cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)

We are in the thick of the part of the year known as "convention season." This is a mixed blessing for my reading list. Reading books is panel prep! It counts as working! On the other hand, I try to keep distractions out of my reading list and so there are all kinds of wonderfully tempting books that I'm postponing reading for the next couple of months.

This summer, I'm on panels at 4th Street Fantasy Convention (next week!) and CONvergence. I'm also teaching a couple of one-day classes at The Loft Literary Center, but they aren't the kind that require reading whole novels.

Stealth Characterization via Setting (https://www.loft.org/shop/product_detail/2/classes/998/stealth_characterization_via_setting/) explores creating characters indirectly, through how you construct and describe their surroundings.

 Writer ... With Kids: Finding Time to Create (https://www.loft.org/shop/product_detail/4/adult_class/1015/writerwith_kids_finding_time_to_create/) is a class for creative people with too little time.

 Interested? Go register!

 For 4th Street, I'm reading urban fantasy. I've started with a re-read of War for the Oaks by Emma Bull. It's been a few years since I last read it, but I know I'll enjoy it.

 My 4th Street panel is the very first panel of the convention: Even in Byerly’s, You’re Not Out of the Woods.

 Description:

Thirty years ago, Emma Bull’s War for the Oaks gave us a vision of Minneapolis in which the magic was, much like Minneapolis’ own, hung on a balance between the pastoral influence of parks and wilderness and the urban jungle of clubs, skyscrapers, restaurants, and cavernous grocery stores. How has this intersection of asphalt and isolation influenced the genre moving forward? What unique elements of the numinous can we find where green spaces touch city shadows? Fantasy fixed itself up a nice place in the city a few generations ago — is it still a comfortable tenant? What does pastoral even mean to those who’ve never known magic outside the shadow of a smokestack?

 Panelists: Holly Black, Pamela Dean, Casey Blair, Dana Baird, and me.

I'm on three panels at CONvergence. Two of the panels are discussing writing techniques, but I'm going to need to brush up a bit for the third one, which is about the surveillance state in reality and fiction.

Thursday, Jul 6, 8:30 PM
Soul of Wit
Description: Short story and flash fiction authors discuss their writing techniques and provide tips on how to make the most of a limited word count. Panelists: Abra Staffin-Wiebe, Aimee Kuzenski, Ben San Del, Elizabeth Bear (mod), Roy C. Booth

Friday, Jul 7, 5:00 PM
What to Do When They're Watching You
Science fiction writers have long been concerned about a surveillance state, but recent technologies have made this fear more and more realistic. What technologies are watching us and what does science fiction tell us to do about it? Panelists: Abra Staffin-Wiebe, Dave Walbridge, Craig A. Finseth, Jamie Riedesel, Eric Zawadzki (mod)

Friday, Jul 7, 7:00 PM
Pixar's Story Writing Rules
Pixar has published 22 rules to aid in writing stories. Which ones work? Do any NOT work? Panelists: Abra Staffin-Wiebe, Melissa Olson (mod), John Heimbuch, Dave Walbridge, Tex Thompson

 

 Do you have any recommendations for good SF about living in a surveillance state? Let me know! The setting can be near-future or far-future. I am especially interested in stories that came out within the last few years.

 Do any of the panel topics raise questions in your mind? What are they? I want to be as prepared as I can be for what the audience might want to know.

Finally, if you know anyone who might be interested in the productivity or advanced characterization classes, please point them that way!
 

 Painted eyes

 

cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (park)
I'm an invited local pro at CONvergence, and these are the panels I'll be on this year! Tell me--what questions do you have on these topics? What concerns would you like to see addressed?

Friday, July 1

Risk of Going Nowhere
As a safety and headline driven nation, how will we explore dangerous, distant places that are inherently unsafe without losing the public will or disrespecting the lives of those who go? Panelists: Desiree Schell (mod), Sarah Prentice, Jim Tigwell, Abra Staffin-Wiebe, Rebecca Watson

Westerns in Sci-Fi and Fantasy
These days, the Western is the genre equivalent of peanut butter: not often served on its own, and yet it seems to go with just about everything. Why is the Western so appealing and adaptable, and what are the best examples of great Western fusion? Panelists: William Leisner, Camille Griep, Abra Staffin-Wiebe, Bradford Walker, Eric Heideman

Saturday, July 2

Diversity in Writing
"If you want more diversity, you should go out and create it." That's just part of what needs to be done to get more representation in fiction. We will discuss the importance of creation, good representation, and support. Panelists: Michi Trota, Briana Lawrence, Jessica Walsh, Mark Oshiro, Abra Staffin-Wiebe

Face Value: The Truth is Trickier Than You Thought
That thing you posted? It's not real. Why do humans keep believing false things over and over, even though it's easier than ever to check the facts? We'll discuss the history and psychology of false beliefs and how they apply to the modern digital era. Panelists: Siouxsie Wiles, Kavin Senapathy, Brianne Bilyeu, Abra Staffin-Wiebe, Stephanie Zvan
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (park)
I had all kinds of plans to be wonderfully productive and social etc. this week, and then I was caught by The Sick that had Phil the previous two weeks. It seems to be proceeding according to the same schedule, too. After a week of being sick, I feel normal-with-congestion some of the time, and then The Sick hits me over the head and I feel woozy and incapable of basic reasoning. Happily, it's a three-day weekend, so Phil is home to take care of the kids when The Sick sucker-punches me. Today, Theia also started showing signs of The Sick.

The Sick sidelined some of my plans, including the ones to meet with my resident archaeology/Belize expert to brainstorm about the Belize book. Bah. I am not getting my scheduled number of words written per week, so that whole end-of-the-year time table may be a myth after all. However, I've been doing reading and making notes and trying to figure things out.

Rivers of blood! Crystal skulls! Rivers of scorpions! Coral reefs! Jungles! Howler monkeys!

Writing was going really well until I hit the part where the plot moves to Belize and I have to have actually figured out things like the tour itinerary and what plot movement will happen where and, um, what plot movement will happen at all, and who the supporting characters on the tour are. Turns out I hadn't plotted as much as I thought. I just had a great concept and (general) setting and very little in the way of actual plot. Phil laughed when I said this. Just recently he was telling me that I am more of a pantser* than I think I am.

I'm also figuring out convention stuff for this summer. I'll be going to two local SF and fantasy conventions, CONvergence and 4th Street Fantasy. I have a reading planned for CONvergence, which means I'm also going to be experimenting with homemade donuts. I will be on panels at a number of conventions greater than or equal to 1.

[WARNING: BABY TMI] And I'm trying to figure out how to deal with my darling baby girl, who in the last couple of weeks has decided that rather than weaning as planned, she would like to nurse more. It will be highly inconvenient (for me) if I'm still a milch mom when I'm planning on being gone from early morning into the evening, particularly since I'm not getting a hotel room at either of these conventions. I have no experience in weaning a baby, since Cassius weaned himself cold-turkey when he turned one, and I'm rather terrified of it being an upsetting process. Any tips, other mothers?

* One of the eternal writing debates is whether 'tis better (for a given writer) to plot or to pants, as in
write "by the seat of their pants."
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (shadow)
Lots of works start off promising something, but never deliver. Why is it important that books/movies/whatever keep the promises that they make? Panelists: Melinda Snodgrass, Sean M. Murphy, Caroline Stevermer, Abra Staffin-Wiebe

These are my brief outline notes for the keeping promises panel that I was on. The actual panel may or may not have discussed things quite different from this.

Negative promises: "I promise I won't..." Caveat: unless I do it really, really well. Much easier to get away with in a short story.

Be aware of genre promises. No deus ex machina, magic is real, crime will be solved, main male and main female character in love at the end.

Tour guide: promise sunny Caribbean and take them to Antarctica - some will like, but most don't have proper clothes or had really pinned their hopes on those sandy beaches.

Relationship promises may result in more reader emotional engagement--and greater anger if broken.

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Fiction can be a collaboration between the author and the reader - one writes down words, the other imagines a world out of them. Reader believes that they're building one thing, author is really building another--the whole thing can fall apart.

Breaking previously established world rules--works best if can establish as "characters were mistaken."

Think of books that failed the "Wall Test" - often it's because of broken promise
resolution not worth reading to
resolution betrays reader's understanding of main character, or how fantasy/sci-fi world works
failure or deliberate breakage of emotional tone and resonance
ignore the limits the story sets, and not in a good way
ending not really an ending!

It's all about proper cuing for the reader--for the casual browser in the bookstore!--down to little things like "there will be erotica in this book" or "bad things will happen." First couple of pages. Consider setting, hints of themes, warnings of hot button stuff, etc. But don't stress--should all be a natural and organic part of the opening! Some people use prologs to do this kind of thing. Be vewy, vewy careful.

Beyond the story itself, author promises can include things like
I won't be a dick
I will write more of this series
I will finish this book and have it out by such-and-such a time
This is the kind of experience you get from my books

Good to be aware of that kind of promise, but as always, "George R.R. Martin is not your bitch."

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All CONvergence 2013 posts: http://cloudscudding.livejournal.com/tag/convergence%202013

...aaaand, that's all folks! The end of my panel notes for this year! I also sat on the "Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Started Writing" panel, but I'm not posting my panel prep notes for that since 9/10ths of the subject matter didn't come up--so I can save it for some other day.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (shadow)
These are my brief outline notes for the apocalyptic fiction panel that I was on. The actual panel may or may not have covered most of this.

I was on the panel with Fred Greenhalgh (lives off-grid, does The Cleansed podcast/radio drama), Matthew Boudreau (radio drama producer), and Ryan Alexander (mod - computer guy, hacker, Burner, etc.).

...I went back and counted, and so far I've brought about the end of civilization as we know it 4 times.

"Every death is the end of the world, every divorce an apocalypse."

Sometimes worldwide destruction is the only thing that seems big enough to speak to the pain.

All sorts of worlds come to an end on an everyday basis, whether that means the end of a relationship, a job, a dream, politics, loss of religious faith, shattered dreams, serious personal injury or illness, or the death of someone close.

Restarting of the world in fiction can give us hope that our small, personal worlds can restart as well.

Philosophically, one could argue that most stories in all genres are apocalyptic!

Undervalued skills--and therefore people--become important.

Esp. appealing to makers and hackers (not computer variety) - a chance to make society from the bones of the old.

Can emphasize the coming together of different groups of people.

For writers, a chance to rebuild the world better
bicycles are the best means of transport
hand-made goods are more valued
re-emphasize values

Lots of real-world stimulus for apocalyptic scenarios: global climate change, nuclear war (very earliest childhood), volcano that's a few years overdue on errupting that will make life impossible in the northern hemisphere. Or see world closing in around us with ubiquitous surveillance and ever-increasing legislation.

Feeling of accomplishment after reading some of these, as if we've done part of our homework!

Books: World War Z, The Day of the Triffids - John Wyndham, The Stand - Stephen King, There Will Be Dragons - John Ringo, The Change series - S.M. Stirling

When one man dies, it's a tragedy, when thousands die, it's statistics, when millions die, it's entertainment.

Misc. things to look up: TEOTWAWKI, Lehman's catalog

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All CONvergence 2013 posts: http://cloudscudding.livejournal.com/tag/convergence%202013
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (shadow)
CONvergence is not the most thinky of the conventions I attend, but I do have a smattering of notes from panels I watched. And a smattering of unrelated photos.

2013_07_06_7817

How to Write an Interesting Hero

Are you thinking of your character as a hero, a protagonist, or a PoV? There are different nuances.

Flaws may drive action more than virtues, whether by giving in to them or overcoming them.

Science Questions

Quantum mechanics leading to consciousness outside the brain = very bad science.

The Science Behind British Sci-Fi

It is a huge resource use to have limbs (or extra limbs) if you can get food without them. Look at snakes!

Fun with panspermia.

Do remember that aliens could probably not eat Earth things or at least they'd have a funny effect.

On the other hand, invasive species tend to be generalists, tolerating a wide range of food, temperature, etc.

IMG_0569

Dystopic vs. Optimistic SF

Good site for science/fiction brainfood: http://hieroglyph.asu.edu/

The biggest pitfall of writing in a utopia is dullness and lack of conflict.

Beware writing in a solution to the dystopia that's easy. Multiple possible solutions (all with difficulties) can add good conflict.

Contemporary Sword & Sorcery: Leaving the Battlefields for the Back Alleys

The current trend is for small-scale epic fantasy.

I also wrote down a cryptic note whose meaning I have no clue about: "Prime Books, Yamamoto, Parker." WTF, past me?

Beyond SF 101

What are your goals along the way that benchmark your progress to (your definition of) success? It helps to know the mile-markers as well as the end destination.

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All CONvergence 2013 posts: http://cloudscudding.livejournal.com/tag/convergence%202013
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (shadow)
This was the most useful (writing-related) panel that I watched. Although it was talking in specific about real, existant London, there were lots of excellent worldbuilding nuggets to take away.


London in Fact and Fiction


One effect of the Blitz is that there remain Tudor-era buildings beside the most modern of structures. Construction from radically different time periods is side-by-side because of the patchy destruction caused by the bombs--keep this kind of effect in mind for world-building.

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Clean-looking cement still exists in some places. The technique for making it has been forgotten since.

Often, old ruins (previous history) are discovered and quickly excavated before they have to be covered back up again so that the city can keep on growing.

Historically, "The X Arms" is the pub you'd go to in order to meet people from X profession. Bricklayers, etc.

The first city to invent or implement a new thing is the city that has all the errors and bugs. For example, the London Underground only has one track, so they have to shut it down every night to go in and clean, instead of letting it run continuously. (The people responsible for cleaning out the hair from the Underground to keep it from catching fire are called fluffers, by the way!)

Secret London: http://www.secret-london.co.uk/Welcome.html

Great discoveries are made in places that are horrible to live in. For example, the cause of cholera was discovered because of crowding and water pollution.

London has laws requiring the keeping/presenting of a historical object in public view despite it existing in a commercial space.

If you're writing something set in a foreign city, try having the PoV be a non-native to help cover for errors.

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All CONvergence 2013 posts: http://cloudscudding.livejournal.com/tag/convergence%202013
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (shadow)
AKA the year of the 5-hour badge line! CONvergence keeps growing and growing. It's kinda crazy. This year they expanded into I-don't-know-how-many overflow hotels for congoers, they started hosting programming in a secondary hotel as well, and they had the Line of Infamy. As a "participating local pro," I got to pick up my badge in a separate, very short line, something I was very, very grateful for when I saw how bad the lines were (and these were the lines for picking up already-purchased badges, mind you!). While I picked up my badge, some poor woman came up to say that she'd lost her badge and needed a replacement. She was practically in tears because she'd waited in line for 5 hours, dropped the badge, and it vanished before she retraced her steps 30 seconds later.

IMG_0554 IMG_0553

I had an okay con. I did a little of almost everything, which I've figured out is the best way for me to enjoy CONvergence. Attend some panels, do some tabletop gaming, take photos of the cosplayers, participate in some crafty activity at Connie's Sandbox, listen to some soundstage entertainment, investigate the merch room, etc. It was a bit more challenging for me this year since a) I had no hotel room to retreat to (definitely a good idea for CONvergence if you can afford it!), and b) I was about five months pregnant. But money's tight, and the main reason I was able to go this year is that as a participating local pro, I didn't have to pay admission. A hotel room was out of the question. I was pretty wiped-out a couple of the days, especially before I figured out that as a pregnant woman, I reeeeaaaally needed three square meals in addition to the snacks available at consuite. Rice with cheese-broccoli soup on top is delicious but inadequately filling. Big thanks to the Merriams for inviting me to their hotel room to watch the opening ceremonies and Masquerade (go, Dana!) and to Danielle for volunteering to drive me home several evenings. The evenings were not so alluring to me since I couldn't drink (and needed to avoid loud music) and it was really difficult to tell if there was anything *other* than booze at a party.

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Overall, I had a good time. Next year, I won't be going to CON, because I'll have a 6-month-old in tow. Practically, this means that the best way to attend conventions is to get a hotel room and have Phil, the toddler, and the baby hunker down for the duration while I dash between convention activities and the hotel room to nurse the baby. 4th Street is still a go, Wiscon is a maybe, and CONvergence is a no.

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This year was my first attending CONvergence as a participating local pro. What this meant is that I agreed to talk on three panels, I didn't have to pay admission, and I got a much shorter line to pick up my badge (a much larger bonus than I was expecting!). There was also a reception, but alas, our annual 4th of July party was a scheduling conflict. I flipped a coin on whether or not I'd be able to get a ride there in time to participate, and sadly the answer was no. I spoke on panels about Apocalyptic Fiction, Keeping Promises, and Things I Wished I'd Known Before I Started Writing. Yes, I will be posting my talking point notes from the first two panels! Not from the last, because mostly we talked about other things. This whole sitting-on-panels thing has really made clear to me that having talking point notes is a great help, especially as a stress-reliever, but that they may barely be touched, depending. I think the panels went okay. I only had a couple of pregnancy-brain-related word flubs (28 Days Later, 28 Weeks Later damn it!), and they were panels I enjoyed attending. I also got a good idea for a non-fiction writing article out of it, so we'll see how that goes.

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As far as panels I attended, London in Fact and Fiction really stood out as having excellent material relevant to worldbuilding. Other than that, as is usual for CONvergence, I only took a smattering of notes.

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All CONvergence 2013 posts: http://cloudscudding.livejournal.com/tag/convergence%202013
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (shadow)
Tomorrow! Tomorrow!/
I'll CONverge tomorrow/
It's only a day awaaaaay!


Ahem.

Hope to see some of you at CONvergence tomorrow! My panel schedule is filled with useful apocalyptic promises, or something like that. My official CONvergence schedule is here: http://schedule.convergence-con.org/?s=Abra+Staffin-Wiebe

More details on my summer appearances can be found here: http://cloudscudding.livejournal.com/1105028.html
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing despair)
Circus of Brass and Bone Writing Log



New words: 164
Total words: 164
Overused word: smelled
Gratuitous word: fathoms
Type of scene: the opening
Challenge(s): Fighting off the backstory hobgoblins.
Which line is it anyways? The first one: The night the ringmaster died, so did the world.
Notes: Beginning a story is rough. I am not ashamed of this wordcount. Okay, just a little.
Other writingy stuff:

And...catching up on posting writing logs....

08/08/10, Sunday, extra hours working from home on day job project
* Finished working out the plot and began actual writing on "The Circus of Brass and Bone."

08/07/10, Saturday
* Balancing a character's pain: http://www.apexbookcompany.com/2010/08/slush-lessons-balancing-pain%E2%80%94things-to-consider-when-throwing-rocks-at-your-character/

08/03/10
* Responded to agent partial request for Vicesteed.
* Wrote up and posted CONvergence notes, except for profanity panel.

07/30/10, Family reunion

* Wrote 2 pgs on "Remediation Village" while listening to family meeting updates.

07/22/10, Thursday, extra hours on day job project
* Posted freewriting, writing log.
* Heretic's Hope, beg. 10:10, 21,310 words - end
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (crazy)
Life has been--distracting, lately. So much going on, so much that I don't know what or how to talk about it. But my CONvergence report is overdue! Other writing commitments interfered, so I was only able to attend for a couple of days. This time I made a conscious effort to do more activities and to try and relax and enjoy the convention and not just feel driven to attend everypossiblepanel! I was sorta successful in that. I did the t-shirt modification crafty time, and I think it turned out pretty awesome, though I still need to add lacing to the shoulders to drop the bottom another couple of inches.
t-shirt modification

I also wrote a number of pages on "Remediation Village" while I attended panels--handwriting short stories in my notebook has kinda become my knitting: something I can do in bits and pieces while listening/attending something else. Did some of that at the family reunion I just got home from, too. Handwritten short stories--not just for bus time anymore!

I didn't take as many panel notes this time. Perhaps that means I'm leveling up as a writer, or perhaps it means that I simply didn't choose the right panels this year! The really notable exception was the Profanity as a Function of Language panel, which deserves (and will get) a post of its own.

Panel Notes (in brief)

How to Create a Good Villain
* To make a villain scary--give them pieces of yourself, but exaggerated. The kind of thing that will make them wonder, "Would I do that, if I were in that situation?"
* Can use fear of "the Other."
* Break the social contract: things like politeness, no contact in elevators, etc. This is seriously unnerving.
* Remember that everyone's a villain from somebody's POV.
* For figuring out motivation, consult the 7 Deadly Sins. (My thought--and to balance, at least 1 of the Virtues?)

New Discoveries in Evolution
* For idea generation, see ScienceBlogs.com.
* Some bacteria can basically "absorb" DNA from whatever they run across.
* Viruses inserted in the middle of a gene act by destroying the gene and creating a mutation.
* Remember that migrations go both ways, in waves of expansion and contraction. They may also be in slow increments of a couple of miles a generation.
* For fun, try Googling "Every culture has" and seeing what it auto-completes. Today it was, "Every culture has a word for Democracy," and "Every culture has a religion."

Can't Put it Down Pacing
Resources:
* William Goldman's 2 books on writing screenplays.
* "How to Read a Book" - Mortimer Adler.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
It's been brought to my attention that people have already made CONvergence room reservations! Is anybody looking for a roommate?

Edited to add: Mission: Acquire room was successful!
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
These are my notes about what I found useful and interesting and what thoughts and ideas I had that were sparked from these CONvergence panels:
The Collaborative Process
Robotics Panel


Good lord! I just realized I haven't been posting CONvergence photos with these posts! Whatever was I thinking?

IMG_1407

Read more... )

This day was the 4th of July, so I was gone for all the afternoon attending our annual party.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
These are my notes about what I found useful and interesting and what thoughts and ideas I had that were sparked from these CONvergence panels:
Tricks of the Trade: How to Publish and Not Perish
Mythology of the Future


Read more... )

Somewhere in here is also when I figured out that I really need a new travel alarm clock, as the old one was thoroughly dead.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
These are my notes about what I found useful and interesting and what thoughts and ideas I had that were sparked from these CONvergence panels*:
Poetry Workshop
Inserting Humor Into Your Writing
Why Writers Should Archive


Read more... )

* Yes, CONvergence does have panels. It's not just a big room party progressive. Honest.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (experiment)
Why, yes, CONvergence was quite some time ago! And yes, I am only just now getting around to writing up my notes! When it comes to event blog posts, I'm like the tortoise; I may be slow, but I get there eventually.

Note: Unlike most, I do not a) namecheck, or b) provide blow-by-blow accounts/transcriptions of panels. I just note the interesting/useful for future reference.

Overall
It was a shock going from 4th Street Fantasy Convention to CONvergence. Way more people, way more people there only for the partying, and a higher percentage of idiots (at times, I include myself in that category). On the other hand, it had people in costumes, alcohol, entertainment that did not require brainwork, and copious food, all free with the price of admission. My body behaved in an entirely atypical fashion, allowing me to stay up all night drinking and meandering, then waking me up early to swim and attend panels all day. The party rooms were fun, but I discovered I'm a bit jaded--free alcohol's great and all, but I actually was a bit bored, despite the best efforts of Romulan strippers (no Con report would be complete without mention of Romulan strippers). I saw many people, but didn't actually hang out much with anybody. This was probably an error, as I'm inclined to feel disconnected at the best of times. I had fun playing card games with people. I also missed the panel part of one day on the 4th of July, because I had to make it back for the 4th of July party we were hosting--the only "panel" I made it to was the facepainting and hairbraiding one, where I was adorned for the 4th of July.

More. Much, much more. )
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Let Me Tell You a Story)
"Tree of Life" Writing Log

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
7,168 / 80,000
(9.0%)

Words: 778
Total words: 7,168
Overused word: pod
Gratuitous word: permeated
Type of scene: Yes, he's still getting the damned tour. No, this could not have been a short story. Ever.
Challenge(s): Trying to describe caverns and tunnels without being a) repetitious, or b) ridiculous.
Which taste sensation is it anyways?

The wrapping crinkled as he peeled it back. Ration bars never looked appetizing, but he'd stomached enough of them over the length of his military career that it wouldn't be a problem. He took a bite and chewed.

Cherry, he thought at first. An overwhelming artificial cherry flavor filled his mouth. He couldn't pin down the strange, musky undertone. He chewed, remembering other meals. On the watery world of Vin's Harbor, he'd once--. He stopped chewing. "Fish?" he asked, around a full mouthful. He swallowed the bite, wishing for some water to swish the fading taste of cherry out of his mouth. The unpleasant aftertaste it left behind, he identified more quickly. "Onion."

Notes: Random guy is having his leg amputated and causing some strong emotional reaction in a minor character? Really? Dear subconscious, are you sure you know what you're doing? Just because I liked the blind cave fish and the stone pagodas doesn't mean you should get all crazy.
Other writingy stuff:
* read Writing-World newsletter - had a good article, "How to Read 'How to Write' Books." I really wish they'd provide static links to their articles.
* read WritersMarket newsletter
* [livejournal.com profile] penthius freewriting about where to find high ground in the apocalypse

These writing and literature panels I've been going to over the last few weeks have made me all jittery about my own writing. I mean, writing should be all complicated and intense and deep and meaningful. How dare I think I can even attempt that? I'm just telling stories.

...don't worry, I won't let it faze me, not really. I'm plenty mule-headed enough to keep writing.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
  • 15:15 At about 2PM, my brain went, "Thunk. I'm done. Home now." So I called my ride and packed my bags. No closing ceremonies for me, & that's OK.
  • 21:55 Windows Media player is now saying it can't sync wma files to my Sansa e260. I have the permissions; it should work! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!
  • 06:52 Have had interesting idea for writing/mixed media/photography creations called "Building Rough Draft: XYZ". Not sure where I'll find time.
  • 07:50 5 min. before I had to be out the door, I called work to verify which place I'd be at, and had to change from shorts to business clothing.
  • 07:51 Dt art gallery now has elephant-themed displays. Republican convention influence much?
  • 09:26 Mark Bittman's impressively simple and comprehensive 101 picnic dishes: (NYT) tinyurl.com/5j2sue
  • 09:37 Was reading "God's Demon" on the bus, sitting next to someone reading a bible study guide. Very noticeable title page, too. Awkward!
  • 10:23 I am saddened to report that Burger King's "Ketchup & Fries Flavored Potato Snacks" do not, in fact, taste at all like ketchup & fries.
  • 11:20 Testing, testing
  • 11:22 Excellent. I can now Gtalk IM updates to Twitter through ping.fm.
  • 13:16 Got my first "preview" Christmas catalog in the mail. ::checks calendar:: Er....

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CON, Day 1

Jul. 4th, 2008 01:08 pm
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Home from CONvergence, briefly, for our annual 4th of July party. (I'm wearing some awesome 4th of July facepaint from Con.)

So far the funniest thing I've seen was Mr. & Mrs. Incredible coming out of the polyamory party room. Alas, I didn't get the camera out fast enough. Must learn to be quicker on the draw.

Went to CONvergence 101 panel yesterday, then an "Emerging Genres" literature panel. Appreciated the tour, very useful info. Talked a bit too much at the lit panel, but nobody seemed to mind. I love brainstorming up things, but usually I'm pretty good at not, as it were, exploding the contents of my brain all over things. I think 4th Street spoilt me.

Only managed to make a circuit of the first floor of party rooms last night before it was the crashing time. Tonight, floor 2! Tomorrow, the world! Er, Willy Wonka's candy vodka shots are where it's at. And the massive cheese and cracker spread stealthily hid inside and unadvertised other-con room was sneaky, too. So far I've gotten soup and pizza of the "special food items" that CONsuite has. I think there should be a game where you get a playing card stamped if you successfully get the special food items.

I have seen and talked to many people briefly, but mostly I am just drifting hither and yon.

Also, my body was very annoying this morning and decided to wake me up at 8:30 AM for no damn reason. It must be punished.

Also, next time I'm definitely watching opening ceremonies on TV instead of going in person. Yikes.

Also, so far I have been unsuccesful in locating wi-fi in the hotel, so I'll not really be responding to posts or answering emails/IMs until Monday.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
  • 10:08 I'll be watching Joss Whedon's latest brain-wave with great interest. The comedic birth of a super-villain! www.drhorrible.com/
  • 10:15 Prepping for CONvergence, i.e. packing, planning where I'll be when.
  • 11:37 I seem to have packed my toiletries and then hid the bags.
  • 12:09 Got enough attention walking 2 blocks to get supplies (*failed) that I think tank-top + shorts are not unflattering.
  • 12:20 Heading over to get checked into hotel/con. Quavering.

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