Wednesday, March 4, 2015

More flash from the Writing Workshop

The library workshop continues to go well (...I think...?)  We've got three male members this time, which is cool. About the same 7-8 people have come each time, which is very cool. We're settling into a comfortable rhythm of writing and sharing, or not sharing. I've been very clear that if you don't wanna, you don't have to, and nothing we say should make one feel otherwise.

Last week at home, we ordered Chinese food twice, an unusual occurrence. I'm pretty much the only one who eats fortune cookies, so we had 8 of them. I looked at the pile of fortune cookies and thought "Well there's a writing prompt." I asked around with my coworkers, and somebody else brought me 3 more, so I'd have enough just in case.

There was a bit of hilarity when we got down to business at the workshop. I had the cookies in a Wal-Mart bag, and I went around, giving each person one. Then I said "This is your writing prompt. Use the fortune. Use the lucky numbers. Use the cookie itself, I don't care. Open 'em, eat 'em, whatever. Write for fifteen minutes." And we got down to business.


Monday, March 2, 2015

6 queries sent! (plus, how I'm NOT querying)

As of now, I've queried 6 literary agents for THE LAST SONG. Haven't heard back from one yet (except the couple who have auto replies on the query email address, which stops my heart each time, I tell you whut).

Some I've had to remove from my "initial pass" list of 13 or so, because they're just gone. M-O-O-N. Quit or retired or something, I don't know. Some I have to wait on, because they're closed to queries just now.

My query letter is....good enough, I think? I've had a couple of eyes on it, with no major criticisms. Plus, I've read all of Query Shark, and keep up on Janet Reid's day to day blog, in addition to reading things like the Rejectionist, the New Leaf Literary blog, etc. etc. I had a brief "clever" idea to write an invocation of the muse as a query, since THE LAST SONG is the Orpheus and Eurydice myth, but clever queries only work if they work, and sometimes you burn bridges before realizing they're a total fail. So I didn't do that. I'm also not saying things like "OMG, if you sign this book with me, we can totally get Dave Grohl to do an album for the book, right? He's so cool and will totally be into that! And then when we sign the movie rights, we can get Alexander Skarsgård to star!"

The book....well, I'm pretty sure the book is good enough. I still like it. I've got at least one person who read it in its entirety and asked what else I had that they could read. I've got a couple folks making gestures at it when they can, in the midst of their own busy lives (And I'm VERY THANKFUL AND GRATEFUL TO THEM).

I still haven't settled in to a new writing project. Again, this isn't unusual for me. And I saw on Facebook today that CampNaNoWriMo is going to be starting up again. Maybe I should use it to finish my girl-Hamlet novel? Or work on my fantasy novel from last summer? Or finish The Wolf You Feed, which needs a lot of editing but needs to be DONE first so I should stop fucking around and write it first, fix it later, which is I know a principle which works well with me if I could just actually do it for crying out loud. Part of it is I have the luxury of time, I guess. No real deadlines. No real consequence to not finishing or writing any of these things, because I have no contractual obligations. Of course, that's a two-edged sword; I can write what I want, when I want. I don't have to do any of it. I want to. So sometimes I don't.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Some flash fiction from my writing group

The library writing group is going pretty well so far (I'm posting from there, shhh don't tell).

We're having a lot of fun with writing prompts, as only a few people have brought stuff from home to critique so far. I've apparently taken to writing about a family with two mischievous kids in it, though that's not what I'm sharing with you just now.

This prompt was: Lost on vacation.


"The cruise will know it when we don't come back."

"I don't know why you're saying that, Gerald. Is it meant to be reassuring?" She didn't look at him, just stared straight ahead at the back of the driver's head.

"I just mean....well, we paid them, right? They won't leave without us." He tried to take her hand and she shrugged away from him, then leaned closer to deliver her admonishments in an angry half whisper.
"I have no idea. I'm not the one who booked the cruise with the stops in Cozumel and Montegos and wherever the fuck we are right now. You did. You book the cruise, you signed the contracts. They might have said they'd sell us to Columbian coke dealers and you agreed to it."
"Lauren. Why would you say that?" The guys in the front seat didn't seem to be paying any attention, except to grin at each other when she raised her voice. Anger surpassed language barriers.

"Well, what else am I supposed to believe? No, we couldn't possibly take the cruises's snorkeling trip. We had to go find somebody in the flea market and go off into the jungle with them. Where are they taking us? And why did we do this if you can't speak Spanish."

"I took Spanish in high school. I thought with immersion, it would come back to me."

"You took how much Spanish in high school?"

"Un poco." He smiled winningly, then grimaced as the Jeep hit another rut on the muddy road.

"Well guess what, Gerald, I didn't take Spanish in high school. I took Latin, which would be useful if we got lost time traveling. Not nearly so useful on a nameless island in the Caribbean. Where they speak French almost as much as they do Spanish."

"Then why did you come with me?"

"Oh, excuse me, a romantic WARM cruise? In the middle of a New York winter? Why would I turn that down."

"no, I mean why did you get in the Jeep with me, if you thought these people were going to sell us to Columbian coke dealers?"

"Because I love you. God help us both."

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Two queries sent, ? to go!

I've mentioned it once before (at least once), but for me, waiting is the worst part of submissions.

See, I've sent out two queries so far for The Last Song. And am surprised at how nervous I am. I guess  I thought all those short story submissions (and rejections) would inure me. I wasn't entirely wrong. But not entirely right either.

I looked at today's #MSWL (manuscript wish list) on Twitter today, becuase I was like "yeah, an event thing! When I finally feel like I have a ready novel!" And wouldn't you know not a single agent said just the right thing to make me slap excitedly at my keyboard and go "ME ME PICK ME I HAVE IT RIGHT HERE." This doesn't mean I don't have a list of agents; of course I do. Just nobody #MSWL'ed today for me.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Writing Prompt: "I can explain"

So, two meetings down, the library writing group is doing well. Last week, I used Janet Reid's flash contest as a prompt. This week, one of the prompts we used was the phrase "I can explain". My own offering got some giggles, so I thought I'd share.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Selective Listening

I talk a lot about how I listen to music while writing. I won't say I make a playlist for every new project I have, especially since I have a much-evolved playlist I created for my first NaNoWriMo and manipulated a lot since. I don't always use that one, but it's there to fall back on while I'm writing. It tickles the right things.


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Oh look, February

Well, I've actually read a few books so far this year, so that's good.

I've done a bit of writing, but mostly game related, not new stories yet despite my outlining for a space book.

Getting some feedback for The Last Song; one of my readers liked it very much indeed, which is a good boost. I've also got the cast of Learn to Howl kicking around in my head again, so maybe it's time to straighten out Book 2.

Part of my indecision on what to write has to do with my writing workshop, which starting on Saturday, and I'm at that anticipatory period where I hope the group gels as well as the prior two did. There are new names in the sign ups, but no guarantee those people are going to show, obviously. A bunch of my prior group is signed up, so that's nice.

But, I write with the group. And I share (lead by example, natch!) and I don't know what project I want to be "publicly" working on, you see. Maybe I'll write something just for the workshop, see where the prompts take me? Maybe I'll only bring for critique short works I'd previously finished. I don't know.

But. I only have three October submissions left pending, at The Book Smugglers, Virginia Quarterly Review, and Tin House, all three long response time markets. When I've heard back from all of them, I'll report in on the full picture. October was a neat and interesting time, and I do think I'll be doing it again (though I need to build up my little bundle of shorts).

And on quasi-related news (since my first F&SF submission was just before October [and rejected]), I got another personal rejection from F&SF magazine wherein the editor said he remembered my previous story and was happy to see another submission from me! I'd obviously have preferred an acceptance, but if it had to be a rejection, what a rejection it was!