Retreat!

Oct. 3rd, 2006 09:43 am
hildy89: (writer's block)
I'm feeling much better. The sinuses are still recovering from the weekend, but I hope that was more allergies than reoccurrence.

I left on Friday for the CVS writer's retreat, catching a ride from [livejournal.com profile] ariadnesthread. We were staying at the Lion & Crow Lodge in Luray, Virginia. We made good time so it was only about a two or three hour drive. Nine people and two dogs stayed for the weekend. Both dogs were golden Labs, trained as seeing eye guide dogs, but one was retired. My allergies don't love dogs, but strangely they seem determined to win me over. The place is very nice with five bedrooms and large living room. The decor was eclectic to say the least. Some of it was lodgey with wildlife pictures, but they also had Mayan sundials as well, not forgetting the giant chess set in the master bedroom. Being writers, we of course posited our own version of Clue: Miss Scarlet in the bedroom with the rook! We did get some rain, but it didn't ruin the weekend. It was a lot chillier than I anticipated, though. We joked that we brought enough food that we could have had a surprise blizzard and we probably would have made it okay. We had delicious waffles and crepes for breakfast and pasta for dinner one night.

The writing retreat was much less structured than our marathons, more like a giant write-in in that respect. My muses decided to confuse me. Frustrated by my lack of interest in my original fiction projects, I brought down the notes for several fannish ones. I figured I had enough original snippets on the laptop to make up the difference. And of course, guess what happened? Two older projects resurfaced, both from old CVS challenges. Hopefully this is a good sign for next month.

I signed up for yet another year of Nanowrimo. The forums are already burbling with activity. I have no clue what I will be writing this time around, which scares me. I've tossed around a few ideas that have been germinating in the brain, but all seem very research heavy, particularly the Asian influenced one. I really want to go back to my fantasy roots this year. I know I've waited until the last minute to make a decision before, but I feel more panicked. As usual, my Nano journal is over at [livejournal.com profile] nanonano.

Of the new shows, I'm adoring "Heroes". I had recorded the pilot on a whim, just to see what it was like. I'm enjoying it a lot more than Studio 60. I want to like that one, but something is just off with the humor and interactions. The DVR picked a beautiful weekend to fritz up however. It messed up both episodes of "Doctor Who" from Sci Fi. I've seen them already, but I still liked the idea of watching them on the big screen.
hildy89: (Default)
The temperature is brutally cold here. It actually feels like February for a change.

I'm quite confused. I have somehow been converted into a curling fan. Our local CVS member has been looking forward to the Torino coverage for some time, so he's been encouraging us to watch and explaining the intricacies. Yesterday watching the US men and Germany, I realized I finally understood the basic scoring. I still don't get all the lingo straight, much less understand all the strategy involved. The US ladies were leading Switzerland for much of their match, only to get knocked out by a phenomenal final shot by the Swiss captain.

I attended short story marathon hosted by one of our CVS members. I did some thinking about the one story idea I had but as much as I adored the opening, I couldn't quite get into the story. We did notecards on our personal traits and then swapped the cards around, so it was interesting to see what people used and how. There were traits I didn't put because I didn't realize I did! I apparently hum while I'm working, whether for focus or what I'm not certain. But until someone pointed out that I did that, I was "Huh? What?" *blushes beet red of embarrassment*

We also played a very strange game of word association called "Apples to Apples" where you're given an adjective and you're supposed to come up with the best noun in your hand that describes it. Each person around the group gets to judge, so to a degree, you're playing to the judge's penchant. I was actually quite good at this game, sometimes to my surprise. I did occasionally throw down the wackiest wrongest association that came to mind and won! I still lost the whole game by one card, but it's still a very cool game. Apparently the game even includes blanks so you can add your own nouns. Some cards are impossible to play without a cringe factor.
hildy89: (Default)
So they're talking that four letter word again around here. Yes, snow. After a month and half of "Is it winter?" confusion, the cold artic weather has returned with a threat of precipitation. Which means the mad supermarket run for bread, milk, and toilet paper can begin... The worst of the storm is supposed to hit on Saturday when I usually do groceries, so this could be entertaining.

Despite fairly long odds, I did finish my submission for CVS this week, my first attempt at alternate history. My father will be so proud of me. If he doesn't dissect the historical problems at length... another Virgo, you know. Oh well, I will force myself to submit this to that contest just to get into that mindset a little.

Grammys were rather boring actually. Winter Olympics are on the way, so I need to clear the dvr off of other stuff.
hildy89: (underwater archaeology)
I finished the first draft of my alternate history story for my latest CVS submission. It needs a little polishing and changes before it's sent forward, but it'll be ready. I'm actually rather pleased with how it turned out... even more so that I actually sat down and wrote this idea.

Robot spots Ancient greek shipwreck: Described as a "buried UPS truck", it was laden with wine and olive oil when it went down in the Aegean over 2000 years ago. Also the Woods Hole site survey website.
hildy89: (thursday)
*confusing everyone by using my Thursday icon on Friday*

"Dr. Who" is coming to Sci Fi Channel in March! I'm a little miffed it's replacing "Stargate: Atlantis" in the Friday lineup, but hopefully they'll put the reruns elsewhere.

CVS went well last night. Our writers group is growing at a rapid clip. Hard to believe it was only a few hardy souls when I joined nearly three years ago. I've signed up for a February critique slot. I have a few weeks before the panic sets in, right?
hildy89: (writer's block)
After a long dry bout here, the rains have arrived with a vengeance. It was positively pouring outside at lunch. We definitely need it, although I hope there will be a short intermission so I can do groceries tomorrow. Otherwise I might have a nice quiet Columbus Day weekend.

Because of the Meetup announcement, we had a huge turnout for the Thursday meeting of CVS. I counted 12 people at final count! I haven't seen that many people in awhile and we haven't even hit our usual Nano growth and shrinkage period yet.

Houdini

Aug. 4th, 2005 10:29 pm
hildy89: (thursday)
"Dead Famous" focused on Harry Houdini this week. Most of the sites the presenters visited were either in New York or Pennsylvania. They visited the lonely looking Coney Island with its creepy nether regions. Something was interfering messing with Chris' thermal scanner. In a room without any central air, the scanner kept getting warmer, not colder. The glorious old Palace theater is the current home of "Beauty and the Beast", but apparently it's also quite a haven for ghosts. The Eastern State Penitentiary was a creepy place. Gail experienced what Chris suspected was a "walk-in" from a spirit to the point he said "Those aren't your eyes", like he was looking at someone else completely. The episode ended at the annual Houdini family seance, which was a little disappointing. Maybe I just expect to take place in spooky old Victorian houses, rather than a slightly tacky museum. There was one bit that bothered me. In one bit, I forget exactly where, Chris felt something around him. He asked the spirit to identify themselves with a sound or something. Then he asked if the ghost's name was Harold. Um, Harry Houdini changed his name from Erich Weiss. Isn't it more likely he'd answer to his real name?

CVS welcomed back [livejournal.com profile] whytcrow from her adventures at the Odyssey workshop. B&N has completely changed the shelving around upstairs for the fiction sections. That will take some getting used to. I resisted the urge to buy anything though, aside from the evil cupcake.
hildy89: (thursday)
GIP! Leave it to my parents' favorite series Hitchhikers' to provide the new CVS icon. We had our usual Thursday meeting tonight with one new person. The bookstore was in countdown mode itself for the Harry Potter midnight party, rearranging parts of the upstairs area for their displays. One table was for their register and the other appeared to be "Bertie Botts" for all the snacks and goodies. (Shouldn't that be Honeydukes? Sorry, random HP moment there...) One of them was asked about the crowd to expect. The last time apparently they had around 600 people. Eep. I hope I heard that wrong, but probably not. It's hard to picture that many people in that bookstore at once. Somehow waiting for the nice postal person doesn't so bad after all.
hildy89: (research is cat vacuuming)
A few weeks ago, CVS had a mini discussion about the Motivate your Writing book we're doing this month. It had prompted some interesting thoughts on how I approach writing, especially for different projects. We did some other exercises from the book this week, identifying based on snippets of writing how we were motivated. Based on the previous week, I had thought I was more geared towards the Achievement and Affiliation goals. The Power description didn't seem to fit me at all. And yet when I took Kellner's quiz, I was more Achievement & Power oriented. The only reason I was power oriented though was based on a) the type of books I read and b) including writing in the hobbies I enjoyed. Everything else was much more geared towards specific goals and standards. Then we wrote the snippets and most people saw Affiliation bits. So either I'm much more evenly keeled (or "confused") than I realize or I'm writing against the curve.
hildy89: (doctor who)
Oh god my head hurts. Advil Migraine had better make the pain go away. Heads aren't supposed to feel this way.

[livejournal.com profile] sventhelost, I could have sworn there was a Doctor Who style community like [livejournal.com profile] houseepisodes where you didn't have to use Bittorrent. I can give you several good torrent sites otherwise. I'll keep looking though.

CVS meeting tonight was critiquing stories. With sound mind and shaking all over, I signed up for another go on June 16th. Everyone is muttering "second chapter please" for "Going Under" and I make noises under my breath. We'll see what I submit. It could be something completely different.

Work is just... argh. Right hand, please meet left hand and have a chat sometime soon?
hildy89: (research is cat vacuuming)
CVS meeting was more draining than I expected. Without a book or speaker planned, we did some writing prompts. I did a rather silly send up of Ron's line about spiders and butterflies that I must type up for my HP friends. We also used some pictures from Motivate your Writing book and analyzed our motivations for writing. Kelner breaks them down into three major areas: Achievement, Affiliation and Power. Most people have them in combination. The interesting thing is how they change depending on the situation. During Nano, I am Achievement girl. I'm zeroed in on a goal and by gosh I am going to make it even I have to stay up all night. I discovered that while I enjoy the social aspects of the write-ins, I don't get as much done in them. On the other hand, when I'm in the writing group, during the rest of the year, I'm very much about fitting in and hoping my writing is liked. I suspect I'm that way for fannish pursuits as well. And yet, I don't. If I did, I'd write the same ships and fannish niches as everyone else, wouldn't I? I just wish I could figure out a way to use this to balance them more. I like the hard goals, but I also crave the social aspects of writing. Writing for myself was nice once, but lately it's not enough. I need someone to say "Oooh, I like" or "I never thought of it that way". Or peek over my shoulder and say "Eh, that needs explaining more."

Something to cogitate on.

Oh, and I got the job and I start on Monday. Yay me!
hildy89: (gunslinger)
I steeled myself for the critique session for the revised chapter of "Going Under". It mostly went over well. I need to add some details about the two characters' relationship and set up the mystery a little better. Mostly I just want to take what they said and work on the next chapters/scenes.

I don't know. I'm feeling very blah lately. I know some of the reasons why, but I can't tell if they're the entire cause of my rollercoaster state or whether something else is at work. Part of me is tempted to consider a break from the group, just to rethink things. The other part of me feels like this is a copout. And there's the terrified part of me. "What if I can't write anymore?"
hildy89: (witchblade by wiliqueen)
Submission turned in yesterday. To keep my mind off that, I'm already plotting and thinking about the next story, probably the one for our challenge. I talk a good talk, but the idea of critiques still sends me into nervous twitches.

I blinked when I saw Robin Sachs appear briefly on "Alias". He played a very minor bad guy. Going from being beaten up by Buffy and then by Sydney... tsk, tsk. Robin's changed physically quite a bit. Alas he spoke German throughout.
hildy89: (honey don't think)
After much running around today, I managed to get the CBU application into the real estate office with ten minutes to spare. Thankfully I'm on flextime on my assignment so I can make up any time lost on this errand tomorrow. Hopefully everything will work out with the application. I worry every year and it goes through swimmingly. It'll probably be the one year I don't worry something will hit me between the eyes.

Quiet final meeting of the month at CVS. We discussed the dialogue book somewhat, including some of the problems I experienced last week writing a longish fanfic piece where the character is blind. He won't see people coming up to him. He can hear and smell them, yes, but it was frustrating figuring out how to do the audio cues without getting too stilted. I'm supposed to submit something next week, so I will be busy over the week. I'm thinking of doing some Cinderella research at the library. It'll be a useful test of the new children's/YA section.
hildy89: (big sleep)
So I didn't make the CVS goal of rewriting the "Going Under" chapter. I made some cursory edits of the easy bits, but there are major chunks that need rethinking, especially at the beginning. However, I've signed up for a firm submission deadline of April 7th, so er, I guess I'll have to get going.

At the meeting, we discussed the possible format changes for the group at length. I'm hoping to contribute to the website by finding all the old author events reports I've posted on LJ. I was surprised to discover I never really posted an account of the SF/Fantasy panel we held last November. Not terribly surprising, since my word count worries were elsewhere.

One thing did come out of the blue, though, and prompted some thinking and dreaded ruminating. It's kinda related to [livejournal.com profile] erinpoetchica recent concerns on posting her fanfic.

Two writers in one brain )
hildy89: (writer's block)
CVS was enjoyable. It was our first real meeting after two back-to-back events. I officially made the rewrite of that "Going Under" chapter a writing goal, which will either mean it will get done or I'll flake. I'm hopeful for the former. I also suggested the monthly challenge topic, inspired by "Ides of March" and ominous omens and stuff. I usually don't get much out of the workshops, but I enjoyed them this time. For whatever reason, my brain does a massive freeze whenever we do these.

[livejournal.com profile] ariadnesthread did a fun one on POV from the Writing the Wave book by Elizabeth Ayers. We picked someone we didn't know that well and tried three different POVs. One was a third person bare bones description, the infamous laundry list of "6'4" with dark hair and blue eyes", occasionally mixed with personality insights. Then we wrote from their perspective. "Everyone fears me because I'm so tall, but they don't realize how clumsy I am." Then you step really outside the box and write from the perspective of a relative who has passed on to the grave. Are they disappointed in them? "I always knew he would take after his father's side. None of them are under six feet. But they move with grace. He broke my favorite china vase when he was fourteen." Then you also spent some time analysing why you liked writing one POV versus another and what each revealed about their characters. I usually don't like first person for more than short bursts, but I was surprised how easily it came out. The last one was an alien mentality, beyond tut-tutting grandmother into "No good ever came from learning and books". Certain friends will also be proud how mentioned the reliability of each POV and how the right POV can make even the most annoying twit somewhat palatable. Or not, if you really wanted him seen that way.

[livejournal.com profile] vadreamer did a second one on dialogue and perspective, a variant on the "He said, she said" type story where you had the same bits of details but both saw it completely different ways. One of our other members had us draw out pictures from a bag and write scenes based on them. They were taken from news magazines so they made for some interesting juxapositions. I wound up with a Islamic man sitting in contemplation and a hospital scene. Not something I would have tried to write on my own, which was part of the point of these exercises. Get outside your creative box and try something.

[livejournal.com profile] aireon posted some interesting thoughts on writing by the seat of your pants, rather than hemmed in by an outline. I struggle mightily sometimes to explain how I work to my CVS friends. As I mentioned in my comments, I always feel like I'm doing something wrong, because I don't get it.
hildy89: (fox in winter by coi)
Yes, Virginia, it's still snowing. It's supposed to stop sometime overnight. When I left for the CVS meeting, the sidewalks weren't too bad. Now the snow is starting to stick in some places. And I've heard one report suggesting more may be coming next week. Obviously winter around here shows up fashionably late.

For CVS, we had two winners from the "Writers of the Future" contest. Bill Katz won the grand prize in the latest contest and even showed off his shiny trophy. Jonathan Laden brought the framed illustration for his third place story, drawn by the winner of the "Illustrator of the Future" contest. They started off by telling us a lot about the contest, how it worked, and what happened if you won. I remember when the contest first started. I had considered entering back then, but I've never gotten around to it. [livejournal.com profile] whytcrow entered for the first quarter, so we'll see if I can muster something for one of the others. I was actually more impressed by them describing the process, especially undergoing the workshop in LA after you won. There was a lot more behind the scenes than just you win and get in the anthology. They also talked about writing in general and how to approach short stories, especially things to look for in first pages. I've heard the "jump right in" type of advice and I tend to like those writers, who dump you into a world and allow you to absorb stuff as you're going along. [livejournal.com profile] kaygo's Jani Kilian books are a good example of this. On the other hand, I tried it to bad effect with one of my submission for the Gotham sf writing class. I still have to rethink whether it's better to start where I wanted to initially...
hildy89: (research is cat vacuuming)
Mostly for my own memory (or lack thereof sometimes):

Writing Goals )

Seeing red

Feb. 4th, 2005 08:58 am
hildy89: (fairy)
Today is National Wear Red Day is promoting women's heart disease awareness. I'm wearing more of a burgundy today, but I hope it's close enough.

Apparently WHFS wasn't the only station to turn to the Latin beat. My mother reports that her usual Orlando oldies station WBEG has turned from Motown and Simon & Garfunkel to salsa and merengue. She's none too pleased about this change.

My knitting friends would not be at all surprised by the AP article about men who knit. It's no different really than the ones who cross-stitch. One of the best blackwork specialists from Britain is male, Leon Conrad. He turns out the most intricate stuff, including the Elizabethan chessboard.

The CVS meeting last night featured some newcomers and a couple of workshops. For the first one, I need to reread "Scene and Structure" a little. I was reminded of the second one today when reading a review of the Official Movie Plot Generator. [livejournal.com profile] whytcrow used the Evil Overlord's list to great effectiveness with her exercise based on Teresa Nielsen Hayden's Stupid Plot Tricks. I still don't know why mine turned into a western saloon. Too much Firefly maybe?

Debra Doyle and James Macdonald have a new journal, [livejournal.com profile] mist_and_snow, which will contain notes and research for an alt-historical novel they're doing for Eos, featuring the American Civil War at sea.
hildy89: (dancing in the dark)
Today was a quiet one. I worked on my writing notebook project. Revisiting some of those old exercises was interesting and not nearly as embarrassing as I'd expect. There are some useful bits in them I can mine for later. I could definitely track my progress with the different projects.

Metro was great for people watching tonight. Half of the cars going downtown carried people in various states of black tie and evening dress, all headed to some inaugural ball or party. I did cringe at the one lady chatting on her cell phone. It must be 20 degrees outside and she had on a sleeveless dress and a satiny wrap. I realize checking your coat is a pain, but it's better than calling in sick later with pneumonia. Alas I could only stay on for one stop, so I couldn't stay and look. I was reminded of the night [livejournal.com profile] whytcrow, [livejournal.com profile] ariadnesthread and I were coming home on the Metro from World Fantasy Con. It was Halloween and everyone was dressed up, some more unfortunately than others. The bondage Britneys only made you blink. Although there was a couple in WWII era uniform and evening gown.

Okay, I'm annoyed. I thought Katsucon was the last weekend in February but its actually President's Day weekend. Writing retreat or Range Murata? Decisions, decisions...

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