Monday, August 31, 2009

The Stuff In My Head

It has been a weirdly exciting few days in my little writing world. Besides struggling with fear (apparently, of success for once rather than failure), I was all juiced up to write my new Forces of Geek column on literary steampunk vs. the DIY culture it has spawned, when Lev Grossman wrote a WSJ piece that tumbled into the SF playground like a Saturnian mind-grenade. A lot of pixels have been configured either taking Grossman to task or wondering what the heck his piece means. The best responses so far are Cheryl Morgan's and Catherynne M. Valente's. In writing something so broad that makes such a large point, Grossman has set himself up for a lot of critique and started a pretty fascinating conversation about what authors should write and what readers want to read.

It kind of feels like a set-up too. The article is a social act, a ritual performance of a sort that is often seen in SF, and also in the wider writing world. It not only sets out an argument about the nature and proper design of the novel, it sends the reader a message about the author. The author positions himself (in this case) not only as an authority, but as both guardian and trailblazer of Good Literature. The author aligns himself with whatever movement or variety of literature he is championing, even as he interprets the literary world for the reader.

I've been jotting down ideas all day for a new column that picks up some of these ideas and lays them out. I think there's a lot to talk about, both in literary terms and in terms of the social life of literature and how we participate in it when diatribes such as these surface. The column is gonna be long, but I won't be able to talk about everything that I want to address, so I will continue my musings here.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Lots of things going on, just not a lot of them writerly. A foul flea infestation took up most of my Sunday, and I have been generating piles of ideas for stories (and another novel), and purging them from my head so I can get back to works in progress.

"A Fine Day to Watch the Dragons Die" is coming along. I'll preview a bit of it here later and see what folks think. It's becoming a good challenge to get the point across without a lot of exposition. Desolate landscapes are quite helpful in that regard!

Aetas Nex has gotten a little attention, but as I soon as I write a few sentences something else pops up in my head. I did some revision of a previous scene that was very necessary to situating the characters. I am hoping to get back on track this week now that infestations are under control.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about the undead since I wrote my Forces of Geek column last week. There is a lot unsaid in that piece, and as the novel develops I find myself elaborating things I never thought would be necessary, such as how zombies might establish a chain of command, what it would be like to lose your life, come back as an impulsive beast, and eventually regain some of your consciousness. One of the oddest things about most zombie media is that being a zombie is a static condition. What if it developed, and not just in a way that made zombies either more lethal or weaker?

A lot to ponder. More later.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Quick Update

Hello dear readers. Still working out the kinks in my antiquated scanning system, but I did get my latest Forces of Geek column up. Find it here: Happy reading!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Another unfocused week, but a new writing schedule has emerged and is in action! Life stress has been high but I now have a consistent scheme for writing and it is already bearing fruit. Got back to the novel yesterday (only 500 words, but still happiness-inducing!) and centralized my writing materials. I have scraps of paper, emails, and random files of ideas scattered about and they now all reside in one folder. I found some great ideas that are now in queue.

I am at a point with Aetas Nex where the dreaded hydra of Other Cool Ideas raises its bouquet of awful heads over the battlements of creativity. With short stories this is easy to fight off but with the novel it has been a bĂȘte noire. So I am calmly stuffing ideas and snippets into holding folders and staying on target. We'll see how well it works!

And now, some random cool stuff:

A) I urge you to go here and see the terrific photos that Kyle Cassidy took of fans at this year's Worldcon. A few famous faces pop up, but most of them are regular fan folk, and the set gives you some idea of the breadth of fans and their personalities.

B) I send the expected congratulations to this year's Hugo winners. There's been a lot of verbiage slung about concerning the validity and representative nature of these Awards (which I have participated in a bit), but those I have read are I think deserving, especially Neil Gaiman and Cheryl Morgan. Personally, I wanted Rushdie's Enchantress of Florence to get Best Novel. . . . But that's for the Snob Hugos, I guess. . . .

C) A nanofic, just for you:

"But darling. . . ."
She gave him the finger.
"Look, sweetheart, I know you're mad. . . ."
She did it again.
Sigh. "Baby, can't we just. . . ."
Finger, blue-polished nail. In his face.
His jaw hardened. "C'mon, you have to listen. . . ."
Finger, an inch from his nose, waggling.
Exaperated sneer. He gave her the finger.
She smiled. "Now we're communicating."

D) I found a bunch of older stories and I want to put a few up for folks to read and ponder and, perhaps, discuss. But they were written on that archaic creation known at The Typewriter and they must be scanned in for perusal by the Internet. I'll get them up at some point.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Myth of the Eternal Return?

Not really, but after a week of silence I am back! Kinda. This past week was quite awful for personal reasons, so very little writing has gotten done. And now that I feel that I can write again, not writing makes things feel worse.

Fortunately, a deadline kicked me back into action. Here is my latest Forces of Geek column. Please take a look and comment. I hope to expand on that column later, either here or on FoG, so feedback would be lovely.

I am crafting a new writing schedule, and my goal is to start it right away. I will put something new up here within the next few days. Thanks to everyone who keeps checking in! Keep watching this space!