Sunday, July 29, 2007

jasonrclark.net site is live!

Just a quick note to announce that my full website, jasonrclark.net is finally up and running. Apart from this blog, it includes some of my travel writing that I've made available on the web, links to my favorite writing resources, current reading, links to my favorite technical blogs, and my brewing blog, The Nervous Brewers.

Check it out and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Rewriting with George R. R. Martin

George R. R. Martin keeps a blog (although he calls it Not a Blog since he doesn't update it too frequently), and it's a great place to hear news and general goings-on from one of my favorite authors. It gives a whole new level of personal connection to an author, even just reading a few postings every so often from them.

He doesn't, however, spend a lot of time talking about writing. He gives plenty of updates about his progress on the latest Song of Ice and Fire book, but entries about the craft itself are rarer.

Today was an exception to that, though. In talking about a prologue that he's been working on literally for years, he digs into just how hard the process is:

This, by the way, is the quandary that every writer faces on every book. When is a chapter really done? When is it good enough? We all walk tightropes there. On one side are those who just pound out first drafts, publish them, and move on to the next book. On the other side is poor souls like the character from THE PLAGUE, endlessly revising one sentence over and over in search of some illusory perfection. The best work, I believe, comes from those who stay up the tightrope, leaning this way and that, but never falling off to either side. That's what I try to do... and yes, that's one big reason why the books take so long.

To hear one of my favorite authors, whose work has consistently amazed and enthralled me, talk about how difficult the task of writing a book is gives me hope. Thanks George!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Agent blogs

In recent years the internet has become a huge source of information for new writers. I remember back in high school, (now more than ten years ago, yikes!), dreaming of publication. My only sources to learn about the industry were books in the library. I spent countless hours pouring over the Writer's Market, tagging prospective publishers, and re-reading the query letter samples in the front of the book.

Things have changed for the better, and one of the biggest advances is the advent of blogging. Now some agents are coming online, writing about the things they see every day in their jobs, answering questions, and generally providing an insight into the world of publication that I could never have gotten before. I've been reading a number of agent blogs in preparation for selling my novel, and here's the list. It's a great place to start if you want to get a feel for what the real publishing world is really like.

  • Miss Snark (retired) -- This is where it all started for me. Unfortunately, Miss Snark has retired at this point (boohoo!), but the Snarkives are a massively informative collection of Q&A. She also ran several of what she calls "Crapometers" where she took submissions from the internet at large. I participated in the last one, and although the critique was sharp (Snark is the operative word in the title after all), it was a huge help in seeing how an agent might view my query.

  • Nathan Bransford -- Nathan's blog has a great, light humor tone, and some really sharp insights into common pitfalls in query letters, what makes great writing, and what's going on the publishing industry at large. His posts on publishing news have taught me more about the nuts and bolts of the business than I would have thought possible. He also is a big proponent of e-queries and represents some sci-fi, so I'm doubly fascinated.

  • LIT SOUP -- Excellent agenting advice from Jenny Rappaport, along with plenty of glimpses of what a day in the life of an agent is like. She's going to be at the Willamette Writer's Conference, which is really exciting.

  • The Rejector -- Another anonymous blog in the vein of Miss Snark, The Rejector is an agent's assistant who posts pointedly about the issues that she sees in the slush. She's also a writer herself, so she knows first-hand the pain and delusions of those outside of the agenting world. Lots of good reminders on etiquette and practical querying.

  • Agent in the Middle -- Lori Perkins dishes out industry news, and lots about the process of being an agent.

  • Pub Rants -- Agent Kristin gives insight into the world of queries, writers, and publishing. Also an inspiration for her regular, near-daily blogging schedule!

By no means are those all the blogs that are out there (I've got to have time for writing after all!) What writing-related resources have you found most useful?