Archive for July, 2008

Jul 31 2008

climbing monkey adventures

Published by under climbing monkey,Life

Kit and I went climbing, though we arrived with only enough time for him to go up the wall once and me twice before the rec center closed. He went first and did a challenging path that had him straddling a ridge for nearly a third of the way, but he made it with only a couple of cheating feet moves (where he used rocks not on the path).

Me, I’m not really at the point where I’m good with following paths yet. I’m just trying to get my arse up the wall. The first time, I only made it about as far up as last time, and I came down nearly in frustrated tears. I hear my head say, “I am so tired of being afraid of this,” while my outside voice instead of crying asks Kit to tell me what he thought I was doing wrong.

There’s time for another quick one, and that “pushed to the fustration point = new learning plateau” concept Steve talks about proves true in my life once again. This time I seem to have a more intuitive understanding of what I’m supposed to do, and I make it up the wall an entire bodylength further than I could previously go before I decide to come down. Another bodylength and I’ll be past the first major ridge, scant meters from the top.

Conclusion: I don’t have a fear of heights. It’s been the distrust of my body all along, and my body is healing.

Comments Off on climbing monkey adventures

Jul 30 2008

Draft finished! story sent! plus a bit of musing…

Published by under beta readers rock,Editing,Writing

Thanks to everyone who helped on this latest short story. It was a lot of fun and turned out to be a lovely and creepy little piece. (Although I do hit a point in every story so far where I ask the skies, “why can’t I just write straightforward adventure stories?” But I’m sure that even if I tried, layering and ambiguity would sneak back in.) Anyway, thanks this time go to Kit O’Connell, Steven Brust, Jennifer Evans, abigail d, Kiki Christie, and Megan Elizabeth Morris from my writing group (The Society of Voluptuaries), and special thanks go to Mary Dell–first-time beta reader for me and I very highly recommend her work and hope to use her skills again.

It’s a much better story than it was thanks to all of you, and I even sent it in on the day I had wanted to submit by, with 30 minutes to spare. I’m excited about it, and ready to move on to other projects. I keep distracting myself with these anthology projects from getting back into the heavy novel work, so I think for the month of August, (barring sudden rays of inspiration) I will not plan to work on any writing work other than my novel or the collaborative project. If I need short story time, I have several related to the novel that need more work.

I saw an opening for a slush reader at an online magazine I like, and thought hard about whether or not to apply. I’ve heard several accounts from writers who felt that time spent slush reading really helped hone their skills as writers. On the other hand, I already have a full plate of commitments and projects and then some, so committing to read several stories a week on top of that seems like added stress that I just don’t need. So I think I’ve decided not to pursue the gig, but I wonder if I’m doing my writing (and editing) a disservice by not stretching in areas like these. What do you think, gentle reader?

2 responses so far

Jul 25 2008

back to the word mines

Published by under Editing,Writing

I’ve received some excellent critiques of my latest story, and I think I’ll get back to work on another revision pass, hopefully this evening–definitely this weekend. Anyone want to get in on reading the next draft?  That one will be close to done (one hopes), except for minor tweaking. Props and shout-outs will go out to my fine team of helpers when I’ve sent this puppy off into the wide world of hopefully-not-many-rejections, mere days from now.

3 responses so far

Jul 23 2008

First revision, deadline ticking

Published by under Editing,Writing

Finished the first revision pass, changing some things significantly and others not, and now it’s off at my writer’s group where I hope to get at least a few more opinions and comments before I have to tackle final revisions and sending it off. I like this one and had a lot of fun writing it, it’s been a challenge and an educational one. I’ve been working on the idea and the story since I first read about the anthology at the beginning of May, and seeing as how I did no writing at all in May, I don’t think I did too badly. Thanks to my first readers, Kit, Steve, and Jennifer, and any fellow Voluptuaries that want to help out!

One response so far

Jul 22 2008


Published by under first draft,Writing

Finished the first draft of the short story I wanted to finish this month. It’s not quite right but it’s closer than most of what I’ve been turning out lately. I haven’t actually read it yet, but alpha reader feedback is 3 for 3: “creeeeepy.” Which is certainly part of what it’s supposed to do, so I’m pleased. In the morning Kit will read it again and give more detailed feedback, I’ll read it and give it the first revision, then post it to my writer’s group for a whirlwind critique session before final edits and sending it off. Yay for writing to deadline, especially given unexpected writing-delaying events such as out-of-country travels.

To hear more about that, start with “Off to Mexico” and read up from there to find out about most of my last week’s adventures.

One response so far

Jul 16 2008

another cool book cover

Published by under Triangulation anthology

Just received the front cover for the Triangulation: Taking Flight anthology that “The Reap Assessors” is lead story in. It looks super cool, check it out!

taking flight front cover

Comments Off on another cool book cover

Jul 13 2008

Close enough to feel a draft

Published by under first draft,Writing

Friday I “finished” the roughest first draft of a story yet. In fact, I felt a little weird about calling that draft done.

But…it has a beginning, an end, and a good chunk of the middle, with notes for the rest of the fill. It has notes about what to fix and add in the next draft and I know what I did right and where I need to delve deeper. Sounds close enough for Shakespeare’s monkeys, a first draft it is.

It’s likely to end up as flash fiction (1000 words or less) and looks like I’m back on my “short story=horror or dark fantasy” trend for now; if it works it should end up a delightfully creepy little piece. However, now that I have a draft I can call done, I’m setting it aside until probably August, since I have another short story due sooner and ready to write.

Working on the other story’s chronological outline now. Taking a short break (yay hot tub) for brain rejuvenation, then to come back and play with the outline.

3 responses so far

Jul 11 2008

editor-hat super-geek

It was all very simple, really. I was sitting here, reading this story from someone wanting to join our writer’s group (clever story, literate, not quite ready for publication but easily able to be made so, good style overall, can’t see why we wouldn’t let said applicant in). Five minutes after finishing, something was still tickling the back of my editor brain, and I went searching the crevasses of the internet. (Ok, I found most of what I needed on Wikipedia, but moving on…) (Reader Beware Warning: Thar be discussion of arthropoda and bodily fluids in the words ahead.)

Dark secret revelation time (no not THAT one): In another life, I was an entomologist. Or perhaps even in this life, if I ever decide to go back to school. Yes, I really am that weird. I used to collect roly-polys (in a jar at first, and later outside under the bricks in vast colonies). I wore cicada shells in my hair and on my clothes as a child–I had a jar where I collected each season’s found shells. (Looking back, I bet my mom liked that habit about as much as she liked my inability to quietly burp, but that’s too much tangenting for now. But wait, check out this cool cicada-molting animated gif!) Though I’ve not taken many formal entomology classes, they were very memorable for me, and pieces of what I learned there were reinforced in some of the other animal science classes I took when we got to the pests and parasites lesson sections.

To paraphrase and completely take out of its context the bit of the story that was poking me (and get back somewhere near my point), at one point in passing “horse flies” are equated to “stable flies”. My fidgety mind finally bursts out with “Hey, I think I remember learning that a stable fly was a different species from a horse fly. And aren’t horse flies those really huge fuckers that bite worse than a fire ant, and the stable flies are the ones that suck blood?” Quick, to the Wikimobile!

And I found that there was rightness on both sides (or wrongness, depending on your viewing lens). According to the Demi-gods of Wikery, it is a true statement to say a stable fly is also known as a horse fly, but not true to say that a horse-fly is the same as a stable fly. Or even more nerdily explained: both flies in question are of the order Diptera, also known as “true flies”. However the stable fly (sometimes called a horse fly) is of the Family Muscidae, and are bloodsuckers with mouth-parts similar to mosquito construction. The horse fly (which is similar to a deer fly, but is not a stable fly) is of the Family Tabanidae, where the adult female (but not the male) fly has mandibles that are serrated and designed to tear a piece of flesh off and drink the blood that oozes forth. So it all depends on your perspective (or which fly-borne transmissible disease you prefer), and mine is I’ll stay away from both the muscidae piercers and the tabanid masticators, thanks.

I think I crossed the line from geek far into nerd with this admission. Why yes, that was fifteen minutes of my life spent seriously contemplating fly mouths, why do you ask?

4 responses so far

Jul 08 2008

writing wall wrecking…

Published by under Life,Writing

I wrote 7.5 pages (so far) today on my story in the collaborative project. I spent 2+ hours giving some editing advice to a friend who is newly discovering her prose writing talents, hopefully she’ll go back later and read all the thoughts people gave. It’s gorgeous to see her blooming and turning out quality, literate first drafts, learning how to revise, and having obviously lots of fun playing in the created(-ing) world sandbox. We (DreamCafe) did many household calls and errands and shopping. Had a writing date with fellow Voluptuary Jennifer and cleaned up more parts of rooms and moved a freezer with her help.

A productive day, however you slice it.

So far I’m not worried about my individual writing work, so long as I start on it within the next few days. The whole point of doing this mindfully is to balance being able to work on both personal and collaborative projects without either one suffering from Creative Attention Deficit (or CAD-like behavior). (I’m already doing daily work on the business work.)

The day’s work seems like good stuff, too. Fun to write, full of exciting cool bits, a new genre (for me) to explore, positive feedback on the first written parts. Even if it was utter tripe, I’m glad to be writing again. It’s all (pointy-teethed) kittens and (man-eating) butterflies from here on out!

One response so far

Jul 04 2008

Fear and excitement

Published by under climbing monkey,Kit,Life

Fear-of-heights check: inconclusive

Body-seriously-fucked check: affirmative

I rather think that I won’t know if I have a fear of heights until my body is working more the way I’m used to, and it’s quite possible by that time I’ll have engendered a phobia from not trusting my body. I’ll keep climbing, keep stretching, pick a little higher rock as a goal each time. We’ll see whether my body bends or my mind breaks first. Yay self-experimentation.

In other interesting climbing news, I talked Kit into taking the orientation class last night, and he took to it like a monkey in a tree, like Andrea did to her spinning, like a cliche clings to a bad metaphor. It was really nice to see him excited and charged up on the exertion high afterward, hopefully he’ll keep coming back. Yay catalyst goodness for others.

Especially because I think I need a smaller harness; mine fits fine now, but if I lose any more weight at all (likely) I won’t be able to tighten it at the waist any further. So if we take Kit shopping for gear then he can have mine and I can get a new one.

Comments Off on Fear and excitement

Next »