Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Got my first full manuscript request, getting over being sick. Yeah, it's been a crazy weekend. :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Broke 30K. And it actually sounds like my character has her own voice now. That's a good thing, I think.

Friday, November 6, 2009

I will hit 10K in NaNo today. It doesn't matter that I'm pathetically behind. I'm also pathetically optimistic.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Finally stayed up and NaNoWriMo'd at midnight. Realized I was way too tired to write anything coherent.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

End of Round 1

Since I started writing and submitting short stories, my focus has been heavily on the SFWA qualifying markets. To make sure I didn't mess up and send two stories to one magazine or the same story to two different magazines at any given time, I set up a document that kept track of 1) What were the qualifying magazines, 2) Which of my stories, if any, fit in each one and 3) Which stories were out with which magazine now.

As I wrote more stories, it became clear that the list was getting long and hard to manage, so I started creating separate documents, naming them "round 1", "round 2", ect, keeping track of four stories in each.

Today, I sent off the last story from "round 1." These stories are the ones I first started to submit with almost two years ago (and most of them were at least a couple years old at that point). Of the four stories, one showed success, winning an Honorable Mention in Writers of the Future, and for my first try, that counts for something, I think.

I've noticed a lot of growth in my work over the past couple years, looking at the differences between these first pieces and my current ones. I'm looking forward to more.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Back from Writing Boot Camp

Here it, the official Clarion West 2009 post. A lot of people have been asking me lately how my "writing thing," as I started calling it, went. In summary, from mid-June to the end of July, I lived in a sorority house with seventeen other writers. Each day, three or four of us were scheduled to e-mail a story to the group (and to Kinko's, who printed copies and delivered them). The group then had a day to read the stories, and the following morning, we would critique them. The story length varied from just under a thousand words to over ten thousand words.

It's been difficult coming back after such a demanding and foreign routine. Before Clarion West, I was used to squeezing writing and reading into small cracks in my day. Suddenly, not only being permitted, but expected to spend huge amounts of time on both, was disorienting. Now, being back for a couple weeks, I'm experiencing the opposite. I don't have 20,000 words to critique by tomorrow at 9am, but I do have a normal day job I need to get to. And writing needs to find its little place in my schedule again. I do believe, though, that while Clarion West was a wonderful experience, it's something that has to be built on. A professional writing career is not made better by locking yourself in a room and doing nothing but writing. Strong writers need to have a wealth of life experiences.

A couple other things I learned on my trip:
1. The Writing Business is really, truly, we're-not-saying-this-just-to-make-you-feel-better, a subjective business.
2. Fellow writers are a valuable resource, and one not to be wasted.
3. Writer's block lasts as long as I want it to.

One of my biggest fears when I went to Clarion West was that I would only be able to write maybe four stories. I wrote seven, including a small flash fiction piece. I still think there really, truly, are bad times to write (running on three hours of sleep is one of them). I still think that one week is an insanely short period of time to finish a story in. But I also think that a serious author always has something she can be working on, even she doesn't know what it is yet.

Thanks, everyone, for being so supportive while I was away. I'm working on setting up a Clarion West '09 links page. I'm also really looking forward to a new school year starting. I'm sure it will bring lots of great memories, and hopefully some great stories too.


P.S. If you plan to make a career out of writing speculative fiction, I would definitely consider applying to Clarion West, even if you're not sure you're writing is "good enough" yet. The workshop is about improving as a writer, not for proving how wonderful a writer you already are.

Monday, August 3, 2009

I'm back, but my sleeping schedule is way off with the time difference. That and I stayed up until 2am three nights in a row before leaving.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Last Post Until August

As many of you know, tomorrow I am leaving for Clarion West, a six-week intense writing workshop in Seattle. There are eighteen students and six instructors: John Kessel , Karen Joy Fowler , Elizabeth Bear, Nalo Hopkinson , David G. Hartwell , and Rudy Rucker.

I'm nervous, but excited. (Really, at this moment, I'm singing a song called, "Nervous, But Excited.")* The lovely packet of info we've gotten suggested that I cut myself from all other human contact for the duration of the workshop. Okay, it doesn't say that verbatim, but I do know that I spend a large amount of time on the Internet, a block of time that I won't have at my disposal while I'm there. So from June 19th through August 10th I will not be available via e-mail, nor will I be able to respond to comments on my blog/Facebook/Twitter/ect. (Yes, I'm aware that the workshop ends on July 31st. I need my travel and recouping days.)

While I won't be making longer blog posts over the summer, I will keep up with my microblog posts and well as my status. (It's a good ten-second break when I'm stuck.) I hope you'll all continue to put up with me during that time. Pray for my sanity when you get the chance.

See you all again in August!

*The author of the post apologizes for the bad SNL reference and blames it purely on her lack of sleep at the time of this writing.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Finding the Right Word

You know, um, that thing, what's it called, when you're looking for a word and you don't know what it is? I have that problem constantly. The word's on the tip of my tongue, and I can't get it out. I keep thinking of other words that have a similar meaning, or that sound like the word I'm looking for, but they aren't it. Anyone have any good strategies for that?

So far this is the only thing that's helped me: I create a new document and just start writing down all the words that I know aren't what I'm looking for, but I'm thinking of anyway. Most of the time, when I see them all listed in front of me, the right word finally hits. This is a list I came up with recently when I wanted to describe someone having trouble breathing. I knew I wanted it to fit into the phrase "her ______ breaths."

This is the list that I generated:
fought for

Clearly, "heating" had nothing to do with anything, I probably only thought of it because it sounded like "heaving," but I wrote it down anyway. Finally got to the word "labored" after six tries.

Feel free to share your strategies for getting that right word in the comment section. I'd love to hear them!

Monday, June 1, 2009

So now Amazon has a bigger, more expensive Kindle. Not encouraging me to buy. Make one that costs less than my laptop and I'm interested.