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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ngaio Marsh

Ngaio Marsh is incredible. I can't quite put my finger on why I can't stop reading her writing, or how she sucks me in so hard. But she does.

When I told Dad how hard I found to stop reading, he nodded and said it was her pacing. It's excellent. Even her subchapters -- sometimes only a page long -- don't let me stop reading.

I really get impatient near the end, because that's when she very deftly muddles you. I have never read anyone who glued me to the page like this. I think I know who did it, but--!

I'm also curious, if you have read Ngaio Marsh, whether you notice that she sometimes shifts POV very briefly and without warning. Like Elizabeth Bear, it works.

It oughtn't. But she's so good that I notice it, and merely continue on.

Here's a bit from her:

The coroner summed up at considerable length and with commendable simplicity. His manner suggested that the jury as a whole was certifiable as mentally unsound, but that he knew his duty and would perform it in the teeth of stupidity.

I crack up every time I get partway through this. I can't say that Ngaio does this all the time -- if so, I haven't noticed. But when I read the previous page, it's even funnier. That'd spoil the scene, so I can't post that. :D You'd dislike me intensely.

I began with her final novel, Light Thickens. I've read five more within a week's time. I'll be sorry when I've got through all thirty-two... except that wow, what incredible writing.

The quote is from Death at the Bar.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

March: Open call submissions.

Lee over at Angry Robot Books is interviewed about their open call for submissions -- just for March 2011! Hurry if you have a book that fits, but make sure you read the guidelines, eh?

There's a really nice bonus section after the Open Call section about research and the importance of being pitch perfect. Please read it!

Because you know something? Those dozen tips are really there to help you. This is not a competition against The Enemy.

And check and the Black Hole on publishers' wait times. Do your research on any publisher you approach -- just like any agent. That's why Preditors & Editors exists, and Writer Beware, and the Absolute Write water cooler.

All of which are in my sidebar.

Keep in mind that I'm not an author; I work with Angry Robot as a copy editor. I think they're fantastic, I do. My experience is gonna be totally different from yours because it's a different relationship.

Speaking of that, a freelance writer for thirty years describes The Hardest Kind of Job: Candy Moulton on Freelancing. Because it is.

In related news, the Google Book settlement... was rejected. In a post about submitting to publishers, that just seemed like the most apropos way to round off. :D

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Amy Einsohn.

I like to mention books I love here. Sometimes those are writing books, like E. M. Forster's Aspects of the Novel.

But today I wanted to mention Amy Einsohn. She wrote The Copyeditor's Handbook: A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communications. It's a brilliant book. Like my copy of Chicago, my TCH barely ever closes, and it's crammed with bookmarks.

Hence Amy Einsohn and the Making of The Copyeditor's Handbook.

And here's a list of distance courses in editing. :> Note that Amy teaches them for Editcetera.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Various March links.

A really brilliant essay by Tim Waggoner about writing -- getting time to write, budgeting time, getting the people around you to honor your commitment... And networking.

He also has an essay about theme anthologies. This includes advice from editors and other writers. :> If you haven't read up on good writing advice lately, I recommend going through Tim's Articles.

Last link from Tim: The Long Strange Journey...

Phil Athans on convention etiquette, wherein Phil also pings folks like Kris Rusch and Jim Minz. Thanks to John at Grasping for the Wind. :>

You don’t want to be a writer per terribleminds. [Warning, much cursing but very humorous!] From terribleminds, Jane Yolen writes a pointed letter to the Today show.