Monthly Archives: September 2010

2010 Third Quarter Summary ( #amwriting )

First Quarter Summary
Second Quarter Summary

Model Species
Eric took a look at the query letter I had been sending out and significantly rewrote it. We floated it past our friend JT, who gave it an a-okay. Eric and I also decided that I should be more aggressive with my querying. I decided at the beginning of September to send out two queries every Tuesday. Two per week seems to be what I can handle and still stay sane, but I might attempt #10bythen in October. Thirteen rejections so far this year; currently out to ten other agents.

Pas de Chat
Still being posted every Sunday and pimped every Tuesday. I seem to have about 40-45 readers. At some point, I’ll probably clean her up and post her as a PDF, either for free or for a very small bit of money.

Divine Fire and Zeta Iota
Both have been put aside for the moment.

Luck for Hire
I have 10K done on this project. Should be more. We decided to go public with the process and I post pieces of Luck for Hire as I go. There’s been a few mis-steps that have made the website as well as some posts about how Eric and I work. The writing has been slow. Since Luck is contemporarily set, I tend to second guess how things work "in the real world." I probably relied too much on "TV world" when writing Pas de Chat.

Other

  • "Breakfast in the Garden" is set to be published in the January 2011 issue of Bards and Sages Quarterly.
  • My flash story "Consequences" written for 52|250 was included in the editor’s quarterly magazine, thirteen.
  • Luck for Hire posts have been doing #FridayFlash duty. Otherwise, I spruced up two old pieces for fill-in and wrote three new pieces for 52|250.

Analysis
Between writing about process for Luck for Hire and the 30 Days of Writing meme, I’ve been writing more about writing. Good thing? Bad thing? I don’t know. I’ve been enjoying writing more, but I’ve found it hard to get into a good working groove.

Plan
Increase pace on Luck for Hire. I’m shooting for 10K in October. Might do faux NaNoWriMo to make a push to finish a first draft in November. I need to bump things to Eric more often. Otherwise, keep doing what I’m doing. Submit Model Species. Maybe do some posts this month for Book or Treat blog party. More 52|250 entries.

30 Days of Writing: Day #28 – Disabilities ( #amwriting )

28. Have you ever written a character with physical or mental disabilities? Describe them, and if there’s nothing major to speak of, tell us a few smaller ones.

In Weordan, there are the facere who are pretty firmly on the autistic end of the thought spectrum. They are a linchpin in the fuel eater society. I have a minor character in Model Species that is a facere and a major character, Ysenof, in Fuel Eaters. (This assumes that one considers autism spectrum disorders to be disabilities. Where one falls on the spectrum might be the difference between "difference" and "disability," I suppose.)

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It’s the end of September, but it doesn’t feel like the end of September. The temps haven’t significantly dipped below 100. I have Halloween decorations up, but my candles are melting. And my orange marshmallow pumpkins too.

Played a decent game of disc today. Nearly half the players were from my league team, including Paul, one of our new guys. Fun. Sweaty fun since it was probably in the high 90s, but still some good play.

The current scene of Luck for Hire would work better if I actually…uh…wrote it. Tomorrow I take a look at the third quarter.

30 Days of Writing: Day #27 – Keeping Up Appearences (#amwriting)

27. Along similar lines, do appearances play a big role in your stories? Tell us about them, or if not, how you go about designing your characters.

A big role? Not overall, but situationally.  Weordan is a different world, so a reader might notice that the people of Weordan look differently, skin-color-wise. Since the stories are told within the context of the world, I never expressly comment as an author on the differences. Joanne of Pas de Chat has a "condition" that gives her skin splotches. She also has a scar from a childhood accident. Otherwise, my characters kind of follow my lack of fashion awareness. I’m also a little face-blind and I wonder if that plays into my non-description of characters.

Something I noticed when doing my urban fantasy "tasting" was that so many of the writers gave very vivid descriptions of characters’ clothes. For my taste, too vivid. As a reader, I don’t really care that much about what characters are wearing unless it has some bearing on the character’s ability to do things, or if it’s the kind of detail that *really* tells me something that I need to know about the character.

—###—

My back is a little sore today, but in a good way. I wonder if running barefoot on grass engages my core more than running in shoes on a treadmill. When the weather finally cools down, I might start running in the baseball outfield once a week or so.

30 Days of Writing: Another Two-fer (Days 25 & 26)

25. Do any of your characters have pets? Tell us about them.

Not really. In some incarnation, Marie probably has a horse she’s fond of, but she’s provincial. Her horse isn’t exactly her pet. There are sentient moths in the Weordan books, but nobody would be dumb enough to consider one a pet.

26. Let’s talk art! Do you draw your characters? Do others draw them? Pick one of your OCs and post your favorite picture of him!

While I play around with art occasionally, my abilities don’t hold up to my mental vision. (My OCs? OC? er…)

—###—

Chris was in town this weekend between training. We went to dinner with him and his family and Brittany (Chris’s girlfriend) and her family on Saturday and lunch with the two of them today. And in between we talked Brittany into playing two on two ultimate frisbee with us. Chris and I on one team; Eric and Britt on the other. She has good catching ability, but Chris and I were victorious today due to my being in "ultimate" shape and being semi-used to playing in the heat. Played most of the time barefoot. Made my ankles feel like they were actually working. I’ll see what kind of soreness I experience tomorrow.

I have not gotten anything done yet today…

30 Days of Writing: Day #24 – Murder!

24. How willing are you to kill your characters if the plot so demands it? What’s the most interesting way you’ve killed someone?

Very willing. This shouldn’t be a surprise considering my philosophy about characters being the drivers of plot. Death makes good drama. Would Hamlet be as good if it didn’t end the way it does? Or Se7en? Sometimes an author has to show that he/she means business, that no one is safe. I have to give Joss Wheadon that; killing off a good-guy in the ninth episode of a series is gutsy.  (I’m talking Angel here. Usually Wheadon saves death for the end of the series.) That doesn’t mean I don’t get a little misty-eyed when it has to be done. Writing is playing god. Shouldn’t a god be a sad when she has to destroy a creation, even if it’s for the the good of the story?

I’ve done some interesting deaths, but telling about them is pretty spoilery. Then again, one of my favorite deaths is in Lucinda at the Window and it’s available for download: Chapter 1 (pdf).

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No usual piece of #FridayFlash or Luck for Hire this week, but I do have a short, very non-canon Luck piece up at 52|250. I wrote it in the plane last week. Otherwise, I’m working slowly on Luck. Summer is over. I need to start kicking some literary butt.

During the past week I’ve done a minor survey of urban fantasy. I’ll admit it, and this opinion may not make me popular: this isn’t a genre I particularly care to read. At least not in it’s paranormal kick-ass chick incarnation. It’s just…not my thing. Of course, this once again makes me wonder about my relationship with works authored by women (since six of the eight books I looked at were by women). Only three of the 20+ books I’ve read this year are by women. Surely, there have to be books by women that I’d like.  linked to two 2011 books clubs with female authors. Maybe I should give them a try.

30 Days of Writing: Day #23

23. How long does it usually take you to complete an entire story—from planning to writing to posting (if you post your work)?

Every project is a bit different, and I don’t exactly keep track. Lucinda at the Window took about a year, though I was still putting polish on it in 2000 (after starting it in 1998). I worked on the Two Sprawling Fantasy Novels from sometime in 2000 until about mid 2004. The idea for the character of Marie originated in 1998. Pas de Chat was drafted in 4-5 months. It was also based on a character from 1998 and a short story that I wrote in 2000 (which took me a couple of months to write, I think). And then there’s Weordan. I started working on Weordan as a project in 2004 for NaNoWriMo. Model Species didn’t start taking shape until the next year. In the five years since then, Model Species is done and pretty polished. Divine Fire (started in 2007?) was finally finished last summer. Fuel Eaters, NaNoWriMo 2006, was restarted as NaNoWriMo 2008. We have a very rough first draft that isn’t near done. With short stories, it’s sort of a do or die thing. If I get rolling on one, it takes a week or two, maybe as much as a month. Flash fiction? Again, if I get going on an idea, a couple hours. This doesn’t mean that "finished" is ever really finished. Editing is on-going. And this doesn’t take into account how long Eric spends on the "planning" phase.

30 Days of Writing: Days #21 & #22

The answer to yesterday’s question was short and I had little else to say…

21. Do any of your characters have children? How well do you write them?

None of my characters have children. I occasionally write short pieces from a young person’s POV, but not often. None of my stories thus far have called for a child character.

22. Tell us about one scene between your characters that you’ve never written or told anyone about before! Serious or not.

Okay, I suppose it’s best to take a moment and differentiate what sorts of writing I do. The first and most basic type is free writing. This is spewing on paper and is almost always done with paper and pen. This is where I bitch and complain about life (more so than I do here) and occasionally work out story details. For the purposes of this question, I don’t really count what’s been done as free writing because it’s all half-assed ideas and snippets.

The second type can be labeled "Projects." Projects are the novel(s) I work on in collaboration with Eric. Scenes may get written for a novel that never get used or get cut later. A whole character was cut from Model Species. I expected there to be more unused scenes while working on Luck for Hire, but that hasn’t happened yet. (I do have a probably non-cannon 52|250 piece featuring Mr. Luck coming out on Friday…) Again, things that get exorcised in the process of revision fall by the wayside of my mind. Regardless, these scenes get written and most often looked at (by Eric).

The third type we’ll call "Me Only" writing. Lately this has been random #FridayFlash or 52|250 pieces. Short, one-offs originating pretty much from my brain only. No Eric involvement. In the past, Me Only has included the occasional short story and even some bits and pieces of a never worked-out novel. In this case, sure. There are scenes between characters that have never been seen. I even have a short story that I haven’t written which obviously includes some scenes between characters that I, well, haven’t written.

I’d say a weakness of this meme has been that it assumes that I only have one group of characters. Or rather, maybe I’ve been interpreting that questions too broadly and should only use my current work-in-progress. Which would be boring since it’s only 10K words long at the moment.