WooHoo: Good News....

Ok Ok, so it wasn't a sale, but no form rejection for this wanna-be writer! My story did make it out of the slush pile! (And for any of you who know anything about the publishing industry, making it out of the slush pile is half the battle.)

While she didn't like it "enough" to buy it for the site (which publishes 50% new writers and 50% established writers) she was sorry I hadn't submitted something for her last anthology. You remember that right? The infamous Trickster anthology. I am eager to see what stories made it in...the short story I was going to submit to that gave me nightmares and finally I felt like it just wasn't working...I was forcing myself to write on a topic to which I could not relate.

Anyway, I did not submit then, but I am determined to sell my short stories to Ellen so I will keep trying. I am working on one now that is actually science fiction and not fantasy....so that is a first for me. Well see how it goes. There will definitely be a lot of critiquing on that one. I just think out of all the professional markets I have looked at she really selects pieces I like. Plus she publishes more often because it is an online site...(although she only does one at a time and others do multiple...) I guess it is a toss up.

Look at me, I am rambling on and on. I can't even think straight. I am so excited. I am going to spend whatever free time I can get critiquing stories and i have a writing group meeting on sunday...oh wait, uh oh it might be saturday and not sunday. Or it mught be next weekend. yes next weekend. Well that is good I think. Give me some time to catch up, post Harry Potter.

So this story goes out tomorrow to another market. I think that I am going to pull it out of the pro markets and try the semi-pro or webzines...only because I do think it is good enough to be published, and I don't know if it really fits the audience of the pro markets. Plus the Pro markets are so darn slow. I guess I am going to have to start writing faster. I want to keep stuff (high quality stuff) on Ellen's desk. She's a good person to have in your corner. Especially in this sometimes overly masculine field.

ok time for dinner..then stories!!!

Hip Hop and Classical Blends

I'd say I don't have anything against rap. But I do. This...this is real music with real talent. Notice they didn't resort to profanity, sexually explicit language or derrogatory terms. I love it. Click on the photo for a sample of their music. or visit www.nothingbutstringz.com

Oh...another reminder

I keep forgetting to put this in the posts... if you want to join the mailing list to get email notifications alerting you of new posts send the email address you would like to use to ml101400@ohiou.edu

Moment of Zen. "I wanna be a rock star...I wanna be a rock star....I wanna be a rock star....""The computer Gods have graced us with another piece of crap! Yessssss!!!!!"

FanFiction: Part two

How is this for a coincidence? I just got the August monthly newsletter for OWW (online writers workshop) and under the sales announcements, there was an article titled "The Appeal of Fanfiction" on Internet Review of Science Fiction (www.irosf.com). So I jumped over to the site to check it out, as I am almost more intrigued about what published writers have to say about this fanfiction phenomenon than fanfiction itself.

The article, it turns out, was somewhat informative. The author names two widely used websites for fanfiction (that I didn't know of but probably would have found with a simple Google search), Fiction Alley and Fanfiction.net. I opened another browser to check out these new sites and was a little bit blown away. I was very aware that fanfiction was popular and widespread. But there was literally a story posted for every TV show, Film, or Book you can think of. From Shrek, to Friends, Days of our Lives, and even Dark Angel (she says with a rush of excitement). There may only be fifty-four posted fanfic stories for "sex and the city" but Harry Potter fans watch Accordingrding to this article in April "Harry Potter had an impressive 186,525 stories". In just three months that number has jumped to 196,622. That doesn't include any stories that get published on smaller fan sites specifically for a tv show, book or movie.

The article also brings up the question of why Fan Fiction is so popular and why it is so prolific in science fiction and fantasy genres, (besides the obvious, that we're geeks!) To me, I think this answer is a simplistic one. Fans fall so deeply in love with the characters and the world created that they either A, can't stand the idea of it ending or B- are curious about the what if? There are times when reading a novel or series I think, what if she had married him, or what if she had double crossed them and became a bad guy. It is sort of a flashback to those choose your own adventures (honestly part of me thinks they should make a comeback!)

I first stumbled upon fanfiction about five years ago when I started reading the Anita Blake laurelby Laurell K. Hamilton. She's an interesting one that Laurell. Will swear up and down that all fanfiction is an evil, bad thing, completely illegal and something she will not discuss or condone. On one hand I agree with her. She spends countless hours creating these characters, building these worlds and designing the perfect plot, only to have some stranger swoop in when she's not looking and kidnap her characters and stories and rewrite them as their own. Of course most fanfic writers give credit to the author don't they? And isn't it a compliment that someone loved your work and ideas so much that they would spend their free time creating new stories? It's not like they are getting paid, or making money. Now that would be illegal.

Then there is J.K. Rowling. With 200,000 odd stories floating around on the internet it may indeed be impossible to stop, but Jo doesn't seem to give off the impression that she wants to. What is it hurting after all? It certainly doesn't affect the number of people buying her book. Fans aren't choosing fanfic authors over the new Half Blood Prince. In fact, it would be interesting to look at how many new stories have already been posted following the release of the 6th book. And what happens after the 7th? Are all these people going to quietly surrender and fade into the dust? I doubt it. I predict that HP fanfic will become even more prolific after the final book in the series is published. Like newly rehabilitated junkies, fans will flock to the web to get their Harry Potter fix.

But not everyone captures the magic like Jo, and not every story deserves to be praised. In my next entry I intend on reviewing a few fanfiction pieces (a good variety... some storylines I know and some that are new etc. ) to get a better feel for what is out there. Any suggestions or requests? Know any must die for stories? I'd be happy to include them in the next post.

(Fade to Black)

Fan Fiction: the good, the bad and the ugly (Part One)

So I think that I am going to do a set of entries on Fan Fiction. I have my own opinion about it all, but I know that my opinion is based loosely off the few encounters I have had with fan fiction and probably highly biased. As a writer there are things that I like about fanfic, and things I dislike. But I have a feeling that the writers and readers of fanfic might get a bad wrap.

So I think what I will do is spend a week looking into fan fiction…reading some highly recommended stories (because the ones I have read were pretty bad) and then spend a week looking at what published authors think about the subject. Then I will write an entry on each one or on several ones.

Why am I doing this? Part of it is because I see the appeal of fanfic. In fact in some way it was probably how I became a writer. My first true motivation for writing was finishing a book and going, well then what? What happens next? Or other times it was, no way. I would never have ended it that way. I would have done this…and then I rewrote the chapter.

Of course I quickly grew out of that phase, wanting to create new characters, build new relationships etc. Then it was that I wanted to steal bits and pieces of my favorite worlds and characters to build my own stories. I think part of that still exists inside me. When I started working on my novel I had very strong ideas about character, about setting, about what I wanted to accomplish. But part of the fun is taking that seed and helping it grow. Of course I feel like I am trying to grow a 100 year old redwood!

Speaking of novels, I have changed the structure of my novel again. I had some characters that I was going to have each do a stand alone novel in the same world, and then bring them all together in a later novel. Now I think this first novel will be the story of how these three came to become the leaders and protectors of this city. Funny how the stories morph into one another. All these ideas I had and thought had to occur in separate books keep coming back together. So I will just go with it and see what happens. Does someone want to give me a deadline for the first draft, so that I can stop floating aimlessly around. Although to my defense, typically what happens isn’t that I purposely change something but I realize that something isn’t working. I am writing everyday, so that is a start. Although I am not writing everyday on my novel. I have several short stories I am working on, which is nice because I am not in the mood to work on something I just work on some thing else. But it is a good way for avoiding my novel. I have to do something about that.

Ok. I am going to go write, now that I said all that.

Back to reality....

So I survived my Harry Potter weekend. It really was a blast. I finished the book yesterday, and that was while trying to pace myself! But I was torn by my desire to take my time and my fear of running into pricks like such, on the Live Journal Communities that were releasing spoilers on the internet the day before the book came out. Apparently one of them scanned in a copy of a page from the book and were posting it all over the live journal communities. And this is what they had to say about it....

1. But I thought it might have been a fake, so who cares.
2. It was coming out in less than 24 hours and there were going to be spoilers everywhere else anyway so what is the big f'n deal?
3. Harry Potter Sucks A**. Yeah for bringing down man.
4. If you're actually upset over this you have no life. It was a joke man. And I got the last laugh because I outsmarted the publishing company and ruined their precious book/surprise.

Ok dumba**. See I heard about the sites very early on Friday, and pretty much avoided touching my computer from Friday to Sunday because I wasn't taking a chance, but I went back to see if the spoiler was true, what it looked like and I really could not believe it. Apparently now, not only is their a photocopy of the actual page, but someone actually took the time to retype the entire manuscript online in like word or some crap like that. Which as a writer makes me really, really mad. Not only is it completely illegal, but god, there are so many pricks out there... I really hate when people walk aruond thinking they are better than everyone else, above them. I find that a lot of people who look down at "the masses" for liking pop culture/trends are usually full of shit. They are more fake than anyone I know. I try really hard to respect a difference of opinion. And you know what, I don't ask everyone in the world to agree with me, but respect would be nice. Respect my wishes to live my life how I want to and I will gladly do the same. I just can't stand the fact that their are people out there who get pleasure in stupid stuff like this. It's like the kids who get the prom cancelled because they set a fire in the girls bathroom, but they thought the rpom was for losers anyway so they don't care that they ruined it for everyone else. It's just flat out selfish and rude. And a really important lesson that the rest of us seemed to learn in grade school.

I suppose the simple act of the spoiler wasn't what angered me the most. Sure, 24 hours after the release half the people were going to know anyway. What really angered me was reading their comments afterwards, about why they did it. Or their responses to other LJ readers who were upset by the original post. I didn't post anything because I don't have an LJ account and I realize that it is just a waste of time to get into a cyber argument with a bunch of guys who can't mentally comprehend what they did wrong. It's like trying to explain to a 2 year old why he should vote for a certain president. They just aren't going to get it. NO sense in wasting your breath in that battle.

But several smarter people like me thought, well that is just stupid, why waste my time talking to you when I can click over to scholastic and raincoast and some of the other publishers and simply report it. So then this guy gets these letters from legal people at the publishing houses and he's like, oh they aren't real. They can't do anything. and come on man, it was a fake page. Well umm...what you did was illegal in several countries....so yes, idiot. They can do something.

I hope they get sued. I know they probably won't care. it won't make a difference to them. They will still just think it's cool because they got the loser publishing companies to waste money and time on their pathetic lives. But god, people like that make me so mad. Why don't you go and do something productive with your life instead of sponging off of society, and taking up space. There are bigger problems in the world, and these pricks actually have it pretty made and still they walk around thinking they are better than everyone else and just causing trouble to cause trouble. AHHH. Grow up. And this is why people like Harry Potter and the temporary escape it provides.

More fun stuff...

I just read the back cover of the UK edition for HP Half Blood Prince and it sounds so great!!! I can’t believe that it has taken this long to get them to release the jacket blurb. What is up with that? I know they want it to be a surprise and everything but come on!!! Book Jacket blurbs don’t tell you anything. They just heighten the intrigue and suspense.

Anyway, here’s the link to the blurb in anyone is interested:

And this is the link for the book jacket design of the deluxe edition:

See I try to provide my fellow blog readers with nifty links and random facts!


The coolest place ever....

So Westerville’s Public Library is so cool!!! They have so many features that Columbus Public (which claims to be the second best library in the country) doesn’t have. Like the mp3 players that you can check out and download audio books on. Or the technology center, complete with three video editing stations, scanners printers, burners, you name it they have it. They email you when your books are almost due, which is perfect for me because I continue to lose those stupid slips of paper. I tell you I was so lost when they stopped stamping the due date on the back of books. At least that was something you couldn’t lose. Well unless you lost the book of course.

So anyway, they have a lot of really cool things, including something that I just discovered about five minutes ago. They have book club kits! Let’s say for example my friends and I were starting a book club and we wanted to read the secret life of bees. Aside from the books they have, the library has put together a kit that comes with 10 copies of the book and a discussion guide for the leader that includes reviews, questions etc. How awesome is that. I just totally love that idea. My friends and I once started a book club. It was a lot of fun, even if we only made it halfway through the book. We were reading Catch-22. It was great, I really enjoyed it, but we were all so busy with classes that it just became too difficult to get the reading in and find times to meet. But I might try it again, with some friends. Last time we met in a coffee house on campus. But it would have been easier if we had a guide to work from. I think we had decided that we were all going to bring in a set number of questions to discuss. Or maybe there was a different leader each time. I can’t remember. We weren’t 100% organized.

So that was really what I wanted to share. I am trying to keep this blog focused on writing, and books in general…sometimes I stray of topic but I am trying not to do that. Oh and speaking of off topic….my friend just walked by my desk. She just got back from Rwanda two days ago, no three. Wait what day is it? Oh well. She just got back, after about a month in Africa and I get to go and look at all the artwork and crafts she brought back to sell at our fundraiser in the fall. How awesome is that! She really is one of the coolest people I know. She was talking the other day about how hard it is to adjust each time she comes back to the U.S. These people (Rwandans) have been through so much, and are doing so much with so little, she said she just didn’t feel like she should be allowed to walk on the same earth that they did. Her quote was, “I think I’ll just try to breathe less air.”

Anyway, if you haven’t seen Hotel Rwanda, go see it. But take some tissues, and have the number of a good therapist on hand when you do. I know some people who saw it and couldn’t even manage to talk about it afterwards. It was like they couldn’t figure out how to process it. But for me, knowing people who are actively involved in helping, and having that personal connection helps. I don’t know that I will ever go to Africa, even the larger cities like Cape Town in South Africa. It’s like the only place I don’t want to travel to. I think I may have to do a little more self discovery before I get to a point where I feel ready to make that journey. When Oprah took her trip to Africa she said it was so life altering that she was glad she was older and better able to understand it all and give back. Maybe for my 50th birthday I’ll make that journey. I don’t know.

So that was my digression, which I said I wouldn’t do. But oh well. If you want to read more about Rwanda there is another post in the archives…. http://missylynnryan.blogspot.com/2005/02/the-power-of-filmthe-horrors-of-life.html

The coolest place to be....

2 days, 5 hours and 36 minutes....wait 35 minutes

There was a great article in the Wilmington News-Journal on the Harry Potter event this weekend. Click here to check it out… http://online.wnewsj.com/index1.php The article is on page 17 and 18. I enjoyed reading it (as if I am not already excited enough). I don’t know how I am going to get through the next two days!!! The suspense is killing me. The HP group has all sorts of predictions for the new book and it is fun trying to guess what is going to happen, but it only makes it harder to wait. It’s like trying to guess who is going to win awards at the Oscars, once you have an investment in who wins you are much more anxious about the big day.

So I decided that I am going to make a scrap book on the whole event. I have a few clippings already about the event and I am planning on taking a ton of pictures. I might even include some of the scraps of fabric from my costume. Speaking of costumes, mine is almost complete. Somehow, by the grace of God to sew on the racing stripes and the numbers. Well the numbers are large iron-ons made out of that thin white plastic material that they use for sports jerseys. I have a t-shirt to where under the robe, with another number and gold trim. Not quite what the movie uses, but it’s recognizable I think. The only thing left is to figure out if I am going to wear the knee pads and shin guards. I kind of want to, but that is more money that I don’t have and I’m worried I might get to hot.

I suppose the good thing is that when all this is over I will be able to get back to my writing. I wasn’t expecting this little hiatus! And speaking of writing, Charlie’s book came out last month and I am not sure if I mentioned it or not. I have read some of it and it is really good. But Charlie is a pretty awesome writer. If you’re curious, check out his site at http://home.earthlink.net/~ccfinlay/ . There is info on the book that just came out and his next book too. I’ve really learned a lot from his workshops at Context, and the few writeshop meetings he’s attended. But I understand how hard it can be to make all the meetings. I’m not even getting published and this summer I have been struggling to get my schedule to work around writeshop. Once again I will not be able to attend because of the Wilmington thing this weekend and I will be too busy reading harry potter to review anything else. But I am trying to start an online group with a couple of writer’s I’ve met at different conventions who write similar to my tone and style etc. Lots of my stuff has witches, and vampires and magic and it’s not the traditional fantasy but more of a dark fantasy, or a cross between dark fantasy, contemporary fantasy and horror. I just think if I was working with a group that was reviewing and submitting more than once a month it would keep me working on the novel instead of running from it. Deadlines, whether artificial or not, really get me going. Unfortunately I sometimes tend to be a procrastinator. So if I don’t have a deadline it just sort of flounders.

So that is the plan Stan. Costume, Wilmington, Harry, Writing, Critiquing, Done. (sounds like one of those Nextel commercials)

Rent is Due!!!!

I went to the movies last night...and guess what preview I saw. RENT!!!! YEA!!!!! This is one of my favorite musicals. Now I am a happy camper because they made Chicago and Rent! I was worried about Chicago, and eventhough I think the live show is better, I was very impressed with the final project. I was also impressed with Evita, so I have no reason to doubt that I will not like Rent. Besides, the cool think about this movie is that they are using a lot of the actors from the original cast! That is pretty cool.

And guess who the Director is.... Chris Columbus...(in case you don't know he directed the first two harry potter movies which were much better and more true to the books than the third!) Ah the circle of life. It's like the Kevin Bacon game or something. Anyway the site is pretty awesome. the movie comes on on November 11th, (Goblet of Fire comes out that month too!!! scroll down for the trailer).

Ok, I think that was everything. I really have to get back to writing. I have a deadline next week and I have two of the greatest friends in the whole wide world coming to see me this afternoon! I can't wait but I know I won't want to do anything once they get here. I am hoping we can see fantastic four, and not war of the worlds which I saw and pretty much hated. I did see Sin City last night. Interesting. I'm not sure what I make of it. I think I'll do my own review in my next entry. Oh I have two more things to write about. Oh well. There just isn't enough time in the day.

Holla Back

Rent Fun....

Click to see trailer!

If you go to sony's site for Rent you can also watch the trailer but the really cool thing is the Blog that they ahve set up. You can watch video entries and read entries from the cast and crew. Pretty great.

I keep telling people who aren't using the internet or blogs for publicity that they are missing out but some of my writer friends act like it is a fad. Get over it. It's not going away.

Peace out

Where oh where did the money go?

I've gotten two conference reminders in the last two weeks. "Did you forget to send in your $300 check to reserve your spot with an agent who doesn't know squat about your genre?" "We have over 50 pointless sessions for you to sign up for, and we promise to deliver an incredibly horrible lunch with a lame keynote speaker that will make you want to beat your head repeatedly against a brick wall. "

OK so maybe they didn't read exactly like that, but honesty is refreshing everyonce in a while. I've been back in Columbus for just over two years now. My first summer back I found out about the two day writer's conference and I was dying to go. But I couldn't get enough money together. The second year I marked my calendar early, saved my money and then at the last minute contacted the conference coordinator to ask if they needed volunteers. What do you know. For a mere $40 bucks and a few hours of your time you can avoid that sizeable debt.

So I went.

Then I discovered it was not all it was cracked up to be. And anyone who knows me, knows that that is saying a lot. Considering I love writing and talking about the writing business, and publishing trends...I just find it all extremely fascinating. But this was just an amateurs conference posing as a professional one. I sat in one panel where the woman had to explain to the group what point of view was. Come on. Can you seriously call yourself a writer if you don't know the difference between first person and third person? Sure it can become complex when you look at the different types of third person, or purposely switch between a different POV. But just being able to identify the two. That's like a police officer who can't identify his own gun. Or more accurately can't tell the difference between a revolver and a riffle. Hmm. Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

If it had just been one or two people then I would have felt better about the whole thing. I would have let it slide. But there were so many novice writers, people who just rolled out of bed one morning and decided that they would write a novel, that I almost find it a little insulting. I'm not saying that people shouldn't go after their dreams because they should. But I find that most people aren't doing it because it's a dream of theirs. Most people are doing it because it seems easy. And there is always some sad tale about the guy who didn't go to college and wrote a novel that sold movie rights and became a millionaire.

Not to burst your bubble, but that doesn't happen. I may sound cynical, but more realistically, if you look at any "new" author, you'll find that they have been writing for five, ten or fifteen years. That this recent novel took them two years to write and three years to sell. It was rejected 42 times. You would think there wouldn't be enough publishers to reject it that much. You have to find an agent that isn't a crook, but the good agents only work with established authors and no matter how good you work is...Slush is slush.

So yes, I find it insulting because I studied writing in college, because I have spent the last two years, learning my craft meeting with industry professional and and doing my homework and then people come up to me and ask stupid questions like, "what does it mean to show and not tell?" Come on people, the answers are out there!

Hmmm. I can see I went off on a little tangent here. Back to the purpose of the post, which was, I don't know if I am going to spend the time going to this conference this year because it was such a disappointment last year. Don't get me wrong. I did get some useful information. But I kind of feel like, hitting them up once every two or three years would be just as well. Plus if I am going to go to Salem this fall then I had better save my money (and vacation days) for that trip. Between Salem in October, and Wilmington on the 15th...I don't know if I can carve out anymore time for writing exploits. (ok, ok I will admit, some of it is for play too!)

Speaking of Wilmington, the group I just joined had a get together last week, and it was really a lot of fun. I stayed for like six hours, and usually I go to something like this, make an appearance and then make a run for it the first chance I get. But aside from being a total dork, who is still trying to comprehend how she ended up in a "fan club" anyway, I am having a lot of fun. There are a lot of younger folks, which is nice since sometimes it feels like everyone I hang out with is over 45 with kids my age.

Anyway... I am adding the link...tot he Wilmington event (http://www.hp-ohio.com/hbp.html#who ) so you can see how cool it is. I am going to be playing Angelina Johnson, Gryffindor Quiditch Captain for the event. Now here is the funny thing. I am making the costume myself. I have never sewn anything more than a square pillow. In fact I don't even own a sewing machine. I seriously considered stapling the cut out pieces of cloth together! Well somehow this weekend I went from having no machine (and being utterly panicked) to having two machines. Amazing, I remembered how to use it too...And started sewing no Monday. On Monday I sewed the armhole shut. On Tuesday I sewed the sleeve on inside out (so that you could see the seem). Let's not even think about how I am going to sew on the yellow racing stripes. But see, this proves that I am not afraid to learn. And I wouldn't have such great stories if I hadn't tried. I'll have to remember to take pictures so that you can see how horribly this costume turns out. Turns out I should have attended one of those costume sessions at Marcon!

Peace out.

This is Angelina Johnson in The GOF movie (her real name is Tiana Benjamin) I thought you would like to see...plus I just like inserting pictures!

Here is the only photo I could find of her from the movie. Althuogh she has a much larger part in the fifth book when she becomes captain.