Review: Les Misérables (with a Z)

I wrote this a couple of weeks ago on a plane en route to ClickerExpo, but I forgot to finish and post it live. Here we go!

Les Miserables playbill

I had the opportunity to see the new tour of Les Misérables this week, and I’m still trying to decide how I feel about it.

I came awkwardly to my Broadway nerddom. When young Laura told my piano teacher I wanted the learn the “Phantom of the Opera music,” I meant Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, and I was honestly boggled when she gave me the title track to Lloyd Webber’s show, which I’d never heard of. Then that stage passed, and I came of theater age during the heady early ’90s. This of course meant Les Misérables was a key influence.

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Typo Bounty Program!

I self-publish, and I publish traditionally. My work may be read by one editor or a half dozen. I’ve read it myself 5 or 25 times before it goes to press. And still somehow a typo can occasionally slip through.

Bert knows this is wrong.

It doesn’t happen a lot; I work hard to put out clean manuscripts. But I recently found an error in a story I’d sold (published elsewhere), and then this week a glitch ate some layout code and spat up paragraph break errors among hundreds of pages, all of which must be found and fixed manually.

Sometimes it’s human error. Sometimes it’s software. It’s always frustrating, even if they’re generally uncommon. But one advantage of independent publishing over traditional is the ability to correct that stray typo sooner rather than later (or not at all).

Announcing the Typo Bounty Program! /perky kazoo music/

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Authors & Publishers, check your machine learning licenses

Check your machine learning licenses. Even if you didn’t know you had granted one. Especially if you didn’t know you had granted one.

I have just been alerted by my narrator to a clause tucked into my Findaway Voices distribution agreement. It was the last bit of attached Schedule D, distribution policies about things like poor recording quality, hate speech, and [highly inappropriate behavior with animals and minors], and other categories I never expected to apply to our work, so I hadn’t seen it.

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Laura’s Big Guide to Conference Networking, or, How To Meet People in Mutually Beneficial Ways Without Feeling Like a Salesman or Wanting to Chew Your Eyes Out

I see a lot of writers stressing about talking with other writers at events. The stereotype, of course, is that writers are writers because they would rather sit in a dark room by themselves than interact with other people. And yes, it’s true, I do spend a lot of time with my imaginary friends.

But not only are writers capable of socializing like normal functional humans, it’s essential that they do. Publishing is too big to go alone; you’re going to need to take along some colleagues, for everything from critique partners to comparable marketing to moral support.

I’ve been attending 2-5 in-person conferences a year (except in 2020) for writing and my day job for the last decade or more. I’ve done a lot of conferences. Here are some things to keep in mind and to try!

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Pro Writing Aid’s Fantasy Writers’ Week

If you love writing fantasy, this is the event for you. Join thousands of other fantasy writers to learn from the experts, find your community, and write your fantasy novel.

I (Laura) will be speaking on Magic Systems as Science in Fantasy:

Put a dozen fantasists in a room and lines will quickly be drawn between proponents of Sanderson’s Laws of Magic, writers with encyclopedias full of crafting data, and some who turn up their hands and say, “I just make it up as I go.” But magic is both character and setting in fantasy, and as soon as you have someone deliberately using it, you have a science, too.

Just as there are many ways to use character and setting, so must a writer know how to choose the best technique in this instance for magic and scientific magic. We’ll cover broad theories, advantages and disadvantages of different approaches, and some tips for informing the reader how this magic is different than in the previous book she read.

March 1, 2022, 4pm Eastern

CasaCon

Come again for this convention at home!

I’ll be speaking on “What Happens After You Publish a Book?” on Friday at 3 pm Eastern along with RL Merrill and Angela Shanté.

Rewards & Reinforcement (To Write & Have Written)

There’s a lot of advice out there on using rewards to motivate your writing (especially during stretch events like NaNoWriMo). While keeping your motivation strong is a good idea, a lot of this advice is not terribly scientific, and it can be modified to be more effective.

Let’s talk about the difference between rewards and reinforcement, why we need to be proud of reaching a goal, and what to do when you tend to cheat and get your prize early.

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