Tag Archives: ACFW

Writing this-n-that

If you’ve been reading here much, you know that I’m in the middle of revising my novel at the request of an editor for a potential sale. On top of that, I’ve been keeping my fingers busy with this and that, pounding the writer’s pavement, so to speak.

At the top of the list is the long-awaited (by me, anyway) release of my graphic novel adaptation of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I was very excited to get to adapt this classic novel as it is one of my personal favorites. In fact, it was one of the books I used in my English Comp classes. Of course, I realize that I’ve just given Comp teachers one more thing they’ve got to go look at before making out their tests. Yes, I used to flip through Cliff Notes while making my tests. I wanted to be sure that the students could not pass the test if they’d only read Cliff Notes. Huck Finn is currently only available online through the publisher. Click to http://campfire.co.in/, select your country, then select “Classics” and you’ll see it listed with several others. Cost is $6.26 and shipping is free. And yes, if you pick one up, I’ll be happy to sign it.

On Saturday, I wrote a guest column for my ACFW pal Tracy Ruckman, who is the Christian Writing Examiner for the Examiner.com. Saturday, of course, was Free Comic Book Day at comic shops all across the U.S. To read it, click here. Look for the Huck cover image. I’ve also written two others for Tracy, one will be released tomorrow, which is Cartoonist Day, and the other will be Saturday, which is the anniversary of the first cartoon ever printed in a U.S. newspaper. Saturday I talked about what a comic book writer does, and the two main styles of comic scripts. Tomorrow I talk about how a comic book is put together, and Saturday I’ll give suggestions to writers interested in comic script writing. If you go, leave a comment so Tracy will be encouraged to have me write more columns for her! J

A few weeks ago I submitted a “funny sports story” to Max Elliot Anderson’s website. By appearances, it seems like my story came in second. I submitted the true account of my old high school pal Scott Cook catching a fly ball in the outfield…after it bounced off his head. Back then, it was the funniest thing we’d ever seen. Realizing now, he probably got a concussion from it.

Back to the grindstone. Thanks for reading.

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Editors can be full of it

Even though several folks have asked me to write more on writing, I remain convinced that I don’t really have that much new to say that writers haven’t already heard before. Oh, I think I’m a decent encourager, which is necessary for editorial type work…but that’s more of a one-on-one basis. I never planned to be an editor, it just happened.

How?

Well, I’m glad you asked. When I started selling stories back in the late 80s, I began attending local shows as a “comic writer guest.” Yeah, people wanted to talk to me about my books and get my autograph. Yeah, it was pretty cool. But I soon realized that there were many other talented folks spread around the boonies of the South and—like me—didn’t have access to the offices of Marvel and DC in New York.

SO, seeing the opportunity, I started trying to “hook” some of the talent up. Next thing I know, Silverline was packaging for the same publishers I’d been writing for. “Packaging,” is essentially just freelance editing. I’d cut a deal with the publisher, then deliver them a finished, ready-to-print book. It was a win-win situation for both of us. A few years later, Malibu Comics was preparing to cut down on freelance writers, but needing an editor. Since I’d already had a track record with them, it was a natural fit. The rest, of course, is history.

But I continued to attend conferences, conventions, shows as editor for Malibu. It was different then; writers and artists wanted to know what they needed to do so that I would hire them. Problem was, I had very limited opportunities; fewer opportunities than talented folks.

Fast forward to last year. You’ll recall I talked about attending the ACFW Conference in September. Like many of the other writers there hoping to find that special ingredient that makes editors take note, I sat in on a big panel of editors who were taking questions from the attendees.

One question has continued to haunt me and I have come to realize that we were given an avoidance answer. When asked what kind of material they’re looking for (which, I’ll readily admit is difficult to answer), several of them mentioned reading the “classics.”

Ha.

I’ve just come off a year reading many of the classics for the Campfire line of graphic novels. I daresay if the books weren’t “classics,” most of the editors wouldn’t touch them as many of them do the things today’s editors tell us not to do!

A couple of examples: many of them are incredibly passive and have a heavy use of “was.” Many of them also take time to build up to the story whereas today’s editors want the action to start immediately.

Now I’m not suggesting this is wrong…but what I am suggesting is that editors shouldn’t be pointing writers to works that do not reflect their own editorial likes, even if they are classics. After all, none of them would publish Shakespeare today but we still consider Shakespeare’s work classic.

I think the thing that I’ve really noticed is that many of the books that actually get published break many of the “rules” writers are constantly hammered with over and over. Bottom line, I guess, is…the right writer has to find the right editor…not an easy thing to do.

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Facebook r us

So a few months ago I stepped further into the technological age and added Facebook to my growing list of “internet stuff.” My, what an interesting thing it has proven to be.

I first became aware of Facebook through my cousin Caleb Morris, who happened to work as a computer graphics guru at The Piggott Times while I was editor there (see my picture above—it was taken in my office there). This was around early 2007. It’s also the same cousin who now mysteriously doesn’t respond to any of my emails.

But Caleb showed me around one day, trying to prove to me that it was much different from MySpace.com—a site he also had a page on. At the time I was relatively unimpressed and didn’t really have the time to do it anyway, so I just watched and nodded.

Fast forward to September of 2008. I attended the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference up in Minnesota (Minnesoda to the locals) and came away with some info on new technology, social networking and how writers should carefully embrace the new technology as a way of promoting themselves and their work.

I stumbled across a list, I think emailed to me as part of an email loop afterward, that had the top 10 places writers should be online.

Facebook was at the top.

Wow.

Okay, so not really knowing what I was doing—and not getting any answers to my pleas for help from Caleb—I signed up. In weeks flat, I had 50 friends. We’re talking legitimate I know them, worked with them, something—real friends. Needless to say, I was impressed.

I discovered that I could post pictures on FB (that’s the abbreviated version of “Facebook”) and even share them with people not on FB. I liked that because I’d gotten several invites to various picture sites and each one of them I had to “join” before I could actually see the pictures. I’d never see them because I refused to join.

I can post a link to this blog on FB and in fact I’ve increased traffic here considerably just by doing so. As of this writing, I have 363 “friends” via FB. Granted, not all of them are “real” friends anymore, but 90-95% are. Some people want to add you to the list because you both know someone…I haven’t quite caught the hang of that part yet, but it seems to be not an unusual thing. Most of my friends are people I’ve worked with along the way; around 50 of them are former students from when I taught college courses. More recently, I’ve been running across classmates that I hadn’t talked to in nearly 25 years!

BJ got on FB too, and started getting the requests. So we had to dig out our school annuals—we’d hear a name or see a friend of a friend and recognize the name but not the face (25 years can change folks!)…Our high school annuals have been used more the last few weeks than the last 25 years combined.

Since it seems to be the hot thing right now in internet/technology/social networking…why not give it a shot. Heck…even my Mom is on Facebook now! J

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