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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Purging Cache

What do you write about? What isn't there to write about? For me the problem is never coming up with something to write about, but rather prying free the time to do the writing, and so the ideas accumulate in cache until finally my choice is either to toss them all away to make room for new ideas or else give them very short shrift.

Opting for short shrift then, here are some of the things I haven't written about lately.

The hot, hot, HOT category right now is paranormal romance. Personally I have some problems with that, for the same reason I'm unable to write pseudo-Medieval high fantasy or put spaceships into geostationary orbits over Seattle. I keep trying to write, say, a vampire novel, but pretty soon my characters start wondering how it's possible for my sensitive single female protagonist to have hot sex with the muy macho undead man of her dreams, given that having functional erectile tissue requires having blood pressure. Don't answer that; I'd rather not know.

The more important question is, "How do I as a writer go from feeling lucky to get a $5,000 advance to getting multi-million-dollar advances and my own series on HBO?" For some hints at the answer to that question, read Vampire-Loving Barmaid Hits Jackpot for Charlaine Harris.

One note: this is a NY Times article and may require registration to read. If you don't feel like giving the NY Slimes a real email address, go check out bugmenot.com.

While we're on the NY Times, there's interesting grist for thought in this article: Steal This Book (for $9.99). If you're looking for some insight into the economics of the literary marketplatz and the growing impact of e-books, this is a worthwhile read. A depressing read, but nonetheless, worthwhile. If ever you needed confirmation that the real money is in being the middleman who feeds parasitically on the labor of others, you'll find it here.

Elsewhere on the electronic frontier, Scribd.com has gone commercial, and now lets you upload your own e-book content, set a price for it, and—this is the interesting part—keep 80% of any sales. (As compared to, say, the form of brutal anal rape that constitutes Amazon's e-book sales, pricing, and royalty policy.) For a capsule description I'll again refer you to a NY Times article, Site Lets Writers Sell Digital Copies, as it seems to be clearer than anything I've yet found on the Scribd site itself.

I'll probably test out this one, but I'm not optimistic, as it seems painfully reminiscent of the late FatBrain.com site, which has long since been devoured, digested, and reduced to its component amino acids by Barnes & Nobles.

Finally, if you've been wondering what's going to happen with the International Space Station now that those deadly flying bricks we call space shuttles are going into well-deserved retirement, I'd like to direct your attention to this article on FlightGlobal.com. It seems Roscosmos and the European Space Agency are not sitting by the phone, waiting for NASA to call and invite them to the big dance.

Does this clear everything in the cache? Not by a long shot. But at least it reduces the clog and back-pressure somewhat.

More to follow. There's always more to follow.
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