Monday, December 29, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
The best money shot ever:
"Advance praise from renowned authors Orson Scott Card, Harry Turtledove and Jonathan Strahan has set the stage for Scholes to step into the shoes of the late James Rigney (1948–2007), aka Robert Jordan, whose blockbuster Wheel of Time series anchored Tor's fantasy line for most of two decades."
Lamentation, the first of five books in a series, is due out in February of 2009. Seriously, get your hands on one and hang on for the ride.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
- We spent much less time going at panels this year. While Carole spent more time socializing and helping set up for events, I spent time recharging batteries in our room. I even had time to write a couple thousand more words on Saturday afternoon. Without that helpful isolation time, I would not have been able to make it through Saturday night's ORC session.
- The ORCs were amazing this year. Friday night, the focus-on-the-hook sessions lasted until about 2:00AM. Not to be outdone, Saturday's session ran until very nearly 3:30AM with only one person leaving before they had a chance to read. Carole's adaptation of the Rogue Readings we attended at the Southern California Writer's Conference almost three years ago now are getting a very enthusiastic reception. Next year may need to go to multiple sessions to meet the demand.
- I appreciated the opportunity to meet many of Carole's writing friends and acquaintances, though I wasn't entirely comfortable with how socially dysfunctional I felt - more like a nightmare of introversion. I think there's a host of journal material to write about there and certainly a whole lot to improve before next year.
- On the downside, I was hoping that this year's convention would reignite my desire to write. Instead, it reinforced how many things I need to focus on to get the rest of my lift in control before expanding my engagements. Many thanks to Ken Scholes for his messaging on self-awareness.
All in all, a good con. I'm cautiously optimistic about next year's event at its new home - especially after a refreshed focus on goals for the coming year.
Monday, November 17, 2008
I could pass it off as difficult because of a busy work schedule, but I think it’s a bit deeper than that. I think that the difficulty this year is coming from being out of practice more than anything else.
Coming off of last year’s Orycon, I set several personal writing goals, the most notable was a goal of writing 1,000 words a day. It didn’t go so well and fell by the wayside long ago. I had managed to make it well past the three-week length that was supposed to help form the daily writing into a habit, but the habit quickly became more about battling to stay up late every night, hammering away at a keyboard that resisted me every step of the way. I fell further and further behind everything else that was going on at the time while I grew more depressed about my sagging writing commitment.
When I ultimately let it go, I let slide a number of other writing objectives as well. All the while, I looked forward to November as that time of the year I knew I'd be attracted back to writing, but as November approached, the planning for the upcoming novel effort as was a foreign process. I entered midnight of November 1 with only a vague idea of where I wanted to go with the story.
It took slogging through it to get to the point where the flow had once again returned and I'm not finished yet. But the advice for anyone who cares a whit is not to give up. Slog through it. It will become easier and you will feel better for the effort.
Go INKsters and Go NaNo-ers!!
Sunday, November 16, 2008
A few weeks ago I mentioned to Kami about my theory of the importance of eating healthy and exercising during November's National Novel Writing Month and how I felt that just perhaps, all that talk of chocolate and caffeine consumption to get us writers through to the finish line wasn't in everyone's best interest.
I proposed that junk food, sugar, caffeine, and lack of movement be limited somewhat to see if we all could get through NaNo's weeks two and three without the expected petering out or near total meltdown in word count. I would never propose a complete 180 degree change in eating habits just for the month because well, your mileage may vary, vastly in fact, and fainting from lack of chocolate cake is a poor excuse for not writing.
I don't know if it worked for anyone else but it seemed to be a rousing success here at home. It's a plan I'll follow for many more Novembers to come.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
November 13, 2008
For Immediate Release:
Miyazaki Figurines From LeGuin Auctioned to Benefit Endeavour Award
For additional information contact:
James W. Fiscus, Chairman
E-Mail: mailto:Fiscus@teleport.comor Fiscus@sff.net
The Endeavour Award announces an on-line auction of two figurines given to Ursula K. LeGuin by Hayao Miyazaki. The figurines are of a Gardener from Miyazaki's film Island in the Sky and the Castle from Howl's Moving Castle. They will be auctioned on e-Bay beginning Friday, November 21.
Full information about the Award and the auction is on the Award's Web site: www.osfci.org/endeavour. A link to the auction will be posted on the site when the auction begins.
The annual Endeavour Award honors a distinguished science fiction or fantasy book, either a novel or a single-author collection, created by a writer living in the Pacific Northwest. The Award comes with a grant of $1,000.00.
Finalists for the 2008 Award are: "The Book of Joby," by Mark J. Ferrari; "Bright of the Sky," by Kay Kenyon; "Not Flesh Nor Feathers," by Cherie Priest; "Powers," by Ursula K. LeGuin; and "The Silver Ship and the Sea," by Brenda Cooper. Mark Ferrari, Kay Kenyon, Cherie Priest, and, Brenda Cooper are from Washington and are first-time finalists. Oregon writer Ursula K.LeGuin has won the Endeavour Award twice. The winner will be announced November 21 at Orycon in Portland, Oregon.
The Endeavour Award is sponsored by Oregon Science Fiction Conventions, Inc. (OSFCI), a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
It's just me coming up for air during this crazy month filled with NaNoWriMo and write ins and Word Stock and OryCon. How's everyone doing with their NaNo novel? Good? Let me ask, have you sat there yet with a blank brain and without a single thought going through your head except that itchy, uncomfortable feeling that maybe, just maybe, you bit off more than you can chew?
Well, if so, you know what they say in NaNoWriMo land: Time to release the wolves, time to let in the guy with the gun, time to wheel out the dead body.
What? But your novel is all about puppies and rainbows? No wolves, guns, or stiffs? Even the occasional puppy goes rogue, you know. No really, statistically it's true. And no one really knows for sure what happens if the end of a rainbow just happens to fall on your head. That pot of gold has gotta hurt, don't you think?
Don't forget to what-if yourself and your novel, but you already know this. Go INKsters!
Friday, October 31, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Thanks again Kami! Your downstairs library/study room is incredible and the vibe fantastic for writing.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
INK at Library Saturday with NaNoWriMo brainstorming immediately afterward.
INK meets again on the 24th. Prep for NaNo plus outlining/writing time and looking ahead toward OryCon 30 and beyond are topics.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Don't forget to submit! The workshop deadline is sneaking up!
Sunday, August 17, 2008
I got a rejection back today. The comment puzzled me--I'm not sure that adding another scene to a flash humor piece would work. I guess it would, maybe, but then it wouldn't be flash and the humor wouldn't punch, it would whiffle. Maybe (trying to read between the lines here) it didn't quite end for the reader. Or maybe it didn't have a climax, or the reader wanted a twist. Something wasn't there. Anyway. I hunted around markets to see where to send this next (I love sending rejected stories back out the same day) and came across some guidelines that made me look at the story in a new way. I didn't end up sending to that market because it didn't pay pro rates and I want to exhaust my pro markets before I go to semi-pro, but I did tweak the story a bit. I think it added needed depth without sacrificing the humor. Or so I hope. It added a few words, and I took away a sentence that I thought wasn't carrying its weight.
Ken, besides being one of the best speakers on writing process I personally have heard to date (his Norwescon Writer's Workshop was fantastic!), is well published, is currently working on his five-book series for Tor beginning with "Lamentation" due out in just a few months, and is an absolute delight to read and listen to.
This will be a evening to remember.
Monday, August 11, 2008
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
I know I've spent plenty of meetings yapping about my angst around my writing and I apologize to all of you for having to listen to all of that pablum. Over the past couple of weeks, thoughts of writer support have been flowing anew through my noggin, and I find myself thinking that (perhaps) my calling was one more of providing tools to support the process of being a writer.
I've investigated a number of writing software packages and while there are some good choices available, they are (for the most part) pretty tailored to limited usage. I certainly know that there's no such thing as a magic story maker, or at least that any attempt to create one would create atrocious output,
My software background shows me that tailored software solutions is the right answer and logic informs me why there are relatively few of them. But I also know that a limited number of tailored software packages leaves a lot of space for more tailored software packages.
I do have a couple of ideas for possible tools that would help in some of the situations I've found myself stuck in, but what I'm wondering in here is whether my fellow INKers have ever wondered about software solutions around particular research, planning or writing tasks/problems. I know the biggest tool is the word processor for pounding out the story, but I'm wondering about organization, preparation and planning tools.
In an amusing moment, I discovered what structure style I use, one completely un-taught, the one I had always gravitated toward writing: The Slice of Life. I already knew what this was called but had always been told it wasn't a real writing style. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that outside of the westernized world, it's a preferred story structure. Apparently, it's accepted, somewhat loved even, in parts of Europe. Interesting.
To help me internalize the traditional three-act structure, I printed up a cheat sheet of steps and requirements. Whenever I find myself straying from turning points, temporary triumphs, reversals, and final obstacles through to climaxes and resolutions, I'll slap my hands and delete all that Slice of Life nonsense...until I'm no longer a newbie writer and can get away with writing in my former, preferred style once again while getting paid for it. But for the time being, it'll be all about identifying each in stories. Easier said than done.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Friday, July 11, 2008
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
So many directions this could go...
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Not to say I don't have several more to work on, but the big ones, the main ones I've been fretting over for the last few weeks, are done.
Short story edit: check
Submit to INK: (late but) check
OryCon Writer's Workshop website info put together: check
Website info sent to webmaster: check
And now on to the new goals.
Two short story edits
Two short story submissions
Some novel work
It's all good.
Monday, June 16, 2008
I am, however, pleased with the story. It is shaping up nicely, and depending on what INK does to it at our next critique session, it might be my best short story to date.
Which isn't hard when I only have three completed.
But still, three!
Today I'll be finishing off the story and doing one last read through before sending it off to INK. And then I'll let myself relax for all of five minutes and pick up tomorrow, hopefully with my novel. It's been over a month since I worked on it last and it is calling my name.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
I have to admit, getting Kami's submission today was a nice kick in the butt.
I'm looking forward to hosting the meeting in the Secret INKcave. And I have a new kind of pretty tea to share. I received one of those glass teapots for flowering teas, and the flowering tea to go with it for Mother's Day. INK will have the first chance to see it!
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Thoughts? Or is this just a bad idea?
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
This isn't the first time I've dwelled on my critiquing skills. As a matter of fact, anyone who has known me long enough knows that I quite often struggle with this. It is simply that I want my critiques to match my thoughts of the piece, and for all that I'm a writer, I find it quite difficult to make the two match up like I'd like them to.
As I was reminded today, critiques are a balance of recommendations and constructive criticism, and the wording is everything. I tend to feel passionately for not only what I'm reading but my thoughts on what I'm reading as well as how it compares to my own training and experiences, and this combination has a tendency to make my comments come across too authoritative. What I tend to forget is there is no 'right way' of writing. My opinions on a piece are just that, opinions based on my own preferences and biases and skills. But rather than present my opinions as opinions, I think quite often I state them as The Rule.
What rule? Whose rule? Mine? Little, unpublished, over-schooled me? The rules of those I've read, that fairly small smattering of books of a rather narrow slice of reading possibilities? The rules of my writing professor (and let me tell you how the 'no -ly adjective' rule has stayed with me)?
The other realization I've come to is that familiarity can truly breed contempt. Not that I find anyone I critique contemptible or their work contemptible. Quite the opposite. I tend to become emotionally invested in a piece, no matter what faults I find in it personally. But my language tends to become contemptible the more of one person's work I critique. Being friends with a fellow writer is all well and good, but that doesn't give me carte blanche to word my critiques with a familiarity that could read as snarky and mean. How useful is that, anyway? Whatever point I'm trying to make gets lost behind the snideness and the sting. The only person I'm amusing, and rather cruelly, is myself, and critiques aren't for me, but for the writer whose work I'm reading.
Thinking back, I can see my tendency of snide familiarity in just about every writers group I've been a part of, and quite frankly, I'm a little ashamed of my presumption and arrogance. What else could inspire such behavior? I know I've been pretty arrogant in my day.
Well, I'm starting a new chapter in my critiquing life. One based on humility and recognition of a work for what it is rather than how it matches my idea of what a work should be. And to do this, I think I need to get in more critiques than I do now. So I'm giving serious considering about joining Critters in addition to my critiquing for INK. I'm also thinking about trying out for Lucky Labs as well, though I think I need to double check their meeting schedule against my summer camping trips to make sure I wouldn't miss too many meetings if I was accepted to the group.
I'm rather excited about all of this, even given my rather harsh interpretation of my own critiquing skills. One of my goals of being a member of INK was to improve my critiquing skills, and I think this realization goes a very long way to doing so.
So, here's to improvement! Because becoming a better critiquer helps those I read as much as it helps me!
Sunday, June 1, 2008
Friday, May 30, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
I sent out my critiques through email last night, and this morning find that I cannot get into my email inbox (grr, Comcast, very annoyed with them right now). So if you didn't receive them, or you had questions or comments, I won't be able to do anything about it until next week. I apologize and I hope the critiques were received.
I'll be thinking about you all as I'm toasting s'mores in front of the campfire with the reservoir reflecting stars behind me!
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
My announcement is that I haven't done one blessed thing.
I have, however:
- watched several PBS movies based on Jane Austen's novels
- gotten quite far in a new cross-stitch design that I've been wanting to stitch for some time now
- gone for a long walk with Beau and Kate during a break in the rain and marveled at the sound of the water dripping between leaves while the birds chattered
- finished reading a wonderful novel by Agatha Christie
- read through far too many magazines
- realized that the perfect foil to my Creepy Frenchmen is not a German (how cliche) but a Swede (love the accents)
- added a Pretty French Interpreter to give Gus someone to smile at (because Creepy Frenchman does not smile)
- reworked the opening of Trinket Box (in my head)
- toured my garden in the rain
- put music on both my blogs that I listen to obsessively when online
- realized that I prefer apple pie cold as opposed to warm out of the oven
So, while no actual writing is going on, I've done a lot of it in my head in the midst of all the other daydreamy-type things I've been doing. Oh, and a few dishes. Not nearly enough dishes, but they aren't going anywhere and the iris blooms will last only so long, you know.
If any INK readers, would like to learn more, feel free to visit my site at http://www.stirlingediting.com/ebook1.html
Also, I will be teaching three workshops for the Southern Chapter of Willamette Writers at the Medford Public Library in Medford, Oregon. The first workshop, "Outlines for People Who Hate 'Em," is free to members of Willamette Writers and $5 for the general public. The two afternoon workshops are $25 each or $40 for the pair:
Rhythm: A study
Adding sound and style to your writing is essential to breakaway fiction, and subtle techniques can help you hone your prose to a musical high. By studying the masters of rhythmic fiction, we will sharpen our own prose to the grindstone of their techniques. Bring examples of your own work.
Fiction from film
Film writers are known for their skillful structure, their pithy dialogue, and their eye for the visual. This workshop will teach you how to employ these powerful techniques to raise your fiction to another level. Bring examples of your work.
For more information or to register for the afternoon workshops, go to http://www.stirlingediting.com/workshops.html
Thanks all! Jumping off the bandstand now . . .
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Anyway, the plight of the uncertain author seems like a conundrum. If you go to a critique group for expert, or at least respectable, opinions, shouldn't you listen to them? Of course, but you have to own the story, love it, believe in it. Sometimes a story you love isn't salvageable and you need to let it go, but you have to realize that, believe it, and trust that. Never take apart a story based on someone else's say-so if you're not absolutely sure they're right, even if they're All That. By absolutely sure, I mean you have an aha moment, a realization, a heart-felt feeling of oops when you see your story in a new light. You're not absolutely sure if your gut says, "Gee, Jim said he wouldn't wipe his ass with it, so I guess it's no good," or even, "Everyone had such valid things to say about the weaknesses of the story, it must not be worth fixing." You wrote the story for a reason. It's not like marriage at all, except in this: If you loved the story enough to write it, do what you can to keep that story alive. If it's time for divorce, so be it, but make sure you believe that in your heart, not because your mother told you he's no good for you.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
What I do remember is David emphasizing persistence. Have to keep writing, keep editing, and most of all, keep submitting.
He spoke about endings, too, in how to get to them and what to do when an ending doesn't work. It makes perfect sense, too, that it isn't the ending not working, but something in the middle that is throwing the ending off, so look to the middle of the story for the problem.
He encouraged us to continue working on short stories, since they are a condensed form of the writing process. Most of us have dived into the short story pond, and now I think the last of us is ready to get her feet wet, too. So it will be interesting to see what comes across the critique table in the next few months.
I believe most of INK will be attending David's reading and signing at Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing. If you are in the area, come join us. It's tonight at 7:00.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Dear Carissa,Join me in a Snoopy Dance?
Congratulations, you made Honorable Mention for your story The Spirits of Iceholm for the second quarter.
And thank you, INK members, for helping me make this my best story yet.
Monday, May 5, 2008
I haven't done much in the way of writing lately. I've been picking myself up from the utter failure that was Script Frenzy, which is rather like trying to get back on a horse that just threw me and is rolling its eyes and flattening its ears in promise of another rough ride.
I do have a couple of story ideas, one in answer to the Garden Story challenge Carole and Kami issued a few months ago. The other is from a dream I had about the same time that has nothing to do with gardens, but quite a bit to do with West Texas, and since I just returned from there the story is nudging me.
I think today is the day when I might venture to swing back into the saddle. I received my first issue of Victoria magazine a few days ago, a newly reinstated magazine that disappeared about four years ago and had once been my favorite. While most of the issue is about china patterns and the joy of blue and white in decorating, there is an article by writer Jan Karon. I haven't read her books (she writes the Mitford series, among others), but I might be looking them up soon because the article is so lovely in its imagery and tone. Moreso, however, Ms. Karon has this to say:
When I write, I dive headlong into the work as into a river, where I swim for my life or, depending on the tenor of the story, float on my back, gazing at clouds. I inhabit that river for five hours or two minutes, ten, or thirty, whatever the day may yield. When there's nothing more to say, feel, or conjure, I make my way to shore, trying to separate fiction from fact, and get on with the business of living.I love this quote, not only the imagery of writing as a river, but the idea of not holding myself to a certain time frame for writing or a certain word count. This idea, more than anything, is coaxing me back to writing when I have so much else tugging at me to do and see. I know I could fit five, ten, fifteen minutes of writing in a day amid dog-walking, weed-pulling, child-playing, book-reading, journal-writing, and all the other things I like to do during the day. Half a page or six pages, whatever comes out. I could be happy with that for now, just to get back into it.