Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Interview question

I'd nearly forgotten that I wrote up a blog post for Penumbra as part of their one-year anniversary celebration. All of us who'd had stories in the inaugural issue were invited to contribute something to their blog. I wrote up and sent in my answer to the question they posed me, "How do you turn a simple idea into something publishable?" in the day or two before heading to the hospital, so I guess it just slipped my mind that this was coming out. Looks like late last week, though, my post went up on their blog.

Absence: newborn

So shortly after posting my last post, I went rushing off to the hospital with my wife, and my son was born that night...at two minutes to midnight, and that's the actual time not fudged just so we could say he was born on 10-11-12 (as dates are written in the US).You have no idea how many times I keep hearing that insinuation... We're doing well, though I will admit I haven't been able to concentrate much on any writing (or blogging, critiquing, etc.).

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Next Big Thing meme


I was doubly tagged for this meme, first by W. E. Larson and shortly after that by Nick, who specified that he'd like me to focus on the work he's currently reading the draft of.

1. What is the title of your Work in Progress?

Fugitives on the Avocet Road

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?


No one source. I wanted to write a book for last year's National Novel Writing Month and started piecing together scraps and pieces from my mind a few months before hand. I wanted it to center on a family, not just a lone individual (which is often my default, I'm realizing). I wanted it to be a family that is not treated well by the people with power in their world. And then I got the image of a society where everyone is constantly on the move: families, villages and towns, even entire cities moving constantly up and down the road. As I was brainstorming this, I was coming back from a jog to the Children's Gardens (my daughter's favorite destination) with the jogging stroller and passed a street called Avocet, and I couldn't quite place what an avocet was. Once I looked it up at home, I added that into the mix, and everything started falling into place.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Fantasy, I suppose. Or speculative fiction at any rate. There are some SFnal touches to it and certainly some influences from other sub-genres, but really it's a non-epic secondary world fantasy.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I watch few movies and less TV, and even when I do, I don't pay attention to who the actors are, really. So no idea, to be honest. Teeana would need to be on the older side of middle-age (she'd likely seem older than her actual age, after all she's been through). Someone who can come across as tough and a little bitter, though not overcome by the bitterness. Vosef should come across as playfully child-like and inquisitive.

5. What is a one-sentence synopsis of the book?


Fugitives on the Avocet Road is a non-linear fantasy of a family of refugees, pursued the length of a mysterious, barren road through a land where the soil is deadly to those who stay in one place for too long.

6. Will your book be self-published or traditionally published? Represented by an agent or no?

(I've re-worded this question, as the original set up an odd either-or that didn't make much sense.) I have no plans to self-publish it. I'm in the process of querying agents for a different novel, so having an agent would be ideal, but I wouldn't be opposed to submitting it unagented if necessary and if the right publisher happens to have an open reading period.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?


Two months. I wrote about 65k words during NaNo and finished the draft by the end of December.

8. What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?

Hmmm. Perhaps Mechanique by Genevieve Valentine. That was certainly an influence on my decision to make it a non-linear book. I've been intrigued by non-linearity for a long time and wrote one novel some years ago that dabbled with it. Reading Mechanique around the time I was brainstorming the story reminded me of my interest in that and helped me see how this was a story that would benefit from such an approach. Other than that, there are influences all over the place, conscious and unconscious, that I'll let my biographer some day attempt to trace.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

It sounds disappointing to answer that NaNo inspired me... I wouldn't say any particular person or thing inspired it--well, maybe a touch of Occupy Wall Street rhetoric--but mostly a wish to tell a story and to stretch my ability to write it, to try something new and see how it plays out.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Bees! Honey! (Another influence as I was brainstorming that worked its way in was Amal El-Mohtar's The Honey Month.) The constant threat of body mutation from the soil. Fighting against injustice. Camel-drawn villages. A city that winds its way up and down the mountain road by being pulled by a pair of massive chains.  Another city that is not a place but an amoeba-like grouping of people who choose to self-identify as belonging together. Deadly poisons and a sweet escape that tastes like revenge.

Include the link of who tagged you and this explanation for the people you have tagged.

The links are above, at the beginning of this post. I'll have to try to come back and tag some people later...

Monday, October 01, 2012

Human skeleton spiders and frogs

I try not to post Io9 links much from my blog, partly because I figure other people are already seeing those posts on Io9 and partly because I'd be tempted to post so many links that it would just take over the blog, but this movie of frogs and a bird and a spider, all with human-like skeletons visible inside is just too cool to not link to. Creepy and mesmerizing, and seems to gel with the human-animal-robotic interactions that crop up a lot in my stories, even if there's nothing actually mechanical involved.