December 4th, 2003


Stepping Into Another World

I've been reading Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass while working on this Michael Macbeth story; it's kind of interesting to me, on reflection, since one of his previous books (The Career Novelist) inspired my first attempt to make contacts in the larger literary world ... specifically, I ended up in correspondence with a literary agent who was familiar with my work on Mage (or at least with Mage generally and aware that I was connected to it once upon a time), and was keen to get some fantasy writing from me. When I get this book finished, I'll probably look her up again and see how she reacts to it.

Anyway, once of the core points of Writing the Breakout Novel is that one of the key qualities of such a book is that it "transports the reader to another world," even if that world is rooted solidly in the real one. Stephen King transports the reader to the world of the Dark Tower, sure, but Grisham transports us to the world of cutthroat lawyers just as effectively.

I was struck by that point this morning, as I took a silly online quiz on the "Your career at Hogwarts" theme. The quiz informed me that I was a Slytherin with a sooty owl who was known mostly for being a beater on the house Quidditch team ... to which I gave a mental snort and thought, "Of course not! I'm a Gryffindor chaser with a pet cat!"

Of course, I'm nothing of the sort ... I'm a web programmer with an online comic strip and literary aspirations. But it is a testament to how well-realized J.K. Rowling's world of Harry Potter is, that I can readily identify what my niche in it would be. As an object lesson in the value of transporting the reader to another world, it's certainly a good one!

Now the question is, how do I apply that lesson to this Michael Macbeth tale? Hmm...

-The Gneech, gears turning
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    Enya -- "How Can I Keep From Singing?"
Yue grim

"Orange Alert" Screwups

I've been receiving reports of copies of the latest SJ book, Orange Alert, going out with duplicated pages, very probably with some pages missing and the duplicates replacing them.

If you receive one of these, please contact Plan 9 and arrange to get a replacement. This is a mistake not only on the part of the printer (who should never have let them leave the shop that way), but also on the part of Plan 9, who have no business sending out bad books.

So, just to reiterate, if you get a screwed up copy, make them replace it, and please accept my apologies.

-The Gneech
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    frustrated frustrated