Pals of the Pen Variety

I got myself some pen pals!  So far I’ve written two letters (hand written) on the topics of the destruction of mankind, and the colonization of space.  I’m expecting the first letters from two others, for a total of four pen pals!  I’m excited.

Well, the hunt for an agent is… happening.  I want to say going well, in that I’ve found several agents who I feel would really dig my book, AND who I’d like to work with.  So yes, in that regard, it’s going well.  As ever, the rejection letters are trickling in.  I had my fastest one ever today; 24 minutes!  It seems fast, but then, if it’s not right for someone, I’d rather know sooner rather than later.  🙂

I’ve been trying to get to know the agents I’m submitting to a little more before I contact them.  For some, it’s a bit hard if they don’t have a big internet presence.  They best ones so far have been agents with blogs, and that have done interviews.  My favourite has been Eddie Schneider, who did this fantasic AMA on Reddit a while ago.  That was really great to read, not just to get to know more about him as an agent!

Also happening on Reddit right now, is an AMA by author Michael J. Sullivan.  I have great respect for him; everywhere he shows up in r/writing he imparts so much wisdom, so many useful tidbits.  He answered a lengthy question of mine today! Thanks Michael.

On the non-writing front, The Walking Dead.  Is.  Fantastic.  I haven’t cried that hard during a TV show in quite a while; this last episode, “Killer Within” had me bawling my eyes out.  MAN.  What excellent acting.

I participated in the Reddit Halloween exchange.  My gifter sent me this:

Fun!  I sent my match some interesting candy, including White Rabbits, a Double Decker bar, and a few other yummies.  Oh, and a big fake spider.  >:)

DELICIOUS.

This years Reddit Secret Santa is live!  Sure to be a record breaker.

…You know what else is delicious?  Pizza.  I’m making a meat lovers tonight, from scratch.  Using sausage I made myself.  I’m excited.  And then tomorrow, a Hawaiian.  Then the next day, Veggie Mediterranean.  Gosh, pizza is awesome.

Pics to follow.  🙂

Cheers guys.  Thanks for reading.

Heidi out.

Well, the bulk of the writing is done.

Three and a half months.  60k words.  Not bad.

Now comes the hard part… the part where I can see all the things wrong with it and have to fix them.  Even worse is seeing things wrong with it that aren’t actually wrong.  This is when the crushing doubt threatens to kick in and trip me up.

I’m taking a bit of a break.  I’ll let it ruminate for a week before I even begin fixing the things I know about, and it’ll be a month of thinking about things from all angles.

In the mean time, I’m looking forward to VCON, a Sci-Fi/Fantasy convention that begins tomorrow.  I’ve never been!  There are a ton of great events for writers.  Really looking forward to it.

But today, Doctor Who and Minecraft, while I try and shake my brain free of the Alot of Doubts.

Thanks for reading.

Heidi out.

Writing Styles: A Kind of Method Writing

I had a very interesting day on Thursday.

I’ve been getting caught up on the climax of my novel.  Imagining the future is *hard*.  Writing about it in a way that makes sense, not only within the context of the plot, but also just as background noise, is extremely challenging.

I’m finding it difficult to weave all my pieces together in the final stages of the book.

I had the idea to go to where the rising action takes me, and head to the location I’ve set the ending of my book.  I think it’s a kind of Method Writing.

The Vancouver Art Gallery.

At sunrise.

So I woke up super early and caught the first train downtown.  I made tons of notes.  Trying to see what it was like, and then see what it will be like.  And not only that, I had to imagine it from the air.

I spent several hours watching downtown lighten in the dawn, watched all the people go about their lives, and went back and forth from the North and Sound steps of the VAG, making notes all the while.

It was extremely helpful.  I actually changed which side of the VAG the climax will take place; the light was all wrong, and landing from the air will be much easier on the South steps.

It really helped put me there, in the future- I went over each building an imagined how it would look.  What would have changed, what would still be the same.

If you’re getting stuck on something, go out into the world.  Make notes.  It might help you.

…It certainly helped me.

Now, onwards!  The final 10k words beckon!

Thanks for reading.

Heidi out.

Writing Styles: Limit Break Writing

Sorry for the lack of updates.  It’s been a busy summer.  Lots of writing, lots of summer stuff, lots of trips, and probably far too much Minecraft.

Today I wanted to share about a writing style that I’ve discovered works really well for me.  My husband Aaron gave it the name “Limit Break Writing” and I couldn’t have said it better myself.

The term Limit Break, if you’re not familiar with it, comes from the game Final Fantasy VII.  While you’re in combat, damage you take builds up your ‘limit’ bar, and when that bar is full you get to do a special move, your “Limit Break”.

These special moves punctuate the regular moves you’re able to do, and usually swing the battle in your favour, as they are quite powerful.

I’ve been writing in a new and fabulous way.  I plan first.  I plan and think and ask questions and do research.  I do all my regular moves.  And then one morning my limit bar is full and I go to the cafe and write like the Dickens.  I write for four, five, even six hours, straight.  And I mean I write, like, fingers flying on the keys, words pouring out at a solid one thousand words an hour.

It’s invigorating.  It’s encouraging.  It’s gettin’ shit done.

I feel like a writer when I’ve finished one of these sessions.

I’m now just over 34,000 words, of around 80,000.  This has all been written in Limit Breaks, in 3000 and 4000 words chunks, sitting in the JJ Bean near my house on Commercial Drive.

I edit a bit before and after the Limit Break hits, but mostly it’s just pounding the keys at break neck speed.

It feels damn good.  It makes me plan and get all my ducks in a row, so I actually know where I’m going with things.  And when I can hold it in my mind, see the characters and plot and the next unfolding of events, I can channel this amazing force of concentration and productivity, and get a book written.

Thanks for reading.

Heidi out.

Updates few and far between during the fervour of creation…

The summer is busy.  Usually it’s so busy that I can’t write, but I’m powering through this, my third book, with an exciting enthusiasm that bolsters my confidence immensely

Today I did a thousand words an hour, seemly my standard writing-frenzy pace at the cafe.  Only got three hours in before I came up against the wall of ‘what next’.

I’m 23,000 words in, well over a quarter of the way there.

I’ve been on several trips with my friends, where they’ve indulged my frequent conversations about various aspects of my book.  I’m continually gaining ideas and insights into what the future may hold, as it pertains to genetic engineering and the ethics of creating new creatures.

So, sorry for the lack of updates, and thanks for checking in ever so often.  In this busy time I’ll try and post occasionally with interesting tidbits.

Today, two images:

Scumbag Shakespeare

The Dark Knight and Bane rocking out.  :}

So until next time, intrepid readers, have a good summer.

Heidi out.

Prometheus, Prometheus

If you’ve had enough of Prometheus, skip ahead to the picture of a pretty flower.

Oh Prometheus.  Such promise, such potential.

The visuals were stunning, the sound design absolutely fantastic, and the acting tremendous (having a crush on an android is totally normal, right? Straight up.).

But the story- the story was so flawed it made my head hurt.  The characters were constantly doing things that didn’t make sense, the plot was constantly advancing in completely unbelievable ways, and did I mention all the characters are idiots?

I mean, by the time this movie takes place, humanity has had several centuries of sci-fi to learn from.  Countless tales of first contact, of exploring alien worlds, and all the problems that come along with such scenarios.

So I am to believe that this crew of highly trained scientists go in to this alien installation, take off their helmets, and just touch everything?

The level of stupidity regularly and consistantly displayed in this film is mind boggling.  My writing-brain was screaming the entire time.

…And yet I went and saw it a second time.  Granted, about 15 minutes into the rewatch, I was making that I’ve made a huge mistake face, but then I sank into it, tried to look at the pretty pictures and appreciate all the high tech gadgetry, and ended up enjoying it again.

Aside from the acting, visuals, and sound design I’ve already mentioned being great, there were a few other notable things.  There was a scene which made me cringe, cringe, in uncomfortable squeamish distress.  Scott knows how to build tension and really punch me in the gut with a distressing and gross scene.  Gosh, that one’ll stick with me.

Also, I really liked the costume design.  Their helmets had a full 360 degree view, being clear acrylic all the way around, enabling both their and the audience’s view to be unhindered by parts of a helmet getting in the way.

Gosh.  Ok, that’s enough of Prometheus.  I suppose ranting may be part of the healing process- a bad film is one thing, but when a film with a huge budget and amazing people working on it ends up this bad, it’s a sad tragedy that really makes my heart ache.


Pretty flower, right?

In other news, I had the pleasure of taking a long hike with my father-in-law and his regular hiking group on Sunday.  It was a spectacular hike in the woods, around lakes, to the ocean.  Birds everywhere, a deer, amazing greenery all around- a welcome relief to this noisy city life.

On the hike I had the pleasure of talking with two writers: Clint Budd, who is the President of The Canadian Science Fiction & Fantasy Association, and who runs the Aurora Awards, and his partner Donna McMahon, who has published two books: Second Childhood and Dance of Knives.

I’m going to hang out with them at Vcon, which I look forward to attending at the end of September.

It was just nice to talk shop with some really experienced writers.  Also nice to have some more role models to look up to.  Then, when things start to feel impossible, I can remember these people and ground myself again.

In the meantime, the rejections continue to pour in, the submissions flow out, and I’m outlining my third book.

Onwards to blood-borne nanobots, carbon nanofiber skeletons, and the ethics of bioengineering new lifeforms.

…But perhaps it can wait until after I watch another Fassbender film. o_O

Thanks for reading.

Heidi out.

The Ramifications of Creating a New Life Form and a Silly Video of a Cat

Yesterday, I went to a broadcast of a play.  Last year, I went to National Theatre’s production of “Frankenstein” and was delighted to see they were rebroadcasting it.  So I got tickets for me and my friends and we went to see Frankenstein, as directed by a the wonderful Danny Boyle.

I came at it from a whole nother angle; I recently started a new book, one that deals with genetic engineering and the many interesting quandaries that arrise because of our tendency to do things because we can.  I was much more in tune to Frankenstein’s monster this go around; I realized I had been approaching my story from a human-centric viewpoint.  Silly author…

So as I was getting into that groove, my brain did a funny thing.  It started replaying this video of a cat.  And it was funny.  And it almost made me laugh out loud at several, completely inappropriate points during the broadcast.

I managed to get back on track… it was a strange deviation.  Perhaps it was some failsafe, activated when not being attracted to Frankenstein’s monster is impossible.  Because Benedict Cumberbatch.

All that aside, it was a fantastic production.  Really visceral, really physical.  It was tremendous.

And then still, there’s this.  :/

Short Story Writing Month, and here I am working on one of my novels.

Well, this is silly.

Last year, Short Story Writing Month gave me a kick in the pants to start writing short stories.  It was a welcomed change from writing novels.  It put some distance between me and them, and, quite fortunately, garnered me a couple of credits for my CV.

And now that’s SSWM is here again, I feel somewhat silly that, suddenly, I’ve stopped writing short stories to tinker with my novels again.

Now that I’ve got a couple of things in print, I feel I have a better position when approaching an agent to represent the Spell Carrier series.  I hope this is the case; I’d love to see these books get picked up.

I reread the first book last month, and was delighted/excited/relieved to discover that I really, really enjoyed it.  It’s been a few years for that one, and, having distanced myself from ‘the work’, it actually held up to my critical eye.

…Except the opening few pages, which I was never happy with.  So I rewrote them from scratch, and now I have my best foot forward.  I know where the story gets its hooks into *me*, I hope it snags my other readers the same way.  I know if they give it a shot, they’ll be hooked.  I know I was.

And that, my friends, is just about the best feeling I’ve ever had as a writer.

Thanks for reading.

Heidi out.

Writing and Selling Your Writing: Having your cake, and eating it but then it goes down the wrong tube and you cough and choke and embarrass yourself horribly.

That awkward moment when you realize you really, really need to get your writing career off the ground, before some other career takes over your life so you can make money and live.  (BC Film Set Orientation certification completed over the weekend.)

 

That equally awkward moment when you realize the novel you’ve been trying to get agents interested in all these years is **young adult** fiction.  Holy living figs, why is it so hard for me to sell my writing?  I feel like a babbling idiot when trying to describe it enough to get an agent to want to actually read the whole thing.

 

But then, that amazing moment, when, before bed, you pick up your first book, flip to the last few chapters, and can’t put it down until you’ve finished.  I did a good job.  Even after these years, it still holds up.  That was pretty sweet.  So I flipped to the middle and kept reading.

I’m going to flip back, earlier and earlier, until I find out why my beginning is ass.

The first few pages need work, I’ve always known that.  If I could just get them together, enough so that it draws people in, then they’ll be hooked.

Back to reading.  I’m extremely happy to say that I’m enjoying it.

The Gym

It’s been a month of going to the gym, nearly everyday.  And heck, I feel great.

I just wanted to share.

Oh, and my brain has clicked into novel writing mode.  The first one took a year.  The second one took four months.  Let’s see what happens with this one.  I’m excited to begin.  It’s still in the planning stages- gotta iron out some characters and basic plot before I begin.

I’ll keep you posted.

Also, I’m addicted to Dr. Who (which has led to an addiction to David Tennant in general).  And I’ve been playing Skyrim since it came out- what a marvelous game.  Really, it is a tremendous, beautiful, stunning game.  I really enjoy it.

In the mean time, getting fit!  I have made a lazy comic to share.  🙂

Cheers guys.

 

Thanks for reading.

Heidi out.