Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Links of Interest

BUSINESS OF PUBLISHING: Online browsing habits and selling books.

BUSINESS OF PUBLISHING: The royalty statement and the Reconciliation to Print clause/

Sales by accounts:

Lack of information on some statements:

CRAFT: Self-editing. Redundancy and wordiness.

BUSINESS OF PUBLISHING: THE FCC clarifies the blogger/book review issue.


I'll be busy with visiting family next week so I won't be blogging.

Use this free time to check out the archives of this blog. The label index on the left side is a great way to find subjects you are interested in.

My domain site,, also has loads of articles on writing. Click on the short stories and articles navigation icon at the bottom of each page to see the articles index.

Monday, October 19, 2009

How Long Should a Chapter Be?

QUESTION: How long should a chapter be?

There is no "official" length for chapters.  Most run around 15-20 manuscript pages in genre.  Category romances run a bit shorter.

The best rule of thumb is to end the chapter at your strongest hook/cliffhanger so the reader can't resist reading a few more pages to see what happens next.

The worst place to end a chapter is after solutions have been found, and the next disaster hasn’t started happening.


RESEARCH SOURCE: In my blog on creating psychic characters, I discussed using television resources. A new documentary show called PSYCHIC PI is starting tonight on A&E at 11 PM ET which should prove a wealth of ideas on how a psychic can work with the police to solve crimes.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Links of Interest

BUSINESS OF PUBLISHING: Agent Kristin Nelson begins a series on the nuts and bolts of contracts. First up, the royalty accounting periods.

BUSINESS OF PUBLISHING: What the FCC ruling about bloggers and reviews will mean to authors.

PROMOTION: An author’s guide to working with publicists. (Be sure to check out the rest of this blog for new authors. It looks awesome.

AGENTS: A handy-dandy guide to finding the right literary agents to query.

BUSINESS OF PUBLISHING: The profit and loss statement. Part One. This will be hard slogging if you aren’t that into business, but it’s worth your time. Read the dang thing!

Part Two: The Details

Part Three of Four: Exceptions to the rules mentioned.

SHORT STORY MARKETS: Bibliophile Stalker is maintaining a spreadsheet of speculative fiction short story anthologies looking for submissions.
If this link doesn’t work, go to to find a live link.

BUSINESS OF PUBLISHING: Why short stories are good for publishers and some writers. More about literary than genre fiction, but some interesting ideas.

PROMOTION: The Book Tour

BUSINESS OF PUBLISHING: Royalty statements. Agent Kristin Nelson talks about the Random House royalty statement.

AGENT INTERVIEW: Agent Kelly Mortimer who handles mainly Christian fiction and romance.

CRAFT: Cutting down the overlong novel to publishable size.

AGENTS: What to do when an agent wants to represent you.

BUSINESS OF PUBLISHING: Getting permission to quote music lyrics.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Active versus Passive Goals, CRAFT

I'm a great fan of Andre Norton, the incredible sf and fantasy author.

When I read Norton’s MERLIN'S MIRROR, I was so disappointed by the book I reread it to figure out why.

The character of Merlin has a mirror which tells him the future, and he has to make it happen. Through the whole novel, he does all kinds of active things but doesn't make the first important decision about his own life or what he wants to do. Instead, he's led along by that dang mirror.

He is as passive, in many ways, as a character who is always reacting to others rather than charting his own course, and a passive main character means a boring book.

Being active as a character is as much about choices as it is about running around doing stuff to achieve a goal, particularly someone else's goal.

ASK ME A QUESTION! If you have a writing or publishing question, please ask. Contact me via this blog or via email at marilynnbyerly at

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Links of Interest

BUSINESS OF PUBLISHING: The ebook survey from the Frankfurt Bookfair on the future of ebooks as seen by publishing pros.

PROMOTION: Pro author promoters tell what an author needs to do to create a successful blog.

COPYRIGHT: Good overview of copyright including creative commons licenses.

PROMOTION: How to have a successful author event at a bookstore. Written for bookstore owners but with lots of good advice for an author.

EBOOK FORMATS: Scott Marlowe explains the different ebook formats available as well as their potential for conversion to other formats.

CRAFT: SF writer Vonda N. McIntyre discusses some of the pitfass of writing sf fantasy.’s-in-the-right-place/

BUSINESS OF PUBLISHING: Agent Kristin Nelson talks about the major increases she’s seeing in ebook sales numbers from her clients.

PROMOTION: The first in a series on writing press releases.

BUSINESS OF PUBLISHING: Editor lists her blogs on many aspects of writing with the writer in mind. A Must Read!

CRAFT: The cure for the sagging middle of a novel.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Yen and Yang of the Hero and His Opponent

When you are planning your novel, you need to make sure the protagonist and the antagonist are made for each other like a romantic couple.  A sort of yen and yang of power and abilities.

For every power, strength, ability, or skill the hero/heroine has, the bad guy or guys should have one that tops him/her enough that he/she can barely survive each attack.  The hero/heroine should win more on guts and a need to protect his/her romantic partner or innocents than those abilities.

The hero/heroine's fight must also be as much about fighting against an emotional weakness/fear as it is about fighting the bad guy.