Tag Archives: Writing

Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch…

I’ve been preoccupied, and that hasn’t included blogging.  Apologies from myself and from Hedda, to those who have missed us.

At the beginning of the new year, it seems appropriate to think about priorities and goals.  My entire life, I’ve been in love with stories, not the act of writing itself.  If I’m going to pursue a writing career, it’s going to be in the world of fiction.  It’s a more difficult goal to achieve, true, but it will also be more worthwhile for me.

Back to priorities, though – I need to work on mine.  I have more hobbies than I can shake a stick at, I always have.  I love trying new things, especially new crafts.  When I discover that I have a small talent for one of them, I’m all over it like butter on toast.  Then older, more beloved pursuits get dropped for a bit until I get over the thrill.  

Clearly, I need to work on that.  

If I’m ever going to take on the career I wish for, I need to finish my books.  I have one book, Underside, which I’m doing another read-through on before I start the third draft.  I have another one that’s been in progress for so long, I’ve lost track of the version numbers.  It’s probably between 3 and 4, but I’m planning a rewrite of the ending.  All I really need is time… and focus.

I’m working on it.  Meantime, one of those pesky other hobbies has turned into a paying gig.  I acquired a copy of a board game with plastic miniatures, Super Dungeon Explore, an adorable anime-style game.  I was painting the bits for myself when I was offered a trade… someone’s brand-new game for my painted game, plus cash money.  I only hesitated because time is a precious commodity here over at the bunny pond, and I’m going to miss having my own painted game… but I’ll make time to paint it again, just not as quickly.

This brings up an interesting possibility of painting and selling miniatures… but I’m not that talented (or delusional).  This deal is going down because I have more time on my hands than Mr. J., who is buying my work.  Maybe if I put more time into painting… but that would take away from my writing, my one true love.  Painting is just a phase I’m going through 😉

Happy New Year, all.  I leave you with a few goals of mine for the coming year…

1. Finish that dratted third draft of the WIP and get it edited.  The goal is to do this by end of January.

2.  Get an actual author site up and running that’s more than just a free blog.  This will happen sometime soon.

3.  Find a cover artist, go through all the other steps of self-publication.

4.  Get traction on this blog again

5.  Increase my daily word count.  1500 words a day can’t be that hard – I was doing 2500 to 3000 during November.  I did NaNoWriMo, and while I ‘won,’ I also wound up with the roughest rough draft I’ve ever seen in my life.  If I could set a computer file on fire, that story would be ashes right now.  Instead, it’s buried on my hard drive with the last successful NaNo attempt.

A Fine Line Between Stephanie Meyer and Arthur C. Clarke?

The internet says I write like Arthur C. Clarke.

I write like
Arthur Clarke

I Write Like. Analyze your writing!

Clearly, this is a reliable source, because they got his name right and everything.

The first try at this, I provided only one paragraph of the novel I’m working on, and it told me I write like someone I’m really not a fan of.  After I recovered, I added a few more paragraphs and it gave me results that I like. Wisely, I’m stopping there, and I’m going to continue with the second draft of my book.

Edit: The more pages I add, the more it changes. I can’t seem to stop. I became giddy when analysis of 5 pages told me I write like Stephen King. I can’t top that so I’m stopping. For real this time.

Another Fractal Friday Already?

I’m afraid so.  Hedda and I were working on another article on love, she has a lot of wisdom to share, but she became distracted when we got rid of the Ugly Couch and found this:

Image

She thinks we’ve been invaded by Borrowers. She’s been watching the hole with such vigilance that she’s forgotten all about giving advice to the masses.  She’s talking about mounting an expedition into the hole.  I’m talking about buying some spackle.

With that in mind (curse Hedda’s single-mindedness!) I’m left with a Fractal Friday update.

1. Last night I played Universalis for the first time ever.  I had so much fun, I should write a formal review – another thing to put on the list!  I would love to play again, even if it’s something different from the story.  Personally, I wanted to see how it ended, but it was late and the host wanted to go to bed.

We created the story of two kingdoms – one on land, one under the sea.  The badger king sent his Knight Ermine to the underwater kingdom to recover a stolen artifact.  A pirate ferret on the run was in the underwater kingdom, seeking enough treasure to get his high maintenance princess girlfriend to run away with him.  He gets caught up in the Knight Ermine’s quest to find the Golden Hook when the agent of the Leviathan Cult comes after him to steal the magic charm he carries…

Well.  There was more pending, but we ran out of time.  I’d love to finish the story, but more likely we’ll start from scratch last time.  Not everyone in our group liked the talking animals schtick.

2. I have a new but deep love of storytelling RPGs. I haven’t met one I didn’t like – I’m going to be spending a lot of time in the Indy Games room at Gen Con.

3. I had my first serious fangirl moment when I found out Mercedes Lackey is going to be at Gen Con.  She was one of the few women fantasy/sci-fi authors I found when I was a kid.  She made it seem possible for me to do what she does – tell stories.  I wasn’t even this excited about getting Wil Wheaton’s autograph.

Things I’m Working On:

Profiles and a portfolio for freelance work

Plans for an eventual website of my own

The revision of Underside (Novel)

Revising a short story about an alien encounter

Learning SEO – I feel like I’ve got a grip on it, but I haven’t finished the book.  I need to do that before I make official changes to my profiles.

For Public Consumption

The Underside revision continues.  The funny things is, I can point out the exact sentence when I finally figured out where the story was really going.  At that point, I sat down and made new notes about each of the main characters and their motivations.  I wrote down a basic outline of what had to happen by the end of the book.  The writing improved immensely from that point on.

 

That still leaves me with 20,000 words of Fail, but I’m not letting that stop me.  Once I get past this first part, the revision should be smooth sailing.  

 

With nothing more exciting to report, I have a short story I’d like to share, taking a page from Troy Blackford.

 KLAUS

     I dreamed that Klaus told me he was coming, and I woke up believing it.  I took my shower with fear and joy in my heart, his message echoing in my head. 

     He spoke my language so perfectly, I only knew he was foreign because he’d told me so.  Once I knew, it seemed obvious.  Something about the way his O’s circle his tongue, the way his teeth cut his T’s at such sharp angles, they now seem to be neon signs pointing to the fact that Klaus is not from around here.  I wondered, that I never noticed them before.  Without them, he could be from anywhere, somewhere in this country that’s remote and far off, that I’ve heard of but never been to, so its way of speaking is unknown to me.  That could be Klaus’s accent, if he was from my country.  But he isn’t.  He said so, and I believe everything he tells me.

     I hummed his message as I rinsed my hair of shampoo, tasting the vowels, trying to say them just as he had.  “I’m coming,” I repeated, over and over.  “Wait, because I’m coming.”

     My day passed me by, the way it did every day.  I went to the bank.  Customers came to the bank.  I helped them, or I didn’t.  They left, and then I left.  Money changed hands a lot.  None of it was mine.  

     Klaus didn’t come.  After some reflection, I wasn’t surprised.  A bank wasn’t Klaus’s kind of place.  He was more a credit union kind of guy.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he buried his life savings in his back yard. I resolved to do the same, when I had savings to bury.

     I ate my lunch in the park across the street.  Peanut butter and lettuce on wheat.  It was all I had, but I hate the grocery store.  I’ll eat every bite of what I already have before I go to that place.  I’d pay people to buy my food if I could afford it.  Klaus wouldn’t be there either.  If he went to the grocery store, it would be at three in the morning, with no one else there but a couple of drunks and an insomniac.  I thought about grocery shopping so late, the aisles full of no one but stockers with their boxes and pallets, and me with my cart weaving around them.  That might be acceptable.  I might try that.

     Klaus didn’t find me eating my lunch.  I still waited.  The message wasn’t exact.  I knew he would come to me, whether it was that day or in a week, or in a year.  He was on his way, but traveling took time.  I was going to be ready when he did come, waiting for him with perfect patience.

     I have a thing for men in trench coats, I always have.  That isn’t because of Klaus.  He has a shaggy trench coat of his own, but it defies something as ridiculous as having ‘a thing.’  It is its own ‘thing.’  Now that I’ve seen it, all other coats are just echoes of Klaus’s trench, mere shadows that it casts.  Clearly, my attraction to long coats was a premonition of my attachment to Klaus.   

     I had a trench coat of my own, but it’s gone now.  I couldn’t bear to own it anymore.  I thought that it would bring me closer to Klaus.  I wanted to be like him.  But it felt like a joke hanging off my shoulders.  It itched, so I buried it alive.  I can’t match Klaus.  I can’t be that close to him.  I don’t know why I try.

     It was because of trench coats that I met Micah.  Micah’s trench was cashmere and black, trim, concise, even where the coat hung down it seemed spare.  But I encountered it when I wasn’t expecting it, turning a corner.  When I saw the trench I stared, smiling before the thought was filtered through that this was not Klaus’s coat.  It was utterly unlike Klaus’s coat.

I still remembered the message.  I expected him every moment.  I saw Micah’s trench, when I expected Klaus.  When I saw it was someone else, it was already too late.

     Micah had a nice smile, and he asked me to step into the coffee shop with such calm it reminded me of Klaus.  Maybe I went in because I thought he was Klaus, wearing another face.  Maybe I just wanted to smell the coffee.  I didn’t drink my coffee.  I ate Micah’s cookie and listened to his life.  I told him pieces of mine.  He took the pieces and was satisfied.

It was decided we would have dinner together.  I could wait while I ate my dinner, I reasoned.  I could master multitasking. 

     Micah was clever.  He left his trench coat at home, so it would not remind me, as if I needed reminders.  But perhaps I did.  As we talked, as we ate, as we walked in the dark, Klaus receded like the tide, leaving bits of flotsam and treasures on the shores of my mind.  I shared some with Micah.  Some I tossed back into the water.  Some I treasured for myself. 

     Micah taught me about bands, about statements.  He told me about the war.  As we walked to my house, he told me about supernovas and black holes.  He told me about infinity.  I listened to him, but I had nothing to say.  I don’t know anything about infinity.

     Klaus was standing in the shadows on the porch when Micah and I arrived at the house.  I didn’t see him standing there until he stepped forward.  Micah fell silent.  He could see that there was something about Klaus, maybe from the way I moved away from Micah when I saw him, but not towards my visitor.  Maybe it was the way I stopped talking mid-sentence, and the way my breath all escaped at once.

     Klaus looked at me for a long, awkward moment.  I’d been waiting for Klaus to come, but now that he was at my door, I wasn’t ready for him.  I hadn’t prepared.  Micah was with me, and I didn’t know how to make him leave.  I didn’t want to cut ties completely, but I’d been waiting for so long.  I wanted Micah gone.  I wanted Micah to come back later.  I wanted Micah to stay so I had something to hang onto, in case Klaus evaded me again.  I reached for Micah, but dropped my hand before he could take it.

     “I see you’re busy,” Klaus said.  “I’ll come back.”

     “No,” I said.  “Can you wait?”

     But Klaus left.  He was gone before I saw he really was going.  A wicker chair rocked where he’d been.

     “Should I go?” Micah asked.  He was already at the bottom step, ready to leave.  I saw him there and was afraid. 

     “No.  Stay.  Come inside, come upstairs.”  My house had three floors, with garrets and a cupola that was my pride.  I left the first floor mostly unused.  I did my living on the upper floors.

     “All right.”  His chin lifted again.  His cheeks were marble smooth.  He smiled, and they bent, not so much like marble.  He peered into the darkness on the porch.  His smile stayed the same, so I can only assume he saw nothing. 

      Micah followed me inside, up the stairs, and up to my cupola.  We had wine and toasted the infinite stars, or I did, while he helped me drink the wine.  It was sweet and bitter at the same time, like Micah’s lips, and his tongue that did not curl his O’s.  But Micah was there, and within my reach, wanting to touch and be touched.  Wanting clothing to spatter across the floor like paint.  When it was over, Micah slept in my bed under the single sheet, while I sat on the edge.

     I looked out the window and wished I could see the stars.  There was only a blurred light behind the clouds, betraying the moon’s position.  The wind was whistling around the house.  

     Klaus had left.  He would return, he had said so.  Next time, I would be ready for him.  Next time, I would go with him.

I heard Micah’s breathing change, and he closed his fingers around my wrist.  “Come sleep,” he said.  His words were heavy and tired.  His eyes were still closed.

     “Later,” I said.

     “Hmmuma.”  Micah rolled over, releasing me.  I stood up, and I went to the window and looked out.  The tree outside my window made a veil over the glass, showing me the lawn in tatters between the twigs.  I thought I saw the shape of Klaus, against the grass, but when the twigs shivered in the breeze I saw I was wrong.  He was gone.

     I looked the shape of the man under the sheets.  I’d stopped waiting, being with him, and started filling and killing the time.  Klaus had found me not-waiting, because of him.  I closed my fist and went to the stairs.  Next time Klaus comes, I want to be ready and alone.  And clearly waiting.

     So I got the knife, and I used it.  Now I can wait.

     I’ll wait forever, if I have to. 

I Am Paralyzed By Anticipation

I had a short story I was very happy with that was submitted to a magazine in February.  The magazine is supposed to have an eight week response time, but I haven’t gotten a response, not even a rejection.  I feel like if I was going to be accepted, they would have done it by now, but I thought the same about being rejected. I’m pretty sure I’ve waited as long as I’m expected to wait.    Is it okay for me to move on?  Should I keep waiting?  I fear that until I hear one way or the other I’ll be caught in this limbo.  It’s a good thing there are other stories to circulate!

I just finished reading the first draft of Underside, my fantasy novel in progress.  There is a shockingly vast gulf between the book I thought I’d written, and the book that I rediscovered over the last few days.  I have a lot of work to do.

Our Thursday night gaming group is taking a break from Pathfinder to try out other games for a while.  This week will be either Microscope or Fiasco.  I’m voting for Fiasco.  I played it at Gen Con last year, and I’m ready to jump on the chance to play again.  Last night I watched the Tabletop episodes as an entertaining way of reminding myself of the rules while trying to address my sock issues.  Both goals have been attained.

The key to a good day is to set some attainable goals, and then attain them.  Goal #1, dress myself and pack a lunch.  I’m setting myself up for real success here.

Because Dessert Makes Everything Better

The other night I continued work on a short story, working title “…And Dessert Bar on Sundays.”  I had gotten to the end of the original story idea, which involves an alien appearing on a young woman’s property with a very unusual request.  Then I was stuck, trying to think of how to either bring the story to an end, or to bring in a twist to bring some extra interest to the story.

Then I turned on internet radio, started a new channel for Chopin, and it was like flipping a switch.  I got 1100 more words done very quickly on a story that had become a struggle.  They aren’t all good words, I’m sure, but that’s what the rewrite will be for. The phenomenon continued at the next session, when the story grew to the point where I’m no longer sure where it’s going.  Lesson of the day: Chopin is magic.  Music is magic. (Now that’s going to be stuck in my head the rest of today.)

As I write, I often stop and ask myself why it is that so many of my lighter, theoretically funnier stories, have to do with food and eating.  There’s the voracious appetite of trolls in Underside, my urban fantasy in progress, and now the short story I’m working on has a lot to do with food too.  It wasn’t even meant to to be a funny story – but when I sit back and look at the big picture of what’s going on, I just laugh.  Time will tell if that means I’m crazy, or if it’s actually funny.  I think I just find a lot of humor and happiness in food.

I do have an odd sense of humor.  The IT guy came into my office at work recently and said, “Is it hot in here, or is it just me?”  It took him a second to figure out why I started laughing.  After further discussion, turned out that I was perfectly comfortable – and so it was, in fact, him. 😛

My current projects are – revising Underside the novel, finishing the first draft of ‘…Dessert Bar,’ and hammering out a one-shot adventure for The One Ring role playing game for my Thursday night gaming group.  Then there’s this blog – the boyfriend has been asking about another blog post since I put up the first one.  Now there are two more – the one from last night, and the one from this morning.  I had been planning on posting once a week, but if inspiration strikes more often than that, I’m going to post more often than that.

Thanks for reading.