All posts tagged: Jenn Lyons

The Importance of Checking Boxes

(Or: How I start a novel, Agile-style.) So as I am hitting the ‘send’ button on sending two manuscripts off to my agent, I am naturally planning my next book. As one does. And I thought it might be interesting, if not helpful, to go over what I do and why. Because at heart, I will always be a project manager. I have to do this because I have ADHD. However, long before I was diagnosed with such, I’d learned coping mechanisms that allow me to function to varying degrees of success. (My closets are still filled with craft projects I have thrown myself into with obsessive gusto and then abandoned several weeks later, but at least I know why that happens now.) One of the best methods (for me) is the satisfying feeling of accomplishment that comes from checking a box as ‘done.’ (Similarly, moving a task from column A to column B.) If I can break it down into a small task and put it on a list, there is a much, much …

Wandering in with a Starbuck’s Cup

Hey, what’s up? So…it’s been uh *checks the calendar* three years. Wow, it really has been three years. Okay…so I guess I haven’t been updating, have I? All right, let’s do this. What’s been going on in my life? The obvious answer, as it has been the obvious answer for everything, is “living in the age of active pandemic.” Which has been heartbreaking on many levels, not least of which because it turns out that ‘I told you so’ stops being a lot of fun when millions of people have died. On a personal level? I finished a five-book epic fantasy series for Tor Books. Yeah, that’s right. That baby is DONE. The last book in the series, The Discord of Gods, comes out on April 26th (which means you have not missed your chance to pre-order!) It’s a tremendous accomplishment and a strange feeling of loss all the same time. Because it’s not just that I’ve written four books in the last three years (each over 200,000 words), but I have been involved with …

The Name of All Things

So here’s an excerpt and the cover reveal for the next book in A CHORUS OF DRAGONS. (Thank you, Barnes and Noble!) Pre-orders are a go! So while I had gone to sea and was thus incommunicado, I received a few comments on the blog that were interesting. So let me clarify a few things: Yes, we changed the name of the series from when it was originally announced. No, I can’t really discuss why. All I can say is that is was for legal rather than artistic reasons and honestly, that’s the end of that. It happens. Serendipitous, I actually like the new series name better, so sometimes we have, as Bob Ross liked to say, “happy accidents.” Unfortunately not everyone seems to have gotten the memo, so there are still the occasional references to the old series title lurking around on the internet. All we can do is keep asking them to update their information. The series is on a nine month release schedule. That means that, should everything go to plan, Tor …

Hello Again

So, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? And boy, stuff has changed. My whole life has completely changed. I figure it’s a new year, so I might as well try to do at least the occasional blog update. Where I currently stand: in less than 30 days, The Ruin of Kings will go on sale. It’s been an extraordinary journey. A few interesting stats, for folks playing the home game. Number of queries submitted: 42 (should have been my clue) Time from blind querying with my agent (yes, it was a blind query) to actually signing with him: 18 months. Please note this included time for Revise & Resubmit. Time from selling the novel to publication: 21 months. Add those together and you’ll quickly realize that reaching this stage has taken over three years from the point when an agent was actually interested until the book hits the shelves. Of course, it’s been far longer than that in terms of of all the agents who said no previously, the timing spent writing, etc. And it’s …

Mirror, Mirror

So I turned myself to face me But I’ve never caught a glimpse Of how the others must see the faker I’m much too fast to take that test. -Changes, David Bowie Now that I’ve talked about how you shouldn’t try to make everyone happy, let’s talk for a minute about criticism. Now, I don’t mean reviews, although certainly reviews may contain criticism. Usually reviews are just critical, which isn’t the same at all. When I say ‘criticism’ I mean an honest appraisal of one’s work, made early enough to actually do something with the information. When an author sends a book off to a beta reader or a story editor, they are looking for critical feedback. This is about that, especially when someone tries to skip that step. We tear ourselves down all the time, don’t we? We succumb to the tiny goblin voices whispering insecurities into the dark corners of our souls. Writing is about ignoring that voice, and pressing on regardless. The problem with teaching yourself not to listen to that goblin who …

Monsanto Wants Your Soul (book reviews)

Or, reviews of two dystopian novels: Karen Faris’s Grumbles the Novel, Part I: Take a Pill and Chuck Wendig’s Under the Empyrean Sky. (Note: I purchased both books, and was not asked to review them.) So a few weeks ago my business required me to do a fair bit of airplane travel. In a perfect world, that would mean five or six hours of solid writing, but coach airplane chairs are so small it’s almost impossible to do any real typing without smashing my elbow into the poor bastard sitting next to me. So instead I read a couple of books. In hindsight, I was amused to discover that I had unwittingly chosen books of a THEME, that theme being: GMOs are going to eat you. In both cases, literally. The first book I picked up was part 1 of Karen Faris’s Grumbles series. Now, I’m going to start with what I hated about this book: it’s not a complete novel, but ends just the story is starting to ramp up. Now, trilogies can be tricky …

Thoughts on Motivation

I thought we might talk a little about motivation. You know that thing that actors are always asking? “What’s my motivation?” That. I was recently watching a movie (it will remain nameless but it rhymes with Gorilla) where the primary motivation for the majority of characters was “what will advance the plot to the next action scene?” The characters had no other plausible motivation. They made decisions that seemed to be based solely on what the director needed, not what was internally consistent for their own histories and personalities. Self-interest wasn’t invited to the party: they performed actions which made zero sense from their own personal narratives but which did lead to awesome giant monster scenes. Needless to say, I wasn’t very impressed. Actually, I was flabberghasted. Why am I talking about this as a writer? Because this happens with books too. Let’s discuss. There is a meta-level motivation for anything that happens in a book, and it’s usually (although not always) ‘to advance the story.’ Why did the villain kill the hero’s brother? (So …