1. There are times that I have sat and watched words which *I am typing* appear on the screen in front of my eyes… and not recognized them. That’s how much my characters – or sometimes just my story – take over when I’m in “writer mode”. I sometimes think it’s a mild form of possession.
2. There are characters I have created that I actively dislike and there are times that it’s HARD to be fair to those characters. I like to think I generally come out on the side of the angels, but I don’t know…
3. In my stories, people *die*. Sometimes they do so for a really really good reason, or a good cause. Sometimes they do it willingly, in the hopes of achieving something with that death. Other times their death may appear meaningless or wholly arbitrary. But see, this is the way things work in the real world, too, and I don’t think that my fictional realms should be any the less “real” for being created by my mind.
4. I don’t work from outlines or to rigid pattern. My stories are organic. I stick a story seed into the ground, water it copiously, and it sometimes astonishes even me when something weirdly exotic comes up out of the good earth.
5. There is a time, after the completion of every single one of my books, that I wander around the house chewing my nails and driving my poor husband nuts with the whine that “Nobody wants my book!” I go through phases of absolutely believing that every sane reader out there simply HAS to hate this thing I have just completed.
6. I flinch at bad reviews. Silence, however, is far worse. At least a bad review means that someone has READ the book, even though they hated it. Resounding silence makes an author wonder if the book actually does exist, or if the previous months of frenetic editorial activity and galleys and copyedits and proofreading have all been just a figment of one’s imagination.
7. There is something frankly terrifying the first time you see your book in the hands of a complete stranger.
8. You never stop learning in this game. Even when you start teaching, you learn from the people who call themselves your students.
9. There are times that it’s a royal pain in the ass, being a writer. You learn to THINK like one. You sit down to watch a TV show, or go to a movie, and the rest of the people watching the same thing will sit rapt for an hour or two and then drop their jaws in utter astonishment at some twist ending… which you worked out halfway through and were waiting with increasing impatience to be vindicated.
10. It never gets old. Every time a new book arrives, it’s like the first time. Every book is a little piece of a dream come true. It’s a little bit like sitting outside on the porch just as the clouds break on a gray day and the sun streams through, and everything that was monochrome is suddenly part of a bright and vivid world, and you understand perfectly just why you were born – simply to be the one to see those colors come to life before your eyes.
Bookshop Sidewalk Chalkboard Edition
The Owl & Turtle Bookshop, Camden, Maine, issued a storm warning July 4 via the store’s sidewalk chalkboard, which noted:
“Working hypothesis: Putting this chalkboard out on the sidewalk causes rain (We’re 50% sure).”
Every year, the art world chooses the best science fiction and fantasy illustrations — providing a visual feast for the rest of us. The Chesley Awards just chose its 2014 finalists, and there’s an astonishing wealth of beautiful artworks to spend your afternoon admiring, Charlie Jane Anders tells us at io9.
Top 10 dogs in children’s books
From Best Mate in Michael Morpurgo’s Born to Run to Lassie and Toto, author Cliff McNish picks the 10 most memorable hounds in children’s fiction for The Guardian.
When I was asked to put together a top 10 list of children’s books with amazing dogs the first thing I realised is that mutts in children’s fiction have brilliant names. What self-respecting child called Jack or Emily wouldn’t really rather be Pongo or Missis Pongo from Dodie Smith’s The 101 Dalmations? Or the mashed-up pit-bull from Larry Levin’s Oogy?You can even go to hell if you want, as boy Conor does with Scrote in Anthony McGowan’s Hellbent, proving that even in the afterlife you can have a loyal hound at your side.
The great children’s dog ever? My favourite, certainly. There’s a paragraph in the novel where his owner, Thornton, asks Buck to haul an incredible pack-weight on his sledge. An impossible weight. A weight no dog should ever be able to pull.
“Thornton knelt down by Buck’s side. He took his head in his two hands and rested cheek on cheek. He did not playfully shake him, as was his wont, or murmur soft love curses; but he whispered in his ear. ‘As you love me, Buck. As you love me.'” And does he? You bet he does.