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San Andreas the Oscar Contender

WHAT? I looked at the critic reviews for San Andreas on Fandango and was surprised to see this as the first review:

“The film is so unusually moving and penetrating because it refuses to cloud its emotions in distancing irony, anger, or nihilism.”

WHAT? Is this movie completely more interesting and deeper than I assumed? ::Scrolls through more reviews:: Oh. Nope. Fandango is showing reviews for Sisterhood of Night on the San Andreas page by accident. What a DISASTER! And totally Fandango’s FAULT for misleading me! (HA! Get it? Disaster? Fault? Oh man, I slay myself). But seriously, I’m sure this will be an incredible emotional journey exploring the human condition and explosions and shite. So I was inspired to create an updated movie poster.

San Andreas the Drama

Only the Rock could truly explore the depths of the San Andreas.

Originally posted at my Mirror Blog at: http://www.randy-henderson.com/2015/05/san-andreas-the-oscar-contender/

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Finn Fancy Book Tour Wrap Up

Here finally is a wrap up of my book tour experience for Finn Fancy Necromancy — the good, the awesome, and some lessons learned — not only to say thank you to everyone who helped or attended, but also to maybe help those who are trying to plan their own book tour.  This is way overdue, I know.  And I’ll do a separate post about promotion in general.

Randy at Gatsby Books

Randy at Gatsby Books, LA

I figured I’d talk about how I set up the tour, how I promoted it, then share some pics, and a list of the bookstores.

Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )Originally posted at my Mirror Blog at: http://www.randy-henderson.com/2015/05/finn-fancy-book-tour-wrap-up/






Reading Tempest’s Challenge as a Writer

I haven’t weighed in on Tempest’s challenge because others said what I would have said quite well.

But this morning as I read yet another bit of concern over it, I realized that many people who are reacting to it are writers (and many who are reacting negatively are white male writers who fear this is an attack on their writing and/or livelihood), and for writers, there is an obvious solution: treat it as a writing critique.

If someone tells you that there’s something wrong with your story, you should not take it as a condemnation of who you are, it is a critique of the problems in the story.

Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )Originally posted at my Mirror Blog at: http://www.randy-henderson.com/2015/03/reading-tempests-challenge-as-a-writer/






Reading Tempest’s Challenge as a Writer

I haven’t weighed in on Tempest’s challenge because others said what I would have said quite well.

But this morning as I read yet another bit of concern over it, I realized that many people who are reacting to it are writers (and many who are reacting negatively are white male writers who fear this is an attack on their writing and/or livelihood), and for writers, there is an obvious solution: treat it as a writing critique.

If someone tells you that there’s something wrong with your story, you should not take it as a condemnation of who you are, it is a critique of the problems in the story.

Sometimes the critique is more about the critic’s own tastes or how they would write the story, and doesn’t fit your story.  Most often, the critique points out a valid problem with your story, but the critic goes one step further to suggest a specific fix that doesn’t really fit what you want to do with the story.  But their suggestion is just that, a suggestion.  And most importantly, just because you disagree with their suggestion doesn’t mean there isn’t an issue that needs to be addressed.

If one person points out a problem but nobody else seems to have noticed, maybe it isn’t a problem you need to address.  But if the vast majority of people who read the story all agree on the same problem, then it is one that needs to be addressed — even if it requires you to change something you feel incredibly attached to in the story — and you just have to figure out how best to do so, in a way that fits your tastes and your goals with the story.

Not a perfect analogy, mind you, and I may be opening myself up to a bunch of ad hominem attacks and people focusing on some specific imperfection in the analogy rather than the larger point, but I hope it is a useful analogy nonetheless.

Tempest did not come in and try to steal your story.  She did not try to edit it herself without your permission and dictate how the story must be.  She made several suggestions for how we might fix a major problem in the story — not even unique suggestions, but suggestions based on what others have suggested and done themselves before, and proved to work.  You can choose to take those suggestions, or not.  But either way, the problem her suggestions highlight is very real, and needs to be addressed if this story is going to be a truly good story and enjoyed by all.

So look at the problem, and decide how YOU want to best fix the story.

For my own part, I fully support accepting Tempest’s challenge. In fact, when I won Writers of the Future, I used my acceptance as an opportunity to give a five minute speech about the value of diversity in our genre and the power of story to allow us to experience lives unlike our own.  I specifically encouraged people to seek out diverse voices like NK Jemison, Nalo Hopkinson, Nnedi Okorafor, and Nisi Shawl.

And I still feel that way, even with my own debut novel just released.

But for me that is, ironically, also a decision that comes somewhat from privilege, because I am not currently financially dependent on my writing (though it certainly helps), and not too concerned about whether the performance of my debut will make or break my writing career (though I have all the natural fears of a writer in today’s uncertain publishing world).

But even so, from a practical standpoint, I know that not everyone will accept the challenge outright. Some already read diversely.  Some will balance reading books chosen specifically for a diverse viewpoint with books by authors they love, or friends who don’t necessarily fit a single category.  Some will simply feel it unnecessary or even hostile, though I obviously would disagree.

Don’t get me wrong.  I also recognize there are a lot of decent and kind debut or struggling authors out there who legitimately fear their dream will die or become unrealistically difficult if nobody buys their perfectly wonderful debut book, or who desperately need the income book sales bring them.  I don’t feel their concerns are any less valid than the concerns that prompted Tempest’s challenge.  Different in scope and history and level of negative consequences, yes, but no less valid. One does not negate nor trump the other.

We are complex. We contain multitudes. You can have two conflicting desires, such as to support diversity but also want your book, the child of your dreams and years of hard work, to do well when you send it out into the world, and I think that is normal and okay.

What is not okay is to be a jerk about it, or to react out of fear and lash out, to take a suggestion as some kind of dictate or call to punish.  Any more than it is okay to take someone making a legitimate suggestion to fix a real problem with your story, treat it like a personal attack, and lash out at the critic who is, in the end, just trying to make your story richer and stronger, someone trying to help you grow as a writer and help your story to reach a much wider audience.

And frankly, that is exactly what reading diversely can help do for your writing, and you as an individual, as well.

Originally posted at my Mirror Blog at: http://www.randy-henderson.com/2015/03/reading-tempests-challenge-as-a-writer/





Using Your Writing Brainergy Wisely

Brainergy.  It’s not a new agey thing, or a result of midichlorians.  It’s just my word for measuring how fresh and alert and energized my brain is feeling.  And I believe learning to organize your writing schedule around your brainergy is very useful for writers.

Basic Writers Brainergy Chart

Basic Writer’s Brainergy Chart (more below)

Alas, I am not independently wealthy and writing this from my Super Writer Cave hidden beneath stately Henderson Manor.  I have to work full time, and I try to spend quality time with the people (and pets) I like.  I also have myriad other little life distractions.

So people sometimes express surprise at the amount of writing that I get done (not that I’m anywhere near Jay Lake levels or anything).  And it isn’t just the writing, of course, but the fact that I actually find time to finish and polish and submit my writing, and do all the other work that goes with being a writer.

One of the tricks I’ve learned is to not simply make a “To Do” list of things I want to get done, but to schedule them, and more importantly, schedule them smartly.

Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )Originally posted at my Mirror Blog at: http://www.randy-henderson.com/2015/01/using-your-writing-brainergy-wisely/






Happy New Year!

Rather than share events from my past year, I thought I’d offer a bit of encouragement and advice to help with the coming year.  While this is aimed primarily at my fellow writers, it also, I think, can be applied to life in general.

This weekend, I encourage you to sit down and do three things:

1) Create a calendar/schedule for your goals and tasks.

2) Create, or update, your list of goals and tasks.

3) BELIEVE and do what makes you happy.

Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )Originally posted at my Mirror Blog at: http://www.randy-henderson.com/2015/01/setting-your-new-year-goals/






Setting Your New Year Goals

Happy New Year!

Rather than share events from my past year, I thought I’d offer a bit of encouragement and advice to help with the coming year.  While this is aimed primarily at my fellow writers, it also, I think, can be applied to life in general.

This weekend, I encourage you to sit down and do two things:

1) Create a calendar/schedule for your goals and tasks.

2) Create, or update, your list of goals and tasks.

3) BELIEVE and do what makes you happy.

Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )Originally posted at my Mirror Blog at: http://www.randy-henderson.com/2015/01/setting-your-new-year-goals/






Setting Your New Year Goals

Happy New Year!

Rather than share events from my past year, I thought I’d offer a bit of encouragement and advice to help with the coming year.  While this is aimed primarily at my fellow writers, it also, I think, can be applied to life in general.

This weekend, I encourage you to sit down and do two things:

1) Create a calendar/schedule for your goals and tasks.

2) Create, or update, your list of goals and tasks.

Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )Originally posted at my Mirror Blog at: http://www.randy-henderson.com/2015/01/setting-your-new-year-goals/






Setting Your New Year Goals

Happy New Year!

Rather than share events from my past year, I thought I’d offer a bit of encouragement and advice to help with the coming year.  While this is aimed primarily at my fellow writers, it also, I think, can be applied to life in general.

This weekend, I encourage you to sit down and do two things:

1) Create a calendar/schedule for your goals and tasks.

2) Create, or update, your list of goals and tasks.

SCHEDULE EVERYTHING

One of the things I often do is to make resolutions, set goals, create to do lists, etc. and then get busy doing All The Things (and being distracted by cute animal videos and other interweb evils, etc.) and end the day having done a lot of things that were not actually those things I’d planned.

The solution?

Don’t just make a to do list.  Put the tasks on a calendar/ schedule.

Block out specific times where you are going to do each thing.  And be realistic about it.  Know thyself. Leave yourself time to snuggle, eat, nap, play with the pets, check social media, etc. as well as pad the time to allow for warming up mentally or physically to a task if necessary.

By prioritizing the things you really want or need to get done and blocking out specific times for them on your calendar, they are much more likely to get done, and in the order you want them to get done, than if you just create a list.


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CREATE/UPDATE YOUR LONG- AND SHORT-TERM GOALS

Setting specific goals is an important task.  It helps you to stay focused on the tasks, and projects, that will actually move you in the direction you want to go, and not be distracted or sidetracked by tasks or “opportunities” that will not.  And achieving goals gives you a sense of progress and growth.

I began using this general model horked from Booklife by Jeff Vandermeer, which I highly recommend for additional clarification on setting goals, and other aspects of living the life of a writer.

It basically breaks down like this:

  • Write a mission statement (who you want to be as a writer).
  • Translate that into Goals.  Write down where you want to be as a writer in five years. Then break those goals down into shorter-term goals and tasks.  Some goals break down easily to tasks (breaking a 100k word novel down into word count increments) and can be set up front.  Other tasks (managing your inbox, buying printer ink) are also needed but will be fluid, popping up as needed, and so will be managed and updated week to week, day to day.
  • Update your Goals and Tasks. And you will need to occasionally update not only your short term task lists, but your long term goals as well.  Perhaps you realize the goal timeline is unrealistic with your current life priorities.  Perhaps you realize working toward that goal is not making you happy and a different goal will make you happier (e.g. you began writing a YA novel because that’s what’s hot, but YA is not your real love).  Perhaps you have a life event that requires some adjustment to timelines.  Perhaps an opportunity comes up that you decide to seize.  Perhaps you achieve a goal and so need to make new ones to replace it.

Some examples are below.  These are not my goals per se, but just some examples of the types of goals a writer might set.

Five Year Plan: 

  • Publish at least two books with traditional publishers.
  • Self-Publish at least one book or story (to familiarize with process/ options).
  • Won’t pursue or accept commercial/ tie-in novel offers until at least one original novel published.

One Year Plan (what you need to do in next year to be on target for your 5 year goals, update yearly): 

  • Complete new book.
  • Get agent for new book.
  • Sell two short stories to pro markets (ideally one set in same world as my book)
  • Get speaking and reading opportunity at one or more conventions.

Monthly Task List (what you need to do this month to be on target for your 1 year goal, update monthly):

  • Write at least 20k new words each month on book and short stories.
  • Complete at least one new short story every three months.
  • Read at least one novel (alternate between same genre as my WIP and not).
  • Attend critique group at least once.

Weekly Task List (what you need to do this week to be on target for your monthly task list, update weekly):

  • Write at least 5k new words on new book/stories.
  • Post at least one new blog post, and/or at least three original posts across social media.
  • Submit any completed or rejected stories.
  • Respond to request for interview by Friday.
  • Return contract by Tuesday

Daily Task List (what you need to do today):

  • Write at least 715 words
  • Resubmit any rejected stories
  • Clear out inbox
  • Buy printer paper
  • Work on interview questions

 

Please feel free to share your goals with me. I’d love to hear them and see examples of how other writers work and dream.  And it also gives me the opportunity to offer help where I may.

Cheers.

Originally posted at my Mirror Blog at: http://www.randy-henderson.com/2015/01/setting-your-new-year-goals/





Finn Fancy Duran Durancy

I am pleased and excited to announce that FINN FANCY NECROMANCY will also be published in the UK!!! By Titan! I will, of course, need to brush up on my UnitedKingdomish so that I can read the translation, but I am pretty dang chuffed! And I think their cover is awesome, a perfect balance to Tor’s.

Titan&quot;s UK Cover for Finn Fancy Necromancy
Originally posted at my Mirror Blog at: http://www.randy-henderson.com/2014/12/finn-uk/

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About QuantuMAge University - Read This or Suffer in Ignorance!

Welcome current and future students!

We here at QuantuMAge University are way cool. Let's just get that fact out there right up front.

Our curriculum is built around speculative fiction (Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror, etcetera) and aims to imbue you with god-like wisdom through such courses as:

  • Movie reviews better than those other guys' reviews 101
  • Genre-related social commentary 101
  • Book and story reviews 101
  • Role-Playing game observations 101
  • Musings on genre trends 101
  • Random genre-related thoughts 101
  • Updates and tips on writing genre fiction (an ongoing lecture course based on my real-world adventures) ... er, 101.

Perhaps someday we'll even add some 200 level courses. But probably not. That sounds like work.

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