The Productive Writer Gig

FYI, it’s not too late to contribute to the Clarion Write-a-thon. I don’t care who you give to. I care that you give.

Let me make this easy for you:

Cool graphic link:

Shop the authors.

Remember, Clarion took some heavy cuts this year in funding. It is a great place for writers to learn, and one of the few places that is specifically designed for genre writers to learn their craft.

So, send them some money!

And yes…I have been writing on schedule. This is chapter 8 week, and I’m rough drafting that RIGHT NOW. Okay, not right now, right now, but this week right now.

Seriously though, we’re finished on August 7th, so you need to get that cash in.


Midnight, and the Writers are Sleepy

I am destined to not make it out of Boston cleanly. United had us at the gate on the plane for a while as we had generator issues. We did leave, and I figured I’d missed my flight. Poor Chicago weather delayed my connection, so I made it on! I arrived in Cedar Rapids about midnight, Bryon came and picked me up, and we hit the hay at 1:30.

It’s been a low key day, but luckily I’m on vacation.


The Clarion Write-a-thon continues apace. This is the week of chapter 7, and I got a good jump on that yesterday. More about this to come.


In transit, I also read books: The Last Chevalier, Red Hood’s Revenge, A College of Magics, and Extras. I’ll have something to say about all of those eventually.


It was fantastic to see about 1/4 of my VP workshop buddies over the weekend. We hung out, a lot. Perhaps the most interesting facet of the convention was that hanging out seemed to inspire creativity in us all. We would talk, do a few panels, and wander away to our rooms to sleep or write. And then we’d get together and talk about what we were doing. It makes me think that maybe what we want to do is save our pennies for reuniting at writer’s retreats, rather than hooking up at cons, but you guessed it, more on that later too.

Shout outs also to Sarah Prineas, who wasn’t there but said hello, Eugene Myer, who one can have an action-packed hall conversation with, and Elizabeth Bear for the 4th Street information. Our reading went very well, and hanging out with alumns and meeting more VP folks and nice writing people was just good.

I won’t be going to Readercon next year, as I’m already booked for North American Discworld in Madison the same weekend. While I liked Readercon fine, it’s not going to be one that is a must go for me. I missed my Wiscon with its open parties and it’s less hierarchical structure, and its feminist vibe. It was a little bit like going to Disney World first, and then going to Disneyland–I should have done it the other way around.

Priority one is writing the novel this week, but I’ll try to get back her and say something interesting and relevant. Right now, I’m thinking more dozing.


An In-Between Moment

Hey there.

I’m back from Convergence, where both Bryon and I usually have a great time. This time was no exception. I enjoyed myself immensely, if not always because of the convention, then certainly because of what Minneapolis has available.

We saw Voltaire sing, I had a great visit with Caroline, the Broad Universe Rapid Fire reading went smoothly, and I saw Labyrinth and part of Wrath of Khan in Cinema Rex.

A couple of the more interesting panels I saw were an anthropological examination of Steampunk, and a Dr. Who writer’s stories about working for Russell T. Davies.

Went to see Last Airbender Sucked all the joy right out of it, and sort of missed the point of the original. I hypothesize that if you haven’t seen the original cartoon, you’ll be scratching your head a lot.

All ready signed up for next year’s Convergence, and took the time to register for North American Disc World in Madison next year as well.

Yes, I am still writing for the Clarion Write-a-Thon. This is the week of chapter six. Why don’t you send in some money? To any of us? Even me, if you like…


Writing, Reading, and Reading Out Loud

The English front office is weird today. I’m…the only one here. Which I did not expect, and which makes me wonder if I should get trained in how to contact all these folks if there is no one here.

We interview our last job candidate today. I hope the rest of the committee turns up. I baptized myself with about a third of this morning’s latte, so at least I’ll smell like Grandma’s kitchen for the interview.


Write-a-thon: Why yes, I have finished chapter 5. Yes, that is four days earlier than planned, thank you. So, right now, I’m reading through the first five chapters and ramping up the description factor. Sunday begins chapter six. So far, on schedule.

The Writing Process: I think I’ve covered what I do for revision, but I haven’t talked about proof reading. I do have to confess that I am the worst proofreader of my own stuff in the world, and I often default to good friends who are awesome proofreaders (my friend Lisa can spot a misspelled word from across a crowded room). It’s important, no matter how lazy, and/or type A you are, to put the work down for a couple of days and look over spelling, punctuation, and spacing. Don’t be like Grandma Cath. Do this carefully. It’s important.


Because I’ve been focusing on writing in my spare time, I’m not doing any panels. However, I am doing a reading. That would be the Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading with me and Kathy Sullivan, and it would be Friday from 3:30-4:30 upstairs in that literary place it always is. I will be reading the Augean Stables bit from Hulk Hercules, O-Taga-San, and if there’s still time, the Hephaubot scene from HH.

I like reading at conventions. I’ll be doing it next week again at Readercon. I think I might do a post on how to ramp that up, eventually.

One more thing to post for today, and then I’ll move on.



Update for those following the write-a-thon: My current goal is rewriting a chapter a week. Last night I breezed through a great deal of chapter 5. I have one more scene to add in tonight, and then I can move forward. That was faster than expected.

I’d like to talk about one more aspect of revision before I let that topic go, and that’s rhythm. How many of you take the time to read your work aloud after you’ve completed the basic story? I think it’s a very important step in making sure that your writing sounds good and that you don’t have those evil sentences that begin and end with the same words. If you like the way words sound, I think it’s almost indispensable.

How do you handle the flow of your sentences?



That was a blindingly busy weekend. We had dinner with friends on Friday, moved the in-laws to a more accessible apartment and had another dinner with another friend Saturday, and saw that most cultured of films, Jonah Hex with a third friend on Sunday. The evening was polished off with a psychedelic movie about Revelations.

And…I got my line edits for Crystal Vision (the next Swill, coming out in August), and had to respond to a series of interview questions for the local paper Iowa Source about Hulk Hercules.

So, yes, I am going to spend my evening catching up for the Write-a-thon, as I need to make up some time for yesterday.

Great big and all kinds of shout-outs to Catrina, Shannon, and Brent, who have already sent lovely money. Remember guys, every bit helps a fledgling writer.

Gotta go get a shot, buy some spaghetti, and get my butt in a chair.


Clarion Write-a-Thon

Let’s talk for a moment. Frankly.

What does a workshop mean to a writer? What does it mean to a writer that they can work uninterrupted on their craft? What does it mean to a writer to gain insights from professionals in the field to help them on their way to a writing career? What does it mean to a writer to be in a classroom setting that believes in genre fiction, and takes it SERIOUSLY?

To this writer, it meant a lot. I was very lucky that my college (Kirkwood Community College, gem of the Midwest) paid for my trip to Viable Paradise so that I could meet wonderful people, receive invaluable instruction, and feel that I was taken seriously as an author. Now, it’s time for payback.

UCSD Clarion is sponsoring their first annual Write-a-thon this year. The timing is right. I will be finished with teaching on July 1st, so there’s only about a week of overlap. The money goes to scholarships for writers who can’t afford Clarion else wise. I’m participating.

Other people I know are participating too. I don’t care if you sponsor me or them. The point is that you sponsor someone, that you give an emerging writer who might not be able to afford this experience a chance to study and gain support for their work.

If you’re interested in sponsoring Catherine Schaff-Stump, just click on my name. If you’re interested in sponsoring other writers, this link will get you there.

Notice that not only is Clarion UCSD having a workshop, but so are Clarion West and Clarion South. Your choices are abundant!

What is my writerly goal? To finish the troll novel rewrite 3, to get that baby out to agents and publishers. I was going to do this anyway. Now I’m doing it for a good cause.

Thanks for your help. In the future, the book shelf you line may be your own.