“Summertime and the livin’ is easy…”
Well, not if you’re scribbling away, or worse, staring over the deck while wracking your brain as to what you should write next.
I’ve been both places.
In the last hour.
So I’m going to use this blog to tidy up some odds and ends. While I was writing A World Too Far, I needed some insight into what futuristic weapons could look like. After all, Carter Wright had to come up with a defense system for the ship, and a robotic swarm seemed a natural for his talents. I found this website on futuristic weapons, some are leading edge weapons already on the battlefield, and I wanted to pass it on to my science geeks. (Overlook the ad and any click bait, because the content is interesting.)
Here’s the link : http://www.prophecynewswatch.com/article.cfm?recent_news_id=843
I used the rail gun because it doesn’t use explosives (no air in space), and the armed robot swarm. Lasers seemed like a cool futuristic weapon too.
Science fiction is just that…fiction. But it becomes much more powerful if grounded in some fact. How precise the accuracy should be, and how detailed, varies from reader to reader. I research a lot, but then when you’re skimming a black hole for the impact of the story, I sometimes make a leap of imagination. A big leap.
Never having the real experience recorded by anyone to compare notes with.
When I think of the astronomy I learned in school and what they have discovered since, I am astounded. Nothing can be ruled out as to what future discoveries might reveal.
Er, that dates me a bit.
On an entirely different subject, but another odds and ends note, I came across this article on page count. With the advent of the ebook, page count becomes not as important. No bookstore dictates shelf space and formatting is more flexible. So how has this changed page count?
The Book Designer by Joel Friedlander is a favorite website. They have an occasional blog that says, “Do This: Not That.” In June, Amy Collins did an interesting guest blog on page count.
-Here’s the link: https:thebookdesigner.com/2017/06/book-promotion-do-this-not-that-june-2017/.
Zack Obront from Book in A Box analyzed 272 books that sat at the #1 spot on the New York Times Best Seller List over the past seven years. In 2011, the average nonfiction #1 NYT Bestseller was 467 pages long. Now it’s 273. Almost half.
For fiction, in 2011, the average Bestseller List page count was 502. This week (June 21, 2017) the average Best Seller List page count was 398. Quite a difference.
This surprised me as I thought page count would go up due to not having the shelf space worry.
If you are going to offer a POD paperback, new authors are finding the cost of production eats deeply into any royalties for a long book and drives the price too high for the average reader’s pocketbook. Less buyers.
If you are beginning a book, it is good to set a goal for how long the book should be. I often use Larry Brook’s outline for pacing purposes, and it is helpful to know around what page your plot points should drop.
Amy goes on to offer suggestions on how to remedy the problem of the too long and the too short book from splitting it up, tighter editing, to places that take lesser page count material such as magazines or leaflets.
Odds and Ends, dusted and done.
This week I’m highlighting an urban fantasy. If you’re a fan of Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden Series, you’ll like Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch. It can also be found in the United Kingdom under the title of the Rivers of London.
The story: Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Unfortunately, his superior plans to stick him in a desk job as a clerk.
However, on duty at a particularly puzzling murder, one of the eye witnesses that speaks to him turns out to be a ghost. This odd occurrence comes to the attention of Inspector Thomas Nightingale, Special Division of the Uncanny. Nightingale investigates crimes involving magic and the supernatural…on the down low. Due to Peter’s unique ability to sense the supernatural, Thomas takes him on as his assistant. As they investigate the murder, they wade deeper and deeper into a series of bizarre crimes that soon involve gods and goddesses fighting over river territories. A long dead evil begins to emerge in a rising tide of magic and mayhem, and it is up to Nightingale and his new partner to stop it.
I enjoyed the story, full of twists and turns. Peter stumbles into a whole nether world unknown to most Londone
rs who become victims of a malevolent being. Fun dialog, interesting characters, and magic. What more could you want?
It’s hot. I’m going to find some mint from my back deck for my iced tea and another good book to read in the shade.