Chipped my tooth. :(

June 28, 2012

Chip happens.

Sigh – I should have been looking where I was going more closely as I rushed to cross Mass street at the corner of Eleventh today. Went splat on the pavement, skinned both knees, my chin, my upper lip, somehow the back of me left shoulder…

And there’s a big chip out of one of my top middle teeth. It doesn’t hurt much, but it’s a weird sensation, and I feel a need to be careful about eating anything not very soft.

Luckily, the travel insurance that I got with my round-trip flight has very good coverage for impact dental. I’m hoping to get an emergency dentist appointment sometime tomorrow before workshop session.

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Missing the point, sometimes…

June 27, 2012

When you’re critiquing, sometimes you’ll miss the point of a story or book. That happened to me a bit in today’s workshop session.

For one, I had some company. Nearly everybody who critiqued one story was saying that they weren’t sure what the intent of the plot was or putting forward their own theories – until our workshop leader took his turn, and more or less nailed it. (I guess that’s why he’s the guy in charge.)

And in another story, I was the only one who missed a more minor point – the gender of the main character – everybody else had identified the narrator as ‘her’, and I’d written ‘he’ in my write-up. Oh well.

I’m having a great time and learning lots. Mistakes are part of that learning process, right?


Don’t just kill your babies – let other babies eat the best bits.

June 26, 2012

Workshop update – today’s session went great. (So did yesterday’s, which I didn’t mention in yesterday’s post, since that was mostly written in the morning.) I got lots of great feedback and suggestions for ‘The Storm Mirror,’ including that old favorite that I seem to still be having trouble with – torture your characters more. 😉 I’m excited about the revision.

We’ve been talking quite a bit so far about ‘killing your babies’, which wasn’t advice that I got that I noticed – if a favorite element isn’t working for the story, you have to take it out; and maybe try to use it later. That reminds me of this favorite exchange on Stringing Words between myself and Elizabeth Twist:

Elizabeth: …Ultimately, this is helping me to let go of my older projects by allowing the new project to digest the juiciest bits.

Me: [That] prompted a very weird mental image in my head – something like you as a mother in a graveyard, saying goodbye to your ‘babies’ but smiling because a bizarre, chimera-like creature (your new book) is picking at the dead bodies. Fun. Grin

Elizabeth: Thanks, Chris–that’s an accurate image of my mental state right now. Except I’m wearing a tiara and cheering on my chimera. Whee!

So, that’s my little piece of writing advice to everybody who reads me today – feed your chimera!


Adjusting to Kansas once again.

June 25, 2012

So, I’ve been in Lawrence, Kansas for something like 18 hours now – arrived yesterday afternoon, in an airport shuttle with a very cool driver who’s a Science Fiction fan – we chatted about Doctor Who, Larry Niven, and Heinlein for the whole hour. 🙂 And I’m starting to get acclimatized.

Our housing for this year is definitely not like Templin, third floor – which looked very much the part of an institutional dorm residence – the soft pastel walls, the cheap prefab furniture, the open lounge space in the elevator lobby. This year we have Krehbiel hall to ourselves – the workshoppers and our writer in retreat. And parts of Krehbiel look like a rambling manor home than a dormitory – not the bedrooms themselves, but the downstairs lounge where Short Fiction will be doing our critique circle, and the hallways and stairs, the billiard table room, and a few other places. It’s weird but fun.

I’ve been up to the Kansas Union, and walked downtown a few times, and there’s really more interesting stuff within easy walking distance than last year. I can hardly wait.


Six Sentence Sunday – Gotta have that Look 2

June 24, 2012

First Six are here.

Thanks for your comments. Jimmy and Bryan were talking about Bryan’s new freckles.

“Stephanie thought that they looked good last night, but unfortunately, her parents were waiting up, so she didn’t get any overnight action from me.” Bryan fell in step next to me and chuckled. “I can’t wait to find her and see what she thinks now!”

“That’s great,” I said, thought to be honest, it was a little too much information. Bry’s a good guy at heart, though, and he always makes an effort to include me even when I’m being a social freak, so I make a special effort to always be polite if nothing else.

“And… we came through for you, buddy,” Bry continued, dropping an arm down around my shoulders, though the gesture was awkward with the twenty centimeters of height currently seperating us.

As usual, all feedback is gratefully appreciated!


I should be packing right now…

June 23, 2012

I’ll get back to work on it in just a few minutes, but I wanted to drop you guys a little note. So – packing has been one big focus of my attention since yesterday evening – ever since I did the math backwards from my flight time tomorrow and figured out that I should be leaving at seven AM. (Three hours at the airport for an international flight? Sigh… at least I’ll have videos to watch and can do writing or critiques on the netbook.)

I’ve written a little more for story #7 today – and I actually crossed the 16k line that was my minimum word count goal, but that doesn’t count for as much as getting eight stories finished. And we’ll see about getting the critiques done in advance too – I’m working on number sixteen out of twenty-four, which will be two rounds of stories out of three for each other author in the workshop. I’m already good for Monday to Thursday’s stories, for the first week, so that’s pretty good.

And I went to the Can’t Stop the Serenity screening in Toronto and had a great time, though I had a bit of a headache, (stress?) But I’m glad I came out to share in the fun – there was video of a really cool dramatic reading that Joss wrote, with three girls each telling one story of a troubled girl from a different part of the world, that Equality Now has helped personally and wants to be able to do more to prevent other girls from being badly treated in the same ways.

I left a few lots into the charity auction, after biding one up to the $45 cash I had with me, and being seriously outbid with a winning bid over $100 Canadian. I hope that everybody has a great time at the shindig, but the stuff I have to do here is more important today.


Harry Dresden versus the Ghosts

June 22, 2012

Okay, another great book recently wrapped up, “Grave Peril,” by Jim Butcher. (Mild spoilers follow, I think.) As an aside, this is the first Harry Dresden book I read on Kindle, as opposed to on an audio-player, (yes, I know that the Kindle can be used to play audible.com books, but it’s not really good at it in my opinion.) It was still really easy to dive into, and I kept hearing James Marster’s voice in Harry’s dialog and narration.

I was told by a friend that the Harry Dresden books really pick up with this one, and was a little surprised and concerned, since I’d liked the first two in the series so much. But now, I can see what he meant. Harry is still the same dry, witty sunnuvabee, and there’s still a lot of great action and adventure. But Jim did manage to turn the dial up in a few important ways:

He took away what Harry was good at when it counts. This is a good trick for those of us who write fantasy, I think. In one of his early encounters with the big bad, Harry gets most of his wizardly power eaten, and so he has to struggle through most of the second act as a shadow of his awesomely magical self, while the bad guy gets to use his own tricks against him, because, as Bob the spirit puts it, ‘You are what you eat.’ This raises the stakes in a very personal way, and forces Harry to be much more creative and ingenious, as he has to figure out how to do more with less, or maybe with no wizardry at all.

He took away something that matters to Harry even more. I’m not going to say anything more spoiler-ey here, except that it’s about somebody we know Harry cares about. And this time, the consequences aren’t all cleared up by the end of the book. Again, it’s about raising the stakes, this time, on a personal level – show what matters to your character, then have them lose it.

He’s setting up plot elements for later in the series. This one doesn’t just apply to the loss I mentioned above, though it does count. Also, though the main bad guy has been defeated, some of his allies are stronger than ever. They’re pissed with Harry, and with all white wizards on principle, which means that the other white wizards are also pissed with Harry for dragging them into a war that they didn’t want to be part of.

I’m looking forward to Harry Dresden #4, “Summer Knight”!

 


I always forget my anniversary…

June 20, 2012

I started by introducing myself to the blogoverse as Chris Kelworth on the tenth of June,  2010, inspired by something I was told at my first Brian Henry Saturday workshop. I meant to do something really cool for the Kelworth Files’ second birthday. Well, the tenth was a Sunday, so I did Six Sentence Sunday, and for the days around it, I was rambling about superstition and posting a goals update, which is cool, but not very celebratory.

So – mucho thanks to all you cool bloggers, followers, and everybody else who’s helped me feel welcome throughout this two year journey. For all of you, I’ve brought a special thank-you present! Click on the box to get your special gift.

And this is a gift that keeps on giving, too! 😀 Can you figure out how?


Summer of Shorts challenge is having a dark moment.

June 19, 2012

Words written so far: 33

Mood: Blocked. 😐 And it’s too hot.

I don’t think I’ll be able to get any further on Story number 7 just now. Hopefully I’ll be able to break an idea for a new story to work on this month, and then when I get to Kansas I can figure out if I go back to ‘Marketing the World’ or write it off as a bad go and try to work out one new story idea.

At least I’ve made some decent progress with the critiquing, though I haven’t sailed through several stories like I did yesterday. But every little bit counts.

Speaking of the Kansas workshop, there was some interesting news this afternoon – apparently we’re going to be based on the other side of the KU campus this year, in a snazzy new scholarship dorm, closer to the student union and downtown, so people are excited about that. On the other hand, it’s further from the dining hall where we used to have lunch meetings last year, and it sounds like the union cafeteria isn’t as good for Jim Gunn, so we might be playing the lunch deal by ear.

Oh – and I got some new shoes, which I was wanting to do before I went to Kansas. They’re exactly the same style as the ones I have now, just not as worn out. I kinda liked the thought of that, when I found them in the store again. They’re cheap and comfy, after all, which is what I ask out of shoes.


Missing a Camp Writing day?

June 18, 2012

First off, Happy belated Father’s Day, all. I had a good day yesterday, spent some time with the family, went up to the cemetery with my brother. For some reason, while we were there, he felt moved to talk to me about some strip clubs that he’d visited – uh, okay, whatever. 😉

Now, it’s almost 10pm, (which is close to my bedtime, believe it or not,) and I haven’t got any writing done on story #7 of my Summer of Shorts challenge, ‘Marketing the world’, or in fact and Camp Nanowrimo writing at all today. Beyond a usually busy day at work, this is mostly because I’m getting into the groove of critiquing for the CSSF workshop – I finished first read throughs on the last 2 stories this morning, and wrote out critique stories for 4 out of 24 stories this afternoon and evening. I’m not sure if I’ll reach my stated goal of finishing all the critiques before I get on the plane Sunday, (plus Camp Nanowrimo, plus packing, etcetera…) but I’m already further along than I was when I landed in Kansas City last year!

Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be able to slice my time well enough to get something written for Camp too, or I might just stall out. But I feel good about getting the ball rolling with the first critiques today.

Do you find it easy to balance between writing and other creative jobs, (critiquing, editing, anything else?) Or is it something where you can only focus on one or the other?


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