Writer Wednesday


Okay, summary of the weekend! First, apparently there was a petition to support Europe’s creators, although IMHO it’s mostly for filmmakers, but I guess it’s for writers too. Not sure, didn’t sign in time, haha. Although I probably wouldn’t have signed it anyway – I did sign an online petition once, and I started receiving spam messages from that site. I took out my signature and unsubscribed from the site. I didn’t want this one to be the same (although the other one was Italian, hehe) and I don’t believe in petitions much. Signatures never changed the world, did they?

From the Fair’s newsletter: Italy is a country where 55% of the population doesn’t read – not even one book in one year. So no wonder my Italian pen-name doesn’t sell. By the end of 2012 only 3% of the population will read e-books. Pretty low, huh? They give this data for the US (feel free to correct them if you know better) – in the US 19% of adult (over 18) population uses e-readers, and as many read on tablets. The number of people reading e-books has grown to 21% of adult population and they read not only on Kindle (41%), but also on multitasking devices (29% i-Phone, 23% tablet). Are you still wondering why my main writing production is in English? 😉

The only very interesting panel was the interview with Greg Sung, founder of Anobii. Apparently Anobii has a very strong community in Italy and the UK – so all Italian readers are on Anobii. Unfortunately the poor guy was squeezed between Camilleri (whose panel ended late) and someone else as important, so his speaking time was reduced to 40 minutes instead of one hour, therefore I couldn’t ask him to elaborate more on his social network – like, can a writer become an Anobii Author (like on Goodreads) or is it just for readers? Because if it’s just for readers, I’m not copying my bookshelves from GR to Anobii, I’m already overwhelmed as is! 😉

Now, about other writerly topics! An unmissable post about Indie Publishing in 2013: Why We Can’t Party Like It’s 2009. Please check also the comments, it’s a very good overview of how things changed in the past 4 years – heck, even since last year. I noticed changes in sales (like “free” not being so strong anymore), although personally I have almost the same number of sales on Amazon and Smashwords (as of November 2012 – December started very well on Kindle US, nothing on Smashwords yet), and don’t use Facebook to market. The article mentions changes both for Amazon and Facebook, so it’s really worth your reading time – if you’re a writer, that is! 😉

Writing World has an excellent article on pen names or pseudonyms, if you’re considering getting one – or three. You know why I chose to write under pen names (different genres, different languages, and impossible real family name), but there’s a good list of other people who do so, including famous ones. And don’t forget to subscribe to their newsletter, if you haven’t already! 😉 They even have The Writer’s Year Datebook & Planner for your writerly 2013! 🙂

Now, I wish I had time to check more blogs and chat more about writing, but I’ve just come back from the oculist and my eyes are still failing me – so forgive the typos today… I’m off to edit Six Months, as I had a beta-reader reading it during the weekend, plus heard from Mighty Editor as well, which means I’ve got work to do! Happy writing!

 

Daily prompts and an update… or two


OK, daily prompt digest.

Topic #225: if I could control the weather, considering that the heat I was spared in July is here now, I’d have “cool” weather now. Possibly snowy, mwhahahaha!!! 😀 OK, I’ll move to the North Pole, sometime! 😉

Topic #222:  Do I prefer to lead or to follow? Mmm, good question. That’s probably why I could never find that “perfect team”… I don’t want to lead (in spite of being a Virgo, i.e. logical and well organized), but I don’t want to follow either. Like fashions or trends (in any field, not just clothes): either I discover it (book, movie, record, celeb, whatever) on my own or I don’t follow a trend just because everybody else does. If you wanna be a leader, check Ollin’s post on how to be one. Personally, I hate to be at the center of the attention, so I’m just going back to my hermitage… if you’ll excuse me… 😉

Topic #220: I blog with my real first name, but never liked my family name, so I picked up “Tarn” way back in the 1990s when I was doing my photocopied zines. Then I put the “G.” back in (initial of my real family name) when I started writing in English 10 years ago. And I have a short list of other pen-names I might use in the future to write in other genres.

Which includes the historical novel with British spelling. For which I have an update. I have completed a first draft I’m not very happy with. It’s too short (around 70000words), but I have no idea of how to improve it at the moment.  I have masses of material and lots of things going on, but I probably skimmed through most. Except in my fear of info-dumping and boring myself and the readers, I have no idea of where I should go deeper or expand. I cover 15 years at the moment, but the climax of the main conflict is after less than 10, and I’m not sure if I should continue with the main characters like I intended to do – unless I find another conflict beyond the struggles with King John (my knight was faithful to Richard, so this is already a good conflict, as the two Plantagenet brothers kind of hated each other).

I still think it’s too much historical facts and not enough fiction… So instead of doing more research, I’ll do some more reading of historical novels, to see how other authors do it. I was fascinated by Elizabeth Chadwick’s Akashic Records, so I might check some of her titles (she writes in my time period anyway). And I just found a new online non-fiction  resource for the Middle Ages (but there are all historical periods, I just bookmarked the one I’m interested the most!), so maybe I only need to take some distance from my story. As to how much fact/fiction… I still don’t know, but I’ve followed the thread on Goodreads just like Prue (that’s where I discovered Elizabeth Chadwick).

So, as I’m not having fun with it anymore, I’m going to shelve it until I find a volunteer who can help me tear down the walls that block me at the moment, and will go back to writing my fantasy stories that are so much more fun. I’m way late on my schedule in starting writing the books that should come out next year anyway! 😉 And I’m coloring SKYBAND8, dear reader, just to keep you updated (you know who you are! ;-)).

As announced a few days ago, I’m wandering the blogosphere this week. Saturday Katelina interviewed Starblazer on Amarantyne nights. Today I should be the Writer Wednesday  at JC Martin’s blog, so make sure to check both those amazing blogs. See you tomorrow for the birthday bash! 😀

New York Times writers on writing series – Susan Richards Shreve


Again I won’t post the whole article here, just go to “A storyteller finds comfort in a cloak of anonymity” in the aforementioned series. This also relates (sort of) to the post on Jim C.Hines’s blog, interview with an author who used a pseudonym. So pseudonym (or nom-de-plume) is the topic of today’s rant.

Susan Richards Shreve used it to write under another race voice (she’s white and wrote form a black woman’s POV). “Benjamin Tate” did it to start a new series of books – read his reasons in the interview. I do it because (like I say in the comments to BT’s interview)

“I use a pen-name or pseudonym because my real family name is in the unpronouncable/unspellable category even for my mother tongue (Italian – it contains a “grammar mistake”. And I’m not that fond of it that I want to see it on a book cover. I picked up the pseudonym years ago, even if I’m still unpublished. I’ve written some articles (in Italian) under my real name, but I keep the “journalist” very separate from the “writer” (I’m a writer, I don’t like being a journalist, so I quit doing it – never was may “dayjob” anyway! ;-)).”

During my first writing course (in 2001) there was a 17-year-old who couldn’t believe our teacher had written an anthology under a pen-name. She couldn’t believe someone would hide his/her name – I was about to tell her. I’ve lived in 3 different countries, traveled to a few more, and I can tell you my real family name is a real pain in the… whenever I reach the customs or check-in or whatever. As I couldn’t find a husband to legally change it (maybe I didn’t look very thoroughly… ;-)), I picked up a pseudonym a long time ago. In the late 80s, and used it as a ziner in the 90s.

Susan says “And so began the deep pleasure of anonymity” – something I think most have learned to enjoy through the internet in later years (in 2001 it wasn’t very spread, especially in Italy. I wonder if that girl now uses a nick or something – can’t remember her name, can’t google her, haha). Here are more words of wisdom from her about the topic:

Fiction is a glimpse at our common humanity, a reminder of it, a generous engagement between the reader and the imagined world of a book. So much of what we do as writers, no matter how grounded in the particular a story might be, is a leap of faith.

What I found myself thinking about, disappearing into the mind and heart of my young black protagonist, was the process of discovery, even self-discovery in writing outside of my own experience. Here is this young woman with no sense of who she is racially, sexually, no capacity for telling the truth, sinking toward madness. It is the reader who first knows the truth about this young woman’s experience and in that recognition comes, I hope, as I did, to love her.

After all, even Shakespeare tells us “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose/By any other name would smell as sweet” (and there you have roses again. Maybe I should have chosen “Barbara Rose” as a pseudonym! :-D)… so what are your thoughts on the topic? Pseudonym or not?

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