Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Post-Orycon Musings

With the end of Orycon 30 now over 24 hours behind, I figured I'd capture a number of observations about our attendance this year.

- 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 just went over the 50,000 word mark for NaNoWriMo. This is my fifth year and simply getting started on I will remember it as a most challenging NaNoWriMo effort.

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

Eating The Words.

NaNo and 45,000 words. So close to the finish line I can smell it. Oh wait, that's the burning roasting cauliflower and leeks in the oven.

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.

Go INKsters!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Decisions decisions

Great INK meeting last night.  I got some writing done, and a lot of talking done.

The talking thing is necessary, at least for me.  I'm a social critter and I'm not good at keeping news, concerns and ideas to myself.  Maybe that's part of my writer-psyche-profile.  This irrational, arrogant, persistent and psychotic need to express myself with the hope that others will actually want to hear what I have to say, even if it's pure fiction.

I'm all set for OryCon 30, or as ready as I'll ever be, except for one thing.  I haven't decided what I'm going to read for the Broad Universe reading yet.  This has not been good for my nerves.  My practice time is rapidly dissolving away.  
On my list (and I'm still expanding the list)
"Calling In"  A humor flash.  
Appeal--I'll be able to read the whole thing.  It's (hopefully) funny.  I've heard many times that humor goes over well at readings.  I'll fit in with the tone of the others who are likely also reading humor.
Doubts--It's trite and not really representative of what I usually write.  I rarely write humor.  And humor is hard, so I'm uncomfortable about reading something that I haven't practiced extensively.  
"Neighbors" A fantasy flash
Appeal--It's new and punchy and I'll be able to read the whole thing with time to spare.
Doubts--It's new and may be rougher than I realize since I haven't let it sit for long.
"The Egret Prince"  A dark, sensual fantasy
Appeal--It's moody, sexy (and I've been working on making it even sexier) and I worked on making it as lush an experience as I could.  It's a Lace and Blade swashbuckling sort of setting without the actual swashbuckling.
Doubts--I've recently disassembled this story in order to deal with a dual-plot issue.  It's literally in pieces.  Also, I'm not sure how well a small section of this would read without the context of the rest of the piece.  It's a complex, weird world with odd magic rules.  Assuming I can find a piece of it long enough to read, it still may make absolutely no sense whatsoever.
"Masks"  A political fantasy
Appeal--I've put a lot of time into this and I think it has some very strong sections.  I feel very close with the pov character and enjoy his boy-trying-to-be-a-man struggles.  I really relate to him and I think there's a natural artfulness in the world of jesters that may appeal to listeners.
Doubts--I have no friggin' idea what part to read.  There's the opening, which I think may have too much going on and too little resolution/revelation to satisfy a listener.  Yeah yeah, leave 'em wanting more, but this may leave 'em thinking 'huh?'  And there's the whole rest of the novel, where I have too many choices.  It seems like a massive undertaking just to find what I'd read out of this.
"Thistles and Barley"  A fantasy short which will appear in Beneath Ceaseless Skies online magazine
Appeal--I'll be able to provide a teaser for the magazine, and this one obviously was publishing quality because it made the cut, so I can have fewer doubts about whether it's sound of mind and body.  And the characters are fun.
Doubts--This is a very quiet story that may be underwhelming when only a portion of it is read.
"Hide and Seek" A dark fantasy
Appeal--I love the creepy horror that lies at the core of this story.  And I'll probably be able to read the whole thing.
Doubts--This one is newish and may be rougher than I realize.  And if everyone else reads humor, this is beyond a dark note.  Child abuse, death ... yeah.
"Strangers Think They Know Me" A fantasy short
Appeal--I love this story about a sorceress reaching the end of her life, trying to act as if she's as strong as ever.
Doubts--It's an unreliable pov and that doesn't come out until quite late.  Not sure I could find a section that works without the rest to build it or put it into context.
"Mayhem" A fantasy novel
Appeal--Yay first person!  Yay strong opening!  Yay strong characters!
Doubts--Boo, this is still in early draft form thanks to me switching to first person recently.  Boo, it's what I submitted for the writer's workshop and I haven't gotten feedback on it yet, except at Flogging the Quill.
"The Belief" An SF novel
Appeal--I love the characters even more than the Thistles and Barley and Mayhem combined.  There's a hard-hitting antagonism that makes for great dialogue in this novel.  There's all kinds of sections I could read that would have lots of punch.
Doubts--This novel isn't finished.  It's never been vetted by anyone.  It was written quickly, has remained in the dark, and hasn't been edited at all because I don't edit first drafts.  Ugh.

These are the top contenders.  

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Endeavor Award Announcement

I apologize if the font or formatting is wonky.  Cut and paste can mess things up.  KZM

November 13, 2008
For Immediate Release:
Miyazaki Figurines From LeGuin Auctioned to Benefit Endeavour Award

For additional information contact:

James W. Fiscus, Chairman
Phone: 503-239-7641
E-Mail: mailto:Fiscus@teleport.comor Fiscus@sff.net
Web: www.osfci.org/endeavour

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

Hurray for great blogs!

I found a great blog today.  Visit Flights of Fantasy when you can; maybe it'll be your cup of tea too.  I love the professionalism and the focus on publishing and fantasy and everything else so far that I've read.  The Writer Beware blog linked over and I'm so glad.  I would have never found this page otherwise.

Which just goes to show that there's really so much more out there than any one person can ever find.  We can all afford to be picky about our sources.  Even when we're extra picky, there's way more good stuff than I have time to read, so finding something that speaks to me directly, where I feel like we're on the same page, is great and good.  There's no reason to slog through stuff wearily because you should (should meant in the yuckiest way possible here) when the same or better info is available elsewhere in a format and style that connects with you.  

BTW I also make a point of reading pages where I regularly disagree with the people, but they have to prove themselves very smart, hopefully so much smarter than me that they could dance arguments around my head while I stare, dumbfounded, so smart that they could then communicate those arguments in a way that I understand.  I may still disagree, but I'll know more than I did before.  Love those kinds of blogs.  Often they speak to me too, in the way that I like to have passionate disagreements sometimes.

But Flights of Fantasy isn't one of those.  This is my version of an "all right thinking people" blog, a blog for Kamis.  Kamis the world 'round will flock to this blog and when they read it say yea, verily, this is a good blog.

Sunday, November 9, 2008



I very, very rarely get insomnia.  Ask my better half.  When I go to bed, with rare exception I go to sleep with ease, and except for a night walk or two I sleep through to morning.  Sometimes I sleep very shallowly, not quite full-under, which may or may not have triggered some dizzy spells way back when.  The source of those dizzies was never fully explained.

Anyway, I slept for about three hours and then inexplicably woke up full riot.  Maybe it was the strange, reality-twisted dream that inspired thoughts of a bizarre flash erotica horror.  Maybe it was that I stayed up very late the night before, slept late, and went to bed early tonight.  Threw off my cycle.  Under usual circumstances I'd be thinking dangit, I'm going to be messed up for the next few days.

But it's not usual circumstances.  It's Nano!  So after about an hour of reading with no luck recapturing the sleepies, and another hour of tossing and turning, I called b.s. on trying to go back to sleep, dressed in comfies and dashed down here to write.    I can gnash my teeth, tear my hair and throw ashes on my head tomorrow when I try to accomplish some stuff.  For now I'll take advantage of the distraction-free quiet, and the echoes of dreams half-lived in tesseract time.

I'll add on a reminder:  Nano meeting coming up this Friday!  Got word count?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Breathe, Just Breathe

*Tap *Tap...Is this thing still on?

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!