What’s Up Wednesday: Umm…

February 12, 2014

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

ROCKETBORDERWhat I’m reading:

Still listening to plenty of great podcasts from Escape Artists, plus ‘Sandman Slim’ and ‘Excession’ from the Culture series. On the e-reader I’ve been reading the new Lucy March fantasy, ‘That Touch of Magic’, and short mysteries from “The Return of Sherlock Holmes”

What I’m writing:

Completed another flash fiction for the Weekend Warrior contest on Codex. Making some progress on the ‘Kitchen Scale’ stuff, both on the synopsis and my sample pages. Not sure if I’ll make my original goal of applying to Kij Johnson’s workshop by the 13th, but there should still be room if I take a few extra days.

What inspires me right now:

Old sitcoms like The Class, Married with Children and Malcolm in the Middle. Hanging out with awesome writers on Codex, and figuring out that I’ve met some of them in person at Young Gunns. The new souper-seekrit Team Ambitious IRC room…

What else I’ve been up to:

Avoiding the winter weather when I can and stressing myself out when I can’t, sigh. Hanging out with family a little. Playing around with programming projects, like adding song sorting to my Android music rater.

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

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What’s Up Wednesday, blizzard edition!

February 5, 2014

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

ROCKETBORDERWhat I’m reading:

I finished ‘Terra’ yesterday, loved the ending, it’s a great book. I’ve also started reading stories from Strange Horizons, and getting back into the Sherlock Holmes stories, and continuing to listen to Escape Pod and PodCastle. ‘Vestigial Girl’ was awesome!

What I’m writing:

Well, let’s see. Wrote a flash fiction for the Weekend Warrior contest on Codex. Was pretty pleased with it, until I read some of the other entrants from my division! Also been working on the Kitchen Scale stuff, and hit one of those radical ‘kill your babies’ moments… I’m not sure I can get the alien love triangle aspect to fit, so maybe it has to go and turn the book into more of a buddy comedy.

We did a little writing exercise at the Hamilton Writers meeting on Sunday. The idea was to each write something from our own prompt sentence leading up to the next person’s prompt, so that it might fit into a whole narrative. Of course the transitions were hilarious, because you can’t tell what the next person is going to do with that prompt. I had a lot of fun with mine though, starting with a domestic argument and ending up with a woman who’s stepped through a closet doorway into the past on some important mission!

What inspires me right now:

The Codex Weekend Warriors, definitely. Old musicals like “The Roar of the Greasepaint.” Community! (I just loved the floor-is-lava game and the bulletin board episode.)

What else I’ve been up to:

Not too much, just dealing with the winter weather; except on days like today when I can stay inside and avoid it. Met up with my mom over the weekend, that was fun, and went to two small coffeeshop writer events on Sunday. Oh, and the library writer’s workshop last week went pretty well, I met up with Trish and Elizabeth from the Nanowrimo crew and had fun with the writing exercises.

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


What’s Up Wednesday, off the waiting list!

January 29, 2014

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

ROCKETBORDERWhat I’m reading:

Let’s see. Still working away at my Kindle magazines, but at least I’m nearly caught up on short stories. I’ve decided to start with the shorts, (and the poetry,) then go back and try to be more selective with the novellas and novelettes, trying to figure out which are worth my time to read.

I’ve also started “Terra” by Mitch Benn, which Elizabeth was keen to loan out to somebody at the Evensies write-in, and I can see why. It’s a cool story with a British sense of humour, about an alien scientist who ends up adopting an Earthling girl and raising her on his home planet, and it’s already making me think about my ‘Kitchen Scale’ aliens in new ways. I’ve also started “Sandman Slim” on audible, and begun listening to the Escape artists podcasts.

What I’m writing:

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Chipped my tooth. :(

June 28, 2012

Chip happens.

Sigh – I should have been looking where I was going more closely as I rushed to cross Mass street at the corner of Eleventh today. Went splat on the pavement, skinned both knees, my chin, my upper lip, somehow the back of me left shoulder…

And there’s a big chip out of one of my top middle teeth. It doesn’t hurt much, but it’s a weird sensation, and I feel a need to be careful about eating anything not very soft.

Luckily, the travel insurance that I got with my round-trip flight has very good coverage for impact dental. I’m hoping to get an emergency dentist appointment sometime tomorrow before workshop session.


Catching up on my reading today…

June 16, 2012

No, I’m not talking about “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”, though I’ve been enjoying reading that. 🙂

More like my assigned reading for the CSSF Short Fiction workshop in Kansas, that I’ll be leaving for in a little over a week. I’ve got 22 short stories now, and 2 that are overdue but should be coming in soon – eight other workshoppers, three stories each. I said that this year, I wanted to have the critiques done for all those stories before I get on the plane. I’m not sure if I’ll manage that, but I’m certainly doing better on the ‘first read through’ stage than I was last year – I was doing first read throughs on the plane, and catching up on them my first few days on the plane.

There’s a lot of interesting stuff in the batch so far, and some stuff that’s just made me go ‘huh?’ at this point. I’ve been noticing quite a few dystopian, totalitarian futures so far, and not very much traditional fantasy aside from mine. I may turn out to be the fantasy guy in the group this time around. (I wasn’t last year, because I didn’t feel comfortable submitting any fantasy.)

I also wrote about 1350 words on ‘Making the Deal’ for Camp Nanowrimo today, putting myself in excellent position to finish that story and begin #7 tomorrow, and I procrastinated some by cooking up beef soup and burning video files onto DVDs.


The (first!) Kansas stories binder.

June 24, 2011

Well, it’s less than 36 hours before I leave to go to Kansas, now.

As I may have mentioned, all of the participants have sent out their 3 stories to be workshopped now, and the workshop leader, Chris M, suggested that we should have printed them all out and bring the printouts with us. Earlier this week, I started to think about such little practical questions as ‘Do I have enough printer paper? What will I take all these printouts to Kansas in?’ So I stopped at Walmart when doing an after-work practice driving session with my brother on Wednesday, and picked up:

  1. a 500 pack of laser and copier paper.
  2. a 1 inch 3-ring binder.
  3. a new 3-hole puncher.
  4. some binder dividers.

I got most of the stories printed out Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, but I didn’t begin to punch the holes or put them into the binder until tonight, and I quickly realized that the one binder wasn’t going to be enough. I’ve punched out and inserted 245 pages by my count, but the binder’s nearly full, and the 24 stories in all total 475 pages.

I do want to get everything into two binders if I can, especially since the schedule given is that half of us will get their stories critiqued on any given afternoon, in the same split, so I can have one binder for the on-days and one for the off-days. It actually looks like my best strategy will be to get a larger binder, (an inch and a half?) for the group that I’ve started on, since that one has some longer-winded scribes, and keep the one-inch binder for the other side.

It’s starting to settle in on me just how much writing we’re going to be going through, and it’s something very different than I’m used to organizing at one time. I’ve grown accustomed to the idea of running off half a dozen or more copies of my own story to take to one of the critique groups here in town, but Kansas CSSF is obviously a very different kind of thing.

So, I’d better get myself to the store early tomorrow.


Workshop homework

May 19, 2011

I’ve been putting off my homework for the Storywonk Discovery writing workshop. It’s been that kind of crazy week, especially with CSSF and Dragoncon to plan for.

But the class on Sunday afternoon was really good – the first half was about voice, and the second about characters. There’s a homework assignment for each part.

Voice assignment: take an excerpt from your private writing, to someone who you feel very comfortable expressing yourself with, a situation where you’re not tap-dancing, trying to appear clever, or writing for a public audience. Study that passage for the details of its style; look at the length of the sentences, whether the language is flowery or simple, funny or serious, formal or casual.

Then you try to write a very short story in the same voice and style as that, take a similar excerpt from something that you’ve written before, and compare the two fiction pieces.

Character exercise: Think of a scene for your book in your main character’s POV. Outline it in your head, and start to look at your character’s weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Then write the scene, highlighting those aspects of his or her character.

So – I’m looking forward to getting into these, but I guess I haven’t taken the time for it. I really should put in a good hour tonight, and maybe post some comments to the class forum if I’m having problems.


There’s no place like… Kansas?

May 16, 2011

So I got into the CSSF Short fiction workshop – I’ll be spending two weeks in Lawrence, Kansas this summer! I’m really excited, and you’ll definitely be hearing more from me about this.

In other travel and vacation news, I found a vacancy in an Atlanta hotel for Labor day weekend and registered for DragonCon 2011!

Been running around all evening, need to go to bed soon. Blog more tomorrow.


Critique tracking via spreadsheet

May 15, 2011

Well, the new draft of “The Landing” has been finalized, and sent off both to Chris McKitterick at the CSSF in Kansas, but also to Lightspeed magazine.

I was more than a little daunted by the prospect of going through the seventeen different critiques I received on the story from critters.org, ranging from one short paragraph all the way up to one critique approximately three-quarters the word count of the submitted story! I copied them all from my gmail into a single text file on Thursday night, and tried to go over some of them Friday night at Runnymede, but didn’t really get that far.

So, yesterday night, I finally got systematic. I set up an Excel spreadsheet file, starting one tab with a list of the different critiques, including the origin email, the starting and ending position in my text file, and working out how long each critique was in lines. This was then sorted in ascending order of length, so that I could start with the shorter critiques and work up progressively through longer and longer ones.

(I formatted the email addresses in white on a white background, to preserve the anonymity of critters.)

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I’ll be going Story-wonking

May 6, 2011

I mentioned that I won a free admission to a Storywonk writing workshop about discovering your voice. The first class is going to be on Sunday afternoon.

I’m looking forward to it, but also… curious as far as what this is going to be like. I’ve never really done a writing class online like this, unless you count the college extention elective I took while I was at York University, and I imagine that was different, partly because everything online was so different back then.

Which reminds me – when I started those two summer courses online, my parent’s house was still on a limited-hours dial-up internet package from AOL canada, and I remember asking somebody if the powerpoint video-type lectures (for the business class, not the writing one?) could be saved on the PC and played back when the computer was offline. Turns out no, they couldn’t. It was probably something along the lines of streaming video, which I didn’t even know the word for back in 1998. And so, because of that class, we found another ISP that offered unlimited dial-up.

But yeah, I don’t know much about what this class will be like, aside from the blurb about the subject matter, and:

  1. I’ll get emails with links to take me to each class.
  2. There are live class sessions on Sunday afternoon, though I can access the recording later if I can’t make it then.
  3. There’s some kind of a discussion forum.
  4. I’m supposed to ‘bring’ either a one-sentence idea for a story I want to write, or a novel that I think is missing layers and depth.

I’m considering ‘bringing’ the current draft of the Long Way Home, because it does sort of fit the bill there.

Wish me luck, and I’ll report back sometime next week.


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