Sunday, August 31, 2008

Ten Cities Down

... sold to Labyrinth Inhabitant Magazine. This is a story I'm very proud of, and features one of my favorite child characters.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Writers' Boot Camp: Session Three

Converting a script into a story was a pleasant surprise: it was easy and smoother than I had anticipated, though I ran into a POV issue and I think I will need to strengthen the emotional arc a bit. That's for editing, however!

As I decided earlier, I'm going to start another boot camp session, this one by following "Creating Character Emotions" by Ann Hood, with one exercise chosen from each emotion per day. I've already read the introduction and am ready to start with anger.

... no, I'm not annoyed, that's the first emotion.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Boot Camp Addendum

I finally decided which script to convert into a short story, and it was one of the first. Specifically, this one:

Script 7/3-4 (Carl Rugman, film producer; hair brush; "When you say it like that, it's almost poetry." Superhero): Harried Carl Rugman interviews three superheroes - Rapunzel, the Sybarite and Dolphin Lass - for inclusion on a reality TV series. This was so ridiculous and so insanely fun to write. Almost eight pages long. I probably will convert this one into a story.

Hmmm. I guess I was right about that. ;-)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

My dog ...

In the past few days, she's had dramatic barking confrontations with her reflection, a soda can and a watermelon.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Due Thought

"I hope I never do anything without due thought - even if the thought sometimes has to shift its feet pretty briskly to keep up with the deed." -- spoken by Brother Cadfael in Ellis Peters' One Corpse Too Many

Monday, August 18, 2008

Nextian Geography

I just finished Jasper Fforde's First Among Sequels and have a few comments - spoiler-free! I want to start off by staying that Fforde is one of the few authors who makes me genuinely happy just reading. There are some beautiful explanations, puns, situations ... and a diabolical cameo by one of my favorite fiends, Aornis Hades. The book ended with a few plot threads dangling and one (large) new one just opened ... well, it *is* the first among sequels.

This is the first book in the Next series, however, that felt like a sequel in the Hollywood sense - as if Fforde went back, analyzed popular elements, and made a point of continuing them on popularity, not so much whether they fit a story he wanted to tell. Now, this could be just my vibe, but it is particularly ironic in a book that deals - as part of its plot - with pandering to the demographic. I'm not disappointed by any means, but it struck me peculiarly.

On another highlight points - Thursday's family rocks, and the jump forward to Friday's teenagerhood is far from just a gratuitious gap. Landen, her husband, could so easily be a cardboard character, and yet his page-time is realized with skill.

Also amusement is this novel features the series' first cameo of a character from a series of a living (and active) writer - apparently with permission! Cool.

Monday, August 11, 2008


... is not just a philosophy.

It is what has just happened to my story "The Seeds of Profit." Hurray! Details forthcoming for an untitled anthology approximately April 2009 ...

Sorry for my quiet of late. Haven't really been able to think of anything to say.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Anatomy of an Idea: Soul Siblings (reposted)

You may want to read this story ( before you read the following. There are considerable “spoilers” in here. This is actually a repost (somewhat edited) from the previous run of the story.

The Gedden (originally the Geneb) are a fantasy race I've had on my backburner for a long time. They date back to my first "epic" multiple plotline novel, a schlocky disaster which I divided into three parts (still one book) at end of February, 1997. Though I can't place an exact date on it, I would have started sometime in late 1996. I was fascinated by the idea of a literal, physical third eye, of a race of soul twins ... and the penalty for their meeting. In book two or three - I forget which, and I never wrote either - my Geneb character was supposed to be forced by the villains to confront his soul sister. He lived and hooked up with the story's token werewolf, but his opposite died. There is no direct causal connection between Kenri and Delanor and Tarivan and Evyelara.

Flash forward to a more sane and better written era. I wanted to revive the Gedden, but wanted to do a story about mages. (Tarivan was originally supposed to be a different kind of sorcerer.) So I tried to think of what kind of magic might be particularly useful with a third eye, and lit upon the idea that it might allow you to see two different things at once. This would help if you were a seer and would otherwise be "engulfed" by the vision. The general form of the plotline fell into place quickly - the siblings on the same job, the capture, the rescue, the eventual denouement ... though in my original plan, it was Tarivan who died. The situation with Quirilan was inspired by a historical precedent - I'm not sure if it was Roman noblewomen and gladiators, but it probably was.

This story sat in my idea file for a while, marked uncertain as to whether it was a novel or a short. I finally decided to write it specifically for Black Gate magazine after I received a glowing rejection for Summer in Sadria, which was essentially a fantasy mystery. I lined out the story in general terms and started writing. When I got into it, though, I realized that I had made my villain just a stereotypical evil overlord and at least wanted to provide him with a concrete desire and a reason to resist him that was SLIGHTLY unusual. Imitating a god came to mind, I decided it would be appropriate to make Tarivan devout to contrast with his otherwise rootless personality, and this conveniently provided my (somewhat) happy ending.

It found its initial home at “Afterburn SF,” and is happily reprinted in Sorcerous Signals now. Months (years?) later, I’m still quite proud of this one.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Writer's Boot Camp: Clean-Up and Next Plan

Two more scripts. I decided this time to try a couple less ambitious concepts:

Script 7/29 - 30 (Holiday Film; Ingrid Malaise, shoe salesperson; a roll of toilet paper; "I'll have to ask my mother."): Ingrid, unsuspecting shoe salesperson, ends up trying to sell heels to Santa Claus' daughter. The Clauses have bought rolls of toilet paper to give in lieu of lumps of coal. Ingrid remains skeptical despite multiple "proofs" of who she is dealing with, but Christmas morning erases all doubt. Five and a third pages. This was just pure fluff. I don't really see it as a story, though some of the bits were fun.

Script 7/31 - 8/1 (Sci Fi; Ken Moore, painter; one half of a swimsuit; "What were they gonna offer you for it?"): Ken Moore hangs out on his porch with buddy Jack, discussing a bizarre alien visitor who tried to buy half of his ex-girlfriend's bikini. His friend dismisses it as a tall tale ... then goes into the kitchen to warn his own alien visitor that his fellow citizens are being a trifle too obvious. Five and a half pages. I'm sure I've seen or read this story before in some form. It just feels tired.

I enjoy my self-imposed boot camps - I think they do a lot to strengthen my writing, give me a sense of discipline, and give me some fodder that I might not have otherwise come up with. This in particular was a blast and gave me a chance to try a new style of writing. I'm thinking of picking one of these scripts to convert into a short story. After it's written, then I'm starting on another boot camp run, through the book "Creating Character Emotions" by Ann Hood. It should be a little over a month as there are thirty-six emotions listed, with exercises for each.

Soul Siblings - now up!

My story "Soul Siblings" can now be found at Sorcerous Signals:

Read it! Vote for it! ... mostly the latter. ;-)