Flash Fiction: a complete story
in one thousand or fewer words.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Jay Lake's Novel-Publishing Time Line

By way of PW's Genreville blog is writing machine Jay Lake's novel publishing time line, from his perspective and the publisher's perspective.

I have a problem with this Jay:

Months 1-2 — I draft a book.
Months 3-4 — I redraft the book.

We're talking a full-length novel, right? Not a flash novel? Here's my time line:

Months 1-2: It were a dork and starmy night.
Months 3-4: It was a dark and stormy night.
Months 5-6: Try to come up with an idea....

I also have a problem with this:

Month 11 — Agent issues acceptance check to me, less commission.

What agent? Sigh.

Jay illustrates well why it takes so long for a novel to go from the first peck on the Royal to a bookseller putting the book on the wrong shelf. He also explains why he doesn't self-publish, even though some argue that he could make more money going that path. It's a good read.

Go here to see Jay Lake's Flash Fiction Online story.

Bonus via Kathy: British UFOs! (CNN covered it but The Guardian didn't. Hmmm.)

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Monday, November 30, 2009

First International Best Seller: A Fantasy

This book sold only about 20,000 copies in its original language, Spanish, and about 10,000 more in translation. Not exactly spectacular sales? Well, it was published just after the printing press was invented, so in that context, it was spectacular. According to Internet Review of Science Fiction's article by Sue Burke, it is Europe's first best seller, Amadís de Gaula (Amadis of Gaul), a Spanish novel of medieval chivalry, written by Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo.

'The book is full of sorcery, enchanted weapons, giants, monsters, magical locales, and other "amazing things found outside the natural order," as Rodríguez de Montalvo described it. The story-telling style is medieval, clearly meant to be read aloud.'

One of the more interesting tidbits about the novel is that Cervantes referred to Amadis in Don Quixote de La Mancha, which some claim to be the first and best modern novel. In Don Quixote, travelers at inns listen to readings of Amadis as an evening entertainment.

Go to the IROSF article on Amadis of Gaul for the nine reasons why Amadis was a best seller, and many more interesting tidbits about the novel. Bonus: Sue Burke, a US writer who lives in Madrid, Spain, is doing a serial translation of Amadis on her blog. The link to the serial translation is for the 23rd chapter, the latest chapter at the time of posting. Chapter 0 is here.

Note: the author of the article cited here, Sue Burke, is also the author of a flash fiction story in Flash Fiction Online, Normalized Death.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Pining for a Discworld Movie?

Are you pining for a Discworld movie? Would you settle for a fake trailer for a non-existent film. By way of SF Crowsnest, here is a fake Discworld trailer for the non-existent Guards! Guards! film, based on the actual, same-named Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett.

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

iPhone App to Novel

Okay...there are many paths to a novel. Your own life. Your relatives' lives. Something you heard on a bus...no, a train. Something you read in a Harry Potter novel...no, bad idea.

Here's an iPhone app, a game called Soul Catcher, that was worked into a novel. According to Publishers Weekly, the iPhone app sold about 25,000 copies, and now it's a novel.

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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Top 100 English-Language Novels of 20th Century--Get Over It

Dick Meyer is National Public Radio's (NPR's) editorial director for digital media and he has a list of the top 100 20th-century novels in the English language. It's his list and he's not apologizing for it, either:

I am not a learned or prolific reader of novels. My taste is probably medium-brow, male and parochial in many ways. Tough. It's my list. I included two books that probably aren't novels: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and Fabulous Small Jews. Lots of innovative, modern stuff didn't make it because I am not good at reading it.

The top 10 in his list are:

  1. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce
  2. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
  3. The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
  4. Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
  5. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
  6. The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
  7. Angle of Repose, Wallace Stegner
  8. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
  9. Humboldt's Gift, Saul Bellow
  10. A Passage to India, E.M. Forster

He links to Modern Library's list, which includes their board's list and a readers' list which, not-surprisingly, differ. The latter seems to have a few more genre works in it.

I was going to compile a list of lists of top 100 novels, but found this convenient blog post, and surprisingly, all the links worked at the time of posting. The blog is "Guldasta."

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Top Ten Literary One-Hit Wonders, 2nd Boons and 2nd Flops

Here is a trio of articles from Times Online (UK) listing the top ten one-hit literary wonders, the top ten second-novel hits, and top ten second-novel flops.

The one-hit wonders list includes Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird) and Margaret Mitchell (Gone with the Wind). There are a couple of surprises in the list, for me anyway. The second-novel wonders list includes Britain's beloved Jane Austin (Pride and Prejudice) following Sense and Sensibility. The cursed second novels includes Joseph Heller (Something Happened) following Catch-22.

One fun part of this trio of articles is that original Times reviews or ads are provided for some novels including, for example, the first Times ad for Wuthering Heights in 1847 and a review for Gone with the Wind in 1936.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Number of Chimps to Write a Novel Lowered

I read with interest a story about a chimp that executes hours-long nefarious plots against human visitors to a zoo. After scratching my ribs in contemplation for a while, it occurred to me that the previous estimate of how many chimps it would take to pound out a novel on a typewriter, 1,000,000, is no longer accurate. For one thing, where are you going to get 1,000,000 typewriters these days?

My estimate, after due consideration to new evidence, is that it would take no more than 1500 chimps to pound out a novel, if you put this chimp in charge. Here is my reasoning: even humans can't pound out a novel if they have no plot. But the chimp in the story can plot. That is a major hurdle that has been overcome by modern chimps. If you can plot, then you can write a novel.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

New Books for February, Jamie Ford

This NYT writer notes that the new books for February have love as a central theme. Those who hang around the Hatrack River Writers Forum will notice that the first novel in the list is Jamie Ford's Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. Jamie is a frequent contributor to discussions on Hatrack. Congratulations, Jamie!

Jamie's historical novel addresses the interesting situation of a Chinese boy caught up in the anti-Japanese sentiment following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and a retrospective look back as an adult.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

When Nuclear Subs Collide

A Royal Navy nuclear submarine was involved in a collision with a French nuclear sub in the middle of the Atlantic....

One of our readers could really make a go novelizing this story. Suppose one was a Russian sub instead, and there was a gripping race by Americans and Russians to rescue the boat. Wait...this is beginning to sound familiar. Never mind.

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

1000 Novels You Must Read

1000 novels you must read, according to Guardian.co.uk, variously categorized in obvious and non-obvious ways (State of the Nation novels, War and Travel, Family and Self, Science Fiction and Fantasy...Whew!. (And they don't mind if you buy them via their bookstore). That'll be about 10 years at two novels per week. I hope Tolstoy didn't make their list.

Here are the best of SF/F selections (part 1).

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