Saturday, December 29, 2007


In "The Jewel Hinged Jaw" Samuel R. Delany points out that the essence of being a visual artist is not in drawing or painting, but in seeing. If you can't see really see, he says, it doesn't matter how skilled you are with the brush or pen.

Delany makes the point because the same thing is true of writers. In order to write successfully you have to observe. You must look at what's around you and really, truly, see it.

Most of us, like Dr. Watson in Sherlock Holmes' famous phrase, see but we do not observe. If you want to be a successful writer you have to train yourself to go beyond seeing and into observing.

It's not easy, but it can be kind of fun.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Wiz 6: The Wizard Uncompleted?

A reader asked when the next Wiz book was going to come out.

The answer, alas, is 'never', at least not in the conventional sense. But there may be an opportunity for readers to see most of it anyway.

In spring 2000 I was well into Wiz 6: The Wizardry Capitalized when I went into the hospital for emergency heart surgery. The surgery saved my life but a combination of medical problems and the effects of the drugs I take has pretty much ended my fiction career. (Non-fiction I still manage very nicely, thank you.)

Anyway, because I couldn't finish the book, and because I didn't understand the problem until it was too late, the publisher waited five years and then canceled the contract, taking his advance back out of royalties on my other books.

Not the least blame attaches to the publisher, the late Jim Baen, who was unbelievably patient through the entire experience. But I am not left with a 90 percent finished book which is not only uncontracted, it is unsalable. (And no, I am absolutely NOT interested in collaborating with anyone to try to finish it at this point.)

Now, because of the way I write, "90 percent finished" means that it is basically all there but there are great whacking gaps in the story. It has a beginning, a middle and and end, but there's a lot of the connecting tissue missing. What's more, the subplots haven't been inserted in their proper places. Each subplot is still a connected series of scenes.

A tolerant, patient reader can follow the story and probably even enjoy it, but there's stuff missing.

So here's the question: Some people have expressed interest in reading the novel in its uncompleted state. If there is enough interest I'll publish what I've got online -- in a blog or on a web page.

Anyone interested?