Monthly Archives: August 2009

Faceless Characters

I’m working on my first urban fantasy.  I’m not sure how I ended up in this genre, but here I am.  Anyway, I’m finally getting a feel for my hero and heroine.   I know why they act the way they do and say the things they say.  But I have no idea what they look like.

Normally, I have a vague idea of my main characters’ appearance.  Either a real live person has inspired the character or I’ve written the character and later discover a real live person who fits perfect or just enough to help me visual scenes as I write/edit.

So how soon do you know what your characters look like?  Do you need to know what your characters look like before you start writing their story?

Feel free to share the inspirations for your characters.

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Do “Serious” Writers Write for the Web?

Here’s another question from the interview I completed a while back. This one touches on a bias I run across far too frequently…that e-pubbed writers aren’t really published.

The Question:

How would you respond to the “prevailing wisdom” that “serious” writers don’t write for the web?

My Answer:

Serious writers learn their craft. Sometimes that education comes from academia, sometimes from spendy writers’ workshops, sometimes from hiring a freelance editor. None of those avenues was available to me. I had earned my Masters Degree years earlier and had no desire to return to college. Costly avenues like Gotham or freelance editing were beyond my means. My critique workshop, Wordos,  gave me a great start, but they only critiqued short fiction. I wanted to write novels.

I found my education in e-publishing.

My publisher saw promise in my writing and was willing to work with me—as long as I was willing to sweat blood and learn. I was blessed with an amazing editor. Her skill coupled with my willingness to revise produced two novellas and two novels that I’m quite pleased with. They’re not my best work—that’s still to come, but they’re the best I was capable of at the time.

Because of the great foundation my e-pub gave me, I’m now represented by a fabulous agent with a well-respected NYC agency. I’ll admit, I’m hoping for a print publishing contract, but I’m also proud to be part of the e-publishing world. I’d like my career to span all available avenues of readership.

Serious writers follow the best path they can find. Most importantly, serious writers write.

Discussion:

What are your thoughts on the subject? Do you think e-published writers are second-class citizens in the literary world, or do you agree that e-publishing represents a different but legitimate business model?

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Pimp Your Hero

Tell us about your hero.

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VACAY

Sorry all, i am on a little vacation so no Thursday blog until September!!

Lots of Love, Inez

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THE SILVER CASKET is Available Now

Silver Casket-c

The Silver Casket
by
Debbie Mumford

Cat Logan, a young American with a recent degree in medieval literature, travels to Scotland to discover her Celtic roots. She finds more than she bargained for when a mysterious silver casket (rumored to hold the desiccated heart of a long dead Scottish laird) transports her back in time to the 1400s and the man whose heart she holds in her hands.

Publisher: Freya’s Bower
Genre:
Time Travel/Historical
Rating: Tangy
Book Length: Novella

Buy Here.

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Who’s On Top?

This school year I have more time to myself so I plan on catching up on things I ended up neglecting last school year because my schedule was crazy.  One thing is reading.

The next three books I’m going to read (order yet to be determined) are:

Push by Sapphire

The Wind Done Gone by Alice Randall

Real Murders by Charlaine Harris

That’s what’s on top of my To Be Read pile.  What’s on top of your pile?

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To Agent or Not To Agent…That is the Question

Apologies for missing my post time last week. My computer crashed Tuesday night, so blogging on Wednesday morning wasn’t an option. I now have a brand new hard drive, and thanks to an excellent external back-up, I’m back in business!

I was interviewed over the weekend in preparation for an upcoming speaking engagement and thought we might discuss one of the questions.

The Question:

Do you need an agent to get started [in publishing], and if not, at what point do you think one is most useful?

My answer (modified somewhat since I haven’t reproduced the entire interview here):

It depends on your path. You don’t need an agent to sell short fiction or for e-publishing, which is a totally different business model from traditional publishing. If you’re writing novels and your heart is set on one of the big NY publishing houses, then you need an agent.

The best time to find an agent is when you have a novel that’s polished and ready for submission. Here’s the sticky point: you may not recognize when that criteria has been met.

I wrote my first novel without benefit of craft knowledge. My husband read it. My best friend read it. My daughter read it. They were all so proud that I’d written this massive story they couldn’t see straight. They certainly couldn’t give me knowledgeable critique.

Based on their benediction and my own glow of pride, I queried numerous agents. Looking back, I am totally unsurprised that I received only form letter rejections, but at the time I was frustrated beyond belief.

But you know what? That frustration proved to be the catalyst that turned me into a real, honest-to-God writer. I had two choices: throw up my hands and wail, “It’s not fair! No one will give me chance!” or suck it up and figure out what I’d done wrong. I chose the second option. I found OWC [Oregon Writers Colony and began taking classes]. I accepted the invitation to Wordos [a Eugene, Oregon critique group]. I drove to and from Eugene [two hours each way] every Tuesday night for eighteen months. I accepted contracts with a brand new nobody-has-ever-heard-of-them e-pub. I listened to every comment my editor made and absorbed as much as I possibly could. And…I wrote.

When I finished my first contemporary young adult novel, I decided it was time to try for an agent again. I sent my novel out to beta readers. Not my husband, best friend, and daughter. Oh, they read it and loved it, but the readers who helped me decide if it was ready were writers with NY contracts and unpublished writers who understood plot and characterization.

When my query letter and synopsis had undergone a similar vetting, I began my agent quest, and this time I received personalized rejections. But I also received requests for partials and fulls, and one fine day…an offer of representation.

Discussion:

So what about you? Do you agree with my assessment of the agent question? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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