A3Writer: December 2012
1001 Nights (3) Abraham (11) Aphrodite (3) Apocalypse (6) Apollo (4) Arabian (3) Artemis (5) Athena (3) Bard (1) Ben Slater (13) Bible (33) Celtic (2) Character File (2) Chinese (1) Christian (1) Conferences (29) creation myths (15) Criminalelement (11) Dark Winds (22) Demeter (10) Don Iverson (4) Eden (5) Enchanter (16) essay (9) F3 (343) Fairy Tales (14) Family (2) Flood Myth (8) Flynn (66) Greek (43) Guest (1) Hades (10) Hindu (2) History Prof (21) Holiday (12) Holiday Myths (6) Incan (1) Iranian (2) Japanese (1) Job (21) Knowledge Myths (3) Library (8) Life (121) Love Gods (4) M3 (137) map (13) Matt Allen (100) Metamyth (5) Misc Flash (36) monthly chart (21) Movies (6) Myth Law (2) Myth Media (4) NaNoWriMo (20) Noah (5) noir (9) Norse (10) Odyssey (7) Persephone (13) Persian (1) Poseidon (1) Prometheus (5) publishing (24) ramble (111) Review (1) Sam Faraday (22) Sci Fi (15) science (1) Serial (17) short story (14) Spotlight (8) Storm Riders (45) Teaching (136) Tech (18) Transformation (5) Travel (27) TV (10) TV Myth (1) Underworld (6) Vacation (15) vampires (18) W3 (11) Writing (166) Writing Tools (15) Zeus (7)

Monday, December 31, 2012

Sublimating Personality


Voice is one of these hard things to really define. It generally follows a “we know it when it’s there, and know when it’s not there. It’s very hard for a writer to not recognize at least some of his own voice in what he writes.
For one assignment in grad school I was attempting to write my own version of the introduction to Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire. I remember the feeling I got as I was writing it, I felt like I was nailing the style and prose. When I finished I printed it out and proofed it as I walked to the campus.
What astonished me most was that I couldn’t see myself in the writing. I had used such a different style, such a different voice, that I was no longer the author. I felt like I was coming at this writing, my own piece of writing not two hours old!, as someone to a fresh book. It was as close to an out-of-body experience as I’ve come.
That was the experience that really taught me what voice was, and marked a significant advancement in my abilities as a writer.

Friday, December 28, 2012

F3 Baby New Year

"Time is funny. The celebrations and beliefs of man make it more so, for why would the yearly solar revolution have any effect on the fabric of Time? Yet on the last day of a rotation, an old man, made old by the number of days as if each was a year, breathes his last. And as the first light of that new day strikes the planet, Time births a newborn."

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Road Trekkin'


I'm off to the fabled land of Texas to see friends (who are more like family) for a wedding. So I should be able to load up on BBQ and Round Rock Doughnuts. Yum. I love a good road trip.

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Better Time of Year


I'm something of a Christmas nut. I love the holiday. I love the idea of people treating one another better at this time of year. I wish we didn't need the excuse of the holiday. I always loved the song "Silver Bells". The idea of people smiling as they pass each other warms my heart. I hope that everyone will take the time this holiday, whatever your beliefs, to smile and think how wonderful life can be if we all did a little bit to bring joy to other people. Wish someone well. Hold the door open. Smile.
Let's see if we can make life a little better for a little while. Once we nail that, we can work on the rest of the year.

Friday, December 21, 2012

F3 Jack Frost

"You want to run that by me one more time?" I asked Jack.
"I really don't. It's tedious." Jack answered.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tech Tools for Teaching


So I experimented in teaching with interactive fiction on flash drives for my students, and now I've decided to incorporate the flash drives in other types of projects.
One of the projects I have my students do is to review a mystery movie. In groups they watch the film for clues. In the past I would have to conduct this all myself, showing clips upon a majority vote. Now, with VLC portable and its bookmarks feature, students will be able to review the film in their own groups, watching only those clips they find important to their particular case.
I'm eager to try this out, and already trying to come up with more ways to integrate the flash drives into my teaching.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Monsters


            A dear friend of mine runs a composition class with a theme of monsters. In it she has the class go through and look at some common monsters, then expand the idea to other things. They've been very creative in how they approach the problem critically to define monsters as social ills, obsession with status, material gain, and other things.
            In the wake of Newtown, I think it's time we acknowledge that there are truly monsters in the world. And we made them.
I'm not talking about guns.
We didn't intend to make them, didn't realize we were making them. They were not grown in Dr. Frankenstein's lab or on the Island of Dr. Moreau, but we still made them.
Then we turned blind eyes to the making of them.
I didn't know the shooter in Newtown, CT. I didn't know the shooter at the Sikh Temple in Wisconsin. I didn’t know the shooter in Aurora, CO. I don't think most people knew them, either. But I know that people are not born wanting to kill others. They're not born wanting to slaughter children.
We made them that way. Into monsters.
It's time to stop pointing fingers. Stop trying to patch the problem. Stop politicizing.
We need to make them human again.
We don't let them ever become monsters, and we stop the monsters.

Friday, December 14, 2012

F3 Last Stand of the Indus

The ship rocked under another explosion.
“Hull breach on deck three. Bulkheads are down and sealing it off.”
“Helm, bring us around in a tight turn.”
Flynn stood at the weapons console behind Captain Jacobie. He leaned in as the ship executed the turn. The kinetic struts flared to life on the ship’s status console. One of them flashed to red, then to black.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

D-Day


The first time I taught a class. The first time I taught mythology. The first time I taught creative writing. The great experiment of letting my classes decide syllabus policies. The interactive fiction experiment.
And all the times I've submitted a query letter or pitched to an agent.
I'm not talking about butterflies, though they are there. It's D-Day, the day when it all happens, when plans and preparations become reality. It's daunting and exciting at the same time. The point of no return. The daunting part comes from not knowing if I've done everything I can and should to properly prepare. The exciting part is watching to see it all happen. The successes often outweigh the failures. I'm teaching a brand new class in the summer, so that makes my list. I'm still plugging away at my space opera, and who knows if it'll go anywhere, so that's on the list, too.
It seems that my life, both writer and teacher, is full of these projects with D-days. I know from reading other authors that this doesn't go away.
And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Down Time


Last winter break I spent the entire time working on teaching, much to my personal detriment. I need the down time. I need to be able to set the teaching burden aside for at least a few weeks despite the ideas that will be churning through my head.
Time to crack open the idea book and unleash them in writing. The people in my head get some more breathing room.

Friday, December 7, 2012

F3 Faerie Work

The coin made a high arc through the air before it bounced once on my desk, then spun counterclockwise in a tight spiral. As it spun the color registered, letting me know this wasn't a quarter, not unless they made one out of gold. The coin finally spun to a stop with the face of a harp staring up at me.
Not him again. "Michaleen."

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Conference Tips


Crimebake was a massive success for me personally. Not only did I get to hang out with writers and participate in workshops in a genre I love, I made some great friends, learned a lot, and made great contacts in the publishing world.
So here are my tips for a successful writer’s conference:
1. Stay loose. Yes, there are going to be some great workshops, but you shouldn’t plan on going to all of them or feel constrained to stay in one that isn’t working out for you. Go find a different workshop, go to the bar, get in a conversation with people.
2. Two Follows on one. Go to the bar. This really should be mandatory, especially if you’re wanting to make contacts in publishing. Agents and editors hang out with one another in the bar. They’re not writers, so they don’t get much from some of the workshops, aside from the ones they run.
3. Hang out with people. Everyone is there to meet someone else, so join a conversation. You don’t want to take over, but there’s nothing wrong with hanging out and at least getting recognized.
4. Be you. Don’t try to impress people. Don’t try to be what you think people want you to be or what you should be. The friends I made at this conference were because I was my usual obnoxious, sarcastic self. There’s a group for you in the conference.
I could probably go on and on, but really that’s the essence of it. Enjoy yourself and make friends. Don’t stress about finding an agent and getting published.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Post NaNo


I did NaNo on the QT this year. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. With tons of grading, running a brand new project, more grading, a writing conference, Thanksgiving, and more grading, I just didn’t think it was going to be possible. NaNo was going to be the thing that I had to give up.
But there was no harm in at least starting it. If I didn’t make it, no problem. And there were quite a few times, especially during the conference, where I didn’t do any writing at all.
NaNo is something I will probably always attempt because it neatly sums up the writing life. There are always going to be things going on, and if you don’t make your words for the day, that’s okay. The important thing is to keep pushing forward. Keep adding to that word count.