Comics are writing, too! It's usually atrocious!

I'm an old acquaintance of Anna's and I started MUSHing in high school (over ten years ago) -- so love-of-language and hatred-of-what-passes-for-good-comics eventually melded into the desire to pull off a script or two.

Sadly, as Grace Allen said, "I read a book twice as fast as anyone else. First, I read the beginning, and then I read the ending, and then I start in the middle and read toward whichever end I like best."

... and it's like that. The 'trouble' with the medium is that I can be struck by an exchange, a mash-up, a use-of-powers that nobody's ever thought of -- or it can be a bit of dialogue, just a couple of panels of back-and-forth with nothing to 'kick it off' or 'tie it up.'

My brother the trained-as-a-screenwriter says, "You've got some great ideas from 10,000 feet up." Suitably original and epic, but he warns about pacing, structure, follow-through. I have none of the professional polish I'm sure my work will need. I'm an evoker. I evoke. (I describe my process, someday-famously, as "writing in stained glass." Dense with implication, weighted with pathos, minimally expository, cramming as much information into as small a space as possible.)

The most helpful book I have my hands on besides DC's comic-writer's guide and Alan Moore's essays on writing is Vogler's hero's-journey-for-writers. Love 'em all. But at the same time, my favorite storytellers are people like H.P. Lovecraft, Jorge Luis Borges ... not always linear, the payoff is incomprehensible madness ... that sort of thing.

I think in colors, in shapes, in space, in quips -- the consequence and honor of being a sculptor. In school, though, I got the 'Pablo Picasso critique' a lot. People have to know you can pull off the standard stuff with suitable verve before you can do stick-figures and be respected for it. Otherwise, you look lazy. I know there was a 'character outline worksheet' circling the community some time ago -- anybody have similar thoughts, advices, suggestions, recommendations?

Shutting down this community

Hi folks,

Just wanted to let you all know that in the name of simplifying my life, I need to either shut this community down (because I clearly don't have time to run it or keep it going), or else hand it off to someone else who might have more time to do interesting things with it.

If anyone is interested in taking over the community I'll be happy to hand it off to you, just let me know. Otherwise I will be archiving the community, and then shutting it down on June 1.

Thanks all for your participation on what posts there have been!

She shoots, she scores!

Hi folks and sorry that this community has been so quiet the last many months.

The vast majority of you will have already seen me post about this on my own journal, but for those of you who haven't, I've sold my first novel to Drollerie Press.

I'm thinking about whether I can use this as an excuse to wake things up around here a bit. If anybody can think of something you'd like to see posted about, sing out!

Also, here is the obligatory shoutout to anybody doing Nanowrimo this year. Good luck to you all.

Random but useful links

Wow, been super-quiet around here lately, but still hanging in there. Here are a random assortment of nifty writing-related things y'all may want to know about if you don't already:

[ profile] novel_in_90 -- this is kind of like NaNoWriMo, only slightly less crazy. The idea is to write 750 words a day for 90 days, no excuses, no time off, in order to get practice juggling deadlines as well as RL commitments. They just started a new round as of yesterday; I'm thinking I may jump in on the next one if I get all my editing done by then.

The Swivet -- the home base of La Gringa, a.k.a. newly minted agent Colleen Lindsay. She's been one of the more informative and entertaining blogging agents I've been following as of late; she posts weekly updates about sales in the SF/F genre, as well as semi-regular helpful posts such as this one on what sort of word count you ought to be shooting for.

Nathan Bransford -- another agent whose blog I've been following lately; he's interesting by his semi-regular posts asking readers to answer questions such as what sort of editing practices do you follow. He shares publishing industry news as well.

Anybody else got interesting writing-related links to share?

words from a distant past

I went to college in the pre-calculator era; one did one's math on slide-rules, bolstered by a table of trigonometric functions and logarithms. I had my own little typewriter, which I lugged about in its neat little fitted case.

This was a long time ago.

So, imagine my sense of ancientness when I turn to page 29 of the January issue of World Oil (which comes, free-of-charge, as a printed journal to my postbox, but may also be seen at That's engineer Les Skinner's column on drilling advances, most of which is over my head at the best of times. But this month he is reminiscing about his college days (which, judging from his masthead photo with grey temples and a certain number of laugh lines, were coeval with mine:

"For those of a later generation, a typewriter was a mechanical device that used small hammers to sequentially print letter, number or symbol images on paper."

I suspect that some of his readers will find that explanation helpful, as they might never have heard the clackety-clack ding ka-shucking of a typewriter in the wild.

And that makes this quote suitable for Scuzzboppers, I daresay: how many of you yet use a typewriter? I do my first drafts on an IBM Selectric, and then have them scanned and OCR'ed for later edits. Sounds clunky, perhaps, but to my way of feeling, nothing else would subsitute for the sheer tactile joy of writing with mechanical device (with my fscked hands, hand-writing is painful and never a joy)/ Anyway, what say you? Any other typewriters out and about, or am I the last of old dragons?

from somewhere far northwest, under the sleet-storm

First chapters ...

Send between 10pm ET Feb 4th and 8am ET Feb 6th.

(x'd to toonowrimo)

Writing panel ideas

So I've been asked by [ profile] awritersweekend for panel ideas for next year's conference (this year's being nailed down already and taking place at the very end of this month). I've already thought of a couple, both of which come out of my online gaming/roleplay experience:
  • Writing POV characters that aren't your gender. I used to get semi-regularly boggled at for playing male characters on various games, and more than once I've been boggled at by other writers who have difficulty getting into the mindset of writing a character that isn't their own gender.

  • Jumping from online gaming to writing and what skills are transferrable. I've identified at least four writing-related skills I've practiced during my RP years: character development (this certainly being the biggest, for the games where I've had to apply for characters with special backgrounds and/or abilities), plot development, how to effectively describe an action, and how to collaborate with others on a group work.
Anybody up for adding to this list? If you were going to attend a writing conference, what unusual panel topic would you like to see?

(x-posted between my journal and [ profile] scuzzboppers)

Linkdump from Kristin Nelson's Pub Rants blog

Here is a collection of links I found incredibly informative on Kristin Nelson's Pub Rants blog (syndicated on LJ via [ profile] pubrants). Noted here for general edification, not to mention example of an agent who knows her stuff. I highly recommend following her blog for those of you who, like me, are looking at doing the Plz Will You Be My Agent Kthxbye Dance:

Agenting 101 Posts. This is a series of posts that she did on what you need to know if you actually want to be your own agent, but it's also informative on what an agent does in general:

This is a post on what you need to say if you actually luck out and get The Call from an agent:

Most of the time, according to Ms. Nelson, calling an agent is Frowned Upon. But here are some examples of when it'll be okay:
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Infatuation with your own writing?

So I tend to become very infatuated with anything that I write, to the point where I read it over and over again because I am so in love with it. Does that happen to any of you? I know that my writing isn't all that great, I can't spell worth a damn, and my grammar is horrible, and I really need some work on my creative writing as well as well as my discriptive prose, but it doesn't matter, when I actually get myself to put something on paper (or in ones and zeros) I fall in love with it and can reread it like I do with some of my favorate authors works (you should see how many times I have reread PastWatch by Orson Scott Card, or maybe you shouldn't). Anyways, sometimes this infatuation affects my ability to accept criticism, even the contructive variety, of my work. So what I really want to know from this writerly group, is do any of you suffer from the same problem, and if so what do you do to get past it, because I really think I need to learn to do that?

Interesting info on what a writer makes

John Scalzi, author of Old Man's War, posts here and here about how his income from writing has behaved for the last half dozen years or so. It's interesting reading for a newbie hoping to write SF/F and fantasy, as it gives a nice picture of what you might expect if you're trying to break into the field and you get lucky. ;) Check it out.

Advice on how much to write and when

I saw a most interesting collection of links going around my Friends list today pertaining to how often one should write, how long per day, etc. I now cheerfully yoink most of them from [ profile] arcaedia to relay here, for lo, they are full of goodness. Especially when John Scalzi uses amusing words like "sphinctocranial" (I really must read one of this man's books to see if he writes as well as he blogs).

Long story short of it is, they're all saying that it doesn't matter how much you write per day or whether you're writing as fast as your neighbor. The important thing is, write.

Contest first chapters writing competition for novels- starting date: now, ending date: March 15th.

Winner gets $5,000, a contract with Simon & Schuster/Touchstone, and Borders promotion/disstribution.

(or )

If you're not already following the Writer Beware blog...

... and you are doing Nanowrimo this month, then you might want to glance at this post. It's a plea for all y'all out there who will be anxious to do something with your shiny new Nanonovels to be wise about it--and don't let yourself get scammed into throwing money at a sham agent or sham publisher.

Sing it and chant it: money always flows to the writer.

And go read that blog.
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A Short Excerpt

I know I don't post here much, but I do keep track. For those who aren't watching my personal journal, my word count has reached the midway point of 25,094.

Due to life and not feeling well, I had fallen behind the last several days and spent today on a roll catching up. Trying to get the last two thousand words of so was difficult to do. I'd be even farther behind if I stopped to do editing on this one beyond general spelling and grammar so I know what on earth is going on.

So, ready or not, here's my excerpt to Tiger, Tiger

Life took another turn for our young couple when they found their way back to the sanctuary... )

Day 12: Behind, but still here

The last few days have been bad for the word count for my Half-Nano efforts, but I'm still plugging away at it. And I finished another chapter tonight, so go me!

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
6,432 / 25,200

Day 5 report

858 words tonight, and a new chapter started. Go me!

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
4,632 / 25,200

Day 3 and Day 4 updates

Double-day update since LJ was all wonkalicious last night and through most of today. I managed to get out my usual update post on my writing journal, but will say here only that I am pleased to report that I went a little over my quota yesterday (857) and a lot over today (1,208)! Go me! ^_^

Half-Nano total so far: 3,774
Percentage complete: 15.0

Very short Day 2 update post

Doing this in textual format since the nifty Zokotou wordmeter is dead in the water. And doing it tersely since I'm crossposting it! More in-depth details I'll be saving for my writing journal.

Day 2 Half-Nano total: 856
Half-Nano total so far: 1709
Percentage complete: 6.8

Anna's NaHaNoWriMo: Day 1

My work in progress: an urban fantasy entitled Queen of Souls. Prior to today I'd written 27,184 words on it. My goal is to add another 25,200 words to it this month, which makes my daily word count goal 840 words.

(Crossposted a couple of places, so apologies in advance to anyone who sees this multiple times!)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meterZokutou word meter
853 / 25,200
(27,184 +) (3.4%)

On your mark, get set, go!

As y'all will have noticed, I haven't been posting on this community much lately. Those of you who follow my regular journal know that back in August, my partner [ profile] solarbird had a nasty accident, and because of that, I fell right out of the habit of posting here.

However, since Nanowrimo time is upon us, I wanted to invite you all to use this community if you like to post your updates, your laments, your hopes for moral support, your sharings of virtual snackies to encourage us all to write, and whatever else your little hearts desire.

This year, I'm not "officially" doing Nanowrimo. This is on the grounds that I have four, count 'em, four works in progress right now, as well as one for which I really need to get the next drafts of Chapters 1, 2, and 3 done, so I can get the new version of its partial out the door. So I'll be doing a sort of half-Nanowrimo, as it were. My goal is 25K added to Queen of Souls, the next standalone thing I want to get finished so I'll have a third thing to send out into the world. Extra special bonus points if I go over 25K and get Lament of the Dove's partial out the door as well.

So sound off, people! Who all's doing Nano this year?