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Cup of Story
Thoughts from a developmental editor who works primarily with genre fiction writers.
Interests: Good novels, compelling TV, entertaining movies, and strong beverages.
Recent Activity
Don't be a Waiter by relying on someone else to offer you a contract. Continue reading
Posted Jan 3, 2012 at Cup of Story
NaNoWriMo has begun! This is the month for all you reluctant would-be writers to get some words down. I'm of two minds about NaNoWriMo, which stands for National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to start writing on Nov. 1st and get down 50,000 words by the end of the... Continue reading
Posted Nov 2, 2011 at Cup of Story
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I'm a big fan of modern horror--thrills, chills, and sit-on-the-edge-of-my-seat-nailbiters. But in the 1800s, some well known writers were into spooky tales, too. Jane Eyre For me, Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre is a creepy story. There may or may not be a ghost haunting Edward Rochester's mansion. At the time... Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2011 at Cup of Story
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Sarah Langan's Audrey's Door is a creepy and tragic story that definitely flies its novel and movie references. Langan acknowledges those inspirations--Jackson's Hill House, Polanski's movies, Rosemary's Baby, among others--which got me excited. She did not disappoint. The titular character, Audrey, is a struggling young but talented architect with a... Continue reading
Posted Oct 7, 2011 at Cup of Story
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It's that time of year again when Jack o'Lanterns and ghouls start appearing in people's yards. The supermarkets are full of big bags of tiny candy. And Sy Fy runs their 31 days of Halloween (some of the shows and movies are better than others, but I'm glad they stuck... Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2011 at Cup of Story
List of Most Challenged Books in the U.S. You've probably heard a bit about controversial books now and then. I took a look at the books on the list and thought, "Really? Srsly? This title? Or That Title?" And then I look at the news and hear about people booing... Continue reading
Posted Sep 30, 2011 at Cup of Story
If you don't know the end of your book, what are you writing towards? Everything in your plot should be pushing your reader towards the ending. That might mean you have to set up a bunch of things to be revealed at the end. Or reactions have to occur at... Continue reading
Posted Sep 21, 2011 at Cup of Story
"Stereotypical", "flat", "two-dimensional". You might have heard these words about your characters, or you might have thought them of characters you've read. What makes a character feel real? They're not real people, you're reading fiction, after all. I hate hearing, "Well, in reality…" or "In real life…" You're not writing... Continue reading
Posted Sep 20, 2011 at Cup of Story
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What is it: A thrilling hororr novel. What's it about: An aging rock star who collects gruesome objects buys an old suit that's haunted. Why I like it: Great characters and pacing. I like creepy stories. I like stories that keep me entertained and riveted. This is a ghost story,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 16, 2011 at Cup of Story
There's been a lot of talk about how standing at your desk is better for you. That NYTimes opinion piece brings up some interesting things to think about. We writers and editors sit on our tookuses for hours at a time. We're either writing, reading, or "doing research" (aka playing... Continue reading
Posted Sep 14, 2011 at Cup of Story
A trade publisher and sports journalism site are using software to write stories so they can save money on writers. Here's an excerpt generated from an article: “Wisconsin jumped out to an early lead and never looked back in a 51-17 win over UNLV on Thursday at Camp Randall Stadium.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2011 at Cup of Story
You've got a big epic fantasy with lots of cultures and nationalities from Midnight Elves to Sandbox Snifters. But the feedback you've gotten sounds like this: "Your world's a little thin." "I'm not convinced." "I'd like to see your characters inhabit your world more." What does it mean and how... Continue reading
Posted Sep 6, 2011 at Cup of Story
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What is it: An illustrated kid's book series What's it about: Danny Dragonbreath is the sole mythical creature in a school of reptiles and amphibians who goes on all kinds of adventures. Why I like it: Awesome artwork, hilarious writing, and snarky humor that appeals to my inner 8-year-old. And... Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2011 at Cup of Story
An inside look into editorial rejections. Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2011 at Cup of Story
Mike Shatzkin writes about how writers shouldn't oppose agency pricing. First, I have a hard time agreeing with Shatzkin's "union" metaphor. Writers aren't paying "union dues". That 15% is compensation earned by the agent for brokering the deal. The writer doesn't pay a dime--the agent works for the writer. "It... Continue reading
Posted Aug 30, 2011 at Cup of Story
Greg Bear, Neal Stephenson and others are creating a serial novel. There's video, art, all sorts of neat stuff. Continue reading
Posted Aug 26, 2011 at Cup of Story
Writer's Block, oh the bane of the creative mind. Oh the foolish crap we fill our heads with. There's no such thing as Writer's Block. What you're suffering from is a lack of planning or fear… or a fear that you haven't planned well enough. But you can overcome it!... Continue reading
Posted Aug 24, 2011 at Cup of Story
Interesting interview with Mike Shatzkin. It's an audio clip, but take a few minutes to listen. Shatzkin's an in-the-know industry guy, who, according to his bio, has been in the business for a long long time. It's too bad no one has any solid information on whether or not Amazon... Continue reading
Posted Aug 22, 2011 at Cup of Story
Dean Wesley Smith, writer, publisher, teacher. Along with Kris Rusch, he's written a gazillion books across many genres. His Killing the Sacred Cow of Publishing series is MUST READ material if you're considering a career as a writer. There are also some very smart people responding in the comments, so... Continue reading
Posted Aug 19, 2011 at Cup of Story
The University of Washington Bookstore, a great indie place to get books in Seattle, has an Espresso Book Machine. The machine prints books on demand. You plug in the title chosen from their catalog and badaboom! You've got a book. You want a hardcopy of your own work, maybe to... Continue reading
Posted Aug 18, 2011 at Cup of Story
Chuck Wedig has something to say about writing: And that life is too short not to take risks and long to live with an output of weak-kneed, limp-noodled, utterly derivative, safe-as-houses storytelling. Amen to that, amen. Only thing I disagree with is his nod to it being a big secret.... Continue reading
Posted Aug 18, 2011 at Cup of Story
In this land of self-publishing successes and DiY bootstrapping, why would you ever hire someone like me? I'm a professional developmental editor. I help writers see the forest for the trees all the while keeping a thumb on details and plot arcs. Not every writer needs to hire a professional... Continue reading
Posted Aug 17, 2011 at Cup of Story
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There are some pretty savvy and smart people doing some interesting things on their blogs/sites. You should check them out and consider how you might apply what they're doing to your own site or creative endeavors. "Tobias Buckell is a Caribbean-born speculative fiction writer who grew up in Grenada, the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 16, 2011 at Cup of Story
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You've finished your novel and are ready to throw it up on the etailer of your choice (or you're not finished, but you're gathering intel for when you do finish). You need a cover. So where do you find one? Traditional publishers have designers who hire artists. So, go look... Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2011 at Cup of Story
Friday! Time to talk about books I'm reading (or have already finished). The Fall, Guillermo del Torro and Chuck Hogan What is it: Mainstream horror. Sequel to The Strain. The third book, The Night Eternal, comes out in hardcover this autumn. What's it about: Vampirism as viral outbreak. Heroes from... Continue reading
Posted Aug 12, 2011 at Cup of Story