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Showing posts from October, 2012

Pre-NaNo Jitters, Quebec City Photos, and Some Updates

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hat's that? Do I hear the sound of scurrying writers? Is everyone hiding? I thought we were all doing NaNo!

I'm all set.

I've read the blog posts about preparing for NaNo (Joshua's Five Lessons from NaNo, the ROW80 Round-up of NaNo Advice, and Jordan McCollum's advice on reaching NaNo goals on autopilot and getting your family on board for NaNo), made sure to sign up for miniNaNo on the Compuserve Books and Writers Community, joined Twitter (I must be crazy! but I figured, on days when I have no chance to check emails, I could at least keep up with fellow NaNoers this way - find me @DenizBevan), and am trying to keep my inboxes under control (see you next month FB, Pinterest and tumblr!).

And, oh yea, the writing. I have a vague idea for this story - Santiago and Mawdlen meet and fall in love - but very little in the way of advance plotting, beyond a few hastily scribbled scenes. For the first time, I'll be free to explore, in each scene, "what's the…

Free Short Story, Links, Reading Weekend

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ree Neil Gaiman story over on Audible. Written by him and read by him!

And the best part? For every download, Audible will donate money to Donors Choose!

I'm listening to it right now and Neil's voice - I mean, his accent - I mean, the story - is quite lovely. Also scary. Click-clack monsters made of the dark, coming for you out of their lair... Uh oh, I think I've just guessed what's going to happen next... Eek!

Speaking of stories, is it too early to start revealing the identities behind WRiTE CLUB participants? Well, maybe. Don't forget to vote in the finalists rounds! (Was that a hint? Maybe...)

I'm this close to finishing typing up Druid's Moon, before NaNo starts and I jump in to Santiago's story, Captive of the Sea. So this weekend I'm taking a break and switching from blogging and writing to reading and knitting. Thank you to everyone who commented on my last post; I'll visit you all soon!

Here are some of the other blogs I'm looking…

Thoughts on Self-publishing, and ROW80 and NaNo Updates

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ontest end! I know I said I'd wait till the WRiTE CLUB finals before announcing the winner, but the Show me the Words! Contest has been running since June and I decided to end it during Virtual Surrey, just in time to find prizes at the McGill University Book Fair (which was about to be cancelled before hundreds more volunteers stepped up). You can see the most recent contest entries over at the Forum. Winners will be announced in that thread this week!

ROW80 has been progressing much better. I'm almost finished typing up Druid's Moon, and I've a title for my NaNoWriMo project: Captive of the Sea Meanwhile, following on from Virtual Surrey workshops by Talli Roland and Kait Nolan (thank you both!), I'm reposting my self-publishing blog post from two years ago:

Before the Internet (remember those years?) self-publishing was a murky, expensive exercise. You sent the MS of your beloved book to a company by mail, they bound and printed it and you paid for every copy th…

A Flaw in Harry Potter, and the LOOK Challenge

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irtual Surrey Writers' Conference is in full swing!

This morning we've got a workshop on genre and voice, and later there'll be one on surviving NaNo! More on that in a bit.

Meanwhile, you know what's sad? I've come across a flaw in the Harry Potter world.

"How it happened is easy to see. Rowling is just translating the everyday world into wizarding terminology. Hogwarts is just like any other school +MAGIC. The Ministry of Magic is just any other government +MAGIC. Everyone's job is just some normal boring bureaucratic job +MAGIC. Rowling doesn't see poetry as making a difference in the world, so it doesn't even have to be translated. The world forgets poetry, so Rowling forgets it as well. ...

Real magic – the opening out into the terrible beauty of faerie-land that we see in, say, Tolkien – is intimately bound up with art and music and poetry. One might say that magic's enchantment just is the enchantment of art and music and poetry. (This i…

Rant on Reading, ROW80 Delayed, and Gender Bias in Character Inspirations

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oy of reading.

Nathan Bransford recently talked about the strangeness of rereading older children's books.

He says that "The magic that made them classics still absolutely remains, but it's striking how much sensibilities have changed. ... I was struck by the very adult perspective in From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and the way A Wrinkle in Time starts slowly before veering into what I now think is a bit of a scattered plot by today's standards."

Also, the most recent Letters of Note features a letter from Harper Lee to Oprah Winfrey: "I arrived in the first grade, literate, with a curious cultural assimilation of American history, romance, the Rover Boys, Rapunzel, and The Mobile Press. Early signs of genius? Far from it. Reading was an accomplishment I shared with several local contemporaries. ...we children began to circulate reading material among ourselves until each child had read another's entire stock. There were long dry sp…

James Forrester Interview!, Surrey Conference Update, and 90s Blogfest

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ong post today:

First there's my interview with author James Forrester!

Then there's an update on the Virtual Surrey Writers' Conference!

And then... the 90s Blogfest (official day tomorrow), hosted by Dave!

All interspersed with a video and a couple of photos. And my ROW80 update.

First up, Sacred Treason:


"It's 1563, and rumors against the young Queen Elizabeth have plunged the country in a state of fear and suspicion. Despite being descended from treasonous Catholic lineage, William Harley has managed to earn the high-ranking position in the queen's court, until a late-night knock on the door changes his life.

"A friend visits William, begging him to hide a puzzling manuscript. It seems harmless, but as William begins to unravel the clues inside, he realizes that he's been entrusted with a dangerous secret about the queen's mother, Anne Boleyn – one that could tear his family, and the country, apart.

"Sacred Treason combines betrayal and…

J. K. Rowling's The Casual Vacancy, and An Accomplishment or Two

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owling's newest novel, The Casual Vacancy, isn't as different from Harry Potter as people think it might be.

I forgot who the author was while reading - something that actually didn't happen the first time I read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, because I'd slipped and caught a brief part of a review that averred that all Harry did was get angry all the time. So I was very glad to have avoided all spoilers before reading the latest Rowling.

Don't read this post above the line of stars if you want to avoid spoilers, too!

Omniscient narrative isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I love it when it's done well, as Christopher Brookmyre does in Pandaemonium and Rowling does in The Casual Vacancy. There was one specific instance, which I'll go into in more detail during a Virtual Surrey workshop, where the narrative follows a group of characters full circle, and then comes back - with an extra bang of revelation - to the character who opened the cha…

Story Ideas, the Beatles, OED Appeals, WRiTE CLUB Still On!

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as anyone else seen this letter from Robert Heinlein?

It's chock full of story ideas, some political, some scientific, some completely out-there:

"'June 28—The new bull calf looks better all the time. Met a leprechaun today. Nice little guy. I'm going to have to drain the south forty.'"

Or these two:
"This guy sells soap and cosmetics, door to door like the Fuller Brush man. She tries their beauty soap; she becomes beautiful. So she tries their vanishing cream... A little cat ghost, padding patiently around in limbo, trying to find that familiar, friendly lap..." Which reminds me of Stephen King's idea about the ladies' room at the airport. Husband and wife come up to the gate, she says she has to use the ladies' room. And she never steps out... A few other couples come along, and the same thing happens. So now you have this group of men, waiting outside the door, wondering what's happening inside.

Speaking of ideas and words, the

IWSG, ROW80, New Releases, and Banned Books Week

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anned books week is on!

Here's a list of challenged books from the last few years. I'm not sure who's doing all this challenging, but I do hope they're at least reading the books before they challenge them. I mean, what possible objection could anyone have to Auden's The More Loving One?

I'm over at Jessica Bell's today!

And A Round of Words in 80 Days is back on! I've been keeping up with my draft typing. But I'm finally losing that it's-the-first-draft-but-this-book-is-AWESOME-SQUEAL! stage. Now I can see all the flaws, and it hurts.

Today is also, coincidentally, Insecure Writer's Support Group Day, hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh. I'm as insecure as they come. But I love Neil Gaiman's Rule No. 8 for writing: "The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So writ…