Happy May two-four weekend!

May 21, 2012

It’s Victoria Day today, and the long weekend is informally known in parts of Ontario as ‘May two-four’, as the holiday falls on the Monday on or before May twenty-fourth. To me, the May long weekend has marked the start of summertime for a long while.

This weekend, I’ve had a fairly quiet weekend, sticking close to home, partly because of work stuff – we were asked to keep an eye on our email in case there were support requests from customers in the states, and my brand-new Droid work phone isn’t admitting that it has a data plan yet, so I can only check email over wi-fi. Sigh.

But it’s been a good weekend anyway – I met up with Elizabeth Twist for a coffeeshop write-in yesterday, drove around last night in a somewhat ill-fated attempt to find a parking place for the fireworks show, and I’m heading over to visit with my Mom later this afternoon. I also got some cooking done, storing away leftovers for next week and possibly longer, and finally started serious work on my new revision of my ‘Father Ismay’ story. The hobgoblins are going to get changed into wolf people, for one thing.

So, what were you up to on the weekend? If you’re in the US, do you have big plans for Memorial Day?

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National Novel Editing Month preparation

February 28, 2012

It’s only a few days until the arrival of March, and as I have for many years now, I’m going to join in the NaNoEdMo challenge – completing fifty hours of editing work within March. It’s not a very popular event, but I find that taking this time as winter turns into spring to concentrate on the tough work of revision and rewriting is one of my favorite markers on the year-long writer’s calendar.

So, as February winds to its close, I’m putting together a list of editing tasks that I can work out my fifty hours of self-imposed hard labor on. It helps to have a reasonable variety, so that if I get blocked on one project or simply sick of it, I can switch to another one.

Here’s some of what I’ve got lined up:

  • Rewriting the sample chapters of ‘The Scroll’ to send in to Kij at the CSSF – I want to have this ready to go by March 9th, before I head off to the HobbyStar Toronto March Comiccon.
  • ‘How to Revise your Novel’ coursework and exercises on “Won’t somebody think of the Children.” I’ve nearly finished the triage phase of HTRYN, and so the ‘Major Surgery’ lessons are coming up just in time for Edmo!
  • First rewrite of ‘The Storm Mirror’ – I liked a lot of things about the first draft, but it was very rambly, coming in at over 8000 words, and I think that a lot of them can be cut.
  • Third draft of ‘Father Ismay,’ which I’ve been procrastinating on all month. Maybe that was just my subconscious telling me that it was a NaNoEdMo job.
  • Doing quick cleanup on some fanfic so that it’s fit to be posted up on fanfiction.net (which isn’t a terribly high bar. šŸ˜‰ )
  • Doing a critique for critters.org, and possibly other feedback for other writers. Good critiquer karma is definitely a part of Edmo!
  • Possibly rewrites of ‘Shuttle Fidelity’ or ‘Project Fast Track’.

Do you have anything particular planned for March? If you’ve got editing work to be done, I do recommend checking out the NaNoEdMo home page. The forums are a bit ghostly and spammy at the moment. I need to try to generate a little good chatter over there. Editors don’t always have time to gabble at each other online, though.


Short story stuff

January 30, 2012

So, I think that overall, I’ve done pretty well on my January goals and projects list, but one area where I’ve been procrastinating is the short stories department. Week after week I’ve resolved to outline a new short, (or even complete a first draft!) or rewrite one of my existing stories, like ‘Project Fast Track’ or ‘Father Ismay’, and for four full weeks, I made pretty much no progress.

Working on shorts is hard, especially since I’ve raised my expectations for them, and I guess part of the problem was that it was easy to procrastinate while I hadn’t reached my JanNoWriMo goalsĀ for sample chapters of ‘The Scroll’ novel manuscript. Maybe I shouldn’t be pushing myself to work on a novel project and shorts at the same time.

But I really do want to do more with shorts this year, and before the end of June in particular, since even though I’m not planning to go back to the short story workshop, I’m sure if I go back to Lawrence, some people will ask me how my short stories are doing this year. When it comes to breaking short story ideas, I think that it’s the sort of thing that I can build momentum on if I keep working on it every day – keep a file of notions that haven’t quite jelled into story outlines, for instance, to see if maybe I can find the right angle on them tomorrow, or next week.

So I think that’s going to be one of my big targets for February. (As well as revising the ‘Scroll’ stuff, gulp – I want to have my workshop application ready for Feb 29th.) And I think I managed to make some headway on a new story outline this evening, based on a random prompt I found on a website of random generators.

“The seaside is the location, happiness is the theme. A mirror is an object that plays a part in the story.”

At first I thought that was a pretty useless prompt, and I was even tempted to try a different website. But I kept at it, looking to see if I could figure out a fantasy take on those three elements, and something’s coming together. I’ve got two characters – the first is a teenaged boy, Melvin, who lives in the seaside fishing village; his father’s a fishing boat captain, and his big brother that he loved was lost overboard in a storm.

Everybody in the village says that the storms are bad because of the old, ugly witch who lives in the grey house up on top of the cliff. But when Melvin climbs up the cliff to confront the witch, he finds a beautiful girl about his brother’s age, Sorina, who isn’t a witch, but she has a temper and a dark secret involving mirrors…

I tried using the random character generator atĀ http://shortstoryideas.herb.me.uk/Ā to flesh out the teenage boy character, but I got a name that just didn’t fit – I think it was ‘Walter Jenkins’, and the full description was so ludicrous, I wish that I’d saved it. šŸ˜¦ I remember that he was 80 years old and had muddy blue hair.


The writers of Hamilton

December 7, 2011

I had a great time at the Hamilton Writers meeting last night, at Chesters’ beers of the world. There was a good turnout, eight of us, with a mix of HW regulars, friends of mine from the Hamilton Nanowrimo group who were coming for the first time, and one other guy who was an occasional member of both groups.

There was some great conversation as we assembled – Laura talking about her tiny house, and I showed my Holly Lisle manuscript notes to anybody who would take a look. Many burgers and fries were eaten, and beer was brought.

Then, it was sharing time. I went first, with most of the revised Father Ismay story, and Rob gave us another chapter of his thriller. Then Gale booted up her little netbook and read from the opening of “Murder in the Parish”, her Nanowrimo mystery story from this year, and Alex read something that he was working on involving a guy who has a UFO encounter and gets spooky powers.

It was just a great time spent with nearby fellow writers. We all need some every now and then.


Six Sentence Sunday – revised Father Ismay

December 4, 2011

Hi, everybody!

Now that November is over, I’m not immediately continuing my Star Patrol Nanowrimo project for Six Sentence Sunday. Instead, I’ll pick on another blogisodeĀ topic that I’ve rewritten more recently – the tale of Father Ismay. I hope that you like it.

Ismay was lighting candles on the Sanctuary prayer table when he heard someone pounding on the chapel doors. He blew out the tinder light and hurried into the dark antechamber as quickly as he could, but before he could get to the door, it was opening from outside and a tall, powerful man was carrying a slighter figure across the threshold. Once his eyes adjusted to the brightness of the noon sun spilling inside, he recognized the man as Flynn, the local butcher. “Saints above, Flynn – what’s wrong – is that Ian?”

“He collapsed in the middle of helping a customer in the market square, Father,” Flynn muttered. “Blasted fool still wanted his stewing shanks handed over, no matter what had happened to my own flesh and blood…”


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