Sunday, December 20, 2009

What to do When Your WIP Has No Zip?

If you have decent writing skills and spend enough time in writing conferences, attending SCBWI meetings and going to retreats or classes, AND you write with some frequency, I honestly think you will develop some competence in terms of technical excution. You'll know to show, not tell, and you have beginnings, middles and ends, and characters that act on their own and solve their own problems.

What you may not have is a spark, a flame, a roaring fire of "wow!" that makes your work-in-progress irresistable and special. And you need that. To get an editor's interest, to capture the attention of an agent plowing through hundreds of submissions, you gotta have SOMEthing that gives your work that extra edge. That thing that editors and agents describe as "I'll know it when I see it."

Some of this will come from a great plot or a high concept and some of this will come from your voice-both the narrative voice and the voice of your characters.

I have a picture book that has some good points, and has all the questions answered (What are the stakes for the main character? Is there conflict? etc.), but it just feels...blah. Have I done so much techincal editing that I've lost that voice?

Have you had this issue?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Switching from PC to Mac

"Macs are for creative people. PC's are for business people." What do you do if you are a creative business person?

I've recently purchased a Mac laptop for my creative business needs, but I have not spent any quality time with a Mac since 1994. No really- it's all been Unix terminals and PC's since then. I'm totally comfy in computer world, but when I got the Mac, I felt like an idiot. I may be able to create my own databases complete with crosswalk tables and knowing just enough SQL to get me by, but it took me a few HOURS of playing with my Mac to figure out how to resize the windows. And the "multiple fingers do multiple things on the track pad" thing totally throws me. I gotta get a mouse...

But really, the biggest problem is trying to figure out which software to load. Some decisions are easy- Scrivener for drafting novels, non-fiction and larger projects, and Quickbooks for accounting, billing and reporting, and when it somes to graphics, I'll cough up the dough for the Adobe and Quark stuff. But Office for the Mac is missing Access, and I do like to do my own databases. Or should I do the Bootcamp thing and divvy-up the hard drive so I can run Windows programs on the Mac, like Office for PC's and ACT- a client tracking program? And what about that Open Office thing? Anyone ever use it?

If you run a small business off a Mac, please share your successes and failures with software with the rest of us! Please? With an apple on top?