Wednesday, August 20, 2014

5 Dumbest Rejections I've Ever Gotten From Publishers

Before I started self-publishing my books, I tried the traditional route of submitting work to publishers. I got a lot of form letters in return. I also got the occasional letter from editors who actually commented on why they rejected my stories. Some of them were very helpful and I used to improve my writing. Others were downright bizarre. Here are five that stood out to me.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Stephen King Bingo Card




To hear about my new releases first and get a free book of fifty 100-word short stories, sign up here. Your email will never be shared, and you'll only receive messages about new releases.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Why William Gibson Confuses Me

Neuromancer is one of my favorite novels, but I know it's not for everyone. William Gibson is one of those writers who makes his writing as dense and symbolic as possible. A perfect example is the very first line of the novel, "The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel."

I know people who love that line, but I always found it bewildering. I always thought he meant "gray," but that doesn't work. A dead channel doesn't have a single color - static isn't gray. With static, the color varies from black to gray. The sky can't literally be the color of static, unless you looked up in the sky and saw clouds flickering like static. So to me, this analogy is strained to the breaking point.

I also got a chuckle out of a chapter in The Difference Engine where he starts out describing a character's cellular structure and keeps expanding outwards to internal organs until it finally turned out he described a woman taking a bath. There's absolutely no reason for him to describe her biology, because it's not relevant to the story. He just decided to do that for reasons known only to himself.

TL:DR - Some of Gibson's writing sucks.

To hear about my new releases first and get a free short story, sign up for my newsletter

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

10 Links for Readers and Writers, including 30th Neuromancer Anniversary

Baby Got Books! (via Reddit)
1. 30 Years of William Gibson's Neuromancer - A retrospective on the highly influential cyberpunk novel. (via Kirkus)

2. Writing Emotion: Does Your Hero Shrug, Smile & Frown Too Much? - Writers tend to fall back on some obvious character tags like smiling and frowning. I'm guilty, too. (via Writers Helping Writers)

3. Rise Up from Science Fiction Monoculture! - There tends to be a certain stereotype of militaristic science fiction, but this article goes over some books that broke the mold (via The Tyee)

4. Amazon launches Netflix-like service for books - Amazon proves that Netflix-style book reading is the future with Kindle Unlimited. (via TIME)

5. Street Teams: The Fraudster-author's Indie Publishing Secret Weapon - I've seen other authors using "street teams" and never thought much of it, but this author has a serious beef with the ethical implications of them. (via Witch Rants)

6. Amazon's 10 Best Books for Children - There are some classics on this list. (Via Huffington Post)

7. My Advice to Aspiring Authors - You've probably seen advice successful authors give to new authors, but you've never seen frank and realistic advice like this. (via Hugh Howey)

8. Personality Tests for Your Characters - I don't care for personality tests, but Psychology Today has found a use for them: fleshing out your characters. (via Psychology Today)

9. 21 Books That Changed Science Fiction And Fantasy Forever - Hitchhiker's Guide is number one, so you know I love this list. (via io9)

10. Love knows no color: Interracial romance novels find growing audience and acceptance - I don't read romance, but diversity in any genre is a good thing (via TIME)

To hear about my new releases first and get a free book of fifty 100-word short stories, sign up here. Your email will never be shared, and you'll only receive messages about new releases.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Writer's Cheat Sheet to Body Language

Some of us are observant and cautious and people-watch and know intimate details of body language to include in our stories. And some of us have no clue how to describe a character's emotional state except to say "he was angry." And some of us are in-between. No matter what kind of writer you are, this cheat sheet from Archetype Writing will come in handy. It's a collection of emotional states, and body language to use in all situations.


[Via  imgur]

To hear about my new releases first and get a free book of fifty 100-word short stories, sign up here. Your email will never be shared, and you'll only receive messages about new releases.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

100-Word Sci-Fi: "Fireworks"

Every week, I write a hundred-word story inspired by a random word. This week's word is "fireworks."

Fireworks
by Nigel G. Mitchell

Barry Moore looked up at the night sky and pointed. "Look, Mommy, fireworks!"

His mother looked up from her book, smiling at the colorful lights. "You're right, honey. Wrong time of year for them, though."

Barry frowned. "Are they supposed to be so big?"

The bursts of lights came faster and bigger while booming like thunder.

His mother grabbed his hand. "Honey, I don't think those are fireworks."

A flaming saucer came shrieking down out of the sky and crashed into the house behind them. Barry and his mother screamed and ran as more wreckage came raining down on them.

To hear about my new releases first and get a free book of fifty 100-word short stories, sign up here. Your email will never be shared, and you'll only receive messages about new releases.

Friday, July 25, 2014

"Prey" by Michael Crichton [Review]

PreyPrey by Michael Crichton
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Let me start out by saying I'm a huge fan of Michael Crichton. His books Jurassic Park and Andromeda Strain are classics. That said, his other work is hit and miss. He tended to work in a formula which didn't always gel: group of people trapped in a building with something scary. Jurassic Park was a hit. Prey is definitely a miss for me.

Despite claims on the cover and the description, this book is not really about nanotechnology. It's about killer dust. The premise is that a computer programmer discovers his wife has been leading a team to create microscopic robots, and the robots have escaped from the lab and become self-aware. When he goes to his wife's lab, he and the other scientists become trapped inside.

For most of the book, the robots take the form of swarms of dust that attack. Not really a realistic representation of nanotechnology. I would compare it to Verne's book on space travel, a book written about a technology that doesn't exist so is horribly misunderstood.

The killer dust is also really stupid as an enemy. To see a group of adult cowering in fear from piles of dust just didn't do it for me. Sometimes, they do get trapped with it and "Oh no, it's in my eyes! It's in my nose! Okay, I took a shower and I'm fine now."

The opening of the book had some wonderful character development. One of the biggest criticisms Crichton got is his weak characters. I thought he did a great job building a story around the main character, unemployed house husband. Unfortunately, it all gets thrown away once the hero gets locked up in a lab, hiding from the killer dust.

Towards the end, the killer dust becomes more interesting with a nest and pretending to be people, but I wish it had been that way from the start. And I also thought it was all pretty outlandish, nothing like what scientists now believe nanotechnology will become. Some nice moments, but overall a disappointment.

View all my reviews
To hear about my new releases first and get a free short story, sign up here. Your email will never be shared, and you'll only receive messages about new releases.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

100-Word Sci-Fi: "Loss of Direction"

Every week, I write a hundred-word story inspired by a random word. This week's word is "location."
Smartphone showing maps, Source: Wikimedia
Loss of Direction
by Nigel G. Mitchell

Gerald Dempsey's frown deepened as he drove squinting into the darkness. "This doesn't look right at all."

The GPS on his phone said, "In five hundred feet, your execution will be on the right."

Gerald shook his head. "'Execution? Now I know this thing is broken.'"

"In one hundred feet, your execution will be on the right."

Gerald felt a chill as he pulled up to an abandoned building. "What in the--"

"Your execution is on the right."

Gerald turned to the passenger window and screamed as a hideous creature burst through the glass.

To hear about my new releases first and get a free book of short stories, sign up here. Your email will never be shared, and you'll only receive messages about new releases.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Weird Al Teaches Grammar in "Word Crimes"

Weird Al Yankovic is back to show us how it's done with his new album, Mandatory Fun. One of his singles released today is sorely needed in today's online grammar-deficient world, a parody of Robin Thicke's song "Blurred Lines" "Good Times" called "Word Crimes." Check out the most commonly used mispronunciations and grammatical errors, set to a funky beat.


BONUS
Related Post:
10 Words Everyone Needs to Stop Misspelling

To hear about my new releases first and get a free ebook of fifty 100-word short stories, sign up here. Your email will never be shared, and you'll only receive messages about new releases.

Monday, July 14, 2014

100-Word Sci-Fi: "A Clone of My Own"

Every week, I write a hundred-word story inspired by a random word. This week's word is "clone."

A Clone of My Own 
by Nigel G. Mitchell

Page Widrick thought having a clone would be awesome. She could have her clone clean up her house and go to college while she relaxed and watched TV.

She set the cloning machine down on the kitchen table, took a deep breath, and pushed the button.

Page opened her eyes. She looked down at another version of herself, still holding down the button on the machine.

"Awesome. It looks just like me." The other Page held out a mop and bucket to her. "You can start in the living room. Work until twelve, and class starts at one o'clock sharp."

To hear about my new releases first and get a free ebook of fifty hundred-word stories, sign up here. Your email will never be shared, and you'll only receive messages about new releases.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...