Archive | August 2009

Writerly Planning Post

Writerly Schedule:

Monday night: Meeting with Catrina
Tuesday afternoon: Working on battle scene for Chapter 3 in Troll Story; working on scenes for squid project.
Thursday night: Begin chapter 4 of troll story.

New Submissions:

Point River out to Pedastal Magazine

Appearances:

This weekend Bryon and I are off to Tempe to North American Discworld. We're meeting up with Catherine Cheeker, and I'm hoping to geek out over Esther Friesner. It goes without saying that I'll also be one of the 900 people geeking out over Terry Pratchett.

Move along. I know you're bored. Nothing to see here but my accountability.

Catherine

Your Weekly Snippet

I did promise you one of these, didn't I? Let me see...how about a snippet of the not-so-place-able spy story, which is now out to Sniplets? Sure.

***

There was a knock on the door. Drew popped out of the kitchen. "What do you think she forgot?"

Chas looked over his shoulder and saw Drew begin to open the door. He bounded over the back of the couch. Agents' addresses were rarely found out, but there was no way he was going to let Zoey's kid brother open her front door, just in case.

Hey!" Drew was annoyed and jostled.

"Sorry. I wanted to look out the peephole." Chas opened the door. A blond man, dressed in a white tux, except for a black vest, came into the room and shut the door quickly.

"Turn out the lights, Chas," the man said.

Chas shook his head. "Not now, Alan."

Alan turned out the lights. "Now get down. What are you doing here? I figured this place would be empty. With a little luck they didn't catch me trying to get in."

"Alan, ixnay on the idinghay aceplay."

Continue reading

Art and Craft

It's been a little while since I've had a chance to sit down at the keyboard and think at you. Now that I'm back in the groove of word production, I'm feeling good writing vibes. It doesn't hurt that I actually wrote a story I really like. I don't know if Oliver Toddle will find a home somewhere, but the story makes me feel, and honestly, sometimes that's the best reason to write.

Which leads to this.

I know that there are many ways to get derailed in the world of publishing and authorship. Because we are rejected, we sometimes measure ourselves by how others measure us. We worry if we're the only person who will find our book any good. We worry about what critics will say. Worry. Stew. Fret. Worry.

But the best thing, the best thing is when you like your work. Not in the "I'm a god-like" afterglow of the thing as you transcribe it onto the page the first time, but rather the deep satisfaction you get after you put a polish on the writing and you know in your heart and your gut it works.

Even if someone doesn't quite love it enough to publish it.

My Bryon paints. He paints beautiful giant cels of what things would look like if they were done in old style animation. He translates art into a different medium. Since his work derives from another artist's, he jokingly calls himself a parasite artist. He will tell me that he sees what he does as more of a craft than an art. I suggest to him, after looking at another beautiful cel, that he is wrong, but he takes great pride in being a craftsman, rather than an artist.

I think a writer must walk the line between inspired artist and craft apprentice. When I reach the deep feeling of content with a story after I've polished it, then I feel why Bryon takes such pride in craft.

Well. Tonight, after domestic tasks, I rip off the roof of chapter 3 of the troll story. The first two chapters required exceptionally little tweaking. I"m about to eliminate a character, I think, and revamp Old Nick versus the troll garrison. That ought to keep me out of trouble.

Catherine

The Final Blood; The New Cephalopod

The Epilogue and finish to Blood is Thicker than Water is up. Thanks for staying along for the ride. The story will remain up at the site. You can complete the whole thing--backwards!

Today, I sent Jackal's Last Hunt out again to Reflection's Edge. Yes, I do expect a rejection. I'm not sure where this thing could go...Still onwards! If you have any friends putting out YA spy anthologies soon, you know who to call...

I talked a little about the new web project yesterday, and last night Catrina shared this interesting image, so I'll close with a shadow of things to come.

leviathan

Eine Natürliche Studie des Narragansett Leviathan

I have mentioned that Catrina Horsfield and I are working on a joint writing project, and things are beginning to take shape. What we are doing is writing a 19th-century story about a scary leviathan, an offbeat magician, and a feminist scientist. The three of them are meant for each other.

We're still working on some aspects of the story. Collaboration is both an easy and a hard task. There are several places where our ideas dovetail, and some ideas where we will have to compromise. I think it's good practice for working in the industry, because I'm not sure any writer ever works alone now, any way.

The end result will be our story's blog. We'll both post story segments every couple of weeks. You'll be getting history and science lessons every once in a while as well. This is not necessarily the kind of thing that will lend itself well to publication, but sounds like it will be exactly the kind of thing that fits on the Internet.

Of course, we'll be wanting to get a critical mass around the story, so I doubt very much that we'll start posting it right after I finish Blood. That should be tomorrow, with luck. We'll keep you posted when the blog goes live. Hopefully, the end result will be enjoyable. I'm thinking of it as Windpunk with a heavy horror edge.

I'll see you tomorrow, knee deep in troll story.

Catherine

Writer Stats

As promised last week.

This Week's Schedule:
Writing on Monday, 6-8, Tuesday, 12-3, Wednesday, 7-9, and Thursday, 7-9.

Tuesday will be working on scenes for the joint project with Catrina Horsfield. Wednesday and Thursday will mark my return to the Troll Story.

Queries Out:
Jackal's Last Hunt went out to Shiny (I expect this will continue to be a hard one to place.)
Mark Twain's Daughter went out to Electric Velocipede.
The Love Song of Oliver Toddle went out to Shimmer.

***

Thanks to Maggie Stiefvater and her wonderful Ballad contest, I am the proud winner of a 5-10 page critique of Substance of Shadows from Brian Farrey of Flux press. I'm looking forward to his suggestions.

It's a nice prize. Alas, I must be patient for Ballad a little longer. That's the only drawback I can think of.

Accountability? Check.

Catherine

Revision Rocks the Planet

Oliver Toddle will receive its final revision tomorrow. Who's got time for a quick read through? I'd like to have it back by Thursday, so I can get it shipped off.

I feel a bit re-energized, and ready to go back to the troll novel now, so we'll wait on the werewolf detour.

Good ole definite times to work. Good day in lots of other ways. The 2009-2010 season feels like it may be fresher than the summer we just came from.

Catherine

Neruda

Tonight's writing session was researching Roxanne's and Oliver's poetry correspondence. There are some awesome poems to share. I think I'm just going to give you Pablo Neruda tonight. Just in time for the weekend. Get out there and date!

And Because Love Battles
by Pablo Neruda

And because love battles
not only in its burning agricultures
but also in the mouth of men and women,
I will finish off by taking the path away
to those who between my chest and your fragrance
want to interpose their obscure plant.

About me, nothing worse
they will tell you, my love,
than what I told you.

I lived in the prairies
before I got to know you
and I did not wait love but I was
laying in wait for and I jumped on the rose.

What more can they tell you?
I am neither good nor bad but a man,
and they will then associate the danger
of my life, which you know
and which with your passion you shared.

And good, this danger
is danger of love, of complete love
for all life,
for all lives,
and if this love brings us
the death and the prisons,
I am sure that your big eyes,
as when I kiss them,
will then close with pride,
into double pride, love,
with your pride and my pride.

But to my ears they will come before
to wear down the tour
of the sweet and hard love which binds us,
and they will say: “The one
you love,
is not a woman for you,
Why do you love her? I think
you could find one more beautiful,
more serious, more deep,
more other, you understand me, look how she’s light,
and what a head she has,
and look at how she dresses,
and etcetera and etcetera”.

And I in these lines say:
Like this I want you, love,
love, Like this I love you,
as you dress
and how your hair lifts up
and how your mouth smiles,
light as the water
of the spring upon the pure stones,
Like this I love you, beloved.

To bread I do not ask to teach me
but only not to lack during every day of life.
I don’t know anything about light, from where
it comes nor where it goes,
I only want the light to light up,
I do not ask to the night
explanations,
I wait for it and it envelops me,
And so you, bread and light
And shadow are.

You came to my life
with what you were bringing,
made
of light and bread and shadow I expected you,
and Like this I need you,
Like this I love you,
and to those who want to hear tomorrow
that which I will not tell them, let them read it here,
and let them back off today because it is early
for these arguments.

Tomorrow we will only give them
a leaf of the tree of our love, a leaf
which will fall on the earth
like if it had been made by our lips
like a kiss which falls
from our invincible heights
to show the fire and the tenderness
of a true love.

The Power of Commitment

The end of Blood is up. There's still an epilogue (because I was a much younger writer when I wrote it) to go up next week. Even overburdened professors need the occasional break.

The scheduling your writing time looks like it's going to work. I edited half of Oliver Toddle last night, and I'm looking forward to doing the other half this evening.

Oliver Toddle is, among other things, a story about poetry. Last night's section talked about The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. I highly recommend it if you've never taken a look at it. It's one of those pieces that help you center in the world. There's also a Little Prince movie.

Now, to call some students, and then bury myself in the lab before orientation.

Catherine

The Tamago Commitment

I'm going to link you to Seanan McGuire's article on writing and balance. There is a reason.

***

Yesterday, in a pique of math, I discovered that I am now responsible for 52 classes and 785 seats approximately. That is my original load as a supervisor cubed. It never pays to be too successful at your work. We've already talked about ways to change my job structure next year so that I can actually manage a program of such a size, including the much coveted lengthened contract. It has become apparent to my overlords that they don't want to lose me to writing, so they are trying to make my current job a little less intense.

Small wonder I won't have time to get Blood is Thicker than Water up this week.

Now, I'm not here to talk about work. I realize that once again, as a day job writer, I have to find a way to make sure the writing continues to happen. These last two weeks, the college has grabbed me. I wrote a rough draft of Oliver Toddle, a few scenes of Cat and my leviathan project, and that's all. This is a disturbing trend.

I can feel the lack of balance. The technicolor dreams are back, my creativity release valve feels stoppered, I feel guilty about not maintaining my commitment. Pretty much all the psychological things Seanan talks about above have visited my brain over the last two weeks.

What do I do in response? I plan. Because if I don't plan, that's it, the end of the effort of two years, and this is all the farther I get pursuing the writing dream.

Here's what's going to happen:

1. Each week I will look at my free time. I will write the word WRITING in bold capital letters, with a certain time connected to WRITING. This should net me around 2-3 evenings of writing each week. For example, both tonight and Thursday I'm scheduled to write from 7-9. I also have 3 hours scheduled to write on Saturday. I will post my writing schedule for the week here, to be more accountable to it.

2. One of my weekly goals here is to post progress. Another is to post the cool snippet of the week. Posting artifacts=accountability!

3. Finally, with rare exceptions (unavoidable meetings), I have put writing in my academic schedule every Tuesday from 12-3. I will get out of the office on Tuesday specifically to write.

This is important to me. It would be *so* easy for the day job to swallow me up, and it just isn't going to happen. I do have to get firm about my writing times to make this work. I will become a published fantacist. By God.

How can you help? In addition to sending me your spare moments, as requested in this summer's campaign for time, you can serve as a good example. My progress posts will be a good time for you to post your progress, my snippets your favorite bits. Show me what good writers do. Do it as a response or in your journals. I don't care. Just show me your role model-ness. 😕

*rolls up sleeves* Right now, regrettably, I have to get back to being a good professor. I will see you very soon with some writing work.

Catherine