Category Archives: Books

Game of Thrones Actor, Audiobook Narrator Roy Dotrice Dead at 94

Roy Dotrice, who played Game of Thrones‘ pyromancer Hallyne, has died, EW.com reports. He was 94.

Appearing in two Season 2 episodes, Dotrice portrayed one of the men charged with creating King’s Landing’s stores of wildfire. He helped inform audiences about what Mad King Aerys did with the substance, and Hallyne also was involved in Tyrion’s plan to use wildfire at the Battle of Blackwater.

Dotrice also was the voice behind all of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire audiobooks. Performing that duty for the first novel, A Game of Thrones, earned him a Guinness World Record for the most characters (223!) voiced by a single actor in an audiobook.

 

The British actor also appeared in several other TV series, including Beauty and the BeastAngel (in which he kinda played Wesley’s father), Just Shoot MeTouched by an Angel and Picket Fences.

Source:

<I>Game of Thrones</I> Actor, Audiobook Narrator Roy Dotrice Dead at 94

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How to Edit a Book: Your Ultimate 21-Part Checklist

Yes, a professional editor can determine all this with a quick read of the first two to three pages.

If you find yourself saying, “But they didn’t even get to the good stuff,” then you need to put the good stuff earlier in your manuscript.

So today, I want to zero in on tight writing and self-editing.

Author Francine Prose says:

For any writer, the ability to look at a sentence and see what’s superfluous, what can be altered, revised, expanded, or especially cut, is essential. It’s satisfying to see that sentence shrink, snap into place, and ultimately emerge in a more polished form: clear, economical, sharp.

If you’re ready to learn how to edit a book, here’s what you need to do:

The Ultimate Checklist for Editing a Book

1. Develop a thick skin.

Or at least to pretend to. It’s not easy. But we writers need to listen to our editors—even if that means listening to ourselves!

2. Avoid throat-clearing.

This is a literary term for a story or chapter that finally begins after a page or two of scene setting and background. Get on with it.

3. Choose the normal word over the obtuse.

When you’re tempted to show off your vocabulary or a fancy turn of phrase, think reader-first and keep your content king. Don’t intrude. Get out of the way of your message.

4. Omit needless words.

A rule that follows its own advice. This should be the hallmark of every writer.

5. Avoid subtle redundancies.

“She nodded her head in agreement.” Those last four words could be deleted. What else would she nod but her head? And when she nods, we need not be told she’s in agreement.

“He clapped his hands.” What else would he clap?

“She shrugged her shoulders.” What else?

“He blinked his eyes.” Same question.

“They heard the sound of a train whistle.” The sound of could be deleted.

6. Avoid the words up and down…

…unless they’re really needed. He rigged [up] the device. She sat [down] on the couch.

7. Usually delete the word that.

Use it only for clarity.

8. Give the reader credit.

Once you’ve established something, you don’t need to repeat it.

Example: “They walked through the open door and sat down across from each other in chairs.”

If they walked in and sat, we can assume the door was open, the direction was down, and—unless told otherwise—there were chairs. So you can write: “They walked in and sat across from each other.”

And avoid quotation marks around words used in another context, as if the reader wouldn’t “get it” otherwise. (Notice how subtly insulting that is.)

9. Avoid telling what’s not happening.

“He didn’t respond.”

“She didn’t say anything.”

“The crowded room never got quiet.”

If you don’t say these things happened, we’ll assume they didn’t.

10. Avoid being an adjectival maniac.

Good writing is a thing of strong nouns and verbs, not adjectives. Use them sparingly.

Novelist and editor Sol Stein says one plus one equals one-half (1+1=1/2), meaning the power of your words is diminished by not picking just the better one. “He proved a scrappy, active fighter,” is more powerful if you settle on the stronger of those two adjectives. Less is more. Which would you choose?

11. Avoid hedging verbs…

…like smiled slightlyalmost laughed, frowned a bit, etc.

12. Avoid the term literally—when you mean figuratively.

“I literally died when I heard that.” R.I.P.

“My eyes literally fell out of my head.” There’s a story I’d like to read.

“I was literally climbing the walls.” You have a future in horror films.

13. Avoid too much stage direction.

You don’t need to tell every action of every character in each scene, what they’re doing with each hand, etc.

14. Maintain a single Point of View (POV) for every scene.

Failing to do so is one of the most common errors beginning writers make. Amateurs often defend themselves against this criticism by citing classics by famous authors who violated this. Times change. Readers’ tastes change. This is the rule for today, and it’s true of what sells.

15. Avoid clichés.

And not just words and phrases. There are also clichéd situations, like starting your story with the main character waking to an alarm clock; having a character describe herself while looking in a full-length mirror; having future love interests literally bump into each other upon first meeting, etc.

16. Resist the urge to explain (RUE).

Marian was mad. She pounded the table. “George, you’re going to drive me crazy,” she said, angrily.

“You can do it!” George encouraged said.

17. Show, don’t tell.

If Marian pounds the table and chooses those words, we don’t need to be told she’s mad. If George says she can do it, we know he was encouraging.

18. Avoid mannerisms of attribution.

People say things; they don’t wheeze, gasp, sigh, laugh, grunt, snort, reply, retort, exclaim, or declare them.

John dropped onto the couch. “I’m beat.”

Not: John was exhausted. He dropped onto the couch and exclaimed tiredly, “I’m beat.”

“I hate you,” Jill said, narrowing her eyes.

Not: “I hate you,” Jill blurted ferociously.

Sometimes people whisper or shout or mumble, but let your choice of words imply whether they are grumbling, etc. If it’s important that they sigh or laugh, separate the action from the dialogue:

Jim sighed. “I just can’t take any more,” he said. [Usually you can even drop the attribution he said if you have described his action first. We know who’s speaking.]

19. Specifics add the ring of truth.

Yes, even to fiction.

20. Avoid similar character names.

In fact, avoid even the same first initials.

21. Avoid mannerisms of punctuation, typestyles, and sizes.

“He…was…DEAD! doesn’t make a character any more dramatically expired than “He was dead.”

Source:

https://www.jerryjenkins.com/self-editing/

Google Results Now Include Your Local Library’s Ebooks

Google just made free legal ebooks much easier to find. Search for a book, and in the info bar on the right, under the buying options, Google lists local public libraries that have the ebook. (On mobile, tap the “Get Book” tab.) If you’re a library member, you can borrow it right away, right on your device. It feels like magic. Here, try it with Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend.

This function has been a long time coming. People have been searching for free ebooks for years, enough that Google usually autosuggests “PDF” after any search for a book title. (Search for a TV show and it adds “streaming free.”) That’s probably one reason Google recently added this legal option.

 

Here are some differences: The library bought its ebook legally, so you’re supporting the author. That alone is a great reason to go legal. Now that stealing books is so easy, the publishing industry relies on readers to do the right thing.

That means putting up with some limitations, of course. You can only borrow the book for a couple of weeks at a time (though many systems let you renew).

And depending on your library’s collection, you might be able to load it on your Kindle or in iBooks, or you might need to use a proprietary app. These apps vary wildly in quality; Libby is sometimes even better than the Kindle app, while NYC’s SimplyE is awkward and buggy. Even within the same library system, different books might require different apps.

Source:

https://lifehacker.com/google-results-now-include-your-local-librarys-ebooks-1819619447

Neil Gaiman on Ebooks

Neil Gaiman is the award-winning and bestselling author of American GodsAnansi BoysThe Graveyard Book, and the comic series Sandman. He blogs at http://journal.neilgaiman.com.

 

ON DIGITAL PUBLISHING AND EBOOKS

Paper books are really, really useful things. They are wonderful things. I’m still convinced that the paperback book is something that will probably live forever. Because it’s cheap, it’s cheerful, you can drop it in the bath, you can put it in your pocket. It’s driven by sunlight. You can find your place in it in seconds. But there are places where Kindles win.

There are two huge things about the Kindle that are incredibly good and useful. Thing one is that normally technological innovation bumps up against age: there comes a point somewhere in the 40s where people cannot be bothered to keep up. And by the time you get to your 60s, normally you definitely can’t be bothered. It’s not like 60 year olds were going out and buying iPods. On the other hand, all you have to do is be past the age of reading glasses and discover, as you start lamenting the tiny size that paperbacks books are printed in these days and realizing that you’re probably going to have to grit your teeth fairly soon and go and look for those large-print paperbacks, that’s the point where you discover that you can have any book in the world on your Kindle and you can just change the typeface to suit yourself. And that suddenly means that you’re getting one for your grandmother. Advanced tech changes everything.

The thing that actually I’m loving about the current incarnation of Kindle is that you can be reading something using Kindle software on physical platforms other than the actual Kindle. This may not seem that important, but I just proudly finished reading The Count of Monte Cristo, this 1,000-page book, that I bought several copies of over the years. And it’s huge, and it’s heavy, and I would get a chapter into it or whatever and always mean to keep reading it but never quite get around to it because it wouldn’t be wherever I was. The joy of this was, wherever I was, and whatever I had with me electronically, I had The Count of Monte Cristo, and it knew what page I was on. Which means that if I have ten minutes and I have my phone with me, or I’m on a plane: just grab that ten minutes.

I watched the Kindle win on things that were simply too big to go into your jeans pocket. But given the choice between that and a thin paperback that’s jeans-pocket sized, paperback still wins for me.

Source:

http://locusmag.com/2011/01/neil-gaiman-on-ebooks/

The Martian: how the audiobook hit rocketed to film glory

In 2011, after a long search for an agent, Andy Weir gave up on big publishing. He had a small and dedicated following as a longtime writer and webcomics artist. So he just posted a book he’d been writing, called The Martian, to his personal website. His readers wanted to be able to read it on their e-readers, so then he added it to Amazon.

The next thing he knew, the thing was climbing the charts. And now, his book is the basis of an Oscar-nominated film with Matt Damon. Weir, in short, is living the dream of many self-published authors.

He acknowledges that his path was unusual, of course. “Everything went backwards from the normal way books get made,” Weir told the Guardian. “I didn’t think anyone would be interested in giving me a print deal. Obviously I misjudged that. Heh.”

In fact, one of the strangest items in the Martian origin story is who first approached Weir for a proper deal. It wasn’t print publishers or film producers. It was a small Canadian audiobook company called Podium Publishing. Run by a pair of friends, James Tonn and Greg Lawrence, the company produces what it calls “award-winning quality” audiobooks “for indie-minded” authors.

Tonn and Lawrence had once hoped to run a music label together, but the advent of Napster and iTunes quashed that dream. They were both attracted to artists who wanted to work outside of the mainstream channels to success – and they wanted to run something that served that community.

When, as an audio engineer, Lawrence began working in audiobooks, the fit seemed natural. “Audiobooks were an auxiliary business,” Lawrence told the Guardian.

 

“They were tacked on to the end of a publishing deal. Publishers would really only do an audiobook if [the print book] was so big that they were looking for ways to make money.” Lawrence and Tonn thought they could change that, by working with the sort of writer who was interested in publishing their audiobook independently.

Image result for The Martian

Lawrence was the one who actually found Weir’s book, on Amazon. He is a big science fiction fan and says he was attracted to the story, of course, but also simply felt that the way the book was written helped its audiobook prospects. The book is structured such that the narrator, Mark Watney, is recording logs of his time on Mars. “That’s a dream for audio,” Lawrence said on the phone.

The company initially bought both print and audio rights, although they promised Weir they’d return the print rights if he got a deal with a big publisher. (They kept that promise.) They enlisted RC Bray, a popular audiobook narrator, to record it. It was the first fiction project they chose. The product became a top-seller on Audible, and promptly began winning industry awards, including a 2015 Audie. While no one releases audiobook sales figures, some measure of the audiobook’s popularity might be gauged by the fact that it now enjoys over 100,000 reviews on Amazon. “A great book,” reads one. “Out of hundreds of books in my library this is one of the best.”

Part of The Martian’s success as an audiobook is undoubtedly timing. Originally conceived as a narrow industry serving the blind, the audiobook business has exploded in the past few years. In 2015, the Audio Producers Association reported that more than 25,000 audiobooks were published in 2014, compared with about 6,700 in 2010. Podium itself plans to double its production of audiobooks – it has done about 200 so far – within the next year.

Some of the increased interest is undoubtedly about the ease of buying and listening to audiobooks in the age of easily accessible digital audio. But, like podcast producers, audiobook producers also trace some of the success of their products to the way they can be listened to while engaged in some other activity – like cleaning the house, or knitting, or driving home from work. “It’s not so much what you’re doing, but that you’re trying to work reading into your life, whatever you’re doing,” Tonn said.

It remains to be seen whether “independent” audiobooks can follow The Martian’s path. Self-publishing has been a dubious challenge to traditional publishers, at best. And although the Amazon book sales rankings often see self-published books cracking the bestseller lists, audiobooks from the self-published don’t usually seem to crack the Audible Top 10.

But Lawrence sees a real future for such writers. Podium doesn’t contract with large publishers to produce audiobooks; it will remain strictly indie for now. They say they work best with authors like Weir. “He had to have his hopes and his dreams dashed against the rocks,” Lawrence said. “He spent a lot of time trying to get an agent, and he just couldn’t do that. That experience made him think differently about writing, and about getting his work out to people.”

As for Weir, when asked if he was surprised by the way things turned out, he said he was. “Yes I was. But it worked out really well. The audiobook proceeds have been far more than I ever anticipated.”

Source:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/jan/27/the-martian-audiobook-hit-rocketed-oscars-glory

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