Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Guest ERIC GRIFFIN, editor/writer/fiction developer




Mar 13, 2007
St. Columcille's
Norcross, GA

Before we get to Eric's contribution to the day, let me start by saying Eric has written novels, graphic novels, edited the same for various publishers/gaming companies, and been involved in developing fiction for cult series titles. He obviously works the horror/SF side of the street but he's a great supporter of women's fiction as well. Now...to Eric...


It's a still Sunday morning. Downstairs, Antonio Banderas, in his underwear, is playing poker online.

I'll pause a second so that you can get that first bit fixed firmly in your mind. We'll be coming back to it later and the moderator may be on to us by then. Best to commit it to memory now.

Got it? Okay, let's keep moving.

My name is Eric Griffin. I'm a writer (gawd, that's even more awkward to write down than it is to bring up in casual conversation), an editor, a fiction developer. In my misspent youth, I worked just about every angle of the book trade right down to the old-fashioned brick-and-mortar bookstores you used to see -- back before malls grew coffee shops with intrinsic magazine racks. I even met my wife in a bookstore.


[This space intentionally left blank for sentimental awwwwwww.]


I will leave it as an exercise for the reader why this arrangement is preferable to finding your spouse at a lending library.

I first met Deb Dixon at a convention. An editor's aside: writers need to be aware of the transitions between their paragraphs. That last one was a doozy. If you didn't snarf your coffee, you need to go back and try it again.

Now before you get hold of the entirely wrong end of the stick, I think you need to pause a moment and ask yourself just what conclusion you jumped to when I told you that Antonio Banderas was downstairs in his underwear. I'm willing to bet it was an equally misleading one.

Where was I? Conventions! I met Deb Dixon at Dragon*Con on a writing panel, which is how (indirectly) I ended up here. If you don't know D*C [http://dragoncon.org], it's a hugungous scifi/fantasy/gaming convention.
Four days, 30,000+ people, spanning three city-block-sized hotels in downtown Atlanta. Bedlam. I've been an inmate-by-invitation for years.

I hope I get a chance to tell you some D*C stories soon, but mostly I'm bringing it up so that you know I'm long-suited in horror, fantasy and scifi. If y'all have genre-specific questions about the craft or business of writing, I'd be glad to take a whack at 'em. Post them to the comments section or, if they are personal and potentially embarrassing, POST THEM IN ALL CAPS. I mean, you can grab my email addy from my website (link below).

The single biggest problem I find when reading/editing is that writers don't actually hear what they have written.

There's a world of difference between Antonio Banderas, in his underwear, playing online; and Antonio Banderas online, playing in his underwear. That link, incidentally, is here.

[http://eg.home.comcast.net/shame.htm]

I'll tell you one quick story before I go. True story. My seven-year-old
(youngest) son -- apple of my eye, prop of my old age - is coming out of Mass with his grandmother. He gets collared by the Bird Ladies (you know, the elegant prim older ladies that roost in church social halls). Because he's cute, and their little boys were cute. So they get to asking him questions and eventually they come around to, "and where's your daddy this morning?"

So this eager-to-please young cherub pipes up with, "Oh, he's at home.
Playing poker in his underwear."

Now this would be funny enough, even if the child -- flesh-of-my-flesh, true son of his blarney-spinning, poker-bluffing, fiction-writing da, hadn't made the whole thing up on the spot for the entertainment and edification of the church ladies.

Couldn't be prouder. In that mortified, can't-show-your-face-in-church-again
sort of way.

By the by, that's the further reason I wanted to impress upon you the image of Mr. Banderas - I think I can call him Antooonio at this point - of Antonio playing poker in his skivvies. As a writer, it's very important to guide the image that springs to the reader's mind when she reaches key passages. I wanted to make sure that when you heard "playing poker in his underwear" you were thinking Antoooonio, and not Creepy Tony.

Anyway, I'd like to thank Deb Dixon and the rest of the crew here for inviting me to drop by and hang out with all the Ladies with their Tops D.
Did I just write what I think I wrote? Oh h*ll, the editor will catch it.

--Eric

-------------------------------
A sidebar:

I am aggressively Irish year-round (did the "Griffin" part tip my hand?).
With St. Pat's coming up this weekend, I would be remiss if I didn't leave you with a little music to help celebrate/break things/spill into the street
by:

Feel free to jump over to iTunes and sample a bit. Tell me if you find any pleasant surprises. There may be some stuff that's new to you as well as a few twists on traditional favorites:


Drunken Lullabies Flogging Molly
Zombie Cranberries
Sunday Bloody Sunday U2
Pogues The Sick Bed of Cuchulainn
Johnny Cash Danny Boy
Dropkick Murphys Wild Rover
Pogues/Dubliners The Irish Rover
Van Morrison Tuppelo Honey
Aaron Neville Ave Maria
Bing Crosby When Irish Eyes are Smiling
Sinead O'Conner Molly Malone
Metallica Whiskey in the Jar
Shilelagh Law Black and Tans
Street Dogs Tobe has a Drinking Problem
Wild Colonial Bhoys God Save Ireland

Enjoy!

--Eric

9 comments:

lois greiman said...

Eric,

So it's true. The Irish truly do know how to spin a yarn. Now I want to be Irish. Do I have to learn a special handshake or something?

Thanks for the lesson in editing. And the images. :)

Top of the mornin' to y' lad. Thanks for ridin' with us.

Michele said...

Ah, Sunday Bloody Sunday and Whiskey In The Jar-oooo! My son (16) recently turned me on to Flogging Molly. "We're seven deadly pirates (something, something) seven deadly sins." (Sorry, they just sing too fast for me!)

So I'm a bit of a fan of Vampire: The Masquerade. Not a reader or player, but a picture browser. I like to look at the pretty pictures. And sometimes I'll read the source books just cause the character descriptions are so awesome and I like to wish I could create a world so vast and deadly gorgeous as that.

So what kind of stuff do you edit, Eric?

Michele

Helen Brenna said...

Eric, you're a kick. You and Deb together? That sounds like a party!

Do you freelance as an editor or do you work for a particular publisher? Do authors pay you, or publishers?

Oh, and I get the music except Aaron Neville. What?

Thanks for coming by, Eric. I definitely needed the laugh this morning!

Debra Dixon said...

Eric, me boyo! So glad to have you here.

And for the romance and women's fiction folks who are here, you might want to give us a taste of the least dignified panel you've been on at DragonCon. You see, at RWA we politely wait our turn on panels, yelling is discouraged, etc.

Christie Ridgway said...

Hey, Eric! Thanks for climbing into the car. Tell me, what exactly is a "fiction developer"?

Susan Kay Law said...

Eric, you must tell me a bit more about your work. I have young adult males around, you see, who would likely find your stuff right up their alley.

They are currently trying to convince me that yes, I really do want to see the 300, which they are convinced is the best movie in YEARS, this despite the fact that

1) there is much blood. (Well, yeah, Mom, it's a war movie. There's supposed to be blood. Which I thought was exacty my point, but there you are.)

and 2) Everybody dies. No, they insist


big spoiler


ONE guy lives. That is, apparently, supposed to be enough to mitigate my objection.

Hmm.

Susie

Anonymous said...

Eric,

I love the "How We Met" teaser. These are my favorite type of stories.

I would love to hear more....

Eric Griffin said...

Hi all,

Thanks for the kind words. Since Lois asked nice, I arranged a carte blanche pass for anybody who wants to be Irish for the weekend. Ya'll will have to crawl back in here next week and let us know how it went.

Michele, I didn't have you pegged as a closet Molly Flogger, but your secret is safe with me. : )

On editing:

I've freelanced for a couple of different publishers. Sometimes it's a case of filling in for the regular guy when life gets in the way. Sometimes an in-house project sprouts tentacles and turns out to be much scarier than anticipated. I've also been an "editor without portfolio" contracted to a small publisher.

A fiction developer is something in between an editor and a bookpackager. For me it involved helping shepherd a sprawling 13-novel multi-author series from conceptualization through publication. If that sounds nuts, it is. I've got a more detailed glimpse on my website:

http://tinyurl.com/2phtfw

I'm gonna save "how we met" (and it's a doozy) and warstories from dragoncon for another time -- so they'll invite me back. : )

Thanks again for the warm welcome,

--Eric

Natdabrat77 said...

I am looking for books from a book series called "Vampire: The Masquerade". These books are very hard to find! I have been only able to get 6 out of the 13 books.
I am looking for books by Eric Griffin (Tzimisce and Tremere)from this series, but i was advised from my local book store that the publisher has not made any of these books and therefore are not available. The other books in the series i am looking for are by Gherbod Fleming (Gangrel, Brujah, Nosferatu) and by Stewart Wieck, (Malkavian and Toreador).

If anybody know where i am find these books, please let me know.
(other than amazon.ca)

These books retail between $6-%7.00

Thanks!