There. That’s everything in the VP ap and edited for content.

Tomorrow, we do the whole format thing. Yeah, formatting. I should also send off my revised cover letter and ap fee tomorrow.

And then, I can stop talking about this, and get on with something else. Like this idea I’ve had to ask you about your writing dream.


The Light Bulb

All right. It’s time for an analogy.

As a writer, have you ever been down a dead end? I’ve been hitting my head against the wall of the maze, and I can smell cheese on the other side, but I think the way to get the cheese is to go around, because going through isn’t working. The cheese is still there, and I’m still here.

In short, the reason I’m having trouble articulating the essence of Gossamer and Veridian is because I don’t know it yet. So, I keep filling synopses with what happens in the plot, or overall themes and conflicts. This will never work, because that is not what a synopsis is.

When I write a book, I write the book, then think about what I have written, then write some more and see what I get, then plan, and then write some more, and by the end of it, I do know what the main thrust of a story is, and it’s all worked out.

I’ve been trying to put the cart before the horse because I wanted to use Gossamer for my Viable Paradise application. I wanted to work with something new that I’m excited about, but I’m clear now that I’m not at that stage with this story. That’s why I’ve been doing everything except plotting it. I mean, I’ve formatted the first chapter correctly, for crying out loud!

I need to sit down and write and enjoy the writing, and see what the import (if any) of the faerie soap opera is, without trying to impose expectation upon the beast because I want to use it for a hoitsy and/or toitsy purpose.

What I need for Viable Paradise, on the other hand, is material that I have revised a lot, I feel is pretty good, already has the support of enthusiastic readers, and has been looked at by lots of eyes, but still hasn’t made it. A fresh look could give it that je ne sais quois that all of us have been missing so far.

Substance of Shadows it is, then. I have a synopsis, an outline, and well-polished chapters. No one has taken it on yet, and no major publishers are considering it. If I become agented, and the book undergoes scrutiny, we’ll see what happens next, but I’ll go with what I know right now, rather than what might be.

I owe Bryon. I was discussing my frustration with my application, and he said that if they wanted to see what you’d done best, you should send something you’re confident about.

So, yeah. Duh.

That means my application can go out as soon as I double check the synopsis and the outline. And I can go back to working on Gossamer and Veridian in a way that’s more fun for me.


Moral of the story: It’s good to try new things, but know thy creative process.

Synopsis 2

This synopsis is more character-driven, which the last one probably should have been. Would this make you want to read the book?

Nasma has found a man in the desert, now treasure of the Storm Sisters. What she doesn’t know is the man has lost a king, fragmented in the mists, one part of the king’s soul with trolls who are searching for the rest. She doesn’t know that the man has left a mistress, the new queen of the Sidhe, who loves him and hates him. She doesn’t know that the mistress’s husband will journey through her desert, to cement an alliance with the dark forces that border her land. Nasma, knowing none of these things, has decided she loves the man, and will protect her treasure with all of the force the Storm Sisters can gather. The treasure, Rohren the Avenger, has other ideas.

I’d like a good site for information about writing outlines for books, if those of you who send off proposals know of one. Of course, I’ll be investigating things myself.



After an afternoon of scooping snow, because that’s the Iowa way, I settled in to some writing. I have written a synopsis and outlined everything I had so far, and added another scene to the actual manuscript.

Which makes our word count meter look like this:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
17,441 / 90,000


It looks like I will be able to send the first chapter for my application. I will be editing the treatment to be as svelte as possible. It may be to my advantage to include a synopsis to explain the general thrust of the plot.

Here’s that synopsis so far! Would you read this book? I think the last line is a little cheesy, so I’m still working on it.

Continue reading “Progress-a-mundo”

Your Friend Academia

Last year at Wiscon, I attended a panel regarding speculative fiction, and the panel unfortunately devolved into a panel where the majority of the panelists, perhaps frustrated with experiences they had had, ran down the academy.

Well, as a member of the academy, I did take some exception. That same year I had attended the fairly good Fantasy Matters conference. I had visited some genre libraries. I had been tempted by three other well known conferences. I was presenting an academic paper at Wiscon. My own college supported my pop culture research and writing. I had just found out about the Interstitial Foundation. It seemed that the academy was alive and well, and supporting our literatures of the fantastic!

So, I thought maybe this year we could a panel to make me feel better. Oh–and to educate the public. I hope we can tap the expertise of a variety of you who enjoy the study of this sort of thing, or have attended conferences, or contributed to a variety of journals and ezines, or have been in organized writing workshops for SF, Fantasy, and speculative fiction.

I’ve posted the following as a program suggestion for Wiscon this year. If they accept it, and if the topic interests you, I hope you’ll consider joining me on a panel. Spread the word among your friends whom you think might be interested.

Sometimes authors feel that the academy is against genre fiction. On this panel, we’ll discuss the various ways academia supports and fosters the writing and critiquing of science fiction, fantasy, speculative fiction, and other literatures of the fantastic through workshops, classes, study centers, critiques, scholarly publications, folklore study programs, and conferences (including Wiscon’s academic track!) If you’re interested in learning about, or sharing resources you know, this panel is for you!

In Moments of Tiredness…

All writers have their moments of insecurity.

I mentioned that I keep this journal to keep me honest. Life this week has been all about the institution, and very little about me and my work. I feel like I’m procrastinating. Finally, tonight! I see some time to write.

I miss the activity of my inbox. When I was submitting the completed work to agents, there was a buzz of correspondence. Now there are minor skirmishes of occasional activity, but for the most part, I feel disconnected from the world of the business of writing.

So, I must remind myself from my own list. 😀

11. The industry is not the measure of your success. Attention is not the measure of your success. Of course you want to send your work out, make smart marketing decisions, and try to share. The measure of your success is stories written and sent. You can’t convince the world it wants your work, but you certainly can’t do anything at all unless you’re telling stories.

12. Realize that success in writing, like success in anything, is really more about persistance than anything else. Write, learn to market selectively and well, and then market selectively and well. There will be a learning curve. You will battle obscurity. You will make mistakes and get rejections. BUT eventually you’ll have enough circulating and people will know who you are, and you’ll learn the tricks, and your writing will line up with someone’s taste, and more and more things will be accepted.

In the past year, I’ve circulated Substance of Shadows, and its possibilities are still alive. I’ve complete Hulk Hercules: Professional Wrestler, which Cats Curious likes, and which will be published. Drollerie Press still has plans to publish Sister Night, Sister Moon. I have two short stories out for consideration. I have a complete read and a partial read out. I’ve contributed to two charitable collections. One story has been published in the Drops of Crimson ezine. I’m 16K into my new project, and well underway on applying for a workshop.

I am counting my blessings here. I wonder why, even with all that, it takes such a short time for me to devolve into someone who thinks they have made no headway at all? Ah, such are the mysteries of the writerverse.

So, tonight, it’ll either be a rough draft of my VP cover letter, or some serious work on my novel’s outline. I mean it. I won’t get my mailbox jumping again thinking about the beginning of the semester. Need some creative *me* time.

I’m very curious about all of you. Does this feeling of doubt ever go away? Or does it morph usually into a different, subtle, sinister form?

Bah. January.


Blood Post

I adore my new office. I realize now that part of the problem with the old office was claustrophobia when students would descend. This office, we can convene around a table, and I’m also safely behind a desk. They sit, I type, we do this well.

But I’m not here to sing praises of blond wood and gray metal. Or even how I have my Dalek here, and I can press the “Exterminate” button at whim. No, it’s for the early in the week install of Blood is Thicker than Water.

AND to say that it looks like Odyssey is out. I could get the six weeks off, and I might have stretched to save the money deficit myself. The trick, however, is all in the timing of Professional Development funds, and the college on the whole is kinda out for this fiscal year, which would wipe out all hope of financial assistance I might have had.

However, Viable Paradise is next fiscal year for the college, and fits the budge of professional development like a glove. Of course, getting in is a whole ‘nother pail of clams, and there’s no guarantee that the college will give me the cash. That said, it looks like those two pieces dovetail together quite nicely. So, now that I’ve done the budget, checked out all the peripherals, and asked for the professional development application, it’s time to start on the writing piece and the VP cover letter, not necessarily in that order.


Happiest of book days this week to Jim Hines and and Joshua Palmatier, whose journals I enjoy. In Jim’s case, I like his work, and in Josh’s case, I’ll be happy to try it. Keep on writing, gentlemen.

Night class tonight. Gotta close things down. See you tomorrow. If you’re lucky.

Gossamer and Veridian Plans: Applications and Drafting

I’ve rested as much on my laurels as I can in regard to past material, and now that I have some readers to help me, I can make some definite plans.

The first thing I need to have done, and I want it done in two weeks, by January 17th, is to have a summation of where the novel is going. I need some idea of how Feldspar’s plans are unfolding, and I need to look at other character’s motivations. My God, this sounds suspiciously like…outlining!!!

After that, I will polish up the summary and submit it and part of the work for Odyssey and Viable Paradise, along with applications and materials. I thought about sending off Mark Twain’s Daughter, but honestly, since this is the novel I’ll be working on, this makes more sense.

By the end of January, my goal for G&V will be one chapter every two weeks, send to Team G&V (Yo, Jenn, Cat, and Yvonne). This process should start February 1st.

Beginning tomorrow, then, I’ll lay some pipe for this story, see how much verbiage that is, and figure out how much of the real McCoy I can send with the rest of the two workshop aps.

It’s good to have a plan. Little goals and personal deadlines keep me honest. How about you guys?