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Posts from the ‘WRITING: LIFE’ Category

The weakest link

It’s been one those days, which, shall I say, has not gone well. We spent 7 hours sitting in our airport waiting for my younger son’s flight to leave (and him with connecting flights and business meetings to get to). The plane never ever arrived, and the Sharp – the airline company – don’t seem to have figured that telling their local front desk what is going on (let alone those saps, the passengers, who are paying more than flight to New Zealand for this trip) is a really, really, really good idea. It’s not just good business sense, it is near essential for the little local tourism industry – which provides their customers and is our second biggest income earner and employer. Being unreliable is a problem for tourists and visitors. Sometimes that is unavoidable. Telling them they have 6 hours to spend at the beach, beats the trousers off leaving them sitting in the airport, guessing, getting angry, frustrated and upset.

Let’s be clear, the local staff do a great job and are very popular with the islanders. The pilots are exceptionally competent – flying a small ‘plane (16 seater) into a small, windy roaring-forties airstrip. If you have been on this run, you’re a skilled pilot, used to dealing with exceptionally bad conditions, in an old-ish aircraft, without the modern tools to make easier. One fondly assumes the ground-crews and mechanics do a good job as none of the planes have crashed. But their communication – presumably one person — suck, letting all of the rest down. Read more

Other Projects

I’m pretty solidly blocked on Scrap Star, right now. Not entirely sure why, and haven’t taken the time to work through it. I’m absolutely certain it has nothing at all to do with my poor sleep habits, lousy diet, and nonexistent exercise regimen. I figure it’s because of holidays, and travel, and children. So I’m doing a little monkeying about with game things. Mrs. Dave may have cadged me an invite to a work buddy’s gaming group, and I had an idea about a dungeon.
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Continuing Education

There’s a flat spot of no new words on my NaNo graph. (A couple, actually). There’s a book for Margaret Ball that I’m… a month? ack! overdue on writing a blurb for. (Yes, more mathemagics coming!) There’s a writing class that I just threw up my hands and skipped turning in the assignment, and went and got some sleep instead. And let’s not even talk about the state of my kitchen floors, or the way I’m failing to make the gym coaching sessions I paid good hard-earned money for.

Welcome to adult life, eh? But why did I even get into this writing class in the first place, much less NaNo? Because I looked around, and realized a basic truth – nothing alive is static. If you’re not learning, then you’re not growing, and if you’re not growing, you’re dying. It’s too late in the year to pick up glider lessons, so I’m going to concentrate on warmer, indoor pursuits.  Read more

Burn, Baby, Burn

Welcome back, again, Writerly Friends, to the posts that never end. (Huh. That could make for a catchy title to somethin’.) I want to apologize for last week. I spent most of it driving, and the other parts sleeping. More or less. Lots of barely consciousness, at least. The first day, we got a freak blizzard (probably not freak-freak, as I wasn’t paying sufficient attention to the weather) over Monarch Pass. After that, it was clear and cold, with just a few flurries through southern Idaho. Wee Dave and Wee-er Dave were fantastic traveling companions, especially for their ages, and Pop Dave was on hand to keep me alert on the drive.
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The problems of success

As pointed out last week, Mad Genius Club has been around for over 10 years, now. This means it’s older than the average career of a fiction writer… and more than twice the lifespan of the average indie writer. The advantage of a group blog is that as writers get burned out, they can take a break or leave, but the group is still here – and thanks to Dave Freer, Sarah Hoyt, and Amanda Green holding down the cornerstones and surviving through it all, this place is still awesome.  (Check out their books! Good stuff, and thanks to long careers, they have lots to choose from!)

As the bloggers and commenters have been here a while, the questions start to change. Starting out, the problems are simple, clear, and everybody has them. How do I tell the story in my head? How do I get published? How do I get noticed? But when you’ve been around long enough, you have the problems of success, and the problems of having a career. When and how do I end a series, and how do I minimize the impact to my income, and draw readers to other books? When do I rebrand all of my covers, and rewrite my blurbs? What are the advantages and disadvantages of anthologies, or of going hybrid? How do I get my rights back? When is it time to incorporate? What provisions do I make for a literary trust in my will?

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Lashing the Muse

So I have a problem. On one hand, I want to write, and am delighted when the muse awakens and sends tendrils of stories out into my head so I can write them down. On the other hand, when those tendrils become tentacles of the kraken and threaten to take over my brain… that’s a problem. I need to find a balance. A way to bottle up the muse, so to speak, and only let it out when I can actually write, because there’s a fair amount of time when I can’t. Or at least, when it’s highly inconvenient to have the muse tickling at my backbrain while I’m supposed to be concentrating on something else.

So, what I need to do is lash the muse to the bowsprit, and stick wax in my ears, and only once we’re past the sirens, let her go again to infect me with the madn… er, stories. Unfortunately, so far my attempts at this have yielded a sulky muse who tends to plop down on deck and fold her arms and stubbornly pout when I remove the lashings. This is less than ideal.

I can’t let her loose all the time. When it’s a particularly loud story, with a bright voice to the main character (and if it were that voice on the side character, I’m writing the story down wrong), it’s hard to keep my mind on the day job. As much as I enjoy writing, I can’t afford to make it my day job and give up science (for many good and complex reasons, not just because Science!) Look, you, being a Mad Scientist requires a higher degree than I’ve got. And more madness. I’m just.. I dunno. I’m an aspiring Mad Scientist. Maybe someday.

So the muse needs to be locked up, at least some of the time. I mean, it would be easy to lock her up and throw away the key. Um. I think it would be easier. I will admit I’ve not tried to actually do that. I have enough trouble with my brain wanting to explore all the shiny interests, trying to force it to focus on only one thing at a time usually backfires. So stopping writing altogether might be like that. It would leak.

The stories leak. I find myself wandering around work, with half my brain off in another universe. It’s not safe. So I write when I can, which is less than I’d like. When I finally get to the place and time where I can sit down to the story, I’m too tired to string together coherent words into anything other than, possibly, vogon poetry. I’m pretty sure there’s no market for that, except possibly as an interrogation method, and even then you’ve got Geneva Convention violations, inter-Galactic war crime trials, not to mention the interrogators whose brain has leaked out their ears. It’s no use.

So I keep steering through the straits of Charybdis, with Scylla sucking on one side and the whirlpool of distraction on the other. And the damn muse keeps snatching the wheel when I’m not looking and pointing us at those story sirens. Spoiled brat.

(Header image ‘Clown Pong’ digital art by Cedar Sanderson)


Venn You Vant to Get Better at Vone Thing

I’m attempting to write this while sharing my headphones with Wee Dave. He seems to like metal. This does not displease me. Thing is. The thing is. I’m kinda contorted, here. He’s just a bit under four feet tall, and with him standing and me sitting in a chair, I have to bend sideways. In order to type, I have to reach my arm around him. And I have the background noise of the house in one ear. In all, it’s a pretty awkward way to write, despite the pleasant proximity to Wee Dave.
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