kaasirpent: (WriteWright)
Saturday, June 3rd, 2017 04:46 pm

There’s this challenge going around. Maybe you’ve heard of it. Bloggers do it every day in April. But this one is for short story writers, and instead of daily, it’s weekly.

For a year.

What is this challenge? It’s the A to Z Story Challenge. I’m not sure who came up with it, or why, or why that matters. The point is, some writer-friends of mine were talking about it, and it sounded like something I should do, so I asked to be included, and now I’m in the Facebook group for the challenge.

I figure, if nothing else, I’ll get a few blog posts out of it. :)

The idea is that, each week beginning June 1, you have 7 days to complete a story inspired by each successive letter of the alphabet. “A” is due on the 7th, “B” on the 14th, “C” on the 21st, “D” on the 28th, and so on. Since there are 26 letters of the alphabet and ~52 weeks in a year, the letters will recycle starting November 30, and “A” will be due again on December 6th, “B” on the 13th, etc. Finishing up with a second “Z” story being due on May 30th, 2018.

You may remember — because you hang on my every syllable — that in 2011, I did something very similar to this, self-imposed, and for NaNoWriMo, wrote (or began) 26 short stories, but with a new letter each day, and ended up with 122000+ words written in one month. It remains the most productive writing period of my life, and one of those stories got me into Viable Paradise XVI in 2012.

But none of those stories ever went anywhere. They’re still sitting, in various stages of completion, on my hard drive.

Mocking me.

And then here came this. I suddenly realized this could be a “kick in the pants” to finally start editing those stories with the goal of getting them finished to a submittable state. Given how long it’s been since I even looked at many of those stories, it’ll present challenges of its own. But I think it’s a good idea, so that’s what I’m going to do. The core concept of each story will, I think, remain the same. But a lot of them went off the rails and either failed to meet my own expectations or veered off into territory where I couldn’t even see the original path from where they went. Now’s the time to at least attempt to address those issues.

Beginning with “A Is for Anchor.” I liked the original idea, but I spent 12,000 words (!!) meandering along the “idea river” instead of pursuing an “idea highway” that goes a bit straighter.

Wow. That metaphor, huh? Gotta love my brain. :)

Anywho . . . I’m 1000 words in or so and I definitely think there’s an ending up there somewhere ahead. Now to get to it. By land, not by river.

I don’t know if there will be a post per week, but we’ll see.

Mirrored from WriteWright.

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kaasirpent: (Elated)
Thursday, July 31st, 2014 11:33 am


This entry is part 13 in an ongoing series of semi-irregular posts detailing my frustration with Workers Compensation and the wonderful world of rotator cuff surgery. In case you haven't been keeping up: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13, THE FINAL CHAPTER (probably) (YOU ARE HERE)

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the fall that caused so many problems during the intervening year. Last July 31st, on my way from the parking lot to the building where I work, I slipped on damp pavement littered with small acorns(?) and tore my rotator cuff badly.

It has been three and a half months since the surgery to fix the problem. I have almost my full range of motion back. I can reach straight up, straight out, across my body, and only get a few twinges now and then. I still can't reach behind my back without pain, but perhaps that will come with time. The surgeon told my housemate that, among other things, I would not be throwing anything overhand anymore. And you know what? I can live with that. :)

As far as strength is concerned, I have very little, but it IS getting better. When I first started doing the exercises a couple of months ago, I could barely move the elastic band. This morning, I realized I had to move farther from the door to put more resistance in the band. There are only two of the five exercises he gave me that hurt at all, and that is getting better, as I said.

There are still times when I do something that will cause a sharp pain that reminds me that I hurt myself and that not everything in there is "right" anymore. This usually happens when I'm doing something so habitual that I tend not to think about it, like moving the laundry from the washer into the dryer, or hanging my dry laundry. It's just one of Nature's lovely little ways of reminding me that I need to think about what I'm doing. :)

The scars are still on my shoulder, and I guess they're permanent. I had originally thought they'd fade over time, but they're still quite noticeable. Meh. Looks like I lost an argument with a particularly shoulder-hating staple gun. Again, I can live with that.

I have changed my parking habits at work. I no longer park in the front lot with all the oak trees that tend to shed tiny little acorns. Onto a sloping surface. I now park in the "lower forty" lot where the ground is nice and level and the only trees are pine. The walk is much less treacherous in all weather, so it's a good thing.

I can't prove it had anything to do with me, but I mentioned before that just about the time I was having the worst of my battles with Some Woman at Some Company, my employer resurfaced the entire parking lot, making the surface less slick, and they also keep it almost devoid of any tree-detritus. So even if I were still parking in the front lot, there would be far less to trip over or slip on. Still, I'm going to continue parking in the "lower forty."

I'm tempted to call Some Woman today and let her know that I have one final doctor appointment in September, and then I'm officially done with the whole mess. I will continue to exercise my arm, being careful not to overdo it, of course (Mom). And I'll continue to be extra careful while walking, because it's been shown that I can't be trusted to do that.

In my last entry, I mentioned payment. I have yet to see a single bill for any of it, so I'm fine with that. I was also paid for the time I spent on short-term leave. I think I might have lost a few days because of some policy involving short-term leave, but that's small potatoes, and I'm not going to raise a stink. Thank you for respecting that and not admonishing me in the comments.

As a final note, I was sorely tempted to prank you all and lead with "Today is the one-year anniversary of the fall that caused me such grief, and you'll never guess what I did this morning on the way in to the office! At least now, my arms match again! Just kidding!" But I decided to be nice and not yank anyone's chain. (Just to be plain: I did not injure myself at all. Yet. The day is young. :)
kaasirpent: (WriteWright)
Monday, November 19th, 2012 12:43 am

It dawned on me earlier tonight what I’m basically doing with this NaNoWriMo project. For each of these magical powers that I write about, I’m creating scenarios, characters, conflicts, mysteries to be solved, and an investigative method that cracked the cases.

These are ideas for short stories set in my universe, The PCIU Case Files. Each story is a self-contained little glimpse into some aspect of my world, usually revolving around an interesting use of a power to solve or commit a crime (or both). Once this thing is done, I’ll have to expand some of them out to see where they go.

Also, this morning in the shower I got hit broad-side by an idea that’s been sneaking up on me for some time. The bad guy from novel 3 (formerly novel 1) is going to have a bit part in novel 1 (formerly novel 2) and novel 2 (formerly novel 3).

Novel 4 is starting to take shape in my head, and I have the first glimmerings of ideas for novel 5. It would really help if my brain would stop that. :)

Each of my characters now has a multi-book arc and there is an arc tying together novels 1 through 3.

Geesh. I hope I can keep all this in my head and juggle it. Otherwise, I’m going to end up with an unwieldy mess on my hands.

Originally published at WriteWright. You can comment here or there.

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kaasirpent: (NaNoWriMo2012)
Friday, November 2nd, 2012 11:49 pm
National Novel Writing Month, 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012

I’m charting my daily progress on NaNoWriMo. Since you may or may not care, I’ll kindly hide it. Thanks for taking the time. :) Read more by clicking here! )

Originally published at WriteWright. You can comment here or there.

kaasirpent: (NaNoWriMo2012)
Tuesday, October 30th, 2012 04:40 pm

It should come as no surprise to anyone who either knows me or reads this blog that I am participating in NaNoWriMo again this year. This will be my seventh consecutive year participating in NaNoWriMo, and I hope it will be my fifth consecutive win. As I said in a previous post, I already have my project picked out for this year, and it promises to be something kind of fun, but more importantly, useful to me as I write my PCIU Case Files novels.

What this means for those of you who do see these posts is that the frequency is going to pick up. Perhaps drastically. From one or two per week to one every day, or perhaps multiple posts per day.

For those of you seeing this over on LiveJournal, I’ll kindly put a cut so you aren’t inundated by my spewing effusively about whatever I’ve written that day. Or, alternatively, lamenting the words I did not write that day. But please bear with me as the link-up between WordPress and LiveJournal is . . . a little fickle at times, and I’ve never gotten the cut to work just right.

So, I’m going to test it, right now. On my WordPress site, you’re about to see a "more" link, and on LJ, it should show up as an LJ-cut.

But wait, there's more! )

Originally published at WriteWright. You can comment here or there.

kaasirpent: (WriteWright)
Tuesday, October 16th, 2012 01:48 am
NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo

These are some thoughts I had on NaNoWriMo. They were originally written as part of a lengthy reply to a friend of a friend who was curious about the whole process of NaNoWriMo and who had some concerns about writing a character based on a real person.

It’s quite normal to agonize. Over your characters, your setting, your plot, your vocabulary, your grammar, whether semicolons are pure evil or useful, whether or not subtext exists, your skill as a writer, whether you should defrost the freezer before writing, how to clean the grout in your shower . . . procrastination takes on a whole level of evil when you have a deadline, or at least mine does. (Look up ‘waxing the cat.’ No, it’s not dirty.)

Writing something semi-biographical is rougher still, because of discomfort in potentially harming the person’s reputation or angering their descendants. Our society is litigious to a fault, after all. But it’s merely based on a real person. You may not want to take too many liberties, but you may not have ever met the person you’re basing the character on, especially if they lived and died before you were born. Just keep their best interests in mind (assuming you like them) and remember that no one is or ever has been a paragon of virtue. Everyone has a darkness. Everyone has flaws. If you don’t portray that, the character will come across as unbelievable. Flat. A caricature.

A lot of my very fictional characters have inside them a tiny core of someone — or a mixture of several someones — that I know. But I don’t worry about them figuring it out, because if I’ve done my job well enough, they’ll never know, even if they read it. But basing it on a real person, that might be harder to conceal, if you even want to conceal it. Let’s say it’s Frida Kahlo you’re writing about. Of course, people will know it’s her, and they’ll also know that you had to concoct stuff. But as long as you’re more or less faithful to the events and things people do know, and that’s consistent with the stuff you make up, then . . . sure, it might tick off some people, but others will read it and think, “You know, she could have thought that.”

My take on it is this: Write the story, and do the absolute best you can. NaNoWriMo is about getting the story out of your head and onto paper / electrons. It’s not about making it perfect. It will never be perfect. Rewrites are for getting it as close as you can. If what you have after November is over still strikes you as having something you like in it, you can go through it after letting it sit for a month or two without looking at it (that is key), and decide what works and what doesn’t. And if nothing works? You still learned what doesn’t work, and you probably have a better idea what will.

I have this Epic Fantasy story that has been knocking on the inside of my skull since I was around eleven. In different forms over the years, of course, but basically the same story. I must have written chapter one a hundred times. In pencil or pen. In a spiral-bound notebook. Because it had to be perfect or I wasn’t doing the story in my head any justice. So I’d write chapter one . . . and it would suck. And I’d hate it, and I’d rip the pages out and burn them. And then some time later, I’d write it again . . . and it would be slightly less sucky (at least to me), but not good enough. It wasn’t perfect. It. Had. To. Be. Perfect.

This went on for more than thirty years. Then in 2008, I finally decided, “Idiot, you’ve got to get this out of your head. Just write it.” So I took all my character notes and all my plot notes and all my other stuff and I started writing on November 1, 2008.

And by the end of that November, I had 53,515 new words that I never had before. And I got a lot of that out of my head. But I used virtually none of the copious notes I had been taking for all that time. I came up with some great new ideas. I invented new characters, thought of scenes I never realized were there, before, discovered things about my characters I never had. Because I learned something crucial:

To write the story, you have to bind and gag the editor that lives inside your head. And lock him in a small, dark room.

That editor will tell you that what you’re writing sucks. He’ll want you to go back and “fix” stuff. He’ll pester you to stop using the word ‘actually’ so much. So you have to beat him over the head with something hard, tie him up, stuff a gag in his mouth, and dump him in the basement and lock the door. Until you’re done.

You’ll find yourself around day eight or so thinking, “Gah! This blows. I’m just going to rewrite that last chapter because–” No! That’s your editor. Why didn’t you make those knots tighter? He got out! You have to club him again and make sure to tie him up tighter next time!

You don’t fix that chapter. You make notes in the margin and go on as though you had fixed it and don’t worry about it. So what if for six chapters your main character is a monk in a monastery in Tibet, but starting in chapter seven, he’s a famous Las Vegas entertainer? You assume the story has taken place along your new path up to chapter seven, and you go on.

You probably won’t encounter anything that drastic. I think my “drastic” change was that in Chapter nine, I realized one of the secondary characters needed a skill I hadn’t given her earlier, so I just assumed she’d always had it, made notes to go back and fix it, and wrote forward.

Of those 53,515 words I wrote in 2008, probably less than half of them are useful words. But what is useful is what I learned about those characters. When I go back and revisit that story and add more plot, the characters, setting, etc. will be all the better for having had to work through stuff to make it make a bit of sense for the novel. On the other hand . . . that story is no longer knocking on my head. I’ve moved on to other ideas. Better ideas. But I learned a lot in writing that epic fantasy, and I will still come back to it at some point, and by golly it’ll be better. Because I’m a better writer, now, than I was in 2008.

For 2009 I wrote a mystery novel (55,000+ words) and had no idea who the killer was until about halfway through. Same thing. I had to silence my editor, who kept saying, “Gary, what the hell are you doing? Who is the killer? Don’t you even know?” *PWANG* with a shovel right in the face. Basement. Knots.

For 2010 I wrote a science fiction novel involving time travel. Got to 78,000 words on that one, then 93,000 by February. Finished it. It needs editing big-time, but this time, my inner editor went on vacation to Aruba while I was writing. He learned. It only takes one or two shovels to the face to make an editor learn his lesson. But there’s some good stuff in that novel. Stuff I really like. And some stuff I really hate.

And yeah, no one ever has to see it but you. The only time you have to show anything is when you paste the full text into the site on the last day so it can verify your word-count. It’s not saved by their site. The count is tallied and all anyone need know is that you either did or did not make it to 50,000.

Even if you don’t get to 50,000 words, you’re 9000 words or 15,000 words or 27,000 words closer to having a book than you were when you started. Or 250 words. Any honest attempt is better than nothing.

If you’re worried about lawsuits resulting from basing a character on a real, historical figure . . . I’ll tell you what someone told me when I had some similar worries: When the publisher agrees to publish the novel, that’s when you worry about lawyers. Before then, tell the story and don’t worry about stuff like that. That’s not your job. You’re the writer. That worry is your editor talking. Remember what we do with internal editors? *grins evilly and hands you a shovel*

7 Tips on NaNoWriMo: Backup often. Backup often. Backup often. Backup often. Backup often. Backup often. Oh, and backups? Do them often.

Do you feel pepped? Has my pep talk helped? I love NaNoWriMo. Love. It. It pushes me to do things I’ve never done before, and with each November, I feel more pumped up than the last one.

Originally published at WriteWright. You can comment here or there.

kaasirpent: (WriteWright)
Saturday, October 13th, 2012 02:19 am
VP XVI

VP XVI Class & Instructors

Well, it’s the end of Viable Paradise. I don’t want to go home. I want to stay on Martha’s Vineyard forever with this group of people and I know that’s not realistic but I’m going to cover my eyes and ears and go LA LA LA LA LA LA and you can’t make me listen so there!

Really, though, what a fantastic week. What a great group of people. I cannot possibly begin to thank the instructors enough. Uncle Jim (James D. Macdonald), Debra Doyle, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Sherwood Smith, Elizabeth Bear, Steven Gould, Steven Brust, and Scott Lynch. My head feels (pleasantly!) stuffed with all kinds of new stuff. Thank you all for pouring it in there. And tamping it down. And then cramming corks into my ears so it doesn’t all leak out.

And the staff. OMG, the staff. Bart, Chris, Pippen, Kate (even though she had to leave early), and most especially Mac. We wouldn’t have made it without you guys. And Mac, you made me like kale and collards. My God, woman. What have you done? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE? :)

And my fellow classmates, pictured here (with some of the instructors), who made this week fun, exciting, exhausting, and illuminating, and allowed me to be a situational extrovert for a while. :)

I’ll give some more details when it’s not after 2 AM after a night of unwinding after a long week spent thinking and talking mostly about writing with other writers and I have to get up in less than five hours to get on a ferry to begin my trek home.

Also, I’m going to spend a lot of money on books over the next few days. :)

Originally published at WriteWright. You can comment here or there.

kaasirpent: (WriteWright)
Friday, October 5th, 2012 10:37 pm

Viable Paradise

I’m forcing myself to go to bed as soon as I post this, even though I’m not the least bit sleepy, and probably too excited to sleep. Tomorrow is the Big Day™. I’ll get on a plane in the morning and fly to Boston, then bus to Woods Hole, then ferry over to Martha’s Vineyard for Viable Paradise. Can. Not. Wait.

I just hope I’ll sleep. The plane leaves at WayTooFreakingEarly:30, which means I have to get up at some unbelievable hour that I’ve heard tell of, but can’t recall seeing with my own eyes, just so I can get to the airport two hours before the flight because of TSA. I’ve checked my itinerary and the ferry schedule about 300 times since this morning, convinced it’ll change before my eyes and say something else this time. I was . . . not exactly present, mentally, at work.

At least the drive down to the airport will be easy at that hour. The only people up will be vampires and milkmen, one of which is mythical. And I think it’s milkmen.

Anyhoo, enough procrastination. Bed!


Wondering what the “Prologue:” is about? Stay tuned! All will become clear, soon. </cryptic>

Originally published at WriteWright. You can comment here or there.

kaasirpent: (WriteWright)
Thursday, August 23rd, 2012 05:34 pm

NaNoWriMo 2011 Winner Badge

(Disclaimer: I cannot be held responsible if you now have the song When You Wish Upon a Star stuck in your head. Preferably the Linda Ronstadt version. Well, OK, now I can, having purposefully—dare I say “maliciously”?—brought it to your attention, and gone so far as to prompt you with a voice. You’re welcome. It’s a great song, isn’t it? But I digress.)

Last year around this time, I had already had many, many ideas for NaNoWriMo. I hit upon the idea of writing 26 short stories, which I won’t go into again, here. Suffice it to say, it was a raging success. One of those stories got me into Viable Paradise.

But this year? What with all the preparations for Viable Paradise, I haven’t really had time to stop and think about what to write for NaNoWriMo. I’ve been re-working ideas for my urban fantasy series, but it’s been like beating my head against a wall. I want to do something that will help me with that instead of something entirely new and different.

One of the major problems I’ve had with my urban fantasy is the magic. It’s set in modern-day Atlanta, but magic works. And I am specifically staying away from sexy vampires and werewolves. My main characters are agents in the Paranormal Crimes Investigation Unit of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. They are also mages. Two other characters are normal (non-magical) cops. Another is a TV reporter. And so on.

Magic for DummiesBut how does magic work? I’ve written a ton of words, but I haven’t been able to just nail down that one little point: how does magic work? What are its limits? How can it be used? How prevalent is it? Does the public in general know about it? Etc!

And I need to know these things.

And that’s when I said to myself: "Self, what you need is a magic book for dummies."

KaZOT! (This is the theoretical sound of a bolt out of the blue. Fate steps in and sees you through . . .)

I guess I know what I’m writing for NaNoWriMo, now. A "For Dummies" book-type thing, but all about magic in my universe.

I can literally use it as a reference if I get stuck. Or I can modify if it I need to. :) And having that hard deadline of November 30th by which it must be finished should help me get past this snag I’ve been stuck in for a while.

Of course, I found a way to generate a nifty cover for it. Because, really, why not? On the Internet, if you build it, they will come.

Originally published at WriteWright. You can comment here or there.

kaasirpent: (WriteWright)
Thursday, July 12th, 2012 11:25 am
whoop by jason tinder, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  jason tinder 
(It’s a whooping crane.)
(Get it? Like, “Whoops!”)

I was trapped on a plane today for several hours, and as I am wont to do when that happens, I either read or listen to podcasts. Today was a podcast kind of day.

As it happens, one of the podcasts I listened to was The Creative Penn hosted by Joanna Penn. It’s a new podcast for me, and I’m still trying to decide if I like it enough to keep listening. For now, it’s interesting and a keeper.

The episode I heard was “Writing Religion and Spirituality With Jill Carroll.” Jill Carroll, as it turns out, is a doctor of world religions. She and Joanna had an hour-long talk about how your own faith (or lack thereof) informs your writing, and how writing characters who follow specific faiths (or none) can help make them more rounded characters.

Which brings me to my epiphany.

When I listen to writing podcasts—and I listen to several—I almost always end up thinking about how whatever the host(s) (& guest(s)) are saying can apply to whatever I’m currently writing. In this case, I’ve been restructuring my urban fantasy universe in my head. I haven’t put much of it down on “paper,” yet, but it’s churning around up in my cerebellum, making waves.

I describe it to people as “It’s paranormal FBI agents and Atlanta police solving crimes in modern Atlanta, only magic works.”

One of the main three characters is a devout Catholic. I know almost nothing about the Catholic religion, so I’ve been glossing over that when I write him. Just mostly using it as “background information” that the writer (me) knows, but the reader (hopefully, you, one day) is not necessarily even aware of, except that that bit of information informs how the character reacts to things that happen in the book.

And that’s when it hit me: in my world, magic is . . . well, it’s special in that not just everyone can do it, but the ones who can do it can pretty much do miracles.

In a world where many people can perform genuine, demonstrable, repeatable, scientifically verifiable “miracles,” . . . well, what place does religion based on miracle-working have in that world?

I just love it—no, really, I do—when a passing thought causes me to go “Oh, crap,” and rethink pretty much everything.

Of course, there’s still the concept of divinity and having a direct line to a god or gods (as it were). But if my characters can do things that are only in the purview of gods in our real world, what, then, is a religion in a world of magic?

I’m gonna have to think on that one.

Originally published at WriteWright. You can comment here or there.

kaasirpent: (WriteWright)
Wednesday, June 20th, 2012 12:39 am
Viable Paradise

Viable Paradise

That sound some of you may have heard at approximately 9 AM, EDT, on Monday, 18 June, 2012, was me squeeing. Because of the following email:

Dear Gary,

On behalf of the staff and the instructors, I’d like to welcome you as a student to Viable Paradise, and say congratulations!

This email is an email confirmation of your acceptance to the 2012 Viable Paradise Writers Workshop, aka VP 16/XVI.

The workshop dates for 2012 are Sunday, October 7th to Friday, October 12th, 2012. The workshop is being held at The Island Inn, Oak Bluffs, MA on Martha’s Vineyard.

<snippety-snip a bunch of stuff about tuition, hotel arrangements, contact information, etc.>

Please wait until June 20th to disclose your application status publicly.

As a courtesy to people on the waitlist, if you decide that you cannot make it to Viable Paradise after all, please let us know as soon as possible.

Yeah, so I’ve been sitting on this for two days. :) If you’ve sensed a ton of pent-up excitement in me but haven’t known why, now you know why. If I’ve been a bit absent on Facebook, this is why.

<chanting sing-song> I’M goin’ to VEE PEE, I’M goin’ to VEE PEE, I’M goin’ to VEE PEE . . . ad nauseam</chanting sing-song>

I have from now until October 7th to read at least one book / other publication by each of the instructors. I already ordered Kindle editions of at least one per instructor. I will start them as soon as I’m done with at least two of my current reading list. (A few days, at most.)

There are twenty-four new students. So far, eighteen of us have checked in on the VP forums and made ourselves known, and are being welcomed warmly (and teased; I want to know what’s so special about <dun dun DUNNNNNNN!> Thursday night) by past participants and an instructor or two. We appear to come from as far away as the west coast (of both Canada and the US), Texas, and Georgia. :) And we’re also getting some good advice about flying into Boston or Providence and taking a bus to a ferry to get to the island . . . If there were bikes, rickshaws, and dogsleds involved, we could cover all forms of transportation. :)

So. I’ve already sent in my tuition check. I’m waiting to see if I can share a townhouse with some other students before I make reservations at the hotel. Flights will be cheaper in a couple of months, so I’ll wait to do that.

Oh, and one last thing: Wheeeeeee!

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Originally published at WriteWright. You can comment here or there.

kaasirpent: (WriteWright)
Thursday, May 3rd, 2012 04:44 pm

I mentioned the other day that I submitted three of my very short flash pieces that have appeared here on my blog over the last year or so to a podcast called Toasted Cake.

I got a response back from Tina Connolly (podcastrix).

Hi Gary! Thanks for sending me these to consider. I’m afraid these won’t quite work for Toasted Cake, but I thought the poem was funny and I hope you’ll send me something again if I have another sub window.

(and, thanks for the kind words on Toasted Cake :)

So as far as first rejections go, I’m not displeased. It’s a very good one, actually, encouraging me to submit again in the future.

Plus . . . now that that’s over with, I’m not dreading that first rejection anymore. :)

I still want to get into Viable Paradise, though, Universe, if you’re listening.

Originally published at WriteWright. You can comment here or there.

kaasirpent: (WriteWright)
Tuesday, April 24th, 2012 05:24 pm
Progress by dingatx, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License  by  dingatx 

It’s been about a month since I last updated my blog. I’ve had a busy social life and a sick cat and frankly haven’t written much. I also helped out a fellow writer by critiquing her entire finished novel over the last couple of weeks.

But another thing I did work on was submissions.

I finally bit the bullet and submitted a manuscript to Viable Paradise. In their own words,

Viable Paradise is a unique one-week residential workshop in writing and selling commercial science fiction and fantasy. The workshop is intimate, intense, and features extensive time spent with best-selling and award-winning authors and professional editors currently working in the field. VP concentrates on the art of writing fiction people want to read, and this concentration is reflected in post-workshop professional sales by our alumni.

Viable Paradise encourages an informal and supportive workshop atmosphere. During the week, instructors and students interact in one-on-one conferences, group critiques, and lectures. The emphasis at first is on critiquing the students’ submitted manuscripts; later, the emphasis shifts to new material produced during the week. Even when not actively engaged in teaching or critiquing, instructors often share meals and general conversation with the students.

The Viable Paradise experience is more than the workshop itself; it also includes the autumnal beauty of coastal New England and the unique island setting of Martha’s Vineyard. Taken all together, they create a learning environment that’s perfect for helping you reach your writing and publishing goals.

I’ve wanted to go to VP pretty much since the first day I heard about it—Egad! Six years ago!—when podcaster and writer extraordinaire Mur Lafferty went in 2006 (VPX) and talked about the experience.

Of course, I’d also like to go to Clarion/Clarion West. But I have a full-time job and only 23 PTO days per year, and Clarion takes six weeks, or 30 PTO days. (Which actually isn’t all that bad, considering. They’d only have to let me do a leave of absence for seven work days . . .)

The shortage of time off still didn’t stop me from attempting to apply. I mean, once I got in, I could worry about getting time off, right? But I misread the submission guidelines. I worked for hours editing a story to get it as perfect as I could get it. And then with just about twenty minutes to spare, I was getting ready to email everything in and . . . realized they had asked for two short stories, each between 2500 and 6000 words. I had just the one, and it was 6900 words.

Here’s a tip: Read the submission guidelines thoroughly, boys and girls. <grumbleblather>

Not that Viable Paradise was a distant second choice, mind you. It could even be argued that my subconscious sabotaged Clarion on purpose. Dastardly subconscious.

I sent in my submission on April 16th. The deadline is June 15th. They will make a decision as soon as possible after that date and let everyone know one way or the other. Only 24 students will be accepted. They will, of course, have to read and evaluate all the submissions they get at the last minute, so I wouldn’t expect to hear one way or the other before the 20th of June, certainly.

So now, I wait. Patiently? Well . . . :)

In other news, I have recently started listening to a newish podcast called Toasted Cake by Tina Connolly. Tina is an accomplished author (and Clarion West 2006 graduate) and voice artist who frequently voices stories for the three Escape Artists podcasts, EscapePod, PseudoPod, and PodCastle, as well as Drabblecast and Three-Lobed Burning Eye.

She decided to podcast a flash story per week for 2012. She hit up her writer friends for the first dozen or so, then opened up for submission from interested listeners during April. I sent her three of my extremely short flash pieces to see if they strike her fancy. She likes ‘em dark and kind of twisted, which these three are. I sent the anti-Valentine’s Day poem, “Pot O’ Gold,” and “Nothing Lasts Forever,” all of which I have put on this blog in the last year. I should get a “Pass” or “Hold” email before too long. Submission deadline is April 30, and I sent it in a couple of days ago.

So that’s basically what I’ve been up to. Which doesn’t amount to much on the page, but I’m hoping one or the other or both of those pan out.

What I have done, writing-wise, is come up with a veritable mother-load of ideas for the second novel in the Urban Fantasy series I’ve come up with (which I’m tentatively calling The PCIU Case Files). You know, the second novel. I haven’t finished the first one, but my brain is supplying me all kinds of good stuff for the second one.

Stupid brain.

Originally published at WriteWright. You can comment here or there.

kaasirpent: (WriteWright)
Monday, March 19th, 2012 04:01 pm
Dragon (the dragon bridge in Ljubljana, Republic of Slovenia) by Zoe52, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  Zoe52 

Hi, everyone. I wanted to let people know that this-coming Thursday night, March 22nd, 2012, at 6 PM SLT (Second Life Time), I will be reading my story “D Is for Dragon” live.

Second Life Time is the same as US Pacific Time, so that’s 6 PM on the west coast, 9 PM on the east coast, and 10 PM if you live in those extreme eastern provinces in Canada. You can probably do the math to find your local correct time.

The reading will occur in the Workshop building, on the second floor beside the traditional meeting circle. Our area is in the Pen Station region. The reading is a voice event, so attendees are encouraged to come with their “ears on” and their microphones off. Since the event is also being recorded, we request that you refrain from using audio “gestures” or other devices that create ambient noise.

If you get on, my name on Second Life is “Sathor Chatnoir.” Contact me or “Timothy Berkmans” (our host for all things podcasterrific) for a landmark to the event site, or click on that link above (on “Workshop building”). Show up early (15 to 20 minutes, I’d say) so you can adjust your settings for voice.

The recording (or perhaps a cleaner one) will appear on our podcast in the next couple of months.

Those of you who are not already on Second Life can get on (For free!) by going to the web site (See that handy link earlier in this sentence?), downloading the software (For free!), and creating a character (For free!). Those of you who don’t want to be on Second Life can wait for the podcast. (For free!)

Those of you who <sniff> don’t want to <sniff> hear my story (that I worked so hard on), I <sniff> understand. Really. It’s <sniff; wavering voice> OK. <sniff> Really.

For free! Did I mention that? (For free!)

Originally published at WriteWright. You can comment here or there.

kaasirpent: (WriteWright)
Tuesday, November 8th, 2011 01:29 am


Tonight marks the close of the 7th day of NaNoWriMo 2011.

When I first started making posts about it back in . . . probably August? Maybe even July? . . . I had come to the decision that I did not want yet another incomplete novel sitting on my hard drive, especially with four current ones in development. It just seemed silly. Irresponsible. Overwhelming. And probably a few other choice adjectives as well.

So I decided to do a collection of 26 short stories. I’ll spare you from me repeating the idea again. The idea was that they were supposed to be short stories. You know, 2000 to 2500 words on average. I’d do one per day, maybe not even in order, and at the end I’d have around 52,000 words. Ample to win NaNoWriMo and it would give me 26 new short stories to play with.

“A Is for Anchor” currently sits at 10,574 words, and it’s not even close to done.
“B Is for Bard” currently has 7,547 words, and is also not complete. I know where I’m going with it, at least.
“C Is for Clowns (that Creep Through Your Yard)” is at 5,700 words even, and is complete.

“D Is for Dragon” boasts 6,369 words, complete.
“E Is for Egg” weighs in at 4,975 words, complete.
“F Is for Fang (that Gets Sunk in Your Leg)” halted at 6,731 and is not complete.1

“G Is for Gravesite” came in at just 2,204 words, complete.

At least one of the stories came in around 2000 words.

This puts me at 44,717 words in just 7 days. If I keep writing at the same rate I’ve been writing so far this month, I will surpass the monthly goal of 50,000 words tomorrow at some point.

To say that this is unexpected would be tantamount to calling the Pacific Ocean “a bit damp.” I had no idea I could write this much in just 7 days. Hell, I had no idea I could write > 7,000 words in one day (a personal best).

In just one week of NaNoWriMo, here is what I have learned:

  • At no point in my life can I ever again utter the phrase, “I just can’t find the time to write.” That, to put it bluntly, is bullshit. I’m working the same job for the same amount of hours this week as I was two weeks ago. I still have the same social obligations. I haven’t missed anything important that I normally do. The difference is that I didn’t find time to write; I made time to write. I get up a couple of hours early in the morning and I write. Instead of futzing around on Facebook, Twitter, LiveJournal, YouTube, Google+, and GoodReads during my “free time,” I write. During lunch when I would normally read a book after finishing my meal, I write. When I come home from work, instead of relaxing with a DVD or reading or listening to podcasts, I write. Do you see a pattern? I certainly do. The thing that is important to me—writing—is what I’m spending time on. Anything less important goes bye-bye. I reiterate that during this week, I did not miss one single social event. I attended both writers group meetings, went to a party, socialized with my housemate, socialized with people at work, spent time with my cats, listened to some podcasts (but only in the car or while working when I cannot otherwise write), kept up in a limited way on Facebook… I intend to attend three writers group meetings this week as well as working an extra hour at work for monthly maintenance on some servers I’m responsible for. But right under all of that on my priorities is writing.
  • Never again will I be able to utter the phrase “I just don’t have any ideas.” That is also bullshit. The trick isn’t having ideas, it’s turning them off. The truth is, I get ideas for stories all the time. Usually I dismiss them because they aren’t something I want to write right now or don’t go with anything I’m working on. Sometimes I write them down for ‘later,’ but we all know ‘later’ is never coming. Well, I needed 26 fresh ideas for NaNoWriMo and with the exception of a few tough letters of the alphabet, the problem hasn’t been finding an idea, it’s been finding a good one among all the crappy ones. For ‘S’ as an example, I had to sift through Sulfur, Saturn, Sinister, Silo, Silver, Sylph, Sand, Scraps, Solid…for each word that occurred to me, the tiny sliver of an idea would come with it. Was Silver a story about werewolves? Did Solid involve an alien able to exist in any state of matter? Did Silo have to do with an abandoned missile silo in a post-apocalyptic world? Maybe. Some of the others were probably just as good. But when Skullcosm finally came to me, I knew that was my S-word. And even inside that world, the story itself could take any of a number of shapes, one of which I’ll pick. Perhaps at the moment of coming up with a character name on the morning of the 19th. So, yeah. I have ideas. I just discard most of them. This week has taught me that some of those stories should probably get written sooner and not later, and certainly not never.

I also know that I cannot sustain 6000+ words per day. It is too wrist-intensive for one thing, but it also promotes quantity over quality, which is just fine and dandy for NaNoWriMo; not at any other time, however. Sure, there’s something to be said for getting a story down that’s way too long and then whittling away all the parts that aren’t the story I want to tell and leaving the only the bits that are behind. And that will most certainly be done with each of these when November is in the rearview and Christmas is hurtling ever closer.

December is always about the loss of momentum for me. NaNoWriMo is over! Whew! Time to parTAAAAAY! And by ‘parTAAAAAY’ I mean goof off. But I am going to try to make an effort to at least keep the momentum going.

Sometime in December, I’ll be recording myself reading one of my stories for a podcast. I haven’t decided which one, yet, but I’m heavily leaning on “D Is for Dragon” or “G Is for Gravesite” right now. It’s a pretty low-key podcast called The Quillian Chronicles, and is produced by members of my Second Life writers group as a way to foster participation by producing our stories in audio format for free distribution to the listening public.

Have I mentioned that I loathe the sound of my recorded voice? <sigh>


  1. I had a false start with this one and got 617 words in before realizing I had started at the wrong spot and with the wrong POV, so I started over. I count the 617 words in my total word-count (this is NaNoWriMo and every word counts), but not in the story total given here.

Originally published at WriteWright. You can comment here or there.

kaasirpent: (WriteWright)
Thursday, October 13th, 2011 03:57 pm

"Brain Vocab Sketch" © 2009 by Zachary Veach

Brain


I hate my brain, sometimes. Really.

See, NaNoWriMo is coming up soon, and I have 26 short stories to plan out. I am flogging my brain on what to do with ‘e’ and ‘f’ (the story I want to tell could go with either letter, but I can’t come up with a suitable rhyme for the other one, no matter which one I assign the story to). I was at lunch, reading a book on writing horror, and hoping that my subconscious mind was hard at work on the ‘e’ & ‘f’ problem. Oh, it was hard at work, all right. But I digress.

The book I’m reading is On Writing Horror: a Handbook by The Horror Writers Association edited by Mort Castle. The particular essay is “Avoiding What’s Been Done to Death” by Ramsey Campbell.

The passage I read is as follows and is reproduced without any sort of permission whatsoever, but I think it’s covered by fair use.

But it’s the job of writers to imagine how it would feel to be all their characters, however painful that may sometimes be. It may be a lack of that compassion that has led some writers to create children who are evil simply because they’re children, surely the most deplorable cliché of the field.

I got to the end of that and was interrupted by my subconscious. It tapped me on the shoulder, metaphorically speaking, and very quietly handed me a memo, then went back into its (dank, dark) lair.

It wasn’t about ‘e’ and ‘f’. Not at all. In fact, what it was was a completely reworked motivation for my antagonist character in the novel Perdition’s Flames on which I’m currently working, and am about 60,000 words into.

So, you know, now is just the perfect time to inform me that my motivation for this character has been all wrong, and that I need to introduce yet another character . . . in chapter 4 or so.

I’m writing chapter 21.

To be fair, my subconscious knows that I needed to introduce this character in this book to establish her so that my main character and she could have a relationship in the second novel. But still, really, subconscious? Really?

So I wrote all that down in my ever-handy notebook. And now I really need Mr. Subconscious-guy to go ahead and work on this stanza:

D Is for Dragon,
E Is for Egg;
F Is for [Something], [a phrase ending with a rhyme for 'egg'].

Or, alternatively

D Is for Dragon,
E Is for [I don't even know];
F Is for Fertile, [some phrase ending in a word that rhymes with the E-word]

So, get right on that, Mr. Subconscious. I know you’re listening. You always listen.

Even when I don’t want you to.

Originally published at WriteWright. You can comment here or there.

kaasirpent: (Writing)
Friday, September 30th, 2011 12:49 pm
Pardon me for a moment. I want to steal a few moments of your day to say something. It's going to be a little rambly, and perhaps a bit disorganized, but I hope you'll indulge me.

When Facebook pretty much took over the Internet, killed MySpace, and lured all my friends from LiveJournal and other places, I naturally followed.1 It's been pretty much crickets here, since. I completely abandoned Twitter.2

But LiveJournal is far superior to Facebook in a fair number of ways. For one thing, I can write more freely here without regard to having only a certain number of characters. For another, there is an accessible archive I can use to go back and see my own posts going back to the very first one in January of 2003. I have—or had—a set of people who regularly read my posts and commented on them. And in spite of my claim in 2003 that I would probably never post anything, this post will be the 2799th post I never intended to make. The temptation to make another post before this one and make this one the Big Round Number Post (2800) is almost overwhelming, but I'm going to try to resist it. :)

I've invested a lot of time in LiveJournal. I've written some of my best material, here. I'm frankly proud of what I've accomplished. And judging from some of the comments I used to get, a fair number of you used to enjoy reading my posts, as well.

Well, dammit, I'm not about to abandon LiveJournal. Dammit, this is just a better venue. Sure, everything I post here is automagically posted to Facebook so people can read it, but that doesn't change the fact that I just prefer writing for this venue.

Nor does this mean I'm going to abandon Facebook, either. But I'm thinking that it's time to cut back there and do more elsewhere. I have three blogs. I have this one, one over on Blogger where I put more philosophical stuff (I even call it Philosophidian (the blog itself is pithily titled "Insert Something Pithy Here") and I have my "Professional Writer Blog," (WriteWright) which, if you've been paying attention—and I couldn't blame you if you haven't been, given the layers of dust, spider webs, and tumbleweeds collecting here—are also automatically duplicated over here. Not always in the most expert of ways. I'm still a novice at getting Wordpress to do my bidding, but I'm learning. If posts occasionally turn too long and you wish I'd just learn to use an <lj-cut>, please bear with me. There's no easy way to get that to happen, apparently.

It's no secret from anyone that I want to be a professional writer when I grow up, but I almost never write. Why is that? I think if I can solve that little conundrum, I'll have answered a fundamental question about myself. But I suspect part of it is having fallen out of the habit of writing here.

But anyway, enough navel-gazing. What I'm leading up to saying is this: I'm back. I want to really make an effort to get back into the habit of making posts here, at Philosophidian, and on WriteWright. This is my fifth post in three days, I think, and I have several more in development.

I've assigned myself the task of making entries "more often." So much for SMART goals, huh? :)

I'm using EverNote to help. I make notes all day about every topic imaginable using this software. I've even started going through my old note-taking software (which only runs under Windows, so is less useful to me; EverNote runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, and my phone) finding all the "[LJ]" notes I made—posts I intended to make, usually half-written or even just half-baked, vague ideas—and copying those over to EverNote so I'll have them with me on the go.

I used to have a set of rules:

1. If it's a short, single sentence thing or a link that needs no explanation, put it on Twitter.

2. If it's slightly longer, isn't worth a lot of writing, or is a link that needs some explanation, put it on Facebook.

3. Everything else goes here, at Blogger, or on my writing blog (depending on topic and target audience)

Over time, Facebook—like the invasive species with no natural predators it is—took over all three of those. They just recently relaxed the strict character limit for statuses on Facebook. It used to be 420 characters, or three tweets' worth. Now you can put multiple paragraphs. I'm sure their intent is to murder all the other social networks out there.

The recent changes . . . have disturbed me. I don't like where Facebook is headed. It wants to be too many things to too many people. It wants all of my life to be public, whether I'm comfortable with that or not. It will be interesting to see how the user base reacts to the sweeping changes coming soon, with music and video being incorporated into Facebook as they go after those markets as well.3

People are reacting to the changes in a couple of interesting ways.

Some are threatening to leave. Google+ just opened recently, and they have many of the same functions as Facebook with a slightly different look and feel, and without being "evil" yet . . . but I just can't get "comfortable" on Google+. It feels like I'm visiting friends I don't know all that well and I'm staying in their guest room with all the furniture they inherited from their grandparents. It doesn't match, it's a bit fragile-looking, and it smells kind of funny. OK, the analogy went somewhere I wasn't intending, but I'm going to leave it. :)

Others are crying foul very loudly . . . but will forget it soon and go back to using Facebook the way they always have. Until the next major change comes along, at which point they'll complain how it's better the way it used to be, with no sense of irony that they hated that as well.

Still others are threatening to abandon social networking altogether. To just unplug from it all and become social-networking hermits. No Twitter. No Facebook. No Google+. Just a phone and email.

But it had a different effect on me.

What it made me do was miss the time I spent crafting an entry, here.4 I might spend ten minutes on Facebook. I often spend three hours writing these posts for LiveJournal, because . . . I guess it "feels" more like . . . something permanent. I edit these as ruthlessly as I edit a short story or novel chapter. I try to give them a beginning, middle, and end.

Facebook has a way for you to download your statuses. But it only goes back three months. To get to anything older, you have to manually go to your own profile and start pressing the "back" button. A lot. And don't accidentally refresh the page—it kills all the effort.

Then you have to carefully expand all of your posts out so you can see everything you wrote and all the responses . . . and then and only then can you think about saving the page as raw html so you can use it as a reference for that thing you wrote a year ago about chickens, but then forgot.

I want to get back the feeling I used to have when I'd starting writing a post in my head and couldn't wait to get back to my desk to do it. Now, I'm much more likely to take out my phone and write a few words to Facebook. For a fleeting amusement that goes by in an instant and is quickly forgotten.

I miss Skippy, Bradford, Preston, and even Jürgen. They're still very much parts of my psyche, and I want to bring them out more. Maybe there are even more of them lurking in the dark recesses of my subconscious mind.

So I guess what I'm saying is that I'm back. Hopefully for good. Hopefully not Spammy. Hopefully not like last night's chili.

And hopefully, with old friends and new.
  1. The only reason I'm on LiveJournal is that all my friends abandoned TinyTIM and came over here in droves. The same ones that flocked to Facebook.
  2. There are other reasons for that, most prominent of which is that it's just impossible to keep up with people tweeting and retweeting one another anywhere from 5 to 20 times per day. I got weeks behind at one point and then just . . . gave up. I go back every few weeks, catch up on the most recent hour or two of tweets, and then abandon it again for a while. I still tweet whenever I make a blog post, so this one will be visible over there within minutes of my posting it.
  3. Check out the livestream of their F8 conference.
  4. Note to [livejournal.com profile] telleestmavie: While I did give you blanket permission to punch me in the face if I ever referred to writing as "my craft" unless I was doing so ironically or mocking someone else, this does not quite qualify. There is a certain amount of craft that goes into any writing, and I acknowledge that. I still want never to find myself using the über-pretentious-sounding "my craft." So I guess what I'm saying is "Please don't punch me in the face. Yet."
kaasirpent: (WriteWright)
Tuesday, August 16th, 2011 06:10 pm
CSIS

CSIS

The July challenge for The Quillians was to write 250 to 350 words inspired by a song. We had to postpone the ‘judging’ meeting twice because the first time, only two people had entered, and the second time, our Fearless Leader–Luta in-game–didn’t show up. Speculation about where she was ran rather rampant. I suggested that the only thing that could keep her from us was that she had been kidnapped by pirates. Or perhaps clowns.

Or pirate clowns.

One thing led to another, and the challenge for August was to write a 350 word story explaining just where Luta was. :)

As usual, I was given a word count, and I met said word count exactly. So here is my entry in the “Where’s Luta?” challenge.

Oh, I should mention something: Luta is Canadian. From Nova Scotia, specifically. That will make the story make more sense.

Stephen Harper, brows beetled, chewed his lower lip. “Are you sure it has to be her? She hates it every time she’s activated, and besides that, it’s Monday.”

“Oh, for the love of God, Steve. If you’re afraid to call her, just hand me the phone and I’ll do it! Canada could be on the brink of ruin, and you’d worry about one woman being irritated with you.”

Not just one woman, he thought.

His wife stood, hands on hips, glaring at him through narrowed eyes, her foot tapping soundlessly on the carpet. He supposed she was right. It wasn’t every day that an agent so deep undercover was activated, but this one was special. He picked up the phone.

* * *

Luta folded laundry with one hand while checking her daughter’s math homework with the other. “No, honey, you need to carry the two,” she said as she checked the clock again. Only a half hour to go.

The phone rang, interrupting her thoughts. Oh, for the love of…it’s nearly 10 on a Monday. What now?

She laid down the sheet she had been folding, and, dodging dogs and trailing a daughter with an open notebook and a pencil, she marched upstairs and into her office. The phone blared twice more. If I answer it, it’s going to be something bad, and I have a Quillians meeting on Second Life. I can’t let them down!

It rang twice more before she picked it up. With a heavy sigh, she said, “Hello?”

“Um…” came a harried, tentative voice, then a fumbling sound. She thought she heard someone say, “Really? This is the activation phrase?”

“Hel-lo?” she said, emphasizing each syllable.

“Yes, um…’Yo ho ho and a big red nose.’”

Luta’s face, which had been a mask of irritation and impatience, instantly relaxed into one of supreme calm, her eyes narrowed. “Prime Minister. This had better be damned good. Last time—”

“I-I know, Luta, but…it’s that situation in Moose Jaw.”

She closed her eyes. Crap. I thought I took care of that last time. “Tell me.”

“Well, [REDACTED]

I knew from the moment I came up with the idea that the last word of the story had to be [REDACTED]. :)

Anyway, I presume this will be judged toward the end of August, or possibly the first Monday in September. Wait. What is that in Canadian?

<ducking>

Originally published at WriteWright. You can comment here or there.

kaasirpent: (WriteWright)
Tuesday, August 9th, 2011 11:16 am

"Lightning Over Midtown Atlanta" ©2010 by Brendan Lim

Flash! (AAH-aaaaaahhh!)

Last night on Second Life The Quillians had our weekly meeting and read everyone’s submissions for the July challenge. We each selected two favorites.

I came in first, with Ge3x and Mira tying for second. The hilarious thing about it is, of the five entries, all of them were dark. With all of music to choose from, all five of us picked “downer” songs.

I can reveal now that the title of my piece was “Nothing Lasts Forever” and it was inspired by “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas. It’s my favorite song of all time.

I didn’t even know most of the songs by the others, so there was no hope of winning the extra prize money. Ah, well. I had guesses. Oddly enough, all my guesses were kind of cheerful. I guess I’m warped that way.

What I’m learning from these monthly challenges is that I kind of like the flash form. Less than 1000 words—our challenges run way less than 1000, usually from 250 to 350—makes you really think about what you want to say, and eliminate needless words and extraneous ideas.

At my Tuesday night writers group (The Forum Writers), we have new writers join us all the time. Some stay, some come and go. But whenever we have a newbie, we make them introduce themselves, tell us what they write, and what they want out of our group. Then we all introduce ourselves in turn, explaining what we write. I usually say some variation of this:

My name is Gary, and I’m currently working on an urban fantasy novel. It’s set in modern Atlanta where magic works, but there are no sexy vampires or werewolves. <insert pause for expected ‘yay’ reaction> I also write science fiction, epic fantasy, dark fiction, and a little horror. I used to do short stories, but my short stuff seems to have developed a pituitary problem.

What can I say? It usually elicits at least a smile. :)

That last part about the pituitary problem, though…I may have to change that. The more I try this extremely short form, the more I like the sense of freedom it gives me. Write 350 words and tell a whole story…then move to the next one. Be done with something instead of incessantly writing it or thinking about it night and day (and night) for months.

Maybe it’s an escapist thing. <shrug> Whatever. I just know that I an enjoying the instant gratification.

As an aside…am I the only person who always adds the “AAH-aaaaaahhh!” in my head every time I hear or see the word “flash” (AAH-aaaaaahhh!)? Surely not. Surely not.

Originally published at WriteWright. You can comment here or there.

kaasirpent: (WriteWright)
Monday, August 8th, 2011 05:57 pm

"Torture Chair in the Fortress of San Leo, Italy" © 2009 by Anguskirk

Torture

I’ve been so busy with The Project that Ate the Summer™ at work that I’ve had little time to write for the past few weeks. I’ve written some, but not a lot. Most of what I’ve written has been ideas, of which I’ve had a plethora.

Yesterday, after a meeting of the Lawrenceville Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Group, I sat down to work on my novel, and discovered that this was the sentence I had left for myself a couple of weeks ago when I stopped.

Chuck could see [Nick's] jaw clenching and unclenching, and she realized he was angry. But angry at whom?

Now, I’m sure that when I wrote that, I had some idea who Nick was mad at, and probably even why.

BUT I HAVE NO IDEA, TODAY. None. Zip. Nada. Zilch.

<sigh>

In fact, I have no idea where the 621 words of these scene were headed.

When, when, WHEN am I going to learn to make notes to myself when I stop in the middle of a scene?

In other news, though, I read back over the entire story (54,710 words so far) and was surprised at how much of it I liked. Sure, I’ll have to gut sections of it, and I have several new characters that will have to be inserted into the first part, and I have to give them some side plots and such, but on the whole, I’m still fairly happy with the writing.

And that’s actually a pretty good feeling. Several times I’d find something I wanted to fix and start to edit only to find out that I’d already written myself a note to edit that same section in the same way. So at least I’m consistent.

Now that the æstivorous1 project has been turned over to the capable hands of the QA department, maybe I can concentrate on making some headway in this novel.

And on some other things I’ve got planned, as well.


  1. One of these day I’m going to coin a word that sticks (alas, ‘grammudgeon’ has as yet gained no real foothold), but this is not the time. In Google books, there’s a discussion about primate behavior that uses the word, although spelled without the ‘æ’. Theirs probably means feeding during the summer, while I’m using it in the sense of actually devouring summer itself.

Originally published at WriteWright. You can comment here or there.

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