Guy Stewart gives a lesson in editorial brevity. • Join the discussion...
Bruce Bethke offers the four simple (memorize 'em, folks!) steps to success, and introduces the "novelist's mantra." • Join the discussion...
Bruce Bethke links to an example of the most hallowed editorial trope: Strat-ire. • Join the discussion...
M almost begins a discussion of Renovation/Worldcon69, but stays out partying with editors, writers and assorted enthusiastic others the night before his post is scheduled. • Effectively, still no discussion (yet!)...
Kersley Fitzgerald puts things in perspective. • Join the discussion...
Tyler Tork wins our Sniff the Gift Fish challenge, by
All this and more, as National Beheading Day reminds us to keep our heads, and the inmates discuss the view from their respective places in the asylum.
What's My Line?
As of the deadline for our current challenge, we have received the following entries (listed in their order of appearance within the comments section, since no one used "Files" this week).
Due to the extreme brevity of the challenge, and to keep folks from getting frustrated with an abundance of links, I've taken the liberty of quoting your pitches here so that we'll have a single point of reference:
- “I write action horror, science fiction and whatever else will pay the bills. Currently, I'm querying my manuscript CHEMO about an agent of a paramilitary cult that eliminates 'cancers of the body of mankind' and focusing on anthology submissions.” — J.M. Perkins
- “I don't always write fiction. But when I do, I prefer to write vampire stories. Stay thirsty, my friends.” — Triton
- “I'm a professional waiter. I live to wait. And I wait to live.” — Arisia
- “I write technical documents. My current specialty is finishing User Acceptance Test scripts started by someone else who is unable to finish because he gets sick, his father gets sick, his father dies, or his cornea becomes torn.” — Arisia
- “I'm a fortieth-century mind-writer. Your mind is not safe from my scribbling or hidden by the twenty centuries between.” — Arisia
- “I write about my life and the world around me, my World. With a whole heap of lies thrown in for good measure.” — Watkinson
- “I'm a darn good copyrighter and radio producer who writes insightful and snarky sci-fi/fantasy to keep myself... well... "sane" is too strong a word. But something like it.” — Vidad
- “I'm a speculative fictionist with more rejections than a fat redneck drunk at a modeling show; yet secretly they all want me.” — Vidad
- “I write fantasy framed in settings with weird metaphysics under the hood, and science fiction where the hood got blown off and the people are scrabbling in the ashes left behind.” — Ryan J
- “I started by telling stories to my kids, whose imaginations are very much alive. Now I write speculative fiction for adults whose imaginations never died. Or could be ghoulishly reanimated.” — Ryan J
An enthusiastic “Huzzah” to all* who have entered! The judges are now considering your submissions. A winner will be declared by the evening of Sunday, 4 September 2011.
Dust My Jacket...
And now it is time for this week's Friday Challenge, indirectly inflicted by Ryan J, in the comments section:
I always notice, by the way, that the blurb about the author always make them sound so cool, and that my life always seems so ordinary by comparison.
Makes me wonder what facts of your life you could take out of context to make your own blurb sound memorable.
Something like "Ryan lives in North Carolina with his wife, 40 snakes, a tarantula, scorpion, two praying mantises, and three savage and prophetic children. He writes fiction in moments wrestled out of his daily schedule in much the same manner that one might wrestle a bear whose cubs one wishes to make into comfortable slippers."
(all of which is true, and probably makes it sound like my life is much more exciting than tha daily grind that is in fact the usual course of my days)
Get the idea? Need another example?
All right, here is the current iteration of my own professional bio:
M. David Blake has been a ditch digger, a troubleshooter, a gallery artist, a woodturner and a poet. He has run soundboards for live performances, done lost-wax casting, scooped ice-cream while serving as a barista, crash-tested software used by a significant portion of the entertainment industry and reassembled the shattered skull of a murder victim.
After being asked to leave one college, he graduated from two others... and in the process utterly flunked a course dedicated to the study of science fiction.
Blake currently lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina, with his wife, their daughter, the memory of a geriatric cat, and several thousand books.
Ryan used 53 words. I used 104, but I'd argue that his off-the-cuff depiction was more effective than my own... so I am splitting the difference, and setting the limit for this one at 75. In other words, compose just enough compelling text to fit under that exceptionally flattering photo, on the inside rear panel of your dust jacket.
Bonus points if you also include that photo, so we can see who you are! If you do, however, it must be your own photo, or one that you have the legal right to use. If any of you start flinging Olan Mills portraits at me, you'll be disqualified.
For that matter, I'll even allow you to make up dust jacket bios for other Friday Challengers, as long as everyone observes the rules of parody and avoids anything slanderous or offensive. (If in doubt, ask the FC'er in question... and if anyone says "please don't do a fake bio of me," then honor that request.)
Anyone can enter, without restriction, and you may enter as many times as you wish.
Everyone is asked to vote, and to say a few words about what they liked, and why. Or to say a few words about what they disliked, as the case may be; by submitting an entry, you implicitly agree to accept criticism, because there will probably be some handed out, and no one is immune. When voting, please rank a work as either “0” (not so good), “1” (not as bad), “2” (could have been better) or “3” (pretty good stuff!). If you give either a “0” or “3” vote, feel free to argue in support of your reasoning.
Don't like the negativity? Feel free to think of the levels as “0” (Not bad for a first attempt), “1” (Right on!), “2” (Holy cow, I wanna buy this now...) or “3” (Sweet mother of God, how did you write something this awesome?!!). The point is to clearly differentiate, and rank according to your own preference.
For the purposes of this challenge, Ye Olde High Marker, Voluntarily Walking th' Plank has yet to be determined. Ryan J was unaware of the challenge he proposed, but he has proven an effective judge in the past, and so is invited to judge this one; if he doesn't elect to do so, M will serve in his place.
As of now, we are playing by the loosely enforced and slightly modified rules of The Friday Challenge. All entries are due by 6 AM Eastern time on the morning of Friday, 9 September 2011. A winner will be declared by the evening of Sunday, 11 September 2011.
Oh, there is one more thing... but it is the most important! Have fun. Always have fun.