Friday, August 20, 2010

Random Roundup

Starting over again turns out to have been a good idea. I think the new version works so much better, and I think it even improved the character's voice. I did cheat a little and incorporate some of a transition scene from the earlier version, but from here on, I'm going to force myself to write from scratch. I only had about 10,000 words written, and I can do 10,000 words easily. I did go through quite a lot of procrastination before I started writing. My head was churning with random other stuff, and sometimes the only way to deal with that is to just dump it, get it out there and clear the head. So, I did a lot of entirely unrelated writing on some non-fiction stuff that may or may not go anywhere. That meant I didn't get very far on the book rewrite before it got late and my shoulder started hurting, but starting is the hard part, and I think some of that procrastination was letting my subconscious work. I'd written out about a page of possible opening lines, and I needed to let that rest before I could decide which approach to take. I'd thought I had the perfect one, but I made myself try some more, and then I found another one that I liked and wanted to go with, but then I made myself try some more. Yep, the very last one I came up with on the bottom of the back of the sheet of paper turned out to be the one that worked. Now today should be easier.

Today I've got a round-up of random thoughts that aren't enough meat for their own blog posts.

First, I have a habit of griping about the publicity ineptitude of the major publishers. When hearing about my publisher's standard practices, I once quipped to my editor that the way I would cope with them would be to think of the exact opposite of what I would have recommended to my public relations clients, and that would be what I expected from them. She quite seriously said, "Yes! That's it exactly!" I spent more than a decade working in public relations, advising major multi-national corporations, so I do know what I'm talking about, and it's been frustrating to see how uncreative and rut-bound publishers are about promoting books. So, I feel obligated to give a publisher credit when they do something cool. Orbit Books, a sf/f publisher, has been doing a report on trends in fantasy book covers. The most recent one was on trends in title words and fonts. From that post, you can link to reports on urban fantasy heroine attire, dragon colors and fantasy art. Reports like this were one of my favorite PR tactics. Journalists love them, and they're a good way to position yourself as an expert and get your name out there without being overtly promotional. These are done with tongue-in-cheek humor, which makes them even more fun. I've seen retweets about these, even from non-book-industry people, so it must be working. I haven't worked with this publisher, so I don't know if they're this clever and creative when promoting individual titles, but I must say that this does make me think it would be fun to work with this publisher. I also generally like their covers.

Sometimes there seems to be something in the air -- trends with no apparent causes. Like, say, names. A couple of years ago, the big name for characters on television seemed to be Charles, with all the variations on that name, for both men and women. It seemed like you weren't allowed to put a show on television without a character named Charles. We had both male and female Chucks and Charlies/Charleys. Now it seems like Nate/Nathan is on the rise. There's Nate Ford on Leverage, Nate the freakishly tall psychologist on NCIS: LA and Nathan the detective who doesn't feel pain on Haven, and I think I'm missing one. That isn't the most common name, so it caught my attention when it seemed like half the series I was watching had a character with that name.

I wanted to throw confetti and streamers at the post office this morning. A man approached the counter with his cell phone glued to his ear and just shoved his envelope at the clerk without pausing his conversation. She informed him that he could step aside, conduct his call and then get back in line, or he could end his call and she could help him, but cell phones could not be used at the counter. I wonder if that's postal service policy, this post office's policy or that clerk's personal policy, but I have to applaud it. That's one of my pet peeves, when someone conducts an entire transaction at a store while on the phone, not even acknowledging the person they're doing business with. That's so rude. I'd love it if more businesses developed "either talk on the phone or deal with me" policies like that.

School starts next week around here, and although I don't have kids, I'm looking forward to it. I might get some shopping done when the stores are a little quieter during the day. I'll still have to deal with feral preschoolers and homeschoolers being academically enriched by being dragged through Target while their moms talk on their cell phones, but it will be a bit quieter after the back-to-school frenzy. I may also try to make time to see the new Nanny McPhee movie, which apparently involves the entire adult cast of the Harry Potter movies plus Ewan McGregor (who seems to be getting typecast lately as the dad or father figure whose absence kicks off the story in children's movies, which is rather ironic considering the types of movies he did earlier in his career). The Harry Potter score for that movie will be off the charts, but I wonder how it will score in Doctor Who connections.

And now it's lunchtime. I want to go swimming today, so I have to start work earlier than usual if I want to get something done.

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