Party Time in the Bay Area

November 21, 2012

Well, the last time I posted about my yearly pilgrimage to the Holy Land of Nanowrimo, I’d caught you up to Friday evening. Saturday, as it happens, was my birthday – the first time I’ve spent it away from home in quite a while.

But I had a great birthday weekend. First, breakfast up at Lori’s Diner, where I met a fellow wrimo and let the staff know that many out of town writers would be meeting there the next day. Then I packed up my laptop and took BART out to Emeryville, to join an East Bay write-in. I’d like to send a big shout-out to East Bay Co-ML honeywell¬†for inviting out-of-towners to her weekend write-ins, and even sending me detailed directions for how to get there on the free Emeryville shuttle when Google Maps failed me. She’s also very generous with really cool stickers.

After the write-in, I rode back into the city for the ML tea party, which was a new tradition for me, since I’ve never been a Nanowrimo ML. This was great fun, though I wasn’t a big fan of the tea or the fancy little tea party sandwiches. The shortbread and raisin scones were alright, and the company was amazing. I had a great time talking with fellow MLs and Nanowrimo staffers.

After the tea party I returned to the hotel for a quick stop, catching up with some blog business like posting a new spotlight and preparing my Six Sentence Sunday excerpt, and then it was back up Market Street to Schroeder’s for the out-of-town Meet and Greet dinner. It was raining again by this point, but that didn’t stop the high spirits once dozens and dozens of wrimos were safely in the back room and enjoying the appetizers buffet. (I made a point of ordering the viener-schnitzel instead, and it was delicious as always.)

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The San Francisco Post

November 16, 2012

Okay, I’m in San Francisco, yay!

Getting here took a bit longer than I hoped. I drove myself to the Buffalo airport for the first time – had the usual last-minute getting delays and maybe a 25 minute line at US Peace Bridge customs, so I didn’t get to the airport as early as I hoped.

But the plane from Buffalo to Chicago was delayed too. I was worried about missing my connection – the flight from Chicago to San Fran was supposed to leave at 6:15 local time, and the plane from Buffalo touched down around six, then took at least five minutes to taxi in to the gate. Once I got up the jetway to the gate desk there was a nice gentleman who looked up my connecting flight number, and told me my gate number in C concourse, and I was off like a shot, running down those moving sidewalks, down the connecting passageway from B concourse to C concourse, struggling not to yell at people who were just standing in the way. It was around 6:17 when I got to the gate desk in C concourse – was I in time?

Was I ever. The plane to San Francisco wouldn’t be taking off for more than 2 hours. ūüė¶ So I wandered up and down C concourse, got a personal¬†pepperoni deep-dish pizza, (which I wasn’t impressed with; maybe I shouldn’t have picked the vendor with the lowest price,) then went back to the waiting area for my flight and tried to write, only got a few hundred words done before they started boarding.

We landed in San Francisco maybe ten minutes to eleven, pacific time, and after waiting for my carry-on, (which I volunteered to gate-check in Buffalo) at the baggage claim, I made my way over to the BART station in time for the 11:30 train into the city. Coming out of the BART station near my hotel, looking around for the street my hotel was on, a large black guy came up to me, asked me what I was looking for, offered directions, and then asked for some money to get food with. I pulled two dollar bills out of my wallet and he seemed upset that I wasn’t willing to go up to three. His directions included a wrong turn too.

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Nanowrimo week 1 update

November 7, 2012

Okay, so – I am trying to set my pace to reach 50,000 words at the Night of Writing Dangerously banquet in San Francisco, and since it falls on Nov 18th this year, that means my target is a somewhat staggering 2778 words per day.

And I’m just on target! My word count at the moment is 19,510 words, which is actually 7.02 days worth according to my word count spreadsheet. I was feeling a little doldrum-ey today, still several hundred words behind even after writing on the bus, but I joined in some #NanoWordSprints and made up the difference.

I kinda like the way the story’s going so far. My characters have explored a lot of the planet Chazwa and gotten involved with Jo Grant, (name subject to change, since I didn’t realize that Doctor Who had dibs,) who’s recruiting them into some undercover shenanigans to con criminals.

It’s moving a bit slowly, but then, I don’t need to get to THE END by 50k, and I’m not sure I need to finish it during November, though that would be nice. This is better than the opposite problem, of running out of story before I reach 50k.

Are you doing Nano? How’s it coming so far? Any sign of the doldrums?


NaNoWriMo Day 1

November 1, 2012

It’s started!

I just passed my first 1000 words, (1145) thanks to 2 morning sprints and an afternoon sprint. Soon I’ll be heading down to a write-in at Williams Coffee on the Pier. Whoo-hoo!

It’s so great to be in the crazy excitement of Nano again, and to be doing my best to lead such a great region. Hopefully I can get up to 2778 words for today – that’s my daily quota to reach 50k by November 18th. I’d feel like I was letting myself down if I didn’t ring the bell at the Night of Writing Dangerously in San Francisco again.

How’s November treating you so far?


A very west-coast Six Sentence Sunday

November 20, 2011

Hello from San Francisco! I’m sure I’ll have lots to tell you about the NOWD tomorrow.

I had a bit of a hard time picking six sentences that I liked for tonight. This is after Brett asks Melissa if she can put him in touch with a particular medic back up on the main ship:

“Nurse Practicioner Lyon is busy trying to save all of our lives from the Kane syndrome, Ensign Walker,” Exec reminded him. “You were there when we heard about this interdisciplinary committee that she is serving on. Surely there are other biology and anatomy specialists on the ship that you could consult with.”

How could he explain to a woman like the Exec that he trusted Natalie, and that they understood each other as colleagues? Then something else occured to him. “Wouldn’t every specialist be working on curing the Hyperspace sickness, in their own way?”


Best wishes for Chris Baty

July 28, 2011

I’ve always vaguely wondered what it was like to have truly exciting news that I couldn’t speak about because of a ‘gag order.’ Now I think I know, though it wasn’t really an earth-shattering experience.

As you might or might not know by now, Chris Baty, that crazy man who somehow turned National Novel Writing Month from a group of friends doing a dare into a worldwide force for creative derring-do, has announced that he is following in the footsteps of other departed Office of Letters and Light staff, and resigning his position in order to go down the path of writing full-time.

Here’s where the ‘gag order’ bit comes in. Chris B actually shared the news with all of the Nanowrimo and Script Frenzy local representatives two weeks ago, and asked us to keep it under wraps until he’d sent out the news to all participants, which happened last night.

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A-Z extra post by request: The Umbrella rant.

May 1, 2011

U is also for…

A few people mentioned that they wanted to see my ‘angry rant about umbrellas’ that I said I wasn’t going to write last week for U, so here it is.

I’m not angry at umbrellas. I’m angry at myself for forgetting umbrellas and leaving them behind. Not always – I do relatively often take an umbrella when I leave my apartment in the morning and actually still have it with me when I come back home. But over the long term, it seems like I never keep an umbrella with me without leaving it somewhere.

I lost a good sturdy full-size umbrella on the 31st of March. I remember having it when I got to Williams Cafe on the Hamilton Harbourfront for the Hamilton Script Frenzy party, and I suspect that I lost track of it when switching tables so that one of my new friends could plug in her laptop, since it had battery issues. I asked at the counter the next time I went there, but nobody had turned it in to the lost and found.

And a little black umbrella with a telescoping¬†shaft went astray last Thursday, actually – or at least, I assume that it’s gone forever. I remembered having it with me when I was walking home from work – the weather was fine by then, so it was sitting on my work bag. The next time I actually thought about it was when I was getting ready to leave on Friday morning, because the forecast was threatening rain again.

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Workshop Portfolios

December 8, 2010

I’ve only mentioned it here in passing, but I’m seriously planning to get to a six-week genre writing workshop for the summer of 2011. I’ve researched three of them: Clarion, Clarion West, and Odyssey, and I’ve gotten approval to take some unpaid sabbatical time in addition to my paid vacation if I’m accepted to one of them.

That’s getting to be the crucial point. The window for applications to Clarion opened on December 1st, just as I was recovering from Nanowrimo and getting myself back onto Eastern Standard Time. Deadline for applications to Clarion and Clarion West are both on March 1st, 2011

However, what I’m confident in submitting for my portfolio is starting to become a little clearer.

For a while, I guess I was confused by the different requirements for portfolios to all 3 workshops. But taking a good hard look at them, some of the complications prove to be meaningless for me:

Clarion wants 2 different short stories, between 2500-6000 words each.

Clarion West doesn’t mention word counts at all, but wants from 20-30 pages of work sample in manuscript format, which looks like it would be around 4500-6800 words.

Odyssey wants a sample of no more than 4000 words. Clarion West and Odyssey both suggest that a complete story would be good if possible, but don’t insist on it.

And in reviewing my available stories, I sidelined three of them pretty quickly. “The artifact” is still very rough, which is understandable considering that I conceived it and wrote it in five days in an unfamiliar city. Which is what I’ll have to be doing over and over again for these workshops, apparently, but I don’t necessarily need to pick a story for my portfolio on that basis.

“Wolves of Wyoming” and “The case of the Wizard’s vice” are in better shape, but I’m not that confident about either of them considering that they’d have a strike anywhere I’d be submitting them. They’re fantasy, and though Clarion and Clarion West don’t rule out including other fiction genres in the portfolio, (Clarion West even makes a point of saying that in their FAQ,) they ARE specifically Science Fiction workshops. And both stories are around 5,000 words, so I’d need to trim them down for Odyssey.

That leaves me with ‘Harry and Mars’, ‘The Landing’, and ‘Exploration and Evaluation.’ I do like ‘Harry’, though it got a somewhat mixed response at Hamilton Writers last night… it’s short enough that I can expand the characterization somewhat (which it badly needs,) and still fit the Odyssey word count. The new draft of ‘The Landing’ was received very well by Hamilton Writers when I brought it back to them in September, and it should fit in the middle of the page count guidelines for Clarion West. Once I’m comfortable with them, I can submit them both for Clarion. ‘Exploration and Evaluation’ is less strong overall, but can stand as an alternate just in case I see some flaw in one of the other stories that I can’t fix at the last moment.

One thing that I’m considering trying with ‘Harry and Mars’ would be a significant change that might make the word count explode, but I think that it’s still worth a try. As written, the first draft concerns a suicide on the first successful mission to Mars, and that was probably part of the original idea that I had when I started writing it back in September.

Somebody at the meeting mentioned “One problem I have is that it’s not that sudden, when you decide that you’re going to kill yourself,” and it sounded like he knew at least a little of what he was talking about. That got me to thinking, what if the first suicide attempt wasn’t successful, if they get to Harry in time to save her life – then what? Can they really keep one member of a five-person crew on suicide watch? With that change, I was also considering changing my POV from Harry herself to Charlie, the engineer, who could be the one who saves her.

Okay, I think that that’s enough blog rambling for tonight. Wish me luck with all my portfolio stuff, everybody!

UPDATE: I’d also like to announce to anybody who cares, that I expect this blog will remain proudly snow-free for the holiday season. The Weather Network is telling me that I’ll be getting enough of the stuff outside over the next few weeks, so I don’t intend to let snow into my cyber-world!


NaNoWriMo Day 29: (Almost) Done!

November 30, 2010

November has almost drawn to a close. I finally reached my goal of 70,000 words tonight at the Blue Danube write-in. Current count is 70,087

Tomorrow, I will have to pack up my things, leave San Francisco, and fly back to the reasonably frozen lands of Ontario.

But… I had a great NaNoWriMo this month, and look forward to even greater things to come in December and the new year.

Getting to bed early now. Much packing to be done in the morning.


Nanowrimo day 27: Seeing the sights

November 28, 2010

Current word count: 63,187 words

Tentative target for November 30th: 70,000 words

Words written over the past 2 days: 2150

I’ve finished the new short story idea that I started Tuesday evening, ‘Alien artifact.’ Struggled a bit to find a new project to keep writing on, and I’ve possibly settled on beginning an idea that I was thinking of doing for my Nanowrimo before I settled on ‘The onus of Grace.’ So it probably won’t be something I can finish in the next four days, which is probably to the good. I can stop it once I get into December and then get back to that start later.

In other news, I haven’t writen much lately because I’ve been spending more time on touristy stuff and less on write-ins. My time in San Fran is definitely starting to draw to an end – I have only two full days left, in addition to what’s left of tonight, and Tuesday, which is the day I fly home.

Yesterday (friday): Spent all day on the bus tour to Monterey and Carmel, which was fun, but a little exhausting. Had fried chicken, corn on the cob, and mashed potatoes from a Forest Gump-themed shrimp shop in Cannery Row. Squeezed in a few hundred words at the pebble beach golf course, and at Carmel before the twilight faded too far. Got rather lost in Carmel after the sun went down – it’s a town without many street lights, but managed to find the bus just in time to not get left behind. Left my umbrella on the bus when I got dropped off at my hotel.

Today (saturday): Rainy. Got my umbrella delivered in the morning by a tour bus driver. Went down to the Cow Palace to take part in the Dickens Fair Victorian Christmas, which was mentioned by some people on the sfbrowncoats group. I was hoping to be recognized by some of them in my browncoats t-shirt, but the only one I actually met was Louise, who had posted details about where to find her and how to recognize her. Still had a great time, filled up the memory card on my camera, had a roast beef dinner for lunch, and the Legion Fantastique stuff was awesome!

Went home a little on the early side, and got some more words written.

Tomorrow (sunday): I have a booking for the Alcatraz ferry at 11am, and a bus tour to Muir woods and Sausalito starting at 2pm. Looking forward to it.

Monday: Nothing particular planned, except for meeting a guy from the area who I first met through a Roswell fanfic community, and have stayed in touch with over IM for several years. I’m going to BART all the way out to Dublin, and we’ll have lunch.


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