sherlock’s approach to research

Early this year, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts launched its interview series, In Conversation, with Benedict Cumberbatch. (Good choice!) Something he said about how he researches a new role struck a chord with me:

[Research is] a security blanket. Not all of it — very little of it ends up on screen, often. And it’s just to take a little bit more possession of the extraordinariness of what I’m being asked to do. Because it’s so far removed from my experience. It just gets me a little bit more… It just gives me a little bit more courage to pretend to be something I’m so far from.

cumberbatch[Watch the quoted clip, or the whole interview, here. Video will play automatically in a new window.]

I literally couldn’t have said it better, because I’m not Benedict Cumberbatch! But I feel the same way about novel research. Obviously, before you start writing about something you don’t know much about, like say computer hacking — the topic of my next book, The Silence of Six — you have to find out more about it. But the tricky thing about research is you don’t necessarily know what information you will need before you start outlining or writing the book. The natural solution is to learn everything you can, just like Sherlock, but as Cumberbatch said so sexily: most of that isn’t going to end up on the page, and it shouldn’t.

Continue reading at Pub(lishing) Crawl

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see you at Dragon Con!

ToothlessI’ll be at Dragon Con from Friday, Aug. 29 through Monday, Sept. 1! This is my busiest convention yet. My schedule is below, and if you’re using the mobile app to plan your weekend, I’m the only guest with the last name Myers. Whenever I’m not participating on programming, chances are you can find me in the Pyr Books Booth, #424, 425 in the new exhibitor space adjacent to the Westin. Come say hi, get copies of Fair Coin and Quantum Coin signed, and pick up free bookmarks and a special Dragon Con discount coupon for an amazing new anthology I’m in, Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories. And of course, you can always reach me on Twitter.

FRIDAY, August 29

4:00 p.m. — Dragons! Defenders of Berk, Marriot A708

8:30 p.m. — Princess Alethea’s Traveling Sideshow, Marriot A707

SATURDAY, August 30

11:30 a.m. — Writing for the Young Adult Market, Hyatt Embassy D-F

1:00 p.m. — Buffy Summers and Harry Potter: The Chosen Ones, Westin Chastain FG

2:30 p.m. — LEGOs are Awesome, Marriot A708

4:00 p.m. — Signing: Pyr Books Booth #424, 425 (1 hour)

7:00 p.m. — All Kinds of Super Heroes, Marriot A708

8:30 p.m. — From Page to Screen: Dystopia, Hyatt International South

SUNDAY, August 31

10:00 a.m. — Diversity in YA, Marriot A707

11:30 a.m. — Signing: Pyr Books Booth #424, 425 (1 hour)

1:00 p.m. — Hungry for the Hunger Games?, Hilton Crystal Ballroom

4:00 p.m. — Reading, Hyatt Roswell* (I’m hoping to find a few others to read selections from the Kaleidoscope anthology with me. Please e-mail me if you’re interested!)

*Updated 8/25/14 to add signings on Saturday and Sunday

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shelf reflection

One of my least favorite sentences to hear is “We need to get rid of some books.”

I bet that made some of you twitch, too. When my wife said this to me recently, my immediate reaction was denial. What do you mean we have to get rid of books? They’re books! Unfortunately, the clear, simple logic of that argument is a bit too simple and oddly unconvincing, and while I may object to the necessity of the task, I’m not actually delusional. Not about this, anyway. As I looked around our apartment, even I had to admit that we have a book problem.

The thing is, I’ve never considered it a problem. Out of all the vices I could be into, collecting books is the most harmless. They’re books. Books are good, worthy things. The more, the better — except when you’re getting ready to move, or when you need to make more space in your apartment to, you know, live in.

Continue reading at The League of Extraordinary Writers

timeenoughatlast

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confessions of a male YA author

y-the-last-man-movie_222When my first YA novel, Fair Coin, was published in 2012, and I started participating in author panels, library visits, and book store events, it seemed that I was usually the only guy on the program. This wasn’t too surprising — I know that more YA books are written by women than men, so statistically speaking, it made perfect sense. For my first few panels, I even introduced myself as the “Y chromosome,” which got some laughs. But I’ve stopped using that line, because a) I don’t want to keep using the same old material, and more importantly, b) I realized it might imply that I thought my inclusion was an act of tokenism, and it wasn’t that. (It also probably isn’t as funny as I thought it was, and people were just laughing to be polite. “There’s only one guy up there, let’s take pity on him.” So, thanks for that.)

Granted, I’m aware that I do get invited to more YA panels because I’m a male YA author, and hey, it’s nice to be welcomed whatever the reason. My author friends are often asked if they know any male authors to invite to participate in programs with them, and I’m happy that they think of me. Perhaps by virtue of my geographic location and the events and conventions that I attend, there generally aren’t that many guy YA authors to choose from. Sorry, I’ll at least try to be a good one for you!

But we aren’t exactly as rare as unicorns. We aren’t an endangered species. And we certainly don’t need the attention.

Continue reading at The League of Extraordinary Writers

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“Atlantic Rim”: A GISHWHES Story

elopusI wrote this 140-word drabble for a friend’s GISHWHES team, to fulfill scavenger hunt item #78: “Get a previously published Sci-Fi author to write an original story (140 words max) about Misha, the Queen of England and an Elopus.”

There was no room for a title in my submission, but I’m calling it “Atlantic Rim”, for reasons which may soon be obvious. Enjoy!

“Atlantic Rim” by E.C. Myers

Misha didn’t know why the Queen of England summoned him for an audience, but when a queen calls, you don’t let it go to voicemail.

“Please approach the throne.” The Queen’s aide frowned. “You’ve shaved.”

“Sorry?” Misha stroked his chin.

“At least you wore the trenchcoat.” The man beckoned him forward. “Kneel.”

Misha kneeled.

“By decree of Elizabeth II, Queen of the Commonwealth, Misha Collins is hereby conferred an honorary knighthood for service to the Crown. Etcetera.”

Misha squinted at the elderly woman. “Does she ever talk? Also, what service?”

The room trembled. Outside the window, a ten-story-tall beast crawled toward the palace on eight squishy tentacles. Its elephantine trunk swung ominously.

“Um,” Misha said. “You know I’m not really an angel?”

“Then you’ll need the Royal Mecha-Corgi to battle Elopus.” The aide tossed him a key ring. “Good luck.”

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