Friday, July 31, 2009

Introduction to "A Chilling Wind"

I've just completed my first short story in a long time, since about 1993. It's on the Annex - here.

Pretty much anyone who knows me knows that short stories aren't my 'thing.' I'm a wordy fellow, and I find it hard to write something less than about 50,000 words. But sometimes an idea just appears that is right for the medium. I think this is one.

I'm not asking for feedback for it - either here or on the other page. If you want to, fine, but if you don't, that's cool too. This is up because I just wanted to share it with everyone.

"A Chilling Wind"

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Wanted: Writer Seeks SWF (Some Writing Folks)

It is with some sadness that I announce that as of early September, it appears that the writer's group I belong to - North County Writers of Speculative Fiction - comes to an end. It has existed two years, much longer than the six or so months I've hung around with them. But Our Lovely Hostess and Her Mighty Husband are relocating across the country, and it appears that that will be that. (I'd say more, but I'm loathe to do so without an overt "okay" from them.)

We've got two more meetings until then, and everyone is going out on friendly terms. But it's ending, and I feel more than a bit of pain. As the one who travels the furthest, I'll probably not work with these folks again. In fact, I travel more than 50 miles one-way to participate - which I'm happy to do. But with the demise of the group, most of them are considering looking farther north from Vista/San Marcos - as far as Orange County. This is too far for me to go.

So it's with no lack of shamelessness that I post this: anyone in the South Bay or nearby East County area have an open writer's group? Anyone want to start one? I don't mind traveling (duh), but I'd prefer to stick a little closer to home. If anyone in the whole Chula Vista - National City - La Mesa - El Cajon* area has, or knows of a group, let me know. If you're in the area, or nearby and want to start one, let me know.

Thank you!

*Yep, that's me tagging this post for search engines. See those labels down below? That's me doing it there, too.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Some Days You Get the Bear...

...And some days the bear gets you.

I'm an ideas guy. I find the easiest part of writing to be the ideas. Coming up with something to write about, a concept, is the simplest thing in the world to me. I have Word files filled with book ideas, story outlines, character thumbnails, you name it. Some of you have been privy to my ideas.

Not all of them are good, mind you, but they're ideas. When I'm asked where I get my ideas, I shamelessly swipe (and mangle) a Stephen King line and say I buy them from a guy in New Jersey.

To me, coming up with ideas is not creative; it's just entertainment for my soul. The actual creative part of writing, the craft if you will, is actually putting that first sentence down - or that first paragraph. (I'm one of those folks that believe that the most important element of story isn't the sentence, it's the paragraph.)

Many writers I know have the hardest time with the idea, but have no problem putting the word down. I'm the other way. Sometimes, the words simply fail me.

Like now. For a little more than three weeks now, I've had my version of writer's block. I have been unable to put two or more words together in any creative fashion. No matter how many times I've opened up a file to work on it, I've simply been unable to do so.

I suppose it's not true writer's block. I've had lots of folks offering help and advice - and all of it was appreciated, but the most common advice I received was to stop what I was doing and try another project. Every time I received this actually-quite-helpful piece of advice, I had to say, "I did. Didn't work."

Let's call it "creative block." It wasn't just writing I was unable to do, but certainly that was a big part of it. Chapter 3 of The Wyrd Magnet? Nope. Part 2 of Conduit? Not happening. I even froze up halfway through a long short-story that I've mentioned a few times, "Omega Man's Day Off." None of this had a word written in all this time.

But it was also editing. Heroes... Chapter 8 "The Shining Way" hasn't even been begun. I have looked at it dozens of times and was unable to even figure out how to begin rewriting/editing. Possibly even worse, I agreed to help our friend Brayden Potter look over his first chapter. I didn't have a clue what to do or say. I simply was unable to edit.

It goes without saying that blog writing was beyond me, too, doesn't it? Yes, I was still around, still here, and several times I opened a new blog entry and couldn't put anything down.

Until now. Until right now. I don't know if this is any good or not, and frankly I don't care. It's a bit of a dam-burst, and I'm happy that it's happened.

I'm going to be out of pocket for the next day or two. When I get back I'm going to find out whether or not the veil has lifted and writing is back on track. I hope so, but I just don't know. I'll let you know.

Or I won't. Another very long absence here might say it all.

On the other hand, I've got about 75 pages of notes and materials down for an apocalyptic werewolf story set around Seattle, Vancouver, and the San Juan Islands.

Hmm...maybe I could be that guy in New Jersey. Anybody need some ideas?