babarnett: (kermit needs coffee)
1) The theater company I work for just recently finished the run of a new play called Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins.  I've been meaning to share the very opening of the play since I found it particularly amusing as a writer.  It opens with Molly Ivins leaning 
back in her chair, feet propped up on her desk.  She stares off into the distance for a while before finally speaking:

I’m writing.

This is what writing looks like.

I’m letting some ideas steep. Which is not the same as letting them stew. Every reporter with a brain--which is a subset of the profession and by no means the majority--knows that writing is seventy-five-per cent thinking, fifteen percent typing, and ten per cent caffeine.

2) I was in an analytical mood the other day and started looking at how my short stories break down genre-wise for no particular reason other than plain old curiosity. I ended up with 22 fantasy stories (the majority of them secondary world fantasy), 12 horror stories, 4 science fiction, and one goofy little mainstream-ish romance.  Then there are the 5 stories I've never been entirely sure what to call.  Most of them I would toss into the fantasy camp if pressed, though when one was published at Every Day Fiction I was surprised by a reader calling it "almost sci-fi noir."  EDF tagged it "surreal."  And then there's my "Lunch with Dead Trees" story that's currently making the submission rounds.  I have no idea what the hell to call that one.  I mean, while I don't think there's actually an expensive restaurant in the city where overly rich people pay good money to dine beside dead trees on purpose, there totally could be.

3) Not too terribly long ago I was following a good discussion in a writing forum about POV in novels and whether it's jarring to break from a pattern once you've established it, not to mention the pesky question of how many chapters does it take to establish a pattern in the reader's mind.  Like if your first three chapters alternate character A's POV, character B's POV, back to character A, and then the fourth chapter breaks with that and is from the POV of character C.  So I was looking at the POV pattern in what I've finished re-writing of My Big Fat Epic Fantasy Novel so far, and it makes my eyes cross a bit to look at it: A B C D C B B B C B C B C B E C B E B C.
babarnett: (farscape aeryn genius)
So, last week?  It sucked a lot.  No writing time over the weekend?  Also sucked.  And rain and wind strong enough to knock over a big-ass pine tree and street light in the neighborhood when you're trying to move large pieces of furniture?  Yeah, that sucks too.

The Writerly Update
Close to 600 words into what is now chapter 12.  More revision wordage would have been nice, but considering the aforementioned suck, I’m amazed I got that much.

The Readerly Update
I’ve been reading On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society by Lt. Colonel Dave Grossman, which has some really fascinating (and sometimes disturbing) stuff in it.  I put it on my “to read” list after [ profile] j_cheney had posted about it some time back.  It sounded like it’d be a good resource for a short story I’ve been planning to rewrite, and it’s delivering on that front.  What I didn’t realize was how useful it’d be for my novel rewrite as well.

Submission Land
I don’t think I’ve ever had this many submissions out at the 100-day+ mark all at one time before.  Luckily, working on the novel rewrite instead of a short stories at present has me obsessing over this less than I normally would.

Random Literary/Theatrical Musings
I saw a production of Romeo & Juliet Thursday night.  It’s been a while since I’ve read it or seen it performed, and the production made me realize why, unlike a lot of other Shakespeare, I don’t love this play.  Two things in particular: 1) The supporting characters are far more interesting than the protagonists.  I spend most of the play wanting to slap them.  2) After Romeo and Juliet have bit it and brought their angsty histrionics to an end, we have this moment where the friar stands there in the tomb telling the other characters everything we just saw happen.  "As You Know, Audience..."
babarnett: (statler waldorf evil geniuses)
[ profile] jongibbs has kindly allowed me to take up precious real estate on his LJ with a guest blog today, How Being a Theater Geek Improved My Writing.  Read and be merry.
babarnett: (angel wesley crazy fu)
This week has been strong with the bat-shit crazy side of the Force, making that whole productivity thing a challenge. Some of the things keeping me busy were good things (Easter with the in-laws, seeing a production of Edward Albee's At Home at the Zoo, a reception where my dad got a firefighter-of-the-year award from the local VFW).  But other things...well, I think my brain exploded a few times.

Now onto what I actually managed to accomplish amid the crazy:

Reading: I'm partway through chapter 10 in Bitterwood.  As for Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, I gave up. I reached my library renewal limit on it and was just going to copy the remaining discs onto my computer last night, but then I realized that I still had 12 discs left. It's an entertaining book, but it's not that entertaining. So I took that long-winded puppy back to the library today and checked out the audio version of Cormac McCarthy's The Road.  Only six discs total.  Ah, blessed brevity.

Exercise: Fell off the wagon Tuesday and Wednesday thanks to the crazy, but stuck to it the rest of the week.

The usual rehearsal schedule, but fitting in practice time on the piano proved tough. I was all stressed out at my Wednesday lesson as a result, which didn't help.

Writing Business: Bored with the rejections-a-plenty/several-months-long-dry-spell-when-it-comes-to-sales combo now. I'm feeling particularly disheartened with one story. It's a flash story I wrote a while back, and while not brilliant, I think it's a good little piece. When I first wrote it, a fellow writerly type thought very highly of it and said, "If Strange Horizons doesn't take this, I don't know what they'll take."  Well, they didn't take it, and neither have the 27 other markets I've sent it to. I've never had a story get shot down that many times, and it's depressing, especially since it came close at a few places, which gives me confidence that the story doesn't suck. Unfortunately, I'm almost out of decent markets for it.

I spent much of last weekend figuring out what I needed to move, add, axe, and rewrite in chapter 4 of My Big Fat Epic Fantasy Novel, which was fun and exciting and I couldn't wait to start writing.  Then, Sunday night, I sat down to write, and nothing. I spent an insane amount of time rewriting the opening sentence. I didn't get back to the chapter again until Wednesday, when I finally managed to push past that block. But because I had so little time for writing this week, I'm only about 500 words into the chapter. Blah.

On that note, it's onto the weekend for me.  I'm going to get in some more work on the novel tonight.  Tomorrow AsYouKnowBob and I will be driving down to Washington DC--the chorus we're in is singing at the National Gallery, and afterward we'll be making a Maryland pit stop to have dinner with some of my friends from college. Sunday will be singing at church in the morning, writing group in the afternoon. And if I'm not too exhausted, I might squeeze in some more writing before Monday rears its ugly head.
babarnett: (doctor who k9)
Since I have no idea what I'm going to be able to get done tomorrow--chorus concert at a school in the early afternoon, theater tickets in the evening--I'm gonna go ahead and post my weekly productivity report now.

Reading: Two more chapters in Bitterwood, up to chapter 23 in Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, and a story at that I highly recommend for fans of the play Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead: "We Haven't Got There Yet" by Harry Turtledove. I'm a little bit in love with this brief bit from the story: "Hamlet goes missing--as he must, for his place in the remaining action lies in Elsinore. Is he any freer than Guildenstern and Rosencrantz, or only better written?"

Exercise: We recently got Wii Fit, so I've been spending a good 20-30 minutes a day getting acquainted with that. No substitute for the more substantial yoga and pilates sessions I've done in the past, but definitely more of a workout than I would have thought.

Music: The usual--chorus rehearsals, piano lesson, practicing.

Writing: As I posted on Wednesday, the first draft of the zombie story is done! So that's about 1,200 new words written on that this week, and tonight I started revisions on chapter 3 of My Big Fat Epic Fantasy Novel.  Chapter 3's pretty short and doesn't need any major revisions, so I decided to tackle that before de-crapifying the zombie story.

Writing Business: Queries out on a couple of stragglers, one of which came back with a reply that the story got far but "looks like it's going to be rejected" and they'll be sending along comments soon. So I guess I'll wait until I get the actual commenty rejection before doing anything else with that story. On a happier note, at least, today I got notice that my quarter 1 Writers of the Future submission got an honorable mention. Considering I almost didn't send that one there, that's better than expected.
babarnett: (shaun of the dead)
I was feeling a lot better today, though definitely not a 100%, which made the temptation to give into slugdom tempting. So I wasn't hugely productive, but I slogged forward, and slogging forward is better than sitting there on my ass playing mahjong all day.

Reading: Yet more of Musicophilia. I've got one chapter left in the third section, which has been dealing with music and movement--lots of stories about how music can help people with things like Tourette's and Parkinson's. I should be able to finish the fourth and final section of the book by the end of next week.

Exercising: An easy 15 minutes of pilates since I still wasn't feeling all that hot

Music Stuff: No practicing today, but that was anticipated, so no points to the slug. We had tickets to go see a play called My Name Is Asher Lev (adapted from the novel by Chaim Potok) tonight, so it was dinner in Philly followed by the play in place of practice time.

Writing Business: I had a story sitting in the bullpen, eagerly waiting for the next market on the list to re-open to subs, but then someone pointed the way to a new anthology: Escape Clause. So I sent that eager little story trotting out onto the field, pitching arm ready.

Writing: Got a little bit of work in on the zombie short story


babarnett: (Default)

December 2013



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