Archive for April, 2008

Apr 30 2008

sapiosexual lust

Published by Reesa under Life, Writing

Well enough to run errands today, yay! Long day.

Must not fall behind on work work stuff, but also have a tight writing schedule this week. Need to finish the zeroth draft of the current short story and Chapter 7 (neither should be hard with the multiple pages of notes for each I have arrayed), plus I need to think up and preferably write the zeroth draft of another short story I’d like to have ready for a contest due the end of this month.

Of course, the story idea that actually came to mind is the one due TWO months from now, rather than a month from now. Of course.

So I wrote a bunch of notes down for that one and am letting it cook on the backbrain. Hopefully the guys will help me brainstorm up an idea or three tonight for the due-earlier tale. Or perhaps tomorrow, it’s been a long day and not sure how much energy I have left.

These mental crushes, how I amuse myself. I love meeting cool people.

I’m still conflicted about Flipside. There’s so much I’ve missed doing at work due to illness, it’s not really the best time to be completely out of touch for five days. On the other hand, lying in bed sick does not an actual vacation make, and I haven’t really had one since LAST Flipside. So. Flip, flip, flip.

Still coming up heads.

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Apr 28 2008

weird story experience

Published by Reesa under Writing

Writing this latest short story, I’m having quite the strange sensation.

I’m enjoying the zeroth draft. I like my scenes. I certainly plan to keep going until the end. But the story, as is, is definitely not working.

It’s mostly working, mind you; it has nearly all of the bits a working story needs. Just perhaps, not quite in the right order yet. Or in correct disorder. Or however it ends up.

It feels weird, writing a story I know just isn’t quite working, is just disjointed enough to be broken, and yet still be enjoying the process and fundamentally liking the story. I’m hoping that means that the fixes are either minor or within my current skill level. I guess I’ll find out soon!

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Apr 27 2008

I’ve been reading about male privilege again this morning

Published by Reesa under Life

Edit: Check out Bear’s collation of some excellent food-for-thought reading on the subject matter here. Especially if you don’t want to be That Guy (or Girl).

Kit was telling me about his experiences yesterday at Eeyore’s Birthday Party in Austin. At one point, some stranger handed him an (unopened) beer. He drank about half of it, then decided he didn’t want to finish it. Near by was another stranger who had a very obvious love affair with beer, having already consumed quite a lot and now shouting at passers-by how much he enjoyed the substance. Kit offered this gentleman the rest of his beer, which the man happily accepted. Hearing this story, not really thinking too deeply about it, I instantly reacted,

“Well, that wasn’t too smart of him, accepting open booze from strangers. Who knew what was in it?”

Which visibly stopped Kit, like a worldview shift head-on will do, before he said, “Oh. I never thought about that. That’s male privilege for you.” (Credit to him for recognizing it when it happened.)

His reaction sent me off into my own worldview dissonance. It had never occurred to me that only women were receiving the “no open drinks from strangers, never leave your drink unattended” programming, since well, it seems rather like common sense. (My late ignorance probably also shows off how few parties I’ve attended where alcohol consumption is the focus, or I’d likely have clued into this sooner.)

Huh. How weird would it be to accept an open container from some guy without a care in the world that it was anything other than the advertised substance. How weird that such a large chunk of the population never even has to have that thought. It’s a complex feeling that I’m sitting here with and contemplating right now, looking at this tiny marker of privilege I never knew I lacked perceiving until last night. I’m not sure how I feel–weird, uncomfortable, maybe even a little pissed-off only begin to define it. I guess I’ll have to think about it more, but I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts.

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Apr 26 2008

Still calibrating

Published by Reesa under Writing

Warning: the link that will take you to the classic Simpsons Treehouse of Horror “The Shinning” snippet contains a nine-second loud ad at the beginning. Sorry, it was the best we could find. So turn your volume down and avert your eyes for that first 9 seconds, then enjoy.

No writing all this week of sick. Totally sucks when you’ve been on a roll and REALLY WANT to keep going. Managed to finally get some pages written, and learned two things:

1: It is way, way easier to write when you’re sick if you already have some sketched-out plan or outline or notes or something to work from. Attempting to be viscerally or primally creative when you’re marinating in your own fever-sweat or trying to keep your eyeballs from exploding from your head due to sinus pressure just isn’t as easy as everyone claims it is.

And I still came up with a new story idea to cook in the backbrain for a bit, this week; so “really difficult” doesn’t equal “impossible”, by far.

B: My personal “not enough writing make Reesa something something” point has shortened considerably in recent months. I now start to get antsy and go quietly crazy if I haven’t written in three days. Two, still sane. Four, getting more looney. Five is right out.

Luckily, I wrote on the fourth day, thanks to those lovely notes left by a healthier me with access to more of my creative brainpower than I do. But these are good things to know, the points at which the writing imperative shifts from nagging urge to “do this right now to remain balanced, monkey!” I expect the length of time to shorten, the more writing becomes ingrained as a daily habit. Change happens.

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Apr 22 2008

argh, dear gods please make the germs bug someone else for a while!

Published by Reesa under Life

Holy Crapoly I haven ‘t had a fever this bad in some years. Sweat actively dripping, brainroasting 100+F temperatures, brain fog affecting memory retention even worse than normal. The aches and pains started about 2.5 days ago, the fever didn’t start until yesterday evening.

I really can’t take much more getting sick without becoming seriously unhinged. I have an average of 2 physically healthy days before the latest virus, bacteria, or allergy stimuli hits for another round, and emotionally I have had an incredibly rough few months so I’m not getting any time to just replenish my reserves. Running on fumes. When we get the next large checks in, we’re sending me to a doctor and an ENT specialist to find out if we can get me to a higher plateau of default healthiness. In the meantime…sigh.

My guys are being really great taking care of me, and oh! I’m writing this on my new (to me) laptop! So excited about this, gonna be learning all sorts of new stuff in the next several months. (It’s a tablet PC, so I get to learn a different interface. I have high hopes and long term plans for this adventure.)

AND, we put a deposit down on a rental house yesterday! It’ll be our first residence that’s truly all three of ours (now with twice as much space and sanity! no more too many people (two-legged and up) in too small a space.) The coolest part about the new place? Well there are several nice features, but at least for now the finished attic(!)–with a full-sized window, wood floors, and plenty of head-room to walk around (at least for us average-height folk)–takes the prize.

So it’s not all bad. But ye gods above and below, I am frying in my own juices here! Please let this be a short-lived illness and not the 7-14 days a virus usually causes. Wow, I think this entry came out mostly coherent, even!

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Apr 19 2008

mini-milestone

Published by Reesa under Writing

I’ve passed the 150-page point on the novel draft. If I had to make a guess based on where I’m at and how much I haven’t fit in yet, I’d say I have at least that much again to go (probably more, really) but we can pretend for now that it’s the halfway point, since that sounds nice and weighty and accomplished.

It is longer than the old terrible other first novel written long ago, and therefore I’ve now written more words on this project than any other single project to date. Which also sounds like a nice mark of progress.

Yay me!

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Apr 18 2008

Meat in a tube for fun and profit

Published by Reesa under Life

I had a bit of inspiration today over at the household blog, Words Words Words. Feel free to wander yonder and check it out! Join in the discussion! There’s tons of points in that argument I didn’t even touch on due to space constraints in the article, show off your own eruditeness on the topic!

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Apr 17 2008

Another sale! (#2, for those counting)

Published by Reesa under Publication, Writing

I waited a couple of days before posting about this, but I just sold another story! While searching for markets one day several months ago I happened across Triangulation: Taking Flight and the theme instantly caught my attention. Five minutes later I was putting aside my current project to open a new file and write the first draft of what would become the 350-word humorous sf flash fiction story “The Reap Assessors”.

As with my first sale, this editor requested minor edits before accepting the story. What I seem to be learning in beginning this seeking-publication process is you have to be willing to chop up your “babies” in order to be paid for getting them out of the nest and flying in the world. Even bits you really like. Which matters more to you–keeping the integrity of your deathless prose as you bled them onto the page, or having 95% of those words reach a wider audience? The answer will mostly likely decide how far your story soars. (And remember, writing for yourself and keeping the deathless prose in the nest is just as valid and potentially satisfying an option, depending on your need.)

While flash fiction doesn’t count toward pro sale status for organizations like SFWA, I had a blastload of fun writing the story and really pleasant correspondence with the editor and am very pleased that it will see print. I’ll post more details here when I have them as to how you, my interested readers, can enjoy the story too.

***

I’m several pages into Chapter 7 on the novel; the chapters are getting more layered and detailed as I figure this novel-writing process out for myself. The first revision pass will be extremely fun, finding with my first readers all the places to stick more cool bits or fold in more layers or explore the world (and laughing about how bad the first few chapters will look by the end). I am still so far away from being done that it seems forever to the finished draft, so I try not to think about that part too much and just keep writing my scenes.

I really, really love this cast. Like, a lot a lot.

***

Last night, talking with Steve, he was orating about one of his literary heroes, Roger Zelazny, who (paraphrased) said at one point that he wanted to be half artist, half hack in his writing: able to create great works, but also have someone ask him for an x,xxx-word story about yyy topic and be able to sit down and turn one out. With my usual far-reaching confidence, I casually replied, “Oh, I can do that.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah.”

“All right then. Give me a 5,000 word short story…”

“Is there a time limit? I’m not committing to anything until after I finish this novel.”

“Novel comes first.”

“Okay then.”

He gave me the topic and left the room. When he returned two minutes later, I had the story premise, idea, main characters, and basic outline ready, and total confidence I could write about it for 5,000 words.

“That was too easy. You’ll have to try harder than that to stump me.”

He smiled.

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Apr 08 2008

brain breaks boost creativity

Published by Reesa under Writing

I finished chapter 6 two days ago, a slightly shorter than average 20 pages of bouncing back and forth between two characters and how they’re preparing for a Big Event that I now have to write about in Chapter 7.

So I have a file started for Chapter 7 notes, I’ve approached my roomies about a similar brainspitting (like brainstorming but with less fluid) session like we did for Chapter 5, which turned out very nicely. I’ve got another file open for another short story/character exploration for one of the novel characters, along the lines of what I did for “Flowers In the Desert”.

All ready to go…and instead, this morning, my mind decides that today it’s taking a short break from the novel and its world and people. I find myself staring at an anthology theme I’ve been staring at for the past four months, trying to force inspiration and coming up totally dry, completely blank. And today an image appears, and then words follow, and three hours or so later I have a 1250 word short story draft. Emphatically not in the novel style–or topic–at all.  But definitely a story.

This evening I spent some time doing the initial revisions, bringing it to the point where it’s ready to be hacked apart by beta readers. It was fun, I love the process of writing AND finishing a story, and I feel my creative flow rejuvenated so that I can progress more easily on the waiting short story and Chapter 7. I like that my brain did this *before* I got too stuck in circles on the novel project again. Yay healthy progress, may it continue. I want this done done done! But not neurotically. Working on healthy writer foundations wherever I can find to put them.

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Apr 02 2008

Recitations

Published by Reesa under Life

Steve and I practiced reading aloud from our work last night, which is an event that happens from time to time at conventions. Kit was too congested to participate in the reading but listened and gave critique afterwards. It was a lot of fun!

I got complimented on both the reading and the content, I read them Chapter 5 of the novel. I’m glad it was so well received! They both seemed surprised at how good it was, which I’m taking as complimentary since it’s still a first draft. They also gave me good feedback on things to watch out for: rhythm and speed of reading (start more strongly in the rhythm of the story–probably through practice ahead of time–and slow down enough to hit my consonants and not trip over words) , as well as a concerning clicking or smacking noise I was apparently occasionally making that I wasn’t aware of.

We’re planning to do this again and I’m looking forward to it, I’ve always liked the sound of my own voice and speaking in front of a crowd, so these “readings” seem right up my alley. I also really appreciate Steve and Kit supporting me as I try to think through ahead of time a lot of the writer-type things I might encounter as I get deeper into my literary pursuits.

Two more pages to go to make my preferred daily novel pages, and I’m still hoping to plot out the next short story today. My next goal is to be able to simultaneously work on a short story while still continuing to write on the novel; up until now my focus has tended to be one or the other, probably since I also have many other things taking up daily time and energy. If all I had to do each day was write, I suspect I would end up on the higher end of the daily wordcount spectrum.

However, we’re also leaving around 3pm to drive to Austin, to get my guitar tweaked (oh, did I mention I bought a guitar a month or so ago?  Just like everyone else, except mine is left-handed, hee hee!) and then attend First Wednesday dinner. I hope to see many of you there! But who knows how many words will get done as a result.

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