Good post by Skott on why the author is not the customer in the author -> agent -> publisher chain.
Okay, I spent the weekend painting more than writing, but I'm back at it with the first four chapters of my YA Aristotle novel, a solid 11,000 words in the last week--and another 20k in pretty rough shape I've culled from an old Aristotle novel. Not sure how much of this stuff I'm going to use.
I've done something a little different this time. I wrote my query letter early. It's done. I expect to rewrite it at some point, and it will get a few more passes--more than most of my query letters do. What's strange is that it was much easier to write. Not sure if it's because I'm just getting better at building a query letter or if there's something about tapping into all the this-is-going-to-be-the-coolest-story-ever energy at the beginning stages of a novel.
Here's a piece titled "Edge Watcher" I painted last night, finished this morning. There's a detail below. (Click the pics to see larger versions in a popup window). I think it's pretty clear. I'm longing for spring.
Worked on this guy tonight, trying out some new techniques, sloppier brushes, purples in the forest. I think he came out pretty nice. What do you think? Detail of Mr. Forest below.
Detail shot. Click the pick to see the larger version in a popup window.
But it sure helps. Take this headline for example:
Genetically distinct devils give new hope
Depending on where you are in the world, what era you think we're living in, movie influences, weltanshaung, socio-economic status, your frame of mind--even how stable your mind is--you might expect a very different news story under that headline.
Before you lift the flap and reveal the answer...hell, who cares, it's about Tasmanian devils, of course, cute and furry with sharp teeth and a disdain for cuddling.
Here's the flap for the curious: Click to see the news story.
But just imagine we live in a very different world, one in which our minds are less stable for instance, and then imagine a news story that isn't about large carnivorous marsupials, but...something else, something monstrous, smelling of brimstone, etc. Why would genetically distinct devils give new hope? Do the genetically distinct ones have more power? Sharper horns, longer tails, pitchier forks? What the hell's going on? Do the devils control the news services?
YA'll heard right. Justine Larbalestier, Scott Westerfeld (two favorites in our house) and other great YA authors will be in Humble, Texas at the Teen Lit Festival 07. I can hear Chloe now, "Can't we just fly down for the day?" Kids...the crazy things they think up. It's the day after tomorrow! Okay, because it's easy, I did check flights from Boston to Houston, and if we fly through JFK, it'll only cost $486 per person... Sorry, not going to happen. But I have family in Texas! I think my great, great...great grandfather was one of the founders Galveston! My Uncle and Aunt live in Kingwood, right next door to Humble, so we won't have to pay for hotels...hmmm... No. Stop it.
If you're in the area or can arrange flights:
Saturday, 24 February, 2007
Humble ISD Libraries’
Teen Lit Festival 07
Guests are: Chris Crutcher, Gail Giles,
Justine Larbalestier, Benjamin Alíre Sáenz,
Scott Westerfeld and Chris Yambar
Atascocita High School Campus
I did email Justine after I painted her main character (see a few posts back) and passed along Chloe's "Hello." Justine sent her back a "g'day" which made her dance around the room.
...the next time you design your imaginary city from the ground up. We all know Athens. You know, Socrates, Plato, Perikles, democracy, parrhesia, but did you know the city name is plural? How many plural city names can you think of? In Greek, Athens, Athenai--is like saying "Athenses". Only one Lakaidemon. Only one Korinth. Many Athenses.
It's fun to look back...way back, to sort your "writing" directory by date and go through stuff you wrote years ago. I keep my fiction, non-fiction, and notes all in the same place. Here's a bit of over-the-top description for an essay on tide pools I wrote four or five years ago:
A tide pool is a micro-habitat, a haven from the hazards of low tide, a bowl of life that can sustain animals and plants far from their normal habitats. The competition for space and food is high, and it's not entirely safe: fluctuations in salinity from rain or evaporation can be deadly. A hot sun can turn the pool into soup. But for natural tide pool residents endurance is a matter of life, of preservation.
In quite a few ways, a tide pool is like an aquarium, a closed system, at least until the tide returns. The pool is subject to many of the same problems a new aquarium faces, dissolved oxygen levels may decrease, waste products, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate increase. Of course, the tide pool inhabitants must endure these problems only a matter of hours, and most creatures, even the most delicate, can fend for itself that long.
External factors, like weather, can destroy the balance of a tide pool in a matter of minutes. A heavy rain can drop salinity levels well below anything a marine plant or animal can tolerate. There have been reports of up to seventy-five percent mortality rates among certain littoral species after severe rains. Likewise, a hot sun can increase salinity levels and temperature above bearable levels. (Mostly pure water is lost in evaporation, leaving much of the salts and minerals behind). There are other dangers, like a seagull dropping its feces in the pool, decaying fish and seaweed.
The danger is almost over-shadowed by the beauty. The tide pool is a lethal garden, with anemones flowering in the still water and brittle stars coiling in the sand, waiting for the refugees from low tide to wander in. Natural tide pool inhabitants have learned either how to avoid being eaten by the other inhabitants, or that life is a constant struggle to maintain territory, and the possibility of being eaten is simply part of the design. Everything else, the plankton, fish and crustaceans stranded in the pool during the ebb are unwillingly added to the menu.
All of these factors contribute to make tide pool life precarious at best.
Precarious? ...oh please.