Wednesday, August 06, 2008

'Cause I'm a copycat!

A dear friend of mine is recording her library at Library Thing, so naturally I have to too.  I've got all of 21 books entered, not much, but a start and they're the majority of my use-all-the-time how-to writing books.  I'm enjoying rediscovering my book collection (and realizing how big it is) and I'm also feeling a little more secure.  Should the unthinkable happen and our house burns down, assuming we make it out we'll have a head start on replacing some of our things.  

Some of the books, though, will be irreplaceable.  I'm pretty sure there are very, very few people who own The Rules:  A Short Course in The Basics by Kristine Kathryn Rusch.  Forget about finding it for sale anywhere.  No ISBN, printed by the now long gone (unfortunately) Pulphouse Publishing, Writer's Notebook Press.  My copy has seen much use and abuse.  On the inside, in pencil, is written $3 new.  That was 18 years ago.  I've outgrown most of the advice but it's still absolutely valid.  I just have it memorized and have no good excuses to not do exactly what's outlined in the chapbook.  For example:  
Rule #1:  You Must Write
Rule #2:  Finish What You Write
Rule #3:  Mail Your Manuscripts
Rule#4:  Keep your manuscripts in the mail
Rule #5:  Repeat rules 1 through 4 at least once a week

This is far from all that's in the book.  There's lots of craft and insight in there crammed into twenty six pages of hard-won experience.

When you're starting out, Kristine Kathryn Rusch's advice is priceless.  I had no idea about this sort of stuff.  It was easily the best $3 I'd ever spent on a writing book.  For the experienced writer, there's a lot of reminders that make you go mmm hmm, uh huh, yeah, I should be doing that right now but the dog ate my homework.  What could I do if I lose it?  I guess I'll have to see if she or her husband have any copies still around, or if it's been folded into a larger work.  Other than that, unless someone bought it, put it away and then aha! found it and decided they didn't love it anymore and put it on ebay, I think I'd be out of luck. 

But then, if there's a disaster, there's inevitably going to be irreplaceable things lost.  I think without Library Thing, I would lose things I didn't realize I had until I started missing them and trying to remember exactly which writing books I had, and why, and how I felt about them.  And art books, and fiction written by my friends and books on science and the classics and all that good stuff.  Besides, it'll be fun to look through my library electronically.  In fact, the next time I'm looking for a book I'm sure we have somewhere, I can just do a search for it, and there it'll be, or not, with the exact color of the cover and maybe even a private note about where I keep it in the house.  Pretty nifty.  So, have a looksy, and if you like it, I won't tell anyone you're just being a copycat.


The Moody Minstrel said...

Can I have a copy of that book? ;-)

(As if I had time to write anything beyond all these pointless Impasse short stories...and one novel series that has come to a dead stop...)

Things that puzzle this other goddess.... said...

I'm glad to see you don't just think I'm being anal as usual :) I'm up over 600 books now and counting and barely have any of them entered! LOL I think I'll be at this for the next year.
You didn't post a link to your library catalog...whaa!

Kai Jones said...

Heh, she totally cribbed those rules from Robert A. Heinlein's speech at the Naval Academy. I can hear them in his voice when I read them.

Kami said...

Kai--She forgot to cite! She cited some of the other material that appears in there, including material she got from various authors and at Clarion.

TTPTOG--Is this my library page?

I'm going to try to enter a few books every day so that eventually I'll have them all in. Although all seems huge right now. I still have books in boxes because we don't have shelf space for everything.

Kevin, I know you were kidding but I would totally be happy to send a copy to you somehow. Probably copy and mail would be easiest. I think a fax to Japan would be scary! Heh. I hope you and yours are doing as well as possible under the circumstances. Take care.