Friday, June 26, 2009

Kami's State of the Writing

Lately I've been having trouble with ideas.  Oh, I have lots of ideas.  I even have some frozen embryonic stories that I can take out and ... okay, ew factor just set in.

But lately I've been dissatisfied with my ideas in general.  I don't want just any story idea.  I want one with that special something, you know?  It doesn't have to be unique, or pretty, or smart.  It does have to resonate.  I have to feel it in my guts, get that special tingly thrill, and when I work on it, have unnoticed hours go by before I look up from the page.  

Long walks and hot baths are in order.  In the meantime, I've got my novels.  I can live there happily for a very long time.  Still, it would be nice to have a short story come grab me by the throat before Tuesday's write-in with my writing pals.  I'll be looking at contests, prompts and anthologies in an attempt to spark something in time for that.  If none of that does the trick, I'll just have to work with what I've got.  

I want to produce, which means that I must produce.  Letting vague feelings of dissatisfaction get in the way of writing might lead to a habit of waiting until I 'feel right' to write, which might eventually grow into full-blown short story block.  I love writing shorts, and I don't want to go a really long time without writing one.  It's incredibly satisfying to write something and have it done in a month (sometimes even in a day!) and a great way to break a pattern of rhythm in a rut that can sometimes form when I'm working on novels, or worse, a single novel, every day all day.  As fun as it is to be immersed in a novel, there's a constant danger of complacency.  When I'm complacent, I'm more forgiving and apt to overlook things.  It's much more fun to work on a short story for a while and come back to the novel than to do the only other thing I've found to break the highway hypnosis, and that's to work from the back of the book forward.  I can do it, but I'm not real fond of it.

So that's where I'm at with writing these days.  That and trying to ditch this cold.  Oh, and I have a couple of short stories that are 'overdue.'  I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

June INK

INK tonight in Vancouver! Lovely summer weather, homemade pizza (sorry Rory!), old and new friends, and critiques. Can life get any better?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Go J.D. Salinger!

Snagged from Gurnery Journey, a blog focused on art written by the wonderful creator of Dinotopia.

Want to write a derivative work?  Seriously, think twice.  Do your own stuff.  Someone writing under the pseudonym J.D. California wrote a sequel to "Catcher in the Rye," perhaps not knowing that J.D. Salinger not only is alive and kicking, but litigious.  So now there's a lawsuit.  Even if J.D. Salinger wasn't so inclined, really, do you want to hazard the chance of something like this happening to you?

I wonder if pseudo-California has ever heard of the term fanfic.

Maybe you're lucky enough that you feel your heart and soul is inspired by a work that happens to be in the public domain.  Good.  And yet, wouldn't it be better to rename the characters, twist the setting in a direction that resonates with your plot (or do some research and deepen the setting in a way the original author didn't explore) and let the characters grow with the challenges you place before them ... in short, writing an original work inspired by the book?  You'll have something that's completely your own, and by the time you finish revising and restructuring and hammering out the details of your world, I doubt anyone will recognize what you've done.  Plus, people may notice the tone or themes or characterization and nicely note that the work "is reminiscent of the works of J.D. Salinger, but with a present-day edge informed by the politics of 21st century Sweden."

I wish Mr. Salinger well.  

Now I'm curious to see how the whole Potato Day (Stephanie Meyer fanfic Fail that I won't link to so that it reduces traffic) thing is doing.  Hmm ... looks like she altered her page to be in EspaƱol.  Does she think this will save her?  I thought she would fade away after being met with lawyerly threats, but it seems she persists.  I think she wants to get sued for $100,000 and spend time in jail.  Weee!  She's got to be one of those people who believe that if nothing bad has happened yet, it won't.  Wow.  The fail, it burns!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Beneath Ceaseless Skies

My short fantasy, "Thistles and Barley," is up on Beneath Ceaseless Skies #18 (June 2009.)  I'm very pleased to be in the same issue as Renee Stern, a Seattle-ish author and member of the very kewl Fairwood Writers.  

I met Renee at CascadiaCon, the same event where I met Jay Lake for the first time.  Quibblers may say something about 'met for the first time' as being redundant, but at conventions, people meet over and over again until finally they actually recognize each other.  For quite a few years I played a fun game with one wonderful author in particular, where I would introduce myself to him and, without any cues like "we met at OryCon," see if he recognized me at all--didn't have to be my name.  A double-take, "didn't I see you somewhere before?" or even a ruffled brow would have counted, at which point I would 'fess up.  He was particularly bad with names and faces, and so I was able to enjoy meeting him as if for the first time for quite a few years before he did finally recognize me.

But I digress.  Renee has been very kind to me.  She works hard to create opportunities for new writers to meet other writers and workshop their manuscripts.  If you're planning to go a Seattle convention, be sure to look for the opportunities Fairwood Writers creates.  Remember, deadlines for things like writers workshops come long before the convention begins, so don't dilly-dally before searching for information about writer-oriented events.

Beneath Ceaseless Skies is a free magazine.  If you like reading fantasy shorts, please subscribe, and spread the word.  It's getting good reviews.  By the way, there's a review of each issue in the Internet Review of Science Fiction by Lois Tilton in her short fiction review column.  It appears that next month (July 2009) it'll be my turn.  Gulp.  If Ms. Tilton's tastes align with your own, the column could be a great resource as a what-to-read guide.