Combat Scene: Zero Draft

Crossposted to the Deadline Dames, where there is even more advice, and giveaways too!

It’s Friday again. How on earth did that happen? Before we get started, here’s Philip Pullman: “Leave the libraries alone. You don’t understand their value.

There are a couple new-this-week interviews with me, one at Reading Awesome Books, and another over at CJ Redwine’s place, where I am interviewed by Captain Jack Sparrow. You can also enter to win a signed set of the first three Strange Angels books at CJ’s until Sunday.

It’s time for another in my ongoing series about writing combat scenes. So you’ve figured out why you want to beat the snot out of your characters, and you’ve got a grasp on the reason, stakes, and cost. Now it’s time to write the damn scene.

The bad news is, writing a combat scene is just like writing any other damn scene. It requires your ass in the chair and your hands on the keyboard. The not-so-bad news is that the key to combat scenes is revising; but in order to revise you must have a chunk of original text to tweak. The good news is that there are ways to make it easier, and if you’re reading this, chances are you’ve watched enough action movies to have some idea of how to visualize a good combat scene.

The usual disclaimers (every writer’s process is unique, some of this advice may not work for you, your mileage may vary, beverage you are about to enjoy is extremely hot) apply. Given that, here’s a few things that may help while you’re writing a combat scene.

* Research, research, research. I like research. Plus, it can save one from making embarrassing mistakes. Research can be: reading a forensic pathology study guide, or a guide on combat psychology and physiology; going to the range and taking some handgun classes to understand just what it feels and sounds like to fire a gun; swinging a dress-metal katana in your backyard as you work out a fight in your head; asking a hobbyist about their passion for stamps/kung fu/military history; interviewing a cop/firefighter/martial artist. Most people love to talk about themselves and their passions or their jobs. A writer can learn a lot by listening, and buying a few drinks. There’s also the Internet, which one can use as a research tool only if one applies a strenuous bullshit test to every piece of information found on it. You get the idea.

The danger with research is that you can mistake it for the actual work of writing. I’m a magpie for knowledge–my TBR stack is actually an overflowing bookcase, and I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting little facts and connections. I’ve fallen into the trap of getting so interested in a small research question for a book that I’ve lost a day or two to chasing down more and more about a subject, finally blinking and looking up and giving myself a good headsmack. Be open to serendipity, but give your research boundaries. And always, always, go about it safely. I do NOT recommend going out and getting into fights just to see if it’s true that they hurt. That’s stupid and dangerous. Please just take my word for it.

* Blocking. I found out about scene blocking in high school. I wasn’t in drama–I wasn’t pretty enough for the drama teacher to have as a protege–but I was an extra in a play or two, and the concept of blocking out a scene felt very natural to apply to combat scenes. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been out in the backyard (or in the field that used to be behind my house) swinging around a dress-metal katana or cracking a bullwhip at a pile of something, blocking out a fight in my head. Something about the physical movement gives the visual inside my skull pegs to hang on, and informs them with a great deal of immediacy for me.

If you are concerned about looking like an idiot while doing that, you’re just going to have to let go of that. I love ballet, but I had terrible anxiety in class until my teacher said, “Nobody is looking at you funny. Everyone else in here is worrying about their movements. I am watching, but even I can’t watch you all the time, and I’m watching you in order to teach you. So relax. Everyone else here is worrying about the size of their legs too.” By and large, nobody’s watching. If they are, well, you can just tell them you’re a writer.[1]

* Music. Music is a very integral part of my creative process. To get myself in the mood for a Kismet fight scene, for example, I would often listen to the Cure’s Wrong Number with my eyes closed, watching Jill clear a hellbreed hole. I play certain songs for certain scenes, and I spend a lot of my morning runs in what seems to be a trancelike state, the music accompanying scenes inside my head while my body’s occupied with running one mile after another.

* Sensory cues. Most fights are chaos. Tunnel vision happens when an average person gets adrenaline really going. These two things can make it difficult for a writer to tease out how to describe a combat scene. Blocking the scene out will help immeasurably, but once you have, get some detail on the page. Tell me how the blood tastes, that the punch to the gut huffed all your air out and brought your dinner up in an acid rush, that the sound of the damned screaming as bullets plowed through their unholy flesh was a chorus of glassine despair. Don’t worry that you’re giving too much–that’s what revision is for. Get as much sensory detail as you can into the fight scene so you can pick the best of it later. Here is where the ability to visualize is worth all the practice you can give it–and if you have trouble visualizing, find the sense you have the least trouble using. Some people are auditory writers, some are tactile; I’m very visual and olfactory. (Writing about death and decay sometimes makes me physically ill, since I smell what my characters do.)

Training yourself to go into a story like this strikes directly at the heart of what most of us are told when we’re kids–to stop daydreaming, to pay attention, to not space out. It’s a balance, like so much about this writing gig. Keen observation and paying attention are necessary (and they can’t hurt when you’re trying to cross a street or walking in a bad part of town); finding that little “click” and stepping into the hallucinatory space of daydreaming a story, that focused creative state, is necessary as well. You need both in order to do this well, so practice both; they will feed and inform each other in startling ways.

* Get in and get it done. I don’t leave the keyboard in the middle of a combat scene unless there’s an immediate physical emergency. Sex scenes, dramatic scenes, bridging scenes I can all walk away from, and sometimes I even let sex scenes marinate a couple days. (Again, YMMV.) But a combat scene depends on me sitting down, having it clear in my head, and getting out a chunk of text. Knowing the reason, stakes, and cost before I go into it helps.

These sessions are usually the ones that leave me soaked in sweat or shivering, adrenaline copper on my tongue and my body aching in sympathy for my hero/ine. These are also the scenes where the house could quite probably burn down around me and I might not notice unless I had to rescue children or cats. I am not quite deaf to the world during them, but it’s close. I like this, it’s one of the perks of writing as a career. But if I get up in the middle of it and go away, I lose steam and sometimes it’s hard to find the hook to get back into the fight. I get exhausted if I stop or slow down. (Or, God forbid, use the loo. Forget Kegels, writing combat scenes straight through is great practice for one’s perineum. Ah, the glamour of this career!) As an aside, this is related to my practice of not leaving the keyboard at the end of a scene or chapter. For some reason, I find it easier to regain momentum if I have even just a couple throwaway lines to begin the next chapter/scene before I walk away from the writing.

* Have fun. Fighting in real life is deadly serious. It is a last resort, not to be engaged in unless one or one’s loved one is in direct dire physical danger. But fighting in fiction is fun. Action movies are fun to watch. Writing a combat scene, especially one in which you can bend the laws of physics a little, is a blast. Yeah, there’s cost and stakes for your character, but you should be having a ball. Don’t forget Steven Brust‘s invaluable little sentence to tack up in your writing space: And now, I’m going to tell you something REALLY cool. You’re telling someone something really goddamn cool. Get into it. Have a ball, have a blast, have some fun. If you aren’t, it’ll be even more difficult for your reader to. You don’t ever want that.

Okay. So, those are things that help you squeeze out the zero draft of a combat scene. But your work isn’t finished yet. Not by a long shot. To really make a combat scene pop, there are specific ways to revise that lovely zero draft of that scene that made you go “ooooh!” We’ll go over those ways next week.

Class dismissed.

[1] I really think this saved me from getting arrested once. (Suffice to say I was blocking out a fight with a dress-metal katana and a cop noticed and bounced his car up into the field. Once I told him I wrote romance, he just laughed and told me to be careful.)

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Me And That Sea Pirate

I have a croak like a raven and a slight fever, so the Tale of the Squirrel Surfer will be put off until tomorrow. I just don’t think I can do it justice in my present condition. I keep wandering away from the computer to go lie down for a little bit and put together scenes of an alternate almost-Dickensian London inside my aching, stuffed-up head.

It’s weird being me.

Anyway, in lieu of the Tale, I shall instead present you with this: what happens when you put me and Captain Jack Sparrow in a room together. Hilarity abounds. (I had so much fun with this.) Also, there is a zombie cupcake. And there’s a three-book giveaway involved–I’ll be giving away a signed set of the first three Strange Angels books to a lucky US commenter. Go, read, hopefully be entertained, and possibly win some stuff.

Other than that, let’s see…oh yeah, the Selene & Nikolai reunion story will be in the upcoming Mammoth Book of Hot Romance, which I don’t have a link for yet. You guys seem to like that Nichtvren couple and are inundating me with email! Heavens. I had no idea Selene was so likable–I found her a bit difficult, albeit for some really good reasons. And Nikolai, well, I never liked him. But we all knew that.

Anyway, I’m going to go nurse this cold and see if I can’t get the next few scenes of the sorceress and the logic machine out of my head and onto the laptop. Peace out.

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Interview And Linkspam

There’s a new interview with me over at Reading Awesome Books, where I talk tangentially about Christophe’s plans and why Anna’s a tragic character to me. Later this week Captain Jack Sparrow will be interviewing me over at CJ Redwine’s place. (THAT should be fun. I am told cupcakes are involved. Though the rum is gone.)

Other cool stuff this morning: how words get their meaning, sleeping protects memories, and Taco Bell “beef” is really only 35% beef. I don’t know why that last one surprises anyone, really.

My two thoughtful, lovely spawn brought home a nasty cold from school that is currently trying to colonize my corpse and I’ve got two short stories to dress up and get out the door today, so I bid you a civil adieu, dear Readers. Hope your Tuesday is magnifique.

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Taken, Perry, and Reader Questions

Good morning! It’s still crazy crazy release week for Taken, the Harlequin Nocturne I had so much fun writing. (The link to Barnes & Noble seems to be working now, thank heavens. For a while yesterday it was buggy.) If you want a signed copy, Cover to Cover Books is more than willing to oblige, and their shipping rates are quite reasonable. Just drop them an email through their website.

There’s a Q & A with me up over at the Barnes & Noble Spotlight, where I talk about Perry and which of my characters I’d most like to have a drink with.

I have a couple more general announcements/answers, then it’s time for me to get cracking on another short story.

To the people who sent money through PayPal after last week’s post about stolen ebooks: thank you. I appreciate the people who apologized for pirating my work and tried to make things right. It takes cojones to admit you were wrong, to step up and try to make reparations.

Unfortunately, my conscience isn’t easy with taking the money in this manner, for a variety of reasons. So…I’ve accepted the donations, and turned them straight over to my favorite nonprofit, Kiva.org. I believe in microfinance helping women out of poverty, and Kiva is a grand, grand organization. So, to those who sent me money: Thank you very much, both on my behalf and on behalf of those who are benefiting from your stepping up and acting responsibly.

To the fan who wrote asking “where is the library for ebooks?”: look, several libraries have ebook-loaning capability. If yours does not, this is not an excuse for pirating them. Talk to your librarian and see what’s available. Thank you for your letter.

To SM: Finish writing your book first. Then, after you’ve polished it and started another one, start looking around the Internet for advice on how to write a query letter, what to look for in an agent, etc. (Shameless plug: The Deadline Dames have a lot of good advice about this.) But finish, first.

Last but not least, to S: authors have little to no control over their covers. Sometimes I think it’s a bane, other times, a blessing. I appreciate your input, but there’s nothing I can do about covers at all. If a cover doesn’t work, the best person to tell is the publisher, because they can actually do something about it. They also love to get that kind of feedback because it helps them make better covers in the future.

There, I think that’s it. Tomorrow we have another post about combat scenes. But for now, that short story calls me.

Over and out.

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Release Day for Taken!

That’s right–the Harlequin Nocturne I had so much fun writing is now released into the wild!

Sophie Wilson never believed she was special. Avoiding a violent ex, she can’t remember the last time she felt truly safe. Then vampires murder her best friend and Sophie is kidnapped by a dangerously sexy shapeshifter.

Zach insists Sophie is a shaman–someone with a rare gift for taming a shifter’s savage side–and he needs her to help him save his pack. Now, with a malevolent enemy closing in, Sophie and Zach must risk everything on a bond that may be their only salvation…

Now available at Barnes & Noble, Borders, Indiebound, and Amazon!

Seriously. I had so much fun writing this book. It’s kind of a shock to see it out in the world; I still grin when I think about writing some of the scenes. I had a great time, and I hope my dear Readers like it.

I am also pleased and proud to present the cover of Those Who Fight Monsters, a kickass anthology premiering in March. My contribution is a fresh new Jill Kismet story, Holding The Line, and the anthology also features wonderful authors like Simon Green, Caitlin Kittredge, and fellow Deadline Dame Jackie Kessler, edited by the fantastic Justin Gustainis.

That’s just one of the upcoming anthologies I’ll be in this year. Stay tuned for more news!

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But By The Content Of Their Character

“…not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.

“First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.” –Ghandi

We are a very little better than we were. But it is not over yet.

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Why Would You Kick The Sh!t Out Of Your Characters?

Crossposted to the Deadline Dames, where there’s advice, giveaways, or cool things every day.

It’s time for another Friday writing post! I promised I’d talk about fight scenes, didn’t I. Well…it turns out I have more to say about action scenes than I thought, so I’m going to break it up over a couple Fridays. Today I’ll be talking about why you would possibly want to beat the shit out of your characters.

*pause, evil smile*

It’s not just because it’s fun. Or because one is sadistic. (Although those are considerations.) There are several reasons why you might possibly have to write a fight scene.

* Raising the stakes. There’s nothing quite like fisticuffs or a blaster battle to tell the reader that things are Getting Real, or Getting Desperate. There’s nothing like a surprise attack for making two characters who might loathe each other realize they have common cause. Pacing and tension pull a reader through a story, and several little crises along the arc of tension keep a reader interested. If you are not raising the stakes throughout your story, how are you planning on holding the reader’s interest? Sure, raising the stakes can be done in other ways…but a good fight is sometimes the best way.

* Breaking a character. When I set out to write a Jill Kismet book, part of the process is figuring out just how to break her. How physically tired and miserable I can make her, how far I can push her, and what a person’s mind and body does under that sort of strain. I’ve written before about how fascinated I am with the mechanisms of the human mind and body and how they react to extraordinary situations, how the mind breaks down or is reinforced by training. (If you’re interested, a good place to start researching might be Grossman’s On Combat.) I don’t think you really know a character until you break them, and I am perennially fascinated by the question of endurance and why and how some people endure.

Without risk, no reward, for the character or the reader. Pushing a character toward (or over) the edge, especially when that character is the reader’s point of entry into the story, makes the risk higher and the reward, when it comes, that much sweeter.

* Because life isn’t fair. Life is not all rainbows and ponies and butterflies. Bad things happen. Every human being knows that sometimes, shit just happens. It’s not fair, it’s not right, but it’s the way it is. Art is a way of transforming the world, and a lot of the impetus for art, for that transformation, is the fact that the world is messed-up and sometimes shit happens. Being relatively honest about this fact will give your story depths it might not otherwise possess. If there is no real risk, if you create a world on the page where everything is fair and there are no real consequences…well, you can write that story, you have a perfect right to, but I prefer not to. Writing that sort of story doesn’t feel real to me, and reading that sort of story doesn’t generally set me on fire.

* Unresolved issues. This is a tricky subject to talk about gracefully. Sometimes, writing a combat scene can help a writer process a trauma. For example, a few Decembers ago I was in a car accident (twisty road, dark and rainy, a deer with a death wish, voila) and it gave me fuel for nightmares (never a huge trick) until I wrote a car-crash scene or two. Something about writing that helped my brain and heart say, okay, that was awful, but it’s over and we can put it on this shelf now.

I’ve had some dreadful experiences, and writing has been a chain to pull me through the soup of nasty lingering trauma plenty of times. Exorcising my demons on the page hasn’t always been fun, but it works. And afterward, those experiences became much less scary for me to think about, because (this is my personal theory, YMMV) I had exercised control over them through transmuting them into words, and I had found a meaning in them. (Thank you, Viktor Frankl.)

* Pacing and practice. You may need to speed a story up, get its heartrate revving and build momentum for the big finish. Alternatively, you may want to trip your character and send them sprawling so you can get a word in edgewise and slow things down. Both are things a fight scene can do. Fiddling with a book’s pacing is largely a matter of practice, and combat scenes are great practice for both for intra- and interscene pacing, as well as overall.

There are other reasons you might want to kick the everloving hell out of your characters. But only one more bears mentioning, and it is the single most compelling reason. All the other reasons are in addition to this precondition, without which there is no combat scene:

* The story requires it. It’s nice to have combat scenes and they’re fun to write. But, just like sex scenes (which, I suppose, a lot of the same skill set for writing combat could be used for), they must be germane to the plot.

Here is an Ideal Law of Writing Well: every piece of dialogue/sentence/paragraph/chapter/section/book must ideally do three things: build character, give the reader a sensory cue, and move the plot along. I call this an “ideal” law because it’s something to aim for even though we live in an imperfect world and are working with imperfect tools. (If you can manage to do at least two of the three necessary things consistently at the sentence level and above, you’re a frickin’ genius and you don’t need any bloody advice from me. I’ll probably read your books and weep with grinding envy.) It will not always be possible to do this, but (especially when you are revising) this is a wonderful clarifying concept to keep in mind.

A combat scene is no different. It must give the reader sensory cues, it must show us something about the characters, and it must also move the plot along. If it’s just thrown in for the hell of it, or thrown in the wrong place, or shoehorned in because “all these types of books have to have a combat scene”, the scene (no matter how beautifully written) has a virtual certainty of failing for the reader. We don’t want that. We want to maximize the reader’s chances at every turn. So first, critically and crucially, before you write that combat scene, take a second to think about if it’s necessary and what kind of pacing you’re trying to accomplish.

You are the best judge of this while you’re writing. If you’re going hot and heavy and a fight scene falls out of your head, don’t sweat it. Take it as a gift and move along. If you decide you need a combat scene but haven’t the faintest idea of where to begin, don’t lose hope. Next week we’re going to talk a little bit about what a good combat scene consists of.

Can’t wait. Over and out.

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Brain Needs Solids, Thanks

Today is warm and rainy. I didn’t need four layers, gloves, and hat to venture out to the bus stop this morning, and I’m not shivering as I sit in my writing chair. This is a lovely change.

I want to once again thank everyone who has sent me letters, emails, and messages of support the last few days. I appreciate it more than I can say. Several of you sent varying versions of, “You probably hear more from the nasty people, and the ones who appreciate your message are probably quieter, so I thought I’d send this little message of support,” which was just about the most beautiful thing ever. I did mist up a couple times. Yesterday was a very damp day.

I have a short story cooking, so even though the first round revisions on the final Strange Angels book are sent back to the editor, this does not mean a rest in any way. Which is pretty much okay, since my brain is in one of those cycles where if I don’t give it something solid to chew on, it will start trying to eat itself. This is just about as pleasant as it sounds.

The only other thing I have to report is…something rather odd happening in the road. I am taking my morning run before dawn now as a matter of habit, so if the squirrels are up to shenanigans at 8AM I’m not seeing it, since I’m usually hard at work by that time instead of on the treadmill. But my writing area looks out onto my driveway and the road, and the squirrels are…well. It’s weird. They will scamper out to this one particular place in the middle of the road and spend a good five minutes looking back and forth, glancing up and down the street, twitching their little whiskers. If a car comes, they dash out of the way at the last second, then return to their spot as soon as possible.

None of them are Neo. They’re all too small, juveniles instead of full-grown ninja Terminator squirrels. I’m mystified. Is this some sort of teenage squirrel ritual? Are they waiting for the squirrel version of UFOs or playing chicken? Is there something buried under the concrete they wish to alert someone to? Are they trying to warn the monkeys about some dire apocalypse looming?

I’ll keep you posted. And sooner or later I’m going to have to tell you about the possums, too…

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Inconvenience Doesn’t Justify Theft

I’ve received a deluge of email after yesterday’s rant. The vast majority is supportive, and I thank you kindly for it.

The small proportion left over, well…I’ll give you a sample. This one’s representative, both because of its phrasing and because of a self-serving justification for stealing I hadn’t noticed much before. We’ll go point by point.

So, this is from a certain S.E.P. He starts out with his main thesis.

I find it extremely hypocritical talking about “stealing” e-books, when your not making sure people can actually buy them.

Oh, my. Well, if they’re there to be stolen, perhaps they’re also there to be bought? And how am I “not making sure” people can buy them? I’m not going door to door with cases of them? But wait, he explains further.

I have no way of legally obtaining your e-books by paying for them.

Let me repeat that, I’ve no way of legally paying for your e-books due to your stupid publisher. Your not loosing money by me obtaining your books without paying, because there is no way for me to pay for your e-books as your unwilling to sell them Internationally.

What? Just…what? In the first place, I AM losing money by you “obtaining my books without paying”, for fuck’s sake, and in the most fundamental way. You just shot yourself in the foot and didn’t even notice.

In the second place, I am not unwilling to sell my books internationally. Neither are my publishers. In some cases we are unable to do so.

This particular canard is related to the argument that you are justified in stealing because the ebooks don’t come in a format that fits your e-reader. Both are something I, as a writer, have as much control over as, say, the weather in southeast China. (Which is to say, none at all.) The correct people to talk to about this are the original publishers, so you can find out if foreign rights have been sold to a publisher in your country and then, ask that publisher if there are plans to release in ebook format. You can also talk to your distributor and let them know you want X book in their format. They’ll listen–it means taking your money, after all. They like that.

Regardless, saying you’re entitled to steal because of foreign unavailability, or because a certain distributor doesn’t have my book in their format, is hogwash.

I like the Korean pop star Rain. Unfortunately, I can’t get hold of most of his stuff unless it’s import CDs for a hellish amount of money. This is an inconvenience to me, but I manage to avoid STEALING and torrenting his music. I refuse to steal, and I either wait until I’ve saved up to buy the import CD, or I go to Everyday Music and check their International section, or I go to Ebay. If I still can’t find it, well. Rain doesn’t get my money, and I don’t get his music, and that’s sad. It’s a goddamn tragedy.

It is NOT a justification for fucking STEALING.

Do I wish everyone in the world could read my books? You betcha. Do I wish it was easier for people in different countries to read my books? Sure do! But this is an imperfect world, and there are things I have no control over, and those two issues are picture-perfect examples of things I have little to no control over. Not only that, but those issues are not justification for taking without paying. Because taking without paying is STEALING. How many times do I have to repeat that basic fact before it sinks in? Or, wait. It’s sunk in. you know you’re doing wrong, otherwise you wouldn’t be attempting to justify so damn hard.

The basic assumption here is that you are entitled and someone is infringing on your entitlement. You are mistaking an inconvenience for a violation of your rights. When you’re three years old, you think you have an absolute right to have what you want whenever you want it. By the time you reach adulthood, you are supposed to realize that this isn’t so. But some people apparently don’t get it. They feel entitled, and so they steal. You are inconvenienced by the fact that the logistics of international law stand in your way of getting an ebook, and it’s easy to steal, and then you have the unmitigated effrontery to write to me justifying it when I publicly ask you not to steal from me?

I am inconvenienced every damn day too. I am inconvenienced by a long line at the grocery checkout, but that is not a justification for taking my groceries without paying for them. I am inconvenienced by the price of diamonds, but that does not justify stealing them. I am inconvenienced by the fact that there are certain countries my ebooks aren’t sold in, and there are certain things I love, like J-pop, that I can’t indulge as freely in as I’d like because of logistical difficulties.

I manage to refrain from fucking stealing.

As far as I know my bank converts the money into $ before transferring them to you, so what the hell is wrong with my money since they aren’t good enough to pay for the books, just because my credit card and bank is in another country?

This has nothing to do with anything. The publishers would love to take your money, and I would love to have them do it because I get a chunk of it. My books are sold in several foreign countries, by foreign publishers–Brazil, France, Russia, to name only three. Those publishers would probably love to take your money too, if you asked them. In the countries that remain, if enough people asked them to carry my work, they would be all too delighted to.

This is 2011, The Internet connect us all, so stop being stupid and prevent people from paying for stuff.

I am asking you not to steal, jackass, not “preventing” you from paying.

The Internet makes it easy for people to steal and gives them the illusion that they can get away with it. (And as Laura Anne Gilman noted yesterday, “Information wants to be free” means “Information wants to be unrestrained,” not “unpaid-for”.) I don’t think the Internet has made people more likely to steal, I think it’s made it easier and removed perceived difficulty and risk, much the same way cars removed perceived difficulty and risk for bank robbers in the twenties and thirties.

You’re not justified in stealing my books. You’re not fricking Jean Valjean, you’re a jerk who thinks he can get away with stealing and blaming the victim of the theft when she publicly asks you not to do so.

Believe it or not, this letter was actually one of the more coherent I received out of the small proportion classified as “I’m going to edumacate you in WHY I’m justified in stealing and it’s all your fault anyway and how DARE you ask me not to!!onety!” (As well as the one with the least typos. The mind boggles.)

I’ll bet, now that I’ve shot down the more common justifications for e-piracy, that the emails will only get more venomous and more exotic in their attempted justification of theft. The thing that comes through most clearly in this letter is that S.E.P. believes he is entitled, even though he knows what he’s doing is wrong. This Speshul Snowflake of Entitlement is very, very common, and the Internet makes it easy for such people to steal.

If you steal ebooks, it means less stories for you. It’s that simple. I will continue to ask, publicly, that you don’t steal my books. In a perfect world I wouldn’t even have to ask you not to steal my books. We don’t live in a perfect world, but I am not going to stop calling piracy what it is–theft–and publicly asking those engaging in it to just goddamn stop.

Over and out.

ETA: It is a common misconception that ebooks “cost nothing” to produce, or that the price of ebooks is padded excessively. This is not the case. Ebooks are not cost-free, and here’s why.

Comments closed, once again, for the same reasons as yesterday. My comment policy is here. Comments will reopen on tomorrow’s post, probably, and my Hammer of Moderation is ready and waiting. Just so you know.

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