Finding an Editor: A List

Saturday I spoke on “Secrets of Successful Self-Publishing” at the Allen County Public Library’s annual author fair, and I spoke on the importance of editing and of having an editor. A number of people asked where to find an editor and how to find one appropriate to one’s work, so here’s a follow-up. Continue reading

Write Fights Right!

Sanjuro final duel, two samurai facing each other with spectators in background

If you’ve seen Sanjuro, you know this isn’t a still, but a playing video.

I love good fight scenes. In a story, I want to feel the action. In a film, I want tightly choreographed combat. It’s fine if it’s realistic (the long tension of Sanjuro‘s final duel, and we’ll just ignore the period blood effects), fake realistic (the bloody impact of Logan), crazy physics-defying martial arts (the alternate-world movement of The Matrix), or just plain fun (Captain America kicking Nazi tail). But lame action, the writer glossing over it or the director trying to fake it with shaky cam, makes me feel cheated.

So I try to write good action scenes. And most of the time I feel I do an okay job.

But I’ve been really struggling with one scene. It’s very short, an attempted bar fight which is over in under three seconds. But because it’s so fast, it’s hard to write; I don’t want to lose flow or add length with a lot of explanation, yet the physical actions are fairly complex. I’d been frustrated by this for an embarrassingly long time. So I called in an expert, Carla Hoch. Continue reading

What is up with #Inktober?

Drawing a sword from the book, not stabbing the book. In case it was unclear.

Drawing a sword from the book, not stabbing the book. In case it was unclear.

If you follow my social media, you might have noticed that I’ve been posting ink drawings for #Inktober, and that they’re generally awful. You might have asked yourself why I would do that. Do I know how bad they are, or do I see my work through a blissfully ignorant filter? Is it some sort of prank?

So here’s what’s up with Inktober.

First, in case you aren’t familiar with it, #Inktober is a month for doing one drawing — in ink — and sharing it per day. You can find the brief background and this year’s optional prompt list from the creator Jake Parker. It’s something like National Novel Writing Month, but for visual artists.

Now, let’s recognize that I’m bad at drawing. No, I’m really bad at drawing. The local catchphrase for referring to truly hideous visual design is, “It looks like Laura drew it.” (Don’t feel bad. I’m often the one saying it. It’s not wrong to acknowledge my skills are in other sets.) So why on earth would I do Inktober, which unlike NaNoWriMo specifically requires publicly sharing one’s work?

I’m doing Inktober for several reasons: Continue reading

A Little Feminist Check Re Discrimination

I botched it tonight.

Someone asked our panel about writing in a traditionally male-dominated (both as authors and heroes) genre, as a woman. And several women writers were invited to answer, but with the clock ticking on the last moments of our chat time.

I was discombobulated by trying to formulate both a comprehensive and brief answer under the countdown, and even more so by another panelist’s previous assertion that white males were the cause of the downfall of society — a statement I found untrue as well as unfair to the white male panelists sitting on either side of me at the time, not freaking out about being outnumbered on the panel. Continue reading

Things to Know About Self-Publishing

Rocky Mountain Fiction WritersHere are some of my thoughts about getting started in indie publishing! Feel free to agree or disagree with me over there, fellow writers — comments welcome!

http://rmfw.org/5-important-things-to-know-about-self-publishing-part-1-by-laura-vanarendonk-baugh/

and

http://rmfw.org/5-important-things-to-know-about-self-publishing-part-2-by-laura-vanarendonk-baugh/

vintage travel poster style image of Skellig Michael with text Come Write In IrelandIf you want to hear more from me about self-publishing, make sure you check out the August 2017 edition of http://www.irelandwritertours.com/

Come Write With Me! in Ireland!

vintage travel poster style image of Skellig Michael with text Come Write In IrelandSo we’re closing on the biggest gift-giving occasion of the year, and you don’t know what to get that writer on your list? What about an investment in their writing career? Nothing says love and encouragement and “I believe in you!” like a contribution to their goals. (And reading their work. But that’s much harder to wrap.)

If you are the writer, feel free to leave this page open on a conspicuous monitor or maybe even send a helpful link. Continue reading

Writers Learn EVERYTHING.

I know I’ve talked about the fun and eclectic nature of story research before, but it’s worth returning to.

Devils Hole Pupfish Latina: Cyprinodon diabolis

Devils Hole Pupfish Latina: Cyprinodon diabolis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Topics I have researched for this single short story include but are not limited to:

  • the Devils Hole Pupfish
  • the history of Chinese bronze casting
  • the natural history of Kazahkstan
  • cassowary attacks
  • the destructive “Cultural Revolution” in China
A poster from the Cultural Revolution, featuri...

A poster from the Cultural Revolution, featuring an image of Chairman Mao, and published by the government of the People’s Republic of China. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All to make the story more plausible and real. You’re welcome.

(This story will be published in early 2017.)

#WIPjoy Day 14: Cliffhanger

Share a cliffhanger? I’ll keep this short, in the spirit of #WIPjoy, but here’s Euthalia’s first day in the Norse village, beating out communication with the very few words she knows with a kind older woman.

It was fresher than the boat’s provisions, at least, as they had saved the spices and treats to bring back to the village. And Euthalia, no longer surrounded by dozens of strange male warriors, found herself relaxing enough to feel real hunger. She devoured the bread.

“Good, good,” praised Birna. She nodded. “Eat. Tomorrow, slagtoffer.”

Euthalia did not know the word. “Slag — what?”

Birna smiled, a little tightly, and drew her hand across her throat.

Well, then. Continue reading

Miyazaki & Story

I’m not a huge Hiyao Miyazaki fan — okay, I haven’t even seen all the standards! — but I really like some of what he says here about story in general and about stories for children.

And what he says about stories of fantasy and monsters requiring the realism of human character and emotion, that’s spot on.

(Also, I love that even someone of Miyazaki’s stature is writing the story as he goes along. Makes me feel a bit more justified in my not-exactly-over-plotting approach.)