Writing

So apparently there have been some legitimate comments among the dozens of random spam bot comments made on my blog in the last couple of months. Please forgive my silence, I haven’t combed through that section of my blog in a while and it seems that wordpress isn’t quite savvy enough to distinguish between good english, gibberish, and chinese.

I apologize also for the state of my poor little blog. I have no idea what happened to the majority of the pictures, my theory is tiny little picture eating monsters that sneak into the wordpress update code. I’ll fix it I promise! …eventually…soon, I swear!

Ah, graduate school. The reason Mercator book number two is still in editing. I’m sorry for that too. The book is soooooo close to being done, just a little revision here or there. There is a title: West to Thorn’s Peak. There are pretty pictures/maps. And I think the storyline is way more exciting than East to Adonia. I’ve got a month of graduate school left which includes two 15 pg plus papers and a 6 hr comprehensive exam.

So please don’t give up on Mercator and me. Once I’m free of the chains of higher education, I’ll be hitting the road running. 🙂

Thanks for your patience!
Screen shot 2014-03-25 at 9.54.36 AM

So it’s time for the first challenge of the Platform-Building Campaign.

Here are the instructions:

Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open” These four words will be included in the word count.

If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words: “the door swung shut.” (also included in the word count)

For those who want an even greater challenge, make your story 200 words EXACTLY!

And here is my entry. 200 words. It was fun. 🙂

    The door swung open and hit Jamie squarely in the nose. She bit back the curse and tiptoed into the dark room beyond. Pausing to listen, she thought it sounded like the big man was sleeping, but she wasn’t certain.

    Willing herself to take her time and not rush the job, Jamie went to work. She’d spent the better part of a month eliminating the kinks in this scheme. Deftly, she attached mechanisms engineered just for this mission to each brass bedpost.

    Midway through installing the last gizmo on the post nearest her prey’s head, the man grunted and a squeak of surprise escaped her. For one breathless moment she thought she it was over, but the man just rolled over.

    Jamie tightened the last screw and the mechanism whirred quietly to life.

    The trap was set.

    Holding her breath, Jamie crept toward the door. Victory was hers.

    Her foot had only just touched the threshold when the room flooded with light.

    “You lose,” boomed a voice from behind.

    The mechanisms detonated in a rainbow flash of colorful feathers and paint.

    Her brother scowled at her, looking hilariously like a wet parrot.

    Doubled in laughter, Jamie swung the door shut.

Whoa, that’s a mouthful.

So here’s the thing, I’ve been internet-shy all year. For some strange reason I’m wary of the faceless mob that lives on the other side of the connection. Part of the problem is that I just don’t know where to start…

Well I’ve found my starting point. As long as I’m not too late signing up. (At least this time it’s not due to procrastination. I just found out about this a couple of hours a go via ZOVA’s Molly.)

It sounds like a great way to not only build your following, and discover new writers, but even make some friends.

If it sounds interesting at all you should check out Rachel Harrie’s Blog Post on the Campaign and check out some of the other peeps taking part.

Sooo. I’m not coming through on my blogging like I should. What’s new? Three posts one week, one the next. At least I’m consistently inconsistant.

Do I have an excuse? Naw I don’t believe in those. It just slipped my mind. I’ve had other things to distract me. Like finishing the second book of Mercator. (It’s not done by the way. Close but not quite.) It’s really getting to the good part now. Too bad I won’t get to finish it for a couple of weeks. You see, I have this thing in Pennsylvania that I’m going to be at with 10,000+ of my nerd brethren.

I’m going to Pennsic, baby.

Now, most of you mundanes probably don’t have a clue what that means. Well listen up because I’m about to blow your little minds with sheer awesome.

So, Pennsic is the biggest SCA war in the world.

“And I should care, why?” you ask.

Imma just gon’ put this here:

This is what I’m doing next week. How about you?

To get ready I had to polish my ridiculously rusty helmet. (Which I riveted myself…)

And embroider the hems of my new dress. (Only in the SCA do I infrequently wear a dress. Because they’re super comfy.)

This is going to rock.

I spent last week at my Grandmother’s farm trying to pound out the end of this book-thing I’m working on. West is the title and the direction Mercator is running in. He’s almost there…

I’m not going to lie, writing this book has been quite a bit like running through a maze where every once in a while you have no choice but to knock down a wall using your head. Hit one of those walls last week, didn’t expect to, but I did. I must have rewritten those pages five times trying to get it down to one.

One bad thing about writing fantasy is having to translate a hugely complicated bit of history or metaphysics into a tiny easy to read package. I’m writing for kids after all. I just keep writing the same bit of explanation over and over until I figure out what the most important bits are. I just keep pruning away until all that is left. All I want is enough to get the gist of the situation and hopefully keep a hint of the background. If it isn’t necessary for the moment and the story, it goes. It’s hard work, but it’s also fun to play with the words. Dialogue is always fun.

I’m afraid that’s all I have. I’d better get back to this brick wall. One more solid hit should bring it down.

That was the sound of my girlish excitement escaping in the form of an imitated balloon squeal.

If you like either or both of these Great Brits then you have got to watch the interview. You Have Got To.

Just in case you’re left in the dark… *le gasp!* … I don’t know you, heathen.

My favorite Gaiman book? Stardust

My favorite Ferguson Sketch? This one. (skip to 1:06 to see why)

I’m not a train nerd, but this video of replacing tracks is pretty darn awesome. I’d love to see a resurgence of train use in the US. Perhaps in the post oil days we’ll rediscover how awesome rail travel can be. I know that while I went to school in Wheaton, one of my favorite things about living near Chicago was the light rail system. It might take a few extra minutes to get downtown, but you didn’t have to mess with traffic, and you could zone out and just enjoy the ride or get some work done.

And I’m sure everyone’s seen this video of a certain Pulp Fiction/Snakes on a Plane Star reading a bedtime story that parents can relate to by now. I’m sorry if the language offends, but I think once a word can be used in a children’s bedtime story without major backlash it has lost it’s bite. (NSFW or kids, seriously if you’re not old enough for Pulp Fiction don’t watch. I don’t want to get in trouble with your parents.)

Welcome to the future where we live in pods on the top of buildings. I think it’s a great idea, I’ve always wanted to live on a space station. But where would I keep my books?

And lastly, but not leastly, I ran across this insightful article on “How To Steal Like An Artist.”

The more I art, the more I realize that all art is in some way derivative. Like the Bible says, “There is nothing new underneath the sun.” It’s not nearly as depressing as you think. The way a great artist steals you might not even recognize what it was they stole. It may be an idea or just an element from the work of another artist, and it’s usually re-purposed and twisted into something shiny and new that has little resemblance to the original. Think of it more as recycling. If you know who the artist/author lists as their influences then you might be able to see the stolen bits. Art builds on what came before just like science, engineering, and everything else.

Now if you’ll excuse me I’ve got to go hack out a lung and get to writing.

Just spent a few day’s at my grandma’s trying to get some quality writing time in. I always love going up there, it’s idyllic. My grandma is 91 and still lives on her own, except for her German Shepard, Greta. And Greta gets two walks a day in the pastures around the farm. I swear that North Missouri is the Shire.

I went up there partially to write, but mostly to keep my grandma company. My great-aunt, her sister, passed away last week and I just thought it would be a good idea.

Just wanted to share a couple of pics with you. 🙂

Apparently….

I write like
Lewis Carroll

I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

I entered a big chunk of text from the second Mercator book that I’m working on right now (even as I type this very word). Which I think is very promising indeed. Either that or worrying. Are Alice’s adventures in Wonderland too old for Middle Schoolers?

A copy of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland that I found at my Grandmother's.

This must be the twentieth post I’ve started this week. I’ll finish this one…it’ll end one way or the other.

Writing is a funny thing. Sometimes it’s the easiest most exciting thing in the world, and sometimes it’s worse than pulling a tooth. At least the tooth usually comes out quickly, words on the other hand don’t, and there are a lot more of them.

I’ve always heard of the beast known as writer’s block, but until recently I’ve never met the horror face to face. The tricky bit about recognizing the wee beastie is that it has this amazing camouflage. Sometimes it dresses up in “things that must be done first,” other times it changes it’s color to “wouldn’t you rather do this other fun and easy thing,” then there’s the old “white page = black hole, words are typed and then mysteriously disappear,” my personal favorite “aaauuughghhghhgh” which is just the sound of me procrastinating, and the classic “I have no idea what happens here in this unexciting bit of the story” trap.

Solution? None. Just keep pulling words out until the book is done. It never hurts as bad as I think it will.

It’s nearly May. If I’m not golden by the end of May… King Midas owes me one. lol