Tag Archives: writing

Good News/Publishing Announcement

Hello! Since I have a habit of burying the lede, I’ll just come right out and say it: I’ve signed a contract with Dragon Moon Press to publish my next novel.

Of course I’m overjoyed at this development. Some of the reasons should be obvious: lots of time invested (years!), big milestone, excited by the opportunity for people to see my work, and so on. But I’m also jazzed to be working with Dragon Moon in particular. They’ve in business as a small press since 1993, which by itself is fairly astonishing. Their covers look fantastic. And most importantly, though every Author is different, from the discussions we’ve had I feel they’re a great fit for me and my current goals.

As for the book itself, you can read a bit about the plot and the process of writing it in my post-mortem here. And if you want more…well, you’ll have to wait. This process will in all likelihood not be speedy, but I’m happy to document what I can along the way for those who are interested (I mean, it would interest me, so there must be someone else out there). There will be plenty of time later to get into more detailed marketing stuff, title, cover reveal, sample and so on. For now, I’m simply giving a heads up that good things are on the way. And in the meantime, I have more writing to do….

Short Story: “The Yardstick” (Swords and Sorcery Magazine)

Swords and Sorcery is an online magazine published by the inimitable Curtis Ellett, and this month I’m honored to have been chosen to have a story of mine published there.

(note: if The Yardstick is no longer in the current issue when you read this, click the Archive link and search for Will Weisser to find it).

A little more background for those who are interested: during the very little downtime I had at Worldcon last year, I felt like I needed to write something, having been inspired by the presence of so many great creative types. I free-associated a bunch of random titles in my notebook, most of which will likely never amount to anything, but one that did catch my eye was “The Yardstick.” I have no idea why I wrote down those words, but the idea of a measuring device implied story possibilities to me. What if this yardstick wasn’t regular, but magical? What could it measure? A person? What about them? Perhaps if they were brave enough, strong enough, worthy of some title or distinction?

Over the next couple of weeks I fleshed out the rest of the story without any planning, just making it up as I went, which is not my usual M.O., especially since I rarely write short stories anyway (I’m not nearly brave enough to try and write an entire novel that way). I think it turned out pretty well, and although not everything I start ends up so good, after 4 years I feel like I’m definitely making progress at writing fiction thing, as evidenced by this, the first time someone has paid me up front for my work.

So, please enjoy, check out the other stories on the S&S site, and blog, tweet and otherwise share the fruits of Mr. Ellet’s (and the author’s) labor. Now I’m going back to work on some ideas for my third novel…

Random Smarch Update

This blog has been pretty barren lately. Part of that is due to the lousy weather (see title)–lots of snow days means more time at home with the kids and less time to write, and what writing time I do have is devoted almost exclusively to finishing the 2nd draft of Aetheria’s Daemon, which given that I’ve been working on it since last summer combined with my legendary impatience is a much higher priority than anything else.

In the past two months I actually started writing up two long-form posts about various craft-related things, but couldn’t figure out exactly what I wanted to say and abandoned them. So it goes. The way I operate this blog is to only post when I feel like I have something substantial to say, as opposed to posting on a regular schedule. Not that the latter strategy is bad (in fact if you want people to actually read your blog it’s the better way to go), but it’s just not the way I’m approaching things right now. I reserve the right to change my mind on that later, though.

So, since I’m breaking my own rule here and posting about nothing, what exactly is going on so far in 2014? I have re-written the opening chapters of Aetheria’s Daemon a few times, and I’m pretty happy with their current state. In my opinion the book is shaping up to be pretty badass, but I still have around 50k words left to revise before I can send it to beta readers and they can shatter my illusions. Luckily, with Spring coming and a whole bunch of random household issues taken care of, there is little now preventing me from doing that (knock wood).

I got an Honorable Mention in the Q4 2013 Writers of the Future contest. They sent me a nice framed certificate. Very cool. I’m looking forward to reading the anthology when it comes out, especially since my acquaintance Megan O’Keefe won first place. Congratulations again, Megan.

I wrote another short story which turned into a medium-length story (what the Hugos call a “novelette,” though I don’t think they’ll be involved here). Originally I was planning on submitting it to WoTF again, but that would mean cutting all the profanity, and given the setting (some “bad” neighborhoods in NYC circa the mid-90’s) I’m not sure it would make sense to do that. In any case, the WoTF deadline isn’t until the end of March, so I’m in no big hurry to revise it, especially if I could finish Aetheria’s Daemon before then (haha…).

I’m trying to read more novels this year, with an emphasis on recent releases from active SF/F authors. The idea is to acquire a nearly complete picture of where the genre is headed at the moment, which will make it easier to relate to agents and editors since that’s the world they’re entrenched in. Reading a lot of books sounds like an easy thing to do, and a lot of people I know make it look easy, but it’s never come easily to me. One problem is that I’m picky, with a low tolerance for a book which is merely “good” as opposed to “great.” If I read through an Amazon sample and don’t find it engaging enough, I’ll just move on since I know there are so many other books out there which will definitely blow my mind (cough Mark Lawrence cough). Repeating this 3 or 4 times can seriously cut into my reading schedule. Now add in to that time spent critiquing other people’s work, or getting sucked into manga (I had a thing with Gantz for a while, and am now hooked on All-Rounder Meguru), not to mention non-fiction (Max Tegmark, whose ideas were influential in the creation of the Reintegrators, has a book out I’m dying to read)….oy.

In any case, that’s where I stand. I don’t know what 2014 will hold for me, but I’m writing, and I’m reading, so I think I’m on the right track. Let’s see where it leads me.

Craft Book Round-Up: The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

warofart_bookIs The War of Art really a craft book? Maybe not by any reasonable definition, but it does cover a topic of great interest to many budding authors: if I want to write, how come I rarely actually write anything? If this question sounds absurd to you, you’ve obviously never spent much time on writer’s forums, where variants of it come up over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. See, with a little practice, anyone can figure out how to cut an adverb or cliché, but when it comes to the thorny issue of motivation, there are no easy answers–at least until now.

I read this book at the request of a friend who had heard rave reviews from various media outlets proclaiming it to be the greatest thing since spellcheck (perhaps the fact that he was too lazy to read it himself speaks volumes as to whether or not he needs it).   Impressed by the blurbs, I put it on my Kindle and ended up consuming it over the course of a couple hours (it’s not that engaging, but it is very short). What I found was a pretty good self-help guide, mixed with a good smattering of nonsensical blather, especially in the final third. Read on for details.

Continue reading Craft Book Round-Up: The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

Aetheria’s Daemon Concept Art

Eren Arik is an incredibly talented concept artist from whom I was lucky to be able to commission a piece of artwork. The subject is a scene from Aetheria’s Daemon, my current WIP (click the image for a larger version):

Aetheria’s Daemon is what some might call a non-traditional fantasy novel. It takes place on a world with a landscape and ecology much different from Earth, where all the humans (or at least they think of themselves as human) are immortal, and any object can be conjured from the air with a thought. The elements shown here–the castle, the mountains, the drakenbird and even the dust clouds in the distance are all important elements in the story, but you’ll have to wait to read it to find out what they mean.

What I can tell you about the story is that it begins with Meli, a practitioner of the arts of plant and animal creation. Meli has had a dream in which she is holding a baby, something no one in Aetheria has heard of before. Drawn by a powerful urge to make her vision real, she recruits Ariden, an unsociable vagabond and legendary fighter, and Karis, an aged airship engineer with the appearance of a teen girl, to help make a perilous journey across the ocean.  But when an attack by air pirates splits the companions and leads Meli and Ariden to the lair of an ancient cult, they begin to learn the truth of her quest, and its connection with a mysterious being who plots the destruction of all Aetherian life.

You can see more of Eren’s work in his CGHub gallery.

The Importance of Exposition in Fantasy

The exposition…here we go…the exposition…what a show!

Ahem. Sorry about that, was channeling Mel Brooks for a moment.

Where were we? Ah yes, exposition. The bane of freelance editors and critique groups everywhere, because generally speaking, exposition is boring. In it’s purest form, it’s simply a way giving the reader information in the simplest, flattest way possible. No plot, no characters, no emotion–all the things we love about fiction are stopped dead so that the budding author-to-be can clearly explain everything he or she thinks you need to know about the cultural mores of his race of talking marmosets.

Continue reading The Importance of Exposition in Fantasy