Wednesday, May 25, 2022

May Writing Update

Due to unexpected events affecting my blogging schedule, I didn't post anything for Mid-Month Mysteries this month. I think I'm going to change the format for June so I can talk more about books/authors I'm familiar with.

I managed to finish my solarpunk story in time to submit it to a contest, and I also wrote a flash fiction fantasy story that I'm submitting to whatever markets I can find. Hopefully I won't be distracted anymore from revising Restaurants and Revenge or writing stories for The Season Between collection (stories set after Summon the Seasons.) I also hope that once we get our new dishwasher next week, it'll free up more time in the evenings to write. There's so many things I have to do every weeknight that I typically wind up with less than an hour to write and even less time to figure out what I'm doing. 

WisCon is this weekend, along with my son's birthday on Memorial Day. I still have to sign up for the virtual con, but since we're still not sure what we're doing, I've held off. Depending on what we do, I may not have much time for the online con.

Do you have any writing updates you'd like to share? Feel free to comment below.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Stories in Stories

Although the vast majority of my fiction reading these days is cozy mysteries, every now and then I like to shake it up. Earlier this month, I read Life of Pi. The first part of the book is, in my opinion, low stakes with little conflict, as Pi tells us about his early life. This is before the main action of the novel, so how does the author keep the reader engaged in this section?

There are a couple of ways the author keeps the reader interested. The first one is using a lot of solid details to bring the zoo to life. It's more than just invoking the senses; it's also the authoritative tone he uses to describe how to care for the animals. However, there's another technique to keep people reading. There are also miniature stories and anecdotes woven into this section of the book. The most dramatic of these is when Pi's father demonstrates to him and his brother exactly how dangerous the zoo animals are. Part of this involves making them watch a tiger hunting a goat. Other stories relate the kinds of things visitors feed the zoo animals (and unfortunately, how some of them are cruel to the animals). These stories add conflict and interest to prose that otherwise might be telling instead of showing.There are a few sections where the author stops the story to list things or the style becomes very simplistic; I admit I skimmed over those places. The first part of the book also contains italicized chapters written from the perspective of someone visiting Pi many years after the main events; I didn't think they added much to the story. But it's been instructive to observe how the author develops themes while providing us with background.

Have you read books that detail long passages of time where little happens story-wise? If so, what techniques kept you reading through those sections? Feel free to comment.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Patricia A. McKillip: 1948-2022

 It's always a little startling when you're mindlessly scrolling through Facebook and stumble on shocking news. That happened to me yesterday when I found out Patricia A. McKillip, one of my favorite authors, passed away last Friday. She was 74. 

I think the first McKillip book I read was The Sorceress and the Cygnet. I was drawn in by her wondrous prose, which raised every work of hers to the mythopoetic realm. The Cygnet duology remains one of my favorite works of hers, but I also particularly like The Forgotten Beasts of Eld. I met her at WisCon several years ago and have her autograph.You can see it, along with other books of hers, pictured below. 

Many authors can write fantasy, but there are few who can consistently infuse their work with a sense of wonder like McKillip did. She will be missed.

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Writer Highs and Lows


May the Fourth be with you! Late April to late May is my favorite time of year will all the flowers in bloom. It's also a busy time of year as I prepare to celebrate my son's birthday at the end of the month and attend WisCon (which I will probably do virtually this year). Despite all this, there's still time to talk about writing and post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Learn more about them on their website and Facebook page

This month's post is inspired by Charles Dickens: It's the best of times; it's the worst of times. What are your writer highs (the good times)? And what are your writer lows (the crappy times)?
In no particular order, here are some of my writer highs:
1. Getting together with other writers.
2. Finishing a story.
3. Selling a story (or seeing that someone bought one of my books).
4. Hearing from a reader who enjoys my work or who gets what I was trying to do with a story.
5. Solving a problem I've been stuck on or making connections within a story.
6. Getting inspired for a new project. 
7. Getting a good review or being nominated for a reward.

And here are some of my writer lows:

1. Learning a story got rejected.
2. Bad reviews.
3. Getting stuck or having to discard hours of work.
4. Unsuccessful marketing campaigns.

Writing is the main way I strive to authentically connect with others and with something better than myself. Therefore, anything that helps me build connections is a win, while failing to make connections is a setback.

What are some of your writer highs and lows? Is writing about connection for you too? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

Site Meter