State of the Writer (and the writing, too)

Taxes are done. Yesterday, I emptied most of our CD to cover the check (which is why I opened that CD in the first place) but it’s not going to be a hardship. We’ve been socking it away, just the way the internet recommends.

Page proofs are done. I actually finished them yesterday morning, and spent today’s writing time scanning the corrected pages and backing them up. If something goes wrong with the usps, I’ll have pages to resend or email. Paranoid? Moi?

Tomorrow I start back in on Everyone Loves Blue Dog, and I have to admit I had a little epiphany about one of the notes I’ve been getting. There’s a secondary character who’s not as… vivid as some of the others, and folks keep asking me to bring her out more.

For me, the problem is that she’s a reserved person and a bit of a cipher–she changes her outward personality to match the situation, and she doesn’t want to be too noticeable.

Earlier this week, I had a revelation while I was reading Bill Martell’s blog Sex in a Submarine (which is not a take on the SNAKES ON A PLANE film from a couple years back–the name of the blog comes from an entirely different clusterfuck). Bill writes low-budget movies, and one thing he’s always talking about is the pressure of getting a recognizable name for the front of the DVD box. It’s very difficult to market a movie without one.

What Bill does (and he talks about this often) is create a “confined cameo.” It’s a role for a name actor to play, with several scenes spread across the movie, but which all take place in a single location. So you have a general giving orders back at the command center, or the sexy barista at the corner coffee shop. Or whatever. The name actor has several scenes, but they can all be shot in a day or two because they’re all on the same set.

And while that keeps the price for that actor down, it doesn’t guarantee you’ll sign them. For that, you have to also make sure that it’s a juicy role. The actors are looking for ways to show their range and their skills.

I feel a little like a dummy. I spent so long studying screenwriting as a way to tell stories, but I never tried to translate this lesson from that form to fiction. Obviously, the character everyone wants to be stronger doesn’t need a confined cameo, but she does deserve a juicy, personality-defining scene–something that would startle and excite an actor reading for the part.

Now I just have to come up with one.

Finally, folks may have heard that Amazon.com has decided to stop listing certain “adult” materials on their best-seller lists, and the means to read that end was that they would no longer show sales rankings.

And one of the ways they defined “adult” was “gay.” Even YA novels with gay characters were too “adult” to be listed.

How could they be so stupid, you ask? I have no clue. See this post by an author affected by the change to read Amazon.com’s response, and Dear Author weighs in on the romance writers who’ve been affected, and finally here’s the start of a link farm to check out.

 
  • The prequel to Child of Fire: see here for more details

  • Starred review from Publishers Weekly

  • Starred review from Publishers Weekly

  • Named to Publishers Weekly's "Best 100 Books of 2009" list. Get the audiobook here.

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