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.

Advertisements

One application down, three to go

February 11, 2013

Yes! My application to Clarion West is in, as of yesterday afternoon at Williams. (Elizabeth Twist was there with me when I sent it in. 🙂 ) I think it’s good – maybe not perfect, but then, if my writing was perfect what use would I have for going to workshops? It’s about as good as I could make it given the circumstances.

I’m going to try to get the Odyssey app mailed off sometime this week, and I want to get the Clarion application sent off by Saturday. Then I’ll be able to breathe a bit and figure out where I stand with my missing gnomes before I send that application off to Kij Johnson.

I’m also trying to get the final read-through of ‘Won’t somebody think of the Children’ done within the month, since I’ve already signed on a ‘Request for Dedicated Readers’ at critters.org, and the first chapter is going out to be critiqued on Wednesday. This is my first time doing an RFDR for a long work at critters.org, as opposed to short stories, excerpts, or synopses. It sounds like doing RFDRs is a bit looser and more casual at critters.org, so if anybody is really interested in the manuscript based on what they read next week, I hope they’ll be willing to wait for me to finish up a bit of last-minute proofreading.

So, that’s where I stand on some of my February targets. How’s the ‘month of Blah’ going for you?


Out of my five-page depth…

January 24, 2013

Well, after putting it off, for a while, I finally checked out this link that Elizabeth Twist left me over at Stringing Words for my five-page synopsis on “The Gnomes are Missing.” And there’s really great stuff, so much really great stuff, (warning, it’s a link to the ‘5-page synopsis’ category on Anne Mini’s blog, and it looks like she’s posted about synopses of all lengths a LOT!)

So I’m kinduv at that point where I know most of what I thought about writing a five-page synopsis before today is wrong, and I’ve got some notion of what I should actually be doing, but not enough to feel actually comfortable giving it the old college try. Sigh.

Probably I just need to sleep on it and get back to this at the Power Center tomorrow – hopefully Elizabeth will be coming too and I can pick her brain about what she got from reading the Anne Mini stuff. (Unless she’s decided the weather is good enough to go frolicking with her dog instead. 😉 )

One thing that might be good is that I think I was actually on the right track when I went ‘off-script’ Tuesday evening and just talked to the Hamilton Writer’s Circle about what excited me about the Missing Gnomes story, instead of reading the plot outline point by point. If I can get the heart of that impromptu speech down into Roughdraft, and then expand some of the scene that excite me the most even more, then I think I’ll be well on my way.

I’m not sure if this is necessary, but I do think it’s worth doing. I’m sure Kij Johnson knows how to write a kick-ass 5-page synopsis. She may not expect everybody applying to her workshop to know that yet, but I suspect those who do will earn a point in her books. Now that I know more about the target I’m aiming for, I’m one step closer.


Targets ahead of you may be closer than they appear.

March 1, 2012

So, I sat down this evening to get started on NaNoEdMo, and began reviewing some of the many critters.org critiques I got on Chapter 1 of ‘The Scroll.’ There were a lot of them, and a lot of mostly-good opinions in each critique, though I had to chuckle about the critter who was so certain that ‘pyjamas’ and ‘omelette’ were typos. Perhaps in the US they are, but I won’t apologize for using Canadian variants!

Anyway, after about half an hour of this, I realized that I could easily get drawn into trying to tweak the chapter so that it would please as many readers as possible, but that wasn’t what I really needed to do at this point. I want to have a sample chapter that will look promising enough to Kij Johnson that she’ll accept me for the workshop, but it doesn’t really need to be spotless for that, and spending a lot of time polishing beforehand might be counter-productive, in that if I go to Kansas convinced that my sample chapters are perfect, it’ll be harder for me to really listen to what other people tell me about them when I’m there. The responses I got from critters.org were very positive, overall, and that’s an important point.

And after that, I realized something else. I’d put a bunch of qualifiers in front of ‘what I needed to do before I was ready to apply for the Kansas workshop’, but most of it really isn’t necessary. I was getting confused between what I needed to send to Kij to apply for the workshop, and what I need to have ready in mid-May, assuming that I’m accepted, to send to all the other writers who’ll be coming to the workshop. So, I’m only a few days away from having my application all ready to go – one sample chapter and 5-10 pages of synopsis, and the synopsis is mostly ready. I just need to tweak it to make sure that somebody else can follow it, and not get confused about who one of the characters is, or something else like that I can smooth out with more description.

So, I’m in the interesting and fun position of not having to push to reach a goal because it’s not as distant a point on the horizon I thought. Cool!


%d bloggers like this: