Monday, December 30, 2013

Chibi marathon

If there's a writers equivalent of a marathon than doing the prep work for Dean and Kris' workshop might be a good candidate. I'm used to diddling around with a short story for a two or three weeks before I polish it and send it out. It sounds lazy but it's not. Since short stories aren't worth outlining I tend to approach them like a jigsaw puzzle. I know the overall picture and I spend a couple hours at a time staring at the pieces until I figure out where one goes. Then I'll go work on something else for a while until I feel like staring at the pieces again. However this time around I don't have the luxury.

It's frustrating and stressful as hell but at the same time it's good to be pushed like this. Spending that much time on a short is kind of ridiculous and being able to finish the puzzle faster will be a good skill to have. So if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go back to placing those pieces. I've done enough "impossible" tasks this year that I don't doubt that I can do it. I just need to sit down, focus, and prove myself right.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Umm...was that Monday that wizzed by?

I completely forgot about this week's blog. Honestly, I did. I was trying to survive Christmas, managed that, but it wasn't until this morning, at an obscene hour that I remembered. Of course by then I was too tired to do anything than watch a Doctor Who marathon and think about how I should be blogging but wasn't because I was too tired. So...yeah. 

I promise I won't flake out next week. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Runners up

Today I'm driving north to deliver the 2013 Trojan gift (the whimsical shape of which never reflects what is inside), which means that I'm short on time. So this week I thought I'd share the book covers that weren't quite bad enough to make my top ten. Enjoy.

It's comforting that even though the people of the future may have hovercars, some things never change. 

So You Think You Can Dance season 57? In space!

Hmm...when it comes to potential causes for the apocalypse I'm okay with giant gold coins raining from the sky.

So this is what a bad trip looks like.

The title on this one says it all.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Hiding the corpses

Saturday morning I finished editing the cyberfunk. It took me a week longer than I'd planned but November was also far busier than I'd anticipated. Those of you who have been following me for a while are probably thinking "you say that every year." Well yes, I do but this year was particularly harrowing. I had two days off all month. That's it. Two. I wasn't twiddling my thumbs at the day job either. I was working two or more jobs per day and then editing a few pages before I passed out from exhaustion. So to do all that and edit 50K to boot, that's a freaking win. There are no more excuses. I've murdered them all and buried the bodies in someone else's basement. (I can't bury them in my basement because I haven't got one. Besides hiding the evidence where I live would be really dumb.)

Normally I'd start a new book now but sadly that's not the case this time. I can't even go back to working on F&F yet. Why? I have to write six short stories by the end of February in preparation for Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch's anthology workshop. I was able to secure a coveted spot so now that the great edit of 2013 is complete I can put everything else on hold so I can focus on putting my best work on the page for them. I will finish F&F. I swear I will. But this workshop is a fantastic opportunity and I'd be an idiot not to give it my all.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Can I put him out of my misery?

I've heard a number of writers warn against putting Strawmen in novels. If you're not familiar with what a Strawman Character is take a moment to read up on it. Finished? Okay.

I understand why they're not the ideal but I didn't fully understand how they could damage a story until I saw Catching Fire a couple nights ago. Now I will preface this with the disclaimer that I haven't read the books. There aren't enough hours in the day to read everything I'd like to so I have no idea whether the character in question was as bad in the books as he was in the movie. That aside, he was glaring aberration that should never have been put on the page. So out of all the personalities on screen, which one did I want to direct the holy flamethrower of death upon? Commander Thread.

Yes, I know that we're meant to hate him and that goal certainly was accomplished in the film. However, that was no excuse for the screenwriters to make him an ignorant grunt that doesn't care whose toes he tromped on. It's counterproductive. His character has a given job to do, but the speed and blind efficacy in which he does said job hurts villain's cause -- the very person he's working for. Instead of being a character that added depth and conflict to the plot, he detracted from it and made the villain (and the writers as well) look like an idiot for not foreseeing the outcome. In some ways it also undermines the hero/heroine. Instead of their choices being difficult and their plight harrowing it became a "well it's about time someone did something about that mess" scenario.

Not all strawmen are this detrimental. Thread's character was so over exaggerated that his affect was more widespread but it does make it pretty clear why the trope is justly frowned upon. In some ways I feel bad that it took such an overt example for me to understand that. Oh well. At least I can count it as a lesson well learned.