It’s been a bit of a long week (really, there is nothing like cats for being able to cause a sudden bolt to the emergency vet; he’s fine, bless and damn his furry little butt), but I had a really lovely day today. Think I finally figured out what I need to do to get the framing on a story working, and then got to go out. I don’t get out a lot, and I’m really glad I got to see people.
It looks like I’m going to be teaching again in the winter semester. I’m looking forward to that, and hopefully I’ll manage it a bit better the second time around; there was a bit of a learning curve last time and I think that slowed me done.
I’m going to try to focus on finishing edits for the rest of the year, rather than starting new stories. Surrey’s coming up next month, and there’s something specific I want to have ready for that, so that at least provides some structure to the pile.
I have another novella drafted (that sound you hear in the background is the sound of me despairing of finishing anything before winter; the drafting went fairly quickly, but the revisions generally don’t, and right now I mostly have a lot of things that need revision). I also went to WorldCon, which was what WorldCons usually are; full of people I did not have enough time to catch up with (some of them have been making their own ribbons!), possessed of fascinating panels with conflicting scheduling, and generally a happy experience. I collected many signatures and made it to the Hugos.
My sleep schedule still hasn’t quite steadied. I expect it will over the next week, and then I will spend the first few weeks back home getting up at 5 a.m. or so. (Yes, I am hoping this works out as writing time.)
There’s an effort being made to create a Hugo for games–you can read about it at www.gameshugo.com–and I’m really hoping that that succeeds. Possibly more thoughts on that later; for now, this was the fifth and final day of the con and I can’t do more than mutter vaguely about “Powered by the Apocalypse”-this and “Choice of Games“-that and “the decision to not give the player character the option to ask about weird and surreal details in Kentucky Route Zero is a subtle but powerfully-effective way to suggest that the strangeness of the setting is normalized to some degree!”-other.
I have recovered from April! Unfortunately, we’re over halfway through May, so.
The combination of “fiscal year end” and “end of term” was interesting. I really enjoyed the chance to teach, and from the (safely anonymized) student comments I didn’t do too badly? I’d like to do it again (although as a part-time professor, I won’t get the chance until winter).
I’m currently looking for stories to recommend for a slightly updated version of the course. I’m largely trying to keep it to prose, and looking to the Hugos and Nebulas as a filter, but it’s still going to be a bit of work.
I went to TCAF this weekend past! It was honestly fantastic, and I had a great time. Came back with a few more books than I was expecting, but it was a great weekend, and the trip each way gave me a lot of time to read. I’m hoping to get some reviews up.
On a personal note, I just handed in my comments on the page proofs of a story that should be coming out later this year, and I’m generally feeling pleased with that.
Well, we’ve had stretches of full thaw interrupted by days of below-zero temperatures and snow, but I’m pretty sure spring is going to actually show up shortly, and stick around.
Work (both jobs) seems to be going pretty well overall. I got an encouraging rejection recently, and I’m pausing to be glad for editors in the world who actually manage to deliver those kindly, because it was actually a really nice email to get. (Yes, the story’s been resubmitted.)
It occurred to me today that I’m looking at travelling to up to three cons this year–two conventions and a conference–and I’m thinking that should be about the most I plan for. I’m not sure I’ll make it to all three; I am sure, however, that planning for more than three is going to end up draining me before I get there, so none of that.
And in other news, Camp NaNoWriMo is being surprisingly motivating this year. I’m trying something new. (I’m also repeating every “fail faster” fragment of advice I’ve ever heard to myself. It seems to be helping.)
It’s actually above freezing here, for a change. Some of the sidewalks are still covered with three or four inches of ice, so the thaw isn’t helping much there, but the roads are getting steadily clearer. (And it does help with the sidewalks which aren’t covered with that much ice, so really, all to the good.)
The end of February (and the end of Google Events, dammit) came on a lot faster than I was expecting, so this weekend has been a lot of catch-up. I updated my record of rejections and got four stories out on submission. Skype seems to be working as a Google Hangouts alternative, at least, so that’s a plus.
I found out today that TCAF is coming up and at least two creators whose work I am really smitten by (Junji Ito and Emily Carroll) are going to be there, so I may try making it out in May. Looking at the logistics this next week coming up.
First off, you may note that my avatar has changed; it is currently an illustration by Claudia Cangini in the vein of the After The War RPG, which will be debuting on KickStarter in a few weeks–on November 12–at which point I’ll be able to share the story I wrote for it.
October was a one-convention, one-conference, one-vacation month in the middle of crunch time, which means the time off was lovely but also extremely dense. Coming back to work has been a bit of a shock, but I think I’m catching up on things again.
A final note: I went to the Surrey International Writers’ Conference and would love to go again; I have not taken notes like that since university, and I feel like my brain is still digesting quite a bit. It was lovely to see people (I finally met Cat Rambo in person!), it struck me as an incredibly well-planned conference, and there was karaoke.
I should have another short piece coming out soon, set in the After the War universe–details soon! I’m very pleased to have been invited to write for the setting, and I hope you enjoy it when it comes out.
Crit group was yesterday. I am very lucky to have my crit group; they are a thoughtful, well-informed group who manage to articulate a lot about expectations and pacing and emotional weight and signalling, and even when it’s not my story getting critted it is honestly so good to be able to hear everyone else’s thoughts.
Consider that my writerly advice, rather than going on about adverbs. Find people who can give you good critique and treasure them. I find it’s too easy to be looking at your story and seeing what you meant to put in there rather than what’s actually on the page, otherwise. (Admittedly, I once wrote a story about a couple of fictional characters come to life and completely forgot to mention anywhere in the story that that was what they were. So I’m particularly prone to blind spots. Also I once wrote a story that I forgot to mention was about fictional characters coming to life, so you may want to take any advice I offer with a grain of salt.)
Also yesterday, I finished handwriting the edits to a 13,500 word story, and am now typing them up. I’m suspecting I will need to give it another editing pass, and it’s going to end up in the nearly completely unsellable length of 15-16K words, but it will be done.
I’ve also finished my travel arrangements for Scintillation and the Surrey International Writer’s Conference, so October is going to be a very full month, but at least one that’s well organized.
Clarion West is a non-profit literary organization in Seattle; it runs both a six-week workshop for writers in the summer, and one-day workshops for writers throughout the year.
They also do a yearly fundraiser to help keep the workshop going and support scholarships, which is the six-week Clarion West Write-a-thon. It starts tomorrow, and I’ve signed up for it again this year; I’m aiming to write a thousand words a week for six weeks, and revise three short stories.
I’d love to help raise even a little to help keep the workshop going. If you’d like to sponsor me, here’s my page for the Write-a-thon; if you’d like to look at the other authors who are working on it, there’s a full list (137 as of this writing!) available here.
I may need to add another line to my side-tracker; I’ve got two pieces where someone’s indicated that they’re interested in publishing them, but it feels premature to mark them as acceptances since I haven’t gotten a contract yet. At the same time, they’re not really out in the “out and seeking responses” way that pieces that haven’t gotten a response are (and let’s be honest, that is the state a story spends most time in when it is out in the world).
I’ll probably leave it as is for now. Just a note for something to keep in mind going forward, I guess.
Another boatload of library holds for the Hugos came in, so I suspect that’s going to be a lot of my free time month, and I’m going to start entering my votes on the ballet. I’m hoping to organize my free time better this month, and actually get to a slightly weird writing project as well as the more typical ones I’m planning.
I was going for a catchy title, but my first thought was something about how high up we are and then I realized (1) I’m not actually sure how high up we are and (2) my sleep-deprived brain is now humming a snatch of an 80s (?) song that is just “niiightmare— at twenny thousand feet!” over and over. So so much for that.
The last week was okay. I got all my Clarion West Write-a-thon rewards out, although I am desperately behind on resubmitting stories. A project I was on at work got cancelled Thursday afternoon, and I spent a lot of Friday being alternately mildly sad–I’d spent a lot of time and overtime on it, and am as vulnerable as anyone else to the emotional impact of the sunk costs fallacy–and pleasantly surprised that I wasn’t more annoyed.
We should land in about an hour (although this post won’t go up until I get onto the Frankfurt airport free WiFi). I’m going to sit here, see what I can see out the window, and slowly wake up.