Saturday, May 17, 2008


First announcement:  I just made a short story submission, which completes my goals for the month.  Yay!  I guess I have to go back to writing now.

Second announcement:  If there's anyone interested in joining the Lucky Labs, contact me.

The who?

No no, not The Who, Lucky Labs, aka the Lucky Lab Rats.  This writing group has historically gotten members via OryCon schmoozing (this was news to me even though that's exactly how I was invited) but after pub food and some hat whacking the consensus, as I understand it, is that I can ask my beloved INK members if they'd like to join.  

Lab Rats:

*Write speculative fiction.  SF/F/H or genres that make wet, intimate contact with SF/F/H only, please.  If you don't write it, read it, love it, you won't like how the Rats smell.  
*Meet every three weeks.
*Want people who want to learn how to write better, get published more often (in my case, more times than zero,) critique better, and who won't cry if Jim tells them their story is crap.  If everyone says your story is crap it's okay to cry but you have to hold it in and say you need to use the bathroom, and be sure to wash your face before you come back.  
*Want people who submit writing on a regular basis, and who write on a regular basis.  (Hat whacking  and virtual finger pointing over this issue occurred during the meeting.)
*Want stuff I don't know about because I'm a new-ish member.
*Want world peace.

I've observed that a thick skin is helpful with the Lab Rats.  They're never cruel or mean, but they tell it like they see it.  If that includes "scrap this one and write something else," you'll hear it, maybe even in those exact words.  I've also observed that the Lab Rats are inclusive rather than exclusive.  They're all about the writing.  And the publishing.  And the improving.

In the past a former member repeatedly submitted a first chapter to a novel, hoping to polish it into white rice, I suspect.  The fact that they started with a potato probably wasn't helping.  Anyway, it inspired a rule--six months between re-submitting same material.  It's generally a good idea to keep writing and submitting new stuff to keep from inspiring more rules.

We discussed a member cap.  Because we don't seem to be overwhelmed with submissions the consensus was that there is no member cap until we need one.  If that makes sense.

Anyway, after the rats get a membership story sub we discuss it at the next super-secret meeting at the Lucky Labs pub on Hawthorne at 2pm (next meetings are  June 7 and June 28) and then the idea is that the prospective member comes to the nearest following meeting they can attend to critique whatever's on the table and hear the critiques.  If they don't run away screaming and everyone is good, we end up with a new member.

So send me an ms if you want to play with rats and, since this isn't being done at an OryCon schmoozing session, it may be helpful to the Lucky Labs if you include a wee bit about yourself and your writing goals.  This isn't a cover letter thingy by any means.  We're not that formal (as evidenced by puns, sarcasm and other bad habits.)  I'd just tell them about you guys myself but then I'd feel weird like I'm pitching you.  Not the stuff that comes from trees, or throwing you like a baseball, the other pitching.  No, not throwing you in the garbage!  Oh, I give up.


C.S. said...

Many Congrats on the story submission. Hearing this always makes me happy.

I'll admit I've been interested in Lucky Labs, and I love hearing about this! However, I thought they were strickly SF/F. I'd feel horrible if I scared off or depressed anyone with my stuff. My biggest concern is that I don't write enough to qualify though I'm always interested in learning how to write better and critique better (which I feel I truly suck at).

As for not crying when Jim tells a writer their story is crap, who is this Jim you speak of?

And what is "hat whacking"? Are hats required? I used to love hats but Steve thinks they're silly so I gave them up. I might cry over that if I talk about it too long so I'll leave the hats for now.

Again, I'm not sure I can write fast enough to satisfy the requirement, nor am I sure I'm not all about the potatoes, though I think INK would have hinted at me about that by now.

I'm just not sure if I'd not be wasting everyone else's time. Then again, I could be having one of those low self-esteem days...

Kami said...

I think you're having a low self-esteem day. For one thing, you have more new stories than I do, and more of them circulating. Not that I'm the bar against which such things are measured. I'm pretty lame in that department, although INK is helping me improve!

I wouldn't worry about depressing anyone. If, however, you would feel confined by speculative fiction, that's a valid point. Unlike INK, which has a much broader 'fiction is fiction' focus, the Lucky Labs is strictly SF/F/H with not much horror (although vampires appear on occasion.) If you wrote nothing but horror I don't think anyone would feel it doesn't fit, unless it was slasher stuff. Stephen King would fit in to Lucky Labs, IMO. I just don't want you to feel limited. If you want to write non-speculative fiction for long stretches, or worry that you might never write speculative fiction again, then that's just unnecessary stress.

If you want I can shoot an email (Bang!) to the Lab list and see what folks think about horror. Maybe if you got a consensus reply it would make you feel more comfy?

Kami said...

Hat whacking is the same as punching someone in the shoulder or poking them or otherwise assaulting them in a non-damaging manner. Often used to subdue punsters. Since a member of the Labs always wears a hat, and puns happen, hat whacking occurs on occasion. Hat whacking is also used on members who are richly deserving for other reasons than puns (such as not turning in writing for a long time.)

BTW, you write plenty fast enough. Don't focus on your novel writing. Think of how many short stories you've written recently. You're no Jay Lake, but you've got quite a few!

Carissa said...

I am interested but I have the same concerns as C.S. with less low esteem. I'm pretty certain I'm not writing enough to keep up, as I'm just only making the INK requirements of a story a quarter. And with not all those stories being SF and now with my determination to get my poetry going, too, I'm not sure I could hold up my end of the bargain.

I'd love love love to be able to, though. Maybe if I can successfully amp up the writing in the next week or two, I'll do so. It would be only short stories, since my current novel WIP is not pure SF, but some weird hybrid of historical, mainstream, mystery, and paranormal. INK will have to suffer through it's genre-bendingness one of these days.