Nov 20, 2014

Ursula K. Le Guin's Speech at the NBA Ceremony

I know I already talked about this, but if you are a writer or a reader or someone who has any interest in American arts and culture, you really should watch this speech.


Nov 10, 2014

The Luxury of a Messy First Draft

One of the things I have occasion to think about, a lot and in great depth (or at least the kind of focus that one hopes will result in great depth), is the difference between working on original and licensed fiction. I do a great deal of the latter, and enjoy it; I do not very much of the former, and would enjoy doing more.

Today I took an afternoon and sat with a pen and notebook working on a novel, all mine mine mine--and during the course of that work I started thinking about a signal difference in the composition process of a licensed novel when compared to an original novel. With disclaimers abounding about how every project is different etc. etc., here is the conclusion at which I arrived:

The great thing about an original novel is that your first draft can be an utter disaster.

With a licensed book you don't have time for the first draft to be a mess. You have to zero in, lock in, make something like a recognizable novel as you're going through in the early stages--or else you're never going to hit the deadline.

Con- (or ob-) versely, in the original novel I'm working on, I've got a notebook full of about 75 pages of stuff. I've got other notebooks for this novel too, but this is the one I'm working in right now because I dedicated it specifically to one portion of the book. (Why? That will make more sense when you read the book, which I hope will be in 2016.) In that 75 pages, I've written all kinds of stuff, and in that all kinds of stuff are three different versions of a crucial scene. I arrived at all of them in a completely organic and comfortable fashion, and I have no idea which of them will be in the finished book. But it seemed remarkable to me when I figured this out, because in a licensed book I would have written that scene the first time, called it good, and then started figuring out how to make everything else fit with it.

Not, I hasten to clarify, because I care less about one kind of book. (Although the kind of caring is certainly different). The reason for pulling the trigger on a scene after you've written it once, instead of semi-accidentally exploring it three different ways, is simple:

Time pressure.

Licensed books come in with insane deadlines, and the process of drafting them has to reflect that. Only in an original book, without external strictures or a pressing deadline, do you have the luxury of a messy first draft.

And a messy first draft is an absolute delight. I enjoyed this afternoon.

Now I'll get back to working out the licensed stuff, because I've got a book due...no, wait, two...I mean, four.

Nov 3, 2014

Audio Version of "Wizard's Six"

Clarkesworld has done an audio version of my story "Wizard's Six," recently reprinted there after its original appearance in F&SF back in 2007. Have a listen...

...and if you like it, you can head over to PS Publishing and pick up Mare Ultima (print | ebook), a novella-length expansion of "Wizard's Six" and another story, "Dragon's Teeth," also from F&SF.


Oct 2, 2014

Happy Birthday, Marvel Puzzle Quest

Tomorrow it'll be a year since Marvel Puzzle Quest first appeared. I have the privilege to write this game (after Frank Tieri did all the hard work getting its initial Dark Reign storyline started), and I want to thank each and every one of the 3.7 million (and counting) people who have downloaded and played it. Here's an image with some cool info about the game, including the fact that it's the first Marvel game to feature the new Thor: Goddess of Thunder!


Sep 30, 2014

A Brief Rant on a Popular Meme

I confess that I hate this meme. Speaking as someone who has written a fair number of books, I can tell you that a) authors don't always know what they mean; b) even when we think we do, the book is often doing something else that we don't notice until readers point it out for us later; and c) once a book is out in the world, readers' understanding of it matters more than whatever I might think I meant at the time.

This is a thoroughly stupid and reductive meme. It's fundamentally hostile to what literature is all about.


There. I feel better.

Sep 16, 2014

Coming Up: Eight Books in Six Months

Here's a rundown of what I've got coming out between now and March...

Season 2 of Sleepy Hollow is just around the corner, and to get you warmed up for it, here's The Secret Journal of Ichabod Crane, out today!


Also, next month you'll be able to pick up the Marvel Vehicles Owner's Workshop Manual...


Then in November, it'll be Captain America and Iron Man kicking off the Phase One series of young-reader adaptations of the Marvel Cinematic Universe...

 

Then in January, Hulk and Thor keep Phase One going, while my prose adaptation of Secret Wars also hits shelves...

 



Then in March, the Phase One Avengers book! (For which there is as yet no cover...)

Also I've got five books in the pipeline that I can't announce yet. Whew.

Sep 13, 2014

Marvel Secret Wars Novel

Here's the catalog page for the Secret Wars prose novel I just finished up...coming January 20!


Covers to Marvel Phase One Books

Take a look at these beauties. I'm writing a series of middle-reader novelizations of the Marvel Phase One movies, taken directly from the films themselves rather than the scripts. This has meant watching the movies again a whole bunch of times. (My job's pretty miserable.) I'm working on the fifth book right now, but here are the covers for the first four:

 

 

Pretty cool, right?

Jul 14, 2014

Marvel Vehicles Cover

I used to have a Haynes manual for my old Land Cruiser. When I sold the Land Cruiser (nicknamed Igor), I left the manual on the seat for the next guy. Sad day.

To fill the void, I got myself this Haynes-style R2D2 shirt a few years later.

I still have the shirt, but now I also have the cover of the Marvel Vehicles Owners Workshop Manual...


It's out in October, and you should probably have one for the next time you run across an old Battle Van in an abandoned Oscorp warehouse, right?