Status Update

Posted by Unrepentant Escapist

May 31, 2010 -- 12:27 p.m.

Ever since my laptop broke, I've been really too busy to blog, but I went to the CONduit and Larry Correia inspired me to try to do a little better. We share an anti-authoritarian streak which I find delicious.

Part of the problem is my life is very boring at the moment. I spend a lot of time perched over a keyboard or perched over a book, reading and usually loving it. For example, I just finished I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells--fabulous, in a creepy way. I cannot believe it took him so long to break into the business because he is obviously very talented. Also, Joe Abercrombie's The Blade Itself which is a must-read for any epic fantasy writer because of his fantastic sense of humor. More on that when I do reviews.

The bottom line is I'm recommitting myself to blogging three times a week. Monday, you'll see a traditional writing prompt. Friday will be a book review. And Weds will be...whatever I feel like. The exception will be this week because this is a holiday. You'll just have to figure out what to write yourselves.

In real life, I've been looking for a part-time job and helping my grandfather out at the business from time to time, and with the yard work. My laptop is working again, but I realized that I have to bite the bullet and buy a new one. The battery is very bad and needs replacing, but my model is so old I'm having trouble finding something compatible. I've found batteries on the web that SAY they're compatible, but in my laptop, the socket is just about in the exact middle of the battery, and in all the pictures of all the others, the socket's about two inches right of center.

Also, there's the fact that I could buy a non-crummy used laptop for only about twice what it costs me to get a new battery. So I'll scrape the money out of somewhere.

I'm also planning on going back to college for a graduate degree. Journalism isn't for me--I used to be a newspaper editor and reporter, and neither will make me happy in the long term, even if I was good at the reporting part. So I need to figure out a new career, hopefully one that gives me time for writing. At the moment, I've settled on professor because I miss the ivory tower. My favorite courses in college were all about the Political Science, so I'm going to take that second major and turn it into a masters. BYU doesn't have a poli-sci masters degree, but they do have one that combines politics with statistics and economics, which sounds right up my alley. I'll study hard and actually care about my GPA for the first time EVER in hopes of one day getting a graduate degree in political economics from an ivy league school. If I can't get a professorship right out of the door, maybe I can work for the government. But I think I'll thrive in the publish-or-perish setting.

Anyway, to apply to this program, I need a better grounding in statistics and to brush up on my economics knowledge--I took micro and macro in college, loved macro so much that the professor tried to woo me to change majors to economics because he thought I'd have a big future in it, god I wished I had listened--so my tentative plan is to apply for admission to those undergrad classes during BYU's winter semester. Maybe I'll take a couple of creative writing classes, too. I've always struggled with creative writing classes because...well...usually I'm the best in the class by a large margin. I'm sure I sound arrogant, but it's the simple truth. The other students read my stuff in awe and say, "This is soooo ready for publication," and then I send it in and reap the form rejections.

But hey, there's nothing wrong with continual positive encouragement.

Coming up on Weds!: Reports from CONduit. Including a picture of me and the Dread Pirate Roberts.

PS: Trying to break into the market? Check the up-and-coming agents listed in Agent Kristen's post about her early days. One of them, Suzie Townsend, did a breakdown about what's hot in YA. It's eight months old, but I bet a lot of her advice still applies. Especially in the don'ts...


Posted by Unrepentant Escapist

May 18, 2010 -- 12:06 a.m.

Busy, busy, busy!

I know I haven't been getting to the blog lately, but I haven't been getting around to much of anything, honest. I've been taking intensive SCUBA diving lessons that run 6 hours a night (plus an hour commute) and keep me up long past my bed time.

The weird thing? I thought I was going to be claustrophobic and hate it, but by the end of the lessons, I seriously love it. I love swimming around in the bottom of the pool, seeing everything and never having to come up for air. It's so peaceful and beautiful. And I love watching other people. Especially the men and women in my class who've been married for awhile. Underwater, everything is magnified. Every gesture seems tender and romantic, even if it's not.

It's a whole new world, and I love it.

In the mean time, I have a goal to finish a first draft of Skin Farm by the time we leave for Maui (late June) but I don't think that's going to happen since I've been hovering around the halfway point for some time now. But I had a revelation today that fixes the problems I was worried about, so yay!

I also have a goal set up to revise the first thirty pages of God's Play by the time we go down to Maui. I think it can make it even more awesome. But completing new book is top priority over revising old, at least for now. I don't want to lose the Skin Farm mojo.

I'm really disappointed I didn't get to go to Children's Book Day at the Provo library. Rick Walton was there. He was in my mother's critique group. I used to sit by their knees when I was a wee thing, listening, and sometimes bringing my own children's stories into read. I had a story about a little girl who has an invisible monster at her side who keeps eating cookies and she gets blamed for it. In the end, she learns to love the monster for who he is, not scold him for who he isn't. It was cute and quite good-- I have an entire box devoted to the stuff I wrote when I was twelve, including my first novel. Which was about a girl with magical powers. Go figure. One day, when I'm a rich and famous author, I'll publish it.

Writing dream from last night: I'm at CONduit, the sci-fi/fan writing con at Salt Lake. There's a workshop that I think is on the writing. Actually, when I get there, I find out it's INTERPRETIVE DANCE. We're going to be acting out a summary of the first part of our novel in front of a panel of Utah writers, which includes Brandon Sanderson.

I get up, wondering how the heck I'm going to explain the world of Skin Farm through dance. When I ask, Brandon says it's okay to read parts. So I figure, I have a killer first page, I'll start with that...and then I look down and find that I've dropped the pages, they're all out of order, and I'm starting in the middle. Then one of the members of my writing group (Stephen) tells me he's sorted everything and hands me a stack of papers. But when I start reading, I realize: THIS IS NOT MY BOOK. Not only that, but our old inkjet printer has smeared the ink around so I can't read anything in the first paragraph. I start reading anyway, and end up mumbling all the words but "starfish" and "arena" before my time expires and I have to sit down.

The worst thing is, through this all, Sanderson watches me with this expression of total patience and sympathy. It made me want to cry. He starts giving a critique about "hackeneyed dialogue" and I wake up. Thank goddess.

Keep in mind that I slept through the dream I'd had right before about my uncle fighting off a werewolf and failing. So apparently, being asked to do interpretive dances representing my work in front of a panel of authors is a worse fate than being eaten alive.

Brandon Sanderson is in my dreams because I finished Warbreaker two days ago. Very awesome. I love authors who incorporate humor into their work, since it's something I struggle with. I would have liked it to focus more on the class differences between the Pahn-whatev and the Hallandren, but everyone knows I'm more interested in building cultures than plots. I think that's my main problem. I get so excited about cultures and characters (ooh, they worship earthworms!) that I forget about everything else.

I wonder what's up with him and female perspectives, anyway? His only book where the main character is male (other than WoT) is Alcatraz. Or am I missing one?

BOOK I'M READING NOW: Green, by Jay Lake