Archive for 'i think about stuff'



What Stace had to say on Wednesday, January 21st, 2015
Spoilers

(No, there are no spoilers here, or rather, not of any of my work. I promise.)

A few weeks ago I had the misfortune of catching the movie The House at the End of the Street on TV. I say “misfortune,” because no one watching this thing could ever feel that they were experiencing anything but bad luck, or the laughter of fate. It’s not that it’s an awful movie; that’s the problem. It’s not interesting enough to be awful. It’s just dull, a series of nothing moments that lead to nothing, and every time the movie makes you think something interesting is about to happen, it decides instead to show you another very dull or pointless thing.

This isn’t a movie review, or rather, the movie itself isn’t the subject of this post. Spoilers are the subject of this post, and it was conversation about this movie that inspired that subject, so I’m talking about the movie as background and example. And along the way I’m just saying–for informational purposes, really–that The House at the End of the Street pretty much sucked, despite its rather interesting and spooky-sounding premise.

Here is that premise: A girl and her mom move into a big expensive house on a secluded street. The house across the street (or behind them, I’m not exactly sure; what I do know is that neither house was actually at the end of a street) was the scene of a murder years before, wherein a teenage girl murdered her parents and then presumably drowned, though they never found her body. The movie give us one moment of “Hey, what’s that? That’s creepy” when Elisabeth Shue (who plays the mother and looks gorgeous) sees a light on in that house, and looks scared by it. Lucky for us, though, the movie is quick to reassure us–almost immediately, in fact–that there’s nothing to be frightened of, there’s just a dude living there. No ghosties or anything, just the son of the murdered parents/brother of the murderous sister, who is around twenty-one now. He was away visiting an aunt when the murders occurred, so of course, like any normal young person, he wants to keep living all alone in the big huge secluded house fifteen miles outside of town where his parents met their violent ends at the hands of his sister. Makes sense to me, sure.

So. There’s some dumb scene with a subplot or something with some guy who skeeves all over Jennifer Lawrence (and, okay, I’m sorry, but I don’t get it. I do not see the “OMGMOSTBEAUTIFULGIRLEVERANDSOCHARMINGANDTALENTEDTOO” thing. Sure, she’s a pretty enough girl, but so is just about every other young actress. JMO.) and her walking home from a party; it’s a ten-mile walk, we are told, so it makes sense that she wouldn’t try to get someone else to take her or attempt to call a cab or anything. A Mysterious Guy drives past and asks if she needs a ride; she wisely says no, but then it starts to rain and she gets in the car after all.

It turns out–here’s where the post topic comes in–that this guy is Ryan, the suburban murder-house hermit. It turns out he’s taking classes at community college, slowly making his way toward, and saving up for, a four-year college education. Anyone might be forgiven for thinking, “Dude, if you sold that enormous chunk of real estate you rattle around in by yourself, you could skip the community college,” but apparently it’s all Ry-ry has to remember his family by, and that’s why he stays, all by his lonesome in a house where his family were slaughtered in a town that openly loathes him. Yes, Ryan, I’m sure your parents would want you to struggle and be ostracized in their death house because pictures just aren’t enough sometimes.

Anyway. We meet Ryan. He drops Jennifer Lawrence at her house and goes home. We watch him for a minute or two as he wanders around, a tiny lone figure in a huge house, and makes some soup from a can or something (it might have been spaghetti-Os? I don’t recall). He puts the food on a tray and heads downstairs into the basement, where he pulls back a rug on the floor to reveal a trapdoor, which he lifts, which reveals a whole ‘nother underground hallway–I mean, not a tunnel, but a full-on hallway–which leads to a locked door (he leaves the key above the doorframe, because why would you keep that key with you?), beyond which is a small bedroom, and in that bed is a girl in a slightly ragged nightgown with semi-ratty blonde hair. The girl sort of grunt-screams and tries to attack him, but he sedates her with one of those tranq syringes it’s so easy for people to acquire just in case. “Calm down, Carrie Ann,” he says, and we in the audience stop rolling our eyes and guffawing long enough to gasp! In shock! Carrie Ann is the name of his murderous sister! Clearly he, when he was a teen, dug and remodeled this sub-basement to keep his sister a prisoner because he loves her and can’t let the law or a hospital have her (or maybe his parents did so, because they wanted an extra guest room and thought it would be fun to treat their guests like prisoners at a gulag? Maybe they just really wanted to dig out a secret room under their house as an experiment in engineering? Maybe they planned to mine coal in secret, for kicks?)! Clearly, this is why he stays in town–it’s not the memories, it’s so he can keep his sister locked in this sub-basement rather than keeping her in some other above-ground bedroom somewhere nobody knows them and thus would not recognize her! Clearly he keeps her there because it would be awful to alert the authorities and thus get her the help she needs! It makes perfect sense!

Now. At this point we are barely thirty minutes into the film. We have just met Ryan, and the camera has essentially stayed with him from the moment he meets Jennifer Lawrence all the way through his fascinating food-making and into the basement to his conversation with and drugging of Carrie Ann.

I went hunting around for reviews and such of this film, and found many that mentioned this plot point: Ryan lives in the house and keeps Carrie Ann in his basement.

Every one of those reviews had someone–often numerous people–bitching about the “spoiler.”

You guys, something the movie shows you in the first half-hour is not a spoiler. It’s a plot point.

When a movie introduces you to a major character in that first half hour, and follows him back to his house to show you-the-viewer what’s in his amazingly professionally-finished sub-basement, that’s not a spoiler. That is a character and plot point that the movie wants you to know before it goes any further.

When a movie’s trailer essentially says to you, “ZOMGYOUGUYS CARRIE ANN’S LIKE TOTALLY STILL OF THE LIVING CHECK IT OUT” by showing you characters conversing with and about Carrie Ann…that’s not a spoiler. It is a plot point. (Seriously. That shit is in the trailer. See for yourself.)

A spoiler is something the movie makers (or author/s or songwriter/s or whatever) want to keep hidden. When M. Night Shyamalan made The Sixth Sense, he did not, in the trailer, show any bits of the film’s final scenes. He did, however, include the kid whispering, “I see dead people,” which tells you that it’s not a spoiler to say the movie is about a kid who sees dead people. In fact, even without the trailer, it’s not a spoiler to say the movie is about a kid who sees dead people, because not only is that a pretty intrinsic part of little Cole’s character, which we as viewers are shown this pretty much right away when we’re introduced to him, but it’s an intrinsic part of the movie’s plot.

So, to get to the essence of my point, I personally think any events which take place in a movie’s first half hour or so–or the first third or so of a book–or any character points which are brought to light while we are introduced to that character, are not spoilers. They’re plot points which must be laid in place before the rest of the story can unfold. Every damn thing is not a spoiler.

What do you think?

(Oh, and if you’re curious, the House at the End… movie goes on to be a basic, and very dull, sort of quasi-slasher movie, where people do stupid things for stupid reasons and it never occurs to anyone to call 911 like a normal person would do, and it’s all just dull, dull, dull. It’s not even fun to make fun of, it’s so dull and insipid.)

Also not a spoiler: I’ll have some news for everyone soon.

Also also not a spoiler: I have been very busy lately, making lots of new words.

What Stace had to say on Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011
Write What You Know

You guys know I think a lot of writing advice is total crap. And really, that’s because it is. “Kill your darlings?” My ass. Yes, if you have to, you have to, and I know what the line is supposed to actually mean, but it sounds like you’re supposed to machete your way through your book chopping up anything you think is especially good. Um, why, exactly, would I want to do that? Were I to have “killed [my] darlings,” there would certainly be no Abominable Snowpimp. Although maybe that’s a bad example, because I was actually worried that it was too funny for the tone of the rest of the book. But my agent and editor and everyone else loved it so much I left it. The point still remains: You have to cut things that need to be cut, but really, if the good lines stand out with that much contrast in your work, maybe your work just isn’t good enough in general. (Sure, I have a few lines etc. I’m more proud of than any others. Every writer does. But I’d like to think they aren’t so much better than the rest of my lines that the reader stumbles over them.)

Personally I think most of those rules are crappity-crap-crap. And I’m sick of them all being passed around like Moses brought them down from the mountain. The fact is, if you write well and have a strong, stylish, commercial voice you can get away with just about anything.

But here’s one I agree with; in fact, one I believe in strongly. And I feel that it’s sadly, sadly misunderstood by many, which is why I’m going to discuss it.

See, I think there’s a belief out there, especially amongst beginning writers, that “write what you know” means that if you’re a farmer you should write about farming, or if you’re an office manager you’re not going to be able to write about the life of a wizard.

That’s not what it means.

“Write what you know” means write what you know emotionally. It means write what you understand and feel. It means write from the inside.

Great stories are important, yes. Great writing–or at least good writing–is important, yes. But what involves readers, what really makes them understand, identify with, and care about your stories–your characters–is making sure your characters are three-dimensional, fully developed people, with feelings. Your characters have to have emotional lives, because your readers have emotional lives. Your characters have to let their emotions color how they see the world, because your readers’ emotions color how they see the world. And your characters’ feelings and emotions, and their emotional desires and needs, have to be real and important to them, because your readers have emotional desires and needs that are very important to them.

I think I mentioned in an interview once that what really struck me about the responses to the Downside books was the way readers seem to either violently identify with and understand Chess, or violently dislike and not understand Chess at all. And I find the differences in those people, and the comments of the few I’ve seen who dislike her, are pretty interesting (to me, at least), in that their outlook on the world and the way they present themselves is one I often don’t understand or care for, either. That’s not to say it’s wrong or they’re a bunch of assholes; it’s also not to say that the only reason someone might not like my books or characters is because they’ve never felt that kind of alienation/loneliness/insecurity/dislike of self-satisfied people/aversion to being “normal” or whatever else. But it is something I’ve noticed.

When I started writing UNHOLY GHOSTS one of my main goals was to write a heroine I could identify with and understand, because I hadn’t seen any out there, really. I mean yeah, of course I wanted to write the most kick-ass different type of UF I could, but the reason why I cared about the book and the reason why the characters in it mean so much to me is because I worked really hard on giving them the feelings and emotions and outlooks that matter to me, that are what I understand. I know those feelings, and I know that outlook on the world, and I believe that’s why they were able to come across as clearly and strongly as they apparently did; it’s why those books are, frankly, deeply personal to me.

In other words, I wrote what I know.

I’ve been asked before what sorts of things I can’t/couldn’t write and I’ve always said I can’t really write happy people. I mean, of course I can write people who have found some happiness, or who have fun sometimes; no one wants to read a book where all the MC does is sit around moping and contemplating suicide. I’ve been unfortunate enough in the past to know a few truly negative people, the kinds of people who when I finally got away from them I was an absolute mess because just being around them was like being trapped inside a life-sucking black cloud of misery. That’s not good, and that’s something we all have to be careful with; certainly I find myself editing out some rather depressing little rambles on occasion.

Everyone has emotions and feelings. Everyone has their own unique way of looking at the world. You have to dig deep inside yourself and really feel those emotions, really think about how they affect the way you look at things. That’s what you put into your characters, and that’s what makes them real. If you’re giving your characters emotions or reactions you don’t understand or simply haven’t really thought about, the reader will know it. It will feel false, because it will be false. And false work means nothing to anyone; lies don’t resonate in the mind or the soul.

No, you might not know what it’s like to walk on the moon. But if you think about it, you probably do know how you felt when you achieved something amazing, or saw something that filled you with awe and wonder–even if it was something as simple as telling someone you love them or seeing Lord of the Rings for the first time. Those are the feelings you know. Those are the feelings you use.

“Write what you know” isn’t about the outside stuff, the plot or setting. “Write what you know” doesn’t mean your character has to do the same job as you, live the same life as you, and look like you. What it does mean is that your character has to feel–and have feelings–like an actual living person. It means those characters have to behave and react the way real living people would, and do.

Does it mean your character has to be just like you? No. But it does mean that if your character isn’t like you, you’re going to have to figure out how you differ and how you’re the same, and adjust your feelings accordingly, because they still have to be strong and real.

“Write what you know” means write from the heart. It means don’t be afraid to expose what needs to be exposed. Don’t be afraid to share something truly important, something truly meaningful, with your readers. Writing and reading should be about sharing; it should be about a universal experience the writer and reader share. It should be about feeling something, no matter what that something is. And if you aren’t feeling it, neither will your readers; if you’re lying they’ll know it, and it will at first confuse and then turn them off. They didn’t pay good money for something that rings false to them, that feels like manipulation, that feels like the writer didn’t think they were important enough to really work for. They didn’t pay good money to be fobbed off with something fake.

Writing fiction is telling a story, yes. But writing characters is telling a truth, and it’s your truth; the truth you know. You have to tell it as strongly, as deeply, and as well as you possibly can.

What Stace had to say on Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011
Some Quick Notes

This is just a quick one, everyone, a few little tidbits of tidbittiness.

1. I turned in my story for the MAMMOTH BOOK OF GHOST ROMANCE. I’m fairly pleased with it, although writing romance really isn’t my forte, necessarily, and you all know sorts definitely aren’t. Plus, it’s a Downside story–or more accurately, a Chess/Terrible Triumph City story–so writing a happy ending was a bit weird, ha. But I think it’s a fairly sweet little tale, and I think there’s enough this-love-thing-kinda-sucks in there to make it work. Plus, kinky hippies.

2. Working on edits for Book 4, and plan to start Book 5 tonight. At some point these books need titles, although I admit the idea of simply titling them “4” and “5” has its own ascetic appeal.

3. Working on New Project too. Still pleased with it 3,000 words in, which is nice, since usually the “This sucks” sets in after the first few pages.

4. I will be doing the “Write What You Know” post soon.

5. Also…it occurred to me last week, I think, that I never did get around to doing my Editing posts, and the editor interviews. So look for those in the next month or so, I think, because I totally don’t have enough on my plate and need to pile more work onto myself.

6. My good friend Yasmine Galenorn had a book release yesterday! BLOOD WYNE, the latest in her Otherworld series.

7. Oh, shit! I forgot to mention, I got my Dragon*con Guest Agreement letter the other night, so failing a major problem, I will once again be a guest this year.

Valentine’s Day is coming up; I went to the grocery store a few minutes ago (I know! Can you believe I left the house? Crazy!) and they have all of their heart-shaped boxes of chocolate and pink-wrapped Hershey’s Kisses and stuff out. Which is all very cute, but I hate Valentine’s Day. I always tell the hubs to ignore it, and he always says he will then feels guilty at the last minute and gets me something, and it’s usually something I get annoyed by because if he was going to spend the money why couldn’t it be on something I actually wanted (I’m a big proponent of “Stick to the list!”) and we end up, if not fighting, then at least grumpy.

Oh, and one year he got us these Valentine’s Day crackers, like Christmas crackers? Where you pull the ends and there’s a little paper hat etc. inside? Anyway. These had little shiny red hearts inside them. I swear we found hearts in the couch/on the floor for the next year and a half. It’s like glitter, where one person uses glitter in the house and for the next ten years odd bits of glitter keep sticking themselves to you for no reason at all. It’s like it gets in the air shafts.

Anyway. Valentine’s Day sucks, so let me be the first to go one record with my “It Sucks” post. (Although some of you might be very interested to know that the rooftop scene in UNHOLY MAGIC took place on that day. No, it’s never mentioned outright–and the holiday no longer exists in that world, of course–but in my head, given the timeline, I realized early on that it was the early-middle of February in dramatic time, so it fit very well.)

I can’t remember the last time I had a really good Valentine’s Day, actually. I think it was in early elementary school? For a long time, like all through high school, I was sick on Valentine’s Day. I used to get respiratory infections every year in October and February.

Oh, and the really fun one? In junior high our school did a fundraiser where you could send your friends flowers–carnations–in their classrooms. Because that’s a really good idea when you’re dealing with junior-high-age kids: give them another chance to openly measure and compare at a glance how many friends everyone has, and a perfect excuse for them to be even nastier to one another.

Anyway. In seventh grade I was sick the whole week before, and so no one sent me any flowers (of course, they might not have had I been there, either; I didn’t have a lot of friends, and the few I had didn’t have a lot of money, and neither did I). So I got to walk around the whole day with bitchy little soc girls asking me where my flowers were, and hadn’t anyone sent me any? with extremely pleased grins on their faces. I was twelve. That shit matters when you’re twelve. It was pretty awful.

Ah, glorious childhood memories. So anyway, yeah. I’m happy to buy the candy, because I love candy (I’ve managed to cut back on my peanut-butter cup dependency, btw. I’m down to four a night), but the rest of it? Meh.

Got any bad Valentine’s Day memories to share?

What Stace had to say on Thursday, May 21st, 2009
Agents = People. Not fish.

Okay, okay. I know it’s a figure of speech. I know people use it all the time. And I know they use it for different reasons, and that I could very well be the only weirdo who sees it this way (hey, wouldn’t be the first time).

But it drives me nuts when I see people posting or blogging or whatevering about “landing an agent.”

I’m not sure why the phrase gets under my skin so much. It just feels…braggardly (a word I coined on Twitter last night. Feel free to use it. Someone else probably invented it first but I’m taking credit, at least until they step forward).

Seriously? I picture a writer posing for one of those Prize-Marlin pictures, with the hapless agent suspended by a large hook, a dribble of blood down his or her chin and wide, staring, frightened eyes. It’s just not a good image, guys. It kind of creeps me out.

And here’s the thing. Landing a fish implies a sort of physical battle; a test of wills between the fish and the fisherman. It implies mastery over a wild thing; that a contest of strength and endurance was entered into and victory was achieved. Getting an agent, or interesting an agent, or signing with an agent? Not remotely like that.

Now, I do see the analogy. I do. Querying agents can feel like a test of endurance, certainly. And it does require some strength. It’s tough to send out those letters and not know what will come back. It’s tough to get rejections from people you really thought you’d like to work with, people who you really thought would “get” you and your work. It can be exhausting. It can be soul-crushing. And while I am, as you know, a member of the “suck it up” school, I do understand and remember how hard it is, and how it feels when you think this book you love so much, this book you really think is special, isn’t going to go anywhere or do anything. Yes. It hurts. (I just don’t think we need to talk about it.)

But querying agents isn’t You Vs. Agent. It isn’t, any more than finding a mate is You Vs. Them. (Which is another phrase I hate, for basically the same reasons: “catching” a husband. Hardly anybody says it anymore, because it sounds so silly and antiquated. Something to think about, huh? Anyway. “Catching” a husband makes it sound as though I set up a snare in the woods and waited in the bushes with a club and a wedding ring for some hapless guy to wander along and step into my trap. It just sounds…ech.) When you date, you’re looking for the Right Fit.

And so are the other people.

You don’t hear agents talking about “landing” a new client, do you? (I certainly never have.) No. They sign new clients. There’s no implication that they have somehow Mastered The Wild in finding a new writer to represent.

It just presents an image I dislike. I didn’t “land” my agent. I didn’t haul him onto the deck of my pontoon boat and gut him while he gasped and writhed. I don’t look at what happened that way. I don’t see the getting of agents as me setting some kind of pheromonal Venus Flytrap and hoping an agent would blunder into it. I don’t see myself as being some kind of victor, the Teddy Roosevelt of Big-Agent Hunting, with heads mounted on my wall.

(Someone on Twitter last night mentioned this in relation to record contracts, like how bands are said to “land” a record deal. But it doesn’t bother me so much in that instance. Why? Because record contracts, being printed paper agreements and service deals, are not human either.)

I adore euphemism. I love the images words can create. It’s fun, and exciting. And yes, “landed an agent” can be a very vivid one. But it’s also one that implies some sort of trickery, a painful struggle in which an unwilling victim is finally brought down through force of will and heavy fishing line. And it just grates on me when I hear it used in reference to agents or other human beings. It sounds a little pretentious, a little braggy (or braggardly, if you like).

It’s just a pet peeve. Take it as you will.

What Stace had to say on Thursday, April 2nd, 2009
I think about stuff

Okay, lots of stuff to cover and get through and all of that.

First, the other day I cam across this cool blog/site called Best Fantasy Books.com. Another site had a link to this post about ARCs and reviews that I thought was really interesting.

Most of my thoughts on the subject are covered in my comment, which is the fifth comment down:


I think the disconnect comes from something I’ve seen a lot, which is the idea that reviews are written for the gratification of authors, or solely in order to provide them with pretty shiny quotes they can put on their websites and blogs. But they’re not. Reviews are for readers, plain and simple.

And more than that, reviews don’t sell books if the books aren’t readily avilable either. I might see an enthusiastic review somewhere. I might then jot down the title of the book and look for it on Amazon or next time I go to the bookstore. But when I do those things, I’m looking for something to read THEN. If the bookstore doesn’t have it I’ll grab something else. If Amazon or B&N.com or Borders or whatever is going to have to order it for me and I’ll have to wait three weeks or six weeks for it, I might very well not buy it then either, especially if I have the money in hand and don’t know if I will when the book ships and I’m charged for it. Or heck, I don’t know I’ll get the book at all.

A really, really stellar review for a book that speaks to a very specific interest of mine might inspire me to go the extra mile. But in general, if the book isn’t readily available, I’ll buy something else. Reviews are for readers, to help them choose books at the store. While it’s always fun to get a shiny quote, and it’s always nice to see small-press books get some attention and reviews, the fact remains that if the book isn’t available there’s little point.

See, here’s the thing. I’m pretty sure that the good reviews Personal Demons got contributed directly to the nice level of sales the book had; certainly it sold more than I’d expected it would. But that’s also because those reviews were backed up by the book being available in stores. The book had a professional (if small) publisher, with professional distribution that got it on the shelves. So when people read one of those nice reviews, they could go to the store and buy the book. In that sense the reviews were extremely helpful.

But they were also legitimate reviews. Well-written reviews, which stated what the reviewer liked or did not like. Those ego-stroke reviews you see vanity press authors giving each other in a big, sloppy, “This book is the most wonderful thing ever, it totally swept me away and I couldn’t put it down” circle-jerk? Useless. You think readers don’t see through those things? Of course they do. Readers by definition are not stupid; they read.

But I do seem to see more and more the attitude the Best Fantasy Books gentleman describes: entitlement. I sent you a free book, so you owe me a review. More than that, you owe me a good review. If you read any of the review blogs or websites you’ll see this more and more; reviewers being harrassed by authors, called names, yelled at, argued with, all because they either did not review or did not like the book in question.

This is an unprofessional attitude, frankly. Nobody owes you shit.

Which brings me to Agentfail.

Here’s what bugs me about things like Agentfail. It’s a great idea. It could be a really useful and informative discussion. Instead, it ends up becoming much like the last discussion the lovely BookEnds ladies (I really like them, and their blog; I had occasion to deal with Ms. Faust back when I was querying Personal Demons and was left with nothing but positive impressions); a gang of unagented writers complaining–raging–about the query process, with such viciousness it makes the stomach churn.

And in doing so they obscure the legitimate points that have been or might be made. The “No response=no” policy, for example. I don’t have a problem with it. I never have. I certainly don’t understand why it inspires such fury in people, or why they feel entitled to a response from people they don’t know. If I send JK Rowling a fan letter, I don’t expect that she’s going to respond to me. Just like if I send the guy who lives two streets over a letter asking if he’d like to meet for a drink, I don’t expect him to respond to me. Because neither of them owe me shit. Why would you not only expect that a total stranger go out of his or her way to speak to you, but then get angry because they don’t use your name and include a few lines about how special you are?

Yes, I know the agent/querier situation is different. It’s a potential business relationship. Okay, then. Here’s an example. When we were planning our wedding I bought a box of chocolates. The company who made the chocolates was a small company that apparently does custom work as well. I emailed them and asked if they would be interested in making chocolates for my wedding. They never replied.

Oh, well.

I didn’t feel the need to burn them at the stake. I didn’t feel the need to start spreading their name all over the internet because how dare they IGNORE me when I sent them an unsolicited email for a job which did not interest them.

Here’s the thing, guys, and I know it might be hard to believe but it’s true. When your project is sellable, agents will respond. It really is that simple, and I knew that two or three years ago, long before I started seriously querying. If you’re not getting replies, it’s because nobody’s interested, and while that’s tough to deal with it is the simple truth.

That isn’t to say I approve of “no reply=no” as a policy, or rather, I don’t have a problem with it but do think agents who have that policy should set up an auto-responder for their email so the querier knows the thing was received. It’s not hard and it saves everyone a lot of trouble.

But again, that reasonable request–have an auto-responder–gets lost under piles and piles of “You’re not giving me feedback/you’re not using my name/you’re not calling me up to say hello/how dare you ask me to write your name on the query and then send me a form reply,” comments, couched in combative and abusive language.

I realize I look at this from a different perspective now. Quite frankly, I want my agent reading the stuff I send him and working on deals for me, rather than spending extra time giving feedback to people he doesn’t represent. Every minute he spends on that is a minute during which he could be doing something for me. Sorry, but it’s true. I (and all his other clients) pay him 15% to work for me, to read my submissions and work on them, to vet my contracts, to use his connections on my behalf.

You, on the other hand, do not pay him a dime to query him. Which means, to put it bluntly, I’m paying his salary during the time in which he’s reading and responding to your queries.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind this. I don’t even think of it this way; I’m just using this as an example of how my view of it is different now, and why agents handle queries the way they do (because it’s first and foremost in their mind, as well, or at least it should be; clients should be the priority). I don’t begrudge the time it takes for him to handle his queries–or do things for his other clients–and I don’t know a single writer who does. But again, I never thought I was entitled to anything from an agent. I never thought I deserved feedback (although again, I agree that a personalized response on requested materials–at least on fulls requested after partials–would be nice).

My point isn’t that writers don’t have the right to complain or be upset or hate the way things work or be irritated or have opinions. My point is that when the opportunity comes up to discuss issues in which agents could handle things differently or better, the anger doesn’t do anyone any good. The sheer hatred permeating that thread, leaking from my laptop screen in a choking mist…does nothing to make the points expressed look better or more valid. It just makes it easier to dismiss all of the comments and complaints as the frustrated rantings of a mob of wannabes.

And it’s depressing.

Okay. Moving on. Yes, we leave here next week; the movers are coming on Monday. My Monday post will be a short one; I’m going to open the blog to book recommendations from all of you, and I’m hoping that you’ll all have a great discussion while I’m away, so please, link to the post, tell your pals, whatever you want to do. (Or don’t, in which case I’ll just feel unpopular and unloved because nobody’s commenting on my thread.)

I’m not sure what my internet access will be. I will try. Later today or tomorrow I’m going to try and download Twitberry (or Tweetberry, whichever it is; I have it written down somewhere) so I can Tweet from my phone. So if that works, you’ll still be able to follow me on Twitter.

I am able to update my Facebook page from the phone already, so if I don’t manage to stop in here, and you’re not on Twitter or whatever, you can check in there if you like.

(BTW, yes, I am fully aware that your lives will move on exactly as before while I’m away from the internet, and that it’s not like my absence–or at the very least, very sporadic presence–for the next month or so is going to cause a huge gaping hole in the internet from which no one will recover until I return. :-) But A) it makes me feel better to list this stuff, as I then feel as if I have some control over the move and all the Big Scary Changes; and B) some of those who follow me or keep up with me in various places online are real-life friends or family members who might reasonably be expected to want to keep tabs on me and make sure I’m safe and sound.)

Turned in the final draft–or rather, my final draft–of the third Downside book yesterday. Final word count: 105,761. New title (yes, another one): GHOST BOUND.

We’re currently looking for a new title for the second book; we want to change the title structure up a bit with the second book rather than doing it suddenly with the third. Still want the word GHOST in there if possible. I know you guys don’t know much about the story or characters, and I’m not going to tell you because that would be a big old spoiler, but make some suggestions anyway, huh? Maybe it will spark something, who knows.

Goodness this is a long post! And I could have sworn I had something else to talk about too, but I don’t remember it.