Writing

Sep. 16th, 2010 04:45 pm
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I'm going to try for this novel again.

Wish me luck!
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How about haiku?
Surely that's not too much to ask.
*nag nag nag nag nag*
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As I looked around, the light faded, and I found myself lost in the darkness.

I sat down, relishing the cool privacy—the puppets were often at hand and I did not have a great deal of time to myself.
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Last week I got an email informing me that I was one of three First Prize winners in Melissa Marr's Radiant Prose writing contest. I didn't believe it at first, but it's sunk in now. The prize is a $25 Apple giftcard and a signed copy of Melissa's newest book, Radiant Shadows. I am totally thrilled. :D

ALSO, Chris is having three short stories published at Flash Shot, which features a daily flash fiction story. His first one will appear on September 21st.
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Chris and I made the mistake of going to see The Expendables a couple weeks ago. We spent the drive home analyzing it with more scrutiny than it was ever meant to hold up to. I told him, "I imagine the script started with something like, "SIX CAVEMEN ENTER A BOAT!"

He took the notion and developed it into The Expendables: Reverse-Engineered Screenplay. It is wholly worthwhile and hilarious; you must read it and laugh.
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I've finally snapped, gone completely mad. I've been moderating [livejournal.com profile] told_tales for about 3 years now, and in the course of that done over 50 little blurb reviews of fairy tale/mythology/folklore adaptations of one sort or another. So now I've moved all of them to Fairy Layers (cause, get it, richlayers / fairy layers?) on a timed release program. My dream/ideal/goal is to have one every day for... a year? A few years? I certainly read/watch/listen to enough fairy tale adaptations in different mediums. So if people click on a google adsense link, then all the better.

BUT the idea that it would be every day will be key, because people can go anywhere for reviews, and most of them more in depth than mine (especially since I hate spoilers -- even when I already know the story). But a little introduction to something you maybe haven't heard of before? Every day? Nobody has all the exact same cross section of books and movies of things. So. That's my idea.

Feel free to check it out -- there are a couple entries up already and more to come every day! Leave me any feedback you might have or care to comment on, here or there.

***

In other news, I have been writing quite a bit more (reviews aside) and have one editor holding a poem for possible publication, as well as other things out and about in the world looking for homes. So wish me luck!
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Today's writing exercise comes (in essence) courtesy of Gail Carson Levine: Write a scene in which two people are upset with each other, and reconcile by the end of the scene. Use no more than ten words of dialog for each of them. Flying by the seat of my pants....

***

Libby's back went rigid when Sean came into the room. She didn't turn to look at him.

He sighed. She always did this.

He sat down on the sofa, put his feet up on the coffee table, and waited.

After a long moment of tangible tension, she turned to him and said, "You--"

"Yeah?" He crossed his arms and glared at her.

She stalked across the room, glaring at him. He wondered how long she would keep it up. He stared at the books on the table in front of him; from the corner of his eye she could simple be wandering around the room, not too hurried but ... looking at things, perhaps, or just pacing off extra energy.

A glance up showed that she was still staring at him; he averted his gaze again.

"Sean," she said at last, and there was that resigned note to her voice that crumbled his resolve. How did they always manage to give up at the same time?

He slid sideways and patted the seat next to him. She sat, just shy of touching him, their bodies lined up. Finally he met her eyes.

She gave his shoulder a light but deliberate push. "Stupid head."

"I know."

She sighed and leaned her head against his shoulder. "Don't do that again, okay?"

"Okay." He put an arm around her and gave her a squeeze.

***

Well, no idea what's going on there, but they seem to have come to some understanding....

http://gailcarsonlevine.blogspot.com/
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One of the cool things that happened to me last year, which I've been meaning to write about this year, is that I got published a couple times, once at the beginning of the year at Forge Journal, in their second winter issue.

Then, right at the end of the year, in an anthology of twisted fairy tales, called, aptly enough, Twisted Fairy Tale Anthology. The anthology has been out since the end of the year, but now it's also available on amazon.com, so if you're more comfortable shopping there, you can easily pick it up! It's also available for kindle at a smaller price.

Very fun stories for anyone who likes twisted tales, and since I have this banner to share, I'll put it up, too!

Twisted Fairy Tales

Rejections

Oct. 7th, 2009 11:23 pm
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"My room in our Durham house was upstairs, under the eaves. At night I could lie in bed beneath one of these eaves--if I sat up suddenly, I was apt to whack my head a good one--and read by the light of a gooseneck lamp that put an amusing boa constrictor of shadow on the ceiling. Sometimes the house was quiet except for the whoosh of the furnace and the patter of rats in the attic; sometimes my grandmother would spend an hour or so around midnight yelling for someone to check Dick--she was afraid he hadn't been fed. Dick, a horse she'd had in her days as a schoolteacher, was at least forty years dead. I had a desk beneath the room's other eave, my old Royal typewriter, and a hundred or so paperback books, mostly science fiction, which I lined up along the baseboard. On my bureau was a Bible won for memorizing verses in Methodist Youth Fellowship and a Webcor phonograph with an automatic changer and a turntable covered in soft green velvet. On it I played my records, mostly 45s by Elvis, Chuck Berry, Freddy Cannon, and Fats Domino. I liked Fats; he knew how to rock, and you could tell he was having fun.

"When I got the rejection slip from AHMM, I pounded a nail into the wall above the Webcor, wrote 'Happy Stamps' on the rejection slip, and poked it onto the nail. Then I sat on my bed and listened to Fats sing 'I'm Ready.' I felt pretty good, actually. When you're still too young to shave, optimism is a perfectly legitimate response to failure.

"By the time I was fourteen (and shaving twice a week whether I needed to or not) the nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejection slips impaled upon it. I replaced the nail with a spike and went on writing. By the time I was sixteen I'd begun to get rejection slips with handwritten notes a little more encouraging than the advice to stop using staples and start using paperclips. The first of these hopeful notes was from Algis Budrys, then the editor of Fantasy and Science Fiction, who read a story of mine called "The Night of the Tiger" (the inspiration was, I think, an episode of The Fugitive in which Dr. Richard Kimble worked as an attendant cleaning out cages in a zoo or circus) and wrote: 'This is good. Not for us, but good. You have talent. Submit again.'

"Those four brief sentences, scribbled by a fountain pen that left big ragged blotches in its wake, brightened the dismal winter of my sixteenth year. Ten years or so later, after I'd sold a couple of novels, I discovered 'The Night of the Tiger' in a box of old manuscripts and thought it was still a perfectly respectable tale, albeit one obviously written by a guy who had only begun to learn his chops. I rewrote it and on a whim resubmitted it to F&SF. This time they bought it. One thing I've noticed is that when you've had a little success, magazines are a lot less apt to use that phrase, 'Not for us.'"

--From On Writing by Stephen King
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This is a little project that [livejournal.com profile] ladytairngire and I have been working on today, which will hopefully be a game we continue to play for... the rest of our lives. Errr, I mean until we're so prestigious that we never get rejected from anything ever again. (I'm lookin' at you, Neil Gaiman.)

Rejection letter points will be tallied at the end of each month.

The point scale:

Novels to Print Publisher: 100 points
Novels to Agent: 75 points
Agent Submission Rejected by Publisher: 50 points
Short stories/picture books: 25 points
Poems: 10 points

Graphic novel scripts are negotiable based on length.

+5 points for a personalized rejection.

The winner each month will receive a personalized token gift of no more than $10 cash value.
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Good news!

Hey Rachel:

It doesn't have to be twisted, it just has to be something different than what people are used to reading, you know what I mean? Anyway I love the poem. If you can send me a short bio I'll add it to the anthology. Congrats!

Hugs!

Liz

More information about the anthology here:

http://www.myspace.com/tftanthology
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I had to write to one of my favorite sci fi writers about an issue that was really bugging me. I didn't know if I would get an answer at all, but I figured it was worth a shot.

Dear Mr. Sawyer,

I greatly enjoyed your novel Flashforward, as well as all your other
books that I have read. So I anticipated the TV version of
Flashforward with excitement. However, I've noticed a paradox in the
TV version that wasn't present in the novel, and it, by itself, is
almost enough to make me stop watching the show, as much as I want to
enjoy a new good sci fi show.

In the novel, the characters eventually do determine that their
visions are not of the only possible future, and that they do have
free will to make and change decisions. Some visions come true, and
some do not. The visions are based on what people would have done
without the foreknowledge granted by the visions.

However, in the show, the main character has a vision of himself
trying to understand the cause of the Flashforward. Because of his
vision, he ends up working on the case of the cause of the
Flashforward. But if the Flashforward gives the viewer knowledge of
what they would have been doing in the future without the benefit of
the Flashforward, how could he have seen a vision of himself doing
something that was dependent on the Flashforward having happened? It
seems that either the TV show wants to set the premise that the future
is immutable (which seems contradictory to the main character burning
the bracelet he saw in the vision), or that it's just a giant paradox
that the TV writers missed.

I've been following your blog commentary as the show was developed and
I saw in the credits that you are listed as consultant. I'm not
looking for spoilers or a ... peek into the future of the show, but is
there any chance that you can reassure me about this paradox? Or
should I just... suspend my disbelief and pretend that I didn't notice
it?

In either case, I will continue to enjoy your excellent novels.
Sincerely,
Rachel



Well, in much shorter order than I would have expected, I got an answer (for what it was worth!) so I guess I'll just watch a little longer and hope...:

Thank you for your kind words, Rachel. You shouldn't read anything into the following except the face value of the statement: I am not at liberty to discuss what will or will not happen in future episodes.

All best wishes!

Rob Sawyer



Hmmm, and my conclusion? Writing a nice letter to an author and getting something back is a lot more gentle than writing to a publisher in hopes of publication....

Anyway, if you are a Sci Fi fan and you haven't read anything by Robert J. Sawyer, you are missing out on some brilliant and wonderful fiction!
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This list by fantasy author Jim C. Hines ([livejournal.com profile] jimhines)pretty well describes the awe that many fantasy writers and fans feel toward Neil Freakin' Gaiman.

1. Neil Gaiman once wrote a Nebula-winning story using only the middle row of his keyboard.
2. Harper Collins has taken out a 2.5 million dollar insurance policy on Neil Gaiman’s accent.
3. If you write 1000 words and Neil Gaiman writes 1000 words, Neil Gaiman has written more than you....

For the rest, check out Jim C. Hines' blog.

80/20

Aug. 7th, 2009 09:32 pm
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I'm on vacation. Sort of. I'm on break from school for last week and next week. I have some stuff I need to do but I don't need to drive back and forth to class every day and I'm pretty well setting my own schedule, which is nice.

The comic has been a lot of work and a lot of fun lately. Aaron went to ConnectiCon last weekend and had a blast, passed out tons of cards and sold a lot of t-shirts (which are now available in our store, check out our designs: http://www.nearandfarcomic.com/products-page/ ), and shmoozed with some of the coolest names in webcomics. (Yes, you've heard of them.)

Tues, Wed, and Thurs, Chris and I went up to Manhattan (the little one) to see Annamarie, Greg, and Brandon, and some of their significant others. It was a lot of fun: we ate out too much, stayed up too late, played a lot of Rock Band, and watched too much TV. Now, this is starting to sound like an ideal vacation.

So for the next 9 days I am planning to just stay home, spend very little money, and do whatever I can within a ten block radius. (Or I might go for a long walk sometime, depending on if they wind ever comes from the north.)

Chris said to me: "One of these days, soon, you should write a novel."

I said I'd get right on that.

He said: "You read so many. I'm sure you can write a good one."

Well, one thing's for sure, I need to write more. I'm starting to... feel the burn. Ta da, blog entry! About life and stuff! So that's ... a start?

Sigh.

Apr. 22nd, 2009 11:00 am
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Dear Rachel,

Thank you for your story to our magazine, but unfortunately it isn't quite right for Fantasy. We hope that you continue trying, however, and look forward to many more submissions.

all the best,
Cat and Sean

Fantasy Magazine
www.fantasy-magazine.com
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The Atlantic

Though the manuscript you sent has not found a place with The Atlantic, we thank you for the chance to consider it. Best of luck placing it elsewhere.

THE EDITORS
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001. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
002. I will respond by asking you ANY five questions of a very intimate and creepily personal nature. Or not so creepy/personal.
003. You WILL update your LJ with the answers to the questions.
004. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the post.
005. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

From [livejournal.com profile] ladytairngire

1. What's with you and your Mom?

Mom and I are tight. She's one of my best friends. We talk all the time about most everything. If I haven't had a chance to talk with her for a few days I find that we can sit and catch up and share ideas for hours. If I haven't seen her for a few weeks we take a day to adjust to each other again, during which time we'll snap at each other and get annoyed easily--before we get our zen back on and are best buddies again. There are still a few things that I get embarrassed to talk to her about, due to a lifetime of her being my mother... but most of the time I think of her as just another good friend.

2. What is one topic your friends and family know better than to let you get started on...

The third Harry Potter movie or the third Xmen movie.

3. What do you imagine you will be like as an old lady?

I hope I'll be a little like Purple Grandma--noticeable quirky, perhaps, but still sharp and strong.

purple g

4. You've got $100 gift certificate for Victoria's Secret. What do you buy?

Bras bras bras! Actually, bra bra bra. 3 bras I'm pretty sure would use up $100 with very little left over.

5. What do you think about when you can't fall asleep?

Valentino Just Isn't Doing It For me

No, but seriously, I tend to think a lot about writing. The only reasons I usually can't fall asleep are if I've got a lot to do and I'm worried about remembering it all, or if I'm thinking about a story and I keep having new ideas about it and want to keep working on it... and sometimes I just get up and write if that's the case.
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Oh my lovely baby--but wait a minute, is this supposed to be my lover or my baby? Because the idea of infantophelia is pretty disturbing.

Baby, baby, baby, I want to take you--take you where though? Although that does raise another interesting question IF WE ARE speaking metaphorically....

You make my heart race, or possibly that is the adrenaline rush from the near car accident I just experienced.

You've got my heart in your hands, baby--revenge of the infants right here.

Darling, you are all I ever need. Well technically I still need oxygen and food and water, and I'm not too keen to give up a place to live and some basic creature comforts like my bed and my shower, without which I'm sure you would suddenly find me to be much less appealing.

I'm madly in love with you. Angrily, you might say. Or you might just call it insanity. And, while we're at it, "in" love? Wouldn't I be "feeling" love? Although I am going to say that "feeling love with you" is more ideally sound than "feeling love for you," at least on a mutually satisfactory level.

You're the only one I need, the only one I see. Well, I mean, I still SEE other people, but I just don't SEE them, if you SEE what I mean.

You are always on my mind... which is getting a little uncomfortable: please move your ass off my head.

You are one in a million--and according to a quick google search I just did, the current population is 6,763,611,245, which means that there are approximately 6,763 people just like you, or at least that would be just as suited to being in a relationship with me as you are. However the majority of those people probably reside in China and India, and finding them would really be more bother than it's worth, so let's just say that you'll do.

You are my eternal flame.
--Ouch. Need I say more?
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From Goblin Fruit


Dear Rachel Ayers,

Thank you very much for your submission, as well as your kind words about our 'zine; it makes us very happy to know you're enjoying it.

Unfortunately, we've decided not to accept this poem. While we enjoyed it very much, we felt it could benefit from some further tightening and pruning to make it more effective. We wish you the best of luck with placing it elsewhere, and would like to suggest that you try it with Erzebet YellowBoy of Cabinet Des Fees.

We look forward to seeing more from you,

Sincerely,

Amal El-Mohtar and Jessica P. Wick

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