Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Wednesday Wanderings

Since I've had a number of short story sales lately (huzzah!), I'm working on editing a new story to put into submissions soon.  This tale, "Lip Service," is a contemporary fantasy. where phantasmal creatures resembling bees secrete magical energy; their sting puts victims under their spell.  The story is told from the perspective of the teenaged daughter of a hunter who gets dragged into her mother's life.  It is also chock-full of references to both the word "kiss" and phrases / idioms that involve it, hence the title.

Editing it has been a bit of frustration, though.  I've gone through it twice now, and each time, the goalposts of what I need to revise change.  On the bright side, it's mostly tweaks and expansions, adding more detail rather than serious alterations to the plotline.  Though part of the point of the story *is* that the character is a teenager unsure of her direction in life, I've tried to sharpen her goals and motivations.  Another goal in the editing process was to intensify the sense of stakes - a fine balancing act between the trivial and, "Why would her mother let her get involved with this?"'

And then, just as I reached the end of the most recent pass through, I realized I needed to work a bit more on the line of investigation the story follows.  Why didn't I pick this up the first time through?  Am I just an idiot? ... don't answer that.

Making all this trickier is the fact that the story was just too long, somewhere over 7500 words.  Ideally, I want to get it under 6000 ... which means a lot of cutting while still building up the elements mentioned above.

Another point on my mind is the tone.  The story is light and sometimes humorous, but it's not intended to be comedy - it just incorporates human foibles and a narrator with a tongue in cheek streak.  It also includes some in-jokes about Celtic / traditional musicians that are probably only funny if you're part of that community.  I could push it over the line into outright humor, but I'm not really feeling that.  Conversely, it wouldn't bear the opposite treatment:  I'd have to strip out some of the bones to make it read as a truly dramatic, serious tale.

I'll be going over it one more time, but if I'm not satisfied after that, I may have to shelve it for longer to get somewhere I'm happy with.  Or maybe, perfectionist that I am, that's just not possible, and I should give up and be sensible ...


Sunday, December 02, 2018

"Super Solutions" now available!

The Fifth Di ... December 2018 issue is now out, with my story, "Super Solutions."  Check it out:  

The Fifth Di - December 2018

This is my oddball little superhero reality television show story.  I had so much fun with it, but humor always seems to be a harder sell ...

Song Styles

One of the reasons I have this Sunday feature is because as a professional harper, music is very important to me, though my listening tastes are quite different from my playing tastes, where I specialize in Celtic and early music, with some contemporary / show tunes.  

Sound like your cup of tea?  Or perhaps it perfectly matches someone you know?  (Here comes the shameless plug ...)  My harp CD, Rolling of the Stone, could be the perfect holiday gift.  Check it out here:

Purchase Page

Please do buy directly from me; Amazon not only takes a sizable cut, they require me to send them replacement CDs one at a time, which makes any profit I might make virtually nil.

If you buy from me and give me permission to cut the shrink-wrap, I would be happy to autograph the CD liner - just let me know.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Wednesday Wanderings

Notes from a worldbuilding ...

The world creation aspect of this project has certainly taken me longer than in the past, but it's not because of the quantity - and believe me, I have one set of world notes that clocks in at around 50,000 words, as long as a short novel, so quantity is a thing I have been known to indulge in - but rather because life keeps getting in the way.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I've been doing some things differently this time around.  Rather than defining a few global elements and then narrowing down to individual countries, I've spent a lot more time discussing trends, tendencies, and, "some places are X, some places are Y."  This means that as I get into writing up descriptions of specific locations, I'm defining where each falls on various spectrums ... and I keep finding that I need to circle back and add more detail.

This is a little irritating to me; I'm not usually this disorganized.  Also, it means that I'm not always putting the information in exactly where it makes sense.  For instance, it makes more sense to have something minor like currency after discussions of larger elements like technology and gender bias, but that's not where it fit in.  Of course, since I'm not writing an RPG guide (or for anyone but myself), and since Word has a handy-dandy Find function, it only makes a difference to my anal-retentive side.

And now you might be wondering (or more likely, you're not) why I can't just put the information anywhere.  It has to do with the way I write.  Even beyond narrative flow, my sentences in stories tend to connect to each other, a chain of logic and poetry.  It's why I often find it so difficult to add sections to my stories:  it's artificially forcing another link into the chain.  Of course, maybe the logic falls apart a bit here in that I find it much easier to cut, but it's easier to remove a link and connect the remaining ends ... maybe.  I'm a writer (harper / chef), not a jeweler.

Right now, I'm reaching the point where I'm setting up two rival nations whose struggle (or more particularly, the struggle of the people representing them) will play a part in the plot ... and one of my goals is not to make it too symmetrical.  I don't want them to be too perfectly opposed.  The real world, after all, is not so neat.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Song Styles

(Past few weeks have been very hectic, hence the radio silence here.  Hope I'm back in action now!)

I talked a lot about the various portions of my Scylla and Charybdis playlist during my blog tour, but I don't think I ever posted the list in its entirety.  So here it is, a combination of general theme, specific character / situation inspiration, some tongue in cheek inclusions (mostly for the gender aspects), and songs I otherwise associate with the novel:

Us Amazonians - Kirsty MacColl
Walk This World - Heather Nova
Suddenly - LeAnn Rimes
Defying Gravity - Wicked soundtrack
Drops of Jupiter - Train
There Is Nothing Like A Dame - South Pacific soundtrack
I Do - Lisa Loeb
Breathe - Midge Ure
Turn This World Around - Amy Grant
I Enjoy Being A Girl - Flower Drum Song soundtrack
Children of the Revolution - Kirsty MacColl
Wishing Heart - Lisa Loeb
The Safest Place - LeAnn Rimes
Don't Rain On My Parade - Glee Cast version
It's Raining Men - Geri Halliwell
Free - Sarah Brightman
Poor Little Fool - Helen Reddy
Always Tomorrow - Gloria Estefan
Fire Under My Feet - Leona Lewis
In The Arms of the Milky Way - Laura Powers

Most of this list was composed years ago; the only recent addition is the Leona Lewis song.  But I've always been a bit of a dinosaur when it comes to new musical releases ...

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Song Styles

No posting of my writerly musical musings would be complete without eventually mentioning this gem, which is a pretty accurate depiction of the inside of my brain at times:

Bears Dance To Sweet Dreams

Yes.  Really.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Wednesday Wanderings

Confession time:  I'm a comma maximalist.

I adhere to the formal rules of comma use, even those that some publications and editors have begun to abandon.  I'm a fan of the Oxford comma.  When a comma is indicated for clarity or effect, I tend to use it.  On the flip side, I'm very conscious of where commas do *not* belong, and it grinds my gears (and my teeth) when people misuse them.  Prime candidate:  Any sentence that has a comma *after* the word "but."

I understand that language evolves, and I understand that if the punctuation isn't required for clarity, it doesn't strictly *need* to be there, but (there's the proper placement for commas around that word) for me, the comma denotes rhythm, pause and flow, distilling the audible into the visual ... and since I do read visually, not phonetically, I need (or at least like) that reminder.

We also need to talk about my addiction to parentheses, but that's another (much thornier) story ...

Friday, November 02, 2018

Story Sale!

Abyss and Apex just accepted my story "Natural Selection" for publication ... ahem ... sometime in 2020! This is the second story featuring Pazia and Vanchen, directly following the events of Fatecraft. Don't hold your breath too long ...

That makes three of the four stories I've written around these character(s) and their associates out in the wild.  The final one concerns Pazia's hapless brother Mathory and his misadventures, and maybe that should be next on my submissions docket ...