Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Writing Media and Other Tie-In Novels

Lately I've been getting a spate of emails from people asking questions such as, "How can I write a Battlestar Galactica / Aliens vs. Predator / Universe-of-Your-Choice novel? Do I just write it, or how do I get the rights, or what do I do?" It's a perfectly natural question, and a natural desire. The answer, though, is one that most people won't want to hear.

First I should specify that it depends whether you're talking about writing "fanfic" just for fun, for your own amusement—in which case, the answer is, have at it! (Just don't try to publish it.)

But I suspect that's not what most people mean. Most correspondents, I think, hope to write and publish a tie-in novel. I suspect the motivation stems partly from a love of a particular show or universe, and partly from a belief that this may be an easier way to get published. It's not. What you have to understand is that these projects come about through complex rights arrangements which publishers make with the studios, before so much as a word is set to paper. Once the publisher has an arrangement, then the editor in charge of the line goes looking for writers to write the books (whether novelizations of film/TV productions, like my Battlestar Galactica book, or original spin-off novels, like Craig Shaw Gardner's Galactica book).

In other words, tie-in projects are generated by the studio and publisher, who then look for writers they think are best for the job. And editors for these books tend to turn to writers whose work they're already familiar with, maybe even writers they're already working with. Other writers may apply, but there's little chance of getting a nod without a publishing track record. They want to know you can do the job. And they usually want the book written yesterday.

So...the short answer is, if you want to write a book in someone else's universe, get busy and write some stories in your own universe first. (Quit wasting time reading blogs!) Get published, get noticed. Then maybe one day you, too, will get the call.

Oh—and you can learn a lot more about this business than I can tell you at http://www.iamtw.org/articles.html.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Way Cool Astronomical Images

I'm just poking my head up long enough to point you all toward a couple of images that took my breath away (from Astronomy Picture of the Day):

  • In the shadow of Saturn, from Cassini

  • Orion Deep Field, including both the Horsehead and Orion Nebulas

  • Hubble view of the Great Orion Nebula (M42)

    That last one is the most beautiful view I've ever seen of where my motley crew of Bandicut, Antares, Ik, Li-Jared, and various robots are at this very moment. They've just crossed from left to center toward the Trapezium, a tight cluster of four bright stars right in the whitest heart of the nebula. That's where they are, wondering what in the world they were thinking. Here's the Trapezium in infrared.
And now I must get back to them.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Still Here, Still Pounding

This is about the longest I've gone without a post. Yikes! But yes, I really have been focusing on the rewrite of Chaos Book 4, and the rapidly approaching deadline. So it's going to be like this for a while, I'm afraid. I'll touch base when I can.

Here are a few highlights of what I wanted to write about, but didn't have time:

Xena is now Eris, and Pluto is now a dwarf planet. Well, nuts. Still, Eris as goddess of chaos and discord isn't bad. Sort of describes the current state of astronomy. And the world.

Another family brag: my sister Nancy Lorey and her video production partner Matt Star received three Telly Awards for videos they produced at their I-Conn Video Productions firm in Mt. Vernon, Ohio. There were over 13,000 entries for the award, which recognizes excellence in local, regional, cable, and nonbroadcast video. Way to go, Nancy!

On the national political front...oh, just new legislation abolishing habeas corpus for political and war prisoners, and legitimizing torture any time the prez decides to reinterpret the Geneva Conventions...nothing major (except—doh!—this is not what America is about, guys). Oh yeah, and Senator McCain (for whom I once held some respect) selling out completely to the radical right. Don't get me started. But do read this New York Times editorial on the subject. Or this from InformationLiberation, which is a little more out there on the edge, but probably not too inaccurate.

On the local front, I am now co-teaching an SF writing workshop in Cambridge, Mass., along with Craig Shaw Gardner, at the Pandemonium bookstore. Depending on how it goes, this may become a regular event.

Also, I'll be signing books at Pandemonium Books, on Saturday, October 7, from 7–9 in the evening. Stop by, if you're in the Cambridge area! Craig and two other authors will be signing at the same time.

And now...back to the Chaos!

Labels: , ,