Archives: Business of Writing

Not Precisely a Shindig

The Lizzi household threw a little party yesterday, with attendees primarily from the neighborhood. We wanted to celebrate. MBW passed the mortgage loan officer national exam (by all accounts a rather devilish test.) I’m proud of her. I remember all the work and stress that preceded and carried through the Bar Exam, so I could empathize with all she endured.

We also celebrated (somewhat belatedly) the publication of the first book of Semi-Autos and Sorcery, Blood and Jade. And I suppose I was also prematurely celebrating the release of book two, Santa Anna’s Sword, due out in just over a week from the writing of this post.

Announcing Semi-Autos and Sorcery

Pulp Swords-and-Sorcery stories conveyed a certain esthetic. There was a focus and an energy to them that came through even with authors milking every penny from the word count. I like it. Practitioners of the artform have carried that energy from short stories to novellas and full-length novels. What I’ve wondered is if the esthetic can translate from secondary worlds and mythic history to contemporary fantasy. That is, can one remove the Swords from S&S and substitute modern weaponry while retaining both the driving adventure and the fantastical elements? While working through this, I’ve substituted the term “Semi-automatics” for “Swords.” It maintains the alliteration while holding a conceptual through line, I think.

More Research

You can, of course, wing it when it comes to descriptive writing. In fantasy and science-fiction that purely imaginative approach is unavoidable. No one has actually seen a dragon, for example, or a slime monster from Alpha Ceti. But if you are attempting to achieve a certain realism, it helps to have some experience with the subject matter you are describing.

Fantasy’s Big Three

Science Fiction has its big three. Most often these are listed as Asimov, Heinlein, and Clarke. The line up varies, of course. It can’t be objectively determined and prominence waxes and wanes with time. Weird Tales had its own holy trinity: Lovecraft, Howard, and Smith. Three seems to be a magic number. Who, I wonder, would be Fantasy’s big three?

Drudgery

Completing a manuscript and typing “The End” is always a great feeling. It’s an accomplishment, the culmination of endless invested hours. But “The End” isn’t really the end. Not even close.

Once you find a home for the book a host of new tasks descend upon you. We’re assuming for the purposes of this post that the book has a publisher, and is not being self-published. That option carries with related, but divergent necessities. Where to start?

The Big Grift Post

I have made no secret in these posts that I write a bit of fiction now and then. At least I believe I haven’t kept it a secret. If I’m mistaken, well, allow me to correct that: My name is Ken Lizzi and I’m a writer. And I don’t intend to quit, cold turkey or otherwise.

Bearing that in mind, instead of discussing and promoting the work of other writers, this post will plug some of mine. Because that’s how I like my commercialism: Crass and brass.

Second Edition

Thick As Thieves came out a few years ago. I’m rather fond of that one. Crime and fantasy are not strangers. Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser met during a robbery. Conan’s rap sheet would fill an entire scroll. Heists instigated a number of his adventures. Even Bilbo acted the burglar. There are plenty more examples. But I may have added a novel element by filtering a sword-and-sorcery story through the sensibilities of Elmore Leonard. I hope I succeeded.