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Don't mess with Mabel

About 20 years ago, I penned (literally) a short about an older woman who, through a series of misunderstood communications, encounters her nemesis from years before. Alas, I lost those pages in one of my many moves. In 2016, however, the main character revisited me, and I wrote a new story about her—Mabel, an underestimated woman who’s fiercely independent, appreciative of beauty, and tenacious when her sense of what’s right and good is challenged....

 · Laura Lis Scott
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Books in my shadow

Imagine a story about Melody Baker, an unemployed woman living in New York City. She has a PhD, huge student debt, and no professional job prospects. Deborah Ann Woll speaking at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con International in San Diego, California. Photo by Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons). (Picture Debra Ann Woll playing her in the movie version. She’d be perfect in the role.) Out of desperation she applies for a research assistant position upstate—and finds herself smack dab in the middle of a political campaign run by cynical operators, eccentric aristocrats, and absurdly horrible partisans and hangers-on, all scheming to elect an unwilling but convenient old-money recluse who has these quaint ideas about integrity, compassion, and justice....

 · Laura Lis Scott
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Other authors are not your competition

Someone said in a Facebook authors’ group that hey, we were all in competition with one another. Yeah, no. That’s zero-sum thinking, and it does not quite work with books and stories — especially now. It’s 2019. Books have shelf life. Scarcity is not ubiquitous Yes, some things are governed by scarcity. For example, people buy maybe one house. They either buy this one or that one. (Let’s not discuss the superrich who buy several houses....

 · Laura Lis Scott
Photo of two old books seen edge-on with very soiled pages

Watch out for poisonous books

Though unless you’re a historian with access to rare book archives, you’re probably in the clear. We found that three rare books on various historical topics in the University of Southern Denmark’s library collection contain large concentrations of arsenic on their covers. The books come from the 16th and 17th centuries. — Read on www.popsci.com/poisonous-books

 · Laura Lis Scott
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How is the author-editor relationship affected by who hires whom?

That’s a question I explore in a guest blogpost over on Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers.

 · Laura Lis Scott

Serialization

Thinking about this.

 · Laura Lis Scott
fish and more fish

The noise and discovery problem

As a reader, how do you find a good book among all the choices out there? As a writer, how do you get your book noticed by readers? Photo by Madhava Enros (Creative Commons) A couple of days ago, Chuck Wendig posted a long expletive-rich rant about the proliferation of low-quality books—which he blames on self-publishing’s lack of gatekeepers—and how that makes it harder for everyone because the signal (quality books) is being buried in the noise (poorly written/edited/packaged books)....

 · Laura Lis Scott

7 essential elements to create amazing top 7 lists!

In my years as an interwebs information consumer, I’ve gleaned great insight into one of the mainstays of online content: The top (n) list. Here are some essential tips to creating amazing top n lists that will thrill and excite your readers: Pick a number, any number, ideally the one that takes the least amount of work to fulfill. Top 5 foos, Top 100 bars, doesn’t matter. If you want to cover, say, online apps for a making lists and you have 100 of them to cull through, forget that grunt work and just list them all....

 · Laura Lis Scott

How free is free?

Is the future really free? It seems we’ve entered an age where there’s a land-grab happening for personal data and attention time. Look at all the web start-ups backed by venture capital. They aren’t investing out of philanthropy. There’s value there. YouTube is “free” but Google paid over a billion dollars for it. Why? Here’s a hint: It’s not about the Tube. Chris Anderson’s Wired article was quite bold in its proclamations:...

 · Laura Lis Scott

Is there really so little talent in the world? (And does Hollywood have it all already?)

In doing some catch-up on the Web 2.0 conference that happened a couple of weeks ago, I came across Kaliya’s round up, where she remarks upon the rather inane statement made by television mogul Barry Diller: Dumbest thing said on the stage: Bary Diller dismissed the idea that citizens with blogs and video editing software were major threats to the entertainment industry. “There is not that much talent in the world,” Diller said....

 · Laura Lis Scott