Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Fiction Writer: Get Published, Write Now!

Okay, I confess I bought a copy of The Fiction Writer: Get Published, Write Now! for three resaons. First, I was curious about what a new Canadian small press might be up to. Second, my friend Virginia O'Dine designed the cover. And third the author is Nina Munteanu, whom I've always enjoyed running into at conventions. So, what the heck, a few clicks of the mouse, a little money gone from my PayPal account.

The book arrived on Monday (more about why that's important in a moment), and I've got to say I'm really impressed. It's beautifully printed and bound, and it's a substantial work: 264 pages.

Nina has one novel to her credit -- the excellent Darwin's Paradox -- but I'm always leery of how-to-write books by people early in their careers. In this case, though, I'm very impressed. Yes, indeed, Nina shares the hard-won knowledge she's accumulated in having her first novel brought to market. But she also quotes, summarizes, and comments on the writing advice of lots of seasoned pros, myself included. She provides references at the end of each chapter, and lots of fascinating tidbits. I'm thoroughly enjoying the book, and even learning a thing or two!

Now, why is the date I got my copy important? I pre-ordered the book, and I believe that I got one of the very first copies -- and, as I say, I received it on Monday, January 19, 2009. But the copyright date says 2008. Pixl Press says there was a delay in printing. This book is really a 2009 book, and I'm urging the Aurora and Hugo Award administrators to recognize it as such: it's got a real shot at the Aurora to be given next year for "Best Work in English (Other)," and deserves consideration for the Hugo Award for Best Related Book, too.

Congratulations, Nina!

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site


At January 22, 2009 8:42 PM , Blogger Tobias S. Buckell said...

Good point re: newer 'how to books', but one of the reasons I seek out how to books by writers younger in their career is that they're a bit more self aware of the process they used to get there, whereas writers further removed are more removed from both the current marketplace conditions (frex: advice in the 80s is markedly different than advice needed in the 00s on some stuff) and because they often have internalized a lot of the things they do to a degree it's invisible.

I think of Orson Scott Card's writing books written earlier in his career and still used, William Gibson and etc's Turkey City Lexicon, and Karl Schroeder's and Cory Doctorow's book that I often pass on to my students when I'm in a mentoring position.


At January 23, 2009 9:29 PM , Blogger Annie said...

...she quoted you and you had to buy a copy? Should have gotten a freebie ;)

At January 23, 2009 9:33 PM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

To give Nina full credit, as I said, I pre-ordered the book; I wanted to support its publication. But rather than send me just the one copy I'd paid for, Nina sent me a second copy for free (because, indeed, she had quoted, with permission, my sample query letter for agents. Very classy of her.

At January 26, 2009 10:54 PM , Blogger SF Girl said...

Thanks for your very kind comments, Rob. And, yes... I HAD intended to send you a complimentary copy but you beat me by buying the book! LOL! And I do appreciate your reason (to support its publication). Thank you.

I just wanted to add that, while I am fairly new as a published novelist (Darwin's Paradox is my third fiction book and first print hard SF-- the previous two being SF romance e-books), I'm not new to writing (both fiction and non-fiction). I've been publishing articles, essays and reviews in magazines since the early 80s and have published many short stories internationally for, hopefully, that makes for a winning mix as Mr. Buckell aluded to...I sure love my 20-year old tawny port, but I also thoroughly enjoy a refreshing vin de primeur like a Beaujolais nouveau! :)

Glad you enjoyed the book, Rob.


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