Thursday, June 30, 2011

Changing characters

I've been sitting on a story for what seems a long time--really cool ideas in my head to stir into the mix, some intriguing characters and situations...but it was just never coming together. I would jot down notes, come up with new things to throw in the mix, get excited about the story, but then when I'd try to start writing, I could never find a way in to the story. It just felt flat, despite all the cool things flashing around my head.

While we were taking a mini-vacation this past weekend, it occurred to me that maybe I was focusing on the wrong character. The intriguing characters I'd planned to write about will probably still be fascinating, but fascinating (and perhaps somewhat terrifying) from the perspective of someone else. So I added a new character to the mix (at this point a pretty bland, undeveloped character, but hopefully that will change as I write), and writing the story from his perspective finally allowed me to get writing.

Now I haven't written much, and I can't promise that I won't flounder with him and decide a different tack is necessary. But at least I've started, which is something I'd been unable to say for the past month.

Monday, June 27, 2011

"Fall of the City" at Daily Science Fiction

If you're a subscriber, you should have received this story this morning (actually, DSF stories always arrive at 11pm my time, so it would have been last night if you're in Mountain time or further west).

If you're not a subscriber (and why not?--it's free to subscribe), it'll be online in a week, and I'll post a link then, and say more about the story, if anything comes to mind.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Poem in Aoife's Kiss

I just received my contributor copy of this magazine, which includes my poem "Spell." The magazine is a lot bigger, more colorful, and more glossy than a lot of small-press zines--I haven't read much of what's inside yet, but I'm impressed with the presentation. The poem itself has actually been online for a couple of weeks as a teaser for the issue, so you can read that (for now) at the magazine's main site.

This poem plays on the homophone connection between spell as in magic and spell as in the letters that form a word.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

"Horns or Wings" at Every Day Fiction

One story that was published during my blog hiatus (actually accepted and published both) was "Horns and Wings" at Every Day Fiction. It's received some good comments, so that's always gratifying. The story came from one of my writing group's one-hour quick prompts. The topic was to write about a routine visit to a doctor, and I remember thinking that that didn't seem, on the surface, to fit very well with what I tend to write. A doctor for someone injured, perhaps, but... So then I decided to give it a surreal take, and with Mervyn Peake's Mr. Pye vaguely in mind, this is what came through.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Book club

Last night we had our (roughly monthly) meeting at Coopersmiths to drink beer and talk books.

Beer of choice: I tried a sample of a Belgian Kriek Ale. It's a very sour beer, and wasn't worth paying extra to have a full glass of that. In the right mood, I probably would enjoy it, but last night I went with the Horsetooth Stout.

Book: Blindness by José Saramago. I enjoyed this book a lot. I'd read his The Cave some years ago and enjoyed it, but often heard people refer to Blindness as his masterpiece. The story felt...very European, though I struggled to pinpoint what it was that made it feel that way. First I wrote that the prose felt that way, and to a certain extent it did, but it was more the mindsets of the characters, the way they interacted. And it's not that the characters somehow fit some stereotype of how Europeans think, which would be ridiculous, but that the book itself felt very much like it fit into the broader context of other continental books in ways that US and UK books often don't.

We had a good discussion about the book, especially about the one seeing character's actions and if she could/should have done more or differently. The style of the book certainly stands out, and the reactions to that aspect of different people in the group varied, but in general we mostly found it very readable despite the unfamiliar style and a memorable book.

Our next book is At Play in the Fields of the Lord by Peter Matthiessen. The description sort of reminded me of the movie The Mission, which I've loved since I first saw it. Apparently this 1965 book was also made into a movie (in 1991), but I'd never heard of it before.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Review of my story "Cities of Nostalgia"

Kaleidotrope 11, which includes my flash fiction "Cities of Nostalgia," has been reviewed at SFRevu. Short reviews of each story, including this about mine (after a brief plot summary), "This was a lyrically-written little tale."

This is just one of a handful of stories and poems to be published or accepted while I've been taking a few-month blogging break. Now that I'm hoping to resume at least sporadic blogging, I'll make mention of those other stories and poems in the days ahead.

"Cities of Nostalgia" is of a series with two others that have been published, as well as a fourth that I recently wrote. I see them as homages to Calvino's Invisible Cities in part, with some touches of Dunsany and others as well. One little me-being-spacey moment I discovered after this was published: I originally wrote the first one with the intent of evoking Dunsany's short story "Idle Days on the Yann" about a river voyage and what awaits the narrator along that trip. In that first one, I named the railroad the Yahm Railroad, with the intent of reminding anyone familiar with Dunsany of his story without copying it. In the next two in the series, though, I meant to do the same and only now did I realize that I reverted to Dunsany's name instead. Oh well. The other two that have been published are "City of Games" in Sporty Spec and "City of Facades" in Cinema Spec.