Thursday, July 30, 2009

Forresters Beach, New South WalesImage by Christopher Chan via Flickr

I was stuck today in a chapter. Simply could not figure out what I wanted to write next. So I stopped in the middle of a sentence, and started the next chapter.

I don't do that very often, but sometimes that's exactly what my work needs. Kind of a kick-start into the next scene, and then I can figure out more fully what preceded it.

I know there are writers who start with an outline and don't deviate, because the outline is the core of their story. Alas, I am not one of those writers. I prefer to compose chunks of prose and string them together when they're done. Ideally the finished product will appear seamless to the reader.

In the meantime, the new chapter is rockin' along, so I don't feel like I made a mistake. Sometimes that kick-start is just what you need to get going.
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Monday, July 27, 2009

When is it the right time to have sex?

Yes, I thought that would catch your attention. I've been spending all morning crafting the first full sexual encounter between my hero and heroine, and only a few moments ago realized it's too soon for them. Oh sure, I could make it work, but I feel with this story, with these people, I'm better off holding off, and later on the time will be right.

Some people think that romance novels are truly formulaic, that beyond the guaranteed "happy ever after" ending that we have some kind of template that tells us "They touch on page 3, they kiss on page 26, they make love by page 53."

It doesn't work like that. While I am capable of writing erotic literature that starts with the couple or threesome or orgy in full swing, my work tends to build up to these events. And each story needs to be treated as unique. What my characters do in Castaway Dreams is not what my characters might do in Smuggler's Bride or Pirate's Price. They're different characters with a different story.

And my morning's work is not wasted. I'll save the scene, and at the point where the characters do consummate their relationship it will still be a time for them to discover the other's body, heart and desires. Their relationship will undergo a change and much of what I wrote today will be valid and useful.

Many of my writing days end up this way, two steps forward, one step back, but as long as I'm moving in the right direction, I can't complain.

Monday, July 20, 2009

AnticipationImage by Alexandre Lemieux via Flickr

Revised and Final (I think) Worldcon Schedule

Here's my updated schedule. In addition, I have some commitments on Sunday prior to and during the Hugo ceremonies, but otherwise I hope to see many of you in Montreal!


Friday, 3:30 p.m. Anatomy for Writers, Heroes and Tavern Brawlers.
Darlene Marshall, Jetse de Vries, Sean McMullen,
Kristen Britain
Moderator: Sean McMullen
Description: Author, karate instructor, fencer and first aid officer
Sean McMullen provides a tour of how the human body can and cannot be
damaged. Want to know where a hero can be punched without any effect?
Worried about his vascular dilation? Curious about the real-life
version of Mr Spock's nerve pinch? Not sure whether a really long
sword fight is three hours or seven seconds? Wondering why readers are
laughing because your hero has microsecond reactions? Come along and
find out in complete safety

Saturday, 10:00 a.m.
Ebooks from draft to final product
Anne Harris, Darlene Marshall, Kathryn Sullivan,
Traci N. Castleberry
Moderator: Traci N. Castleberry
Description: The process of writing an ebook from the idea to selling
it to publication and marketing to collecting those royalty checks.

Saturday, 5:00 p.m. Researching Your World
Aliette de Bodard, Darlene Marshall, Erick R.
Buchanan, Mindy Klasky, S.M. Stirling
Moderator: Erick R. Buchanan
Description: A discussion of research techniques and pitfalls for
writers; what are your best sources and how do you know whether
information on the internet is accurate?

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Monday, July 13, 2009

One of the things I miss most in Gainesville is quick access to the beach. I grew up in Ft. Myers and Naples, and I'm used to the Gulf being a short bike ride or bus trip away. And I do like the Gulf. The Atlantic is too forceful. Swimming in the Gulf is like being in a lovely large bathtub--warm, gentle, relaxing. Perfect for someone (like me) who's not a strong swimmer.

I'm at the Gulf now, with my husband while he's at a conference. He's working, I'm relaxing (and writing). Our resort is downtown and it's four miles to the beach. There's a shuttle that runs every hour from the hotel, but I wanted to walk it since I needed the exercise. However, when I got out of the hotel property and realized I'd have to cross the causeway over the bay, I almost turned around and walked back. See, I have a bridge phobia. Not the card game, although the one time I played it I did feel scarred for life--my husband was my partner, and that's a different story.

I get nervous driving over bridges. But I've always gritted my teeth, hung on to the steering wheel and plowed ahead (not, thankfully, through the guardrail), because that's what you do. You confront your dragons and move on.

So I stood there at the base of the causeway, vacillating, but finally said, "Don't be silly. You can't careen off the bridge and crash through the guard rail while you're walking! Pull up your big girl panties and cross that bridge!"

And I did. And when I got to the top of the huge arching structure hundreds of feet over the bay, I deliberately paused and looked down, and didn't lose my lunch from Main Street, and I kept walking.

I got to the beach, took a refreshing dunk in the Gulf, and told Carlos the cabana boy to bring me a mojito, stat! Acts of bravery deserve a reward, even if it's just for getting over a silly fear of (OMG WE'RE GOING TO LOSE CONTROL AND CRASH THROUGH THE RAIL AND PLUMMET INTO THE BAY!) bridges.

It also helped refresh me for returning to Castaway Dreams, my WIP. My hero has a phobia, and he's going to have to confront it before the end of the novel. Perfect heroes are boring. I want the guy with flaws, who puts on his big boy pants and does the job. Him, I can relate to. Mr. Perfect--eh, not so much.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Ant 09 Luggage sticker AlgerianImage by selkie30 via Flickr

Anticipation Update

I've been added to a Friday afternoon panel called "Anatomy for Writers, Heroes and Tavern Brawlers". Since my WIP is about a 19th c. naval surgeon, this one should be a lot of fun. I know I've been learning a lot about maiming and killing people since I started researching Castaway Dreams and my preceding manuscript with a surgeon, Sea Change.

See you there!


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Thursday, July 09, 2009

Ant 09 Luggage sticker AlgerianImage by selkie30 via Flickr

My Worldcon 2009 Schedule

I now have my preliminary schedule for Anticipation, the World SF Convention in Montreal, Canada:



Researching Your World
Description: A discussion of research techniques and pitfalls for writers; what are your best sources and how do you know whether information on the internet is accurate?

Sat 5:00 PM
All Participants: Aliette de Bodard, Darlene Marshall, Erick R.
Buchanan, Hal Duncan, Mindy Klasky


Ebooks from draft to final product

Description: The process of writing an ebook from the idea to selling
it to publication and marketing to collecting those royalty checks.

Sat 10:00 AM
All Participants: Anne Harris, Darlene Marshall, Kathryn Sullivan,
Traci N. Castleberry

I hope to see many of you at Worldcon!
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Dsg Alachua County Library District Headquarte...Image via Wikipedia

"Thinking Outside the Book"

That quote is the slogan of the Alachua County Library District, and yesterday I got to see that kind of thinking in action. We now have a Library Partnership, not quite a branch, but something new. The Library Partnership is a storefront facility in an underserved and socioeconomically at-risk part of town. In addition to all the library services--books, Internet access, other media, the partnership works with over 20 social service agencies to help people.

This is a very exciting concept, and part of what I love about 21st C. public libraries. People who need library services the most will get them, but they'll also be able to work with agencies that provide job training, educational opportunities, wellness programs, all at the same one-stop site. This could be a whole new trend for public libraries, and I'm watching it with a great deal of interest.
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