Friday, September 28, 2018

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

New Ideas and Old Characters

I saw a cartoon on Facebook recently that perfectly captures some of the frustrations of the writing process. It starts with a shiny new idea (or ideas), which connects to starting a new project but not actually finishing it. (I don't remember what the last part of the comic was, but it probably led to another new idea.) I have so many projects that I want to work on, not just writing-related, but also crocheting and sewing projects. Hopefully after the comic-con on Saturday the sewing/crocheting projects will feel like less of a priority. (I still need to make the Santa Jawa costume in time for the holiday parade in late November.) I think I need to list all the various projects I want to work on so I can prioritize them.

One of my priorities for this is is finishing the first draft of Dryads to Discover. While I'm made slow but steady progress on it, the characters don't grab my imagination the way old, familiar characters do. I'm itching to tell more stories about the Season Avatars (particularly Gwen and Jenna), and Paul and his friends from Twinned Universes. It's hard to pants new stories when old characters are still occupying your head. I do want to continue with both series, and I do have a sense of where they would finally end, even if I don't know the entire path that leads there.

Do you ever feel that writing past or writing future interferes with your writing present? If so, how do you manage to focus on your current work? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Rereading One's Work

My Facebook friends and Instagram followers might have seen my author's copy of MSCI: Magical Crime Scene Investigation, which I received last week. (Naturally, I had to post it here as well.) Yesterday, I reread "Henry's Harness," my short story in this anthology. As always, I'm my own worst critic. I'm not going to list specific examples so as not to spoil anything, but there are stretches where I think my writing craft could be improved and sentences I'd like to rephrase. On the other hand, I do think the setting details work. Most importantly, the emotional heart of the story is there. It should be interesting to read the rest of the stories in the anthology and see how they fit together as a whole. It'll also be interesting to revisit this story in a few years, though I'll probably be even more critical of it by then.

How do you feel about rereading your stories? Are you self-critical, amazed that it turned out so where, or something else? Feel free to share in the comments.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Put In or Take Out?

I mentioned in my last post that I'm listening to a lecture series on writing great fiction. The speaker (James Hynes) is also an author, though I don't think I've read any of his work. One of the points he made is about including enough detail to draw the reader into the story. He says he tends to overwrite the details in the first draft, because it's easier to remove the unimportant details than to add them in. I have to admit I'm the opposite. In my first draft, I'm still feeling out scene goals, plot points, and dialogue, so the setting tends to take a back seat. I try to work in more details when I'm more familiar with the story and the setting. The exception is when I'm working in story worlds that I've previously used, so I already know what the world is like.

Every author has a different approach to writing, and sometimes an author will change their writing process for different stories. (I'm doing this myself with my current works in progress. Both of them follow several different characters as POV/protagonists. I plan to have short chapters in these books and have the POV switch to a new character with each chapter. I normally write each chapter in order, but in this situation, I'm finding it easier to stick with one character for several scenes, even if I plan to break them up later.) Obviously, Hynes' approach works for him. Do you prefer to include a lot of details in your first draft, or do you work them in later? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Writing Book Recommendations

One of my resolutions this year was to read at least ten books on writing craft or marketing books. Although I started off pretty well, I just looked at my list on Goodreads and realized I've only read three books out of the ten. I just started listening to a Great Courses lecture series on writing great fiction, so even though I don't list my audiobooks on Goodreads, I might still count the series toward this goal--assuming I finish it before the end of the year. I probably have some books already in my collection, but I thought it might be helpful to see what other people recommend. Feel free to list your favorite writing books in the comments.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Science of the Week, 9/14/18

This week didn't offer much in the way of interesting science news articles, but here are some of the most interesting ones I read this week:

New research suggests Pluto should be reclassified as a planet

Throwing darts at approaching asteroids

Robot can pick up any object after inspecting it

Have a good weekend, and I'll see you Monday!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Video: A Hard Day's Night

Since it's been a hard day's night at work the last couple of days, I'm having trouble coming up with something to blog about for today. So here's the opening to the Beatles' movie A Hard Day's Night. Enjoy!

Monday, September 10, 2018

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary to Eugene, the man who always knows how to make me smile! This picture was taken on our honeymoon. It can be hard to find time to celebrate a special day during the week. We discussed going out for dinner yesterday, but it didn't work out. Maybe this coming weekend we can do something. What do you do if your birthday or anniversary falls on a workday? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

IWSG: Publishing Paths

Once again, the Insecure Writer's Support Group is encouraging writers to share their writing journeys with others. You can learn more about the IWSG on their website , Facebook page, or Twitter. This month, our co-hosts are Toi Thomas, T Powell Coltrin, M.J. Fifield, and Tara Tyler.

Our question this month is What publishing path are you considering/did you take, and why?

When I decided to be a writer back in the 90s, traditional publishing with an agent and a publisher was the only real option. Today, I consider myself a hybrid author. Although I'll still publish most of my work independently, I'll participate in anthologies if I find them interesting.I enjoy having control over my projects, and while I obviously want to find a steady stream of readers for my work, I can also write "projects of the heart" to keep my passion for writing alive. I'd rather retain full rights for my novels, but short story markets take fewer rights and introduce my work to new readers. No matter if you pursue traditional publishers/agents (remember: there's no guarantee they'll choose you) or take on the publishing role yourself, writing is a business, and there's no easy path to success. It takes time to develop your craft and find an audience.

What's your writing path? I would love to give you some choices here like the old "Choose Your Own Adventure" books, but I'm afraid there's only one place for comments for this post.

Monday, September 03, 2018

MCSI Now Available!

For those of you celebrating Labor Day today, I hope you're enjoying the day off. A holiday may not be the best day to make this announcement, but I didn't learn about the release of MCSI: Magical Crime Scene Investigation in time for Wednesday's post Anyway, if you missed the chance to participate in the Kickstarter for this paranormal investigation anthology, you can still get a copy. It's available on Amazon in ebook and paper formats. If you're looking for other ebook formats, it's also available through Smashwords. My short story, "Henry's Harness," is part of the collection, but I'm looking forward to reading the other stories as well. Here's the blurb and full list of stories and authors:

Cold cases, cold coffee, rushing into situations other people run from - being a cop is tough. But it gets even tougher when the particulars of the case don’t match up with the way the world is supposed to be. But some investigators take these paranormal speed bumps in stride. Your murder suspect is a dragon? Bring it on. Your evidence comes from a conference with the spirit world? No problem. Your kidnapping suspect is an undead creature sprung from Old World folklore? Okay, that might take the fortification of an extra cup of coffee and some back up.

We have 18 urban fantasy stories about solving the case with a little magical help ready for your curious mind. Come along for the ride and enjoy the thrills of investigation. Remember, Quod Sequitor - Follow the Evidence.

Our Stories and Authors:
The Mercury Division by Lynda Collins
How Many Hearts Will it Take? by Karen Thrower
Meat Market by Aaron C. Smith
Henry's Harness by Sandra Ulbrich Almazan
Nachtkrapp by Michelle D. Sonnier
You've Goat to be Kidding Me by Andrea Stanet
Half Someplace Gone by Blake Jessop
Le Dragon de Bronze by K.A. Mielke
The Twins in the Fog by Rie Sheridan Rose
Chief Hunkypants vs. the Magic Door by Josie Dorans
Harvest Moon by Jasmine Brown and Simon Young
Elemental Forensics by Elizabeth Hosang
Arm-in-Arm with Alchemy by Rosie Wylor-Owen
Corpus Delicti by Jade Black
The Clean-Up Crew by Edmund Lester
A Dead Mermaid on Eel Pie Island by Liz Tuckwell
The Advantages of Unofficial Consultation by Brian M. Milton
Poppies by Ashlea Adams

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