Tag Archives: Worldbuilders

Pick up a neat Humble Bundle to support great causes

So here’s something cool. The latest Humble Bundle is available, and it includes a lot of great science fiction and fantasy. Pay what you want, get a heap of awesome reading — with the proceeds going to charity.

Here’s the link to the bundle. You could theoretically pay a penny — you godawful cheapskate — but those who pay $15 or more pretty much get the entire package. That’s 15 books! We’re talking novels and anthologies and even Ad Astra: The 50th Anniversary SFWA Cookbook. (Yes, I have an article about beer in that one. Because beer.)

The bundle benefits Worldbuilders, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America‘s Givers Fund, and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. These are all fine charities and non-profits to support, and I hope you’ll think about doing so.

And speaking of Worldbuilders, let this be your semi-regular reminder to donate $10 or more to WriMos for Worldbuilders so you can enter to win fabulous prizes — one of which is a critique of your work by me. I’ll be kind, I promise.


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Congrats, NaNoWriMo winners! Now what? (And a plug for Worldbuilders)

I really hope that if you churned out 50,000 words in November that you’re not in front of the computer today. (Reading this on a phone or tablet is acceptable, however.) You deserve a break! Congratulations for all your hard work in creating…what exactly?

Let’s call it a proto-novel, because while it’s going to be a novel some day, it’s not a novel at the moment. It’s a first draft, a heap of words with just enough connective tissue to create the bones of a story. Zombie-like, it has emerged from your brain-things and is now shuffling about your hard drive. It is not yet alive. It’s most certainly not ready for real readers. (Beta readers are, of course, perfectly fine.)

So whatever you do, don’t start querying literary agents! I have it on good authority (i.e. drunken, frustrated agents) that many agents dread December due to all of the NaNoWriMo stuff that’s slopped into their inboxes. It’s not that NaNoWriMo is bad — Far from it! You wrote stuff! — it’s just that the books hastily submitted to agents just aren’t ready for prime-time. And they won’t be for a while.

So what do you do? First off, remember that it’s no longer a race. You did the thing, produced the words. Now the hard part starts. And that takes time. I suggest taking a week off, reconnect with your family and friends, and generally remember to eat, sleep and be social once more. Let the zombie shuffle around a bit. It’s not going anywhere.

Then you start revising. And revising again. Probably a third time. This is the part where you connect the words together, make sure each passage is carrying its weight in the story, each sentence is complete and has the appropriate amount of nouns, verbs and adjectives, with a sprinkling of adverbs. (Don’t overdo it on the adverbs. Think of them as seasoning. A little goes a long way.)

This is now the time where you sit back, ease off the throttle, and make sure what you wrote becomes good. This is when you revive the zombie. Only after revision and attention to detail and thorough review can you sit back and scream, “It’s alive. ALIVE!

And only after that should you begin to query. Many literary agents will thank you for your patience.

Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind you that you can still chip in on the WriMos for Worldbuilders fundraiser. Each $10 gets you an entry into a lottery for fabulous prizes — four of which are critiques of your writing. (Why, yes, I’m one of the four people offering critiques.) It can be a critique of the thing you just wrote. Or something else. Whatever. If you win, it’s your call. You have until Dec. 14 to chip in.

It would be super swell of you to donate, and I hope karma wins out and I get to critique your proto-zombie-novel.


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12 hours to go in Worldbuilders eBay critique auction

As is now usual, I’m extraordinarily pleased and humbled with how generously folks have been bidding for a critique from me. As of this posting, there’s just 12 hours left to bid, with the proceeds going to Worldbuilders and, ultimately, to benefit Heifer International. So if you’re thinking of bidding, get on it — here’s the link. And be sure to check out the other Worldbuilders auctions as well or, if the bidding gets to much for your wallet, you can enter the WriMos for Worldbuilders drawing for a critique with just a $10 donation.

Update: The auction is closed, with a winning bid of more than $460, which is amazing and humbling and just…wow. Thank you, winning bidder! And the WriMos deal is still ongoing, so please consider donating.


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Update on stuff and sundry things

I think I’ve exhausted myself of any and all Weighty Topics I care to address on the blog these days. (Note: There are many, many Weighty Topics to discuss in the world, generally speaking. What I choose to talk about here is an exceedingly thin slice of that.) So I figured I’d give you some updates on what’s going on with writing and such. The fun stuff.

First off, MJ-12: Inception remains with editor Cory Allyn in his Maine editing bunker. No word if there’s a moose involved. I haven’t received any emails with “WTF were you thinking” as the subject line, so I’m encouraged. The nice thing is, we’re still months away from release — building in some lag-time between The Venusian Gambit and MJ-12: Inception was a smart thing to do. Whatever I need to do, it won’t be a scramble to get it done. This is a good thing.

We’ve been doing some metadata and catalog stuff in the meantime, the kind of stuff you’ll see on Amazon pages, in publisher catalogs or on the back of ARCs. There’s also bits and pieces of business ponderings, and some neat opportunities to preview the first MAJESTIC-12 novel this spring, even beyond the planned build-out of MJ-12.net. More on that when it’s ready.

I’m also writing my short story for Geeky Giving, which is due in January but I’m hoping to finish by Christmas, if only to have the holidays off. Plus, Cory will emerge from the bunker any minute now with edits, and I wouldn’t mind having this story done before tackling the novel, lest I mix my neuroscience with my espionage.

And finally, there’s five days left on the Worldbuilders critique auction. Right now, that critique of 25,000 of your words is a steal. It won’t be cheap forever, since these things tend to ramp up at the end, but I imagine it’ll still be more reasonably priced than Pat Rothfuss’ critique, largely because I am not Pat Rothfuss. (However, I’m apparently pretty good at critiquing, if the kind words of past bidders are any indication.)

Remember, if you get priced out of the auction, you can still chip in $10 or more and be entered to win a critique by me, and others, as part of the WriMos for Worldbuilders lottery.

And that’s all I got. Family’s fine, day job is busy as usual leading up to the holidays. I clean the chicken coop on weekends and putter around with words when I can. It’s all good.


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Some upcoming charity stuff I hope you’ll check out

This holiday season, think of the geeks in your life and donate!

This holiday season, think of the geeks in your life and donate!

There’s a lot of good things that happen when you become an author — you get to see your book in bookstores, you get lovely emails from fans, and of course there’s the advance and royalty checks. For me, the opportunity to leverage this whole author gig for charity ranks right up there, and I have a couple things coming up that I hope you’ll consider.

First off, I’ll be doing critiques as part of the Worldbuilders auctions, which should be coming up later this week or early next. This is my third year running with Worldbuilders, Patrick Rothfuss’ non-profit organization that benefits Heifer International. The deal with the critiques is that we put them up on eBay, you bid, and I read the auction winner’s writing and offer up ideas, suggestions and edits. This year, I’m doing two critiques, so if you miss the one, you could still have a shot at the other.

Then there’s Geeky Giving, a very cool effort to raise money for the Barrow Neurological Institute in Arizona so the researchers there can continue the fight against Parkinson’s, brain tumors, Alzheimer’s, ALS and traumatic brain injuries. Starting early next year, Geeky Giving is offering up $5 bundles of original short fiction each month for six months, and then putting out an anthology on top of that. I’m contributing an original short story to the effort, alongside such awesome scribes as Karina Cooper, Mary Robinette Kowal and Cat Rambo, among others.

My original story is untitled at the moment, but it’s well underway and is probably the hardest “hard science fiction” I’ve ever written. In the spirit of the Barrow folks, it’s focused on the brain, no less. And flying. There may be nanotech. I’m actually really excited about it, because it’s turning out to be one of the better things I’ve written. I really hope you’ll consider donating to read it. I mean, you’ve spent just as much on a latte. I’m much more entertaining than a latte. Right? RIGHT?

Oh, and in both cases, I’m hoping to offer up signed copies of the Daedalus trilogy for donors or bidders if the books get shipped out to me in time. In the case of Geeky Giving, there may very well be an ARC of MJ-12: Inception involved if schedules align. We’ll see.

There’ll be more details over the next several days/weeks/months, but I wanted to throw this out there now because the holidays are coming and money’s gonna get tight fast. (Speaking of, the Worldbuilders’ auctions invariably feature awesome geeky things you could give to your geeky loved ones this season. Just saying.) So if you can spare some of that holiday cash for the auctions and stories and whatnot, you’ll be helping a whole lot of people who need it, and that’s the kind of karma everyone could use.

Thanks, y’all.


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