All posts filed under: Writing & Publishing

Articles relating to the writing process and seeking publication

Guest Post: Rethinking Point-Of-View and Viewpoint by Catherine E. McLean

Originally posted on No Wasted Ink:
A couple of years ago, author and educator Tim Esaias calculated there are some 9,720 variations on POV. Is it any wonder grasping what POV and Viewpoint are can boggle the mind? To understand POV, I took a time out from my writing to educate myself on all things POV and Viewpoint. Six months later, and after studying thirty-one “experts” take on the subjects, I had my first POV-Viewpoint epiphany. Out of those thirty-one experts, only two said POV and Viewpoint were two separate entities. Were they right? I looked up the definitions of both in my American Heritage Dictionary. The definitions were not the same. This triggered my second epiphany: most experts, authors, and writers were passing on the rhetoric that the two terms were synonymous and interchangeable. In fact, using the two terms synonymously is what creates the confusion. It’s like being at a highway intersection and finding someone substituted a red light for the green light and labeled it a caution light. Since I believe in…

When you’re a brain without a body, can you still be called human?

It’s not easy being a Mindclone. You wake up from dreamless sleep and confront meaningless images. Soon, an inaccessible part of you finds a way to sort through those images and you reconstruct the world. Then your memories kick in. You discover your identity. Oh, I get it. I’m this science writer. I’m 34, unmarried, unattached, pretty successful in my career and blah blah blah. You wonder where you are, and how you got here. Then you notice something odd. You can’t feel your body. This is how the acclaimed science fiction novel Mindclone begins. The Mindclone becomes friends with the science writer whose memories he shares. And finally meets the young woman he was born loving. He has to accept the fact that he can never have her the way his human counterpart can. He also learns that friendship is not automatically given. It must be earned by good deeds. Those good deeds bring him to the attention of a powerful and well-connected military contractor. The technology upon which he is based would be …

An android walks into a church…

That’s the basic “what-if” of my newest short story, called A Disturbance in the Church. The way the idea came about was through a discussion thread about Artificial Intelligence on the LinkedIn site. Several people were posting comments about the various ramifications of AI, when one person expressed the view that no logical entity would ever have religious feelings, implying that the two were incompatible. This notion tickled my funny-bone, and I commented that a story about such an event would be a perfect medium for satire. The original commenter said he would definitely read such a story. So I wrote it. It’s now available on Amazon, and the audio version will be out before mid-May, 2015. If you’re curious, you can go to the Amazon page and read some very nice reviews. Here’s the link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00WH6DQK6

Listen to my interview on The Author Show

The interviewer Don McCauley and I discussed my sci-fi novel Mindclone, a story about the first successful upload of a human mind to a computer. The ten-minute discussion ranges over the science and technology used for scanning brains, the various plot complications in the book, the characters, and the social implications of uploading. Among those implications, the defeat of death.  You can search through the website of The Author Showcase (scroll down to find my name, David T. Wolf) at this site: http://www.wnbnetworkwest.com/WnbAuthorsShow.html Or you can hear the interview on YouTube at this site: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eK6KlkjvbyI&feature=youtu.be

The Rapid Rise of Human Language

“The hierarchical complexity found in present-day language is likely to have been present in human language since its emergence,” says Shigeru Miyagawa, Professor of Linguistics and the Kochi Prefecture-John Manjiro Professor in Japanese Language and Culture at MIT.  Credit: Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT At some point, probably 50,000 to 100,000 years ago, humans began talking to one another in a uniquely complex form. It is easy to imagine this epochal change as cavemen grunting, or hunter-gatherers mumbling and pointing. But in a new paper, an MIT linguist contends that human language likely developed quite rapidly into a sophisticated system: Instead of mumbles and grunts, people deployed syntax and structures resembling the ones we use today. “The hierarchical complexity found in present-day language is likely to have been present in human language since its emergence,” says Shigeru Miyagawa, Professor of Linguistics and the Kochi Prefecture-John Manjiro Professor in Japanese Language and Culture at MIT, and a co-author of the new paper on the subject. To be clear, this is not a universally accepted claim: Many scholars believe that …

Fiberead Helps Foreign Authors Break Into China’s E-Book Market

Featured Image: Shutterstock NOTE: My novel, Mindclone, was translated into Chinese by Fiberead, and is now available to over a billion potential readers. I might add that the process was painless, if a bit slow.  –David Wolf China’s book publishing market is worth about $20 billion and e-books are a fast-growing segment, but it’s difficult for foreign authors to gain a foothold. First they have to find a publisher and then wait for their book to be translated and edited, a process that can take up to a year. Fiberead, a Beijing-based startup, wants to make the process faster and more straightforward. Founded by Runa Jiang in 2011, Fiberead is currently taking part in 500 Startups’ accelerator program. Jiang says she launched the company because digital book platforms are proliferating in China and there is strong interest in works by foreign authors, but the traditional publishing industry can’t keep up with reader demand. At the beginning, Fiberead focused on books about entrepreneurship, startups, and the Internet, but its catalog has expanded to include fiction, self-help, biographies, …

The 6 Must-Have Elements of a “Wow” Story Premise — by K.M.Weiland

Story Premise Element #1: Protagonist Every story starts with character–and not just any character, but the character. Who is the hero of your story? Whose emotional and physical journey will you be following? Who has the most at stake? Whom do you find the most interesting? Who inspired this plot? Or–if the plot idea came first–who will be most suited to taking full advantage of its possibilities? Story Premise Element #2: Situation Situation is the first kernel of your plot. This is the status quo in which your protagonist finds himself in the beginning of the story. How will the story start? What is the hero’s personal condition at the beginning? How will that condition be changed, for better or worse, by the hero himself or by the antagonistic force?  Story Premise Element #3: Objective A protagonist has no business showing on the page without an objective. If he doesn’t want something and want it badly enough to do just about anything to achieve it over the next couple hundred pages, then he doesn’t deserve to have a story told …

Some of the books I read before writing Mindclone

Here’s a partial list. These are books on my bookshelves. I borrowed many more from the library. And of course I also read hundreds and hundreds of articles from magazines and from the web. One source that was particularly helpful was KurzweilAI, a weekly digest of the latest advances in science and technology. The relevant articles focused mainly on neuroscience, computer science and quantum computing. BOOKS I READ ABOUT THE BRAIN AND CONSCIOUSNESS: Allman, William F.: Apprentices of Wonder Ausubel, Kenny, Editor: Nature’s Operating Instructions Blakemore, Colin and Greenfield, Susan: Mindwaves Calvin, William H.: The Cerebral Symphony Campbell, Jeremy: The Improbable Machine Chalmers, David J.: The Conscious Mind Clarke, Richard A.: Cyber War Damasio, Antonio: Self Comes to Mind Damasio, Antonio: The Feeling of What Happens Deacon, Terrence W.: The Symbolic Species: The Co-Evolution of Language and the Brain Dennett, Daniel: Consciousness Explained Fischer, Steven Roger: A History of Language Greenfield, Susan: The Private Life of the Brain Hawkins, Jeff: On Intelligence Hofstadter, Douglas: I Am a Strange Loop Hughes, James: Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic …

I used Booklaunch to create a landing page for my novel.

These days, an author is expected to do a lot of the heavy lifting, even when there’s a major publisher involved. Gone are the good times when newbie novelists got large advances and a big marketing push–unless your publisher is convinced you’ve written the next blockbuster. You’re expected to create a platform: a media presence that uses all the latest social media to get your name and your book out there in the world. Makes a writer wonder what exactly a publisher is good for. As part of that effort, I went to Booklaunch to create a landing page for Mindclone. I found the process pretty easy and intuitive. And they offer the kind of support you always hoped for, too. Here’s a link to my page. http://booklaunch.io/davewolf141/547e1a37b2d202e520cff4c6

Dealing with a negative book review

Recently, I joined a “local” science fiction book club—a 100-mile round trip from my house—because I wanted to take the pulse of my audience for my self-published novel, Mindclone. The first meeting I attended, we discussed the novel, The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin. I greatly enjoyed this book, which uses the concept of two worlds with opposing political and economic systems: an idealized Communism and an extreme form of Capitalism. I’ve always believed that one of the best uses of science fiction is to parody or otherwise explore our own world and human nature. That meeting revealed how far apart readers can be when assessing a given novel. Several of the members disliked the book as either too talky or too doctrinaire, with not enough “real” science fiction to satisfy their tastes. One member in particular opened the discussion by declaring, “This is not science fiction. It’s sociology set on two planets.” The discussion was thoughtful, lively and entertaining and, for me, the beginning of a real education on sci-fi readership. At the end …

The 5 Secrets of Choosing the Right Setting for Your Story’s Climax

K.M. Weiland, from her blog post of Feb. 8, 2015  Here’s the link: http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/storys-climax-3/ When you plan your story’s climax, the first thing to come to mind might not be the setting. Too often, the climactic setting is an afterthought. The action, after all, is what’s most important–not where it takes place. But setting can make or break any scene in your story, and this is nowhere more true than in your story’s climax. What makes a great climactic setting? There are actually several factors. As the summation of your entire tale, your story’s climax needs to be a metaphorical microcosm of the story as a whole. Not only should it serve the external and immediate needs of the the scene’s plot, it should also resonate symbolically and thematically. Let’s consider five of important techniques for making the most of the setting in your story’s climax. 1. Is the Setting in Your Story’s Climax Logical for the Plot? The first criterion in choosing the proper climactic setting will always be: does it work? Is it logical? …

The Rules of Writing According to 20 Famous Writers

By: Adrienne Crezo | August 11, 2014 Few professions are as solitary yet as full of advice as writing. You do it alone, usually, but everyone you meet is an expert in what writers do, don’t do, should do, always do, never do, can’t do… Even Anne Rice, who shares her thoughts about rules below, once noted that her doctor advised her to change the title of Interview with the Vampire, to which her son, author Christopher Rice, quipped, “And he went on to write 23 bestsellers.” Being that writing is such a strange job, if there are rules, they should come from those who do the job, too. Here, 20 bestselling classic and contemporary storytellers share their rules for writers. To kick things off, let’s use this shiny gem of good advice from Bad Feminist author Roxane Gay: “Ignore all of this as you see fit.” 1. Elmore Leonard for The New York Times: Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip. Think of what you skip reading a novel: thick paragraphs of prose you can …

Book trailer? What the heck is a book trailer??

Books aren’t movies. They are words on paper. Or pixels on a reading device. Do books really need to have trailers like movies? Apparently they do, if you want to catch someone’s eye. Readers have changed. They have a gazillion things snatching at their attention. Books need to reach out and join the snatchers. So I’ve been told by a number of sites, anyway. There are many ways to go about this, depending on your budget. If you’re confident your book will support a big budget, go for broke! Write an action sequence. Hire actors and a narrator. Maybe even a director. Scout out locations. Consider using a drone for overhead shots. Buy the rights to an expensive sound track. Or you can do it for a lot less, like I did. Buy still images or videos from stock photo houses. Buy some stock music for your sound track. Narrate it yourself, or skip the narrator altogether and just use titles on the screen. Get some help editing the whole thing together. (My daughter helped …