I've had the pleasure of meeting several of my competitors over the last couple years. While we all have our own personalities, we do have several things in common. Near the top of that list is a dearth of time. This is true of those of us building our lists, and those who have lists that make their competitors salivate. One of the things that I'll take the opportunity to declare a universal truth of agents is that we tend to ask questions with a precision a neurosurgeon would appreciate. We know exactly what info we are looking for. We want it in a specific order if at all possible, and broken up into orderly clusters that can let us apply that information with the maximum effect later. So when we ask a question, please answer the question we do ask, not the question you wish we'd asked, or the question you think we should have asked, or ala most politicians and public relations talking heads the question you wanted us to ask.

The reasons for this are legion, the most salient are stated above. But they are (at least for me) not the only reasons we do this. For me, and I suspect most agents one of the things taken into consideration when we read enough of a submission and its cover letter is how much we want to work with the person who created the title. I've gotten no few submissions since I started the agency from people who wrote at a publishable level (or very close to it) but who were in the precise technical terms I learned as a psychology student bug-fuck-nuts and who would have sucked up more of my energy than I care to devote to any one person. Indeed, It would be unfair of me to other clients to take on these people who would take my time and energy away from existing and future clients who had entrusted their career to me.

onyxhawke: (Default)
( Feb. 16th, 2009 01:14 pm)
Facebook's current terms of service give them the right to do what they wish with any content you post for as long as you leave it up. This means your stories, pictures, wall conversations and comments on other peoples notes. I've already stopped feeding my LiveJournal into Facebook and won't restore it until they have sensible, and non preadatory TOS's. More here.
It occurred to me as i read this list that a lot of these simply don't occur to some of the writers who submit stuff to me, or sadly to one or two of the things I've seen in print. Some of the high points of the list:

2. Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Ammunition is cheap - life is expensive. If you shoot inside, buckshot is your friend. A new wall is cheap - funerals are expensive

This one translates well into: Never believe something, know it. In other words: Overkill is just right. An enemy that has been sawn in half by your; gun fire, laser fire, magic, animal tusks or sword is probably not going to come after you again.

4. If your shooting stance is good, you're probably not moving fast enough or using cover correctly.

This one has two major forks to its point for writers, and those unfamiliar with guns:

  1. If your enemy is moving at your slowly enough, and without any ranged weapons, that you can get into the picture perfect stance seen in target competitions and bad movies, it is either a) not very dangerous or b) it's confident enough that you should be taking the time to run away.
  2. Standing in that wonderful range posture makes you a delightful target for anyone (the enemy you see or the one(s) you don't.
10. Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should have to beat you to death with it because it is empty.

While blowing away all your ammo in the first five seconds isn't great tactics either, waiting for the perfect shot you have to be realistic and think of the possibility of losing your gun. This is most important if you or your character is small, weak, hurt, or your enemy is that strong.

16. Don't drop your guard.

This seems to be what makes the plot in horror movies (what little there is) work, but you can rarely get away with it in good books.

20. The faster you finish the fight, the less shot you will get.

Obviously this applies to all weapons, and magic, and hand to hand as well.

24. Do not attend a gunfight with a handgun, the caliber of which does not start with anything smaller than "4".

While the "caliber wars" will rage eternal, you'll note that many police departments carry .40 or .45, some will go with a 9mm simply because it moves faster and in theory has both takedown power and leaves the chance of survival for the person hit.

27. Regardless of whether justified of not, you will feel sad about killing another human being. It is better to be sad than to be room temperature.

The second sentence of this one is rather more important than the first. I hope I never have to kill anyone, but if the choice is me and mine or some schmuck that has actually made me want to kill them, it'd be unwise to bet on me feeling too bad about surviving.

If so, revising may be a good idea.

Thank you Darius.

The human mind is capable of doing amazing things. When you think of if, it's rather amazing we haven't made more technological advances. The first airplane was designed without the aid of computers, and the general principles of aerodynamics are not much changed since that time. Someone decided that the funny stuff growing in a petri dish might make a real good medicine, and it has. Both of these were the results of specialized thinking. General thinking though is what has lead to the far ranging works of Leonardo da Vinci and his contributions not just to art, but to engineering, mathematics, botany and more. Ben Franklin was another generalist contributing in social and physical sciences.
cut for length and pics ).
While Science Fiction and Fantasy have helped lead the way to some extraordinary things in our world, there are some things that just shouldn't be. Hopefully a few people will take this topic and run with it as I shall quite lazily point out only the simplest and most obvious things being the shiftless and not to bright person that i am.

Perhaps the greatest evil for which the world has Science Fiction, one author and a nearly invisible editor to thank is "cyber bullying". Long before most people could even hazard a guess at what "cyber" meant. Before people had screennames, and instant messengers, and email. Before the world wide web was all that wide, or a world of its own a man created a way of reaching out and hurting ones enemies in a way that few would realize the would be the new wedgie, His proxy a boy called Ender (a use name) humiliated his opponent in a way that let him cause trouble and get away with it. Today we write new laws to deal with the technology that enables this crime, and continue to handwring at the crime itself. Orson Scott Card has much to answer for.

Death Shouldn't Find Me!

This is a trope that abounds in both Science Fiction and Fantasy. I can't blame either genre for creating it, just for perpetuating it. Raymond E Feist should shoulder his share of this simply for the early Midkemia books. Not only is the book littered with glamorous, graceful and ageless Elves two of the main characters from Magician become effectively immortal. Pug and Thomas go from keep rascals to not just towering heros, but unaging towering heros. Truly unfair.

Science fiction can't leave not dying alone either. In science fiction not only have anti-aging techniques like Weber's attempts to drive the entire future of mankind nuts by extending both puberty and menopause with his prolong treatment. Honestly, this one should really be considered cruel and unusual punishment. I can't honestly imagine people developing healthily mentally when they spend from eleven to thirty-nine looking unfinished, gangling and wondering when people are gonna stop calling them the Honorverse equivalent of "pizza face".

Lois Bujold is not without blame for perpetuating this bit of cultural denial. She's invented two totally different ways of not aging like a normal human. Her Betans (almost all of whom seem to be like 'the good kids" in A Brave New World) simply don't age. They don't age because they just live right, and their doctors have a pill for that. Simply disgusting. Not to out do this she has tweaked an entire twelve planet society with the use of trickle down genetics. They are smart, beautiful, healthy, resistant to poisons and yup, long lived. Utterly vulgar.

Then of course there are the weapons of play war where people almost play for keeps. Stunner, cryo-revival, shock nets, knockout gas, and virtual reality combat. What type of sissyness is this? This doesn't provide any reason for the other side to stop being your enemy. And how the hell do you establish discipline in a war where the greatest danger is ripping and dirtying your uniform when the enemy reasonable-wonderful-valuable-unique-beautiful-caring-person-who-we-have-yet-to-reach-a
-reasonable-accord-with-through-no-fault-of-anyone stuns you. Oh no! What if their pain killers don't work as fast as our or they don't taste as good! Heaven Whatevereachreaderbelievesornotbelivesinwithoutpreferenceorjudgementwithfullsupportandornonsupportas itbestvalidatesthatreaderatthisoranyothermomentinwhatwenowcalltime forfend! 

Kill Something Bitches! Really, it's one of the few things that humans are actually good at finding new ways to do. Death and sex. These are the two things that most people wonder about first when contemplating a new technologies possible applications.
onyxhawke: (Default)
( Jul. 18th, 2008 03:44 pm)
“Write with nouns and verbs, not with adjectives and adverbs. The adjective hasn't been built that can pull a weak or inaccurate noun out of a tight place.”
William Strunk
onyxhawke: (Default)
( Jun. 15th, 2008 10:51 am)
There is so much bad information out there about the publishing industry, and writing, and how to find an agent that i was wondering what posts people had seen that had good advice. Got a link or two to share, post them in comments.

Here's a few i found interesting.




http://onyxhawke.livejournal.com/18477.html *


It occurs to me that i should be adding more posts to my memories....

*Yes I know its hubris to include myself, otoh if in almost two years i don't think I've said anything useful, its time to stop spewing displaced electrons. Besides, not everyone may have seen that one.


onyxhawke: (Default)


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