Torrid Press has accepted Bad Fairies. I signed the contract this morning.
No details yet, but I will keep you posted.
Torrid Press has accepted Bad Fairies. I signed the contract this morning.
No details yet, but I will keep you posted.
This month’s Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour topic was “Blocks.” My arm was still sore for typing when my day came around, but I had something I wanted to say. So I’m going to go ahead and post my contribution late:
Over the years I think I’ve run into just about every kind of block there is, from the “no time even to breathe” block to the “kids come first” block to the “fear of success” block to the “dammit I’d rather play video games” block. I’ve also had my share of real ones: the ones where your inner muse is trying to tell you there’s something seriously wrong with the story, or something in your life that needs to be addressed first; the mysterious kind that seem to come out of nowhere and settle down over one’s brain and fingers like a shroud; and (toughest of all) the self-inflicted kind.
My most recent block, which is only just fading into the past, was the self-inflicted kind.
I was reading all this “treat your writing like a business” stuff, and “write it and send it out,” and “steady output, butt in chair, plumbers don’t get writer’s block,” and a whole lot of related stuff that works really well for a lot of people. They turn out lots of stories and novels and everything, and get paid for it. Productive and happy, what’s not to like?
And if it didn’t seem to work for me — if I’m the kind of person who wakes up on an unexpectedly sunny morning and says, “Let’s go hiking today. I can write tomorrow when it’s raining,” or has days when the brain just wants to mull things over — well, that just meant I needed to learn more discipline, right?
Wrong, apparently. My productivity dried up. The more discipline I applied, the worse it got. I hated even the thought of sitting down at my desk.
It got to where I even hated to read, because that just reminded me I wasn’t writing.
Last year, as bad as it was on many fronts, did break the block. I was away from my desk and my computer and caught up in family interaction, and writing once again became my solace and necessary friend. I wanted to write again. Circumstances meant I could only write small bits at first, but that was what I needed. Then small bits added to stories I never quite finished. Most recently, a lot of small bits added to a fantasy novella added up to a complete draft submitted to Torrid.
So things are looking up.
Most interestingly, today I was poking through files from two and three years ago, finding files where I had dumped ideas and partial stories while I banged my head against the projects I was “supposed” to be working on. If I had finished even half of them when the idea hit me and was fresh and ready to go, I’d have close to 40 stories.
No wonder my muse quit talking to me. Why should she waste her breath when I wasn’t listening?
So, yeah. Self-inflicted. Hopefully I can avoid making that mistake again!
Today’s post was inspired by the “blocks” prompt in the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour, an ongoing tour where you, the reader, travel around the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. We have all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and find out what’s on their nightstand, check out the rest of the tour! Up next: D Jordan Redhawk.
You know how when you’re reworking a short story that has some real problems, you notice other things that aren’t related to the big problem, and you think, “Yeah, I’ve got to fix that, but it’s just a quick correction, I’ll do it later”? And then you get to it, and you start to make the quick fix?
Yeah, you realize it was a can of worms sitting there with only that one little worm tail sticking out to warn you.
Not only that, the more I pull on it, the more it seems to be wanting to unravel the reworking I just did.
Erin M. Hartshorn tagged me in a meme that’s going around, The Next Big Thing. The quickmeme entry seems to have been hacked by somebody with a Newt Gingrich fetish, but some googling turned up this as the main question list:
What is the title of your next book?
Where did the idea for the book come from?
What genre does your book fall under?
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
What other books of the same genre would you compare yours with?
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
It’s geared to writers who are published, with a new book coming out soon, so many of the questions aren’t very relevant to me yet.
I have several projects under way that I’ll begin submitting in the new year.– short stories, a couple of novellas, and a novel titled “Overamped,” about a professional snowboarder dreaming of Olympic gold who gets the woman of his dreams instead. If I took out all Joey’s sex fantasies and all the f-bombs and other modern terminology, the book would shrink significantly, so it’s not a romance I’ll probably just bill it as mainstream when I start to market it. I plan to start with conventional publishers, which means finding an agent. Self-publishers have done well in genres, but mainstream is still pretty much the property of, well, the mainstream.
I also have a bunch of ghost story/dark fantasy/somewhat erotic short stories and novellas to go out. I’ll use a different name for those and I’m planning to focus on small online publishers, at least to start.
It doesn’t take me very long to write a first draft. It’s the second and third that take forever. Generally the “first” draft is more of a proof of concept, to make sure the characters are interesting and complex enough to sustain the story, and there’s enough story there. So throwing out an idea after first draft is pretty common for me. Then I’ll expand it in the second draft. Way overexpand it, usually. Then the third draft will be about locating the heart of the story and cutting out non-essential stuff. Usually I wind up combining subplots and characters. For instance, in Overamped, Joey owns a small sporting goods store. In one scene he waits on a customer with a small kid. I was able to combine that woman with the mother of a kid on the snowboard team to turn two “furniture” characters into a bit of emotional trouble for Joey.
I’m not going to tag anybody in particular. If you’re reading this, and it sounds like something you want to blog about, consider yourself tagged.
Life balance is one of those things that’s supposed to be a goal for any healthy adult: work, family, creativity, spirituality, social life, community activity, et cetera, et cetera. All you need in order to do it all is a good schedule and the will power to stick to it. The assumption is not only that we can have it all, but that we should try to have it all.
Only now, when I’ve reached the empty nest age, have I started to wonder whether that kind of “balance” is even a reasonable goal. Looking back, there are really only two things I remember as important: my family and my writing. I loved my career and put a lot of effort into it. I got a lot of reward out of it, not just monetarily but emotionally and psychologically. It energized me and inspired me — and now I’d be hard pressed to recall in detail more than a handful of those energizing triumphant moments. I don’t regret the time I put into it, but it seems less and less important.
All the housework and family planning, all the juggling to make sure one of us was home with the kids or to free up time in the schedule for a gymnastics meet or a doctor’s appointment — all hard to remember. It was just noise.
I don’t know where that leaves me now. Time is much less pressing now. I could do more things if I wanted — but I seem to want to do less. I want to put all that effort into the few things that matter. The same things that always mattered. My writing (well, maybe I’ll add my painting in here too ) and my family.
Today’s post was inspired by the “balance” writing prompt in the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour, an ongoing tour where you, the reader, travel around the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. We have all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and find out what’s on their nightstand, check out the rest of the tour! Up next: Raven O’Fiernan at Raven’s Scribblings.
I just started working on Darien’s story again. I put it aside after NaNoWriMo 2007. I told myself it was because it needed more research and worldbuilding, but really it was because it was too difficult emotionally and structurally for me to handle it. Or, in other words, I chickened out.
I have figured out the technical issues involved in telling the story. Most of them, anyway, though I’m sure I’ll find some new ones. It’s still a difficult story to tell, however. I hope I’m strong enough for it this time.
Another Color Field artist is Sam Gilliam, who does absolutely marvelous unsupported canvas paintings as well as more conventional supported canvas and wood panel works.
video of Gilliam at work on an installation. The sidebar includes links to other interesting interviews with Gilliam.
I don’t have any desire to try to imitate Gilliam’s work; it comes too directly from his own perception, soul, and experience. But that by itself is a valuable lesson: if I dig deep and express what’s most truly me, then that truth will stand out clearly to others and will connect in a way that’s far deeper than if I was trying to please those others. And that’s as true for writing as for painting.
you will die when the sun sets
beyond the sea of endless hope
when the shadow at your door blots all direction
and home becomes a blur
unremembered though you stand at its threshold and its pigs squeal all around you
though the smell and the taste and the touch are as near as your own skin
no matter how many times you click your heels
you will never find Oz.
We’ve been planning for quite some time to sell the house after youngest graduated from college — a plan that was indescribably far in the future when we came up with it and is now bearing down on us from the high speed lane, without brakes.
It sounds simple enough. Sell the house, buy a smaller one that’s easier to take care of and doesn’t have so much empty space that’s just there to collect junk. And stuff. So much stuff…but I’ve complained about that in other posts. For now, I’ll just say that between getting the house ready for sale (cleaning, painting, fixing, calling contractors, supervising contractors etc. etc.), going through the process of selling (more cleaning, paperwork, phone calls and showings, and then more paperwork, etc.), and finally moving us into someplace new (oh, wait, yes, find a new place while all this is going on, and go through all that paperwork, etc.) my life and schedule are going to be unavoidably disrupted for an unknown amount of time.
That means that planning anything on a tight deadline is not going to work. Planning anything that requires certain things be done at certain times of day is not going to work. I won’t know what days are available for writing or when unexpected tasks, appointments, etc. are going to fling themselves at me from hidden corners. But I don’t want to be totally without goals, either. When I do that, I wind up spending all day playing Fitz or Wordslinger.
After poking around at my goals, at the work I have in progress, and the time I have available, I figured out that most days I’ll have a couple of hours first thing in the morning when I can write. We get up early, so even if I have contractors coming over, I’ll be up before they are.
And I will have other breaks during most days. As long as I know what I’m spposed to be working on, I can make quite a lot of progress. So I’m going back to something that worked for me when the kids were little. I’m putting together a portfolio with half a dozen works in progress to carry with me, and whenever I get a chance I can pull out one of those to work on. When I finish one, I add another to the queue.
That will let me reserve my time at my computer for work that really has to be done at the computer: research, marketing, submissions, and so forth. Oh, and those video games…
I’m having a terrible time adjusting to life without my laptop. At first I was wryly chastising myself for becoming so dependent on electronics, but it’s more than that.
My first laptop was a Toshiba Satellite — the first or maybe second model they came out with. I don’t remember the year exactly but I think it was around 1989-1991. I’ve had a couple of other Toshibas, a couple of IBM ThinkPads, and most recently the MacBook, but I haven’t been without a laptop since then.
Which means that for more than 20 years, my writing habits and patterns have depended on a portable, easy-to-type-on device that was available more or less anywhere. I could go to breakfast and get my word count in. I could go out to my car over my lunch hour and type in edits. I could work on vacation, in between innings of baseball games, you name it.
Can’t do that now.
Yeah, I’ve still got a good desktop system, and a lot of pens and paper. I refilled my best fountain pens and I’m prepared to do most of National Novel Writing Month by hand, with bouts of typing. I used to write that way and it’s not really a problem.
But damn it’s hard getting used to new habits.