As you can guess, blogging is a little lower down on the priorities list than usual (under “keep Tiny Human fed and clean” and “get some friggin’ sleep” and “write up that idea that’s currently just a character and a MacGuffin and see if you can find a structure for it”). However, I will be posting a little more, as I have a couple of short stories coming out relatively soon. (One of which has strangely appropriate timing.)
In the meantime, I’ve turned in a draft of the most recent novel, and now I’m noodling around with some new ideas. Although what seems like a great plot during the 3am feeding tends to be a little less coherent the next morning.
And while some baby blogging will undoubtedly creep in (she’s very much a part of our lives now, after all), I promise not to let it take over. I’m not yet sure whether I want to write about it, honestly. It was such a strange and all-encompassing experience that using it in a story feels odd. Maybe that’ll change as time goes on.
I’ll be at Readercon this coming weekend!
Saturday, 10:00 AM: Intellectually Rigorous Fictional Data: Making Up Facts That Are True. Debra Doyle, Alex Dally MacFarlane, Margaret Ronald, Ken Schneyer, Harold Vedeler, Henry Wessells (leader).
How do you make up convincing fictional primary sources? No, not for purposes of seeking political office, but because you need to know the facts and how they underpin the world of your fiction and the lives of your characters. Imaginary books and letters are just the beginning, even if they never appear in the narrative. Which fictional data sources matter? How much is enough to make a narrative feel resilient and whole?
I’ve used a few of these in-narrative, and I certainly use them in creating the plot/world/characters. And I’ve got some pretty clear ideas on how they can work or flop. Of course, what really gets me interested is coming up with secondary and tertiary fictional sources…
Sunday, 1:30 PM: Reading: Margaret Ronald.
Margaret Ronald reads a new short story.
I’ve got a short story coming out in Apex later this summer, and it’s one of the shortest things I’ve written. I’ll probably go with that…although I have sold a very goofy short lately, so I might give a taste of that as well, time permitting.
I don’t know how present I’ll be for much of the con beyond this, since 1) the siren song of giant robots fighting kaiju calls me for Saturday afternoon and 2) I’m having to take it a bit easy just now, on account of being eight months pregnant.
Um. Yeah. I kind of forgot to mention that.
I’m currently burning through this novel draft so I can turn it in before Tiny Human makes an appearance. With any luck, I can have the draft done in about a week. (Last polish! Half done! Oh heaven.) And then…maybe I’ll get this short story turned around too before the sleep deprivation hits.
Or maybe I’ll just have to see what sleep deprivation does to my plotting.
Let me say this straight off: Readercon was delightful.
However, I went from Readercon to a lovely vacation and then smack into a personal clusterfuck when I got home, so I’ve had very little brainspace to think of putting together a con report or even remember that I have a blog in the first place. Things are better now, but I will not be sad to see the last of this July. Ugh.
In the meantime, I have more revisions to take care of — including the Portal paper that was very well received! — and stories to send out. And strangely enough, that sort of work is a balm for many aches.
Last New Year’s, I:
- drank far, far too much
- was apparently a charming if talkative loon when drunk
- ended up barfing in between either 1) apologizing to my food for not giving it a better, more permanent home or 2) explaining the plot for the best fanfic idea EVAR
- learned the true meaning of a hangover
This New Year’s, I:
- listened to the resident organist play for First Night in Boston
- shared a glass and a kiss at the stroke of midnight
- joined friends in the Berkshires for assorted goofiness
- watched fire poi and fire staff work (and no one was set on fire)
- talked plots and characters and ideas with many creative people
- attempted to convince a toddler to finish his food, which through a series of events too embarrassing to go into resulted in me being dubbed “Chicken Dance”
- demonstrated the Chicken Dance for those who had never seen it
- thoroughly enjoyed my role as Horrible Aunt Maggie
2010 was a very good year with an inauspicious start. So far, 2011 has been much better. Let’s hope that continues.
Except for maybe the Chicken Dance. I can do without that.
This weekend I received a fantastic if mildly confusing compliment from my eight-year-old cousin, who was at the time trying to both claim my attention and demonstrate her superior knowledge to one of the other kids on the beach: “She already knows that. She’s a writer. And she’s married.”
…I’m not entirely sure what it is I’m supposed to know, but hey, I won’t argue.
Last year around this time, I was fiddling with my editor’s revisions to Wild Hunt, judging how far I’d come with the early (and massively flawed) draft of the third book, and biting my nails to the quick over the impending release of Spiral Hunt.
Unfortunately, due to a number of problems coming together in a Great Conjunction of Awful, I ended up working overtime on the actual release date, as well as a couple days before and after. I barely had time to stop and remember that yes, I had a book out that day. And while I’ve since brought that into my everyday consciousness — enough that I can sometimes stop myself from getting depressed by remembering hey, I’ve got a book out there! And it doesn’t suck! — I do regret not enjoying that first release date.
So today I’m taking the day off, relaxing a little, and going out for high tea. Granted, eating little cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off is not quite the same as getting solidly drunk for a week (which was one of the first pieces of advice I had regarding how to handle the release date), but both have their therapeutic value. And this year, maybe I’ll shed some of my nervous habits about the books, now that there’s more out in the world. (First resolution: stop looking at the Amazon ranking especially when I have no idea what it means.)
If you’re interested in Wild Hunt but don’t know yet if you want to buy it, take a look using the widget on the left here. You’ll be able to read a good chunk of the novel, and by the time you hit the end of the offered pages, you’ll know whether it’s got your attention. And by then, it will be too late! *cue maniacal laughter*
And thanks again to everyone who’s read the books, everyone who reads this blog, and anyone who’s enjoyed my stories over the last few years. These stories are so much fun to create, and I’m so glad to be able to share them with you.
Today’s Magic District was originally the subject of some great plans when I came up with the idea. Great plans. Unfortunately, the plans were utter crap, so I went with a list of What I’ve Learned From Fiction About Weddings.
And yes, as it says, I’ll be getting married this weekend, so expect sparse blogging. Sparser. Anyway.
First things first: Tonight, I’ll be reading and signing at the Jay County Public Library at 6:30 PM. There may be cupcakes. There will most certainly be new fiction. So if you’re in the area, come and say hi — I promise I don’t bite. Even if asked nicely.
Last night I had the privilege of speaking at my old high school, the Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities. I was pretty nervous about it, since I hadn’t been back for more than a quick walk around the campus in mumblety-ought years, and since the other alumnus who’d been scheduled to speak had to cancel. I had fears of being That Boring Speaker that everyone remembers from high school. You remember; the guy who either spoke in a monotone or attempted to be “hip to the youth of today” and whose schtick got old real fast. Driving into Muncie made me even more tense: for every building I recognized, there were changes I hadn’t known of (many for the better), and almost-scary flashes of deja vu. Hell, just driving past Wagoner Hall brought back a new flood of memories, and when I started pointing out places to the resident organist (“there’s the front steps, that’s where I played my first game of D&D…”) I realized I was stepping into a different role, one familiar from Williams jargon: the Crusty Alum with stories of Back In The Day. Urgh.
So I made it into the auditorium, expecting to give a short, rambling, unprepared speech, then answer a couple of questions and let these poor kids get back to what they were doing before this cranky old lady interrupted them.
It wasn’t like that at all.
It was awesome.
I gave a short bio, a few hands went up, and from there it was question-and-answer all the way through — I completely didn’t notice when we went over our allotted time. The Academy kids were interested, engaged, curious, and their questions made me stop and think several times. I think I managed to give answers that were both helpful and entertaining, and by the time we hit the third or fourth question, I was on a hell of an adrenaline high.
I realize that by saying things like “and the questions were smart!” that makes it sound like I was surprised, or that I was expecting stupid questions. That’s not the case. Hell, in this situation, there aren’t stupid questions. In many ways, the students were very like my class — bright, snarky, sleep-deprived — and that was both encouraging and a little frightening. (Also, it made me feel old, but there’s no way of getting around that.) The Academy shaped so much of who I am today that it’s amazing and scary to see it continuing to shape and train students for the great wide world.
I wonder how these kids will turn out. I wonder whether they enjoyed the evening as much as I did.
I wonder how difficult it would be for me to come back sometime.