Tuesday, December 30, 2014

goals: 2015 edition

So it's that time of year again -- a time for making goals.

Personally, I like to throw a bunch of goals out there and see what sticks. I'm only moderately good at checking back in a year later to see how I did. But this year, I am going to separate my goals into categories, which will hopefully help me stay on track.

Physical goals
Eat less meat
Lose weight (but remain positive about body image etc.)
Run a half marathon
Take up rock climbing again
Bike more

Writing goals
Draft and revise a YA contemporary novel
Draft "suburban fantasy" idea 
(Yes, I made up that category. Can it still be "southern gothic" if it's set in the north?)
Revise NA novel
Investigate all the self-pubby fun
And any other goal that seems like a good idea

Adventure goals
Go camping more
Visit another country 

What goals do you all have?

Friday, December 19, 2014

the drafting cave

It's been a crazy few weeks, friends.

I'm taking some time off from work in order to start new projects and finish old ones. Everything is looking sunshiny here in Ru Land, although a little snow before Christmas would be nice.

I know I've been a subpar blogger this year, but pop back after the holidays. Considering how well things are going (knock on wood), I'd like to pay it forward with a giveaway or two. And if I don't write again for a few days, Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Snarkington Manor

Pardon me, I'm going to poke a little bit of fun at the writing community. Don't take it too seriously.

Writers tend to want to write series. It makes sense creatively--you get invested in a world, in a plot, in a character, you want to continue to explore that. It makes sense economically--a series allows you to more easily build a brand, build a readership.

What I don't really get is the trend of naming the series.

What is the name of the Harry Potter series? Harry Potter. Twilight? The Twilight books. It's self-explanatory. Either they have a recurring title (The Shannara books), a recurring character (the Mickey Haller books), or a recurring theme (The Mortal Instruments, which for a long time I thought was the "cities of beautiful covers" series).

So those are all fine because the names of the series flow naturally from the books themselves. But what is weird is when authors (or publishers -- I totally get that in some cases it's the publisher) try to force a series with a generic title name.

The Love series.
The Learning series.
The Again series.
The Beautiful series.
The Hockey series.
The Lamp series.
The File series.
The Pen series.

(Is it obvious that now I'm just picking items from around the room? Good.)

Writers, publicists. Stop this. It's nonsense. You know how I convince a friend to read a book? I say, "It's this fantastic book about [VERY SPECIFIC DETAILS!]"

I never say, "Well, it's about ... beautiful things. It's the Beautiful Series, haven't you heard of it?"

That one I think is actually impossible to have heard of, since I have seen SEVERAL authors try to brand their series as the "beautiful series." No. No, no, no, no, no. Nope.

You cannot brand something with a word as generic as "Love." It's so vague as to become meaningless, in addition to being wildly cheesy.

You can, however, brand something specifically. The Curse Workers! "Oh, that's about an alternate universe where a minority of people are genetically gifted with one of five magic powers, and because those gifts have been outlawed by the U.S. government, most people who want to use their magic end up involved with organized crime. It's like Harry Potter meets The Godfather."

See how simple that was? And now you kinda want to read them, right?

Now pardon me, I'm off to work on my Panda Express Series. All the characters work at, and fall in love in, a Panda Express.