Thursday, May 23, 2013
In a press release today Amazon Publishing announced that it "has secured licenses from Warner Bros. Television Group's Alloy Entertainment division for its New York Times best-selling book series Gossip Girl, by Cecily von Ziegesar; Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard; and Vampire Diaries, by L.J. Smith; and plans to announce more licenses soon. Through these licenses, Kindle Worlds will allow any writer to publish authorized stories inspired by these popular worlds and will make them available for readers to purchase in the Kindle Store....Beginning today, interested writers are encouraged to visit Kindle Worlds (www.amazon.com/kindleworlds) to learn more and get a head start on writing. In June, the Kindle Worlds store is expected to launch with over 50 commisioned works from authors such as #1 New York Times best-selling author Barbara Freethy, Bram Stoker Award -winner John Everson and RITA award winner Colleen Thompson. At that time, the Kindle Worlds self-service submission platform, where any writer can submit completed work, will also open."
In response to my blog post, "Something Different", William Doonan commented, "I'm eager to hear/read the results of your experiment." Well I'm happy to announce that in June, with the official launch of Kindle Worlds, you will be able to see, read and I know you'll enjoy the results of my experiment: a 35 000 word novella written in three weeks in the Pretty Little Liars universe.
I am pretty psyched about this new non-traditional publishing platform as it gives authors greater access to getting their work published. To learn more about this platform and how you can submit a completed manuscript go to www.amazon.com/kindleworlds, or Kindle Worlds for authors. I would love to hear your take on this new publishing platform.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Friday, May 17, 2013
For over twenty years I worked in the field of higher education, much of that time spent working as a career counselor. One of the ways I helped students discover their major and career choice was by administering a personality inventory called the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). It’s based on the theories of Carl Jung, famed psychologist who believed, in short, that there were temperaments or “types” of personalities. The idea for students, of course, was if they could identify their personality preferences and learn to apply it to evaluating job functions, the fit might be better for both parties.
As I’ve ventured into the world of writing, I’m brought back to this inventory and have reflected on how it might relate to my writing style. Although in consideration of space, this is a very short and non-scientific look at the application, it provides an interesting angle on our writing personality.
Extrovert (E)—Have an external focus and energy source. They like to talk their ideas out loud and will process as they do. They are stimulated by their external environment—for example, music may energize them and writer’s groups are wonderful for processing.
Introvert (I)—Have an internal focus and energy source. They can get lost inside their own heads with little need to verbally process. They tend to like quiet and find external stimulation distracting. While not always loners, their need for socialization is more limited than their extroverted counterparts.
Sensing (S)—Into the details: the who, what, where, when and whys of things. They often enjoy precision and research and are exacting in their attention to details.
Intuitive (N)—Into the big picture. They love brainstorming and ideas. They are dreamers, but have a more difficult time and find it more tedious to get down to the “brass tacks” of an idea.
Feeling (F)—Make decisions through their heart. The first question they often ask is how do I feel about my choices? How will it influence others? Is it a kind/merciful decision? They lead with their hearts and may process decisions based on emotions.
Thinking (T)—Make decisions through their heads (even though they are aware of feelings) and ask questions like, does it make sense? What are the consequences? Is it just? Decisions, and even relationships, may be filtered through their sense of logic first.
Judging (J)—Enjoy a planned, organized lifestyle. High amounts of loose ends and unplanned interruptions will disrupt a judger’s sense of calm. They’re great with checklists and love the sense of completion of getting a task crossed off. Deadlines and a clean, organized workspace are comforting.
Perceiving (P)—Enjoy a more fluid, open-ended lifestyle. Although messes aren’t ideal, a sloppy desk isn’t a reason to panic; a Perceiver knows where everything is. Perceivers are more flexible with interruptions and have a higher need for variety. They’d love to be more organized and appreciate the need; they just seldom are.
In the theory of the MBTI, you would choose one type/letter from each of the four categories and this becomes your personality “type”.
What Does It Mean?
For me, being an INFJ means I can work, and in fact prefer to work, for hours in complete silence—only the hum of the refrigerator to keep me company. I love solitude and don’t crave writers’ groups, even though I know they are good for me. I love to brainstorm ideas in my own head and have a tougher time with the details, especially those pesky grammar details. I lead with my heart—I love to converse and relate to readers on a heart level. Despite my aversion to details, I crave organization. I keep bulletin boards with organized projects, a list of due dates for articles and love a sense of completion when I submit a piece. I can’t stand a cluttered work desk—it makes me nervous. The downside is I tend to sometimes get overwhelmed if there are too many due dates or open-ended projects on my to-do list.
Looking at this list, how would you describe your writing personality? Does this help shed light on your style? Are you a planner or a pantser? What does your work space look like?
For more information on the MBTI, visit here.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Graphics such as this often are played at least to some extent for the humor, with some tidbits of truth and/or wisdom thrown in to anchor the whole thing. I went through the list, conjuring memories or pet peeves that matched up with the “tips” listed, or things my wife, kids and friends have to endure as they tolerate the writer in their midst. So, I decided to post each of the infonuggets here, along with my take on them:
- Never ask when the book will be published.
This one makes no sense to me. I love when somebody asks me this question. It (usually) means they’re interested in what I’m doing. I’m always telling people when my next book will be out and I keep a running “monthly wrap-up” on my blog, detailing the progress of every project I have in the hopper. My regular readers appreciate these updates, and they know they can ask me about the status of a given project at any time. What can I say? I’m an attention-whore.
- Do not ask a writer if they wish they had written the latest best-seller.
I’ve never gotten this question, but 1) All writers wish they had a best-seller, and 2) It depends on the book in question. I’m okay with not having written Fifty Shades of Grey, for example, but I wouldn’t mind writing something like Darth Vader and Son.
- Never say you’re thinking of writing a book. Never ever say you’d also write a book if only you had the time.
Okay, this one can bug me on occasion, mostly because it’s probably the one statement I’ve heard the most over the years. I frequently get asked some variation of, “How do I become a writer?” The most fervent askers of such questions don’t seem to like hearing that to be a writer, you have to...you know...write.
- Don’t call the police if you happen to see a writer’s browsing history. The average writer is not planning to poison you, hire a hitman, or move to Afghanistan. It’s simply research.
This, of course, is what we want you to think.
- Leave the writer alone when the writer is actually writing. You have no idea how difficult it is to enter “the zone.”
I agree with this one, for the most part. When I’m in my home office and the door is closed, that’s the universal signal for “Writer at Work.” Family and friends know that they open said door at their peril. You’ll know when I’m on a crash deadline, as I’ll have enabled the office’s protective guillotine and laser grid features.
- Don’t pick unfair fights with a writer. Writers do get their revenge in print.
And the dumber the fight or argument, the more painful your fictional namesake’s demise. For example: If you want to argue with me over how much you think the latest Star Trek film sucks, I’m sending you and your hovercar over the cliff on some winding Martian mountain road. Political discussions usually mean I’m going to make you the main course for a horde of zombies. Your mileage may vary.
- If you do want to fight, make it memorable. The writer is always looking for material.
I actually did craft an exchange of dialogue in one novel based on a string of comments from a Facebook discussion. Some of the more memorable conversations and/or arguments definitely make good fodder. However, no one from the original discussion died in the resulting book.
- If your writer wanders off at a party, don’t panic. Writers love to inspect the host’s bookshelves and medicine cabinets.
I can honestly say I don’t peek into cabinets or drawers in other people’s homes or offices. That’s just rude, but I do peruse your movie collection, if for no other reason than to see if you’re bold enough to display your porn alongside the mainstream titles. I’ll also definitely be checking out your bookshelves...mostly to see if any of my books are there, and I then judge you accordingly.
- Buy your writer notebooks and cute pens as gifts. Do not buy flowers. Chocolate is also acceptable.
I’m not much of a flower person, but I imagine at least someone out there would appreciate the thought. I’m okay with notebooks, but feel free to substitute “vodka” where it says “cute pens.” In fact, sub it for “notebooks,” too. On the other hand, the chocolate is always welcome.
- Leave your writer alone when a rejection letter arrives. After the deadly silence, screaming, crying, moaning and muttering have subsided, offer your writer a cup of coffee or tea. And a cupcake. Add a huge hug.
I know no writer who gets that worked up over a rejection. It happens to all of us, and it’s just part of the game, right? Personally, I shrug it off, see if there’s anything in the rejection letter I can use to improve the story I submitted, and then I move on. This goes double for bad reviews, which we all get, too. Stuff happens, but feel free to send along the cupcakes. They can’t hurt.