Archive for February, 2008

Feb 29 2008

Enter Woman, writing

Published by under Life

You can check out my Leap Day nattering (and that of my Lovely and Talented Associates) on this happy intercalary day over at the house blog, Words Words Words.

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Feb 26 2008

Still here and scribbling

Published by under Life,Writing

It’s been a hectic month here at the Slutbarn and Dream Cafe. I’ve been doing a lot of shop-work, and a lot of writing work. All seems well on the shop end of things, with some minor stresses that should be gone by the end of the month. I’d prefer to babble a bit about the writing-work end.

If you haven’t heard it here before, you have now and will again, but I’m currently in the middle of a novel work-in-progress. As Steve puts it, it’s my “second first novel” so perhaps a bit slower going as I figure out my writer processes and more about how my creative mind works alongside discovering the actual characters and story. I feel I’m past most of the early writer angst hurdles, as part of my work goes toward establishing a foundation of healthy writer habits wherever possible. Last month and this month I’ve learned that blockage or slow movement in my other daily work will definitely slow down my creative writing, just as a certain level of clutter in my home will also slow down the flow of creativity.

My super-cool project of the month is what I want to spend the most time chattering about tonight. I’ve come up with various tricks and approaches along the way (I’ve been working on this book actively or passively since April) to keep me moving forward and undaunted by the ever-growing scope of the project. Most of these involve taking the oh-my-gods huge giant novel thing and breaking it down into smaller manageable less-scary bits. I have notes and colorful brainstorming posterboards and outlines and am on Chapter 5 in the actual novel work. The past month I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and working on some of the thematic elements, setting, and worldbuilding aspects of the story, and I found to my dismay that since I was writing fewer daily pages during this time, I felt like I was drifting further away from being able to “get into the heads” of my characters. Since this piece is all about the cool cast of characters, continuing this trend would be tragic.

First I compiled a master list of all the characters that have shown up for this novel so far. I labeled individual 8.5×11 sheets of paper each with a name of a character from the list, though I only pinned 2-3 sheets to the wall at one time. Next, preferably as part of a brainstorming session with other smart writers, I wrote down onto the labeled sheets several questions about the characters and how they fit into the world and the story, and left the papers up to stare at for a day or two. Then, preferably in another verbal brainstorming session (that’s how I primarily work; yes, Freak Writer here), I picked the answers to the questions, or at least ones I can be happy enough with to get me through the first draft, writing those down on the sheet as well. Finally, to help make my connection with the character more concrete, I wrote a scene (or a story, depending) with that character as the focus, given all the new information I have gathered in the character “interview”.

Now that sounds like a lot of work, and it is, so I won’t make any promises to stick it out for the whole master character list. However, so far it’s quite fun and working smashingly well; tonight I just finished a 15-page 3500-word short story about the first of the characters examined in this manner. Though I don’t think it will work out this smoothly for all the characters I interview, this particular story seems to be relevant enough that if I can likely either sell it as a “standalone” short story then incorporate it into the novel after, or provide it as “bonus” material to promote the novel. Or both. Or something.

I hope after completing a couple of the character sheets and having a feel for the process, that I can continue that work while also actively producing pages directly on the novel more consistently. Sometimes it’s hard to have patience and give the proper space and time for the story to grow; so far I seem to be maintaining the balance well.

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Feb 05 2008

New Firefly fanfic novel by Steven Brust

Published by under Publication,Writing

The author Steven Brust, best known for his long-running Vlad Taltos fantasy series, has just released a fanfic novel set in the Firefly world. For interested Browncoats, it’s set in the time between when the Firefly TV series ends and the Serenity movie starts, so there are no obvious continuity conflicts. I’ve read it and it’s quite amazing how well Mr. Brust captures each of the Firefly’s characters and the ‘verse in which they live. I’ve been reading Steven Brust novels for ten years now and I believe he deserves all the new fans he’ll get from this project. Browncoats have the delicious treat in store for them of meeting Vlad and Aliera and Morrolan and all the rest for the first time, not to mention the non-Vlad novels that are just as worth the time spent reading them.

It’s a fast read and a delightful one, and should please Brust fans and Firefly fans alike. Take a look at My Own Kind Of Freedom, you’ll be glad you did!

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Feb 04 2008

Inventing words

Published by under Life,Writing

On the off-chance that I actually did invent this in general, and not just in particular (meaning, I certainly invented it in the sense of not having heard it used anywhere else, which isn’t the same thing as it actually not being in use anywhere else), I’ll mention this very useful word:

Ovacious: blend of ova and audacious, gender-specific synonym for the slang words “cocky” or “ballsy”, substitutes for those words quite nicely as needed.

Feel free to use, distribute, and enjoy! I’m going to continue to secretly believe I invented it in general until someone can show me documented evidence to the contrary, as I often like to think I’m clever, and I adore making up words.

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