Since the cover finally went live last night, I can finally reveal the author lineup of my latest endeavor in the film universe of PREDATOR. My third such book over all—after PREDATOR: IF IT BLEEDS (2017) and ALIENS VS. PREDATORS: ULTIMATE PREY (March 2022) also from Titan Books—EYES OF THE DEMON is filled with great authors and stories and I guarantee you will see Predators, both male and female, like you have never seen them before. We have some awesome stories with unique approaches and settings. It’s not just the usual shoot ém up. And we did not focus on the historical time travel angle either. There’s even a new story featuring Dutch Schaefer that ties together the first two movies like never before and fills in gaps in the universe. So, along with the cover, here’s the list of great writers participating:
Linda Addison–Peter Briggs– Robert Greenberger – Ammar Habib– Stephen Graham Jones –Gini Koch –Michael Kogge –Tim Lebbon–Jonathan Maberry –Kim May – Yvonne Navarro – Joshua Pruett–AR Redington – Bryan Thomas Schmidt – Scott Sigler
As some may notice, several of these authors have written in this universe before as with my last books: Tim Lebbon, Jonathan Maberry, Robert Greenberger, Yvonne Navarro, Scott Sigler, and myself. But also screenwriter Peter Briggs makes his fiction debut. He’s the guy who in the 1990s sold a spec screenplay for Aliens Vs. Predator that launched a franchise (even though his script was never actually used).
We’re talk 16 all new tales here, folks. And this will be one of three Predator books Titan releases this year. That’s a lot to look forward to! We can’t wait for you to see it. Preorder now here: https://amzn.to/3IEEcUg
The following is an excerpt from my book How To Write a Novel: The Fundamentals of Fiction Chapter 13: Editing & Rewriting.
Today we start a new multi-part series on Self-Editing for writers with a look at how to approach rewriting. I am a firm believer that rewriting is where the magic happens. It’s where you take the rough draft you fought through and hone it into a fine tuned, focused, polished piece. It’s where you get the opportunity to finally see your story all laid out and examine its flaws, strengths, and needs in full and set about the work needed to complete it and take it from good to great. To me, the rewriting, is when the fun begins, because it is here things will come together in a way that begins to match the magic vision you’ve held in your mind for so long and struggled to put into words. So rewriting is an important process, an invaluable opportunity, and I consider it something to look forward to, not something to dread.
Getting To The Rewrite
Now before you actually start rewriting, it’s important to let your manuscript breathe. How long you should do this depends upon you, your level of experience, the deadline, what else you have on your plate, etc. But generally, I agree with those who suggest it should be a minimum of six weeks—six weeks during which you work on anything but this novel, clearing your mind of what has been an obsession, focusing on something new and different, and putting this out of your thoughts in order to clear you head and regain some manner of the objectivity required to truly revise well. In On Writing, Stephen King writes: “You’re not ready to go back to the old project until you’ve gotten so involved in a new one (or re-involved in your day-to-day life) that you’ve almost forgotten the unreal estate that took up three hours of your every morning or afternoon for a period of three or five or seven months.” You’re too close to the project, too consumed with, too obsessed to ever see it clearly and objectively the way one must in order to evaluate it properly, so the time has come to take a break, shut it in a drawer, and resist the urge to return to it for a period of time while you regain perspective.
For me, I usually spend the time on short stories or planning and researching my next book. Sometimes I have some polishes to attend to or an anthology to edit. Other times I have blog posts and marketing and other details I’ve postponed and ignored for months to catch up on. Whatever it is, the key is to do something else and only something else for a time so you can free your mind to breathe and let go of the obsession. You also need to get the distance to emotionally let go enough that you can accept the need to revise and make the book better. Stop coddling your baby enough to see that there are things to be learned and taught and refined about her, and that’s okay, it’s all part of life and growth, and prepare yourself mentally to undertake the task with the enthusiasm that it is not a failure but a natural step toward success.
Once you learn to do this, you will find entering the rewrite process to be quite rewarding. You will approach it with renewed focus and energy and the sense of purpose necessary to do it well. King writes: “If you’ve never done it before, you’ll find reading your book after a six-week layoff to be a strange, often exhilarating experience. It’s yours, you’ll recognize it as yours, even be able to remember what tune was on the stereo when you wrote certain lines, and yet it will also be like reading the work of someone else…This is the way it should be, the reason you waited.”
The first step, in fact, before the rewrite actually begins, should be sitting down with the whole manuscript and reading it line by line, pen in hand, making whatever notes occur to you as you go, but not stopping until you’ve been through it in its entirety, beginning to end. For me, I do this on paper. It’s a great way to rest my eyes, which spend way too many hours of each day staring at computer screens or TVs, and it also is a wholly different experience from reading on a machine. For one thing, the whole page unfolds before you, not just a portion, and you can see it as a whole in a fresh way that allows your eyes to take it in differently than they do when you read on a screen. For another, since you’ll undoubtedly spend hours working it over on screens as you rewrite, it gives you a chance to take it to the park, porch, etc. and just work with and read it as readers do, without the demands of the work environment encroaching. This can be important because you are seeking perspective and a fresh look, after all. However you approach it, the trick is to evaluate the whole book before you stop and do any rewrites, because often themes, tone, arcs, etc. need to be considered in their whole before you can see their weaknesses and begin to address them. Chopping it up will disconnect you from how it all flows and falls together—works or doesn’t—and prevent you from seeing the full perspective needed to improve.
Once you’ve made your notes, then is the time to go back to any other notes you might have made as you wrote later chapters or when your mind just had to make a note during the six week hiatus you were supposed to be ignoring it, consider them in light of the fresh reread, and devise an approach to begin your rewrite. Sometimes, there will be particular areas you need to address separately:character development, particular aspects of craft, particular plots or subplots, theme, etc. and other times you will want to start at the beginning and work your way through right off the bat. Whatever the correct approach is for you to determine, but having a plan is wise, because this is the time for determined, focused effort, not the seat of your pants writing you may have done to finish your first draft. Rewriting is work. Important work. And you have to approach it as such, often inherently different from the initial drafting process.
The human mind works in funny ways. For example, when we read, our eyes skips the bulk of words, just taking in key words and phrases that allow our minds to assemble the most logical sentence. This allows us to move much more quickly over a page than if we stopped at every word. When you read aloud, however, it forces you to slow down and look at every word. This is why when rereading your work you can skip over missing words, missing conjunctions, typos, homonyms (words that sound alike but have different meanings and spellings), and more. Because we wrote the piece, we already love the characters and subconsciously know so much about them that we assume things that may not come across clearly in the text for others and fill in gaps that aren’t on the page mentally, so everything appears okay. This is why we need other eyes to help edit and proof our books. And it’s why we need to carefully approach revision with a mind toward objectivity.
The other part of preparing to rewrite is mental. And Kat Reed, in Revision, suggests a mental checklist that is useful to prepare your mind and attitude for the revision process:
Your first thoughts are not necessarily your best thoughts.
Just today I picked up a project I had struggled with for months and came up with a great new idea that totally helped fix a scene and move it forward, something I had never thought of before. If I had not put it aside, who knows when or if it might have occurred to me. Distance was the perfect aid.
Nothing you write is carved in stone.
Yes, we all love our work. We all are proud of our babies. But face it. No one is perfect. Robert Silverberg told me “The difference between an old pro like me and a new writer is that I still write crap but I know how to identify it.” That is so true. Even then, old pros need editors too because we can always make it better.
It takes revision to turn a loss into a win.
Rejection sucks. So does some criticism. The best way around both is to ensure the book you send out is the best it can be. Period. No other solution.
Shortstop Criticism—Be your own toughest critic.
Scared of criticism? Dread the bad review? Well, shortstop it by getting there first and giving them as little to criticize as possible. Fix it in revision. Close the gaps, fix the holes, etc. That is your best defense.
If it’s worth doing at all, it’s worth doing right.
There’s really nothing more to say by way of explanation, except if you don’t believe this then you are being a special type of fool.
Extra effort closes the distance between you and your audience.
The extra time of revision is your shot to see what readers see and make sure you are communicating as clearly as possible what you intended. It is the chance to make sure what they receive and what you send out most closely match what you hope for in your mental vision of any book.
Revision means survival.
Pretty much without revision, few succeed, and without revision few go far. It is a necessary part of the process, and as I said, I look at it as a positive: where the magic happens. It can truly make a good book great. It is not something to dread but to embrace.
For more on self-editing, come back next Wednesday. For more WriteTips, click here.
Bryan Thomas Schmidt is a national bestselling author/editor and Hugo-nominee who’s edited over a dozen anthologies and hundreds of novels, including the international phenomenon The Martian by Andy Weir and books by Alan Dean Foster, Frank Herbert, Mike Resnick, Angie Fox, and Tracy Hickman as well as official entries in The X-Files, Predator, Joe Ledger, Monster Hunter International, and Decipher’s Wars. His debut novel, The Worker Prince, earned honorable mention on Barnes and Noble’s Year’s Best Science Fiction. His adult and children’s fiction and nonfiction books have been published by publishers such as St. Martins Press, Baen Books, Titan Books, IDW, and more. Find him online at his website bryanthomasschmidt.net or Twitter and Facebook as BryanThomasS.
To download How To Write A Novel: The Fundamentals of Fiction free one book, click here.
Titan released the cover of my next anthology, releasing November 5th I hardcover, at the Barnes and Noble blog today. The follow up to my bestselling Infinite Stars, this is another collection of the best space opera and military science fiction, a big, thick book titled Infinite Stars: Dark Frontiers.
Again, it features 27 stories, 15 of them brand new, including authors writing in some of their most famous and bestselling universes alongside some of the genres most award-winning and classic tales. A complete list of contributors follows. Names marked with an asterisk have contributed new stories exclusive to this anthology.
George R.R. Martin
*Susan R. Matthews
*Orson Scott Card
E.E. “Doc” Smith
*Curtis C. Chen
*Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
*Larry Niven and Steven Barnes
Alan Dean Foster
Kristine Kathryn Rusch
*Kevin J. Anderson
Arthur C. Clarke
This series is designed to be a must have for space opera and military science fiction fans or anyone looking for a good survey of the sub genres as well as libraries and educators wishing to teach on the topic. I was able to get a few stories I hadn’t managed for the prior volume, including the only known short piece from E.E. “Doc” Smith’s Lensmen series. Considering he is regarded as the grandfather of the space opera sub genre, I am immensely pleased to finally include him. There’s another new Ender tale from Card, as well as a new Wayfarers from Becky Chambers, the newest star to space opera, alongside a number of other key writers (and franchises) not previously represented.
As you can see, Julia Lloyd’s cover is quite stunning as well.
With pleasure, we announce the final table of contents for the first anthology of stories written by others set in the New York Times bestselling Joe Ledger universe created by Jonathan Maberry. This will be released from St. Martin’s Press in 2017 (cover and details pending).
JOE LEDGER: UNSTOPPABLE
Edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt & Jonathan Maberry
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Foreword by Tony Eldridge
Introduction by Jonathan Maberry
The Honey Pot by Steve Alten
Confusion by Nicholas Steven
Target Acquired by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon
Vacation by Scott Sigler
Banshee by James A. Moore
Red Dirt by Mira Grant
Black Water by Weston Ochse
Instinct by Bryan Thomas Schmidt and G.P. Charles
No Guns at the Bar by Aaron Rosenberg
Strange Harvest by Jon McGoran
No Business at All by Javier Grillo-Marxuach
Ganbatte by Keith R.A. DeCandido
White Flame on Sunday by James Ray Tuck
Wet Tuesday by David Farland
Prince of Peace by Jeremy Robinson
Rookie by Joe McKinney
Three Times by Jennifer Campbell-Hicks
Psych Eval by Larry Correia
Crash Course by Dana Fredsti
Atoll by Jonathan Maberry
In addition to the numerous New York Times bestsellers writing stories here, we have crossovers with Sigler’s Nocturnal, Tuck’s Deacon Chalk, McGoran’s Doyle Carrick, Robinson’s Chess Team and Fredsti’s Plague World novels. The anthology has a foreword by Ton Eldridge, the Hollywood producer developing Ledger for film and by Grillo-Marxuach (Lost, Charmed, Middleman) who wrote a previ0us Ledger pilot film.
With pleasure, I announce the final table of contents for the first anthology of works by other authors set in Larry Correia’s New York Times bestselling Monster Hunter International universe. This will release from Baen Books sometime next year (cover and details pending).
THE MONSTER HUNTER FILES
Edited by Larry Correia & Bryan Thomas Schmidt
TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION by Albert Lee, MHI Archivist
“Thistle” by Larry Correia
“Small Problems” by Jim Butcher
“Darkness Under The Mountain” by Mike Kupari
“A Knight Of The Enchanted Forest” by Jessica Day George
“The Manticore Sanction” by John C. Wright
“The Dead Yard” by Maurice Broaddus
“The Bride” by Brad R. Torgersen
“She Bitch, Killer of Kits” (a Skinwalker Crossover Tale) by Faith Hunter
“Mr. Natural” by Jody Lynn Nye
“Sons Of The Father” by Quincy J. Allen
“The Troll Factory” by Alex Shvartsman
“Keep Kaiju Weird” by Kim May
“The Gift” by Steve Diamond
“The Case of the Ghastly Specter” by John Ringo
“Huffman Strikes Back” by Bryan Thomas Schmidt & Julie Frost
“Hunter Born” by Sarah A. Hoyt
“Hitler’s Dog” by Jonathan Maberry
The stories involved not just Owen Z Pitt and his usual team, but Agent Franks and lesser known monster hunters from history, including stories set in the Revolutionary War and World War I periods as well as a crossover with Faith Hunter’s New York Times bestselling Skinwalker series.
As I revise this site and get back to blogging and regular updates (soon, I hope), I thought I could start by updating you on my various forthcoming projects and works in progress and their release dates (as I know them).
So here they are. As you can see, 2017 will be my busiest year ever as not only editor but author, too.
Forthcoming works 2016:
THE RETURNING: Author’s Definitive Edition, (Saga of Davi Rhii Book 2) (WordFire Press), August 23, 2016
“Border Time” by myself and Kate Corcino in THE X-FILES: SECRET AGENDAS, edited by Jonathan Maberry (IDW), September 27, 2016
Forthcoming in 2017:
LITTLE GREEN MEN–ATTACK!, Coedited by Robin Wayne Bailey (Baen Books), March 7, 2017 includes “The First Million Contacts” by myself and Alex Shvartsman
JOE LEDGER: UNSTOPPABLE, Coedited by Jonathan Maberry (ST. MARTINS), 2017 includes “Instince (A Ghost Story)” by myself and Claire Ashgrove
MONSTER HUNTER Anthology, Coedited by Larry Correia (Baen Books), 2017 includes “Hoffman Strikes Back” by myself and Julie C. Frost
PREDATOR: THE HUNTED (Working Title) (Titan Books), October 2017 includes a story by myself with Holly Roberds
INFINITE STARS: A Definitive Space Opera Anthology (Titan Books), November 2017
THE EXODUS (Saga of Davi Rhii Book 3) (WordFire Press), TBD
“The Greatest Guns In The Galaxy” by myself and Ken Scholes in STRAIGHT OUTTA TOMBSTONE, edited by David Boop, (Baen Books), TBD
Well, I said I was going to do it, and so here I am. At present, I don’t do general open calls because I just can’t read through all that would come in for the 3-4 anthologies I do a year. But one reason I got into anthology editing was to create opportunities not just for me, but for other writers, so instead I have decided to offer two week annual submissions periods for basically earning your way onto my invite list. So that first period will begin Monday and run two weeks, through September 21st. Here are the parameters:
1) Send your best story in RTF, DOC or PDF format. Make it easy on me to read your work. If I can’t open the file, I won’t read it.
2) Send me the best thing you have, published, unpublished, etc. I am NOT BUYING. All my current projects are full, BUT I am starting to pitch for anthologies in 2017 and 2018, so I will need writers when they sell, which means, I want to see what you can do. If I like your voice, craft, and style, then I will put you on my list.
3) Expect to wait a while. I am going to read through what I get, but it will take a while to read it because other ediitng and reading priorities must come first. The good news is, you can go about submitting elsewhere and living your life, because I am not buying right now so I don’t need exclusivity.
4) Please use standard manuscript formatting. I.E. double spaced, serif font, 12 point type, italics instead of underlining, wordcount and contact info above title on front page, etc. Also, NUMBER PAGES so if I read offline and drop one, I can easily find where the pages go and in what order.
5) If you story is over 7500 words, please contact me first.
6) If I have already bought stories from you or you know I own your books or stories, you just need to ask to be included. Please feel no need to submit pieces to this call. I will have enough to read already.
That’s it. That simple. Send these files to bryan at bryanthomasschmidt.net starting Monday with the subject: OPEN CALL (story name).
I will read and let you know if you’re invited to my list.
Oh, a couple notes on taste:
I like adventure stories more than lesson stories, but if you can do both, I will be awesomely impressed and pleased. I like character driven stories. I like heroes I can admire, but if the story is strong enough, of course, any of this won’t matter. I also do not like overuse of foul language or gratituitous sex and violence, so keep in mind that since I do PG themed anthologies mostly, your story samples should fit those parameters as much as possible. Beyond that, I like all kinds of genres, but I am not a huge vampire or zombie fan, just a warning.
I do reserve the right to just say no. I don’t owe you a slot, nor do I owe you an explanation. Unfortunately, this has to be said given the nature of the www world today, sot here it is. It is not that I plan to just arbitrarily say no without some kind of explanation, but I probably don’t have time to give long notes on every story. I don’t promise to read the whole thing either. If I don’t like it, I will treat it like any other slush. Time management is key. It is not personal. It is subjective and ruled by my personal taste, yes. I am open to people of all beliefs, lifestyles, ethinic backgrounds, cultures, etc. In fact, I strongly seek it out and don’t get enough from POC and non-western writers, so by all means, let me see what you’ve got.
I appreciate the opportunity to look at your work and your patience through this process, and I look forward to working with many of you in the future.
Bryan Thomas Schmidt is an author and Hugo-nominated editor of adult and children’s science fiction and fantasy novels and anthologies. His debut novel, The Worker Prince, received Honorable Mention on Barnes & Noble’s Year’s Best Science Fiction Releases of 2011, and was followed by two sequels. As editor, his anthologies include Shattered Shields (Baen, 2014), Beyond The Sun (Fairwood, 2013), Raygun Chronicles (Every Day Publishing, 2013) and Space Battles (Flying Pen Press, 2012) with two more forthcoming from Baen Books and St. Martin’s Griffin in 2015 and 2016. He is also developmental editor for WordFire Press, owned by New York Times Bestselling author Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta. Books he’s edited include The Martian by Andy Weir, My Big Fat Demonslayer Wedding by Angie Fox, The Outpost by Mike Resnick, A Game Of Authors by Frank Herbert and more. From December 2010 to earlier this year, he hosted Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Chat the first Wednesday of every month at 9 P.M. ET on Twitter under the hashtag #sffwrtcht and is a frequent guest and panelist at World Cons and other conventions. His website is www.bryanthomasschmidt. Twitter: @BryanThomasS
For two years, my editing partner and I have been attending Cons and doing our panel Editing 101 for Writers to great success. We continue to do so, but I wanted to offer a different version of that panel as a class online for writers who might be interested in improving their self-editing skills. I am a Hugo-nominated editor and author with anthologies under contract or published by Baen Books and St. Martin’s Griffin, amongst others. I also am a Junior Editor for WordFire Press, the small press founded by Bestselling authors Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta. I have been a professional editor since 2015 and worked extensively with writing and copyediting as a technical and non-fiction writer for a decade before that. But now my focus is fiction, specifically Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror for children and adults.
This Self-Editing class with cover topics such as passive vs. active tense, showing vs. telling words (intruder words), compound sentences, flow and pace, and more. It will be held via either Skype or Google Hangouts (whatever works best for the attendees and myself.) I am taking the first 10 applicants and the fee is $35 per person paid via PayPal. It will be at 12 noon CDT on Saturday, July 25, 2015 (90 minutes) so people from all coasts should be able to participate. Attendees will also be allowed to send me 5 pages of a story or novel to edit so we can discuss your personal weaknesses and areas on which to focus. To sign up or for further questions, contact me here. I look forward to helping you grow.
As most of you know, I am a very busy anthologist, with 8 projects in various stages of contract and development through 2017. Most of these have their allotment of writers already, but as I develop new projects, I hope to expand my stable. Because of budget and busyness, my reading time is limited and so slush is just not something I can manage at the moment, however, I have come up with an option that will appeal to some of you.
I am ending Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Chat in August. This is because of sheer exhaustion from four years, fading enthusiasm from me and regulars, and also needing time to read for both fun and work that I can’t find anywhere else. Interviewing people, even twice a week, and reading one of their books to do so, is a tremendous time commitment. I have had to put in 20 hours a week to it since starting in 2010. I just can’t keep up with that and slush, and I can’t read novels by friends or colleagues for fun, blurbs or more. Add to that my work in Acquisitions and Development for Wordfire as a Junior Editor, and I just am falling further and further behind. I hate that, so something had to give.
So the solution is that I will be doing an open submission period of two weeks, starting this Fall (September 1 through 15) where writers can send me their best work. The idea is to give me a chance to get to know your work–voice, style, etc. for consideration toward future projects with openings. I am not going to buy these stories. So send your best, whichever speculative genre you want. The sole exception is erotica. I don’t publish or buy it so it won’t be the best sample for me. I don’t promise quick turn around. It may, in fact, take me months to get through the submissions. But if you are professional quality in your writing, you will be considered for invites to future anthologies. You will be in the door. I will limit the word count, probably 6k words and under, but those details shall be announced when the Fall comes. And I will limit to one piece per writer as well. I need to be able to see an end game here if I ever hope to do it again. Published work is fine. I will be flexible on format as well. I will make it easy for you, so please do the same for me.
Further details will be announced when the submission time gets closer. But since many busy anthologists just don’t have time and resources to do many open calls, consider this a great chance to get into projects that may interest you in the future. If you are put in my pool, I will notify you and invite you to appropriate future projects. You also have the right to ask about openings when I announce projects you want to be invited to. Yes, people do that anyway, but if I don’t know your work, I almost always say no. Just a practicality. In any case, get those submissions ready. Reading stuff I’ve edited for taste might be a great way to see what I like in the meantime. I look forward to discovering new colleagues to work with.
Bryan Thomas Schmidt is an author and Hugo nominated editor of adult and children’s speculative fiction. His debut novel, The Worker Prince received Honorable Mention on Barnes & Noble Book Club’s Year’s Best Science Fiction Releases for 2011. His short stories have appeared in magazines, anthologies and online. His anthologies as editor include Shattered Shields with co-editor Jennifer Brozek for Baen, Mission: Tomorrow, Galactic Games, Little Green Men–Attack! and Monster Hunter Tales (with Larry Correia) all forthcoming also for Baen, Joe Ledger: Unstoppable with Jonathan Maberry for St. Martin’s Griffin (forthcoming 2017), Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6, Beyond The Sun and Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera For a New Age. He hosts #sffwrtcht (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer’s Chat) Wednesdays at 9 pm ET on Twitter as @SFFWRTCHT.