babarnett: (ash boomstick)

One more week of freedom before my fall semester starts. My brain is finally emerging from its state of denial over that fact. But, to look on the shiny side of the crazy busyness that fall will bring, this will be my final year of grad school. Two more semesters and I'm done, baby!

This summer was strong with the shiny side of the Force, so I'm going to miss it. Two stories that I had lots of fun writing ("The Girl Who Welcomed Death to Svalgearyen" and "Memories of Mirrored Worlds") were published. There was traveling awesomeness—France in July, several jaunts to the shore in August. When not gallivanting about on vacation, I took full advantage of my summer break from school and choir rehearsals to tackle lots of personal projects I had put off during the school year.

And there was writing time. Lots and lots of glorious writing time.

I went into this summer with a writing goal: there were several short stories I wanted to get revised and sent out, and once I did that, I could finally go back to the long-neglected novel revisions I've kept threatening to one day resume. It is with a proud wielding of the productivity stick that I declare that goal met. The short stories in question have all been prettied up and submitted, and last week, I blew the dust off the novel revisions.

And to add to the summer shininess, I can announce another sale! NewMyths.com (who previously published my story "The Cycle of the Sun") has accepted "The Perfect Instrument" for their March 2014 issue. "The Perfect Instrument" had originally sold to an anthology, but the project fell through before publication, so I'm happy the story has managed to find a new home.

babarnett: (torchwood ianto monday)
So, um, you may not remember me, but I used to blog here. I know it's hard to tell, what with the eerie silence and the dust and all. In fact, the dust bunnies have grown large enough to feast upon small mammals. And that huge one lurking over in the corner? He's got that "Why, hello there, lunch" look in his eyes.

But seriously, I need to stop pretending that I'm going to have the time and mental reserves necessary to maintain any kind of blogging routine when grad school's in full gear. So come fall, blog silence will probably resume. But in the meantime, summer break, baby! And only two more semesters left before I'm all masters-degree-ified!

So what's been going on during the two-plus months I haven't been blogging? Let me explain … no, there is too much. Let me sum up:

* School. Ridiculous workload. Fried brain.

* Awesomesauce story sale! Beneath Ceaseless Skies bought "The Girl Who Welcomed Death to Svalgearyen," a story inspired by the Norwegian town Longyearbyen, where you're not allowed to die. A story I absolutely adored writing + one of my favorite short fiction publications = squee!

* Lots of singing and piano. Even my clarinet got the dust blown off it a couple times.

* My writerly pal Krista Magrowski invited me to do a talk on "Turning Ideas Into Stories and Other Tales from Publishing" for the South Jersey Writers' Group last month, which was a lot of fun and involved much discussion of bunny wrangling.

* Day job. I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned it here, but I've been doing a fellowship in an orchestra library, which has been (and continues to be) a great experience.

What hasn't been going on these last couple months, unfortunately, is fiction writing. I cranked out a bunch of flash pieces right before the start of the semester, but so far I've only been able to get one of them cleaned up and flung out into the submission void. But now that I'm done with school until the fall, fiction shall be accomplished!
babarnett: (firefly shiny kaylee)
As you may or may not have noticed, I've kind of disappeared from the blogosphere again. My fall semester began last month, and it has been kicking my ass workload-wise. But on the bright side, two shiny writerly things: 

1) First, pimpage: my story "Ghost Writer to the Dead" is now out in the October 2012 issue of Penumbra! It's the first anniversary for Penumbra and its publisher, Musa Publishing, so what better way to wish them a happy one than to consider buying an issue or subscription.

2) Because I kind of sucked about balancing writing and school last year, I promised myself this year that my train ride to and from work would be dedicated to fiction writing, no matter what. One month into the semester, and I'm pleased to say that I've stuck to that. It's not much writing time, but it's something, which is far more than I managed before.
babarnett: (edna the incredibles)
*finally resurfaces from the Sea Of Too Much Else To Do*

I finished with my second semester of grad school about a week and a half ago (and totally rocked it, by the way), which means I get to be a writer again! And read things that aren't for class! Wheeeee! And now that I've caught up on some other pesky real life things, it looks like I should actually have time for that whole blogging thing again too.

So, the state of writerly me: Before the semester started, I was pretty darn productive on the writing front--one novelette revised and sent out the door, one flash story written and sent out the door, and three flash/short story drafts written. Then the schoolwork tsunami struck, along with a new routine to get used to in February when I started a part-time fellowship in an orchestra library (which has been awesome), so there was a while there where I didn't feel like much of a writer (an assessment my writerly success ratio seems to agree with lately). But now that I don't have any grad school-related work to worry about until the fall, I get to reacquaint myself with the world of reading and writing fiction--something I look forward to with huge heaps of geekish joy.


babarnett: (mulder google)

My first semester working toward my masters in library and information science is over, and I feel confident in saying that I totally rocked it. I was pleased to discover that, twelve years after finishing my undergraduate degree, I haven't lost my Nerd-Fu.

On the downside, first semester craziness combined with Ye Olde Day Job seriously cut into my fiction writing time. I did, however, find my fiction writing life creeping into my grad school life in fun little ways.

How do I love Scrivener? Let me count the ways . . .

I bought Scrivener several years ago for novel writing. When putting together a lecture for TNEO one summer, I discovered that Scrivener was also great for collecting and organizing research for that. So when it came time this semester to turns lots of research into a presentation for a group project in my Human Information Behavior class, Scrivener once again became a handy tool. And then came my final paper for that same class. In addition to using Scrivener for organizing my research and turning it into a paper, I discovered that Scrivener had an APA style template. From my undergrad days, I was used to writing papers in MLA format, but the MLIS program requires APA format, which was new to me. Scrivener saved me huge amounts of "how exactly am I supposed to format this again?" time on the APA learning curve.

It's just like a short story, only it's mostly plot with very little setting and character development . . .

At first, I was a little apprehensive when faced with the prospect of writing a 15-page research paper for the first time in over a decade. But then I thought, "Hmm, 15 double-spaced pages in 12 point Times New Roman font with an inch margin all around--that's roughly the equivalent of a 4,600 word short story for which I've done lots of background research. Piece of cake!" On the downside, years of focusing on the style and rhythm of my prose made the paper revision process go a little slower than it might have otherwise. Without the fiction writing experience, I probably wouldn't give a damn about using the same sentence construction twice in a row in a research paper.

This one time, at writing camp . . .

Human Information Behavior, where we studied how people search for and process information in a broad number of contexts, was a fascinating course. Several times I found myself drawing on writing-related experiences as an example of information-seeking behaviors and how library and information science professionals interact with users in their search process. One example was the judgmental you-frighten-me look I got while checking out a book called On Killing for research purposes and how that kind of attitude can dissuade people from using the library. And as an example of the Principle of Least Effort, where someone consults a known resource instead of investing the small bit of extra effort needed to get what they know would be a better quality answer, I mentioned the weird phenomena I sometimes saw of individuals asking very specific research questions in a writing forum where it was unlikely anyone had expertise in the area in question, and then balking at suggestions to consult resources more likely to actually provide an answer to their question.

The geek is strong with this one . . .

My other class this semester was Information Technologies, where we got to learn some basics about web design, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, MySQL, and other fun stuff. The class seemed like it was a struggle at times for several folks, but I was safely in my geek comfort zone. I already knew how to create a website with HTML going into the class, and I picked up the rest of it pretty easily. Two of our projects involved creating an "information resource" on any topic of our choosing, so I created a site called So You Want to Write Speculative Fiction? And for our final project, we had to create a site using WordPress, so I tested out a redesign of my writing website

And there you have it. Now to check off more items on my winter break to-do list, which includes paying attention to this blog again and rediscovering the fact that I'm a writer.

babarnett: (farscape aeryn genius)

I know I keep threatening to return to a regular blogging routine, but life seems intent on not letting that happen, which is frustrating since not posting regularly tends to lead to hardly anyone paying attention when you actually do post. So even though I may be blogging into a void, here's the state of me:

* School is keeping me busy, but I'm enjoying it a lot more than I ever did grant writing. This whole getting my MLIS thing? Good damn decision, I think. 

* Speaking of life keeping me busy, there will be a distinct lack of con attendance on my part for the rest of the year. I had been hoping to attend Sirens and Capclave this month, but there's just too much else going on for me to swing either one. And I'd normally do Philcon in November since it's practically right in my backyard, but I'll be off in Austin that weekend.

* Writing progress! Well, at least there was progress until a damn cold sidelined me yesterday (it's hard to focus or stare at a computer screen for too long when it feels like you have a head full of gauze-wrapped bricks). But before then, I got my short story "The Girl Who Welcomed Death to Svalgearyen" revised and sent out the door, and now I'm working on revisions for "Demon Dreams." And when that's done, I think I'll dive back into the never-ending My Big Fat Epic Fantasy Novel revisions.

* And last but certainly not least: I can haz zombie art? The awesome-looking title spread (with art by Dave Senecal) for my story in issue 25 of Black Static, which should be coming out this month:


babarnett: (dr. horrible ahhhh)
It seems I went AWOL on the posting front. Again. But now that I'm here, many things...

SIGNALS
First, a signal boost: Say Yes to Gay YA, where Rachel Manija Brown ([livejournal.com profile] rachelmanija) and Sherwood Smith ([livejournal.com profile] sartorias) talk about an unfortunate instance of being asked to either make a gay character in their novel straight or remove the character's POV altogether. EDITED TO ADD: Some follow up. And this is where I bow out without further comment other than to say: must so many people resort to needing to cast a villain with a dastardly agenda in the matter instead of considering that it's more likely not so clearcut? 

STUDY
Busy grad school is busy! But despite some initial moments of panic (because that's what I do), I'm settling into the school routine just fine and have started to find a balance between class and everything else I need to squeeze into my days. You know, like writing. Speaking of...

STORIES
Appropriately enough for a writer, there are sevveral things going on in the story department:

* Now available for purchase is the 2011 Untied Shoelaces of the Mind Anthology, which includes my twisted little flash piece "Mr. Fluffy." The story should also be online soon in issue 5 of Untied Shoelaces of the Mind.

* My story "The Cycle of the Sun" was accepted for publication in the March 2012 issue of NewMyths.com! My Odyssey classmates will quite possibly remember this piece as "the orgy story."

* My steampunk lemurs on a dirigible story, "A Red One Cannot See" (originally published in Shimmer's Clockwork Jungle Book issue), has been added to my stories available at AnthologyBuilder  

* And I've finally gotten to work on the revisions for my story "The Girl Who Welcomed Death to Svalgearyen," which I got some great feedback on back in July at TNEO. Much like my daily schedule right now, these revisions are proving to be quite the balancing act. There are some changes to make that I think are going to really strengthen the story, but I feel like it would be easy to do too much and totally edit all the life and magic out the story.
babarnett: (angel wesley crazy fu)
I'm the kind of person who likes to have some structure to my life. It can be a little bit of structure or a lot of structure, but preferably a mix. If I need to practice piano earlier in the day than usual to accommodate something that can only be done later in the day, I like having that flexibility. But if I didn't have my piano lesson at the same time every week, I'd have a hell of a time planning around it and remembering when I need to head out the door (note to self: you need to leave in about 45 minutes for this week's lesson).

But trying to maintain any kind of structure to my days this summer? Didn't happen. Too much flux, which is one of many reasons I've been so scattershot about blogging the last few months. Hopefully, though, September should bring a touch more stability with it. Classes for my MLIS program start this Thursday. Regular weekly choir rehearsals start up again next Wednesday. My last day at Ye Olde Day Job was a week ago; I'm hoping to find something part-time and library related, but in the meantime, there's a freelance database project I'll probably be taking on. And with all of those things set, maybe I can get back into something resembling a regular routine for writing and exercise, both of which I'm ashamed to say I've been mostly neglecting lately. Bad me. Bad.

Related to all of the crazy flux in my life right now, trying to answer the question "What do you do for a living?" at my grad school orientation last week was far more difficult than it used to be. "What do I do? Up until a few days ago, I was a grant writer for a theater company. Why did I leave something that sounds so cool? Well, working in the performing arts was cool, but fundraising made me miserable, and I really loved the two years I spent working in a music library, which is why I'm pursuing my MLIS now. Why didn't I stay at the music library job? Because it was a temporarily funded project, or else I would have. No, I'm not going to be a fulltime student now. I'm hoping to find a part-time library job, and I'll probably be taking on a freelance database project.  Oh, and I also write fiction."

Postcript: in keeping with the spirit of randomness, is anyone else having issues with LJ's new text editor for posts? This entry got rid of all the spaces between paragraphs when I first posted, and then only the space between the first and second paragraphs on subsequent edit attempts. And with the last entry I posted, every time I selected text to put behind a cut, it moved the text before the cut text to after the cut. Damn it, LJ, I shouldn't have to keep tweaking the HTML in order to get simple entries to look normal.

babarnett: (farscape aeryn genius)
*taps the blog mic*

Is this thing on?

So, yeah, I’ve been rubbish about posting lately. Life has been consumed by a big busy combo of workshopping craziness, vacationing, trying to finish things up at Ye Olde Day Job before my last day (two more weeks!), and preparing for that whole wacky grad school thing I’ll be starting in September. There has been precious little time for writing, which makes me cranky.

As for the aforementioned workshopping craziness, that would be TNEO (aka The Never-Ending Odyssey), which I attended last month, and it was all manner of awesome. Awesome people, awesome feedback, and awesome moments of writing-related light bulbs going off. Like three-act structure. For some reason, I always had the hardest time getting a firm grasp on three-act structure, but this time it finally clicked and I could finally see where I had (unknowingly) used it in some of my stuff.

I had two short stories and a novel chapter critiqued at TNEO this year, and I’m totally stoked to get the revision work underway on them. It’s easy to walk out of critique sessions overwhelmed by feedback overload, especially when you get conflicting opinions. But this year, there was so much consensus as to what was and wasn’t working in my submissions and so much helpful brainstorming that I feel like I know exactly what I need to do and won’t be bogged down trying to sort through conflicting reactions.

One really helpful session we did at TNEO was a plot breakout technique. Each person presented a plot they wanted help with, after which we would do about a half an hour’s worth of brainstorming that involved lots of adding and rearranging and deleting of various plot elements, done with index cards on a board. I was looking for ways to strengthen Act 2 (now that I know where Act 2 is!) of one of the major plot threads in My Big Fat Epic Fantasy Novel and got lots of great ideas, including more characters to kill (always a plus in my book). My collection of index cards ended up looking like this:



That big mess o' cards down the middle would be Act 2, with Act 1 to the left and Act 3 to the right.

Now if only life would settle the hell down and let me get in some more writing time, I could make better use of all that crazy awesome brainstorming!
babarnett: (pig weeee!)
In the non-writerly acceptances category: much faster than I expected, a shiny acceptance from Rutgers for their Master of Library and Information Science program winged its way into my inbox today. And now that I've heard from both there and Drexel, I just need to make up my dang mind where I'm gonna go. 
babarnett: (pig weeee!)
And today we have an acceptance of the non-writing variety: waiting in my inbox earlier was a shiny acceptance from Drexel's master in library and information science program.  One grad school response down, one more to go!  I am quite looking forward to the fall.
babarnett: (torchwood ianto monday)
1) The grad school applications are off! Still some pesky supporting documentation to take care of, but mostly I get to sit back now and play the waiting game, for which submitting fiction has very much prepared me.

2) You can check out the cover for the soon-to-be-released Black Static #20, which will have my story "The Wounded House" in it.  Squee!  I drew on my own life for this story more than for any other I've written, so I'm going to have a blog post about the story's background sometime in the near future. Because, you know, the world needs more self-indulgent writerly types.

3) My story "The Perfect Instrument" (also known as the Amazing Expanding and Contracting Story) was accepted for an anthology called Rockets, Swords and Rainbows: New Tales of Fantasy, so yay!

On a slight tangent from that, someone had mentioned wanting to see more in the same setting as my story "Mortis Persona."  While "The Perfect Instrument" isn't in the same setting, the world I placed it in is based on ancient Rome, so it likely has a similar vibe to it setting-wise, just without the magic ("The Perfect Instrument" is a secondary world setting sans magic; "Mortis Persona" is an alternate ancient Rome with magic).  And "The Perfect Instrument" has a musician protagonist while "Mortis Persona" has an actor, so they've both got the artsy protag thing going for them too.

I'm a Twit

Nov. 9th, 2010 11:17 pm
babarnett: (kermit needs coffee)
This bout of sporadic posting and commenting brought to you by our sponsors:

Grad School Applications

Work Deadlines - Bet you can't have just one

Stop Me Before I Volunteer Again Active Wear

and

Twitter - Because who wouldn't respond to being busy by signing up for yet another social networking site?

But seriously, I swore I'd hold out, but something came over me (I believe the technical term is "procrastination") and I signed up for Twitter.  If you're already among the 140-character damned, I'm on there as ba_barnett.  I've found a few of you flist types on there already, but there's plenty of room for more in my procrastinatory roster.

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