Being Professional

I was talking to a friend who was asked to review a book by a writer and when she gave her honest review the writer had a go at her because it was a glowing one.  If you go over to Cinta Garcia’s web page you will see all about this amazing writer who is not nasty of vicious at all.  Cinta is one of the kindest people I know.  I’ve also read the review and its a well written and direct review.  Heres her website, which is new by the way

This got me thinking about something that the Mighty Mur Lafferty says on her podcast I Should Be Writing, basically being professional is the best way to be.  Please go and check out her website because she’ll express it better than I can She is of the mindset though that trying to be a professional is the best route because its rare that being rude and unprofessional will just get people’s backs up and put them off you and your work.  I think a good analogy is if you buy a car and its nothing but a pain in the backside you tell people about it and rarely buy another car of that make.  Or a rude staff member at a coffee-house or something.  These things annoy us and we are more than likely to talk about a bad experience then we are a good experience.

Mighty Mur puts forward a lot of good points.  Like not trying to get into a discussion with someone who has left a bad review.  I quite like the sound of this piece of advice.  If the reader did not get what you were trying to say in the book its kind of like explaining why a joke is funny.  If it’s a nasty review then surely it’s not even worth the time to post a reply.  I know in the early stages of our careers we’ll reply to almost anything because we’re building our online presence but its easy to get sucked into a heated exchange and I think that I will probably steer clear of the people leaving nasty comments when I have my work out in the world for people to read and talk about.

Mighty Mur also talks about things like not asking for critiques from editors when they reject your work as they have slush piles to read etc.  Seriously if novice writers have not at least checked out Mur’s I Should Be Writing podcast then I’m surprised as I have learnt a lot from it.

Lets not forget our writing too.  When we submit we have to be sure that what we’ve written is not only good but our spelling, grammar and presentation is also correct.  If it’s a paper submission then make sure that there are no coffee stains or handwritten notes on it.  Follow the submission guidelines, I’d imagine doing research on where we’re submitting is a good idea.  I have a list of websites, some of which were recommended to me and some were even searched out for me (thank you Cinta 🙂 ) This is knowing our audience.  Finding the right places to submit and who the editors are has to help our chances of getting noticed, of course our work has to be good at the same time but from what I can make out slush piles are big so we do have to stand out and or find an editor that loves the genre or type of story that we write.  I wouldn’t send my space opera stuff to an editor or agent who hates space opera, that’s just daft.

Being a writer is not just about what we write, it’s about who we are as well.  How we come across to the people in the industry and most importantly to the people who read our work who one day may become fans of ours.

Another Day, Another Update

Second day in a row that I have got some writing done so I’m feeling pretty good right now.  I’m still a long way off hitting 1500 (almost 700 words today, counting the few I wrote at lunch 🙂 ) words a night like I have done in the past but it feels great to finally let the creative juices flow once more.  It’s not what I consider free-flowing yet though.  I decided to write till half ten tonight and I wrote till just past that just so I could break the 5000 word mark of this story.  When I’m at full steam I wouldn’t stop writing until I hit an appropriate break in the story or my eyelids could no longer hold themselves open, or I felt satisfied with what I had written during that sitting.  This goes back to what I said about writing everyday no matter what.  In sport the best teams are the best because even when they play bad they still, more often than not, win their games.  That’s how I think about writing, even though I am a little tired and I don’t feel like writing I’ve forced myself two days in a row now to write and as I said yesterday, it doesnt matter if its bad writing, it’s still writing. Mur Lafferty ( )says it the best I think “It’s okay to suck” and it is.  So even if what I am writing now does suck, its okay because I’m still writing 🙂

Escape Artists

The first podcast that I ever listened to was An Escape Pod episode, the first one in fact.  I’m one of these people who when I start listening to A podcast I listen to the earliest episode that I can find.  I had never really known of short stories until Escape Pod grabbed me and its been one amazing journey since then.

Escape Pod taught me that Sci-Fi is not just spaceships and robots.  It took me into worlds that I had never realised existed.  The Trouble With Death Traps by Marjorie James is one of my early favourites.  Feng Burger by John Aegard is still one that I think often about.  The Girlfriends Of Dorian Grey by Gregory Frost was also very impressive.  Here I could on for ages listing episodes that really hit home but that would just turn into A list of many episodes, Okay one more. Conditional Love By Felicity Shoulders really hit home.  A great story.

I’m A little out of date with the podcast now as my PC is still broken 😦 so I havent heard how the Podcast is going.  I do miss Steve Eley but I’m A big fan of Mighty Mur Lafferty and I like what she has done with the Podcast since she took the reigns.  She has such an easy, warm approached that has to of come from many years podcasting that must make newcomers feel at ease with the podcast before the story even begins, she’s A damn fine narrator too.

Pseudopod is the horror wing of Escape Artists.  I love listening to this podcast but it rarely ever shocks me.  It again did the same thing that Escape Pod did, in the way that it showed me horror is not just gore  like Hollywood would have us think. Alasdair Stewart and Ben Phillips are great with this podcast.  Stewart’s deadpan delivery of the intro and outro’s are fascinating and keep A heart to the podcast.  Again he is A fine narrator also.

Podcastle has been the only part of the Escape Artists family that I had not taken too, until recently.  As I mentioned my Pc is broken which means I cannot update my iPod so I’ve been working through some of the podcasts that I had laying dormant on my iPod and I finally gave Podcastle A proper run.  I had listened to A few of the episodes but they had never really caught me. I’m not A big fan of fantasy.  I was never A man for Unicorns or Dragons and so on, but again Podcastle had done what Escape Pod and Pseudopod have done in showing me that these genre’s are wide open.

Fantasy is not just Elves and Wizards, Sci-Fi is not just alien invasions nano-tech and Horror is not demons under the bed or hockey mask wearing psycho’s.  All genre overlap into each other and this can only make fiction better.  These Podcasts have given me fiction that have made me smile, cry and sigh.  The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Escape Artists has given me more hours  of joy than I could possibly count.  I wonder how many people would like to buy Steve Eley A drink and say ‘Thank You Dude’  I will forever be grateful for what you have given me.  If it was not for Steve then I may never have discovered Scott Sigler, Phil Rossi, J.C. Hutchins, Mur Lafferty, Elizabeth Bear, Jeffery R. DeRego, Ted Chiang, The amazing Tim Pratt and so many others.  As well as finding the podcasts like StarShipSofa.

If you like short fiction that look at these genre’s then check these links out.  They really are something special 🙂