Wednesday, June 30, 2004


Stupid People

Got a physics lesson this morning - the one about two objects occupying the same space at the same time. As I was pulling into the parking lot, a guy was pulling out of the lot. This particular entrance into the lot is an alleyway, only large enough to fit one car, and it's a blind alley, so that neither driver can really see whether another driver's in the way until you're right on the entrance. I stopped as soon as I saw him - and, fortunately, the car behind me stopped - but the guy coming out of the lot kept coming and tried to make the left turn into the one-way street I was turning off of.

He hit my car. And drove away.

Fortunately, the damage to my car is infinitesimally minimal, and I'm OK. But he drove away. I went ahead and pulled into the lot after watching him drive thirty feet up the street and turn into a strip mall's parking lot. And I waited at the car thinking he might have been flustered and trying to figure out how to get back to the lot. But he never showed up.

I got the numbers on the plates and the colors, but I didn't catch the make and model of the car. The local police have all the info, and they've run the plates with no real luck. The more the officer questioned me, the less certain I became about what I know - except I'm so sure about the numbers and the colors on the plates, the older man as a driver, and the color (at least) of the car.

I don't know how people can testify in court about what they've seen. And I guess that I'm less observant than I think I am. Not to mention too accustomed to the idea that most of the people around me follow the same sort of legal, ethical, and/or moral ideals that I have. You don't just drive away when your car crunches someone else's car. And getting the plates is supposed to *helpful*.

Friday, June 25, 2004



This week for the 2K words deal, I gave Ed a significantly revised story to review. It's a bit longer than 2K words, but it's not the 8K words that it was. Much tighter, I think, and that's an improvement. He seemed to like it when he read it earlier, and I'm curious to learn what he thinks of it since it's changed rather so much and the biggest of those changes came about at his suggestion.

Today I finished the fantasy story he has critiqued on two previous occasions. The work on this final draft involved writing the part that made the transition from the end of the middle to the beginning of the end (which I'd already written because it had kept distracting me from the middle) and addressing some of the concerns that he had brought up in his last critique. When he got to the part that just read BLAHBLAHBLAH and then skipped to the end, his comment was that it was going to be tricky to pull this off. But I think maybe I have. I think that I finally pulled together some of the details that I knew I wanted to bring out. The real test will be how the reader responds.

If these two stories really are at a finished point, then that's three of the four ideas I started working on when we started this deal done. Every now and then, I worry a little bit about running out of ideas. So far, every time I've started to worry, something has come along and caught my attention. I have an idea that may put a new and different spin on a SFF standard, if I can figure out the logistics. Then there's this idea that my friend K and I have tossed back and forth for a while that I want to try to work on, although I expect I'll need to have someone clean up my science when I do get started on the writing. And there's this idea that came to me last week that seems nearly perfect for a juv/YA novel - that is, if the juv/YA crowd actually reads anything anymore.

And, of course, there's this Eberron open call. According to, my manual has been shipped from IL. I hope it arrives on Monday, but it would be a great thing to have it arrive even sooner, like Saturday - a welcome distraction from the housecleaning that simply must be done this weekend before the dust bunnies start attacking my cats, Grace and Mitya.

Kameron asked about writing fiction set in the world of a game I've played. That's not something I can say I have ever expected to do. Having spent the better portion of my life working towards a specific career goal that didn't really have anything to do with writing (at least not as a creative activity), investing time and energy into some kind of creative writing isn't something that I had expected to do, either.

So let's roll the dice and see what happens now.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004


Immunization against the heebie-jeebies

"I haven't tried writing anything in a shared world yet, but I have this feeling that it might drive me nuts. I just envision pages and pages of 'Thou shalt nots' and get the heebie-jeebies."

That's what I said in response to a question posed by Ed last week in his blog.

Then the Eberron open call is posted. After work, at a local bookstore, I peruse the manual. Meet Ed later to compare notes. By the end of the night, I've jotted down a page of story ideas and hashed out one in particular that seems like it will work as a novel.

Have I mentioned how much fun I'm having?!


Thursday, June 17, 2004


V okeane nepominanija

RPGs... I've got three characters in three different games right now - two are D&D and one is Stargate SG-1. Both D&D games are set in worlds created by the DMs. I don't have stat blocks or anything like that available at the moment, so this is from memory.

The SG-1 character is Mjr. Judith St. George, USMC. She's a Scout and the team leader for this particular mission. I distributed scores and points so that she's big on physical stuff - which is good since the other team members are a Tok'ra and scientist types - because the D&D characters are so *not* physical, or at least not strong. We agreed to set this campaign in a future time, some seven years since the Tauri and their allies have apparently defeated the System Lords. We're on a wasteland of a cold planet with an unbreathable atmo where the ruins of a civilization (if that's what they are) would appear to be underground, and the session ended as we'd just figured out how to get from aboveground to belowground.

The SG-1 GM (J, which could be practically anyone since nearly everyone I know seems to have a first-initial J) also runs one of the D&D games. The world he has created has some really interesting features to it, though, as the party has only been traveling in it for a little over a week in gametime, we haven't seen much more than the road and the capital of the area where my gnome rogue Fizzsparkle Wherrymere has lived. Her travel companions include a would-be paladin, a cleric, and a bard. We just converted to 3.5 and leveled up at 2. We completed the Challenge of Champions featured in some issue of Dragon, and if I ever meet the person(s) responsible for writing that, I'll probably smack 'em on Fizzy's behalf. (Admittedly, though, it was her idea to go through the Challenge, just for a lark, and the last little bit was pretty darned hilarious, at least the way we played it.)

The D&D campaign run by C has been going on a bit longer. We're converting to 3.5 and leveling up at 9 this week. Liliana Galanodel is an elven wizard. The other members of the campaign include a druid, a half-elf monk, and a cleric. C started out by messing with our minds a bit, so Lili *may* have been a student in a school in this city - or maybe not. Lili hasn't specialized in any particular school of magic, but she's recently decided that blowing things up is a pretty darned useful skill, particularly when gods and goddesses and would-be gods and goddesses keep using you and your friends as their playtoys and wreaking havoc that for some reason or another falls to you to stop, or at least make less havoc-like. Rolling 8d6 for a fireball spell is kind of satisfying; 9d6 has got to be even more fun. So we have a keep with demons in the basement, and we need to get to an artifact in the basement in order to stop the havoc-wreaking of one of those would-be goddesses.

In the mail... Oh, there's the challenge, Kameron -- summarize a 1000-word story without giving away too much. OK, the story depicts the unfolding of an attempted murder with flashbacks to events that sort of explain why the murder attempt takes place. Ed says - and, yeah, I actually *spoke* to him instead of throwing something across the cubicles or sending him an e-mail - that's good but doesn't do it justice. So here's some of the spice, without giving away the secret ingredient: The flashbacks take the reader to Moscow, Russia, in the 1930s during the Terror under Stalin. I sent it to EQMM, which I enjoy reading; plus, the story reminds me of different pieces I've read in their pages, at least in tone, so it seems to me that it would fit.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004



One short (1100 words) story finished.

And I mean "finished" in the sense of a perfective verb in Russian: the story isn't just written -- it's written, printed, paper-clipped, sealed in an addressed and stamped 9x12 manila enveloped along with an extremely brief cover letter and #10 SASE, carried across the street to the nearest postbox, and dropped through the slot of said postbox where it will be picked up by 6PM and sent along its way.

Whatever happens next can't be any worse than grad school. (No, seriously!)


I mean, Wow!

Thanks for the nudge, Ed.

*That Never Happened to Pablo Picasso

Tuesday, June 15, 2004


Wish I Could Be More Like Karen By Night

Sometimes 2000 words rears up and bites you in the ass. When I left work on Friday, I planned to spend a significant part of the weekend finishing the fantasy story Ed had critiqued and starting something new. Best laid plans, blahblahblah.

Saturday started with coffee and Car Talk, and darned if the second caller - Simon from Roanoke, VA - wasn't a friend from high school. Sometimes his absence among my circle of friends and acquaintances these days is more palpable than others, and these last several weeks have been one of those times. And there Simon is on my radio, talking to Click and Clack about how his car goes click-click-click whenever he turns to the left. His solution is to adjust the routes he travels so that he doesn't make left turns, which gets a good laugh from the guys and is just so reminiscent of the friend I remember.

It took a while before I sat down to write - like, around 10PM on Sunday. When I started doing housecleaning chores Saturday afternoon, I knew I was in full-blown procrastination mode. I hate housework. If I'm doing housework, then I'm avoiding doing something else. And I wasn't just dusting and vacuuming, either; I was sorting through stuff, re-organizing stuff, and basically making a bigger mess (to the eye of a Martha Stewart type unaccustomed to the cleaning and organizational skills of a pack rat, at least) of the apartment than it had been when I started out. So this was heavy-duty procrastination. Sunday was more of the same until I left for the D&D game (in which we finally trounced the lich and his vampiric minions, were rewarded with a keep with a healing pool and caverns of demons below it [I'd call that a double-edged reward], lots of gps, and a few spell scrolls - and XP to level up). Home after the game, I finally sat down to work on the story, deciding around midnight that it would just have to go unfinished and I'd have to renege on the deal with Ed since I didn't really have anything new to give him.

Then Monday turned into a r-e-a-l-l-y s-l-o-w d-a-y. So most of the day I worked on that story, so by ten to 5, it had doubled in size and reached a more finished point where I felt like I could toss it to Ed and not be wasting his time or mine. And I basically felt this odd sort of envigorated-yet-sapped kind of energy. Still went to play darts later.

Thursday, June 10, 2004


John, I'm Only Dancing

OK, I think I can see how blogging might be used as a procrastination technique. Let's change colors! Let's learn how to make a bulleted list! Let's add links.... ooh, haven't been to that site in a while...Ooh, fun! Anyone with the attention span of a cat is suddenly chasing color schemes and hunting websites.


Driving Too Fast w/ Ecstatic Music On

First, thanks for the welcome. In the last several days, I've done a bit of reading in your blogs and/or heard about you from Ed. It seems funny to me that I may know a little bit more about you than you know about me, so I ran through my bookmarks this morning and added a few links. They might tell you something about me.

If you've read Your Mother's Love..., then you know that Ed and I have struck a deal so that each Monday we trade a minimum of 2000 words we've written and do a read and critique. Ed gives great critique. The first piece I sent his way was a 7500-word mystery story I cranked out last fall after reading Ray Bradbury's Zen in the Art of Writing and deciding to try out the "just sit down and write" thing. The story had been read by a few people, but they were reading, not critiquing. I got a great listing of strengths and weaknesses from Ed, and some of the problems I'd seen with the story suddenly became resolvable. I'm still working on the re-write. And I have a few other ideas for working further with the main character, her backstory, and the setting.

Next I gave Ed the start of a fantasy story - not quite 2000 words, I confess. Again, the critique was really helpful. I've added a couple hundred more words to it. I'm not sure how this is going to work out, but I've written the ending because it was bugging me yet I'm still working on the middle part - you know, where stuff actually happens.

I wrote two stories over the weekend and gave them to Ed on Monday. I consider one of them the weakest thing I've given him to read yet. The more I think about it, the less I like the piece, actually. I'd been trying to work out the backstory for the main character in the other one, and then Sunday night it just fell into place: "No, Lara... It's not the Holocaust in the background, it's The Purges from the Stalin era." So obvious it took me forever to figure out. I got Ed's critique on this one yesterday and started revising immediately. I think it's a nice, creepy little piece. I think that I can even see it in EQMM.

In exchange, I've critiqued the beginning of a first-person story (for which "go read Dostoevsky's The Grand Inquisitor" may not have been the most useful advice), a completed story (that I'd kind of like to see re-worked, perhaps so that it stands independently - *nudge*), and another piece that was simply a joy to critique.

So after months and months of not writing much more than e-mails or cover letters for job applications, I've got re-writes and stories to complete and ideas to start. I'm still not thrilled with the way the job search has gone or the job I have taken or the Ph.D. program/dissertation, but I'm finding so much more fun in each day, just by making myself sit down and write.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004


Testing, testing... 1, 2, 3... Testing

I've been thinking about starting a blog, so now thanks to the encouragement of a couple different folks, here I am.

Right now, I figure I'll follow part of the plan that Ed (one of the aforementioned folks) set for himself with his blog (listed somewhere in the frame whenever I figure out how to do that), so this is a forum for me to help keep myself on track with writing projects. And there are a few of them out there:

Other than saying that, for right now, I'd rather not talk about the dissertation, this is a good place to stop for this, my very first blog post.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by