Learning from your synopsis

December 6, 2011 § 6 Comments

A few nights ago I was in a social setting and asked the question I dread more than any other: “What’s your book about?”

I hear those words and my heart starts beating wildly in my chest, my mouth dries up, and I adopt an unfortunate stutter. I could talk about my story, characters, and world for hours, but minutes? That’s much more difficult. How can I boil down a year of work, untold hundreds of hours spent prewriting, plotting, and producing these tens of thousands of words into a few sentences that won’t bore my audience to death or make me look like one of the millions of people out there who say they want to write a book? Sometimes I start by explaining the setting, but I’ve found that the majority of people don’t know what “steampunk” is.  This is further complicated by the fact that my story differs from most steampunk in that it isn’t historical fiction, it’s fantasy in an industrializing society. « Read the rest of this entry »

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A moment of publishing panic

November 9, 2011 § 3 Comments

I had a big, heart-racing, prepare-yourself-for-embarrassment moment of panic yesterday. First, a bit of background: I started submitting short stories to science fiction and fantasy magazine a little less than a year ago. I started out with two making the rounds of the various big name magazines in sci-fi and fantasy short stories and quickly became frustrated. I had only gathered about six rejections before I was feeling like submitting was a big waste of time (for reference, many stories are rejected a dozen times or more before they find a home).  It wasn’t an “I should burn everything I’ve ever written and never touch a pen again” kind of frustration, more the “My work is clearly not ready to submit” variety. I was ready to pull both stories and buckle down to improve my craft when « Read the rest of this entry »

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