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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What’s Up Wednesday, nearly at the Holidays

December 18, 2013

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blogfest to share the answers to a few simple questions… Join us!

WUWWinterWhat I’m reading:

Nearly finished “Discworld: Moving Pictures”  from the library, and I’ve put a hold on another Discworld library book. Finished “The Ringworld Engineers”, and listening to three other Audible books that I want to finish in 2013: the first Secret Circle book, Dragon Harper, and Magic Bites.

What I’m writing:

Well, I’ve finally started revisions to “Gotta Have that Look”, following a new editing plan to keep myself from getting intimidated by all the Odyssey feedback. Also been doing some world-building for ‘Alien Love on a Kitchen Scale’; that counts as writing, yeah?

What inspires me right now:

Great music (like the Good Lovelies), Futurama, and the hope that snow will melt. 😉

What else I’ve been up to:

Brushing my car off, Christmas shopping, going to buffet lunches. Had a great time at the Vinyl Cafe concert Monday night, even if Mom wasn’t feeling well so I had to go myself. I’ve also started my first critique for the Codex writers. Oh, and I did some drawing exercises over the weekend, trying to get myself ready for the portrait chapter in “Right Side of the Brain”

What about you? Click here to join the hop or check in with some other great writers.


What’s Up Wednesday, December Race edition

December 11, 2013

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blogfest to share the answers to a few simple questions… Join us!

ROCKETBORDERWhat I’m reading:

Still stories from the January 2014 edition of ‘Analog’ magazine on my Kindle, and  “The Ringworld Engineers” on Audible via my smartphone. The local library copy of “Discworld: Moving Pictures” is showing up as ‘In Transit’ so hopefully I’ll be able to start reading that soon.

What I’m writing:

I wrote a short story for the SDMB Short Fiction contest over the weekend, ‘Underworld’, an updated twist on the Orpheus legend where the main character makes a video recording of his friend’s trip down into the realm of Hades. Also, I just finished my last round of revisions on “Love is a Masterpiece”, and I think I’m going to try sending it off to Writers of the Future.

What inspires me right now:

My Odyssey friends, the Race, and all the cool stuff I can do with my Android tablet.

What else I’ve been up to:

Went to the TGIO party for Hamilton NaNoWriMo on Sunday evening, and that was really cool and a lot of fun, but also sad, in that Nano season is really over–at least until the prep for Camp NaNo starts in the spring.

Also took care of some routine maintenance on the car, starting new critiques for Team Ambitious, and walking through the bitter cold. 😉

What about you? Click here to join the hop or check in with some other great writers.


What’s Up–Thursday!

December 5, 2013

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blogfest to share the answers to a few simple questions… Join us! I’m proudly updating on Thursday this week because I remembered to post for IWSG yesterday. 🙂

ROCKETBORDERWhat I’m reading:

Still great magazine stories. I finished off the December issue of “Asimov’s,” (The January issue is out already,) and read the newest installment of “Lockstep” in Analog magazine. There’s an amazing premise in that book, with hundreds of inhabited planets drifting through the dark reaches between nearby stars, all the inhabitants spending most of the time in cold sleep so that they don’t use too much of the resources that their bots are always gathering; and so that they can effectively travel anywhere in a month, because the people they’re going to meet have spent most of the travel time in cold sleep too. 🙂 And there’s some great character and narrative stuff in there too. I wonder why it was serialized, because it certainly seems strong enough that it could have been marketable as a traditional print novel.

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What’s Up Wednesday: Keep Pushing Further

November 27, 2013

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blogfest to share the answers to a few simple questions… Join us!

ROCKETBORDERWhat I’m reading:

More great stories from Asimov’s magazine and Analog! I also finished “The Ringworld Throne” as an audiobook; it was really easier to follow that way; I skimmed through it half a dozen times in paperback and never really got a sense of the overall plot.

What I’m writing:

A new short story for Nanowrimo, about teenage soldiers armed with Area 51 tech, space invaders who turn out to be not so alien, and state guard cover-ups! I reached a good point to let ‘Alien Love on a Kitchen Scale’ sit until I can start reviewing what I’ve got, I think. My word count is now over 56k, and I’m hoping to hit 60 by Waffle-palooza Saturday night.

What inspires me right now:

Mostly my fellow wrimos, and my Odyssey friends. On the other hand, I feel like Nano crash will be here very soon.

What else I’ve been up to:

Went out to dinner with the whole family on Saturday, a kind of belated birthday thing for me. Looking at possible keyboards for the tablet, and also maybe lending it to my Mom so that she can see what it’s like reading with a tablet.

Oh, and watching the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special, catching up on Castle, and “How I met your Mother” 🙂

What about you? Click here to join the hop or check in with some other great writers.


Editing and Workshop submissions progress

January 23, 2013

Hi again, friends and followers! It’s been a pretty cold week here in Ontario, but that’s given be some time to stay inside where it’s warm and get cracking on my workshop applications stuff, including the editing. (Yay?) 😉

First off, the Missing Gnomes. I still need to sort some stuff out here, especially with my five-page synopsis, but I pitched the rough outline to the Hamilton Writer’s circle at Chester’s yesterday night, and people really seemed to love the premise, the characters, and a few people started really debating a few of the plot points – including whether my villain can actually reform and seek absolution at the end. (“Pixie crossbow to the back of the head, I’m tellin’ ya! Only way to be sure.” :D) So that was great, really helped me stay excited about that project.

What I’ve been working on tonight, though, has been the “Time Bubble Blues” story. I got something like two dozen great critiques for this story a week ago, and even though people really liked it, there was a lot to come to grips with. After taking a little while to catch my creative breath, I dove into the revision with a variant of an approach that’s worked pretty well with me for short stories before.

  • Start by re-reading all of the critiques in order, and making notes of everything that you’d like to change – not necessarily something that a critter told you to change, it could be something that you were reminded of by something they said. Leave off anything that you like the way it is.
  • Some of the items will be very concrete and easy, some extremely vague and nebulous, but that’s okay.
  • Once the critiques have all been read and the list is complete, find something that you feel confident to fix right away. Fix it, and cross it off or mark an X next to it. Then look for the next thing.
  • As you X off more of the list, the quick wins will become sparse, and maybe vanish entirely. Tackle bigger items when you feel ready for them.
  • If you need to do online research or involved planning to take care of an item on the list, do it, but don’t let yourself get distracted. If you make some changes for a nebulous item but think it’s not finished yet, mark a diagonal slash / in front of that item – that’s half of your X mark.

So, I’ve been going at my list that way for a few days, and this evening I just felt moved to blaze a slightly new trail, so I started at the beginning of the story. There was one item on my list to ‘Speed up the start, give less exposition about how the bubble operates’ so I cut as much as I could out of the first scene, before disaster strikes. Then I just kinda kept going through the storyline, adjusting everything I could think of or remember from the list, re-ordering some scenes, expanding some content and adding a few hundred words. I think I really got some great stuff done.

I guess the next thing I’ll need to do for my next editing session is go through my list and see how many more X marks I can add.

 


Six Sentence Sunday – The Storm Mirror 4

March 11, 2012

First six. Second six. Third six.

So, Melvin is at the village market, and finding out more about a possible reason for the storm that killed his brother…

“Well, I don’t believe that I’ve ever heard any of the witch’s name,” Auntie said, smiling up at him.

“I asked a few times, but she said that for her kind, names had great power, and asked me every time to call her Sunshine. She lives in a big grey house up on the cliff-top, and used to pay me in the most creative and splendid ways for my most unusual weeds. Until – just after the New Year, she told me that my services were no longer required. It was a few months after that the first storms came, but you know what? Whenever there’s a bad one, the storm clouds don’t seem to come from over the water, or from the lowlands, but they just sort of appear at the cliff-top.”


Almost finished ‘The Storm Mirror…’

February 14, 2012

I’ve been working on my story ‘The Storm Mirror’ for just over two weeks now, and it took longer than I expected the first draft to be. It’s also become a somewhat long and rambly first draft, getting close to eight thousand words now. I’ll probably want to trim parts of it down.

But I love how it’s been coming the past few days! I’ve gotten up to the big dramatic climax, and it just kinda flowed naturally and I was able to get a little foreshadowing in there. I do love it when a story comes together.

All I really need to write now is one short scene to establish the conclusion. And then I’ll need to figure out another short to start writing. I’m toying with a plot bunny about President Eisenhower and a scriptwriter, just as Ike’s taking office – he found out that he inherited a Roswell alien conspiracy from Truman and he’s determined to go public with it. What do you think, does that sound like an interesting premise?


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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Submitting stories

May 4, 2011

I submitted a science fiction story, ‘Harry and Mars’, to a magazine yesterday. I feel somewhat good about having actually gone and sent something in somewhere, but I’m also waiting for the rejection shoe to drop.

The magazine that I sent to is called “Title goes here”, and it seems like an interesting market. I found it through the Duotrope engine.

I’m not really sure if the story is where I want it to be, but I included it in my applications for Clarion and Clarion West, so I figured that it was worth a shot. Then again, Clarion and Clarion West both rejected me already, while Odyssey, which didn’t get a look at this story, put me on wait-list. Hmm.

In a weeks time, the critters get a chance to look at ‘Harry and Mars’, so I guess I’ll see what they think then. And it’s probably a good habit to not let myself wait for a piece to be perfected before I start sending it out, at least when it comes to short fiction. Maybe one editor will like something about a story that I might change if I get a chance to do another draft. It’s more important, in the long run, to be actually getting my work out there, instead of chasing after a shining diamond standard that might be an illusory and unreachable goal…

Right? What do you think??


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