Six Sentence Sunday – Paying the Stump

October 9, 2011

Hey, everybody! It’s Six sentence sunday time again, and these are the first six sentences of a new contest story I wrote last week for the SDMB Short Fiction Contest, Fall 2011 edition:

I was awake before the sun rose that morning, and had to make a point of distracting myself so that I didn’t go into Trevor and Sarah’s room and wake them up too. After all, today was the last day I wanted to really annoy Trevor. He might change his mind about driving me over to the party. That wasn’t really likely, but getting woken up early did annoy him, and why should I take the chance?

So I actually did my chores – fetching water from the well, and chopping firewood, and weeding in the garden, though there weren’t many weeds and they were all small – but hey, as long as you can find them, that’s the best time, right?

Once I was done out in the garden, the sun was up, and Mom was in the kitchen making coffee and toast.

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What have I been working on lately?

May 23, 2011

I thought I’d bring all of you up to speed on a few things.

  • The ‘Request for dedicated readers’ that I answered at critters.org is going fairly well – I’m up to around page 125 out of 184, so more or less on track for finishing by the end of the month. I’m liking the story so far, and hopefully I’ll have some helpful feedback to share with the author.
  • New smartphone apps! I’ve been learning some good tricks with NS Basic App Studio, and have completed little apps for date calculator, (figuring the difference in days between two dates or the date result of offsetting an input date by a particular number,) and a data collection front end that feeds into a web application back end. I’ll post some screen captures in a few days if I remember.
  • The Straight Dope Message Board short fiction contest went well, though I didn’t win in the voting. But I really like my story, which actually took the character of Lisa from Chatterboxes, which is fundamentally a speculative contemporary sci-fi book, and put her into an urban fantasy scenario, learning sorcery from a teacher who isn’t quite what she expected.
  • I’m a little behind on my goal of submitting a story a week this month – I’ve done two, and I want to make a few more revisions to the Landing based on my critique tracking results before sending it out again.
  • I’ve nearly finished the second out of three fandom chapter updates I wanted to make in May – this one is ‘Children of the Molecule’, my Roswell/Doctor Who crossover, which is finally drawing towards an end.
  • And I’ve written a new scene for ‘The Long Way Home’, with Naveli getting Ereyu as a pet ferret.
It actually looks somewhat impressive when I type it out in a list like that.

That crazy thing called ‘Haggle’

February 17, 2011

Well, let’s see. I’ve been working on helping somebody get a game of ‘Haggle’ started over on the Straight Dope Message Board. Haggle online is fun, but it sucks away a lot of time, either when you’re playing or when you’re moderating. Luckily, this time, I’m just helping to moderate.

The way it works is like this. First, the moderator comes up with a set of scoring/trading counters, usually themed, and rules about how they’re scored. For instance, you might start with playing cards, and have rules that start with all spades are worth one point, hearts two, and so on. Then you could have a special bonus rule that says that getting two or more jacks is worth 10 per jack, and another that warns that if you have more than five clubs, they’re only worth a single point all together.

Each player starts with a kit of trading counters, and a few of the rules. Play is conducted a little like the stock exchange – everybody starts making trade offers, and if you like an offer, you can accept it. If you don’t like the offer well enough, you can make a counteroffer.

The basic points of offers are either trading in the counters, or trading information about the scoring rules. The counters are limited to what players had at the start, but information tends to grow, because once you’ve seen a rule you can’t unsee it – though you might see a rule that specifically contradicts and overrules the first rule, if the moderator is mean enough. (All rule sets should be clear and unambiguous when the full set is revealed, though.)

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SDMB Holiday Short Fiction Contest

December 25, 2010

Well, Christmas festivities are over. Thanks to my family for the candy and the gift cards.

Time to buckle down on writing/critiquing/editing, and even though I really have enough other things on my list, I’m going to participate in the third Straight Dope Message Board writing contest. I’ve really enjoyed participating in it each time before, and last time I basically got my Nanowrimo idea from the short fiction contest, so that certainly recommends trying again.

A few things about the format are similar – every writer gets the same three prompt words and a photo that they have to include in the finished story, and a time limit. On account of holiday schedules, they’re trying a new wrinkle in which not every participant has to fit into the same writing window – you send an email to a particular mailbox to signal that you’re ready to begin, and get an autoreply with your prompts. You then have two and a half days, (or 60 hours) to complete your entry and email it in.

To take best advantage of my available free time for the holidays, I’ll probably start around 8am tomorrow, so that I’ll have until 8pm on Tuesday, the evening before I go back to work. And I actually have a little secret weapon of a plot notion that I *might* work in, if it looks like it’ll fit with the prompt.

It’s nice to get a chance to go with little unplanned side treks like this in my writing when other commitments allow. The first SDMB contest, I ended up coming up with something that wasn’t exactly fanfic but somewhat close – it was a little spy story that was a spoof of the TV show ‘Chuck’, with Chuck’s character painted as a completely incompetent secret agent, and his long-suffering brother-in-law constantly covering for him. Last time, I ventured a bit further into original territory, coming up with a storyline of an angel on a mission who fell in love with a human girl and ran away with her, which got tweaked somewhat as the basis of “The Angel’s Charlie.”

I can’t wait to see where the paths less traveled take me this time.


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