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I've been in a writing slump the past 2-3 weeks--and it has less to do with intrinsic interest in writing than just overwhelm and tiredness in life, especially getting toward the end of the teaching term. Around last week, I decided to try something novel and just rest up when I'm not having to watch my kids or do my day job. I took a nap. I have been reading more. It's lovely.

And yet, though I haven't been writing much, my muse started talking to me this morning, and I got down some good notes on a novel I'm not actively working on right now. It's the prequel to the novel I finished a draft of last year, The Sins of the Mind Readers. My mom finally finished reading said draft and remarked to me that "it's not entirely successful." And you know when your mom thinks your work is not entirely successful, you'd better pay attention. Thing about Sins is it may never be successful. It's a big, ambitious look at the human heart in a sort of literary fiction vein but as science fiction, which is a weird line to cross. However, the one thing I can do to greatly improve it is write the damn prequel because at least 65% of what's tripping everybody up is that they can't understand the plot and too many characters are "off stage," and that's because it's really a sequel to another story.

So I need to write the prequel--and I had some cool revelations about it today. This story--I'll call it Ghanior's story for the main character because I don't have a good title yet--is one I started at 16, and it suffers from some teenage assumptions. For one thing, I sort of assumed that my main character would just be able to leave his home planet and take extremely powerful technology to another nation and no one would really stop him because, hey, he's not a slave. It has been dawning on me in revisiting this story that he couldn't get offworld without breaking major, major laws--hard-won laws that go back to the end of my first novel, Perdita. He would be in so much freaking trouble. So my main revelation is what to do about this, and I had an idea I think is reasonably clever to actually open this book with maybe 50 pages on these machinations, basically becoming a plot between protagonist Ghanior and a few others to get him illegally off-planet with this tech. I think it will not only answer the logical problems but be pretty good, tense storytelling if I do it right. It also fits pretty well with Ghanior's overall character trajectory. He pops up in Sins about 40 years later and really has a history of playing fast and loose with law, so this would be a good genesis for that characteristic.

So I'm feeling pretty good despite little writing happening. I did revise my short story "Oxymorons" for my writers group. It's one of my only things not set in my Continuation universe. It's a fairly near future, climate change story set on the moon.
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I have joined the new DW community [community profile] go_write_2017, and I think it's a great idea: a general community for writers to support each other by posting updates on their work, having general writing discussions, etc. (I think it is not for actually posting work, but it could be a good place to find beta readers.) Membership is currently open but will close early in the year to encourage a nuclear community of involved people who can get to know and support each other.

The community is pretty quiet now, but I really hope it takes off. It's a sort of online writing community I've been looking for, so if the same is true for you, maybe think about joining? I'd love to see you there!
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With the heightened visibility of fan fiction in recent years, conceptions of what constitutes professional-caliber fiction have been in flux, and derviative fiction (based on pre-existing works) has been slowly regaining legitimacy. I want to share my new enthusiasm for the richer, truer world that opens up for all participants in narrative when we accept the artistic legitimacy of retelling stories.

The Copyright Model

Our culture's dominant view of what constitutes quality narrative still draws its lines based on copyright. Under this model, professional writers write “original fiction”; i.e. works dissimilar enough from preexisting copyrighted works that the writer (or publisher) can claim copyright over them. Published writers who extrapolate stories in public domain are sometimes highly respected but sometimes placed on a lower tier than "original" writers. At a lower status, but still professionals, are authorized writers of works within others' copyrighted universes, such as official tie-in novels. Low status and traditionally derided are fan fiction writers, who write unauthorized derivative works.

The dividing line for professionalism in this model is how much the writer gets paid. Original and authorized authors make money through traditional publishing (and, more rarely, self-publishing); unauthorized fan fic writers are legally barred from profiting on copyrighted works. Read more... )
labingi: (Default)
From [ profile] astrogirl2:

Pick a fic of mine and a question (or questions) and I'll tell you:

1. What part was most difficult?
2. What are you most proud of?
3. What's a reference you made no one has picked up on yet?
4. What's a bit that sums up your take on a character?
5. Favorite line(s) of dialogue?
6. Favorite lines(s) of prose?
7. Were there any points where you were trying to do something specific with sound, vocabulary, or rhythm?
8. How many drafts did the work go through?
9. Were you listening to anything while writing the fic? If so, what?
10. Imagery that is important to the fic, either while composing or in the fic itself?
11. What were you most worried about during the composition?
12. How do you want readers to react to this fic?
13. What did you want them to take away from it?
14. What inspired this fic?
15. If you used a beta, what did you agree or disagree on?
16. Did anything surprise you during the writing?
17. Were any parts written under the influence?

Older list of my fic (also includes some non-fic memories)
AO3 List
labingi: (Default)
I'm quite happy with the way this one is shaping up!

labingi: (Default)
Many thanks to [ profile] astrogirl2 for a very thoughtful review of The Hour before Morning.

In HBM movie news, we finished our Kickstarter interview video, which I hope to have posted soon (a bit before the Kickstarter itself). The movie is in picture lock and off to the audio guy (for another round).

In other writing news, I seem to have moved toward posting my fic directly to AO3 and bypassing DW and LJ. For anyone who's interested, my first fic to get this treatment is "On Liberty and Love", a slashy Les Mis gen fic of about 3500 words.

In reading news, I got a Kindle and am loving it so far!

In life news, I'll be moving in a few weeks (just across the river) to the house where I intend to settle in and nest for some years with the kids once they arrive from Haiti (another several months hence). I also got a local class to teach this spring, which makes me happy. :-)
labingi: (Default)
On Slashing Enjolras

I keep updating this on AO3, so let me just direct you there.
labingi: (Default)
I've just finished an outline of my current novel, The Forwarder, a prequel to my projected web series, Broken Song, and sci fi tale of intercultural miscommunication.

The good news:
There are only about four chapters left that I need to write from scratch (40-50 pages).

The bad news:
There are a good four chapters I need to rewrite from the ground up because they are fragmented messes of notes and changed premises. This will be a bit harder than writing fresh.

Still in all, it's good to schematize where I am on this project. And this does make it appear manageable that I'll have a working draft complete by June, which is my goal.
labingi: (Default)
Would you be interested in posting a brief review of either of my two novels, Perdita--an ecological sci fi story with a fairly traditional sociological/action/some romance plot--and The Hour before Morning, a shorter, more philosophical novel about colonial oppression and personal redemption?

I'm trying to gather enough reviews for a listing in Digital Book Today (18-20 reviews).

I'd be glad to send PDF review copies of either or both to anyone who's interested. Reviews can be really short; I'm basically just counting numbers of reviews.

Perdita teaser:

For a long while, Ethan sat on his cushion at the terminal, staring at the frequency dial without seeing it. If only he could get rid of the prisoner. She won’t give us anything. I’ve seen that wild look in her eyes; she’s even worse than some of the others....

And he didn’t want to have to hurt her. But the job was his; he’d have to do it. How could he convince her to speak honestly and speedily? Duress would not work well. Persuasion might work slightly less badly.

The Hour before Morning teaser:

But Elek didn't want to kill Jenchae. All at once, he felt old and strained and wanted to sleep. Recently, he started to picture himself just clinging to an outcropping of rock in the face of a sandstorm, expecting every moment to be torn into the wind. And the wind was in him, and if it didn't die soon, it would tear him to shreds. He wondered if Jenchae could make the wind die -- just for these last days.
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The new edition of my first novel, Perdita, is now on Kindle for $2.99. Amazon Prime members can borrow it for free.

The blurb:

For centuries, the planet Perdita has warred over the proper use of high technology. Now the West-of-Now family has crash landed on the planet, bringing with them the secrets of jae, a tech as perilous as it is powerful. For pro-tech Ethan and anti-tech Sherayna, the stakes of the battle have never been higher, for their actions may decide whether Perdita will enter into a new golden age or face cataclysmic destruction.
labingi: (riki)
Rieko Yoshihara on Ai no Kusabi, Volume 7:

"From here onwards (laughter), it will be all original content…. Well, according to the schedule, it wasn't supposed to be this long. Once I started on it I couldn't stop (laughter)…" (127).

I couldn't come up with a better expression of loss of authorial distance if I tried. Honestly, as an Ai no Kusabi fan, it makes me kind of angry. Because AnK used to be a good story. For all its execrable prose and cheap porn, it justly earned its place as one of the most famous and lauded BL works of all time.

Spoilers Follow )
labingi: (ivan)
I have a review/reflection on The Hunger Games up at The Geek Girl Project. Here's a teaser...

I have just become the billionth person to read The Hunger Games, and I have found it perfect. It is a book with no mistakes, a monument to every rule of popular fiction craft that writers workshops teach.

If you read English, it’s virtually certain you know what The Hunger Games is about, but to recap just in case: it’s about a young woman who is forced to fight to the death against other teens in a sport designed to entertain the elites and degrade the peasants. Suzanne Collins executes this narrative with a tiger-eye for popular science fiction best practice...

Read more, no heavy spoilers
labingi: (Default)
This is a very old list of links from my StarMerrow site, which I'm taking out of commission. A lot of them are probably dead, but some might still be alive and useful. Use as you wish and can!

SF&F Organizations

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc.: The big cheese of SF/F writers' organizations.

Speculative Literature Foundation: a new organization, with resources, including a grant, to help spec. fic. writers.

Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists

Read more... )


Apr. 9th, 2012 04:24 pm
labingi: (labingi)
Went to Norwescon with [personal profile] sixish this past weekend and tabled at the session for indie writers and publishers put on by the indefatigable Bob Boyd of The Written Wyrd.

I played the rough cut of The Hour before Morning on my laptop, which went over quite well as a marketing approach. It generated some good conversation, and I got to swap business cards with a number of interesting writers and editors.

[personal profile] sixish got to have a chat about the gaming industry with some fellow industry insiders.

All in all, it was a very satisfying experience, though we didn't see much of the rest of the con: a lot of good Doctor Who outfits though, including Five, which I don't often see.

The next day we went to Kinokuniya and spent too much on Japanese pop culture.

AND the weather was good. How about that?
labingi: (Default)
I very rarely have truly interesting dreams these days, but I had one last night. It was a massive, expansive dream about an extroverted Hamlet in a surreal setting that varied from medieval to cyberpunk with a stopover in the 1970s (and a very modern Ophelia too). It was so fun and interesting, in fact, that I may work it up as a story--not right now but as a project for the future.

The neatest thing is that it's very different from any story I'd think up consciously. I managed to dream up a protagonist whom I suspect of being an ESFP, which is just really unusual for me:)
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I had a strange, quiet revelation last night that I may be coming to the end of my Continuation stories. Now, at my current rate of writing (which really needs to pick up), I have more than enough open projects to last till the end of my natural life. And at a good clip, I have, oh, 20 years of projects left. But I haven't developed a truly new idea for a story in the Continuation universe in something like 6 years.

I find this kind of comforting. While I love the Continuation, there's a certain "light at the end of the tunnel" feeling about imaging a time when I'll move on to writing something truly different--probably related to Japan--or maybe just a lot more fan fic.

The Continuation stories I want to finish, in roughly the order I ought to be working on them, are (pardon the list that means nothing to anyone but me):

1. Broken Song (web show)
2. The Forwarder (to be published along with web show)
3. Mercy ('Eblia's story)
4. The Dying Cycle (of which Mercy is a sub-story) ('Ghanior et al.'s story)
5. Convention
6. (needs title) Dhri and Nerin's story
7. Málorvat (The Kiri Gilgamesh)

Less important, smaller projects:
1. Revise "The Eater" into some decent form
2. Maybe a novella of "The Impossibility of Death"
3. Finish that short story about the Ybian making friends with the human
4. Codify some reference materials (including War's End)

That's about it. I mean, that's a lot, but it's recognizably finite. It will be nice to be done with all that someday. It will be kind of freeing. Maybe I'll write that long fan fic about Elrond...
labingi: (Ghanior)
Perdita is away to the barber's--er, proofreader's--at last. I should say, Help the Gods is, as this is the edition I hope to release under that rather more interesting title.

Oh, Perdita, Perdita, I really don't know what I'm looking at when I look at you. My best analysis (21 years after I started writing and 11 after I "finished" the first edition) is that it has good parts and bad parts. In my most recent wordiness edit, there were moments it moved me to tears and moments that were just dull and a bit embarrassing. And there were some moments that were a bit embarrassing in a not-necessarily-bad-way, such as some slightly purplish romance. I wouldn't write that way today, but there's a reason it appeals, especially to young audiences, and Perdita is fundamentally a young person's book.

Here's my best assessment of the current version:

The Bad:
* Not very good prose. It's not as embarrassingly amateurish as the original, but it's very flat and rarely rises above functional.

* Those dang couple of plot points (no spoilers) that are just hard to justify in terms of character motivation.

* Some really dull bits, mostly surrounding Karmeena learning to mind read and the long, boring meeting--and, alas, as ever, chapter 1.

* Poor Laynia being stereotyped as seductress. I tried to make this interesting, but it still reads as stereotyped.

* My mom says the ending lacks resolution. I don't know. I think it's okay, but it is a "gray" ending.

The Good:
* Ethan and Sherayna, singly and together (overall: some bit read a bit "high school")

* Part 3--it's the part that seems most cohesive and moving.

* Leric. I still love him. He's one of those characters who is nothing like me yet whom I know well enough to just jump in and write. And Leric and Sherayna trying to work out their issues via playing First Causes is still a scene I love.

* The general theme, which one early reader summed up as "fanaticism." I think it makes its point.

(Ghanior--my icon--is not yet born at the time of this story, but I do think Ethan is one of his personal heroes.)
labingi: (Default)
I have been trying to save up time/energy to post something meaningful, something scintillating about rereading T. E. Lawrence or the nature of art or something, but alas, that is not going to happen in the near future, so here's a quick a lowdown:

* Kitty is sick again. Her behavior is mostly normal, but she has epic diarrhea (again), and I'll have to take her to the vet tomorrow. Meanwhile, she is not so fun to cuddle, which makes her sad.

* Car is in the shop but should be back early in the week. It's lucky my parents now live in town and I can borrow their car.

* I have temp work at Academic Advising for the next seven weeks, which is good given all the unforeseen expenses of the foregoing, but will be an interesting additional 10 hours a week to fit into my schedule.

* Koreans apparently don't mind having their children tutored at 9 p.m. Do they stay up late as a culture?

* Wednesday is going to be a 14-hour work day.

* Writing time is mostly being spent formatting HBM for self-publication and wordiness-editing Perdita for reissue.

* I have been reading (attempting to read) Barthes, who I somehow managed to almost entirely miss in graduate school. I like a lot of his ideas--insofar as I can parse them--but he will write like that. You know what I mean. Also rereading Lawrence (The Mint and letters), as indicated above. He does not write like that. Thank God.

The End
labingi: (Ghanior)
Chapters 1-5 on AO3

Chapter 5

I awoke to clamor, floundering in the water. A moment later, I woke truly on dry sand, woke to agony, throbbing, nauseous, his mind gasping, I did it, but where?, and a need to hide till the lightning in the brain stopped and sight was possible. And fear from us all, and cries and chatter.

A handlight clicked on--Chi'anové's. I groped for mine. So did Glin, and then three lights shown on the man crumpled by the embers of our fire.

I recall Tanez next to him, Tanez's voice, sharp, "It's Ghanior. He's a friend."

Ghanior? 'Ghanior Lastri'nom? The Director of the Walking Program. One of the First Walkers, the first generation. He had Walked to us--or been slammed, a thin, middle-aged man in a blue-black sy'gad's uniform, the second highest rank in the Ash'tor; he had come in Ash'tor's name.Read more... )
labingi: (Ghanior)
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3

Chapter 4

But there was no chance. The next day, we took Glin and Tanez to my ship, where the sum total of our expertise pronounced it irreparable in the absence of a synapse grower. Even Chi'anové couldn't deny it. Like rusty swimmers beached on an island, we reset our conception of time and space and firmed our minds for the long, long swim.


Our Journey: Day 1

The following day, we set out just after breakfast, a relief to us all except Leyvar. For him, Nyra's departure came like the cracking of an old, over-heavy tree limb: both expected and abrupt. Accustomed as he was to her wanderings, our stranding smacked of danger, and our destination was far away. Nyra understood his unease with an old familiarity and hugged him tightly in parting.

Though my shoulder ached under my pack, our steady pace comforted me. The morning cool was made for walking, the woods quiet: once we left the town, I sensed no people but our company. Blessed be progress without hurry. To go by foot is humanity's natural state, synced--so they guess--to our evolution: walking... Walking. That other Walking will always be alien to our bodies. Except Chi'anové's: his natural state, indeed, is Walking, so much so he bleeds Jana out of his cells. When I thought of the jae damage building in his body, our pace no longer pleased me.

The day warmed, not dramatically, a lifting of fog, sun dappling the turf. We were all lucky to have hardwearing clothes, though the seal-slick Leddie jumpsuits breathed better than our Ash'torian coats and breeches. Nyra, in light, loose pants and tunic fared best as temperature crept up.

As the sun ascended glacially, my legs grew leaden and my shoulder burned, numbed, tingled, burned by turns. When we stopped for lunch, I sank gratefully on a rock just off the path. There's a freedom in being able to stop anywhere: no hotel, no dining district, no transit station--just world.Read more... )


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