Going on Hiatus

Hello dear readers,

After careful consideration, and much teeth-knashing, I have decided to put this blog on hiatus indefinitely in favor of increasing the number of posts over at my primary site. I apologize for the inconvenience, and have enjoyed our time here. But hey, you don’t have to miss me!

Please do come over and visit – or follow – at: scchalmers.com

I’ll be posting about writing, the war of art, the paranormal (yes, zombies might show up), research, and the Regency period. Hope to see you there!

Until then, I hope to resume this blog at some point, hopefully when I’ve either become more efficient, or I’ve discovered a few extra hours in the day. πŸ™‚

Thanks for reading, and see you later!

Sincerely, E.B.

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Fanfiction for a Profit?

Okay, so I’m a bit behind on this news, and I’m still struggling to understand that that will mean: Amazon will begin selling fanfiction on their site.

First, here’s who clued me in (and who probably has more of a clue than I do!)

Amazon Media Room: Press Release

All Your Fanfiction Belong to Us by Chuck Wendig

Midweek #ROW80 by Kait Nolan

Personally, I have a vague understanding of fanfiction, but it’s never held much attraction to me; I have enough characters demanding my time and attention without taking on someone else’s! Is this a good thing for authors, if someone else wants to contribute to their “story” – which is kind of what fanfiction is? Is it profiting off of someone else’s work?

I’m not sure how I’d feel if there was fanfiction written using my characters and worlds. Probably at least a little flattered – if readers are that involved in the world and characters that they want to continue the story, that can’t be all bad, can it?

And yet, it’s also my creation, my baby. And I confess to being a bit possessive. How would I feel about my characters participating in stories I didn’t put them in? I’m not sure I’d want to read them.

So, enough of what I think. Do you have an opinion? Willing to share?

What do YOU think? Is this a good thing, or not? Somewhere in-between? Recognition of new realities in publishing and writing?Β 

Thanks for commenting, thanks for reading, and hey, if you liked this post, why not sign up for the blog? Have a great week, and happy writing!

Writing, Rewrites, and the “In-between”

April2013 018If you’ve been reading this blog for any time, you probably know that I value productivity and moving forward. I like to know where I stand, have a clear direction and purpose.

I don’t like “in-between.”

It’s like living in limbo, not knowing where you belong, where you’re headed, which way is up. It frustrated me while building our home, as my husband, cats, and I lived out of boxes in my parents place in the month before we could move into and establish our new home. And it’s caught me again, as I find myself vacillating between different books, different stories, not knowing which way I should turn my focus.

It’s easy when you’re writing. You have a clear direction, a drive forward to that wondrous “the end” moment. Then there are rewrites, and goodness knows, those can feel endless. And then there’s the point when you’re not sure if you’re done with rewrites, but you aren’t quite ready to start something new. Do you go back and do one more draft? One more rewrite? Or do you put that piece aside and forge new trails?

I’m a forge new trails gal. I don’t want to go back where I’ve been. But no book was perfect in the first draft. Or perhaps even the second, third … or sixth. Some books take more, are stubborn about revealing their true essence and potential.

So how do we know which book it is we’re writing? When is it “done”? When, for some books, is it time to put it aside and call it dead? Or revive the darned thing?

What do you think?

When is a story “done”? Who defines that? How can you tell?

Thanks for reading, and have a great week. And if you liked this post, why not sign up to the blog so you don’t mix the next one?

I Dream of Apocalypse …

Sometimes I dream about the end of the world. A brilliant flash of light in the distance, which only later do I realize was the end of the everything. Or like a few nights ago, a massive “boom” that shudders through the house, signifying nothing will ever be the same again.

These dreams often wake me, shaking and frightened by the implications. More so now that it’s not just me I have to worry about: there’s a child to consider. Before I had kids, this was one aspect of parenthood I hadn’t really considered. And since the kidlet has been around (two years now), it’s like fear has increased.

And therefore the impact of nightmares, and fears of an apocalypse. When it was just my husband and I, well, we’re adults. We’d fight for survival, and of course, I’d worry about him and want both of us to survive.

But with the kidlet? Suddenly the necessity of food, shelter, safety, these things all become more important. It’s like I’m turned into some defensive mother-bear who has to protect my off-spring, and I’m not sure I’m happy with that idea (or the image). Does this make me stronger, or more vulnerable? How does it change the chances of survival? If you have more to fight for, doesn’t that increase your chances of survival?

What do you think? I love hearing from readers. πŸ˜‰

Thanks for reading, and have a great week.

Spring Shiftiness … and Other Excuses

Spring is finally almost in the air … if you ignore that as I write this, there are a few piles of snow still annoying me, and the ground is still frozen hard enough to stub your toe.

And yet, there is new freshness in the air. Perennials and spring flowers like the tulips and daffodils are poking their heads up, and give rise to hope for not only a new growing April to June 2012 069season, but the eventual coming of summer and all the delights it holds.

Of course, it also means more of the year is steadily slipping away, while I ponder planning greenhouse-jaunts and my garden bursting with blooms (it hasn’t yet, but this year, dammit, this year!).

And, believe it or not, spring also makes me start to think about Christmas. Yep, you heard me right. Because this year – especially because my brother is getting married out of town shortly after Christmas and I’m in the wedding party – I HAVE to be on top of things, and have all my gifts made well before December (insane, down-to-the-wire gift making is not an option this year). Which means I need more discipline and plans in place to achieve not only my career goals, but also whip-up a storm of creativity in my office while I write, and up in the craft room.

All while I’d rather be out poking in the garden and sitting to watch the grass green, and the flowers bloom. Sigh. I’m already doomed, aren’t I? Oh well. Sounds like a pretty happy kind of “doom” to me. πŸ™‚

What about you. Does spring have you aching to run outside and play? Remind you of the steady progression of time? Love to hear from you. Do comment below. πŸ™‚

Thanks for reading. Have a great week. And hey, if you enjoyed this post, why not follow the blog?

The Benefit of Distance and Escape

I was fortunate enough to escape last weekend on a girls’ weekend with my best friend to Victoria, British Columbia. And while I knew I was escaping normal life, my husband and kidlet (who I love very much), and the non-spring we’re having here, I underestimated the importance of escape and distance in a bigger sense.

Sunshiny breakfast in a heritage building

Sunshiny breakfast in a heritage building

Like escape from a particular thought pattern, from the particular direction I aimed and headed for, and from the thought processes that had been driving me.

It’s interesting how little it takes for us to escape. I flew about 1 1/2 hours away to do it, but sometimes it takes less than that. Sometimes it’s as little as going for a walk and removing yourself from a situation or room. It’s like throwing open the curtains and opening the window after a long winter to let in fresh air and energy.

I also, however, underestimated what catch-up would be required when I got back. While I had a great time and found treasures galore (yes, some of them were even sparkly), it pulled me so far out of the frame of mind I’d been in that coming back to certain things – like the plotting of my current WIP – has also been a bit of a challenge.

Well, I suppose those are the trade-offs. And after a weekend like that, it’s worth it. πŸ™‚

What about you? Have you benefited from distance and escape? Or suffered for it?

Thanks for reading, love to hear from you, and hope you have a great week.

Welcome to the Plotting Darkside! Bwhahahahaha!

Plotting is like a garden: freshly planted, but not yet growing.

Plotting is like a garden: freshly planted, but not yet growing.

I’ve been thinking about plotting a lot these days since I’ve been doing a lot of it. This is a bit unusual since I often fall into the camp where I fear losing the spontaneity and energy of the “story seed” if I spend too long plotting it. Plus, I’m impatient, and want to get to the writing bit as soon as I can.

However, this inevitably leads to a few major problems down the road:

  • Β A LOT of rewrites, and drafts. Which bugs me since I hate repetition and covering the same ground I consider “finished.”
  • inconsistencies, whether it’s in character or details, because perhaps they occur to me mid-way through, and I didn’t make a clear note about them.
  • questions / holes where I can’t get from scene A to D, or I have no idea where my characters get their fresh water, say, in a world where water is infected and dangerous. Or what is a common 19th c. sheep. Some are better to come back to later, others … it’s difficult to continue when the hole is too huge.

This is what’s led to my (partial) conversion to plotting. It also comes in handy the more complicated the world-building becomes, when you really need to remember the “rules” for the world you’re creating in. If it’s dystopian, where are the dangers? What areas are there? Where is safety? If you give a character magical powers, what are they? How do they work? I’m finding it’s a lot easier to figure out some of those things ahead of time.

Still, I can’t overlook the importance of the “discovery draft.” That is, all the wondrous things I’ll discover about the story and my characters as I write. Which means no, I’m not one of those writers who will work with a plot spread-sheet (not yet, at any rate), but I will have a scene index card with general notes, the conflict in the scene, the setting, POV, etc. Like a little guidepost to help me along the way. It’s quite possible some of them might not make it into the book, but I’ve heard it’s so much easier to throw away ideas and organize in the plotting stage before it’s, say, six chapters worth of text and a few thousand words.

I’m looking forward to seeing if this is true for me.

So, what about you. Are you a plotter or a “pantser” – that is, do you write without previous plotting? Why? Love to hear from you.

And if you like this post, why not sign up for the blog. πŸ™‚ Have a great week, and happy writing.