One of the most enlightening lectures we had all week was by author Laura J. Mixon. She discussed a concept I’d heard about before, that of writing happening in an almost trance-like state, in different context. She posited the idea that inside all of us creative types is an “other” who is in charge of the unconscious parts of the creation process. You could call it a muse, but Laura likes to call hers ‘the beast’. Over the course of the lecture she went over various ways to care for our inner beasts and how to help the connection between the conscious and unconscious minds.
The result of all this is that I call my internal writing buddy Floyd and in my mind he looks a little like a furry purple monster-thing. Well, something I found out this week while I was driving to work is that Floyd is the poet of the pair of us. Driving helps me disconnect that thinky part of my brain from the feely part, and that’s something I’ve known about for a while–I do some of my best writing while driving. I was sitting at a red light, minding my own business, when some birds flew down from an overhead wire and all of a sudden, off Floyd went. My new story started off as a single line:
The birds flowed down from the tree in a dark stream to cover the ground in a carpet of hopping, feathered bodies.
See? Told you he was a poet! The story isn’t actually about those birds at all, but that’s the image that got me going. I wrote 1470 words on it in my two-hour writing session last night (that’s a topic for another post), but I just wanted to share with my writer friends out there how well this kind of thing works, at least for me.
More about other lectures and what I’ve learned in the days since later.
Hearts and puppies,
I just got back from a week-long writer’s workshop called Viable Paradise. The workshop specializes in Speculative Fiction, but much of what’s covered could apply to any sort of writing. Even a few days later, I’m not sure I can relate how much I learned and what a thoroughly intense experience it was. I spent five days completely immersed in writing. From the moment I woke up until I went to sleep there was nothing else in my head. It was beautiful, and exhausting.
Meeting some giants in the field and two dozen other writers at a similar place in their careers was amazing. Beyond the lectures and critique groups, the conversations I took part in will shape my writing for years to come. My classmates were an eclectic group. I find it intensely interesting that the group was so thoroughly random with writing from wacky to serious and everywhere in between. Some writing was focused and intricate, and others were in a more storytelling, carefree style. I was in awe of everything I read while I was there, so much so that I kept thinking I must be the loser of the bunch. However, after my crit group and my one-on-ones with two instructors, I realized that I belonged there just as much as anyone and that was pretty damned magnificent. I have never felt more sure of and more confident in my choice to become a writer. I am humbled and I am happy.
I learned so much about how to write, and how to make a career out of writing that I thought I’d share a few of the most choice tidbits here:
I’m going to do another post later in the week about the incredible instructors and how impressed I was with them, but for now I need to catch up on some sleep.
Hearts and puppies,
What I loved about this story is that neither of the guys were particularly alpha and both were very real. Chase is shy and awkward. Matt is wary of putting himself in a position to be hurt again.
It’s a quick read that will leave you wanting more, but even though it’s short there are nicely developed characters and a storyline. Including an ending that I loved. I can’t wait for something longer from this pair! And now, on to the blurb:
Chase Williams is a gorgeous but painfully shy web designer whose long term boyfriend dumped him for being such a “nice” guy. Instead of meeting his buddies at the local bar for a drink he helps his elderly neighbor with a DIY project. When a wobbly step ladder leads to a banged up wrist and a trip to the ER Chase is convinced it’s the worst night ever. Then he meets his handsome nurse.
Matt Owens is the boy next door who loves working in the busy ER. He’s more than ready to clock out from his double shift until he meets his patient in Bed 4. Matt’s bedside manner is charming enough to make Chase consider throwing caution to the wind and going after what he wants for a change. But will Matt’s attraction to Chase be enough to make him to break his rule about never dating patients?
I found out just before I headed out of town last week that I was invited to attend Viable Paradise 17. VP is a week-long writer’s workshop held in Martha’s Vineyard where I’ll hopefully learn so much about writing that my head will explode. I’ll be workshopping the first two chapters of Forgotten Magic while I’m there so I’ll have to struggle not to change anything during the long couple of months until then. I’ve been working on a scene that I want to add at the end, a sort of post-climax wrap up. Hopefully that will keep me out of trouble for the couple of months until October.
A couple of other random pieces of news:
All of my books are half off over at Smashwords for the month of July. Get Broods of Fenrir for only $1.50 and Elements of Rebellion for $2.00. Just add the books to your cart and use the coupon code SSW50. Offer expires July 31st!
I saw Pacific Rim while on vacation (it’s kind of a tradition of ours to see movies while out of town, don’t ask me why) and while there were quite a few physics/science plotholes, I thought the movie did a great job of creating a male/female working relationship that wasn’t romantic. I’ve had a story brewing for a while that has a platonic relationship between the two main characters and that showed me that it can really work when done right. Sorry, no giant robots in mine… so far! No really, no robots. The story is a sort of western distopian right now, though it’s so early right now it’s hard to say what the final form will take. (more…)
This is a bit of a silly little story that was an exercise for my fiction seminar class last fall. The assignment was to take a story we had written previously in the course and change the point of view and style as much as we could while still maintaining the same storyline. I chose Plague Vector as the subject of my rewrite and decided to write from the point of view of one of the frogs. Terminal Velocity is the result of that exercise and an interesting story in its own right. I actually might revisit this one sometime soon and try to expand on the idea a bit because I like it so much.