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I want to be a writer, but . . . .

Apr. 13th, 2014 | 11:40 am

Originally published at Robin Hobb. You can comment here or there.

1. I don’t have time.
2. I’ll never be good enough.
3. I don’t know how to start writing my book.

The time has come for me to break the web of silence and give you the secret and arcane knowledge that you must possess to become a writer. I warn you that it may make your eyes bleed and your stomach ache. But it’s a small price for becoming a writer. Right?
1. I don’t have time. I’m going to wait until I graduate from school, until after I get a job, until my vacation, until after my wedding, until after the baby is potty trained, until the kids are in school, until I retire . . . . .

Okay, you get it. Big events fill up our lives. Day to day grinds take our every minute. We get home from work or school exhausted. The kids NEVER go to bed at a decent hour. By the time the house is quiet, all I want to do is turn off my brain and zone out with a TV series or Bejeweled.

Sorry. That is not on your ‘be a writer’ agenda. The truth is, you will never have more free time than you do right now. Your life will always fill up with stuff you need to do. Even after you are successful and no longer have a day job, you will still need to get the car serviced, pull the weeds, pick up your friend at the airport, call the plumber and mop the floor, oh, and since you ‘don’t work’, can you watch your friend’s kids this afternoon? Life does not stop so that you can write a book.

So here is what you do. Get a notebook. electronic or paper, I don’t care. Paper ones never need batteries, and tend to fit better in you backpack, diaper bag or purse. I like paper. Then write. Write on the bus to work. Write while waiting for the dentist. Write between classes. Write on your lunch hour. Write during the kids’ soccer practice. In the evening, leave the room where the television is and write. It can be done. In fractions of hours, throughout the day, you can amass words like a squirrel storing nuts. At the end of the day, sit down at a keyboard, and put those words into a document. (They will magically grow as you do so, for you will realize you need to tell what sort of a tree it was, or describe exactly how her lip curls.)

Once you start doing this, you will find your writing time. It’s there, in your life. You just need to find it. (Hint. Your writing time is not on Facebook or Twitter. Do not look for it there.)

2. I’ll never be good enough.
Good enough for what? Can you talk? Do you tell your friends, spouse or kids what you did today? Then you are telling a story. Use your own voice and write words down. Mickey Spillane did not write like Professor Tolkien or e e cummings or Lois McMaster Bujold does. But I think we can all agree that they are extremely readable and enjoyable. So stop holding on to that self fulfilling prophecy and write. Spellcheck will nag you to fix your spelling while grammar checks will show you new and interesting ways to be wrong. Just tell the story. Get it nailed to the page. Re-writing is where you go back and make it pretty, and put in foreshadowing and create the witty repartee. But, to get to the re-writing, you first have to do the writing. So turn off the television and Facebook and twitter and WoW and write the book. So you can re-write it and make it good.

3. I don’t know how to start writing my book.
Neither do I. So I never start writing a book. A book is big. It’s lots of pages and many many words. No one can write a book tonight. But what you can write is a scene. Write a fight scene, or describe the village in the fold of the mountains or delineate exactly how his muscled back looks in the moonlight. Write something that excites you, that scene that you think you have to wait until the middle of the story to write. Write that. You might just discover that, truly, that is where your book is supposed to start. Or, once written, you may back up and start framing that scene with the other scenes that will give it the full impact. But don’t try to write a book.

So, sorry, I lied to you. Fiction writers do that a lot. There isn’t a secret to being a writer. Just a piece of advice that no one, not even me, wants to take.

Go write.

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Today’s Mail

Mar. 31st, 2014 | 03:38 pm

Originally published at Robin Hobb. You can comment here or there.

As a writer, my daily ‘snail’ mail is as important a lifeline to my work as is my e-mail.  My mail carrier and I are on very friendly terms, and I have near daily encounters with the UPS driver and the DHL fellow.

Although a tremendous amount of the daily work is done electronically, there are still some tasks that demand paper copies.  For me, this includes galleys.  Galleys or page proofs are the pages of  a manuscript printed out exactly as they will appear first in the ARC (Advance Reading Copy—sent to critics and book buyers) and the eventual book.  The galleys are my absolutely final chance to look at my own work and correct any mistakes.  I get two galleys: one from the UK publishers and one from the US ones.  There are, of course, differences in spelling and punctuation and idiom, but we try to make the galleys as close to identical as we can.  This means that I read each one, very closely, looking for a dropped quotation mark or a repeated word.  Sad to say, most of the errors I discover in galleys are mine.  They are the little mistakes that have managed to elude me since my first submission of the tale.  And my goal is always to find and correct every single one before the book reaches the reader.

galleys

Yes.  I know I always miss some. But I always try.

Today’s mail brought me a lovely surprise in the form of a birthday gift!  This was from Carrie Osbourne. She had found and claimed the gift hidden by artist Jackie Morris at Torquay Museum.  I need to mention again that it was hidden in plain sight, on a step ladder with rungs made from the floor boards of Agatha Christie’s house.  So Cool!  She sent me not only a lovely card with her own art work, but a print as well.

A gift from Carrie Osbourne

Today’s delivery was a delight and a surprise.  As many of you know, Jackie Morris has created new covers for The Farseer Trilogy, and HarperCollins UK has reissued the books in paperback with the wonderful new covers.  And I am fortunate to receive today not only my copies of these, but my author copies of Blood of Dragons.  Four lovely big boxes of books:

 

book delivery!Blood of Dragons and Assassin’s Apprentice!

today mailAssassin’s Quest!

mail 1

Royal Assassin and ???????.  NARUTO!!!!

Some authors would consider this some sort of shipping error that there is a copy of Naruto in with my books.  I simply consider it a sign that HarperCollins UK knows and loves me!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Photos from the Birthday Game

Mar. 15th, 2014 | 01:57 pm

Originally published at Robin Hobb. You can comment here or there.

Valerya, the finder, at Tommy Emmanuel's Studio, Nashville, TN with Clara, my hider!

Valerya, the finder, at Tommy Emmanuel’s Studio, Nashville, TN with Clara, my hider!

Suzanne finds the gift at Seattle University Bookstore.  Thank you hider Peter Orullian

Suzanne finds the gift at Seattle University Bookstore. Thank you hider Peter Orullian

Shauli found the gift that Terie hid at a yarn shop in Manchester.

Shauli found the gift that Terie hid at a yarn shop in Manchester.

Sandy finds the book hidden at Tails and Whiskers, Aspley, Australia.  Thank you Lou for being a hider!

Sandy finds the book hidden at Tails and Whiskers, Aspley, Australia. Thank you Lou for being a hider!

Wesley Chu was my Chicago hider and increased the prize for the lucky finder, Rowan.  Thanks to Angry Robot Books, too!

Wesley Chu was my Chicago hider and increased the prize for the lucky finder, Rowan. Thanks to Angry Robot Books, too!

Hider John Howe not only added to the loot, he left a trail of clues. Thank you Arty Bees books and Weta Cave for playing along!  And congratulations to Ashley who sent an emissary to claim the trove!

Hider John Howe not only added to the loot, he left a trail of clues. Thank you Arty Bees books and Weta Cave for playing along! And congratulations to Ashley who sent an emissary to claim the trove!

Kaktus was the lucky finder of a book  hidden in Lausanne, Switzerland by artist Stephanie Novarrez. at place de la Riponne.

Kaktus was the lucky finder of a book hidden in Lausanne, Switzerland by artist Stephanie Novarrez. at place de la Riponne.

Lasse and Kim discovered the book hidden on Word on the Water, a book barge in London!  Thank  you James Bacon for being my hider!

Lasse and Kim discovered the book hidden on Word on the Water, a book barge in London! Thank you James Bacon for being my hider!

A grand place for a book hunt!  Lausanne, Switzerland, hider Crooty (check out her work on DeviantArt)

A grand place for a book hunt! Lausanne, Switzerland, hider Crooty (check out her work on DeviantArt)

This in not Louise.  I don't think.  But he obviously believes that the prize hidden by Laura Lam in Aberdeen is rightfully his!  Laura added a copy of Pantomime, her wonderful book to the prize package.

This in not Louise. I don’t think. But he obviously believes that the prize hidden by Laura Lam in Aberdeen is rightfully his! Laura added a copy of Pantomime, her wonderful book to the prize package.

IMG_20140306_151553976

Diane discovered a book hidden at Elevated Ice Cream in Port Townsend.  Hidden by my longtime friend and fellow fantasy novelist Elizabeth Ann Scarborough.

Diane discovered a book hidden at Elevated Ice Cream in Port Townsend. Hidden by my longtime friend and fellow fantasy novelist Elizabeth Ann Scarborough.

My niece Monica was the hider for this one at McCafferty's Coffee in Fairbanks Alaska.  Cassie was the clever finder!

My niece Monica was the hider for this one at McCafferty’s Coffee in Fairbanks Alaska. Cassie was the clever finder!

My sister Kay is on the left.  She was the hider  and Ange was the finder who tracked down the book in a tree and joined Kay for a cup of tea afterwards.  Ohau, New Zealand.

My sister Kay is on the left. She was the hider and Ange was the finder who tracked down the book in a tree and joined Kay for a cup of tea afterwards. Ohau, New Zealand.

ange 2KayThese are just some of the snapshots of lucky finders in the Birthday Game!

Thanks again to all who played.  Thanks to all my hiders, and to the people who kept the secret so well!  I went with the old adage, If you want something done, ask a busy person!  And many busy people paused to help me have a wonderful birthday!

Now.  What shall we do next year?  Happy March to all!  In like a lion and out like a lamb!

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#12 found????!!!!!

Mar. 7th, 2014 | 09:26 pm

Originally published at Robin Hobb. You can comment here or there.

Well, when I wrapped up the book gifts and put the ‘to the Finder’ notes in, this is what I wrote:

Dear Finder,

Hurray! You have found a birthday present from Robin Hobb. I hope you will enjoy it!

If you found it by following the clues, wonderful! If you found it by accident, that’s wonderful, too. It’s still for you.

We would be very happy if you posted or put up a photo of your find at www.robinhobb.com or at https://www.facebook.com/robin.hobb to share the fun with everyone. If you twitter, I am at @RobinHobb. Or drop in at my Tumblr (RealRobinHobb) to let us know. This book is yours now. You may keep it, give it to a friend, donate it to a library, eBay it . . . whatever you like.

Thanks so much for playing our little game! We hope you have enjoyed it!

Robin Hobb Robinhobb@robinhobb.com

Because, you know, I had the feeling that someone would be that lucky! And sure enough, I am now hearing reports from other hunters that yes, it was found! On TUESDAY! Before we even announced the Game.

How do I feel? I’m laughing! It’s perfect, isn’t it!

And so while I still hope that the finder will be inspired to send me an email, it probably won’t happen! And I love that the game ends on a note of mystery!!!

Happy Hobbit Birthday to me! The Game is over . . . . for this year!

Robin

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And a Chance at Free Books from Harper Voyager US! Hurry!

Mar. 7th, 2014 | 01:15 pm

Originally published at Robin Hobb. You can comment here or there.

Two caveats!

This will end FAST. Today at 7 PM East Coast time. Don’t Delay.

And it is only for US readers.

Here is the link:

http://harpervoyagerbooks.com/2014/03/07/win-robin-hobbs-rain-wilds-chronicles-books/

Go there, and make a post. Or go to Twitter and make a post @HarperVoyagerUS

Four lucky winners will get sets of the first three books in the Rain Wild Chronicles.
One lucky winner will get a full set of the Farseer Trilogy also!

Hurry now! Off you go! No time for pocket handkerchiefs!

Robin

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Two More Found

Mar. 6th, 2014 | 05:08 pm

Originally published at Robin Hobb. You can comment here or there.

Well, #7 in Port Townsend has been found! At Elevated Ice Cream! This was hidden by the delightful Elizabeth Ann Scarborough and found by Diane!

And Sam Sykes had hidden his book at Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale Arizona. Congratulations Michael!

And I had word that a hearty soul is on the way to the #2 site in New Zealand! Good luck!

Still up for grabs:

#2 in New Zealand
#12 in Grand Rapids, Michigan
#27 in Brooklyn

Do we need extra clues for any of these?

Robin

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Sam Sykes hid one, too! Scottsdale, Arizona

Mar. 6th, 2014 | 02:10 pm

Originally published at Robin Hobb. You can comment here or there.

Sam Sykes  is a fellow fantasy writer.  I was honored to meet him when I flew to Santa Fe, New Mexico for the launch of Dangerous Women, an anthology edited by GRRMartin and Gardner Dozois.  Sam and I were both contributors to that, and had the immense fun of launching the book from George’s theater, Jean Cocteau Cinema. Sam proved to be a very congenial friend, one that Office Kat I regularly harass on Twitter. Find him there at @SamSykesSwears

Hurry! There are only a few books left to find!

 

 

I hid the prize in Scottsdale at the ENVENOMED WRITING IMPLEMENT. Go to the counter and say “I’VE GOT A REAL RED WAGON” to win

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Sam Sykes hid one, too!

Mar. 6th, 2014 | 02:10 pm

Originally published at Robin Hobb. You can comment here or there.

Sam Sykes  is a fellow fantasy writer.  I was honored to meet him when I flew to Santa Fe, New Mexico for the launch of Dangerous Women, an anthology edited by GRRMartin and Gardner Dozois.  Sam and I were both contributors to that, and had the immense fun of launching the book from George’s theater, Jean Cocteau Cinema. Sam proved to be a very congenial friend, one that Office Kat I regularly harass on Twitter. Find him there at @SamSykesSwears

Hurry! There are only a few books left to find!

 

 

I hid the prize in Scottsdale at the ENVENOMED WRITING IMPLEMENT. Go to the counter and say “I’VE GOT A REAL RED WAGON” to win

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Some more FOUNDS! And a late entry for the NETHERLANDS

Mar. 6th, 2014 | 12:30 pm

Originally published at Robin Hobb. You can comment here or there.

So.  #14  was found by Carol, in University Book Store, Tacoma  Thank you Kaylene for being a hider!

#15 was found by Cassie, in McCafferty’s Coffee, Fairbanks.  Hidden by my very own niece, Monica!

#22 was found in Barnes and Noble, on Black Lake Boulevard, Olympia WA by Erik. Thanks for hiding it, Rhonda!

 

And now for the Big News for the NETHERLANDS!

We have a volunteer hider, an old friend of mine, who is sacrificing a signed book I sent to him. So be sure to be profuse in your thanks when you find it. Despite having met him several times, I still think of him as SilicontoGold despite knowing his real name! So let it be!

# 27 Tilburg, The Netherlands, hidden by Guido

Go to a place where knowledge is shared
There one form of art is hidden in another
Where blue meets red
Enough said

Ga naar een plaats waar kennis wordt gedeeld
Daar is de ene kunstvorm verborgen in een andere
Waar blauw en rood elkaar ontmoeten
Is waar je moet zoeken

 

Good Luck!  As the Birthday Game almost winds down, we are a bit tired but very happy!  I hope you have enjoyed it!

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An Extra Clue for Nashville!

Mar. 6th, 2014 | 12:04 pm

Originally published at Robin Hobb. You can comment here or there.

In response to many pleas, I will add an extra bit of a clue for #17, originally hidden by Clare.  This is it!  Be on your toes!  I hope this isn’t too big of a giveaway.

 

He was certified by Chet!

 

There you go!

 

Robin

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