A wonderful writing friend recently endowed me with a copy of Ray Bradbury’s Zen in the Art of Writing. Although, I read many books on writing and craft, this is one that I had not hereto for had the pleasure of cracking open. I am savoring the essays, reading them one-by-one and squeezing out the juice from the fruitful bounty of Bradbury’s wild mind (hat tip to Natalie Goldberg).
Happening August 22nd-24th, CopperCon (on the web here) is an event of the The Central Arizona Speculative Fiction Society (CASFS).
Sharon’s appearance schedule is as Follows:
6p-7p, Boardroom WITCHES ARE GROWING UP –- Witches have slowly evolved from warts, brooms and black cats into sleek, sexy, complex people with principles and missions. Is Deborah Harkness the harbinger of the next generation of witches in literature?
7p-8p, Avondale 4– PARANORMAL ROMANCE –- This genre has taken off like a proverbial rocket since 2000 and shows no sign of slowing. Romance readers have shown they are voracious but how does the writer attract new readers from the SF/F genre? How should a writer structure a story to target both groups and is that even possible?
11am-12p- Autograph Session– in Merchants Room
Sun 2p-3p, Avondale 3– DEVELOP A CHARACTER VOICE — Authors Sharon Skinner and T.M. Williams are known for ‘listening’ to their characters. How has this helped develop memorable characters that pop off the page? It’s important that characters stand out but don’t become cliched. (Unless that’s what you’re going for) Join the discussion on what makes a memorable character unique, real, and why it’s important that your MC isn’t the only one the reader remembers. You’ll also get to hear which characters gave these authors the most trouble and why it worked out for the best.
Sharon’s Books will be available at the convention, Although we alsways encourage readers to buy and bring copies as quantities will be limited.
Every year, I attend the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) Annual Summer Conference in Los Angeles, CA. SCBWI has a great document they pass out to attendees called, The Dos and Don’ts of Conference Etiquette. This is a nice guide for anyone new attending a conference that includes tips on getting the most out of their conference experience. It includes recommendations like, “Introduce yourself and get to know others.” It also gently reminds attendees not to stalk the editors and agents. Continue reading →
I have been working on the second story in the Chronicles of Tavara Tinker series with Bob Nelson. The new story is titled, The Sands of Time. I’d tell you more, but I don’t want to spoil it for you. J
One of my favorite things about this series, aside from the characters and their crazy adventures, is the process of collaborating. Co-writing this series is a ton of fun. Our writing processes and the areas we focus on are completely different, which you might think would make it difficult to collaborate on a project like this. But in this case it actually makes it easier, because our processes and areas of focus actually complement each other so well.
Bob is more of a plotter and I am more of the pantser. So, we begin the process each time with a discussion on what we think the next story should be about. We brainstorm and ping ideas off one another. Then, Bob pulls together the appropriate historical data. He has an amazing amount of history and geography stored in his brain, but he likes to fact check the details.
The next step is usually Bob outlining the story action and doing a rough first pass. Then, I go through and fill in some blanks and add description, ground the setting a little more. While the series, which is Steampunk, is historical fiction (with a strong emphasis on the fiction part of that equation), we want the historical parts to be accurate. So, at this point I go into research mode on costume and architecture, furnishings and décor, etc. I will also flesh out the emotional arc and some of the character related aspects, like relationships, behaviors, and ticks. Then Bob goes through to make sure that the characters are all behaving true to form and that they have solid motivations for their action.
After that, I come back in and make sure that voice is correct, ensuring that the word choice and language for each character differentiates them and before I pass the story back to Bob. He will go through and make any additional checks for accuracy on the historical side, and add any other additional things that he wants to make sure are in the story, catch any inconsistencies that I might have either missed or added in.
After all that, I make a final pass, being OCD for grammar and punctuation, before it goes out to beta readers for feedback. I do one final edit based on the feedback received and then I send it back to Bob for the layout.
Because he totally gets my OCD editor side, I will get one more proofing pass for good measure before it gets published.
It’s not a quick process, since we both have so many other projects going at any given time, but it is fun and generally gives me a nice break from my other projects.
Look for the latest Tavara Tinker installment to be out by the end of July 2014.