One day, Sam will move to the beach…

Category: Writing

All the ways to say said

Fun story with a twist ending.

I worked with kids in an ELL program. That’s ELL for English Language Learners, not ESL/English as a Second Language, because for many kids learning English in the American school system, English isn’t a second language, but a third or fourth.

With one student, we were working through a novel intended for teenagers about her age. (16-18) She went through the words she knew easily, and her vocabulary was pretty impressive; after a year of English, she knew words her US-born contemporaries would have scratched their heads at. She liked to read, and it helped build her vocabulary a lot.

Anyway, every other paragraph or so, she’d stop and ask me what a word meant. And after a while, it almost became a game. Because every single time in this novel, the word she was asking about was a clumsy replacement for “said.”

“Don’t do that,” she yelled.

“I’m not angry,” he hissed.

“You can’t make me,” she growled.

“I didn’t mean to,” he sobbed.

Okay. Sometimes I understand this necessity. It’s important that he’s sobbing, and we need to know that. But seriously, there’s a limit–and there are better ways to say these things.

If my student would have to stop five times on every page of your manuscript and ask what that word means? You need to rethink some of your word choices

So stop it, okay self? Now get back to writing.

This Is Us

Since I’m on a roll with the whole linking other people’s clever posts instead of just coming up with my own content, I’m going to hit you guys with a double.

For those of you who’ve been in the m/m community more than a year, you’ve probably seen all of this. I’m not really interested in rehashing any drama, but a few important blog posts came out of it, and I think they should be re-read with a wider context in mind.

Dylan St. Jaymes: Intent =/= Impact

and

K.J. Charles: How To Like Bad Things

I may not read or enjoy some kinds of problematic content, but I’ll defend forever the right of people to read and write it. However, when that content’s existence hurts people, it’s indefensible. When it adds to an overall problem that’s causing strife and death in our world, it’s indefensible.

So basically, don’t kinkshame. Good people can read things you don’t like. And don’t support the normalization of hatred, because that’s not a kink, and it’s never acceptable.

On Book Reviews and Bad Behavior

So there’s been a lot of talk recently about reviewing books, the behavior of authors in relation to reviews, and the like. I was thinking about writing a long post about the reviewer/author relationship, and how we’re essentially co-workers, only reviewers don’t get paid to show up.

But then I was hanging out on Twitter, and Annie from From Top to Bottom Reviews referenced a Santino Hassel post about the subject, and after reading it, I feel I can safely say that he’s got me covered.

Santino’s post about the author/reviewer relationship.

If you’ve ever wondered about how to react to a situation with a reviewer or an author, I think this is pretty much it. I feel totally unnecessary in its presence.

Building an ARC review team

I’ve had a few queries about how people might join my ARC review team, so I figured I’d respond to everyone in one place.

If you’re interested in getting ARCs of my books for review, I would love to send them to you. Just email me at: sam@burnswrites.com  with a link to a review you did of any of my books. They don’t have to have a certain star rating; I love honest reviews that have critique in them, too. If you enjoy my books and want on the list, I’d love to have you.

Protected: Their Bags Were Packed

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

My Ration of Anxiety

I know that every author has been through this moment.

Everything is done. The files are ready and waiting. All that’s left is the actual upload and release. As of next Monday, I will become a published author.

Yeah, yeah, it’s ‘only’ self publishing. Whatever. The point is that I’m putting my first novel out there to be judged and rated, but hopefully mostly enjoyed.

Every author I know has admitted to being nervous about putting their first book out for sale, and right now, nervous doesn’t really cover where I am. I’m going to spend my time between now and Monday wondering if this is actually a terrible idea. Then, I’m probably going to keep wondering that.

But I’ve dreamed of becoming a published author since I was a little kid, and at this point, nothing is going to stop me from pressing that button, short of being hit by a bus.

That’s it, I’m not leaving the house till Monday.

Content Warnings

One of my fellow writers pointed out to me this afternoon that I should include a content warning on my novel to indicate that there are sex scenes that are intended for people who are 18+. I thought this was an excellent idea, and assumed that other people must have been in the same situation, so I started searching the web for information on how other people note content warnings in their works.

Interestingly, what I found was a mix of often angry opinions. Many think that content and trigger warnings are either necessary or at least acceptable, and offered suggestions on things that they might warn for, and where they would put that information. A surprising number of people, though, seemed personally offended by the idea that they should offer warnings, for reasons ranging from the idea that it would spoil their content, to rants about ‘special snowflakes’ that I’m not interested in going into.

For myself right now, I’m not worried about spoiling people. Guess what? My non-sweet romance novel has sex scenes. If that offends you, I’m not sure how you navigate the treacherous waters of romance novels. So I will shout from the rooftops that there is sex in my book, and if you don’t want it or can’t legally read it, please don’t buy it when I release it.

I’ve got to say, though, that if I ever have triggering material in my books, I’d much rather warn for it than not. Being a PTSD sufferer myself, I’m all too aware of the need for trigger warnings. Some days I just can’t handle reading about certain topics. Other days I’ll read them and be fine. So someone warning me about their content gives me the choice of when to read their work and enjoy it most. It gives others a reason to avoid them altogether. Yes, avoid them, and that’s a good thing, because you don’t want your fiction to hurt people, and you don’t want them to leave a nasty review on your work because you couldn’t be bothered to say ‘warning: domestic abuse.’

I’m curious. If you disagree with content and trigger warnings, why do you think they’re a problem, and what do you say to people who want them?

Camp NaNoWriMo Wrap-up

There you have it, April 2017’s Camp NaNoWriMo is over.

This April was the first time that I not only wrote more than fifty thousand words in a month, but completed a whole novel. It was an interesting feeling.

Of course, I’m not done, and nowhere near ready to publish. There’s still editing to do, by both myself and a professional editor, and my work needs a cover that I did not slap together in photoshop. I can’t even explain how much I’m looking forward to those things, for real. But the sixty-five thousand word manuscript is a step in the right direction.

Now, all I have to do is write again tomorrow, on the new manuscript I’ve started. And the next day. And the one after that.

I’d say that the life of a writer is hard, and it certainly has its hard moments, but really? This month has reminded me of something I occasionally forget: I love to write.

 

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

I promised myself I wasn’t going to name all of my posts after song titles again, and there I go anyway…

Having finished my first publication-intended novel about a week ago, I am in a state of limbo. I’ve contacted the cover artist I wanted, and she’s agreed to make my cover. I have a lovely editor who is currently working my words over with the green pen of doom. And I? I have half a dozen social media accounts and too much time on my hands. So before I go out and start posting political opinions that anyone could guess given my subject matter of choice, or even just singing loudly and off-key in public places, I’ve made a decision.

I’m going to start chapter one of the next book tonight. I have a plan. I have the characters. I have everything I need to have, in order to get started. So is all I’m waiting for some kind of validation that my novels are going to be successful? Well guess what, self? Not gonna happen. If I wait long enough to find out that book one is going to sell, I’m going to be behind the curve on book two. And even if book one does horribly, it doesn’t mean things won’t get better.

Besides, I want to know what happens next. And isn’t that one of the most important parts?

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén