Thursday 31 March 2011

Labour of the Month: March

In medieval art, (illuminated manuscripts, ecclesial sculpture and stained glass), the cycle of the year was represented by the signs of the zodiac, or the labours of the months.
The Labours of the Months show ordinary people at work and play. The image is a sculpture from Chartres Cathedral showing Vine Trimming, a March activity.

This month I hit 26K of prose, subbed quite a bit. I had the following acceptances for poems and tweets, (no story sales this months):

Illumen: 1 poem
Cuento: 2 tweets
Trapeze: 2 tweets
Scifaikuest: 3 kus

How was your labour this month?

Wednesday 23 March 2011

How I Write . . . With the Speed of a Snail

Last week and twenty hours into my 4K story, I read this post by Dean Wesley Smith's. Five hours for a 3 thousand word story? How wonderful, I thought. I'll have some of that.

(Twenty hours? Well, the story is set in the asteroid belt, and I've somehow accumulated 30K of notes on asteroids, plus I needed to research how to have a fight in zero-gravity, plus there is a space-plague aspect that needs research, and so on and so forth.)

A quick check with my writers' group, revealed a big spectrum with me at the slow end of it. So I thought I'd try an experiment: the five hour story, from start to finish including research.

1st story: 'White Hole Colony.' Fail. Literary SF. Needs too much research into the physics of time, time-slips and reality. 

2nd story -- 'Dead Letter Girl.' Fantasy. Fail. Load of old nonsense.

3rd story -- 'Broken Messenger of the Gods.' Success and subbed, but only because I cheated and used an unfinished story. 

4th story -- Fail. Oh my. I'm not kidding guys, I have rustled up the most wonderful outline for a SF short. I've even got the perfect ending. I'm almost afraid to write it for fear of spoiling it. It won't be done in five hours, though.

So what have I learnt? Well, that a five hour story is too optimistic for me. I'm still slow, that's okay. SF is going to take me longer than fantasy because I like to do a lot of research. 

I've learnt that its worth splitting my time into slots, to cut down on my wasted time, and to be more aware of where the time goes.

I've also found lots of interesting pictures of knights fighting snails. Could be the basis of a new story.

Now, I need to go back and finish up those stories.

What about you, readers? Are you happy with your speed? Is it something that you think about? Have you ever tried to speed up or slow down? And has it helped?

Friday 11 March 2011

Ten Quick Questions and Answers With Lawrence M. Schoen

Today I'm interviewing Lawrence M. Schoen. Lawrence is a Hugo nominated author, small press publisher and editor, founder and director of the Klingon Language Institute, and Chief Compliance Officer at a medical centre providing mental health and addiction treatment services in one of the largest cities in America.

Lawrence’s second novel, BUFFALITO CONTINGENCY will published by Hadley Rille Books and launched on March 19th at Lunacon where Lawrence is this year's guest of honour.   

1. What’s the best piece of writer’s advice you’ve ever heard?

Write More. Suck Less.
Also up there, and a bit easier to implement: Ass In Chair.

2. What’s your star sign?

Depends on what system you're using.

My zodiacal sun sign is Leo.
My i-ching star sign is 5 or Tai Chi.

3. What star sign should you be?

Honestly, I've never given it any thought. Maybe you can suggest one after I've answered your other questions.

4. What’s the best short story you’ve ever written, and where can we read it?

I'm not a big fan of superlatives like "best" or "worst" because I don't think the human mind is meant for such narrow thinking. 

But you want an answer, so I'll say that I'm very, very proud of a short story that came out in January of 2010 entitled "The Wrestler and the Spearfisher." It's one of my rare ventures into Fantasy. And, since it's eligible for a Hugo, I'll happily email a PDF of it it to anyone who asks for a copy. 

5. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

Hmm. I'll have to say the time I spent working graveyard shift in a warehouse in Compton, CA filling palettes with cases of plastic household nonsense that you see in stores having Dollar Day events. My brother got me the job right after I'd dropped out of college, and it made me realize that I needed to get back to school, which I did, sticking around until I had my doctorate.

6. What’s the elevator pitch for your new novel?

Stage Hypnotist the Amazing Conroy is blackmailed into using his pet buffalito to smuggle liquid gravity from an alien crime boss whose grandson dies in the middle of his act, leaving Conroy to deal with his hypnotized ghost.

7. Didn't I see you in Lightspeed?

Yes, but not for my fiction. I had the great pleasure of writing a short piece of nonfiction about alien language to accompany an Ursula K. Le Guin story. 

djw -- here's the link to the article.

8. Whose blog should we be following?

Jay Lake's. He's all over the map, indefatigable even when he's exhausted, poignant, insightful, amusing, and instructive. And I'm not saying that just because we're both members of the guild of Bearded, Once-Divorced, Middle-Aged, Writer Guys of Unusual Size.

djw-- and a link to Jay Lake's blog

9. What’s the best meal you ever ate?
Impossible to say. I'm married to a former chef, and I write first person POV about a protagonist who's a self-proclaimed foodie. My wife and I are constantly on the prowl for new culinary experiences (and I get to insist it's all research for the next book). 

10. How can we get our stories published by your small press, Paper Golem?

Write brilliant novellas (20-40K length). I'm always reading for the ALEMBICAL series. I hope to continue publishing it for years to come. One of the novellas from the last volume is currently up for Nebula Award. Yours could be next!

Thank you so  much, Lawrence. Readers, find out more about Lawrence on his blog

Friday 4 March 2011

'Green Future' up at Nature

My science fiction story, 'Green Future' is up at Nature's Futures. This is also set in London. I tend to go to future London quite a lot. And features one of my favourite painting Velazquez's Venus. Nature's Futures is a great venue for flash and it publishes all types of science fiction. 'Green Future' like my other Nature sales is a character-led story.

I am happy. I do have some non-bragging content coming up next week. An interview with a Hugo-nominated author, publisher and Klingon guy.

Wednesday 2 March 2011

Bio-documentarian up at Cosmos, Perseus up at Mirror Dance

Yesterday was a good day. Scarcely two week after acceptance, my science fiction story 'The Bio-documentarian of the British Library' was published by Cosmos Online, and my poem 'Perseus' was published at Mirror Dance, one of my favourite fantasy 'zines. 

February Fahrenheit

I'm doing the Write1Sub1 challenge, write a story  every week, and sub something every week (there's also a monthly version). This prestigious award, shows that I managed the February Challenge.

The challenge is still open to writers, come and join us. It's a lot of fun.