Structure, creativity, one-click publishing… and the fossil record for our books

John Rakestraw of Unbridled Editor invited me on his Blog Talk Radio show today. John used to be an actor before he became a freelance editor, and we had a great time nattering about fleshing out characters, creativity, where a story starts, the liberating influence of story structure and how to create a story that pulls the reader in.

We also waded into the big questions facing writers today. What becomes of publishing if epublishing is as easy as hitting a button? As the classics of the future are written on computer and manuscripts disappear, will there be a fossil record for how our books evolved? And speaking of what is on record and what is not, there’s a little chit-chat about ghostwriting and not being able to tell people I wrote the books they loved… Proper post tomorrow, in the meantime – hope you enjoy our natter.

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  1. #1 by jperrykelly on April 17, 2011 - 9:23 am

    GREAT! Looking forward to it. I’m sleepy! Zzzzz…

  2. #2 by Paul on April 18, 2011 - 5:49 pm

    Slightly strange experience, commenting on a blog post before I’ve finished listening to it… and, in truth, more inspired by your comments about Createspace / Lightning Source / Lulu / Amazon etc. over on the Fabled Lands blog…

    I’m getting familiar with these ‘near misses’ you mention in the radio blog (radio blogs? When did that happen? I’ve never come across this medium before…). A few times now, the agents who’ve read my novel have basically said, ‘This is really good, but we can’t see a major publisher going for it. Try finding a smaller publisher of literary fiction for it, and send us whatever you write next.’ At the same time, smaller publishers, with whom I’ve published bits and pieces before, are saying, ‘We really don’t have the means to publish a new book right now’.

    And so, perhaps the solution is to publish the thing as an ebook. Though I’m just barely computer-capable, my kind brother is something of an IT expert, and has offered to help me set up a website (he suddenly has a lot of free time, y’see… he does a lot of computer forensics work and internet security for the police and, here too, budget cuts are causing redundancies… By the by, if you were ever planning some grand online heist, now would be a good time to run with it).

    Throughout the writing courses I’ve done over the last few years, I’ve been advised against self-publishing – ‘vanity’ publishing, with all the negative connotations that come with such a word. ‘It shows that you haven’t looked hard enough to find a ‘real’ publisher,’ I’ve been told. But maybe that’s changing. Maybe – now that e-publishing can get books out there without any real financial outlay – self-publishing is becoming more legitimate. Is it? What do you think? How easy or hard is it to sneer at self-published e-authors? (Or maybe, ‘self-e-published authors? Terminology is just another problem erupting from this publishing evolution…)

    And so, I suppose my first comment on this Nail Your Novel page – though I’ve already managed a few over on the Fabled Lands blog (Dave Morris’s Blood Sword books are just a lifelong favourite) – is to say thank you, wholeheartedly, for recounting your experience and views in this area. Some of the information here, and particularly some of the technical details that you linked to a couple of weeks back, has been an absolute godsend for me so far.

    As I type, I’ve had to click the radio blog (radblog?) onto ‘pause’. Half past seven has ticked by, partners have come home from work, TVs have switched on, and I’ve been – not without reason – criticised for not cleaning the flat sufficiently. I’ll catch up with the second half later.

    • #3 by rozmorris on April 18, 2011 - 8:39 pm

      Paul, what an interesting comment, and thank you for wading over here from Fabled Lands. I’ll pass your compliments to Dave for Blood Sword.

      You raise some very interesting points, which I’m sure a lot of people would like to see discussed – so I’ll make it my next post. Stay tuned…

      (Heading off to hack a police computer – thanks for the tip!)

  1. I’ve had near misses with agents and publishers – should I self-publish? « Nail Your Novel

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