J and I attended VCON last weekend in Surrey, BC. She wore the costumes and had fun with friends in the video and paper gaming rooms. I sewed her an Aurora dress. I love to sew but don’t do it much. It’s creative.
I was on several panels and moderated one. It was great fun! I used to love hosting on radio and apparently still have the skills!
I met a couple of fans of Cybersix – sadly the other tv series I’ve written for don’t have fans 👎 but what can you do?
The discussions about critiquing, inspiration, and writing advice were really interesting. I love SF gatherings mostly for the friends. It was also the national awards so we saw lots of Canadian greats like William Gibson, Spider Robinson and Rob Sawyer there to receive awards.
I got to catch up with my old friends including Dr. Robert Runte who is now editing books for FiveRivers publishing.
It’s that time of year again! VCON the local annual science fiction and fantasy convention is coming. I usually attend and meet old friends. Also, act as costume assistant for Jessica. She constructs some great costumes – the cyborg tree for example!
This year I’m a panelist again! It’s fun to be on panels and interact with other authors. It’s a great way to meet new writers and editors. VCON is fairly small so I doubt that there will be agents there, but I’ve met book agents at cons. Some small publishers such as Five Rivers and Edges SF will be in attendance, too. They offer ‘pitches’ session for novels. As a prose writer, you can learn a lot at a good convention. This one is also the Canadian national awards host for this year: Canvention 34. This is a very prestigious set of awards, called the Auroras- given for outstanding performance in several arenas of SF/F art. It includes writing, art and media. (Full Disclosure: I have 2.)
If any of y0u would like to join us, see: Information on VCON.
I’m doing 3 panels: Everyone’s a Critic, Finding Inspiration and Best Writing Advice Ever.
I’m also pleased to announce I’m moderator on a panel with the top writer guest there: David Weber. He’s a well known and respected military SF writer. Maybe best known for his Honor Harrington series, he has an interesting new Safehold series out. I read Off Armageddon Reef recently. See information about David Weber.
At 56000 words of novel. A week off really helped. I multi-task like a crazy thing most of the time. It takes it’s toll.
Some nights I wake up thinking- did I send that last email before signing off day-job computer? One of my rules is no going back on till the next scheduled work period. I learned to do this after getting up and emailing producers (Lynne Booth and Larry Raskin) at 3 am. Larry kindly convinced me that nothing in our documentary show was that urgent.
So, now I separate my ‘work lives’ as much as I can. The home computer has my novel on it. There is no tech writing on my IPad, etc.
I really got a lot of words done on my novel during my week off– about 6 thousand! But, alas, today it’s back to the corporate job, dance lesson ferrying and, soon, child in new school.
No wonder people dream of a solely creative writing career. I can’t do it – unless my ship comes in, I sell big time, or my teaching gig goes full-time (unlikely ) ! But then again, I often create new stuff under pressure!
I’m keeping track of my progress on a page here.
Today I re-upped for the Write-a-thon. Last year it propelled me into my novel project, and I’ve been very happy plugging away at that between my ten zillion other things to do.
SF /F is such a supportive field & one I’ve enjoyed being part of for many years. Clarion is one of those specific workshops that benefit the whole field- in that it improves and supports new writers in a meaningful way. It also encourages creativity in other writers who just want to run a writerly marathon of sorts. It’s a great thing.
If you want to support Clarion or just read a piece of the novel In progress, visit ClarionWest.org and click on the write-a-thon area. They want 360 writers to participate this year in this writerly sprint. They also are famous for incredible 6 week summer intensive workshops each year. The writers who do those say they’re career- makers.
For me, I need a solid reminder that the novel is important enough to finish! I used to write for tv and there was always a way I was reminded / nagged work at my script. Reminders could be the production schedule itself – an unforgiving item that ended in an inflexible air date and required input constantly like the machine a tv series is. It could be a hopeful Locations Manager wanting to know “even just the settings list, please”. Ultimately, it was a Showrunner emailing me on my month in Australia with rewrites for a next season script! So I need a push, I guess & Clarion is a mild reminder-type push.
I’m now at 37,500 words, which sounds like a lot to me. I know a decent novel is 80 thousand to 100 thousand words, so I have some distance to go. SF readers are familiar with the variegated doorstop novels of fantasy, But I will be happy if I can get to the end of one, for now. It’s always been a dream of mind to write an SF or fantasy novel and get it published.
The new IPad combined with the ‘waiting for dancer’ schedule is helping me to get writing done. My friend is reading the chapters as I do them, so I feel like I have an audience.
I’m also experimenting with the way I do it. I’m tired of writing tv series ideas and script outlines. So, I’m writing this with only a bare whisper of an outline, nothing like the massive detailed ‘beat sheets’ I used to have to do in tv. I know this might not work- or I might go down the wrong path with characters, causing a painful double back to rewrite the whole thing later- but the fun of it is partly in just seeing what the characters will do next!
Photo collage by Jessica
In the new year, the writer must make some goals.
For me, the goals for my creative side are all about my novel. I’m 33,000 words in now. This novel started with the Clarion West workshop fund-raiser. I’ve been working on it via my IPad since.
I had a bad period when ancient IPad died – it just wouldn’t take a charge anymore. After consulting my Mac guru and the Apple store, realized it wasn’t fixable.
Christmas was very good to me. My dear friends gave me a new IPad mini. Now the novel is sailing along again! Thanks to those who believe in my talent!
So, I delivered chapter 4 to my first reader last week. My new goal is chapter 5 delivered this week. I do rough versions of between 500 and 1000 words per writing night. Since the child dances 5 days per week, I can get 1 or 2 good writing nights in each week. Doesn’t sound like a lot but it has delivered 33 thousand words so far – all done after I do my busy corporate day job.
This time of year is difficult for me. It’s dark out and cold.
Day job is less amusing than normal and sometimes grates on my nerves.
I miss Jessica’s late father a lot. We were both born in November. He was such a bright spark in the universe and burnt out way too soon.
So, what do I do?
See friends and share coffee or a meal. Email his brother, also a friend. Find, buy, and post his other children some presents, hoping they arrive in far off Australia and the UK before Easter.
And decorate like a crazy thing.
Yes, it sounds dumb and it probably is, but it works. I’ve always loved Christmas and it needs to start a lot earlier now.
So, here is our little Village of holiday cheer.
Where do we find inspiration? Being a prairie gal at heart, I see the land differently than outsiders. It holds so many mysteries and stories.
But I’ve never been one for realistic styles. Or genres. Yes, I wrote for some realistic & some docudrama shows, but I love SF & fantasy. Sometimes I think it was the small town library with its collection of Golden Age SF novels. I re- read several short Andre Norton novels lately. I still loved them but can now see their flaws- and I hate that because they still are shining beacons in my childhood imagination.
Bit by bit your imagination grows and I thank Andrea Norton, Clifford Simak, Asimov, Heinlein and others for creating an imagination of great breadth in my generation of writers.
I’m hoping, in my own talented child, that some of her experiences will help her creativity. In fact, she’s the collage artist for this blog.
We saw Drumheller – one hour south of my home county and she was impressed.
And here’s what a whole Tyrell museum full of dinosaurs can cause a 12 year old ‘director’ to stage after a few hours!
In the midst of a crazy-busy life, sometimes I do get some absolutely amazing experiences. As a tv writer there is no visible recognition- I mean no one pouring me coffee says “weren’t you that girl on that show?” But at VCON a couple of weeks ago, I had a terrific moment of recognition.
Child in her pirate gear and I were in the elevator at the hotel. She says to me: “Mum, that’s Cybersix!” I say: “Nah” without looking carefully. The girl, Rebecca, says : “Yes, I am Cybersix!”
I’m gob-smacked – she’s a gorgeous, perfect Cybersix! I tell her and her friends that I wrote an episode of the anime version. Not only do they know the cartoon but one of them loves my episode!
I’m high on this for at least a week – it’s gotten me through an 18 hour day on corporate job and still makes me smile. Cause even if I had a nonunion deal, which means no cash residuals ever, I did get a lovely emotional residual & on front of child, too!
Here’s a picture – btw no one is wearing heels!