Daniel Abraham is doing something REALLY cool, and you should check it out. It's called The Dogs Project and he's basically writing a story from beginning to end with each step of the way being transparent and online. Basically AS he writes even his shitty first draft, he is going to talk about what he's doing and why he made certain choices. Anyone who thinks publishable work springs fully formed from the fingertips of people "who just have talent" really ought to take a look at how much conscious thought and good hard work is involved. But check it out quickly. The project is already under way and it's only slated to last to the endish of April.
There are a pair of articles I want to point you to. Even if you're not socially progressive like I tend to be when I'm not trying very hard to be in "objective artist mode," there is a point worth seeing here. I work every day with people of all political bents and all social stripes. Most western Europeans already speak English so they don't wind up in my classes. I end up with a lot of staunch Catholics and Muslims (just by virtue of demographics of the places that tend to populate my classes). They have conservative opinions, disagree with each other, and we all do just fine focusing on the WRITING. My point is, I try to understand people I don't agree with, so I'm not putting up these articles by way of any agenda or to promote anything specific. I probably found THESE articles because of the company I keep, but the take home message here is about the power of writing. Pay close attention to how much each article CHANGED people who read it. That's real folks. That's what writing can do. That's its power. We're changing the world with twenty-six letters and some punctuation. The first article is called I'm Christian Unless You're Gay and the second is A Response to I'm Christian Unless You're Gay. Notice how the first article changed someone in the second article, and the second article began to change a whole small town. You may never know the way your writing ripples outward and works in the grand scheme of things, but it only happens if you have the courage to write in the first place.
Okay, that was really heavy. Here's something ridiculously light and fluffy to take the edge off. You KNOW I'm not a curmudgeon about books over e-readers, and I think people who are denying where the market IS going are just going to get steamrolled, but this video is just FUN!
Lastly, I want to point you towards a Facebook page for a book called The Altar of Dead Pets. Now this is a friend's book, and she would love it if you would "Like" it, but either way, you should take a look around. This is a completed novel and the friend is currently shopping for an agent with no success. One of the things she tells me about is how anachronistic submission processes can be. They have rules back from before even making COPIES of something was easy. The ease of sending an entire book online makes some agents' rules truly inane. Many still won't accept a submission online you have to send it snail mail. Something she said the last time we met has really stuck with me. "These people deserve to be destroyed by e-publishing. They refuse to acknowledge the effect that any technology from later than the mid seventies could have on the industry." While she keeps trying to find an agent, she has decided to promote her work in other ways, one of them by creating a page for it. Personally I'm all for making irrelevant the obsolete fossils who would rather go bankrupt than invest in a "smell of books" camphor cream (to put under their nose like movie detectives at a crime scene) that they can wear while they use an e-reader. Modern writers have to be willing to do things that might seem strange (like giving their own books a FB page) in order to approach the problem of how to write for a living in a world with vastly new technologies than even a decade ago.
Don't look too hard though, or you'll notice that my potpourri and her page have a lot of overlap. Basically, I practice the "writers steal what they like" concept chiefly on Altar's FB page.
[Do you want to be featured in potpourri along with a few words from me about how awesome you are? Do you know a great writing link that I should share? Please send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will post it along with a shout out singing your praises (unless, of course, you don't want one). There are four caveats to this. Please read them before you send me stuff. If I've posted anything that you feel is "yours" (or "your client's" --eeep!) please just ask and I will take it down if you wish or preferably give you credit and a link back to its source. Most everything here that doesn't have an embedding code within its source is some kind of meme, so it would be quite difficult for me to do proper attribution.]