When to listen to Mom about writing

So I was at AggieCon yesterday.  The first panel I went to was on pitfalls for new writers.  The panelists didn’t introduce themselves, so I didn’t know who they were.  One panelist kept on saying “Mom used to say…” or “Mom told me…”  Naturally, I was wondering why was this guy always referring to his mom.  About half an hour into the panel, it hit me.  It was Todd McCaffrey, son of the late Anne McCaffrey, one of the most influential fantasy writers in recent memory, and the genius behind the Pern series.  Suddenly, what “Mom” said became a lot more important.  I think the most important thing they covered there was the difference between an idea and a story.  An idea is, “A talking...

Writing for properties

As I tend to do sometimes, I was looking through the qualifying markets of SFWA and I saw Black Library, the imprint that does Warhammer/40K books. Obviously, that’s not too surprising, but I’ve never really considered trying to get published there. The reason is that those two universes are properties. Writing for properties is different from writing in your own universe. First of all, even if you create a completely original character in that property, the rights to that character do not belong to you. If I get Soul of Humanity published, I can do whatever I want with Corlath or the Ascalon or curians, but if I write a story on the Phoenix Guard, Kintos, Kintos belongs to Black Library and Games-Workshop. That’s not really a deterrent,...