What’s Up Wednesday? The week we don’t talk about the weather

May 21, 2014

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blogfest to share the answers to a few simple questions… Join us! It’s been a while since I joined in, went on WUW hiatus for the A-Z challenge, but it’s great to be back.

TreeWhat I’m reading:

Finished “Discworld: Witches Abroad,” loved the ending. can’t quite figure out why they’d put a sample chapter from “Night Watch” at the end, considering that that’s 15 books further on in the series, but oh well. Also finished listening to ‘Neuromancer’ and borrowed some Spiderwick Chronicles audio from the library, and I’m back to reading stories from Asimov’s magazine on my Nexus.

What I’m writing:

Finished revising ‘Time Bubble Blues’ for the Young Gunns workshop, and I have a few extra days before the deadline (I’d mixed up the date in my head,) so I’m putting those to work revising ‘Gotta Have That Look.’

What inspires me right now:

Young Gunns is only a week and a half away! I’ve also been loving catching up on a little ‘Revenge’ on TV, and expanding my Monastery playlist.

What else I’ve been up to:

Dealing with a headache on Sunday, which ate up some of the revision time I’d been hoping for. Shopping and some other preparations to leave the country in June. Trying to figure out how much a Samsung Chromebook and an Alphasmart Dana can talk to each other without a Windows machine interpreting in between. (Answer: not perfectly, but not too badly either.)

What about you? Click here to join the hop or check in with some other great writers.

Grinding through markets

March 1, 2014

First, a minor note: The official NaNoEdMo boards appear to be off-line for 2014. I’m still going to go for the 50 hours challenge, and Elizabeth Twist is apparently joining me. What about you?

Something else I’ve been working on lately is an item I put on my 2014 goals list: “Become familiar with plenty of possible markets.” I figured I needed to get organized for that, so I drew up a plan:

  1. Pick a good market search engine; I went with the Diabolical Plots Grinder because it was free and I’ve heard good things about it.
  2. To start with, I’m working on a simple list of criteria: Markets that take fantasy of about 1600 words, at pro rates. The first two criteria are specifically because of ‘Tough Love’, the first story I started submitting after Odyssey, which I’ve been scrambling to find markets for. (I also wanted to focus on fantasy markets because I know of some good markets like Analog and Asimov’s that will take science fiction but not fantasy.)
  3. Working off the list that the grinder spit out, I visited the website of each and built my own spreadsheet, listing how familiar I feel with the market based on my own reading and secondhand news, if I’ve ever submitted to them before, general notes, and the various options and price structures for reading what they’ve published in the past, if any. A few of the entries on the list are one-time anthologies or magazines that haven’t published an issue yet, so I suppose with those I’d just have to read the submission guidelines and hope.

Having gotten this far, I should be able to dive into the actual reading soon. I’ve been enjoying the stories I’ve been reading out of Strange Horizons, as well as the usual magazines on my Kindle; Asimov’s and Analog had new issues out a week ago, and F&SF for March/April just hit the stands today. And I still have plenty of Escape Pod and PodCastle to catch up on!

Race score down one (for now,) Rejections count up one

January 17, 2014

Yesterday I got an apologetic form-letter rejection from Sheila Williams at Asimov’s, passing on ‘Return to Civilization.’ I think this is only the second rejection I’ve received since getting back from Odyssey, so I need to kick the submissions up as much as I can.

First step would be sending Return to Civ out again somewhere else. I’m thinking I could try Analog but I’m not entirely sure. I’ll try to get it submitted before the weekend is out. That’ll bring my race score up to three, and then I can see what I can do about getting ‘Gotta Have that Look’ or “Orpheus and the Cameraman” whipped into shape to submit too.

What’s Up–Thursday!

December 5, 2013

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blogfest to share the answers to a few simple questions… Join us! I’m proudly updating on Thursday this week because I remembered to post for IWSG yesterday. 🙂

ROCKETBORDERWhat I’m reading:

Still great magazine stories. I finished off the December issue of “Asimov’s,” (The January issue is out already,) and read the newest installment of “Lockstep” in Analog magazine. There’s an amazing premise in that book, with hundreds of inhabited planets drifting through the dark reaches between nearby stars, all the inhabitants spending most of the time in cold sleep so that they don’t use too much of the resources that their bots are always gathering; and so that they can effectively travel anywhere in a month, because the people they’re going to meet have spent most of the travel time in cold sleep too. 🙂 And there’s some great character and narrative stuff in there too. I wonder why it was serialized, because it certainly seems strong enough that it could have been marketable as a traditional print novel.

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What’s Up Wednesday: Keep Pushing Further

November 27, 2013

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blogfest to share the answers to a few simple questions… Join us!

ROCKETBORDERWhat I’m reading:

More great stories from Asimov’s magazine and Analog! I also finished “The Ringworld Throne” as an audiobook; it was really easier to follow that way; I skimmed through it half a dozen times in paperback and never really got a sense of the overall plot.

What I’m writing:

A new short story for Nanowrimo, about teenage soldiers armed with Area 51 tech, space invaders who turn out to be not so alien, and state guard cover-ups! I reached a good point to let ‘Alien Love on a Kitchen Scale’ sit until I can start reviewing what I’ve got, I think. My word count is now over 56k, and I’m hoping to hit 60 by Waffle-palooza Saturday night.

What inspires me right now:

Mostly my fellow wrimos, and my Odyssey friends. On the other hand, I feel like Nano crash will be here very soon.

What else I’ve been up to:

Went out to dinner with the whole family on Saturday, a kind of belated birthday thing for me. Looking at possible keyboards for the tablet, and also maybe lending it to my Mom so that she can see what it’s like reading with a tablet.

Oh, and watching the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special, catching up on Castle, and “How I met your Mother” 🙂

What about you? Click here to join the hop or check in with some other great writers.

New goal: Revising ‘Masterpiece’

July 27, 2013

Okay so, now that I’ve reached my Camp target for new word count, I’m going to turn around and see if I can manage a revision in a week and change. The Oddfellows of 2013, (my Odyssey graduating class,) have pledged to critique each other’s stuff via email and to have something ready for critique every two weeks, which is a bit of a scary thought, but I’m willing to give it my best try, one story at a time.

The first piece I want to submit for a post-Odyssey critique was actually the last piece I submitted for critique in the workshop, but it was for a private critique with Sheila Williams, so my classmates haven’t seen it yet. Hopefully, before the deadline of the first Monday in August, I can do a decent revision incorporating Sheila’s critique and line edits.

One thing she suggested I change was the title; I wrote the story under the working title of “Tunnel of Love”, and then after being inspired by a stray line of dialog at the end, submitted it as “Frigga’s Masterpiece.” Sheila didn’t think the reference to Frigga in the title worked well, and suggested “Slaved to Love”, but I really want to leave the word ‘masterpiece’ in there. I’m planning to make some changes to make the motif of the masterpiece painting clearer through the story, and I’m thinking of changing the title to “Love is a Masterpiece”, which brings in the thematic element of love more clearly. It’s also now a direct quote out of the song that inspired me, Carolyn Dawn Johnson’s “Masterpiece.”

I’ve been working on a list of other things from Sheila’s critique that I can work on, including:

  • Having my main character take more direct physical action toward her goal. There’s only one part of the current draft that really fits this description, but Sheila said it was the best part and she wanted more of it, so I’m working on plans to make that a three-beat.
  • Make a particular minor character less obtuse.
  • Tweak another pair of minor characters so that they don’t come out of nowhere and add something to the plot.
  • Explore the motivations of one of the secondary characters.
  • Adjust a plot element that isn’t really working well in the ending yet.
  • Try to figure out other ways to give more bang to the ending.

I think I need to break ground on the revision draft tomorrow, though I can keep working on the plan as I go, instead of just blundering around editing whatever seems best at the moment.

Wish me luck, friends and followers!

Dispatches from the Campbell Conference

July 9, 2011

So, the writing workshop is definitely over now, and since Thursday evening or so I’ve actually spent a lot of time going to events affiliated with “The Campbell Conference.” This has been interesting – I’ve been to fandom conferences, and conferences that have a lot of stuff for writers and general science fiction/fantasy fans, but this has been a bit like a low-key convention devoted to science fiction (and sometimes fantasy) literature.

Like the workshop, it’s served to underscore just how little I actually know about science fiction literature, and thus been fascinating and annoying at the same time. 😉

Thursday evening was the library reception for the donation of the Theodore Sturgeon papers to a University of Kansas library, which was pretty cool, even though the speeches got a bit long and dry. It was really cool to look at the letter that he got from Isaac Asimov, for instance, or the one-page summary for “Spock Blows Top”, an episode idea for the original Star Trek TV series. It was eventually named “Amok Time” – the first episode to feature Pon Farr, “Live Long and Prosper”, and the Vulcan salute.

EDITED TO ADD: There was something that I’ve overheard bits of, both at this reception and earlier, and I haven’t got up the nerve to ask anybody for the full context yet, so maybe I’ll ask my followers. Something about a woman who was writing under a male pseudonym during the Golden Age of Science Fiction, and a prominent male author who said that “No woman could have written those stories.” Does anybody know who was being talked about?

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