So. Nanowrimo. I spent a lot of time considering which idea I’d tackle this year. I’ve got a whole cache of ideas waiting: a post apocalyptic one, a werewolf one, a fantasy one, a steampunk version of ‘Puss in Boots’ that’s way cooler than it sounds (and, come on, it sounds pretty cool already). But this year, since I was already exploring mystery in a Gotham online class I decided to tackle a mystery. I’m simultaneously revising a time travel novel and, comparing the genres side by side, I can see all the pros and cons. Writing a modern-day mystery means having to get things right (things like how the legal system works), and you can’t just make that up. I enjoy research, but will admit, it can be a bit exhausting if you’re tackling a profession or a scenario that you don’t know much about. Of course, while you’re free to make up things like “how time travel works” it can be a real challenge making a made-up thing sound at all believable when, say, you know nothing about physics.
I’m bouncing back and forth between the two and wondering if I’ll end up loving contemporary crime fiction more than speculative fiction. Realistically, I imagine compromising and eventually writing sci-fi detective novels. That could be even more awesome than steampunk Puss in Boots.
Disappointment and I are such old friends that I no longer have any qualms about letting myself down. While this is a fabulous approach for self-acceptance it’s not so great for getting things done. So, when a friend recently proposed holding my writing efforts to her standards, I was horrified. After discussing what would amount to a part-time job’s worth of hours-per-week, I promised to email her every day and report in on how much writing I’d done. I was really, really worried I’d acquit myself poorly. That was a month ago. So far it’s been a whole new writing experience. Chores, errands, and diversions of every sort used to preempt my writing because I could just write later. Now, the idea of telling someone else “I decided to rearrange my sock drawer in lieu of pursuing my dreams” makes me cringe.
I’m a little embarrassed at how much writing I wasn’t doing before. But it just goes to show how much it can help to shake things up. Now, when I find I can’t sit at the computer for one minute more, I take a notebook to the kitchen and write longhand, standing at the counter. (A little of that goes a long way, in case anyone’s wondering.) My writing my not have improved (yet) but I’m certainly doing a lot more of it.
Stay tuned. Next up, a new writing class through Gotham and Nanowrimo.
When the Taos Toolbox workshop ended in July, I left better equipped to tackle my writing and with lots of new ideas to consider when it comes to publishing. And then I got back to the nuts and bolts of daily life. Throw a couple of wrenches into the works, and it’s suddenly September, and I don’t seem to have accomplished a thing.
I kept planning to take the time to say something about Taos, but the experience was so complex that I couldn’t sum it up quickly or neatly. I kept planning to apply what I’d learned to my novels-in-progress, but what I’d learned was too much to put into immediate practice (like trying to unpack boxcar in a single afternoon).
So here I am, adding a blogpost to say that I’m doing things. Just not things coherent enough to report on -yet.
I’ve been sitting on this good news for a while: I sold a short story to the “Tides of Possibility” anthology. One of my lessons-of-late as a professional writer has been to never jump the gun on announcing a publication. Things can fall through, so I like to wait until it looks pretty certain, and this one does. The story I sold is the same one that got an honorable mention from the Writers of the Future Contest, so I’m excited that it’s going to be published.
Also, Goodreads is holding a giveaway of a copy of Trust and Treachery, so do pop over and enter for a chance to win.
Taos Toolbox is still two months away but already I’m thinking of making my packing list. (Yes, I’m serious.) I wanted to know more about what to expect, so I searched for blogs by previous attendees. I was very glad to find a post by Amy Sundberg about her experience at the workshop. I contacted her with questions for some specific details and she was very helpful. (She’s a member of both Codex and SFWA, and her blog is really quite good.)
While I have a better idea of what to expect, I still haven’t decided how to get there. I haven’t found an enormous advantage, yet, in the question of drive-vs-fly. So far both options are equal in terms of cost, hassle, and time. Reaching a get-away-from-it-all destination requires, perhaps obviously, getting away from it all…literally.
While I describe myself primarily as a speculative fiction writer, I do occasionally write historical fiction (or spec-fic with historic elements) and also have an academic background in historic architecture and in the settlement of the American West. When it comes to writing about the past, it’s key to stop (a lot more often than you’d expect, really) and ask yourself “how did they do x back then?” or “did x exist in that decade?” Continue reading
Filed under Genre, Writing
For fans of intrigue, my story “Listener” is included in the “Trust and Treachery” anthology which is due out this July. It’s available for pre-order. While I have stories already out in two other collections (“Out of Time” and “In a Land Far Away”), this one was actually my first official fiction sale. It’s a large collection, so publication has taken a couple of years since my piece was accepted. In the meantime, I’m working on submissions for the next two anthologies planned by the Minnows Literary Guild and am also working on my manuscript for the Taos Toolbox workshop this summer.
Moving day has come and gone – at last. The house went on the market back in November. I was so excited, I started packing then. We had a new house picked out, and I dreamed of it for four months while I gradually packed up an entire household’s worth of items. Unpacking happened in just under three weeks, and the new house is a writer’s dream: an oasis of relative quiet after years spent in a bustling neighborhood on a busy street.
In lieu of putting up routine blog posts, I’ve been working on a manuscript for Taos Toolbox and submitting short stories thither and yon. “Trust and Treachery” is scheduled to be out next month and should make an appearance at Balticon. Alas, I won’t be able to make it to the convention but am excited that the anthology will soon be available. My story in it, “Listener,” is one my better pieces (if I do say so myself).
I was listening to an older episode of Adventures in Sci-Fi Publishing and ran across an interview with Neil Gaiman. He noted the difficulty of writing when one’s computer offers so many avenues for distraction (from the internet to spider solitaire). He suggested switching the internet off or writing for a while with pen and paper.
Pen and paper. Continue reading
At the start of December I sent an application to the novel-writing workshop Taos Toolbox. A few days before Christmas, I found out that I’d been accepted. Despite the lack of exclamation points thus far, I’m extremely excited. I’m really pleased I got in, and owe a debt of thanks to my critique group (the Minnows), who worked really hard to make sure my application and writing sample were up to par. Continue reading