one of the SF Grand Masters, to setup another online SF short story workshop. I did Professor Gunn's workshop a couple of years back, and would very much like to do it again. I'm not sure the timing will work out for me this time around, though.

This workshop is straightup SF short fiction bootcamp. It runs for eight weeks, and Professor Gunn and his folks are awesome to work with. If you're up for a great workshop, and an opportunity to get instruction and feedback from Professor Gunn, then read all the details on Will's blog:

http://will-couvillier.livejournal.com/61094.html

You can read more about James Gunn at the Center for the Study of Science Fiction (CSSF).

Much recommended!

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tracy_d74 recently held a contest here to give away a copy of Terri-Lynne DeFino's (bogwitch64)'s book Finder...and I won the drawing!

Finder is being published by the awesome ericreynolds  and Hadley-Rille Books!

Thanks Tracy!  Terri-Lynne, I look forward to reading it!

Speaking of Hadley-Rille Books, they are holding their Hadley-Rille 5k contest until January 1st. Enter to try and win an Amazon Kindle 3G. After registering to win, you get an additional entry for every order/pre-order you place as they look to sell 5000 books to celebrate their 5th anniversary!



I say try and win, because I'm going to win. Right. I said it on the Internetz and you read it there, so it must be so. :-)

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I don't have time for a full post, but this is too great a hint of news to not share it!

Johne Cook and the Overlords at RGR said:
http://raygunrevival.com/Forum/viewtopic.php?t=3518

Awesome! They are one of my favorite zines!

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I recently allowed myself to get sucked back into Twittering a bit. I caught a tweet from Tobias Buckell where he had video-blogged about taking walks to generate story ideas, get unstuck on plot points, etc. That videoblog "Walking for Ideas" is here. The cool thing was that he took the video...while taking his daily walk.

Anyway, the next day, I spotted a tweet from Tobias basically saying something like: Hey, I'm about to take my walk. Message me a topic to speak about. You have until I've tied my shoes.

I couldn't resist, and popped off a question, which Tobias promptly posted a little while later in his video blog: "How to pick the idea for your first novel"

You see, I've been kind of stuck. I have too many ideas (I know, just kick me :-). But, really, I've been roaming back and forth, worrying about which idea to sacrifice to my first novel effort. What if I pick my favorite idea and the novel comes off badly? Shouldn't I go with something less precious? Tobias' comments made a lot of sense to me, and perhaps they will to you too.

Tobias' SF is a blast, and he has a lot of great content on his site for writers, so check all that out too...http://www.tobiasbuckell.com/

Thanks Tobias!

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I struggle with organizing my story structure. I'm a software developer and I'm used to having structured ways of thinking through problems. I've tried various things like SnowFlake Method, 3 act structure, etc., but none of them clicked for me yet, when it comes to capturing the initial concept and structure of the story. I've found if I can get the basic structure of the story in my head, the first draft just pours out onto the page. Otherwise, not so much. I also hoped for a process that would push me toward more character-oriented stories.

I believe I've found the process now.

Recently, I came upon this presentation by horror writer Dan Wells, one of the Writing Excuses guys. It's an adaptation/extension of the 3-act structure, and really clicked for me. I'm preparing to try it out for generating an outline structure for my next story. I'll report here how it goes.

Rather than recap Dan's comments here, I'll let you get it straight from him. I will say this. There are some that will scream "formula!" and disregard the 7-point structure. That's fine. However, I don't look at it that way. I feel this approach will help me to focus the initial ideas of the story and drive from there. At least, that's my hope.

Start here:
Dan's post with links to both his video presentation about 7-Point Structure from LTUE 2010, and the Powerpoint slides

Then read:
Writing a Short Story, pt 1 (Dan's post about using 7-Point structure to plan a short story)
Writing a Short Story, pt 2 (Dan says he'll continue to post as the story develops....)

Dan's original 7-Point Structure post

Good luck!

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This topic came up over at musingaloud 's page recently. sfwa , if you don't follow them on LJ, had a post today about various resources for submission tracking. Still not much there for mac users, but I hope to fix that....

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E-books are a groundswell that will change the publishing industry. At a minimum, it is changing what authors do with their back list of novels. Just today, David Farland mentioned in his Daily Kick email  that he'll have six works up on IBooks within the month. He has a fan base that will go for those books, as well as new people discovering them. They'll sell for less than print books, but he'll take home a higher percentage.

And, Farland's not alone.

Repurposing a back list of novels is a minimum. There are authors out there taking their new work directly to e-book, and succeeding at it. Michael Stackpole is one such author.

Michael Stackpole and Michael Mennenga (the founder of FarPoint Media) over at The Dragon Page podcast have been talking about this for months, and Stackpole in particular (perhaps both of them) have works out on e-book, including brand new stuff going directly to their audiences. It's also not just about novels. They make strong arguments for the place of short fiction, as well as serialized fiction in the e-book marketplace, and how to go about leveraging this market in your behalf.

Cool stuff!

So, if you want to know more, hit the iTunes store or Dragon Page and begin listening to the podcast. The 2010 issues cover a lot, including the Apple iPad and its impact. Stackpole has numerous articles on his site as well. Their comments are definitely making me think about how I want to approach my own work.

Writing may be an art, but it's also a business, and the models are shifting rapidly. It's an exciting time to be a writer!

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Tobias Buckell has been assembling a book on writing from his essays and blogs. Entitled "It's Just a Draft", it filled with lots of awesomeness.

Check out the book and donate here at Toby's site:
http://www.tobiasbuckell.com/2010/04/27/its-just-a-draft-revising-clarion/

In yesterday's installment named "Revising Clarion" he talks in part about handling story critiques. I thought the wisdom good to share as I've fallen into this trap myself, more than once, and wish I'd heard it long ago instead of learning it the hard way. Here's a bit from the "Revising Clarion" chapter from Tobias Buckell:

"With that point to the world and myself made, I had to think about revising the stories I’d written at Clarion.

Here’s the crazy thing about workshopping: each story has as many different critiques as there are people in the workshop. Some people will love X, some will hate it. Some loved Y more, some less.

In my role, later, as a teacher, I’ve seen students take a wonderful story, and then try to apply every piece of conflicting advice to it.

The resulting revision is often more of a mess.

I’ve even seen a great story, a brilliant story, reduced to merely competent, the now average of all the critiques leveled against it. All the spiky, interesting bits buffed off.

I was dimly aware of some of this in 1999. We’d been lectured that listening to all the advice would kill the story. Tim Powers said a good story should split the audience, and have conflicting reactions."

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Drabblecast #160Well, I'm just tickled pink! Norm Sherman and his folks at The Drabblecast do an amazing job each week with their podcast. They pour a tremendous amount of fun and professionalism into the stories they publish. You can tell they love what they do. Today, they repodcast my story "Never Forget Some Things" and boy, was it a blast to listen to! Custom tailored music and sound effects, along with voice acting and background. Wow. If you've never listened to The Drabblecast, then here's your chance. Go try it out. If you're familiar with them, then go listen anyway!

"Never Forget Some Things" grew out of characters in a Liberty Hall Writers challenge back in 2006. The story won Ray Gun Revival's Space Monkey flash contest in August 2007. The story was podcasted in the November 2007 edition of Ray Gun Radio. Ray Gun's Johne Cook and his folks are great, and their space opera publication continues to rock. I've been looking for a reprint home for this story ever since, and I couldn't be more pleased to see it land in Norm and company's able hands.

So, go give the episode a listen. How can you resist? It's got space monkeys!

The Drabblecast, Episode 160, Trifecta XII

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