Wednesday Writing

I think I’m getting a hang of the flow.

I hadn’t written much new stuff for a while. I’d done my entries for The Event and I’d done lots and lots of editing but I hadn’t done any new stories. I was rehashing old stuff. I was actually feeling jealous of my friends who are writing new stuff.

Last Wednesday I had lunch with Steve and articulated out loud a couple of things I had been worried about and surprised by. I really like talking to other writers about the craft, I realise that my methods aren’t crazy. That my obsession with this thing called fiction is OK.

Then I wrote a ten minute story. Something in it grabbed me. I could see the story ahead of me, a whole supernatural thriller teen romance about death and revenge and falling in love. I had the characters, I had the urge to keep writing.

So I did. By Tuesday night I had a word count of 10,250. I had made time every day to write except for Friday. I had told Lee to leave me alone so I can keep going. When I am going to sleep I think of plot points. When I am waking up I think of ways to mess things up for my lead character. My head space is all full of the story. I itch to write it when I’m at work, when I’m reading a book and when I am in the shower. It’s a beautiful thing. I love this thing.

I just wish I didn’t ever have to stop the flow, but life gets in the way.

I’m really pleased too, that people have commented saying that the start of this was gripping, that you were interested for more. I have a good feeling about this one. It’s growing very organically scene by scene and I have serious momentum on it. Wish me luck, wish me flow!

Oh and in case the above does nothing for you, head over to storyfix for some good old fashioned Motivation

You should also head on out and check out Steve’s post summarising the main points ofElements of Persuasion.

antidotes to Monday

Boundin’, the cute musical, dancing Pixar short that precedes The Incredibles. Such a cute and simple message and I always find it uplifting.

Take a long hot bath.

Read one of those books that you can read over and over again because they’re so good. Mine are things like Ender’s Game, Necklace of Kisses, Alanna the first adventure, A Little Princess, Fruits Basket or Harry Potter.

And you should definitely read this article from Rock Your Day this is your chance.

Actual Play Report – Fall ‘Head Trip’ aka ‘The One with no slayer’

Due to unforeseen circumstances Sophie was unable to play on Thursday, however the rest of us soldiered on and an episode of Fall was played with no appearance from the slayer.

The ep starts directly after the end of the last one, Calvin is driving Megan and Darius home from the hospital when he says win uncharacteristic seriousness, ‘Uh, Darius, you know that spell you keep doing which lets us find stuff we know the name of?’
Darius: Uh, yeah?
C: Do you think you could do it again?
D: God, why? I’ve done it like a million times.
C: Well, we never found my sister’s body.
D:…what?
C: She went missing a couple of years ago and the search never turned up anything. I mean, we had a funeral but the coffin was empty.
D: Yeah, I can do it again.

There was some discussion on how to handle the spell, since there was no guarantee that she was still in the country or easy to drive to. Calvin asked if the spell could work with a map, like it would point to a place on the map where she was, rather than just pointing. Darius told the others he would do some research and let them know in the morning.

After some research Darius decided to invent his own spell. Because nothing at all could go wrong there. Nothing at all. He spent most of the night figuring it out and texted Calvin at 2am “I need a personal item and her name.” One of the other requirements was frog’s eyes.

The spell had to be done on the night of the full moon, which conveniently enough was the Sunday night. Darius spent the whole day chasing frogs in his back yard and failing. He eventually went to a pet shop and bought a rather expensive tree frog which he then had qualms over killing. He put it in the freezer for a humane death and by the time Megan and Calvin arrived he had separated the eyes from the frog.
Megan: Eww, what are those?
D: Frog’s eyes?
M: Oh, I found a place online where you can buy those. It’s like 217 for $20.
D:…

Calvin hands over a photo of his sister, Martha and a necklace from her bedroom. Her bedroom has been left exactly how it was of course, and he was careful to choose a necklace that looked new, so it wasn’t a hand me down or anything.

Darius decides to hold the ritual in the basement.
C: Are you sure you should be doing magic right by the mirror into Evil Megan’s world?
D: eh, what could go wrong? Besides I don’t want to get chalk on the carpet.

The ritual involves lighting candles in four corners, and Darius chanting over a globe. There is a pile of herbs and shaved carrots (Darius was substituting some ingredients.) Megan is unsure about the safety of the whole thing and grabs the fire extinguisher. Calvin gets his axe from the car in case something terrible comes through by accident. The flying monkey who is living down there in Nebby’s travel crate is very angry and screams at them all. Calvin hold’s Nebby’s collar to ensure that he doesn’t get within the monkey’s grasp.

The spell is impressive, the flames on the candles flare a foot above the wick and then form a whirling fire spiral. Megan and Calvin look concerned but the flames zoom together and hit a spot on the globe, which then explodes. Darius keels over backwards and smacks his head on the concrete floor. He moans and rubs his head, then looks up at Calvin in confusion.
D: Calvin? What are you doing here? Continue reading

Things I Love Thursday

Small list this week as I haven’t been sleeping well and I spent the day lying low and getting over a headache.

  • Enchanted on Blu-Ray, it’s borrowed, but it’s so good. Lovely clear pictures and surround sound on one of my favourite movies. Great mood booster!
  • Writing and being in the flow, since yesterday’s post I have been obsessed with this new character Rain, the boy she likes and the goings-on at the fairground on Friday night. I think it’s going to be a teen novel. I am past 4000 words.
  • KPW, this week I went to two events to help out with the filming of the upcoming KPW TV show, due to screen on Prime in December. And by help out I mean I was an active, vocal and enthusiastic audience member. Go Jade Diamond! Go H-Flame! We saw 8 bouts the first night and 7 the next, that’s a lot of awesome wrestling.

Honourable Mentions: Twitter, cake, love, good books, KFC snack burgers, good new TV and pizza. Yes, I’m hungry, how could you tell?

ETA: My darling husband buying the first three seasons of Supernatural!

Writing post for a Monday

Welcome to all these lovely new readers coming through via Spec Fic blogging week links. Sit down, take a look around. In your honour I have bumped my writing update two days forward. I might still post on Wednesday too, depends how the writing goes.

First, some neat links:

Via Anna Caro’s blog, which I have been slowly reading bits of as I get a moment, I found this link to the Best writing blogs of 2009 according to Editor Unleashed.

I was trawling through NZ publisher submissions pages when I stumbled upon Allen and Unwin’s Friday pitch day. Got an adult book you want published? You submit the first chapter of your book plus a synopsis over email on Friday. If they are interested in your manuscript they get back to you before the next Friday. If you don’t hear back then it’s a no. Talk about fast and simple, I’m gonna submit WtWTCH this Friday 🙂

Oh, and the lovely Debbie has a new writing blog. And may I add that her profile/author photo is seriously cute?

My inspiration and motivation for writing right now is very high, but I am having rather a serious problem: I have no time to write. I have a 36 hour work week, fine, I can deal. Then I have all these lovely friends that I like to visit, or go out to dinner with. Then there’s the other random stuff I’m into like patchwork and video games, and that sucks up time. Plus the Good new TV shows are coming out right now and you know I need my Supernatural fix, which, OK, is only 40 minutes a week but it takes up mindspace. Then there’s the way I enjoy going out to stuff like movies and pro wrestling and of course, the two roleplaying games I am involved in and seriously loving. Plus I have to give myself time to read. I have a big pile of books that I am looking forward to reading when I get a chance….and blogging. I do spend time on these entries and reading through comments and such. Can’t forget about blogging.

I have begun to suspect that something’s got to give. I am going to have to pull back on something and make myself some writing space again. I used to do this, and lately I’ve let it slide. It’s a hard choice though. I do all the above because I enjoy them and I don’t want to stop doing things I enjoy.

Maybe I should just stop sleeping. I spend many hours sleeping. I could be using those hours more effectively.

Patchwork cupcake

I was trying to figure out a gift for P, who was turning 30 and was having a party and I have known since we were 13. I couldn’t think of anything to buy her, but then I had a brainwave: a celebratory patchwork wall hanging!

Inspiration for this comes from the gorgeously inspiring book quilted memories, which is full of bright, whimsical quilt ideas and I have always loved to look through. I should really buy myself a copy of it, now that I come to think about it. Ah well. This book has a birthday cake quilt and a smaller cupcake one. P had something like 100 cupcakes for her wedding cake, so I knew she liked them. Here’s how the process of making my one went.

Saturday last week: Picked out the fabrics. Choosing the base background was easy, P loves blue and the stars lend a celebratory aspect. The other colours were less easy to pick as I don’t really have fabrics which are a solid colour. Got there in the end though, and ironed everything.

Sunday: Trip to spotlight where I bought fusible webbing (which is like big sheets of fabric double sided tape) so that I could do applique. Drew my cupcake on the paper side of the webbing, ironed the pieces onto the different fabrics, cut them out, ironed them onto the backing. Started cutting out and sewing up the borders.

Monday: during DVD and TV watching time on Sunday and Monday I finished all the blanket stitching around the edges of the cupcake and cherry. I did this with embroidery floss for contrast and prettiness. Attached borders and assembled quilt with batting and backing. Began hand quilting.

Tuesday: hand quilting during roleplaying, decided on swirly lines around the cupcake, added buttons and an embroidery floss ’30’ in commemoration, straight lines down the borders.

Wednesday: More hand quilting at afternoon tea, completed it in the evening and added hearts in the corners of the borders.

Thursday: No work done on quilt as at writing workshop. Anxiously hoped it would be finished in time.

Friday: Sewed binding strips onto two sides at lunchtime and started binding. Finished binding during Hellboy 2 movie night, added more buttons for interest, rick rack loops for hanging and a personalised message label on the back. Done, with a whole day to go!

jennitalulacupcake

Nom nom nom

Fantastic Voyages – Speculative Fiction Blogging Week

This Thursday, despite a very serious sleepiness issue and general work malaise I dragged myself, or rather, Lee dragged me out to the Southern Cross where we met up with Sally and ate dinner. Then Lee went to his rehearsal for Ophelia Thinks Harder (he’s playing Horatio) and Sally, Em and I went to Fantastic Voyages, a talk/panel/discussion about Speculative Fiction.

On the panel were Tim Jones and Helen Lowe. It was chaired by Lynn Freeman who does the arts on Sunday programme for National Radio.

If you are interested, the whole thing was recorded so you can listen to it from here.

My highlights of the evening include coming away with a reading list* and new books, but it was also a very inspiring and in a way, comforting night. I say comforting because a couple of things I have learned over the years about writing and publishing were reiterated. For example Tim’s story about how he was initially skeptical about how you should get whatever exposure you can (even if you’re not paid for it) and then being invited to contribute to an anthology after a story of his was read off a blog. Also Helen’s answer to how she got published in the States “Persistence!”

There was a lot of discussion about what Speculative fiction really is, and I’m not sure I came away with a solid definition. It covers sci-fi and fantasy and also magic realism and sometimes horror. I personally am not too fussed about the exact definition though, I just know what I like and I like a lot of spec fic!

Lots of discussion about the blurring of the line between spec fic and literary fiction. There is a notion that literary fiction is ‘greater’ or ‘better’ than spec fic and also easier to sell. Tim Jones related how he was asked to write some more general literary fiction to pad out his collection ‘Transported’, for example.

Helen talked a bit about cracking into the American market and recommended finding people who write stuff that is similar to yours and then finding out who their agents are. Chances are that they will be more likely to be interested in your work and then consider representing you. She also mentioned checking out agency FAQs and actually following their submission guidelines, which seems obvious but apparently isn’t actually done that often.

Helen’s advice on getting your first novel published was that it does help to have a track record, like short stories in magazines, articles already published, but that ultimately it will stand and fall on the quality of your novel. If the novel is good enough then it won’t matter if you’ve not been published before.

I am inspired to start buying and reading literary magazines so that I have an idea of the kinds of things they publish. That way I can start submitting things to them. I was interested to know that I’m not alone in my way of thinking about writing. Both authors mentioned that they can’t write short stories at the same time that they are writing a novel. I have experienced that same thing. I have to be in a clear headspace, which I’m not if I have a novel boiling away. I can’t do it at the moment because my head is trying to work through the problems I created in Kiki by removing all the stuff that shows Kiki’s powers growing.

Aside from the formal talk there were books for sale that you could then get signed and people to meet. Sally knew a bunch of people there, and introduced me around which was lovely. Everyone was very friendly and encouraging when Sally mentioned I’d just been published for the first time. Then when I went to get my new copy of Transported signed I was surprised and pleased that Tim recognised me! Good old photo avatars on blogs and twitter eh? He already knew how I spell Jenni. I felt very flattered indeed and had a nice chat to him.

I also got a copy of Thornspell signed and talked to Helen a bit about What’s the Worst That Could Happen? Can’t wait to get into Thornspell, it’s a retelling of Sleeping Beauty from the prince’s point of view.

I walked home with a glow of happiness, encouragement that I am already doing the right things and a new flame of hope for the future. New Zealand’s writer community, or at least, the little bit I was introduced to on Thursday, appears to be a charming, close and welcoming one.

*Reading List:
Gene Wolfe’s new sun series
(I was reminded that I want to read Feed by M. T. Anderson again because it has the best slow reveal of the world that I have read.)
Stuff by Margaret Atwood, since I haven’t read anything of hers.
The Road by Cormac MCarthy
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

This post is part of New Zealand Speculative Fiction Blogging Week.