Paula Guran gets outraged over SciFi Channel's $10 million marketing plan for its new show "Triangle." The main feature of this plan: Socks. Not pairs of socks, but single socks left in various places.
The reason this galls so much, outside of the ridiculous amount of money spent on advertising a miniseries, is the idea that 1/100th of that budget could have been used to keep SciFiction going.
Speaking of which, The EDSF Project, have you picked out your story yet and written an appreciation? Well, why not? And don't forget that until January, new fiction is still going up at SciFiction.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Paula Guran gets outraged over SciFi Channel's $10 million marketing plan for its new show "Triangle." The main feature of this plan: Socks. Not pairs of socks, but single socks left in various places.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Well, I've done it. I've completed Nanowrimo 2005. This makes the third time I've completed the event. (I joined up last year, but gave up in the first week.) I did about 50,700 words. The story came to an end with the characters off on a new quest.
I feel a little depressed now that I'm finished. I didn't do as much with it as I hoped I could. I accomplished a few things though:
- I finished the story.
- I found I have a rhythm to my writing; a steady pace works well with me.
- I found I need to work more on characters and to plan out a plot beforehand.
I also know I need to spend more time in my writing, not the rapid pace of Nanowrimo. I need to continue waking up every day and writing more, but do it methodically. That's what I hope I get out of this year more than anything: the will power to sit every day and write. We'll see. In the meantime, I'm a winner.
My appreciation of Marc Laidlaw's Jane is up at the EDSF Project. Give it a read and, more importantly, read the original story. And while you're at it, there's some other great appreciations like Matt Cheney on "High Weir" or Mike Morrow on "The Transcendent Tigers, and plenty of others.
Also, the Project is still looking for people to sign up for stories. There's more than 300 stories, many of which are science fiction classics, so pick out a story and write something about it.
Posted by Brian at 9:05 AM
Monday, November 28, 2005
Well, it was the Thanksgiving weekend but I still managed to get a lot of writing done. And then I took a day off Sunday, which was nice. Today, I got back to things and wrote another 3,000 words, the most I've done in one day. I'm trying to wrap things up and I'm at 49,820 words now. I'll definitely be done tomorrow.
My novel seems to be an "And Plot" type of story, as recorded in the Turkey City Lexicon:
Picaresque plot in which this happens, and then that happens, and then something else happens, and it all adds up to nothing in particular.
I think this is probably endemic to Nanowrimo. If you don't decide what the story is about at the beginning, you end up sending characters to one place, then another and they get in trouble and they get out of trouble and they never seem to go anywhere. That is definitely my problem. I got all tangled up at one point and the plot just sort of circled around a couple of things that don't much matter to the characters interior lives.
Anyway, that's what it is and I'm still very happy with having returned to Nanowrimo this year.
Hope everyone else is doing well and nearing the finish line.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
The links bar to the right may look a little odd for a while. I'm going to make some changes to it, make it more useful. Currently, I've added categories Authors, Online Fiction, and Random. There will be more categories to come and links will be sorted out. Some links will be removed, many will be added. It could take a while though. If you have any suggestions or other changes you'd like to see on this blog, use that button labeled comments below (or e-mail me at w3irdwrit3r at yahoo.com).
Posted by Brian at 3:22 PM
My characters are dealing with the death of that main character from two chapters ago. All rather sad, but necessary. I wrote another 1,700 words today.
I find it interesting that I write almost the exact same way everday. I wake up, avoid writing for about an hour. Then I write about 400 words in one big gulp. Then, I go do something else (laundry, dishes, reading, whatever) and waste another hour avoiding the story. Then I go back and do another 400 to 600 words. And then on and off for the next hour I write a paragraph here, a paragraph there, until I manage to get over 1,666. I almost always end over 1,700 words. This pattern continues almost every single day. Is my brain just geared to writing a certain number of words before a distraction is required? I remember reading that A.E. Van Vogt always wrote in 800 word chunks. He would work his characters into a problem in that many words, then go relax and think about the situation until he found a way out. I wonder if this kind of thing is common among all writers?
I'm up to 40,938, about a day and a half worth of writing ahead of where I have to be. I still would like to add some more to that, but tomorrow it's going to be hard to do that. And since I don't know if I'll be posting again, I'll just say happy Thanksgiving to all you Americans out there, and to everyone else, have a happy Nov. 24.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
I'm still a little worried that killing off that character yesterday may have been a bad move. He may have been an emotional center of the novel, although I'm not sure I ever pulled that aspect off. So instead, today's writing, all 1,800 words of it, was all action. People on motorbikes duking it out try to deliver a message. Fun stuff. Belongs, at best, to the pulps. Still, nothing wrong with that. The novel is now at 39,165 words. Just another 11,000 or so to go. I'm wondering if I can wrap this novel up in 50,000 words. If I don't, I guess it's not a problem, I'll just have to keep writing into December. I would hate to just drop the thing.
Jeffrey Ford has posted his short story "Bright Morning" at 14theditch. The story is one of the best (although its so hard to pick a "best" one) stories from The Fantasy Writer's Assistant and Other Stories. It's such a terrific collection, if you haven't picked it up by now, do it! It'll be the best thing you've done for yourself in years. (By the way, Matt Cheney was inspired by Ford's story post to put up a portion of the interview he did with Ford in Fantasy Magazine.)
I'm waiting now for The Empire of Ice Cream, Ford's next collection.
In other news, I got my copy of "The Cosmology of the Wider World" from Shocklines. I can't wait to read it, but I've kept away from fiction while I'm doing Nanowrimo. I'm sure I'll write more about it in December.
And one more thing, there are appreciations of Ford's "Empire of Ice Cream" and "The Scribble Mind," as well as Ford's own appreciation of Gardner Dozois' "Fairy Tale," up at the EDSF Project. Check them out, and while you're there, sign up for a story to appreciate. I should be sending my appreciation out in the next day or so.
Monday, November 21, 2005
Today I actually killed off a main character. I can't decide if it was a good idea or not. Too late now, I've got to plunge ahead with Nanowrimo. I'm up to 37,350 words, which is about a day ahead of where I need to be. I would like to gain a little more than that, because Thanksgiving weekend may be tough. We'll have to see if I can pad up the next few chapters.
Saturday, November 19, 2005
Have a few minutes to blog this weekend. I just completed Chapter 19, I'm now at 34,117 words. I am being so consistent, it's thrilling. My chapters all seem to naturally end at around the 1,700 word mark. The process feels great and even some of the chapters don't feel as lousy as they once did.
I've been taking to cliffhangers. Actually, every time I've done Nanowrimo, cliffhangers have inserted themselves into my work. I think it comes with working without a net. You just naturally lead your characters into some kind of trouble and the next day you try to figure out how to get them out. In my case, I've put three sets of characters into cliffhangers. Now I have to figure how to get each one of them out, keep the overarching plot moving and bring these three groups back together again. And I'm looking forward to it.
Friday, November 18, 2005
Damien Timmer, who has been lined up to executive-produce the show for Granada, told Broadcast the new series would take "liberties with the original" and would not retain its arty feel.
Well, of course its going to take liberties, but any creator saying it won't "retain its arty feel" worries me. Plus, there really is no need to remake the show. It's one of the few classics television has produced.
Posted by Brian at 3:53 PM
Not much to say about Nanowrimo today either. I did another 1,700 or so words. That seems to be my usual amount. I'm up to 32,374. Moving right along.
I do wonder how I can resolve my plot. I have plenty of action and things happening, but there's no overarching theme or story for the whole thing. I guess that's what happens when you don't plan out far enough and you're writing as fast as you can. Ah well, it's all grist for the mill. I'm sure I can use some of this stuff after I rewrite.
At Morrow Planet, Mike starts a new meme, based on this article. So show your geek cred and bold the novels you've read:
1. The HitchHiker's Guide to the Galaxy -- Douglas Adams
2. Nineteen Eighty-Four -- George Orwell
3. Brave New World -- Aldous Huxley
4. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? -- Philip Dick
5. Neuromancer -- William Gibson
6. Dune -- Frank Herbert
7. I, Robot -- Isaac Asimov
8. Foundation -- Isaac Asimov
9. The Colour of Magic -- Terry Pratchett
10. Microserfs -- Douglas Coupland
11. Snow Crash -- Neal Stephenson
12. Watchmen -- Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons
13. Cryptonomicon -- Neal Stephenson
14. Consider Phlebas -- Iain M Banks
15. Stranger in a Strange Land -- Robert Heinlein
16. The Man in the High Castle -- Philip K Dick
17. American Gods -- Neil Gaiman
18. The Diamond Age -- Neal Stephenson
19. The Illuminatus! Trilogy -- Robert Shea & Robert Anton Wilson
20. Trouble with Lichen - John Wyndham
12 out of 20, not too bad. Do I lose geek cred if I say I'd never heard of No. 20? I have read some of Wyndham's other work however.
Posted by Brian at 9:13 AM
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Wrote another 1,748 words, bringing me up to 30,657. Not too shabby I think.
I don't have much more to say about that, so let's talk a little about SciFiction and the EDSF Project. First off, more than a hundred people have signed up to the Project. That's great! But there's still hundreds more stories to be appreciated, so if you haven't already, go sign up to write about a story!
While you're there, check out some of the appreciations that have already gone up. (For instance, Jeffrey Ford's appreciation of Gardner Dozois' "Fairy Tale.")
In other places, La Gringa called Ellen Datlow, the editor of SciFiction, and checked on her well being. Gringa says:
Anyway, it was nice to talk to Ellen. She sounds upbeat and positive about the whole situation, and is looking toward projects for the future. She said that she's been overwhelmed by the kindness and grace flowing in her direction out of the skiffy community the past few days.
Well, my dear Miz Datlow, on behalf of the skiffy community at large, may I just say this?
You have earned this community's respect.
I would like to add my own voice to that. She most certainly has. Datlow's work has been a presence in my life for as long as I can remember reading science fiction, fantasy and horror, starting way back with Omni magazine and through her many anthologies and right up to her Year's Best work and SciFiction. And then there's the influence she's had on the field. She has brought so many great writers in and (from accounts I've read) has had a terrific influence on their writing. Ellen Datlow deserves a magazine created just for her editing, and it should be done immediately. Anybody got tens of thousands of dollars to spare to create a good magazine? It would be worth it.
Elsewhere, Charles Coleman Finlay looks at how online fiction is surviving and urges everyone to contribute to Strange Horizons. He also mentions some of the other great online fiction markets that deserve money and attention: Ideomancer, Infinite Matrix and Fortean Bureau. I would also add ChiZine to his list. And I'm sure there's more. Do what you can for them.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
With the death of SciFiction, people are looking for what they can do. Well, I offer two things.
First, write to email@example.com and tell them how you feel about SciFiction. Don't be insulting and don't slam the SciFi Channel. Instead, tell SciFi Channel why SciFiction is great and why you are disappointed in seeing it go and ask them to reconsider their decision. Who knows, if enough people do this maybe they will actually think about it.
Second, check out The ED SF Project. (I believe that stands for the Ellen Datlow SciFiction Project, but I haven't seen it spelled out.) It's a blog put together by Dave Schwartz to show appreciation for the five and a half years of great stories SciFiction has put up.
Here's my idea.
By my count there are 320+ stories archived at the site. I'm willing to bet that there are that many SF writers/critics/fans/what have you who have some sort of presence on the web. So I'm thinking, let's all of us write an appreciation of one of the stories.
Here's the list. There are plenty of stories left to be chosen. I encourage everyone to pick one and write something about it. I've picked Marc Laidlaw's "Jane."
With all the attention this thing is getting (its been linked to from Bookslut and BoingBoing as well as every science fiction blogger in the universe), I must say I'm slightly intimidated. Not to mention I'll be writing an appreciation alongside people like Jeffrey Ford, Jeff Vandermeer, Ted Chiang and god knows who else. But it's a great idea and I think everyone who loved SciFiction should get involved and pick out a story.
Don't know which story to write about? Go to the SciFiction archive and start reading. Everything there is good.
Posted by Brian at 11:44 AM
Today I wrote 1,700 words on my Nanowrimo novel (still without a title by the way). I wrote from a different character's perspective and I think the interaction between him and a military man was written pretty well. I think I captured the ego one-upmanship between them. I'll have to wait to re-read it before I can decide how well it turned out. As always, I'm doubtful of my own abilities. Tomorrow's chapter will head back to character viewpoints I've been writing from all along.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
I've reached the halfway point in Nanowrimo and I'm up to 27,199 words. Today started out slow. I found myself unable to avoid my Avoidance Techniques (patent pending) and slowly worked my way toward the novel. However, once I got started the plot rolled right along. I split a few characters up, brought a couple of them together and headed towards some confrontations. There was even an action scene today. Not bad for one set of 1,900 or so words. I'm feeling pretty good heading into the second half of November.
Mike at Morrow Planet is trying to catch up. He's currently at 20,023 words. But his dedication to writing has even inspired his daughter to say her first sentence. Congratulations Mike.
Monday, November 14, 2005
According to Rome's official Web site, the HBO show is coming back for a second season. This pleases me. I've been watching it all season long and was getting a bit worried about the show. There doesn't seem to be a lot of talk about it out there. This weekend's episode was particularly good with an extraordinarily bloody fight scene at the end.
The show isn't up to the quality of the Sopranos, but it's still one of the best things on TV right now. Anybody else watching this show? Like it or hate it, tell me what you think.
Posted by Brian at 3:47 PM
By now you've all heard the terrible news. SciFiction will be no more thanks to decisions made by the SciFi Channel. Here's Ellen Datlow's message about it. And there has already been some great commentary on this. And all of the links I've mentioned so far were really easy to find. I imagine there's a lot more people out there talking about this.
There's also Datlow's message board as well. Here's where they are discussing the loss. Of course, this means Datlow needs a job. Someone out there must be smart enough to create a magazine for her, or install her in one already in existence. She really is one of the best editors in the science fiction, fantasy, horror genres there is. This is the woman who discovered William Gibson. She has published all of the big names. I really hope she gets something new soon. In the meantime, check out her own Web site at Datlow.com.
This is a huge blow to the Internet science fiction community, as well as the science fiction community in general. SciFi channel is making a big mistake. How much could this be costing them? Certainly less than those crappy movies they make. And it adds prestige and, oh yeah, actual good science fiction to their channel. But prestige doesn't make you money.
There are other markets of course, but it's just sad to see. Take a look through the SciFiction archive and read some of the great stories available before the SciFi Channel takes them down.
UPDATE: You know, I'm starting to rethink some of my more sarcastic comments about SciFi Channel. I still think it's stupid for them to cancel SciFiction. However, I would like to note that it has been wonderful of them to put this up in the first place and to keep it running longer than most people thought it would. So, SciFi channel, thanks for what you have done for us, some of it has been really great. Now what are you going to do?
Posted by Brian at 1:02 PM
I do indeed fall behind on Nanowrimo on the weekends. I wrote every day, but each day was just short of the 1,666 minimum I need. I was ahead of the game before the weekend began and I wrote about 1,800 words today, so I'm probably still ahead of where I need to be. In fact, my word count is now over 25,000 words, so I'm more than half way there. And tomorrow is the half-way date. But each day does drag a little. As long as I don't try to overwrite (push myself too far beyond the 2,000 word a day goal) I seem to be OK.
At Fast Fiction, Cybele is only on her fourth writing day and she has more than 16,000 words. She says she's behind where she wants to be, but I can't see her not making it at this point.
Not too much other Nanowrimo news out there. Hope everybody's keeping their word counts up.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Not much to say really. Day 9 took slightly longer to get rolling, but still didn't take all that long in the end. I did about 1,800 words, which is not bad.
On the Web, well I haven't seen much actually. Mehitobel Wilson (who wrote a great horror story, The Mannerly Man," in The Darker Side) started up Nanowrimo only to be derailed by an actual writing contract. Can't blame her there. Also specficrider is up to 10,000 words.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
I've completed another 1,800 words today. My plot has moved along and some new complications have occurred to me. This is all to the good. I'm really happy with how easy this has been so far for me.
In the past, I've always met resistance pretty early and get behind. This year I'm ahead. My chapter process is working well. Part of the reason I believe that's helping me is that I don't try to do too much. I work on my idea and get it finished in 2,000 words (or thereabouts) and I don't try to move onto the next thing in the same day. Instead, I let my subconscious stew over the plot and characters and usually by the next morning I have somewhere to go with it all.
Anyway, I think that's why it's working. Who knows, maybe tomorrow I won't be able to write more than 100 words.
As for Nanowrimo on the Web, one thing everyone must check out is the blog Paperback Writer. In just the past few days, she has had Ten things for writers that cost nothing, 12 step editing and 10 things for Nanowrimo'ers. I'm going to be checking this blog out more and more often.
Found through Paperback Writer, Wired News has an article on Nanowrimo.
And that's it writing wise for me today. Good luck writing.
Monday, November 07, 2005
Well, I've made it through the weekend intact. I've written three more chapters, each over the 1,666 words and one over 2,000. I've got a total of 13,529 words now.
Things are going exceedingly well with Nanowrimo this year. Well, the writing sucks, so exceedingly might be an overstatement. But I'm not feeling stymied, it just seems to flow from me. Characters get deeper as I go, action develops and plot moves on.
Unfortunately, I still don't know where I'm going with all of this. I need to think further down the line and where all these characters are going to end up and what they are going to achieve. All in its good time though. In the meantime, I'm just glad things are working.
I see there is another blogger (and speculative fiction writer) who is doing Nanowrimo. Good luck Ruth Nestvold.
Friday, November 04, 2005
Another day complete. I wrote 1,919 words. Pretty good, best day since the first day. And it moved along well, no slow searching for where to go like yesterday. All well and good. But tomorrow begins the real test. It's the weekend. Normally, I'm not online (so don't expect much in the way of updates until Monday) and try to spend as much time with my fiancee as possible. Squeezing in some writing may be difficult. I know I can take out my AlphaSmart Neo in the morning and get some writing done while she watches her Food Channel shows. Unless of course we have some errands we have to do. An obstacle to be overcome.
In fact, this is where my chapter plan may run into problems. In past years, I could get a lot more words in ahead of time and not struggle the next day. (Although, I'd then end up struggling somewhere else down the line.) But with the chapters, I like to end one chapter and then spend one night thinking about the next. This way I come to it fresh and ready to go. But if I fall behind, making that up will be tough. Well, I'll report back on Monday and tell you how it all turned out.
Meanwhile, there's been some more writing about Nanowrimo.
At Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, the contest inspires Sarah to write about first novels, deadlines and rewriting.
At Return of the Reluctant, Edward Champion offers the writing advice of Jack Bunyan. It's not pretty.
Writer Jim Winter is using Nanowrimo to write his novel Road Rules, here's the category that has all the entries about it.
Paperback Writer offers ten things for Nanowrimo'ers.
And through that same Web site, I found a link to this piece of advice:
I am so insanely tired of all the nanowrimo idiots who post about their characters and how they have a journal and what they had for lunch... STFU about your novel. No one cares. STFU about your characters. You are an attention-starved moron.
And I've always been one to take good advice when I hear it, so good night and good luck for the weekend. See you for more of my attention-starved twitterings on Monday.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
[Heroin] turns them into thieves and liars.
It removes them from the social circle. All they are thinking about is junk.
They will do anything. They will sell everything they've got and steal yours and sell that.
You can't keep people from doing what makes them feel good. The reason they do heroin in the first place is because of the oblivion it gives them.
Lemmy's presentation wasn't light hearted. He meant it. Here's part of his motivation:
He met junkies on the music scene and described how one woman he lived with tried the drug "to see what it was like". She died within three years, and was one of many people he said he had known killed by heroin.
He explained how his hatred of the drug was so strong he once turned in a dealer to the police, who then went to jail. But he said the dealer was freed in about six months.
In another story, Lemmy's quoted on why the drug war doesn't work:
If you send a young heroin user to prison he will “certainly be a criminal when he comes out“.
“Probably, they will also be brutally sodomised by long-term prisoners and polarised against society in general, and force of law in particular.”
Reading from a pre-written speech, he went on: “You have tried heavier and heavier policing – it hasn’t worked has it?
“Know why? It’s because you cannot keep people from doing what makes them feel good.
“If a junkie has a regular supply of heroin, most are quite able to do a job.
“They will never rehabilitate until somebody – you – gives them a chance to.”
All this just makes me like Lemmy all the more. I saw Motorhead in concert back in the late '80s and they were terrific. Lemmy was practically a stand-up comedian on stage. And, of course, the music blew me away.
A few months back, I picked up Lemmy's autobiography "White Line Fever." This just makes me want to take it off the shelf and read it all the more.
And if you want more of Lemmy's sage advice, check out the Motorhead Speaks section of their Web site, where Lemmy answers questions like:
Q: Hi this is for Lemmy.
I am Oliver and I am starting a band. Do you have any tips and can you think of some band names for me? I have been a big Motorhead fan for years and I still am. I also came to see your concert at Apollo.
Lemmy: (1) Don't get any married men or men w/live-in girldfriends in the band! Names? Ripsaw/Stranglefoot - I dunno!! Good luck.
Posted by Brian at 3:29 PM
So, I've completed another 1,800 words today. It took me longer this time and I found myself easily distracted. However, my chapter idea still seems to work. I am usually able to round out an idea in at least 1,666 words. Still, I've yet to write anything I feel good about. This is to be expected from Nanowrimo, its purpose is just to cause writing, not to make it good. That's for later. But if one good sentence happened to pop out, it certainly would make me a tad happier.
There's been some interesting commentary about Nanowrimo online. CAAF of Tingle Alley has begun the event and finds herself already behind. Don't worry, you'll catch up. Just look at Cybele's stats from last year, and she made it.
Meanwhile, Meg Mccarron has some thoughts about the event:
NaNoWriMo annoys me for reasons I can't totally explain, and I suspect has something to do with snobbery, as much as it has something to with my (I think) more valid annoyance with the "No Plot? No Problem!" dictum and the Mo's popularization of wordcount bars. I can write 3,000 words of crap no problem. But then I have to delete them all. Because I had no plot. And that was a problem.
While she's grumpy about the whole thing, she is vaguely supportive of at least some people doing it. She elaborates in her comments section. It's certainly worth a read.
This in turn prompted David Moles to consider easy writing vs. hard writing. It's only slightly related to Nanowrimo, but is fascinating nonetheless.
Meanwhile, on the Morrow Planet, Mike blogs about the issues he's facing achieving 50,000. He also has a neat widget up showing his progress. I should get one for my site, but I'm just not sure I want to spend the time.
If you're looking for more wrimo antics, check out this Live Journal community.
So all in all, Nanowrimo is keeping the blogosphere busy. It's certainly giving me something to write about.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
My Nanowrimo novel continues. I've written another 1,700 words. So far so good.
In writing this year's novel, I tried a new approach. Instead of just writing my 1,666 words a day, no matter where it leads me, I structure my writing around chapters. Each day brings a new movement to the story. So if I make it through Nov. 30, I will have 30 chapters. I decided to do this because in the past I would find myself hung up, unable to move away from the setting, character or idea I was working on. How do I make the transition to the next one? If I had lots of time, I could have just worked over what I'd already written and see where it should go. Doing things by chapters, I'm forced to work on a new thought each day and each day complete that thought.
So today's chapter was the world's largest infodump. It was 1,700 words on the back story of a giant monster crossing America. My characters live in the after-effects of that crossing. If I revise this novel, this chapter would be the first thing to be edited out. I would much rather have the background exposed naturally through the course of the novel. But in doing this, it helped me get a stronger notion of what has happened and how I shall proceed from here.
Tomorrow, it's back to my main characters, including introducing a new one.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Well, my first day's work is complete. I've written 2,305 words, about 300 more than my goal and about 700 words more than what I usually get done. This could be my best start yet (although, unlike Cybele, I don't keep track of my progress each year.) The writing has started out very clunky, but that's how these things usually proceed. I'm not going to worry about that until it's all over.
I've already introduced a monster, mutants and a bit of background on my giant monster. So it should be at least some fun.
How's everybody else doing?