Link Salad, And Some Advice

Most of the Dames are at RT this week. (You can see some fun pics here and here and here.) I, however, am at home. (Well, mostly.) I am actually engaging on a mini-vacation before my drop-dead date hits.

A “drop-dead date” is the date I set myself when I’m looking at publication schedules and figuring out how much time I need to produce a certain novel. I have to carefully look at what else I’m under deadline for during that time; turning in 18-hour days are no fun. Well, they’re fun, but hardly healthy. I do occasionally have to shower and do laundry and spend time with the little ones I’m working to feed. Go figure.

The drop-dead is usually a week after I’ve finished something else. I try to have at least one or two weeks a year when I’ve turned everything due in, during which i can kind of power down and write on trunk novels, or just on little things for my own private delectation.

My drop-dead for starting the next novel is May 1, so this is my last day of kind-of vacation. I’m still producing about 1K a day on different things, but that’s just to keep the pump primed. It’s nice to write to deadline, but it’s also nice to write solely for one’s own enjoyment.

So, I’m just going to have a link salad today. Since I’m resting and all.

* Yesterday I talked about trunk novels and e-book pricing. I am monitoring the comments pretty closely, because there has been trollage. I laugh quietly at the trollage and then hit ban, so play nice.

* How many ways can a mystery writer kill a character? Parnell Hall takes a stab at answering. (Hat tip to the Dame who brought this up. I love it.)

* Only tangentially about writing: does a “thick skin” mean you just have to put up with harassment?

* Did I already post this? Advice on writing from 15 fiction writers.

* Asimov’s is accepting electronic submissions! Huzzah!

* Marjorie Liu’s awesome new video game.

* Want some hilarity? Are you a Labyrinth fan? Do I have a blog post for you. Jareth goes traveling.

A bit thin on writing advice, but sometimes one just has to take a while to be amused and fill up the well of images we draw on to make these stories. If I were to advise for the week, this is what I’d say: be conservative in what you estimate you can do. I can work on three novels in tandem and turn out a short story every two months while doing so, but I don’t recommend it and I don’t precisely like to. I like to either work on two contracted novels OR a novel with various short stories due every couple months. This gives me some time to actually breathe between projects. Your mileage may vary, but I find it’s a good rule to start with about half of what you think you can. You can always revise upward and provide someone with a nice surprise–a book finished early, or a really precisely-edited short. The quality of relaxed work is usually much higher. And you get the reputation of being a hard, turn-things-in worker instead of a fruitcake who’s always rushed or late.

Trust me, you want the former.

If you have a specific writing question, feel free to drop it in the comments. I can’t promise to answer everything, but I do take questions from comment threads and email and build writing posts around them. Just thought I’d mention it. *sly grin*

Over and out.

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