Ready Set Write… just in time for the end?

August 25, 2014

Okay, it’s time for Ready Set Write again. RSWCoffee75I’ve only done this a few times, but apparently it’s time to wrap up for the summer already!

How I did on Last Week’s Goals

Exceeded them! I said I wanted to work through six critiques, and I finished off the entire stack, which I figure was at least eight. And I figured out a bunch of great stuff that will make my story better, once I actually figure out how much I’m ready to change with the next draft.

Summer Recap

Well, I think I’ve done pretty well. I went to two amazing writing workshops this summer, drafted four new short stories, finished two quick revision rounds for “TimeBubble Blues” and got started on some revision for ‘Gotta Have That Look.’

Favorite Line from my WIP

I’m going to pick another line that one of my critique partners from Young Gunns picked out as liking:

“I dunno, Jimmy,” Stephanie said. “I never thought you’d be one of those kids who chose to look like somebody we’ve all seen on the tabloid shows.”

The Biggest Challenge I Faced This Week

Trying to figure out how much I’m willing to change for this revision. I’ve got lots of great ideas, involving big changes to the plot and some of the characters. Not sure yet how they’ll all fit together, or if they all will.

Something I love about my WIP

The premise, with teenagers getting genetic therapy injections to look like anybody they want. 🙂

Okay, I guess that’s it for me. Click here if you want to join in, or check out other writers doing Ready Set Write!


Insecure Writer’s Support Group: The Workshop Blues…

August 7, 2014

Hey, guess I got kicked out of IWSG again for missing two months in a row, but I’m back. And boy am I insecure! 😉

Sign – when is revision ever enough? I just got back from the ‘Never-Ending Odyssey’ workshop in New Hampshire, and it was a great week of critique circles and hanging out with writers and that kinda stuff. But I also came to realize that I’ve got a LOT of work still to do on this novel I was workshopping, “Think of the Children”, which is a little disappointing after the months and months of work I’ve already put into the current draft. A fresh perspective from reader-writers is what I go to workshops for, but it was depressing to realize that the book still isn’t putting its best face out there and it just isn’t as ready as I thought it was.

At the same time, I think I’m kinduv excited about what I’ve learned, about how to get to the essential conflict in the story and let that shine. So, first step, is to put what I’ve learned into a new revision outline. I can get that finished in August, right? I hope so, because it’s on my goals list, along with a few other things…

What’s up with you? Are you feeling insecure this week? Share your thoughts with all of us.


A disappointment and some new plans

March 24, 2014

Just heard back from Kij Johnson about her CSSF workshop – once again, I didn’t make it in. I’m disappointed, but not too badly. There’s lots of other stuff going on in my writing life, and ‘Kitchen Scale’ is no longer looking so shiny somehow.

I’ve sent a new sample story over to Chris McKitterick, to throw my hat into the ring for his CSSF workshop; that’s the two week short story critiquing program I attended in the summer of 2011 and 2012. I’ve been working on my enrollment form for TNEO 2014, where I think I’ll go in the novel group and workshop “Won’t Somebody Think of the Children.”

I’ve also committed to finishing “The Gnomes are Missing” for Camp Nano in April! This was the novel project that I pitched to Kij for the workshop last summer, and I’m really excited about getting back to it.

Let’s see, what else? I got a cool idea while walking to the bus stop this afternoon; guidance counselors. Like really freaky good ones who listen to anything you can come up with about what sort of life you want and come up with the perfect plan for what you should do to get that kind of life. Not a perfect plan perhaps, but much better than anything you could do for yourself.

Except no plan can ever prepare you for the choices you’ll have to make, or for the way life changes your priorities. And the guidance counselors are free until you’re 18 or 19–after that, it gets more expensive. (And not necessarily in terms of money.) 🙂 It’s just a novum so far, not sure what the characters or the plot will be, but I think it could be a really fun one.


Signposts from Odyssey

June 14, 2013

Hey there! I know I haven’t blogged since before I left for Odyssey. It’s been a crazy week. But I said soon after I got here that I was going to tell my blog followers some of what I’ve learned about the weaknesses in my writing, and how I plan to work on those weaknesses. Since the first weekend is starting, and I’m starting a new story to be critiqued next week, this seems like a good place to start.

I’ve learned that I have room to improve in: conveying the emotion of my characters.

How I plan to improve:

  • Before writing each scene, note each character involved in the scene, where they start emotionally before the scene, and where they are emotionally after the scene is over.
  • Review after writing the scene to check that I’ve conveyed those as strongly as I could, as well as any other transitory emotions they passed through along the way.
  • Review that all of these emotional arcs seem consistent when the first draft is done.

I’ve learned that I have room to improve in: showing the important stuff to readers (not telling.)

How I plan to improve:

  • Make a list of important things to show before writing every scene.
  • Review after writing, that I’ve shown and not told those things, and if there was anything else important that I’ve told instead of showing.

I’ve got lots more room to improve, but this seems good for a start. Have a great weekend!


The Post of Packing

June 8, 2013

Okay, let’s see. Walked up to the mall with Canadian money today to turn it into American money. Spent most of the rest of the day running around getting things ready to pack, packing suitcases and rubbermaid totes, and fooling around with files on laptops so I bring everything I think I need or want to New Hampshire with me.

I think I’m doing pretty well, with just a few last minute things to sort out in the morning. I ended up loading up a lot of the car this evening, which I hadn’t planned on, but I was feeling nervous about if I could fit in everything that I’d packed and how many more small bags I could set up, so I went ahead and started the load. I think I’m glad I did. A few people might notice that the car is sitting there in my parking lot, ready for a trip, but I really don’t think anybody’s going to break into it – or wait until I go and try to break into my apartment for whatever I’ve left behind. 😉

But I’m not telling you friends and followers where I live. Just in case…


Quick Odyssey prep update

June 7, 2013

Less than 36 hours until I leave now! Tomorrow will be the big day of marathon preparations, including packing many suitcases, getting money, and mostly clearing out the fridge.

Today I got some important stuff taken care of. It was my last day at work until July, and that went over pretty well. I also finally got my new glasses and clip-on shades, and I had dinner with my mom and went over a few things like her picking up my mail and turning on the air conditioner before I get back.

It’s getting so close, whoohoo!


IWSG – Chase dreams and you just might catch one!

June 5, 2013

It’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group time again, and I feel like I don’t have any new insecurities to bring to the table. Sure, I’m still nervous about leaving for Odyssey in just a few days, but I think I covered that pretty well last month.

But I’ve still got plenty of excitement and inspiration to share, I think. And it’s occurred to me that a lot of writers from all over the world applied for this. If I looked strictly at the numbers, I might have thought that it wasn’t worth the effort to put together my application and mail it off. I certainly wasn’t feeling too hot about my chances after three other workshops rejected me in March.

Still, I got in! That’s made me think about other things that I thought I wasn’t ready to try for yet. I’ve submitted some stories to magazines, but I gave it up after getting a half-dozen rejections or so. Maybe I should be more like Elizabeth, pushing the race points month after month, looking for new places where I can submit my writing, and I can build up a few nice little publication credits. And there are other dreams that I’ve let slip away, that I’m still scared of typing into this blog where everyone can see them.

But I’m not going to let them stay one step ahead of me forever. Those dreams can still run, but sooner or later, I’ll give them the best chase I can manage. (Hmm, considering how lousy my knees are, maybe I’ll need some sort of hovercraft to hunt my dreams in.)


Odyssey prep catch-up

June 1, 2013

Well, I’ve been getting some things crossed off on my Odyssey to-do list, anyway. 🙂 I sent my estimated window of arrival at the College to Jeanne and RA Brad, and sent Jeanne a question about the story I want to get critiqued in the first week of the workshop. I got my hair cut this morning so I won’t be making a very shaggy first impression, I got the car checked out at a local dealer this week, and I postponed my dentist appointment this afternoon. I got my ‘favorite short story’ scanned earlier this week, though getting it printed legibly is proving a little difficult, as even when I turn the ‘picture contrast’ up the text is still very faint, like a pale gray on white. Hmmph.

Oh, and I’ve started installing the important security updates and virus definition updates for the laptops I’ll be taking with me. Even installed clamAV on the Xubuntu side of the Toshiba, so if they need me to show them the antivirus, I can show them the antivirus.

I’m still behind on my essays from the textbook, though, and I need to get started on summarizing the first few scenes of ‘The Storm Mirror’ into a synopsis so that the whole story is under 6000 words for reading. So I’ll stop rambling here and get back to work!


I’m on Storywonk Sunday! (Or is it Monday?)

May 28, 2013

First off, as Odyssey approaches, I’ll probably be posting a bit less frequently, and definitely a bit shorter. I don’t think I’ll be able to kick the blogging addiction cold turkey though!

And a really cool note for today; Lani and Alastair played a voice-mail from me on this week’s Storywonk Sunday! You can download the MP3 off the Storywonk site or from iTunes, (yeah, it’s a nice long episode this week,) and they introduce me around the 9:20 mark of “StoryWonk Sunday 48: Someone is Wrong on the Internet” 😀  They even have some awfully nice things to say about li’l ol’ me.

 


An Odyssey Favorite

May 25, 2013

I’ve been busy doing Odyssey prep stuff lately. This morning I went through a ‘dry run’ of packing the car, figuring out how many suitcases, storage totes, and cardboard boxes I could fit where, so that I know what to pack my stuff into. Once the car was unpacked again, I  took it through a car wash, went to CAA to renew my membership, buy travel insurance, and get some maps. And I bought some new running shoes at the mall.

One other thing I’ve been working on is an assignment where we’re supposed to bring a photocopy (or printout) of a favorite short story along with some thoughts about why we like it so much. I wasn’t quite sure what to do about this for a long time, but I’ve gone through my bookshelves for anything that would have short stories in it, and thought about some other favorite short stories of mine, like the Beowulf Shaeffer stories by Larry Niven. I have those on audio, and also in Fictionwise multiformat e-book formats, including PDF, so I suppose I could print from the PDF format.

But I’m leaning towards a particular story for sentimental reasons, including the story of how I got it. When I was young, I was a voracious reader, but I didn’t read many short stories, and definitely not from magazines. There were Isaac Asimov collections around the house, (and probably some mainstream short story anthologies that didn’t appeal to me at the time.) I definitely picked up a few science fiction anthologies at school libraries and probably public libraries too; I distinctly remember one story set after the fall of the first Terrestrial Empire, where Earthmen shaved their heads for some reason and were kept as status symbols in the courts of alien kings.

But in my late teen years, when I was starting to get interested in writing, I came across the following pieces of advice, which was pretty good, especially at the time:

  1. If you want to get published in science fiction or fantasy, you should start with submitting stories to magazines.
  2. Before you submit, or even write the story, you need to buy them and read them to see what they’re publishing.

And that was more of an adventure than you might think. In my suburban, respectable neighborhood on the West side of Hamilton, you could get a lot of magazines at the corner store, but they didn’t stock science fiction or fantasy magazines. Neither did the libraries, or even the hobby store, (though that had tabletop gaming magazines!) And being that it was the early nineties, you certainly couldn’t go and order them online. I’m sure that if I knew the right phone number or mailing address I could have gotten a subscription, but I didn’t know where to find those out.

Eventually I found a news-stand downtown that had what I needed. I think it was in Jackson Square mall, but I can’t be 100% sure about that detail. And the magazine I picked was the August 1993 issue of Analog. (That means I was seventeen going on eighteen at this point, though I’d still be in high school for another two years, which is a very different story.)

There are quite a few stories in that issue that I remember well, but the one that has stayed with me the most, and I’m considering bringing, is ‘Swan Song’ by Gregory Bennett. It’s a tale of disaster and survival on a supply run from Earth to Mars, with a really cool AI computer and cool themes about the value of family, when to take chances, and how to never play fair with Lady Luck.

🙂


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