Writer’s Retreat Accountability, Day 1

June 6, 2017

Well, it’s Tuesday morning, but I do have progress to report from Monday. I started a revision of my “Magic Milkshakes” story; starting in the middle, because I’m a little blocked on the new beginning, but I got 404 words written, (not feeling lost at all 😉 ) and like the scene so far!

I also sat in on the first day of critiquing for the Young Gunns writing workshop, (not a “short story workshop” as Chris M said, though short stories are the format he uses to teach writing,) and gave critiques for three stories which were well received I think.

Today I’ll be auditing less, (though James Gunn is doing some talks that I want to attend,) so hopefully I’ll be able to keep writing more for this story! Will keep you all updated.

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Ad Astra Premiere Issue!

July 19, 2012

Okay, somehow WordPress managed to eat my post. 😦 It wasn’t a masterpiece, but I can’t reconstruct it from memory, so here are the high points:

Ad Astra. Really cool science fiction and fantasy zine. Premiere issue. There’s poetry, there’s articles. There’s fiction, which I read through the entire slushpile for! 🙂

So go check it out. And submit something for upcoming issues! There, that’s all you really need to know.


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.


May goals update

May 12, 2012

Well, after doing National Novel Editing Month in March, and Script Frenzy + A-Z challenge in April, I went back to picking my own stretch goals in May, and I think that they’re going pretty well so far…

Back to ‘How to Revise your Novel.’ It’s taken me a little while to get back up to speed with where I left off in this Holly Lisle course, but I’ve finished off lesson 14 and done the reading for lesson 15 now. They’re both relating to timeline stuff: 14 talks about the ‘simple’ chronological timeline and the importance of getting that straight, and then 15 suggests different exercises with complex timelines to see what they can add to your book – flashforward openings, flashbacks to the beginning, backward scene-by-scene chronologies, and parallel structures where you go through each character’s timeline one by one. I’m not sure that any of those are the ticket for ‘Children’, but I want to go through the exercises and see if I can make any of them tell me something new about my story.

Drafting short stories. I’m still not quite crazy or confident enough to try ‘Story a Day in May’, but I’ve committed to writing three new shorts in May, and as of tonight I’ve finished two, including one that I submitted to the SDMB short fiction contest! 🙂

Cleaning my apartment. I need to keep on with this too, but I’ve gotten a good start – my kitchen is pretty much in good enough shape that the air conditioner guy can get some work done in there, which is very important at this time of year.

Reading and critiquing stuff. Doing fairly well. I’m all done with my slush pile responsibilities for James Gunn’s Ad Astra, until a new batch of submissions comes through. I’m keeping up with ‘two stories a week’ for Elizabeth Twist’s short story reading challenge, and – well, I’m not sure I’m going to get anything in for critters.org this week, but I’m going to do some critting before May is over!

Preparing for Kansas workshop. Some progress – I have my new passport, which was important as the old one would expire before I had to fly. I’ve sent in my registration form for the workshop session and the dorm room. Still need to – book flights, send in payment to the University, and revise the stories that I want to get workshopped. 🙂

How much have you accomplished so far this month?


Outlining a short story

December 26, 2011

There’s a new short story contest up at the Straight Dope board, and I decided that this time, I was going to put some more thought into outlining it, not just start writing the first idea I thought of when I got the prompt.

That wasn’t particularly easy. I had a notion what I wanted to do when I started, mostly because of the picture, which had a clock and a bell hanging from a chain, (which immediately made me think of time travel or time manipulation,) but when I tried to apply what I’d learned in Kansas and from other workshops and classes over the past year, I kept ending up on storylines that were missing conflict, or a good antagonist, or something else important like that.

And time was somewhat running out – the contest rules specify that you have sixty hours from when you collect the prompt – I sent in my email yesterday morning before leaving for Christmas with the family, (hoping that I’d be able to mull over ideas in the back of my mind,) and so I need to have my finished story in by tomorrow night.

This evening, though, after I printed off some handouts from Julie Czerneda’s site, things suddenly started to fall into place. I ended up writing nearly 1800 words in an hour and a bit, some of which will have to get cut to finish the outline in under 2000 words, but it’s a great start, and I think that I’ll keep the entire first draft without cuts to refer to later. I’d been mulling over the idea of enclosed spaces where time runs slower or faster than normal, and then got an idea about one possible application of ‘fast time bottles’ that really got things moving.

Here’s the outline that I’ve been working off. Note that ‘sequel’ is a technical term that I learned from James Gunn in the Kansas workshop – it’s not a seperate work of fiction, but a kind of scene that’s less active and conflict-driven than the usual kind, but serves to bridge between proper scenes.

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