Archive for the 'CC' Category

Oct 01 2010

Cancer Chronicles: State of the Writer

Energy and stamina are still coming back online from being almost dead and the subsequent recovery.  For your information, being almost dead is apparently really draining on the body’s resources.  Surgery also.  Combine the two and you’re looking at a minimum of several months of not-optimal functioning — and that’s if you’re healing rapidly!

As you can imagine, any major change in activity or health during this time will slow down recovery even more.  Since surgery, I’ve taken back over house management duties including meal supplying and prep; taken on full-time parenting duties, including two hours a day of chauffeuring; had several weeks of sinus drainage and subsequent nausea; and one or two other things I might discuss elsewhere that are nevertheless similarly physically draining.

Needless to say (but I will), the writing has suffered.  Surprisingly, I was actually managing to sustain regular writing and editing up until this month’s sinus/allergy attack (fuck you, autumn).  The past three weeks I’ve averaged maybe one or two writing sessions a week (mostly blog entries, though the Callie ones definitely count for writing), and tons of reading research (back to the Crime Library and Wikipedia).  This is significantly down from 4-5 sessions a week plus research time, much of that non-blog writing.  Le sigh.

I’m obviously past another level on the path toward pro if I’m whining about ONLY getting 1-2 writing sessions plus research time a week like that’s slacking.  Which, for where my writing is at and needs to be, it IS slacking.  It’s good to remember where I’m at and where I’ve been, how doggedly I kept writing and editing up to a week before surgery, how quickly I was back to it afterward given my health levels (research from the first week out, writing from a month out).  And also remember how much I am daily pushing my body to the limits of what it can do, so that I can extend those limits, and how careful I must be to not over-extend past limits — there’s a very important difference between pushing and pushing over.  And one thing the cancer experience teaches even us incredibly stubborn over-achievers is how to discern the healthy side of that limit line.

I’m mostly past the sinus stuff.  My always awesome and excellent editor Mary Bass (message me if you need contact info for pro editing!) has given me edits for most of the stories I currently have finished (there might be a couple I haven’t dug up to send her yet somewhere).  This weekend I might even get some editing time in on updating a few.  I suspect over the next few months I’ll ramp up and wrap up a few large outstanding projects as well as meet my “stories out circulating” goals.

And then I’ll take a month off to just read.  Read for fun, what a shocking idea!

After that it’ll be time to start the second novel.  Which already has half-a-dozen people eagerly awaiting it.  That’s a nice feeling.

Staying alive is definitely worth the journey, but only if you fill your life with as much love and creativity as you can fit in.

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Feb 18 2009

Drafts done, drafts ongoing, and the excessiveness of the written word

By virtue of declarative fiat, I have reached the end of my novel first draft, and am hard at work on starting the second draft. This is different from the revising stage, which is not yet. Given the current game plan, I expect there to be three drafts before I revise and start showing it around, so I certainly hope I’m faster at writing these next two drafts!

In case anyone is curious about the process, the first draft was all about character exploration and development. As such, it may be a done draft, but not a readable one. The second draft will focus on the linear plot structure, a quick and dirty romp through what tangibly happens. The third draft will preferably bring together the preservable pieces of drafts one and two while layering in all the cool meta bits.

To perkily distract myself from how daunting the task sounds when viewed from the big picture, I counted up the stories I’ve written over the past 1.5 years. Yes folks, fear my mad accomplishment skillz: in less than two years, I’ve completed fifteen stories, have six more in progress (published four online, two in print so far), started an ARF (with the help of many others), and finished a novel draft. Not too shabby a job, when you look at it in that light.

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Jan 18 2009

good writing experiment

Published by Reesa under CC, Writing, voice and craft

I was challenged to write something first thing upon waking up every morning, for the past week. (In the 500 or less wordcount range.) I decided to write a mini-serial (Continuous Coast) story in five parts, attempting to write one part each day. I then decided to experiment with some innovative revising/editing angles, since the CC project has definitely expanded the ways in which my writer and editor brains have to work together in real-time to produce quality story product. (I also practiced a couple of technical writer things I needed to work on; never let a story do one thing when it can do four, I say.)

I created a pipeline writing and editing production line, where I wrote the first few parts, then continued writing parts while I revised and started posting the first sections in our Back of House forum for review and further peer editing. Each day I continued to write, edit, and post; when I finished all five pieces (which took 6 days instead of 5, part 4 was written over two days) I went back and revised the first part based on received recommendations, and readied it for publishing on ContinuousCoast.com, where it will be within the next day or two. That process will continue until all five parts are published on CC.

This was really fun and feels quite successful, though I suspect the format would not work for all types of story. It works very well for the sort of quick-time story that is particularly well-suited for the immersive ARF that is the world of Continuous Coast. I’d definitely be up for trying it again, though I suspect that next I’ll be coming up with something else to experiment with.

Keep watch on the IRC chat, Twitter feed, and Voices blog for supplementary material around the story release. Enjoy!

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Jan 02 2009

website updates!

Published by Reesa under CC, Writing, voice and craft

It’s been far too long, but I realized that if I was going to keep working on Continuous Coast it was worth putting at least a tiny bit of maintenance into my personal site as well. So to start 2009 off right, I updated the “My Writing” section to include links to the various CC sites currently active (I also just had a CC story go up on the site, whee!), though Kit made a couple of suggestions for reorganizing the categories that I’ll probably re-do within the next day or two, so check back!

I thought it might be good to start putting up some of my own, non-CC work here as well, so I included links to two flash fiction pieces that I’ve had out circulating for over a year. I decided to retire them from circulation and just post them here. My writing has changed and improved enough over the past year that these pieces may not be exactly indicative of where I’m at now, but I still enjoy the heck out of both of them (at least in a writing sense; “Rorrim” in particular is a bit uncomfortable to actually read) and would rather share them and concentrate on writing and sending out more new pieces. Though, if I don’t get some more cheerful free fic up here soon, people might start to get a skewed notion of my style…

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Nov 26 2008

web return! and new phone, and book!

Published by Reesa under CC, Unspeakable Horror anthology

Hey everyone, it’s been a long, mostly internet-free month for me.  My shoulder has been freezing up/acting up so painfully that I haven’t been able to spend very much time working on the computer.  It’s been stressful since this was NOT the time to have less online time, too much to do!  especially on CC fun stuff.

However, I bought a super-sexy G1 Google phone, which I expect will make it easier to stay connected even if I have bad shoulder ick return.  I stayed comfortably near the back of the pack as far as following phone technology, the past 10 years.  It was completely worth it to wait for a phone that is at least approaching all the various things I want my phone to do; I had no problem adapting to the interface and sound like a total dorky geek when I talk about it.  And my goodness does the querty keyboard make text easier to type on a phone.  Fidget-monkey heaven: it has buttons, and a trackball, and a touchscreen, and a fold-out keyboard.  As soon as they figure out the app to send and receive video phonecalls, the science-fiction feel will  be complete.  Oh, and I’m insanely jealous of the armband attachment I saw at Best Buy for the Apple 3G, if anyone knows where I can get one for mine, I can’t avoid those little cyborg cravings.  Strapping it on is a good interim substitute for jacking in, eh?

Check out my next post for a picture from my new phone; I got my contributor’s copies from Dark Scribe Press for the Unspeakable Horror anthology.  I’m so excited!  Keep pre-ordering, the official release date for the anthology is December 1.

One response so far

Oct 21 2008

Project Brain-Eater

We are valiantly fighting the good fight of having the collaborative project eat our brains by allowing at least one hour in every 24 for our personal projects.

Ok, perhaps I hyperbolize a bit here.  Now that I don’t have to worry about two presentations back-to-back, I can get down to the simple life of owning a business, coordinating a massive online project, and writing a novel  and some short stories.  Simplicity incarnate!

There go those hyperboles again.  Time to develop a new plan of action, since the goal is still to have a finished draft of the novel by the calendrical year’s end.  Note that not specifying a GOOD draft done will speed up the process quite a bit, heh.  And I think there are a couple of stories lying around that need cleaning up before being kicked out of the nest…

But right now I think I’ll continue to obsessively reload certain blogs to see if new content appears.  Oh, and super-squee happiness for other-world characters commenting on our household blog!  The cool parts just keep growing!

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Oct 13 2008

(not-so) Sekrit Projekt oblique squee

Published by Reesa under CC, Writing

Okay. NOW I’m excited.

(was keeping it cool internally up ’til now, justincase. But oh my fucking gods, this is so much fun.)

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Oct 07 2008

Oh the science of it all!

Published by Reesa under CC, Kit, mediators, steve, twitterhead

Ah yes, a grand little evening sitting around watching the Mediators break up a drunken conflict. That crazy Starl.

On the creating side, a precise, behind-the-scenes peek at the arduous creative process:

Reesa: Who gets injured?

Steve: I think S.

Kit: I was thinking L.

Reesa: I was thinking S or L.

Steve: I’ll flip you for it; you want to land on your head or your tail?

Kit: Tail.

Reesa: You could flip the dog.

Kit: She wouldn’t cooperate.

Steve: Perfect, here’s a penny.

Reesa: Lost relic of our economy, determine our future.

Steve: Heads it’s L, tails it’s S.

Reesa: Wait, where did it go?

Kit: I heard it hit over there.

Steve: Tails.

Reesa: S then! Ahh, high literary science at work.

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Oct 06 2008

riding the line in creative viral marketing

When working on a big project and trying to come up with cool ways to draw people into your created world, it’s sometimes hard to guess which line to straddle in how much and how fast you disperse your information. You want to make sure any early adopter fans are in on it soon enough that they feel their specialness, but you don’t want to escalate so quickly that you run out of entertaining content too soon or overload yourself.

On the one hand, when you’ve been cooking a big project for a while and it’s time to start manifesting the results, it’s very easy to want to spill everything all at once. “And here’s this cool thing I did, and this one, and this too, and ooh shinyoverhere!” But while you might hook in some people with the elegance or intricacy of your scaffolding, for most people you’ll catch their interest with the thing itself first. Peeling back the draping comes later.

On the other hand, it’s also difficult to get an outside perspective on how subtle or obvious to be when scattering project references that you hope people will put together to find your baby. Something that looks incredibly obvious to you, the people working on a project for the last n months, might not have such readily apparent connections to those encountering the ideas for the first time.

Part of the fun of creating little tidbits for people to find and geek over is watching the reactions as they encounter and interact with your work. For the creators, it can diminish the fun slightly to have carefully balanced hints and clever approaches only to have to go back and slap a big neon blinking glowing pointing finger sign all over your efforts. The reaction enjoyed by someone watching someone else find an in-character email isn’t at all the same when the first person has to ask “so, didja get that email?” (And in that example, you might not even know whether there was a tech trip-up that caused the email in question to not be delivered, or whether it was caught by a diligent spam filter on alert for unrecognizable origins.)

However, if you’re trying something new, and especially in the early stages, sometimes you have to do a little more hand-holding than you might otherwise be inclined to do. This doesn’t mean swing the pendulum all the way into showing everything you’re doing all at once, but does mean that you have to be willing to launch with a simpler and more obvious approach if your well-crafted more devious plans fall short of your goals.

I’m not sure whether these will be of interest to anyone else, but they’re some of the thoughts flowing through my mind as I attempt to patiently wait for people to start noticing our little venture. It’d be nice if I did more posts like these; I should consider that thought.

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Oct 04 2008

Twitter

Published by Reesa under CC, mediators, twitterhead

Tonight was my first experience up close and personal playing with Twitter, and there are some quite entertaining aspects to the medium. I’ve been following along with various friends’ Twitter feeds for a few months now, but tonight’s was the first one I’ve found that caused mad giggles regularly. I’m glad to be watching it!

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