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    Magical Words: who pays whom?

    I’ve been doing what will, I imagine, turn into a four part series over on Magical Words, all prompted by a reader question “who pays whom?” Part one, discussing the editor/agent/author relationship and the differences between an editor and an editorial service, is here. Part two, discussing vanity presses, is here. I expect I’ll be talking about POD and ebooks over the next two weeks, and I’ll link to those later, maybe.

    For the moment, though, I thought I’d bring up what turned into a very long comment from the second part, and post it here. It’s a little about what drives people to vanity press, and a little about other stuff, and probably none of it’s news, but I think it probably also bears repeating. And it’s long, so I’ll put it behind the cut.

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    cannot brain i have teh dumb

    I think I have about a chapter and a half to go on this book. It is getting ever-slower. I have reached the Novelist’s Event Horizon. I’m coming to the conclusion that the last five chapters or so of any book is my least favorite part of writing it. For years now I’ve been skipping ahead and writing the last scene, and I now suspect that this is because I just want to get it over with and have some vague (if desperately wrong) hope that if I write the last scene the rest of it will all magically fall into place.

    It doesn’t, of course, but hope springs eternal.

    I did something different with this book, after a discussion at Magical Words about plotting vs pantsing. It struck me that the books that have gone the most smoothly–noteably THE QUEEN’S BASTARD and THE PRETENDER’S CROWN, which are flipping huge books–had, for their size, very detailed outlines. Now, I’ve always thought of myself as a pantser who only plots so far as it’s necessary to sell a book, but having thought about this, I decided to run an experiment. I wrote five pages of single-spaced notes for DEMON HUNTS in addition to the synopsis I’d used to sell the book.

    My typical writing pattern is to hit the 1/3rd mark and a wall, back up, fix mistakes, charge forward to the 2/3rds mark, hit a wall, back up, fix mistakes, finish the book.

    I made one mistake in this book (at least as far as I can tell. I’m sure my editor will find more.). It was of such colossal nature that I wrote myself into a corner within 1500 words and had to fix it. That was…halfway through? Or so. Otherwise, really, this has gone incredibly smoothly. A survey sample of one is too small to really tell, but I’m clearly going to have to try this method (I still can’t type that word without typing “Methos” first) again on the next book, because if I’ve found a way to take some of the pain out of putting a novel together, I want *on* that bandwagon. I’m almost looking forward to writing another book to see if it works again.

    ytd wordcount: 167,700
    miles to Minas Tirith: 228

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