Late New Creations Blogfest, and a very small fire.

January 6, 2011

First, the blogfest entry.

I’m entering the ‘New Creations’ blogfest late, because I’m still catching up on ‘Show me Yours,’ but I couldn’t resist the fun of actually contributing something for this one. I really like the idea of writing community blogfests, such a great way of networking and having fun together in the blogosphere. I’m going to need to remember to keep watch for more.

So, first, an ending sentence for a book or story finished last year. As it happens, as I reviewed the stories that I finished last year, all the strongest contenders for a closing sentence were from the Straight Dope short fiction contests. Maybe there’s something about trying to write a two thousand word contest story that helps me end it on a high note. The one I’ve picked, somewhat arbitrarily, as the favorite, is this one, from ‘Devin versus the Distinctive Sweater.’

Just in case something else should happen with the damn thing if he forgot it for a few hours.

And now, a brand new sentence to start off a new story, which is how I often get into trouble with new Works in Progress, but anyway:

I didn’t see how I could possibly concentrate on the blue magic, shut up in a stifling little room with no windows like this.

In other news – I had a fire in my kitchen last night. Not a really big one, but it’s frustrating me, especially since the whole thing was my fault. It started with a pot on the stove, not enough water in the pot, and me spending far too much time commenting on other people’s blogfest entries, actually.

I realized that something smelled a bit funny. “That’s weird, it’s almost as if…” Suddenly clued in and rushed over to the kitchen doorway. There was a cloud of smoke starting to obscure the stove, and orange flames licking around the bottom of the pot.

I remember wondering why the smoke detector hadn’t come on, since it usually reacts to the slightest whisp of something burnt before I can even smell it. Filled a plastic one-cup measure up with water from the sink and tossed it into the pot. This quickly turned into a cloud of steam, and set the smoke alarm going, but didn’t actually make a dent on the flame. I tried again, with more water, throwing it underneath the pot, and that helped. I think I needed a third cupful of water at least to put things out, and noticed that a little river of leftover water was carring some soot and ash across the stovetop to the far corner.

It took a while to get rid of most of the smoke, with two windows open in my apartment, (not that pleasant on a January night like we’ve been having lately,) and there’s still a faint smoky smell when I come in from outside. The pot got dumped into the garbage – possibly I could have cleaned the thing off until it was usable, but I just couldn’t cope with leaving it around. I’ve still got some scrubbing to take care of, and a lot of things that were in the kitchen have got little specs of soot that landed on them.

But aside from that, no damage seems to have been done, so that’s good. And hopefully, I’ll be a lot more careful with stoves in the future.

Blogosphere Monday: Just Jen

December 6, 2010

(This is the first in a new weekly feature where I link to other writing blogs that I’ve recently discovered and try to use them as a springboard for my own thoughts and notions.)

Jen posted the first comment in a thread I started over in the Nanowrimo forums about my plans to get to a six-week writing workshop next summer. She was very encouraging, and I noticed that she had a blog link in her forum sig. Since I’ve been wanting to check out more Nano-er blogs, I gave it a click.


The story of Jen’s Nano experience this year could probably be made into a book of its own, or a movie. You have the earnest author, a co-ML for a big city, attending her midnight kickoff party, excited and pumped full of inspiration. And then, just like any good Act two break, disaster strikes.

A fire. Panic ensues, Jen scrambles around trying to get her puppies out safely, checks on the neighbors, then collapses into tears.

You can read the full story, and much more, over at There’s a lot of running around, arguing with Walmart people about prepaid Red cross cards, finding places to do laundry, and finally showing up at Nanowrimo writeins ‘to get her mind off things.’

Jen didn’t make it to 50k this year, but it sounds like she’s learned a lot about herself, and set a very ambitious list of goals for her ‘2011 year of writing’, which apparently started on December 1st and continues until November 30th 2011. (She says that Nanowrimo feels like it breaks up her calendar that way, writing-wise, which I can understand.) I wish her all the best.

And what does all of this have to do with my own life and writing? I’m not sure. Certainly I don’t expect to have a fire in my future, though nobody really does when it comes to that – I’m glad that I finally got my renter’s insurance sorted out, and I’ll try to keep in mind what she mentioned about the virtues of having offsite backups of important computer files. More generally, though, Jen’s story may underscore that having a high wordcount isn’t the most important thing, either in life or in writing, and that there are other ways of persevering through hardship than sticking stubbornly to your original goal.

UPDATE: I’ve thought of something else from Jen’s blog that I can apply to my life and writing. She posted a list of her goals for her writing year 2011. Now, I’m still comfortable with making year-long resolutions on the typical calendar in general, so I haven’t got my 2011 goals list, but on Stringing Words we have monthly project threads, which have been very helpful to me over the past year and a half, and I guess for some reason I’ve been reluctant to share my monthly goals anywhere else but on SW. So, here’s some of my goals for December 2010:

  • Write 4 new blogisodes. 1/4 done!
  • Finish new chapters of fanfic crossovers ‘Dragon’s Prey’ and ‘Children of the Molecule’.
  • Write 16,000 words
  • Do last 3 fanarts for 2010 goal. 2/3 done!
  • Post 6 short stories up for critiques. 3/6 done!
  • Come up with 2011 goals list.
  • Review last critique of ‘The Long Way Home’ and revise accordingly.
  • Repost ‘Long Way Home’ and post ‘Won’t somebody think of the children’ for Nano swaps.
  • Resume driving lessons. Called my instructor tonight!
  • Submit 2 short stories for publication.
  • Comment or reply on 10 new writing blogs. 1/10 done!
  • Complete reading and feedback on ‘A kiss to build a dream on.’ (79/247 pages done previously.)
  • Complete proofreading ‘Runaway with me’ and reviewing for consistency. (3/21 chapters done previously.)

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