Friday, October 28, 2011

Gearing up for NaNo

(apologies to Lesli for the abbreviation...)

Here we go again. Two years ago I decided near the end of October to give NaNo a try. At first I was thinking of doing a novel based on an image that had been growing in my mind for a while. I'd done a short story that summer based on what would have been a much earlier time period and liked the result, but I quickly decided that the story was one that needed more time to simmer in my subconscious. So instead I wrote a sequel to an earlier project I'd done, and was very pleased with the result. I finished the story right around the New Year and revised, got critiques, and revised again until I think it's ready for publication. Being a sequel, I need to first get a publisher on board for the first book, and I've sent that to one publisher and am still waiting to hear back.

Then last year I picked up the idea I'd intended to do the first year, and that really took off. The book, I think, is my most assured--a quirky and surreal story that I have high hopes for. The critiques have shown me some things that need revising, but nothing glaringly off at a deep level that would require major re-working. I've just finished what I intend to be the final revision pass of the first two chapters before querying agents. I'll need to continue that revision pass through the rest of the chapters first, though, and that's on hold for November. January is possible, though February probably more realistic.

And now it comes to this year...and this time I didn't have any kind of long-simmering idea to play with, though I started thinking more deliberately about it over a month ago. For a long time I've been wanting to do something ambitiously non-linear. My first inclination would be that NaNo probably isn't the best time to tackle something like that--my experience the first two years was that the social pressure/encouragement of NaNo really prodded me along, but I was glad to have relatively straight-forward stories I could race through. This time around, I'm looking at a variety of layers of narrative and structural intricacies. So this is going to be a different kind of challenge for me, but if there's one thing I carry with me from my experiential education days, it's that challenge is good...essential, even. So here's to a challenging, highly ambitious month of crazy writing (to squeeze in around all the usual day-to-day work)!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Short Fiction Thursday

For a thoroughly entertaining subversion of chosen-one fantasies, check out David J Schwartz's "Destiny, with a Blackberry Sauce" in Strange Horizons. Turns out fate is rather dim...

Kat Howard's "The Calendar of Saints" in Beneath Ceaseless Skies is well worth a read as well. It's a story of sword-dueling as a means of justice and of a society where the church honors scientists as saints...until a challenge comes through the courts that would undermine the esteem given scientific investigation and discoveries.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Nobel winner

In case you missed the news, Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer was awarded this year's Nobel Prize for literature. I found a couple of his poems online without even much searching: "Outskirts" and "After a Death" (both translated by Robert Bly). This was not a poet I was familiar with, but I liked these, especially the second poem, with its vaguely post-apocalyptic feel and the image of leaves as "pages torn from old telephone directories." There are a few more poems of his at the Poetry Foundation's page on him as well.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Penumbra issue 1 available

Be sure to check out Penumbra's inaugural issue. The official launch is today, so you can get your pdf right away if you order now. The issue includes my story "The Square That Hides a Thousand Stories," which is a whimsical fantasy story about a temple-worker sent to fetch an ancient relic. The issue's theme is art--in a broad sense--with mine playing with the idea of storytelling.