sartorias: (1554 S)
Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] malkingrey at Public Service Announcement


vpxiGayHead LightApplications for  the Viable Paradise Writers’ Workshop are still open for this year, but the door shuts on June 15, so if you’re interested, better get your submission ready soon.  Viable Paradise is an intensive one-week residential workshop for science fiction and fantasy writers, held annually in the autumn on the New England island of Martha’s Vineyard.


Full disclosure:  Himself and I are instructors at the workshop.  So are several other really fine people.  And instead of getting us one after the other like a parade, you (if you’re a student) get all of us at once, interacting not only with your fellow students but with each other – “This story is the wrong length; it needs to be shorter!” one instructor will say.  ‘’This story is the wrong length; it needs to be the first chapter of a novel!” another will respond.  (From which the takeaway lesson is usually that your story is indeed the wrong length, but it’s up to you to decide which way to fix it.  Also, that short story writers tend to think that problem stories need to be shorter, while novelists . . . you get the idea.)


Reposted with slight editing from my editorial blog
sartorias: (desk)
Some pix from a lovely bike ride under wonderful cool, gray skies on Saturday, followed by yesterday's leaving the island and driving to New Jersey, from which I took a bus into New York City, where I am now. Breakfast soon, and I'll set out for a lovely day here, and theater tonight!

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sartorias: (desk)
It's so quiet and peaceful on the island, it's strange to think that tomorrow I'm off to the intensity of New York City. However, that's not to say that intensity is missing--the workshop this week has been intense with its focus on all aspects of writing, sparking some excellent side conversations.

I've also gotten in some good bike riding, though a couple mornings it was far too cold for my California wardrobe. It was ninety plus degrees when I packed entirely on faith, putting in winter clothes but leaving behind the heavy sweatpants I wear maybe once a year, if that, because they take up so much space in the suitcase, ditto my two sweater tops. Well, I wished they were here, because autumn back here is far colder than the deepest "winter" day in SoCal. However, even when my body is shivering, my mind is rejoicing.

Anyway, in regular life, it's my turn to blog at BVC, a writerly ramble about downloadable memory. Memory sharing is a thing I've thought about ever since I was a kid. Maybe that's why I delighted in reading journals and memoirs and letters from a young age? Anywhere, it's there, and here are a few morning ride snaps I took with numb fingers, including one of the "Munchkinland" houses in Oak bluffs. How I would love to stay in one!

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Week's End

Oct. 18th, 2014 01:28 pm
sartorias: (Fan)
Alas, my lovely week is drawing to a close, but at least I have some good visiting and Boston fun to look forward to.

Lunch with two women my age the other day, intelligent conversation about writing, Greek mythology, computer s and social media, cultural change.

Today three of us rode bikes out to Chappaquiddik and back, and I've explored more of Oak Bluffs.

Workshop over, many observations simmering in mind.

Pix . . .

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sartorias: (handwritten books)
The workshop is heading toward the finish line. Yesterday was my main talk, and after that a quick workshop that I run whose format has proved to be very effective as well as well-received.

There is a deep pleasure in talking at length about writing and knowing that it is absolutely appropriate, that I am not taxing the mercy of my auditors, which is too often the case as I live among non-writers, and even many non-readers. (The readers are extra appreciated!)

Afterward a lunch at a seafood place that overlooks the bay. Such a pleasure: a beautiful day, congenial and witty people, delicious food. The conversation was mostly workshop, but as these things will do, ranged through topics of social media, including the latest twitter scandal. I was left out because I don't do twitter. The temptation is never very strong, but when it happens it's at moments like this when everyone else is talking about something I have no access to.

On the other hand, twitter seems to pander to the bread-and-circuses part of human nature: it is never more excited and fast moving than when there is a new juicy scandal. Someone said that the founder of twitter deliberately catered to this part of human nature in designing it.

Even if it wouldn't drive me crazy to invite even more interruptions into my too-often fragmented day, I don't think I could trust myself with something like twitter. I am too likely to fire off something stupid that I will deeply regret an hour later, and there it is, forever bannering my stupidity.

I know twitter can be a good thing in an emergency, spreading the word and connecting people. Maybe I should get it for that, except what's the use of having it if I never look at it? I have Google Plus, but never remember it except three or four times a year. And I force myself to look at Facebook once a month, until the constant shifting at the right-hand side, and the wasteland of burble about games and what people had for lunch and so forth forces me to shut it down in relief.
sartorias: (handwritten books)
Wow, May is right around the corner. But I recently made my travel arrangements for Viable Paradise--applications close June 15th. Eight days of intensive writing work, talk, networking, play in a stunningly beautiful place.

I notice apps coming in from people who have sold pro, but want to up their game. Should be a very good year.
sartorias: (Default)
It's difficult to know how to write up such an experience without resorting to wibble-and-squee, or worse, retailing the in-jokes that inevitably develop in such activities, as these, I find, are usually hilarious to the participants, freighted as they are with the fire of shared experience, but to those who weren't there they tend to cause reactions ranging from the polite smile to stunningly unfunny.

I will try, below the cut (heavy with pix)
Read more... )
sartorias: (Default)
It's difficult to know how to write up such an experience without resorting to wibble-and-squee, or worse, retailing the in-jokes that inevitably develop in such activities, as these, I find, are usually hilarious to the participants, freighted as they are with the fire of shared experience, but to those who weren't there they tend to cause reactions ranging from the polite smile to stunningly unfunny.

I will try, below the cut (heavy with pix)
Read more... )
sartorias: (Default)
For those still yessing and maybeing and whatiffing about Viable Paradise, here's a link from San. Notice how many have gone on to sell, or get agents.

The workshop doesn't promise that kind of success. How can anyone honestly promise it, especially in today's publishing climate? I think, though, that what people come away with is a ramified awareness of how story works for other smart people--how to deal with tricky aspects of the industry. How to find that balance between commercial and what you want to express, and most of all, not just how but why your words impact readers.

That's why I think it can be useful for those who've had a few small sales, but keep bumping up against some kind of ceiling.

Anyway, time's running short for this year's crop. . .
sartorias: (Default)
For those still yessing and maybeing and whatiffing about Viable Paradise, here's a link from San. Notice how many have gone on to sell, or get agents.

The workshop doesn't promise that kind of success. How can anyone honestly promise it, especially in today's publishing climate? I think, though, that what people come away with is a ramified awareness of how story works for other smart people--how to deal with tricky aspects of the industry. How to find that balance between commercial and what you want to express, and most of all, not just how but why your words impact readers.

That's why I think it can be useful for those who've had a few small sales, but keep bumping up against some kind of ceiling.

Anyway, time's running short for this year's crop. . .
sartorias: (desk)
I promised a couple of people that I'd expand my Viable Paradise comments about authorial or process narration, so here's a quick explication.

What is process or authorial narration? It's when the author is (sometimes unconsciously) writing their own experience of writing fiction into the text.

Kitty dashed into her kitchen to check the cupboards for her recipe box. She'd had the kitchen rebuilt by her cousin Tom. Would it have been cheaper if she'd gotten another contractor? Would a stranger have felt okay about calling her to rearrange a later date every time another job came along? Is it always this way when relatives work for relatives?

So her kitchen that should have been done months before her sister's wedding was still tacky, but at least it was functional. She kept looking through drawers and cabinets, and after a moment the phone rang. Kitty raced to pick it up, feeling shock when it was her sister, who should have been at a fitting of that wedding dress that cost nearly seven grand. Not that Missy paid much. Was everyone as practical as Missy? She was renting the gown, and insisted she was just as happy to have it in pictures as having a huge box to lug around, containing a dress she'd never wear again.

Kitty paused to take a sip of water as she tried to remember where the recipe box was, and a moment later Missy asked if Kitty was there, and she remembered she hadn't spoken. She felt so stupid, but there was so much going on in her mind, and her roommate Lisa was going to be arriving with her family soon, if the airport traffic didn't hold them up. These days the roads were worse than ever, but that wouldn't buy the time to cook a full meal. Would she be stuck with having to pay three times as much as the food was worth to order something at a restaurant? After a moment Missy offered to read her the recipe when she was done talking, which caused Kitty to ask what she wanted to talk about, at which point Missy said that she was going to postpone her wedding. Kitty sat down in total shock, wondering what could possibly have happened? Missy started crying on the phone as she described...


If we try to cut the author talking to herself, we get something like this . . .

Kitty dashed into her new kitchen and began yanking open the still-sticky cupboards, pulling and slamming the drawers, so intent on finding where she'd stowed her recipe box when she'd moved all her stuff back in, for once she failed to gloat over how smoothly fitted those drawers were, and how beautiful the cabinetry.

When the phone rang, she tucked it up under her chin and continued to hunt as she said, "Hello? Who is it?"

"Missy! Your sister! What's wrong with you, Kitty?"

"Lisa is bringing friends for dinner--I said I'd cook--I totally blitzed out. I'm looking for gramma's quick chicken dish." Kitty grunted as she crouched down to poke in the lower cupboards. "I don't remember where I put the recipe box."

"I'll get mine and read it to you. After we talk."

"You're awesome! Uh, talk about what?"

"Talk about why I'm postponing my wedding."

Thump! Kitty's butt hit the floor, as Missy began to sob. Kitty shifted the phone to her other ear, the recipe box forgotten. "Oh no! What happened?"


We can make feel more immediate by shifting the tense:

Kitty dashes into her new kitchen and begins yanking open the still-sticky cupboards. She pulls and slams the drawers as she seeks where she might have put her recipe box when she unpacked.

Then the phone rings. "Hello. Who is it?"

"Missy. Your sister!" And when Kitty did not immediately, reply, "What's wrong with you, Kitty?". . .

. . .

The immediacy seems forced, because we are kept outside Kitty’s head. We’re watching her from a distance; the detached view gradually works against the implied urgency and intimacy of present tense. Virginia Woolf made the detached narrative distance work for her, as did later writers like Raymond Chandler and Ernest Hemingway, as they were masters at the revealing detail, but for some of us it just keeps the reader at a seemingly unnecessary distance. Especially if we employ present tense.

So we add what she’s thinking:

Kitty dashes into her new kitchen and begins yanking open the still-sticky cupboards. She pulls and slams the drawers, so intent on finding where she's stowed her recipe box that she hasn’t time to gloat over her smoothly fitted drawers, and the beauty of her new cabinets. She is even more irritated when she is interrupted by the phone."Hello. Who is it?"

"Missy. Your sister!"

Kitty was too astonished to speak.

"What's wrong with you, Kitty?". . .



But the beta readers fret, asking us who is making this judgment about how she hasn’t time to gloat? Who is telling us she’s irritated and interrupted? Though the beta readers aren't always uniform in their reactions, one thing seems clear: the narrative voice is getting between us and the story.

So we try to avoid the narrative voice and dig directly into Kitty's thoughts:

Kitty rushed into her kitchen and began opening and closing doors and cabinets, thinking, I can't believe I did it again. Day-planners, Ipaqs, they're all frickin' useless if you never look at them after you write something down—where did I put it? Kitchen. . . . whew, it still smells like lacquer, but wow, so pretty--euw, sticky doors, Cousin Tom said it would be totally dry three days ago, what a joke that was—Oh crap there's the phone, like I needed that! "Hello. Who is it?"

"Missy. Your sister!"

Kitty's already pounding heart crowded right into her throat when she recognized Missy's voice; wasn't she supposed to be at a fitting?

"What's wrong with you, Kitty?". . .


That could be either deep third or first person POV. I rushed into my new kitchen, my fingers sticking to the cabinets as I threw them open . . . I jumped when I recognized my sister's voice...

I'll stop here (I know this is already rather long) but the point is, Kitty's thoughts, reactions, and sensory details would be reported in more or less detail, and what we’re cutting out would the author trying to figure out where the story is going by having Kitty tell herself things she already knows, then ask herself questions she can't answer.

Some authors can get away with that—Robin McKinley’s latest books are full of process narration—but not all of us can. So being aware of this pattern, and choosing what narrative voice we want to use, can help us shape our approach.
sartorias: (desk)
I promised a couple of people that I'd expand my Viable Paradise comments about authorial or process narration, so here's a quick explication.

What is process or authorial narration? It's when the author is (sometimes unconsciously) writing their own experience of writing fiction into the text.

Kitty dashed into her kitchen to check the cupboards for her recipe box. She'd had the kitchen rebuilt by her cousin Tom. Would it have been cheaper if she'd gotten another contractor? Would a stranger have felt okay about calling her to rearrange a later date every time another job came along? Is it always this way when relatives work for relatives?

So her kitchen that should have been done months before her sister's wedding was still tacky, but at least it was functional. She kept looking through drawers and cabinets, and after a moment the phone rang. Kitty raced to pick it up, feeling shock when it was her sister, who should have been at a fitting of that wedding dress that cost nearly seven grand. Not that Missy paid much. Was everyone as practical as Missy? She was renting the gown, and insisted she was just as happy to have it in pictures as having a huge box to lug around, containing a dress she'd never wear again.

Kitty paused to take a sip of water as she tried to remember where the recipe box was, and a moment later Missy asked if Kitty was there, and she remembered she hadn't spoken. She felt so stupid, but there was so much going on in her mind, and her roommate Lisa was going to be arriving with her family soon, if the airport traffic didn't hold them up. These days the roads were worse than ever, but that wouldn't buy the time to cook a full meal. Would she be stuck with having to pay three times as much as the food was worth to order something at a restaurant? After a moment Missy offered to read her the recipe when she was done talking, which caused Kitty to ask what she wanted to talk about, at which point Missy said that she was going to postpone her wedding. Kitty sat down in total shock, wondering what could possibly have happened? Missy started crying on the phone as she described...


If we try to cut the author talking to herself, we get something like this . . .

Kitty dashed into her new kitchen and began yanking open the still-sticky cupboards, pulling and slamming the drawers, so intent on finding where she'd stowed her recipe box when she'd moved all her stuff back in, for once she failed to gloat over how smoothly fitted those drawers were, and how beautiful the cabinetry.

When the phone rang, she tucked it up under her chin and continued to hunt as she said, "Hello? Who is it?"

"Missy! Your sister! What's wrong with you, Kitty?"

"Lisa is bringing friends for dinner--I said I'd cook--I totally blitzed out. I'm looking for gramma's quick chicken dish." Kitty grunted as she crouched down to poke in the lower cupboards. "I don't remember where I put the recipe box."

"I'll get mine and read it to you. After we talk."

"You're awesome! Uh, talk about what?"

"Talk about why I'm postponing my wedding."

Thump! Kitty's butt hit the floor, as Missy began to sob. Kitty shifted the phone to her other ear, the recipe box forgotten. "Oh no! What happened?"


We can make feel more immediate by shifting the tense:

Kitty dashes into her new kitchen and begins yanking open the still-sticky cupboards. She pulls and slams the drawers as she seeks where she might have put her recipe box when she unpacked.

Then the phone rings. "Hello. Who is it?"

"Missy. Your sister!" And when Kitty did not immediately, reply, "What's wrong with you, Kitty?". . .

. . .

The immediacy seems forced, because we are kept outside Kitty’s head. We’re watching her from a distance; the detached view gradually works against the implied urgency and intimacy of present tense. Virginia Woolf made the detached narrative distance work for her, as did later writers like Raymond Chandler and Ernest Hemingway, as they were masters at the revealing detail, but for some of us it just keeps the reader at a seemingly unnecessary distance. Especially if we employ present tense.

So we add what she’s thinking:

Kitty dashes into her new kitchen and begins yanking open the still-sticky cupboards. She pulls and slams the drawers, so intent on finding where she's stowed her recipe box that she hasn’t time to gloat over her smoothly fitted drawers, and the beauty of her new cabinets. She is even more irritated when she is interrupted by the phone."Hello. Who is it?"

"Missy. Your sister!"

Kitty was too astonished to speak.

"What's wrong with you, Kitty?". . .



But the beta readers fret, asking us who is making this judgment about how she hasn’t time to gloat? Who is telling us she’s irritated and interrupted? Though the beta readers aren't always uniform in their reactions, one thing seems clear: the narrative voice is getting between us and the story.

So we try to avoid the narrative voice and dig directly into Kitty's thoughts:

Kitty rushed into her kitchen and began opening and closing doors and cabinets, thinking, I can't believe I did it again. Day-planners, Ipaqs, they're all frickin' useless if you never look at them after you write something down—where did I put it? Kitchen. . . . whew, it still smells like lacquer, but wow, so pretty--euw, sticky doors, Cousin Tom said it would be totally dry three days ago, what a joke that was—Oh crap there's the phone, like I needed that! "Hello. Who is it?"

"Missy. Your sister!"

Kitty's already pounding heart crowded right into her throat when she recognized Missy's voice; wasn't she supposed to be at a fitting?

"What's wrong with you, Kitty?". . .


That could be either deep third or first person POV. I rushed into my new kitchen, my fingers sticking to the cabinets as I threw them open . . . I jumped when I recognized my sister's voice...

I'll stop here (I know this is already rather long) but the point is, Kitty's thoughts, reactions, and sensory details would be reported in more or less detail, and what we’re cutting out would the author trying to figure out where the story is going by having Kitty tell herself things she already knows, then ask herself questions she can't answer.

Some authors can get away with that—Robin McKinley’s latest books are full of process narration—but not all of us can. So being aware of this pattern, and choosing what narrative voice we want to use, can help us shape our approach.

Home

Oct. 20th, 2011 02:14 pm
sartorias: (Default)
I arrived in Chicago with a couple hours to spare, so I consulted my trusty iPhone and located the nearest museums in walking distance. I managed to get to the Federal Reserve, which had a fun display of the history of money in this country, and to The Rookery, to see the Frank Lloyd Wright exhibit. It turns out that my carefully framed photos are all reproduced on that webpage, and better, including the bird cornerstones.

Alas, I didn't get to the Hellenic Display, so I took an extra long walk along the river, then back to board the train for home. A couple last pictures--these are actually from the day we crossed to Martha's Vineyard. Beforehand, Bear and Scott Lynch and I stopped in Providence, so that they could visit H.P.Lovecraft's tomb. My interest in Lovecraft is right down there with sports (nil) but I thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful day, the lovely city of Providence, and the fine cemetery. We also walked through a beautiful neighborhood of old houses so that they could locate a specific house that featured in Lovecraft's fiction.

The trip home was enjoyable, and I had lots and lots of good reading. Will assemble reportage on books later. Now there is family stuff to catch up on.

About the only complaint I have is a definite first-world, American privilege sort of thing, and that is, I really hate doing email on the iPhone. I know very well how lucky I am to have any of these opportunities, not to mention the tech, but I loathe reading on the tiny screen (or scrolling back and forth) and as for thumb typing, ugh!

So I have a ginormous amount of online stuff to catch up on, in between family things.

A couple of pix of Bear and Scott in the cemetery under the cut.
Read more... )

Home

Oct. 20th, 2011 02:14 pm
sartorias: (Default)
I arrived in Chicago with a couple hours to spare, so I consulted my trusty iPhone and located the nearest museums in walking distance. I managed to get to the Federal Reserve, which had a fun display of the history of money in this country, and to The Rookery, to see the Frank Lloyd Wright exhibit. It turns out that my carefully framed photos are all reproduced on that webpage, and better, including the bird cornerstones.

Alas, I didn't get to the Hellenic Display, so I took an extra long walk along the river, then back to board the train for home. A couple last pictures--these are actually from the day we crossed to Martha's Vineyard. Beforehand, Bear and Scott Lynch and I stopped in Providence, so that they could visit H.P.Lovecraft's tomb. My interest in Lovecraft is right down there with sports (nil) but I thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful day, the lovely city of Providence, and the fine cemetery. We also walked through a beautiful neighborhood of old houses so that they could locate a specific house that featured in Lovecraft's fiction.

The trip home was enjoyable, and I had lots and lots of good reading. Will assemble reportage on books later. Now there is family stuff to catch up on.

About the only complaint I have is a definite first-world, American privilege sort of thing, and that is, I really hate doing email on the iPhone. I know very well how lucky I am to have any of these opportunities, not to mention the tech, but I loathe reading on the tiny screen (or scrolling back and forth) and as for thumb typing, ugh!

So I have a ginormous amount of online stuff to catch up on, in between family things.

A couple of pix of Bear and Scott in the cemetery under the cut.
Read more... )
sartorias: (Default)
Due to a close encounter between a train and a tree, we were bussed from Boston to Albany. Many stops were cut out, so the express bus got here early. I have four hours to kill. There is wifi, food, water, books, and a bathroom, so I am content.

Because there is wifi, I can jot down some things I was thinking about as the lush scenery of Massachusetts slid by (and the colors have begun at last. Subdued, perhaps, for locals, but beautiful for a Californian.)

Dunning-Kruger: the beginner who is so ignorant that he or she confidently believes themselves to be an expert. The experienced person who, for various reasons (including being surrounded by adepts) considers themself to be a tyro. Is that not a part of the attitude that one is learning all one's life? I was impressed by [livejournal.com profile] nineweaving's friend, B, who is taking yet another language, just to keep her brain nimble. A person like that--who loves learning all her life--is never going to be bored.

The ferry. I didn't take any pix on the ferry yesterday from the island to Cape Cod because the seas were lively, sending packets of spray shooting up. Jim Macdonald and I stood on the deck in wind so strong that one time it actually sent me staggering. It was absolutely glorious.

Jim and his wife, Debra Doyle, kindly took me to Boston, by way of a deceptively plain and small clam shack that had absolutely fabulous seafood. Even the French Fries tasted freshly cut and made. Delicious. We got a chance to catch up; being on opposite sides of the country, without the wherewithal for frequent travel, we see one another once a decade, though we've been friends since the eighties--and in fact, there is a very good chance that Jim and I met briefly in Vienna in 1972.

I was delighted to find out that one of my top favorite space operas of all time, The Price of the Stars, is now out in a Kindle edition, as is their space opera comedy of manners, The Long Hunt, which I also love.

Last night, a lovely, lovely trip into Boston for hot chocolate with [livejournal.com profile] skogkatt, a perfect end to a perfect day--and perfect week.
sartorias: (Default)
Due to a close encounter between a train and a tree, we were bussed from Boston to Albany. Many stops were cut out, so the express bus got here early. I have four hours to kill. There is wifi, food, water, books, and a bathroom, so I am content.

Because there is wifi, I can jot down some things I was thinking about as the lush scenery of Massachusetts slid by (and the colors have begun at last. Subdued, perhaps, for locals, but beautiful for a Californian.)

Dunning-Kruger: the beginner who is so ignorant that he or she confidently believes themselves to be an expert. The experienced person who, for various reasons (including being surrounded by adepts) considers themself to be a tyro. Is that not a part of the attitude that one is learning all one's life? I was impressed by [livejournal.com profile] nineweaving's friend, B, who is taking yet another language, just to keep her brain nimble. A person like that--who loves learning all her life--is never going to be bored.

The ferry. I didn't take any pix on the ferry yesterday from the island to Cape Cod because the seas were lively, sending packets of spray shooting up. Jim Macdonald and I stood on the deck in wind so strong that one time it actually sent me staggering. It was absolutely glorious.

Jim and his wife, Debra Doyle, kindly took me to Boston, by way of a deceptively plain and small clam shack that had absolutely fabulous seafood. Even the French Fries tasted freshly cut and made. Delicious. We got a chance to catch up; being on opposite sides of the country, without the wherewithal for frequent travel, we see one another once a decade, though we've been friends since the eighties--and in fact, there is a very good chance that Jim and I met briefly in Vienna in 1972.

I was delighted to find out that one of my top favorite space operas of all time, The Price of the Stars, is now out in a Kindle edition, as is their space opera comedy of manners, The Long Hunt, which I also love.

Last night, a lovely, lovely trip into Boston for hot chocolate with [livejournal.com profile] skogkatt, a perfect end to a perfect day--and perfect week.
sartorias: (Default)
. . . begins in a few hours. Tomorrow morning I'll reach Chicago, and as once again I'll have a few hours, I plan to park my luggage and set out exploring downtown again, before I climb on the Southwest Chief for home.

The thing about a workshop like Viable Paradise is that the beautiful setting enhances the experience. Every single time I walked outside the room I shared with Bear and Scott Lynch, the beauty of land, sea, and sky, buoyed me up. The quality of light was pearlescent at times--the bowing, rippling marsh grasses in the low afternoon sun were stippled with silver. Sunsets and sunrises profligate with color. Charming buildings, woodland paths to explore, bike paths to ride.

Then I take another step and there's someone interesting to talk to--someone who might ask, "How's it going," and I don't have to say, "Oh, fine, thanks, enjoying the scenery," I can speak the truth--"Loving the scenery while I figure out the emotional flow of this transitional chapter," and the other person, instead of getting that fixed-smile of politeness (or the faintly curled lip of, oh good grief, there she goes again, maundering about her scribblings as if they mattered to anyone I get a bright, intent expression and there we go, talking about process.

Or someone walks up to me and says, "Can I ask a question?" and It's a question about writing!

I learned a great deal this week, though I was masquerading as an instructor. I never assumed at any time that I can teach anything about writing, as I am still a tyro myself. What I can do, though, is share my experience of what it is like to be a visual writer--its ups and downs. And this approach did connect with some people. That filled me with joy and a sense of purpose.

At my age, a sense of purpose is a thing to be cherished.

I don't want to overstate the oh poor me aspect--I am aware of how very lucky I am--but still, I do look at the fading bruises gotten from struggling with my luggage on the subway and I got elbowed and even shoved impatiently aside--the two or three times I tried to wrestle the stuff out of people's paths and glances would go from my stuff to my face, and there would be that upper lip tightening of disgust and the cold glance of You are old and ugly, go away and die. Yeah, I know, I know, whining and grandstanding. However, I feel a fiction about old women coming on, and I don't give a flying fink if old women aren't marketable.

Enough of that! Two last pix before I pack up shop: My roomies, Elizabeth Bear and Scott Lynch. Bear is a force of nature--always ready with a laugh and a quick, smart definition and explication. To her, writing matters, and it infuses her with a charismatic intensity. And Scott was not technically staff, but he generously offered both time and expertise--he gave us a great talk on self-editing that had everyone cracking up, yet the next day half a dozen people referred to "Scott's notes" when we were digging into detail on a critique. And he was there for people who wanted one-on-ones. Awesome people.




And here is a shot of an astonishingly beautiful fungus growing on an old tree stump:



sartorias: (Default)
. . . begins in a few hours. Tomorrow morning I'll reach Chicago, and as once again I'll have a few hours, I plan to park my luggage and set out exploring downtown again, before I climb on the Southwest Chief for home.

The thing about a workshop like Viable Paradise is that the beautiful setting enhances the experience. Every single time I walked outside the room I shared with Bear and Scott Lynch, the beauty of land, sea, and sky, buoyed me up. The quality of light was pearlescent at times--the bowing, rippling marsh grasses in the low afternoon sun were stippled with silver. Sunsets and sunrises profligate with color. Charming buildings, woodland paths to explore, bike paths to ride.

Then I take another step and there's someone interesting to talk to--someone who might ask, "How's it going," and I don't have to say, "Oh, fine, thanks, enjoying the scenery," I can speak the truth--"Loving the scenery while I figure out the emotional flow of this transitional chapter," and the other person, instead of getting that fixed-smile of politeness (or the faintly curled lip of, oh good grief, there she goes again, maundering about her scribblings as if they mattered to anyone I get a bright, intent expression and there we go, talking about process.

Or someone walks up to me and says, "Can I ask a question?" and It's a question about writing!

I learned a great deal this week, though I was masquerading as an instructor. I never assumed at any time that I can teach anything about writing, as I am still a tyro myself. What I can do, though, is share my experience of what it is like to be a visual writer--its ups and downs. And this approach did connect with some people. That filled me with joy and a sense of purpose.

At my age, a sense of purpose is a thing to be cherished.

I don't want to overstate the oh poor me aspect--I am aware of how very lucky I am--but still, I do look at the fading bruises gotten from struggling with my luggage on the subway and I got elbowed and even shoved impatiently aside--the two or three times I tried to wrestle the stuff out of people's paths and glances would go from my stuff to my face, and there would be that upper lip tightening of disgust and the cold glance of You are old and ugly, go away and die. Yeah, I know, I know, whining and grandstanding. However, I feel a fiction about old women coming on, and I don't give a flying fink if old women aren't marketable.

Enough of that! Two last pix before I pack up shop: My roomies, Elizabeth Bear and Scott Lynch. Bear is a force of nature--always ready with a laugh and a quick, smart definition and explication. To her, writing matters, and it infuses her with a charismatic intensity. And Scott was not technically staff, but he generously offered both time and expertise--he gave us a great talk on self-editing that had everyone cracking up, yet the next day half a dozen people referred to "Scott's notes" when we were digging into detail on a critique. And he was there for people who wanted one-on-ones. Awesome people.




And here is a shot of an astonishingly beautiful fungus growing on an old tree stump:



sartorias: (Default)
The line between YA and adult fantasy has been blurring. I've been talking about it with various people, with a variety of answers. So I interviewed a writer who recently launched a YA novel, after having published one for adults. In both, we began with teenage protagonists, but the stories played out very differently. Check it out here.

All discussion welcome--I really want to get into this--though my response time might be off, as I am in motion today (shifting from Martha's Vineyard to Boston).
sartorias: (Default)
The line between YA and adult fantasy has been blurring. I've been talking about it with various people, with a variety of answers. So I interviewed a writer who recently launched a YA novel, after having published one for adults. In both, we began with teenage protagonists, but the stories played out very differently. Check it out here.

All discussion welcome--I really want to get into this--though my response time might be off, as I am in motion today (shifting from Martha's Vineyard to Boston).

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