Writing practice

I’ve signed up for the How Writers Write Fiction 2015 online class from the University of Iowa. I’m taking the (generously provided) free version, which is essentially just “sitting in” on the class along with a number of people from The Toast, one of my favorite blogs/online communities.

I’ve been writing a ton since this spring. I’d started 2015 with a focus on drawing, and worked primarily on that for the first quarter of the year – did almost no writing at all. But then I saw Mad Max: Fury Road and was hit in the face by a truck convoy of inspiration and stopped drawing completely. Put down my pencil, picked up my pen.

I’m over 30k on one story and re-started up a Halloween story that I thought up years ago after attending a reading by one of my favorite horror authors, Caitlin Kiernan.

It doesn’t look like I’ll be fulfilling that New Years resolution of submitting something for publication – and there’s a surprise #notasurprise – but I am pleased with the consistent amount of words I’ve been churning out!


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Book collecting

Can you be a writer without being a book lover? I feel like the two go without saying. Did a bit of writing this weekend, but mostly I cataloged our collection in LibraryThing and finally made it to 800 books. 802, to be precise.

I’d say I’ve cataloged slightly more than half all the books we own. It’s hard to say, since we still have some stuff at his folks’ and my folks’ houses.

I like LT a lot. It is sort of ugly and can be clunky, but the metadata it provides is fascinating. I love seeing our collection’s statistics.  Despite my active collecting of women authors, we have a ton more dudes in our library. The majority of it is fiction, bought used, and the cost is usually under $10 – We come home with boxes full of books from yard sales and library sales, which explains those two trends. I’ve started adding more in the tags, noting signatures, previous owners, bookplates and the ilk; as well as small press, first editions, and first printings. We have a fair amount of firsts and a fair amount of signed – Relatively minor authors, though I’m super proud of them all. Talking to authors is so nerve-wracking; I always blather and embarrass myself in my fangirling.

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Work anniversary

One year at my job! I entered into a career relatively late – bad economy, grad school, continuing bad economy – so I’m still a new-comer in my field, despite my age.  This one-year anniversary is a source of pride and relief. Stability, at long last!

Despite this full-time job, I’ve done more writing in this past year that I had during my long months of under/unemployment. All that time was spent in depression, and those hours at home were empty.

Here are some estimated word counts from March 2014 to March 2015, for things that I’ve finished or are close to finishing:

  • NaNo: 50,000
  • DA Big Bang: 30,000
  • Short story: 4,000
  • DA short story: 2,000

Short list, but I really limited the list; I have a number of Google docs for drabbles and I’ve almost filled my fiction notebook.  Can’t get word counts from my written notes, but for the stuff I have in Google:

  • 3,000
  • 3,000
  • 350

Eh, not amazing, but not bad either.

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More on resolutions

I swore that this year was going to be the year when I submitted a story to an agent or publisher. And so far I’ve barely touched any of my works-in-progress.

But I don’t consider this a total failure. Instead of writing, I’ve been regularly drawing.  When I was in college – or maybe the year after I graduated – I made the conscious choice to pursue writing over art. I’ve always been an amateur at both fields so this was more of a hobby-related decision than anything else, but I still made that choice.

Now, having already passed the cusp into my thirties, I’m really doubting that my writing has gotten substantial better. It has improved, but holy shit does it blow in comparison to my favorite writers. Hell, even my favorite fanfic writers.

So yeah, gonna try my hand at drawing for a while.

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This story just will not get written

In 2009 or so, I daydreamed up a little story about a young woman who falls in love with a gondolier. Six years later I’m still trying to work it out – it’s a difficult labor and while the end is in sight, it’s going to be a messy birth. And there’ll be a lot of shit on the table.  That metaphor got away from me.

I keep writing myself into corners. The original story was clear-cut, but suffered from being overly preachy. I think I’ve toned down the black-and-white mortality, but now that the parents are less The Bad Guys, the love interest has filled the void and become an antagonist.  It makes more sense this way, but I’m having a hard time justifying my main character’s role in the romance.

Been dragging my feet over at critters.org. I need to keep my participation percentage up if I ever want to submit, but it’s hard to be enthusiastic when it doesn’t look like I’ll ever finish anything I’ve started.

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Ooh, and another resolution for 2015

Ok, so this is more of a pipe dream, but I want to write campaigns for the pen&paper game Dragon Age RPG. We have tentative plans with friends for the weekend to finally get into the game, and once I have a better feel for the mechanics, I’m going to start capsulizing my ideas .

And then put them on a website. Maybe FereldanTurnip.com.

Which gets so popular that BioWare hires me site-unseen to work on Dragon Age 4.

Yes this is so plausible that I should start packing now.

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New Year’s Resolution-ing

Having achieved my 2014 resolution/want/need of getting a full-time, real-person job, this year I can be a little more whimsical in my aspirations: I want to write something that I can submit for publication. It doesn’t actually have to be published – cuz lol my writing’s awful – but I want to get something to the point where I’m willing to show it to a human being who isn’t my husband. And maybe get feedback!

I think I’m going to give up on Critters.org‘s writers workshop. Critiquing every week quickly became a chore. Maybe because it’s only a one-way street? I love talking shop, but sending emails into the void just isn’t satisfying.

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