naomi_jay: (Fiery Raziel)
So JA Konrath notes on his blog today that Amazon will soon be launching the Kindle in India, which is interesting. I guess it's another potential income stream for indie writers, and Konrath raises the issue of translation in order to make books more accessible world-wide, which makes sense of course, but here's the thing for me (and possibly others like me): Dude. That costs money and I don't have any. Konrath himself points out that translators are expensive, and there's more discussion about that in the comments. Frankly, rather than making me want to push harder at self-publishing, this development makes me want to shy away.

Unless you're lucky, it's near impossible to self-publish for free, well. My covers are home-made and they're ... not great. They're not terrible, but they're not professional, because I can't afford to pay for art. I can do the formatting for myself now, but I find it pretty time-consuming and tedious, and I'm not a fan of time-consuming, tedious things. And clearly, if I can't afford cover art, I can't afford to pay someone to do formatting for me. Obviously having your books translated isn't compulsory, but the very idea of it makes me knackered.

I decided to try self-publishing for two reasons: 1, I hoped it would bring in some extra cash. It hasn't, although the mantra is of course "ebooks last forever, therefore eventually you'll make money." 2, I'd just parted ways with my second literary agent and I felt like I didn't have the strength to start on that route again, so self-publishing was worth a try.

Well, I haven't made any money, and I don't feel quite so negative about my career as I did at the start of the year. So those reasons are kinda less relevant now than they were back in January. Because here's what I've found (and this is purely for me; I'm not even pretending to speak for other indie authors, as many have found success and I'm really happy they have) - I don't want to be in charge of my own cover art, formatting, or translation. Some people talk about creative control; I'd gladly surrender the business side of writing to focus more on actually writing. And now that I've taken on some editorial responsibilites, I'm even more reluctant to spent time on formatting, art, translation, or whatever.

I do believe you can succeed at indie writing, because the evidence is out there. But I don't believe anyone can succeed at it, and as with most things in life, not everyone who does win actually deserves to (Anderson Silva, I'm looking at you). I've talked recently about re-evaluating what success at writing means for me, and as the year moves on and I get closer to my promise to myself of trying indie publishing for twelve months, the one thing I keep coming back to is that, for me, the benefits haven't outweighed the downsides.
naomi_jay: (angel fire)

Today is the deadline for Serve in Heaven, Reign in Hell. I've got three more stories to read through, and then I'm calling the anthology full and closed, and going into the editing phase. I'm really proud of the stories in this one, and of how Wicked Witchery is shaping up, but I'm going to take a break before starting any more. For one thing, Static Movement has dozens of open anthologies right now, and I think there is such a thing as too much choice; for another I really need to cut some stuff out of my schedule for my own wellbeing. I know that sounds melodramatic, but I'm exhausted and verging on being a nervous wreck, and something has to go.

I think I have to take that approach to all my other writing stuff too. My main focus at the moment is Night Breed, the third Urban Wolf book. I don't want to get all distracted and delayed with that like I did last year with DARK HUNT because of DEMONISED, so I'm attempting to be strict with myself. Things being as they are, it hasn't worked very well so far, but I'm optimistic that once Serve in Heaven... is edited and outn of my hands, that will change.

I'm musing a lot right now about where my focus should be next, and what sort of writer I want to be. I'm getting disillusioned with the indie route, but the traditional route kinda scares me right now. Epubs and small presses are great, and I'm very loyal to QueeredFiction and Damnation Books, but I'm feeling torn right now between being two types of writer: one who writes a ton of different stuff and gets it all published one way or the other and is known for having a lot of work out there, or one who has a couple of different series (in my case, Urban Wolf and Shoregrave) and sees those through to completion before moving onto the next. I see benefits and disadvantages to both routes. I'm not sure where I'll end up, but one of the reasons I'm getting disillusioned with the indie scene is that so much of the focus seems to be on getting your next book published, not writing the best book you can.

See, the temptation for me is to just pump out whatever story strikes me and see if I can get it published, which is fine, but it means I'm never disciplined in my writing. I'd planned to have the sequel to NIGHT AND CHAOS ready by now. I'd planned to be halfway through Halflife before starting Night Breed. Neither thing happened because I got distracted by THE NECROMANCER'S APPRENTICE. I don't want to keep putting out series' starters and then not finishing the series because some other shiny new idea gets in the way. I'd rather be known for producing a few quality novels than dozens of novellas and novels that promise more but never deliver. And that's the trap I could easily fall into.

This is possibly why I did something (I feel is) a bit crazy this morning. I queried an agent about WILD. I know! This will be the first and last query I make, and if nothing comes of it, I will still go ahead and self-publish WILD but it will be the last thing I self-publish for the time being. I want to focus on the Urban Wolf and Shoregrave series, as well as the Ethan novellas. I want to build a consistent name for myself as a writer, and the scatter-gun approach isn't working. I won't be pulling NIGHT AND CHAOS just yet (there's a new cover in the works, and I want to see what effect, if any, that has on sales), but by the end of the year, if nothing has changed in that area, I will. It all kind of feels like I'm moving backwards instead of forwards, but like I said, I need to cut some stuff out of my schedule and make time for things other than writing and panicking about writing.


naomi_jay: (ZP - x not to die)
Hmm.

NIGHT AND CHAOS has sold one copy this month so far. Count it, one.

UNGRATEFUL DEAD has sold none.

Cut for rambling )
.
 
 So. We'll see how WILD does and take it from there. Maybe May is just a bad month all round and maybe I'm being too impatient.
 
*This is all in my own head and nothing the agents put on me, but it's still true.
 
 
 
 

Surfacing

Apr. 30th, 2011 04:04 pm
naomi_jay: (water woman)
So my friend Leanne came to stay on Wednesday, and we had a fabulous time drinking and eating and setting the world to rights, and watching the Royal Wedding, which I didn't really want to do, but it was fun anyway. She went home today *sob* Hopefully she will be back again soon. Leanne is a wonderful influence on me - she's a real intellectual, she's down to earth and fun, and very focused on what she wants, which always motivates me to look again at what I want. 

What I want is to escape the rat race, get out of the endless cycles of office jobs, and do work that will make me happy. I've started looking at freelance stuff - article writing initially, which doesn't pay much but is frequent enough that I could potentially make a decent bit of pocket money. I'd also like to get into freelance editing, which could be a bit tricky to start on, but it's something I'd love to do, so I intend to put some time into that one.
 
My aim is to be able to go part-time by the time I'm 30 though a mix of my own writing and freelance work. I figure there's nothing to lose by aiming high. The older I get, the more dissatisfied I become with being a wage slave, working to live and barely scraping by on that. I don't expect to earn more money by going down the freelance route, but if I could make as much money, I'd be deliriously happy. I don't want to be here in ten years' time still feeling like I'm wasting my life in jobs that leave me unfulfilled. So... watch this space, I guess.
 
In other news, the kitchen sink is blocked and I have a ton of washing up to do in the bath tub. Bank holidays mean I can't contact my landlord until Tuesday. This does not impress me at all.
naomi_jay: (sparkly moon)
I am thisclose to finishing Wild. And this time I mean it. No more revisions, no more edits, no more rewrites. OMG. I'm not sure I can imagine what my life will be like. I was hoping to finish the last 40 or so pages by yesterday, but on Tuesday my arm was playing up and last night I had to go out and socialise. AGAINST MY WILL I SHOULD ADD. So tonight and tomorrow will be it. Wild will be ready to unleash on the world.

So I'm kinda stuck now. This book has undergone a lot of changes since 2007, from straight-up adult urban fantasy to a slightly more YA-ish urban fantasy with a romantic element. However, I struggle to think of it as truly YA. Lizzie is young - university age - but the subject matter is not young. There's heavy drug-use, domestic violence, and a butt-load of angst. I'm not saying those things don't happen in YA fiction, I'm just saying I know it won't be everyone's cup of tea. Personally I think Wild is the best thing I've ever written, but I think, for a lot of reasons, it will be a polarising book.

I don't see it as a controversial book, and I don't want to market it as such. But this isn't a happy, sweet, fluffy book, and Lizzie isn't a typical YA protagonist. So I'm not sure if I should try to flag it as a YA book, an adult book, or to just put it out there and see what readers decide. Once I've spoken to my lovely formatter and got my PDF/mobi copies, I'm planning to do the same as I did with NIGHT AND CHAOS and offer some free copies in exchange for reviews/word spreading, because really, what I think of the book just isn't important. What you think of it is what counts.
naomi_jay: (butterfly hands)
So! DEMONISED is out tomorrow! 12.01am, in fact, if you're up then. I won't be, because I can only make it to about 10pm before my brain packs up, but you might be. And Damnation Books' variable pricing means if you are up then and you do want a copy of Ethan's Excellent Adventure, you can get it for free! Or as near to free as dammit!

I'm excited and nervous. I love this story, as I may have mentioned, and I want people to read it and love it too. I'm planning to do a Twitter giveaway tomorrow (if I can fit it in around being at work), so if you're not following me on Twitter - @naomi_jay - you might want to. It'll be easy; just tweet at me using the #demonised hashtag in your tweet and you're in with a chance of winning an e-copy of DEMONISED. You can ask me a question about the book, or just tweet me some random nonsense, whatever. I like random nonsense. At the end of the day, I'll draw five names and those five people will all win a copy. How does that sound?

So, in other news, I've been musing. You may or may not remember that some time ago (a long time ago, in fact), I mentioned wanting to put together an anthology for charity. Specifically, mental health charities. For reasons that are probably obvious to anyone who's been reading my blog a while, mental health care is a cause pretty close to my heart, but I'm not in a position financially to do anything to support the charities involved. I think it's a seriously important thing. One in four people will suffer from a mental health problem at some point in their life. It's reckoned that about 340 million people in the world suffer from depression and rising. In the UK, 400 per 10 000 people have self-harmed.

This is a massive issue for me, because help is available, but people either don't know where to go for it or are too scared to ask. Attitudes towards mental health have improved hugely since 1994, but there's still a lot of stigma attached to issues like depression, and a lack of understanding regarding conditions like schizophrenia (I would love for everyone to read these two articles if you have any interest in the subject).

I'm not going to get on my high horse or go off on a massive rant, because the facts are out there if you're interested in reading them. But I do want to do something to show support to a cause that I care about. And I think I'm in a better position to do so than I was before, mostly because of the rise of the self-pub option. I can put something together and publish it via Kindle and/or Createspace and Smashwords and donate the proceeds to charity. I also know more people in the writing business than I did last time I was thinking about this, and I'd hope it would be something they'd like to get involved with.

I've got two projects in mind: a novel that I was going to write anyway, and an anthology. It's all very embryonic at this stage, but I'd love to get something moving this year on both projects. Obviously for the anthology I'd be looking for contributors, so if you were interested first time around and are still interested now, just let me know so I can get an idea of whether it's worth doing.

naomi_jay: (rabbit hole)
You know what, LJ? Sometimes I just want to write a great big epic pulpy sparkly paranormal romance series with over-the-top, ridiculously passionate couples saving the world from Evil and falling in love at the same time.

I just can't think of anything that hasn't already been done. And when I think about the paranormal romance series I've read or read, I realise I get bored of them pretty quickly. I read Dark Lover and laughed so hard at the "abs like smuggled paint rollers" line that there was no possible way for me to continue with the series. I loved the first three Lords of the Underworld series by Gena Showalter (especially The Darkest Pleasure - awesome book), but had no interest in following it after that. Not sure why; maybe because the two characters I liked the most already had their stories dealt with in books 2 and 3? Likewise, I enjoyed her first two Atlantis books, but didn't enjoy The Nymph King and had no interest in the vampire's book.

I liked the first of Jacqueline Frank's Nightwalkers books, but found the second to be very much the same but with different names. I've read and loved the first of Anna Windsor's Dark Crescent Sisterhood books, and have the next two on my shelf, but keep bypassing them in favour of other books. I've read a handful of Harlequin's Nocturne line and liked them all, but never bothered to follow up if there's more than one book in the series. I'd make an exception for Stephanie Draven, because her two Bite novellas were magnificent. But I've no idea when her full-length Nocturne novel is due out.

I think part of the problem for me is the repetitve nature of these sagas. You can dress them up with in-depth worldbuilding, throw in plenty of mystery, murder, mayhem, and myth, but at the heart, it's always a love story. Now, don't get me wrong, I like a good love story as much as the next person, especially if werecreatures are involved, but essentially, once you've read one novel in a PR series, you've read them all. I know that's partly down to genre convention, and I shouldn't bash genre conventions because they're important and they're why genre fiction works. And I certainly shouldn't complain about the love story being at the heart of a Paranormal Romance novel because... duh.

But there you go. One story of an angst-ridden vampire/demon/werecreature with a stupid name falling in love with a pretty girl is pretty much the same as another unless the execution is particularly special. And that's what puts me off trying to write a great big epic pulpy sparkly paranormal romance series with over-the-top, ridiculously passionate couples saving the world from Evil and falling in love at the same time of my own. That and I don't think my voice lends itself particularly well to love stories. My big passion is, of course, Urban Fantasy, and in the past whenever I've tried to write something romancey, I've always ended up accidentally turning it into a UF novel.

Anyway. That's how I feel.
naomi_jay: (water girl)
I feel like I'm constantly blogging about JA Konrath at the moment. I haven't become obsessed, I swear. But, let's face it, the guy is doing interesting, if controversial stuff, and as a writer, I want to keep up with it all.

Cut for babble )
naomi_jay: (butterfly)
So, I don't know if anyone else follows JA Konrath's blog,A Newbie's Guide to Publishing, but I do. Not because I always agree with his views - actually, most of the time, I don't, because he's just a bit too cynical even for me. But he does tend to always have lots of interesting information for writers, so it's worth checking in from time to time. And yesterdayhe posted this announcement. Basically, after having shopped the latest novel in his Jack Daniels series and finding no publisher wanted it, Konrath and his agent inked a deal with Amazon Encore. To my knowledge, this is the first time a "big name author" has done this, since Encore thus far has been aimed at "overlooked books and authors" (which I guess means self-published, small press, out-of-print, etc?). Anyway, you can read all the fine details at Konrath's blog.

This is certainly interesting for a number of reasons. It interests me most because everyone is saying this is a publishing revolution, that authors will no longer be dependent on agents and publishers, etc etc... and that basically This Will Show Them All, which is an attitude I find quite sad. There are plenty of flaws with the publishing business, same as with any business. But I hate this theory that there's a massive conspiracy to keep all us talented genius writers out of publishing, or that you have to know someone in the business to get a foot in the door, or whatever. Publishers and agents are not the enemy. It's a symbiotic system. And yes, there are plenty of awesome books that don't find homes with traditional publishers, just as there are plenty of cruddy books that do. That's because the merit of any piece of literature is subjective, and what one person loves, another will hate. You can't change that.

I see a lot of people jumping up and down at the thought of following in Konrath's "trail-blazing" footsteps, and publishing their work via Encore or Kindle and finding an audience that way. I think those people are simplifying the issue, and Jason Pinter sums up my feelings as to why very eloquently and concisely here. Basically, Konrath is already an established and successful writer, with talent and experience behind him. He has an audience and a fanbase built up over years of work and writing. What will doubtless be a great success for him, financially and career-wise, won't necessarily work the same way for somebody else.

I get there are lots of reasons to self-publish, but I think the pitfalls outweigh the potential rewards. Read Stacia Kane's great article here if you're interested in a very good look at the subject. I think in terms of what Konrath has done/is doing, this could open the gates for a lot of people who want to be published for the wrong reasons, and send them rushing to put out unedited, badly written books on the Kindle thinking it'll make them a fortune and Show Them All. How this will impact on readers, I don't know. Maybe it won't? Maybe they'll ignore the self-pubbed stuff and stick with what they know.

But I think it could impact on writers. Remember the whole Harlequin Horizons thing a while back? Harlequin authors worried that a sudden influx of poor-quality romances with the Harlequin logo on would devalue their own fine-tuned, hard-worked-upon products. And I think that's a very valid concern. Genre fiction gets lambasted enough already, without throwing more fuel on the fire. If suddenly everyone who thinks their magnum opus sparkly vampire romance is worthy of publication by any means goes rushing to the Kindle, the sparkly vampire romance market will become saturated, and fans of that genre will grow disenchanted and move on. And of course, it's extra ammunition to those who say genre fiction has no merit.

So, where does this leave us? It's inevitable that new technology will change publishing; I think we all just have to accept that. The Kindle and devices like it will make self-publishing easier (although the quality of self-published products won't necessarily be better). I don't think Konrath's deal is quite the massive game-changer for writers everyone thinks it is, as Amazon have essentially played the same role as any agent or publisher: picking a product they think has appeal and will sell well. I know, as someone who has wanted all my life to be a working writer, I'm going to be watching with interest. And I'm definitely interested in other people's opinions.

ETA - [livejournal.com profile] nathreee  said something that's really made me think (curses!) so I might be posting more on this whole shebang soon, in which case I very much want to know what everyone, readers and writers, thinks. Got views on self-publishing, Amazon Encore, the Kindle, etc? Tell me!
naomi_jay: (orange butterfly)
So I was asking people on Twitter yesterday about outlining versus pantsing. Generally the views were mixed, which leads me to believe that, like so many things in writing, it's case of "each to their own." Some people like to/need to outline first, some people like to go organic, and we're all cool with that. I personally am a pantser. I generally start a novel with an idea about the characters, the ending, and maybe a few key plot points to get in there. Everything else just sort of happens. Like shuggoths.

Every writer I know has a different method for preparing/writing their novel, and there are all kinds of tips and tricks around to help you refine or completely change your methods. I'm wondering if I can learn to be a plotter. Why, you ask? Largely because I'd like to get through projects faster, and I'm wondering if an outline of some kind would help keep me focused. Because I'm very prone to "Ooh Shiny!" Syndrome when writing.

My reservation is that I've found in the past that trying to outline anything in detail puts me off writing it. I know! But it's like some weird alchemical transition occurs in my brain where the minute I write down any notes, my mind decides it would rather write something else entirely. I used to keep reams and reams of story ideas jotted down in notebooks*, but nowadays I very rarely scribble anything down** - I just start writing and hope for the best, and it usually works out fine.

But as I'm now, like, under contract for stuff and hoping to be under contract for more stuff, I'm aiming to get organised. One of the crucial things I'm going to do when we move house is set up a proper working area, with a desk and no shiny things. I need to break the habit of slouching around on my bed writing; it's only making my arm worse, as well as causing a lot of back pain, which nobody wants, right? Right. In addition to changing my physical working habits, I'd like to have a crack at changing my mental ones. With that in mind, I'm going to attempt to outline the Cassandra novel (that really needs a title). Nothing crazy, just a quick breakdown of What's Going Down and Who's Going Down With It.

*That I never wrote, but that was probably for the best since they were all basically convoluted high fantasy nightmares involving Great Destiny and talking animals.
**I do keep series notes, otherwise I'm prone to forgetting characters' surnames and ages.

naomi_jay: (ana cruz horse)
Dear Author have a pretty interesting article about sales of Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, and YA Paranormals here. It doesn't surprise me at all to see YA is booming, what with Twilight and all (although I find it hard to credit the boom to Smeyers alone, and there are lots of divergent factors involved, I guess you can't deny her impact). It does surprise me a little to see PR slipping, even if only slightly, since it seems like there's something new out every day. Same with UF.

When I first started reading UF about nine years ago, I really had to dig around for it. I had to order a copy of Dead Witch Walking in specially to my local Waterstones because they weren't stocking it. And I only found UF at all because a local odds-and-ends type shop had the first few Anita Blake novels on offer. It took me ages to build up a proper UF/PR bookshelf, and almost everything came from Amazon because our local bookshops just didn't have the authors in. High Fantasy and Sci-Fi was all over the place, but the only paranormal stuff was firmly in the Horror category, and a very different beast from the UF of today.

Today my Waterstones has about four entire bookcases dedicated to UF/PR (the section is called Lady and the Vamp, which always amuses me), and the YA section has a dedicated "If you like Twilight, you'll like..." section too. It seems like everyone is writing it. Authors who wrote in different genres for years are turning their hand to UF - I'll cite Charlaine Harris as an obvious example, because she wrote cosy mysterious for years before Sookie Stackhouse came along, but there are numerous others.

There are probably a lot of different reasons for the boom, and you can probably see similar rises and falls throughout history. Vampires were incredibly popular in the late 80s and early 90s when we were all worried about AIDs. Zombies are out in strength at the moment as we worry about global terrorism and swine flu. And of course, trends feed into one another: there's been a glut of paranormal films and TV series over the past decade or so which has probably influenced the growth in UF/PR books, and vice versa. There's definitely an argument that Buffy the Vampire Slayer paved the way for Anita Blake's mainstream success, and doubtless Anita Blake opened the doors for Harry Dresden and Sam and Dean Winchester, and so forth.

I'll be very interested to see what happens to the genres from here. Obviously my vote is always for more werewolves.

ETA: Reading the comments on the DA thread, it looks like a lot of people are hungry for sci-fi romance and futuristics, as well as UF that doesn't focus on vampires/werewolves/demons. Again, I'll be interested to see if this is reflected in the market over the next few months and years.
naomi_jay: (ana cruz cassie)
 So, I've got this story I want to write. It's a YA about a girl called Cassandra, repressed memories, some Satanic ritual abuse, and a whole shedload of angst. I've had it floating around my head for a while now - well, years, actually, but I kinda feel it's become a bit more solid recently, and I'm ready to actually write it.

I just can't decide on my hero. See, this is going to be an urban fantasy with great fat lashings of occultism, but I don't know yet how far I'm going to take the devil-worship aspect of it. As is, are there going to be actual demons at work here? If yes, I'd love to bring a fallen angel in If no, then my first choice for hero is a mysterious psychic, because mysterious psychic  = win! But fallen angel = win! too, so... I don't know. Quite possibly I'll just make it all up on the fly and end up having no angels or psychics and making the hero a mutant lizard from the sewers instead.
naomi_jay: (philosoraptor)
So I was trying to write a reflective post on the fact that my birthday is next week and I'll be twenty-seven, and that's pretty grown-up, man. But everything I tried just turned maudlin and bitter, which is not what I intended at all. So forget that! Birthdays are for people who intend to grow up, and I'm pretty sure I don't want to.

Instead, I'm talking about Mary Sues. [livejournal.com profile] blythe025  had an interesting post here, linking to a few interesting articles on the subject which kept me up late thinking.[livejournal.com profile] blythe025 notes that what these posts point out, and what I did not notice at the time, is that I was buying into the concept that girls should not be awesome as boys and that I will question myself every time I make choices about my female characters ... Is it because it's really and truely the best thing for the character and the story? Or is it because of I'm afraid of the Mary Sue?

She posits in a response to me that a "too-perfect man" is far more acceptable and less derided than a "too-perfect woman." So characters like James Bond get away with being Gary Stus, but characters like (to use my example) Gillian Key are derided. Now, I don't know if the anti-Mary Sue sentiment is a purely sexist one or not, but it's an interesting question. Are we against Mary Sues because they signal bad writing or bad womaning?

And more to the point, does it even matter? Mary Sues originated in fanfic, and I'd say there's no harm in them to a degree. Wish-fulfillment isn't a bad thing right? If I want to write a story about a ninja with blood-red hair and ice-blue eyes who talks to animals, looks hot in a leather catsuit, can speak 23 languages, make sushi, use a whip, and has a bevy of sexy boyfriends to do her bidding, who actually cares? Nobody's going to die, right? (Except me, when my writers' group sees it, maybe). I do think the phrase "Mary Sue" is thrown around very casually these days, especially in the Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance genres, and probably applied to characters who don't really fit the original defintion.

(I'm inclined to think "Mary Sue" has became a catch-all term covering everything from the original definition - a fictional character with overly idealized and hackneyed mannerisms, lacking noteworthy flaws, and primarily functioning as a wish-fulfillment fantasy for the author or reader - to shallow or cardboard cutout characterisation in general.)

On the other hand, if Mary Sues are a hallmark of bad writing, there is harm. When bad books get published, it sets a precedent for more bad books to get published. Then readers get disenchanted because the market is flooded with unrelatable heroines with blood-red hair, ice-blue eyes, wicked-bad ninja skillz and unrealistically hung boyfriends. So the readers look elsewhere for their reading fix and the genres suffer.

I'm not saying Mary Sues kill genres or ruin writers' careers, but look, we've got to have standards, right?

So, I have two questions:

Do you think the anti-Mary Sue agenda is inherently sexist?

Do you think Mary Sues have a place in writing of any kind - fanfic or profic?


Shark!

Feb. 24th, 2010 02:48 pm
naomi_jay: (humans among us)
I really need to write something with sea monsters in. I know Hawaii has some man-shark legends, but I haven't really seen much else anywhere. Maybe I need to revisit that story about a siren I started and abandoned about five years ago.

naomi_jay: (where is my mind?)
... hypothetically, I wanted to put together an anthology for charity next year. Nothing big, just something to make a statement and some cash for a worthy cause.

How the hell do I go about doing that?
naomi_jay: (squid)
So it turns out Kyle had never seen the 1960s Adam West Batman film. I know! I rectified that in a hurry, you can be sure. We'd just finished watching The Dark Knight, so it seemed a suitable time for camping it up with Adam West and Burt Ward. And frankly, I defy anyone to watch Batman beat up a plastic shark with shark repellent bat spray and not feel better about life.


 
Anyway. Once we were done having hysterical fits of laughter, we fell into the more serious discussion of the next Nolan Batman film. I've heard all sorts of horrible rumours about the casting (all denied), like Eddie Murphy as the Riddler, or Megan Fox as Catwoman (not that I don't love Megan Fox - I really do - but she'd be no match for Bale's Batman at all). I even heard they want to bring the Joker back, which would really upset me, since I genuinely don't believe they'd find anyone who'd pull it off like Heath Ledger.

I think the good thing about Nolan's version of Batman is that, largely, he steers away from the comic book-trappings and presents them as straight thrillers. He tries to convince you this stuff really could happen, and for me it works. So I'd be wary of bringing in some of the larger-than-life villains like the Penguin (and really, who could compete with Batman Returns on that score? I adore that film - it's my favourite Batman adaptation). I'd love to see Nolan's vision of Poison Ivy, but it'd have to be pretty damn good to erase the memories of Uma Thurman from my mind. Maybe they could bring back the Scarecrow? Cillian Murphy's razor sharp cheekbones and crazy eyes add panache to any film, I'm sure.

Hmm

Dec. 30th, 2009 09:36 pm
naomi_jay: (am I a lion?)
Just got back from watching Avatar. I... hmm. Okay, visually it's stunning, yes. And I'm sure in 3D it's even better. But the plot? Meh. It's this generic Man V Nature and Nature is always Good and Right and Better schtick. I found the plot fairly derivative and forgettable. It's all hand-waving and "rah-rah let's jolly well get those nasty men in their flying machines." And the portrayal of the Na'avi was an even more generic mix of every aboriginal race in human history, which annoyed me for reasons I can't quite explain. Possibly because it felt lazy? Like mixing up this Native American/African/Aboriginal style society/mythology bull is just a short cut for "these characters are morally superior and At One With Nature Which Is Good and Right." Lazy. I'm not saying being at one with Nature is bad; it's not. It's just that... man, isn't Avatar just Fern Gully in space at the end of the day?

I did like the dragons. I'd like a dragon. 

Anyway. Look. Let's not dwell on what was wrong with Avatar. I'm sure the whole American West In Space (but this time the Natives win!) thing was all in my head anyway.



naomi_jay: (twilight girl)
So, I really want to start working on Wonderland again. I know! I have a ton of other stuff to be doing. But I've been reading back on it, and despite the mauling the first chapter got from my writers' group a few months ago, I still really love it. I think it's salvagable, if I do some tidying up on the worldbuilding. I've only got, I think, four chapters so far, so that shouldn't be hard. It won't be anything on the scale of Wild, which I'll be rewriting from the ground up over Christmas.

I might have to take out the Pontiac and the firestorms, which serve no purpose except being flashy! and exciting! The magic storms can stay, since they have actual plot purpose. The whole Fey-human-changeling-harvest thing can stay, since that is the plot. Bronte might need a career change, but Nate can remain a heartless bounty hunter, because what good is a post-apocalyptic urban fantasy without a heartless bounty hunter?

Exactly.

Anyway

Nov. 26th, 2009 11:35 am
naomi_jay: (rapper with a baby)
I'm trying to write a bio for QueeredFiction. I don't know why I feel the need to provide a new one when there's a perfectly serviceable one on my website already, but I do. Possibly this is displacement activity, since if I'm writing a bio, I'm not doing Day Job Stuff. Always a good thing. The problem is, I can't think of anything to say about myself except "Naomi has a deep and unholy fascination with cephalopods, werewolves, and cocktails." Maybe that will do? Maybe I should make up a bunch of lies, like "Naomi travels in a pimped-out Mustang and always keeps a bottle of brandy and a flamethrower close at hand."

Anyway.

(I just copied and pasted the bio from my website, thinking I'd modify it accordingly, and have just deleted everything except the first line. Sigh).

Anyway.

I've also been pondering some more on the zombie/military UF. My ex-military heroine now has a name and a case of obsessive-compulsive disorder (got to keep everything clean when you're a plague-bearer, you know). I really, really want to write this book. I just need to settle on a title. I fancied Living Dead Girl, until I read Elizabeth Scott's book of the same name (it's an awesome, heart-wrenching book, you should all read it), and now I feel I can't use that title. Then I thought of Better Off Dead, but that's a bit too generically UF. So, I'm pondering more. I plan to start work properly once the Institute closes for Christmas (other projects allowing), so I'm sure the perfect title will hit me by then. If not, I'll just call it The Incredible and True Tale of the Zombie Plague Bearer and Her Brave Struggle with Hair Loss and leave it at that
naomi_jay: (black cat)
Is there any? The only thing that springs to mind is Talia Gryphon's godawful Gillian Key series, although Gillian is a Marine in the same sense that I'm a quantum physicist. Surely there're more?

I've got this vague idea for a story in which the protagonist is an ex-soldier now working for the British government's anti-zombie task force, and she's carrying the zombie virus. So eventually she's going to become a zombie, but in the mean time she's struggling to hide the symptoms (like, you know, hair loss, weird bodily odour, craving for raw meat, other stuff that I haven't thought up yet) and continue to work at solving Zombie Related Crimes!

My dad's an ex-soldier so I can go to him for research, but I'm sure there must be UF novels out there already with military heroes and heroines. Romancelandia is full of SEALs and Marines and so forth. I assume there's a level of cross-over somewhere?

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