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All Out of Brain Power

30 May, 2012

I’d been meaning to post twice this week, as the blog has been a bit quiet recently. But ah, the best laid plans, and all that. I seem to have completely run out of brain power, which I put down to finishing a novel last week and already being deep into the world-building and plotting for another. Then there’s been two weeks of gloriously warm – but tiring – weather, and extra shifts at work, and…

Actually, I’m just making excuses now. Suffice to say, my time and my concentration recently have been taken up with writing, and planning, and recuperating after a three month slog through a 120k word first draft (more on that next post).

So, because I’m all out of blogging inspiration, what is everyone else up to? What are you working on? What are you reading, listening to, watching, playing etc.? Let me know in the comments, and perhaps I can add a few more books, films and games to my ‘stuff to buy’ lists!


  1. 31 May, 2012 11:08 am

    First off, congratulations on your terrific fiction productivity. Keep us posted on how that’s going. I’m progressing veeeeery slowly on the make-over of an old novel of mine, approaching the 40k word mark of rewriting what was and will probably remain about 100k words total. Who knows, though, could still be many months before I *think* I’m finished with it again. But I have been posting it chapter by chapter on, which seems so far to be an interesting, helpful and relatively harmless way to get it out there to a few readers while it’s still in progress, and get a few critiques/reviews.

    By the way, my own blog has been pretty dry lately. Maybe it’s going around.

    I’m both a very slow writer and very slow reader, but I am currently working on reading Guy Gavriel Kay’s fantasy novel Under Heaven (based to some degree on dynastic China), and would easily recommend any of his work. I fell in love with his Fionavar Tapestry trilogy many years ago, and have also read and enjoyed his novel Tigana. If I were a more prolific reader, I’d definitely have all his books.

    • 1 June, 2012 10:04 am

      Ah, funny you should mention Guy Gavriel Kay. After seeing his name mentioned half a dozen times recently in various writing-related blog posts, I decided to pick up Tigana. I’m about halfway through now and enjoying it, but it’s really not a book to rush through so it’s going to take me a while to finish!

      I have so many old novels that I’d love to rewrite, but I’m still divided over whether it’s worth it for some of them. One in particular I still absolutely adore, but even with a fresh coat of paint, as it were, I’m still not sure it’s saleable.

      I’ve seen bookcountry mentioned a few times now, but not taken a look at it. Would you recommend it?

      • 2 June, 2012 1:08 am

        Ha, well, I’m glad you’ve already been introduced to Kay and are checking out his work. His novel Isabel, which I haven’t read yet and understand is more of an urban fantasy, won the 2008 World Fantasy Award, so that may be another one that’s worth checking out.

        As for BookCountry (which is an offshoot of Penguin Publishing), I would say it’s rather fun and interesting to be involved in their posting, reviewing, and forum community, and may even be beneficial. But with a few caveats. If you are already a member of a good critique group, or have a few good and trusted beta readers, you may not get all that much benefit from additional reviews you may receive on bookcountry. And as with being a member of a group, the more you give and participate, the more you will likely receive. You have no real guarantees of getting any reviews for your work, and it can take weeks or months, but there are many members who at least mean to or try to reciprocate reviews. And occasionally critiques are so brief or vague as to be worthless, but I will say the few I’ve received have been very good and helpful. I certainly don’t participate nearly as much as I could in giving reviews and commenting in various discussions, but using myself as an example, I have given 6 or 7 reviews in about the past 6 months of being a member, and have received 3 so far. Some writers have received many, many more.

        You can check out the site before signing up. My understanding is that non-members can read the first 5,000 words of any works posted there, and can read all the reviews, so this could give you a really good idea about what you might expect as a member, and about the broad range in quality of both the fiction and the reviews.

        A couple of final notes: Bookcountry does have an independent publishing arm (if that’s the right way to describe it) where you can pay to get your work published without going through the acceptance process of traditional publishers like its parent Penguin Books. But I’d do plenty of comparison shopping with other independent publishing companies, as I’ve heard Bookcountry’s royalty rates are less favorable to authors than many others. Also, as far as posting your work on Bookcountry hoping to have it seen by editors and agents, that can potentially happen — I’ve noticed two or three books that have been picked up from the site by agents or editors — but I don’t think it’s an “easy in” by any stretch.

        See what happens when you ask me a simple question? Blah, blah, blah, blah . . .

        • 3 June, 2012 10:16 pm

          Thanks for that Joseph, it does sound like something I might be interested in looking at. I’ve tried a few venues for critique in the past, and generally find that you get out of them as much as you put in, which sounds to hold true for BookCountry as well.

          I also keep looking at the Online Writers Workshop, and at Critters too. There seems to be a lot of choice out there, if you have the time to get stuck in – and perhaps the confidence to take all the feedback without running screaming for the hills!

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