Website changes. Again.

Sign 2 Men at Work (c) David E. Guglielmo

Sign 2 Men at Work (c) David E. Guglielmo

Okay. I’m going to apologize now. I’m messing with my website again and not doing a very good job of it. Like, at all. So I have to wait until tonight for my friend to come and fix the things I’ve messed up. You should still be able to find this post if you come directly to the wordpress site, but most of you won’t see it because I broke the link from byericacameron.com. Oops. My bad. Seriously. At some point in my life I’m going to learn to STOP MESSING WITH THINGS I DON’T UNDERSTAND. Maybe. I don’t know. It hasn’t happened yet, so… guess I shouldn’t get my hopes up.

ON THE PLUS SIDE, as soon as this migration is done, I should not have to EVER EVER move my website ever again! At least, not in any way that affects you. So, yay for that!

I apologize for the technical issues. My fault!

*hides*

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Writing, professionalism, and qualifications.

Yesterday, I hovered somewhere between amused and annoyed as Twitter reacted to a post on the Horror Writers of America’s (HWA) LA site titled Ten Questions To Know If You’re A Pro.

Originally, I found the site from a link by John Scalzi along with the comment that he answered no to almost every one of the questions on this list. Intrigued, I took a look for myself. The article itself was a tad off-putting, but not extreme. Then I saw the questions. Honestly, when I read them I kind of thought it was a joke. For reference, I put my answers in brackets.

1. Is your home/work place messy because that time you’d put into cleaning it is better spent writing? [Uh, no? Once my house hits a degree of messiness above mildly disorganized, I clean. no matter what deadline I’m on]

2. Do you routinely turn down evenings out with friends because you need to be home writing instead? [No. Partially because most of my friends live in other parts of the country so they don’t offer nights out all too often for me to turn down, but the answer would remain the same anyway. You won’t have friends soon enough if you never see them]

3. Do you turn off the television in order to write? [TV, yes. But I have to have something in the background. If I’m at home it’s either a movie or music. If I’m out in the world the white noise of conversation around me is enough]

4. Would you rather receive useful criticism than praise? [Yes. This is definitely part of treating your writing professionally]

5. Do you plan vacations around writing opportunities (either research or networking potential)? [No! That is NOT the point of a VACATION]

6. Would you rather be chatting about the business of writing with another writer than exchanging small talk with a good friend? [Nope. I often chat about writing with my friends because they ask how things are going, but I’m equally interested in what’s going on in their non-writing lives]

7. Have you ever taken a day job that paid less money because it would give you more time/energy/material to write? [I haven’t been faced with this choice yet, but depending on the circumstances I might say yes. Especially right now when I have so many writing projects in the works]

8. Are you willing to give up the nice home you know you could have if you devoted that time you spend writing to a more lucrative career? [Really? Way to assume that a) my writing won’t be successful or lucrative and b) that I have an alternative career option that would be better for me. I don’t. It’s not like I can just fall back on my law degree to make money. I don’t have one]

9. Have you done all these things for at least five years? [Uh, yeah? I’ve held all these views for the past five years]

10. Are you willing to live knowing that you will likely never meet your ambitions, but you hold to those ambitions nonetheless? [What?! Look, it’s one thing to continuously give yourself new goals and dreams as you achieve your ambitions, but to live doubting on your own ability to meet ANY of your ambitions? What kind of life is that? Why would anyone want to live like that?!]

If you answer yes to every one of those questions, chances aren’t that your a professional writer. Chances are that you’re on the verge of being committed by concerned family and friends. Or the police are about to bust through your door and find a dark, dingy apartment full of newspaper clippings and scary ramblings pinned to the walls like wallpaper.

Author Brian Keene has already done an in depth discussion of the article on HWA and I suggest reading his post to make yourself feel better about what it means to be a professional. But I do have my own little bit of opinion to tag on to this conversation.

If you want to be a writer, you have to treat your writing professionally. There’s no doubt about that. You have to network and promote and write when you’d rather be doing almost anything else. To make a career out of telling stories, you have to do all of those things. However, never, ever get so sucked into writing that the rest of your life disappears. What are you writing about if not life? If you disappear into your writing cave from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep, you’ll wring yourself dry within a year. Being professional mean meeting your deadlines, producing quality work, being considerate to other writers, and collecting money in some form for the books/stories/articles/scripts you create. That’s it. Everything you do in between doesn’t count when asked “Are you a professional writer?”

One of things I love about writing is that there AREN’T RULES. Sure there are grammar rules and storytelling rules and whatever. I’m not talking about that. What I mean is that there aren’t rules for how you have to work to make this writing thing happen. Want to only write one book a year and write it only on the weekends? Go for it. Want to produce three novels, four novellas, and a screen play in twelve months? More power to you if you can manage it without cracking. Enjoy writing while playing Disney movies on loop in the background? Great! Or do you prefer writing with pen and paper in the middle of a forest with not another human in sight? That works too.

One of the fabulous things about this industry is that the HOW doesn’t matter. What you do in between book releases DOESN’T MATTER. The fact that you have book releases? That’s what counts. The only qualification you need to meet to be considered professional is your work. Everything else is meaningless.

/end rant/

Posted this on Tumblr. It’s only fair to repost here.

Earlier today, I posted this snippet from a YA contemporary I’m currently writing. It’s from a book I really like, but I’m less than 1/4 of the way through a first draft and I still have some pretty big things to figure out plot-wise. Mostly, though, what I love about this book is how my two MCs interact with each other in the beginning. There’s such a great play between their personalities!

The section below is from the first chapter of this book, a book that you’ll hopefully see out in the world one day. If I ever finish it. 😉

Let me know what you think!!

Fire Escapes of New York (c) Gregory Runyan

Fire Escapes of New York (c) Gregory Runyan

“You’re not a thief, are you?”

The smile on my lips is impossible to keep away. I glance over my shoulder to find him standing with his hands in his pockets, watching me carefully. “If I was, would I tell you?”

“No,” he says, his lips curving up into a smile. “You’d probably say something just like that.”

I nod and shrug at the same time before turning and continuing to walk away.

“Where you going, Cat?”

This time I turn around completely. “Cat?” And then it clicks and I grin. “As in burglar? Cute.” I laugh and walk a few more steps—backward this time. “I’m going to finish a project.”

“Thought you were escaping.”

I shrug again, an idea taking hold. I slide one hand into my messenger bag and start digging for my camera. “Turns out I didn’t need to.”

He blinks and looks back up at the building as I find my camera and turn it on. “Really? What did you think you were you escaping from?”

“You.” Wiggling my fingers in a girlish approximation of a wave, I pull the camera out of my bag, let the auto-focus take over, click a quick shot, and turn around. Mostly to make sure I’m not about to trip over a curb and fall into traffic. Getting my head crushed by a cab would not be the way to end my day.

“Hey! Wait, wait, wait.” I hear the quick thuds of Converses hitting concrete as he runs to catch up with me. “What do you mean, me? Do I know you?”

He comes up beside me as I turn east toward the subway stop so I shake my head—I still can’t shake my grin. “Nope. Never seen you before in my life.”

“Yet you felt the need to escape from me?” he asks, one black brow disappearing under the brim of his hat. “And why did you take a picture of me?”

“Well, I wasn’t running from you specifically,” I say, quickening my pace and completely ignoring his second question. “Just the person who lived in the bedroom attached to that particular fire escape.”

He’s silent, but only for about two footsteps. “Thanks. That explanation cleared everything right up.”

“People get touchy when you borrow things without asking.”

“So you are a thief?”

“The fire escape is still attached to your building, isn’t it?” He gives me a funny look, but nods. “Then I’m not a thief.”

“You were borrowing the fire escape?” Two more footsteps of silence. “Why?”

“I told you,” I say as I swing into the subway terminal and slide my metro card. “I have a project to finish.”

“What kind of project involves borrowing a fire escape?” he calls through the gate as I walk down the grimy, graffiti covered staircase.

I laugh. “Wouldn’t you like to know.”

 

That’s all for now! Happy Tuesday everyone!

Keep Calm and Write On.

Stepping Down (c) Craig Lucas

Stepping Down (c) Craig Lucas

I’m finished with this round of edits on Sing Sweet Nightingale.

I’ve turned in the first draft of The Dream War Saga Book 2.

I’m waiting on revision notes on a project from my agent.

I’m on hold with my co-authored series while things happen. Good things.

Basically, I’m suddenly like an airplane that wants to come in to land but keeps being told by air traffic control to circle. It’s awesome because it means I have a lot going on and people who are willing to help me, but it also means I’m kind of at loose ends right now. Between projects. So… what do you do?

Start a new one. 🙂

The best thing to do in these situations is let a new idea take center stage for a little while or go back to an idea you maybe didn’t have the time to develop earlier. I have more than enough of the latter to keep me occupied, so right now I’m tinkering with a story involving a death, a conspiracy, and a lot of mystery. I’ve never written anything like it before, so it’s both difficult and fun to force my brain down meandering paths I’ve never traveled. I don’t know if this project will ever see THE END or if anyone except me will ever read it, but that doesn’t make the journey any less enjoyable.

One thing I think can be forgotten in the press to get published and to make a career of it and all that is that writers need to play. We need to write drafts that don’t work to figure out what does work. We need to meet characters we hate so we know how to write ones we’ll love. And we need to create stories for ourselves sometimes. Just because it seems like fun.

Maybe this book will one day sit on a shelf next to all my other ones. Maybe not. Right now, I’m not worried about that. Right now, I just want to see what happens next.

 

Progress and projects.

This weekend I did something I have never done before. I read Sing Sweet Nightingale in its entirety to my younger sister. Not that Haley couldn’t have read it herself, but she’s already read this book five or six times and I needed to read it aloud anyway for editing purposes. She hasn’t read the latest draft, so she volunteered to listen. Two birds and one stone and all that.

I already knew that reading text aloud can help you catch errors you wouldn’t see while reading silently (the human brain is such a strange place), but I wasn’t aware how much it could change your experience of your own book to read it to someone else. Moments that didn’t seem that amusing on the page are suddenly giggle-worthy and action sequences fly past as you read with the speed of a blow-by-blow fight commentator. The flip side is also possible, though. Moments you thought would be tear-jerking don’t come off with the same power as you thought they had or that dialogue you thought hid the massive exposition you needed to slip in doesn’t play it’s part as well as you’d hoped. Whatever the realization, good or bad, it’s worth the time and the slightly raw throat to read your book aloud. Preferably to an audience. Even if it’s an audience of one.

What this impromptu reading means in the larger scope of my life, though, is that I’m pretty much done with this round of edits! I’m waiting for one or two other beta readers to get back to me with notes (hopefully just to tell me I made all the right changes), then the draft goes back to the wonderful editresses for the next round! Line edits, I think. Which should be interesting. I’ve never done line edits before. It should be an experience, to say the least. The idea of examining each of my words with that much attention to detail is… daunting. In a good way, but daunting nonetheless.

I’m also nearing the time when I get to begin editing another project–something entirely different from anything else I have in the works and a project that I LOVE SO MUCH. The excitement level for this book is just, whoa. Love it. Things are happening with it and I really can’t wait to share more details, but for now, that’s it! Tis still in the works and up in the air, so I don’t want to say something now and have it not be true later. SEKRITS ARE FUN! Not really, but whatever. I have to pretend they are or I might go a little crazy. 😉

And, um… that’s it for now! Later, lovelies! ❤

You may notice something different.

I’ve been considering it for a while and I have finally decided to just go for it. Blogger hasn’t been giving me the functionality I’ve wanted and Google has been making me a little mad by cutting out services I like (why kill the Reader, Google. Really?). Originally, I wanted to switch platforms and have a complete custom redesign along the way, but that isn’t going to happen right now. I want all the bells and whistles and I don’t have the money to pay for them. However, I found a WordPress template that has most of the features I wanted so I decided to switch to their free platform and hope for the best.

Thus, the new look! Also, you may notice that the URL at the top of the page is not quite as simplified as my old one. That’s one thing Blogger definitely does better than WordPress–custom domain names pointing to your site. You can still get here by typing byericacameron.com, but after that everything will be a little longer in the navigation bar. WordPress, if you’re listening, it’d be nice if you could fix that. I already pay for a domain name. I REALLY don’t want to pay you for the right to use it, too.

Other than the site switch, I’m still working on Sing Sweet Nightingale edits. Right now I’m about 100 pages from the end, but I think this round is going to take multiple passes and read throughs because of all the tiny tweaks I’m making. It’s been an interesting process. Well, the whole publication process has been a learning experience, but this is different. I’m not a details person, but I have to be now. I have to look at all the tiny questions I never answered–never really considered–and make it all fit. Here’s hoping I pull it off!

Also, let me know what you think about the site! I may change the background if I find one I like more, but this one is kind of cool. Are those darker blue shapes flowers? Are the the silhouettes of skulls? WHO KNOWS? I don’t. 😉

SSN Edits Round Two! Or is it three?

This week, I’ve begun work on a new round of edits for Sing Sweet Nightingale! I think it’s round two. But it might be three. Maybe 2.5? Whatever the number designation, it’s edits and it’s from my beloved editresses, so that means it’s awesome. 😀

It’s also pretty cool that I can put up the pretty, pretty cover when I talk about the book instead of some random image that has nothing to do with it. Don’t think I’ll ever get tired of that!

Anywho, edits. This round is tough! Which is weird because my edit letter is less than a third the size of my previous edit letter. I guess the broad strokes of fixing big problems were a little easier to deal with than examining a scene and surgically adding and removing to make it… not suck. I’m making progress and I still have time, so here’s hoping I can pull off all the tweaks I need to make. More updates shall follow. Eventually.

Also–and in non-editorial-related news–there’s only ONE MONTH LEFT until you can have a copy of my first ever published short story in your hands! Doorways to Extra Time releases August 27 and my story “Whatever It Takes” is the second one in the book! Fourth if you count the two introductions by the editors… Fourth or second, it’s still really early in the book! Read it and you get to meet a character who will show up in The Dream War Saga at some point! Not going to tell you which character, but at least one of them is coming back! Go order it now!

Buy Doorways from:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | IndieBound