Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Prompt the Muse #26 - Speculative Writing Prompt

Image: Iapetus
There is something dark covering the land, and a character has stumbled across this phenomenon. How did he/she find it? Is it malevolent, beneficial, or neutral? What is it made of, and what does the character plan to do now that this discovery has been made? Answer in 250 words.

Image Credit:  Saturn's moon Iapetus, NASA/Cassini

Saturday, February 19, 2011

New Projects Amidst the Snows and Melts

Photo: Crystal Grotto in Snow
While I wasn't surprised at the usual December rush and January catch-up, I was indeed surprised by the overall magnitude of catch-up. So while the snow variously piled up and melted away (iterate) outside, I was busy inside, trying to finish edits to my novel and keep up with paperwork for a poem to be published in an anthology.

Although I did not keep my blogging schedule, I can at least say I kept my overall writing schedule. But since this blog, and your blogs, remain very important to me, I have once again renewed my commitment to blogging, and have returned - hopefully refreshed and invigorated to tackle the challenges of 2011. Or to continue to tackle them, since the year certainly started off in the fast lane for writing projects.

My novel with the working title "A Warm Day in Hell" is now edited and ready to go for further critique, if necessary, and publishing, if I can hone in on the skill and luck necessary to make that happen.  I'll be taking it to "The Muse in the Marketplace" conference in Boston later this spring.  It should be a great meeting for networking, learning more about how to approach the issue of publishing, and hopefully a chance to get my novel one step closer to the printed page.

Late last year my poem "Officemate" was selected for publication in an anthology being produced by the Maryland Writer's Association.  The book is close to rolling off the presses, so soon I should be able to tell you more about it.  I can already say the Association has been quite proactive in setting up readings, events, panels and more to give area poets a chance to meet, mingle, and present their art.  I am looking forward to participating in a reading or two in the spring and summer, and perhaps attending a writing conference if my schedule permits.

In addition, of course, is this blog.  I have really enjoyed my association with other writers in the blogosphere, and want to expand that.  I've forged a few good partnerships on deviantArt and I think the art helps keep my posts fresh, interesting, and useful (definitely for me, anyway, and hopefully for you, too.)  I've wanted to make sure my own project updates were included on the blog, but were not the focus.  The focus is on writing.  Along with that I did want to continue my 'weekly' writing prompts.  My goal is an archive of about 100, to use as an educational tool, a fun activity, and to keep my own creative wheels turning.  I thought it would take two years to build, but given the pace it is looking like three or four.  They call that the 'Planning Fallacy'  :)

Those are my most concrete goals for the year, but other ideas continue to percolate.  I am working sporadically on two other novels, one a stand alone book, and another a part of the sci-fi series I've been kicking around for so long.  I've been trying to produce a body of short stories to publish, say 25 or so, as a means to hone the craft and get some name recognition, but that goes slowly.  I have eight right now, and I have not worked very hard to get them out on the street.  As always, I'd rather be writing than anything else, and that is not too practical if the goal is publication.  Otherwise, I have my eye on producing a chapbook of poetry centered on my theme from last year, 'the horror of childhood.'  I have about a dozen good drafts in the theme, and want to work through NaPoWriMo (A poem a day in April) to see if I can manage to get the number up to two dozen.  And of course I'll rifle through my ideas and outlines for novels come November, and jump in once again on NaNoWriMo.

That is enough.  It is certainly plenty.  And yet I actually hope I can do more.  I've been kicking around an idea for a workshop for other writers.  This would be something I would offer to writers of science fiction, given my own background in planetary science and astronomy.  One idea was a workshop about why water is considered necessary for life as we know it and the basics of astrobiology, so sci-fi writers can be more informed about the topic when they create their own life, alien or otherwise.  It would be an enjoyable way to meet other writers, and to give something of value to the community.  So the first question for you, is this ... if you as a speculative writer could attend at workshop given by a professional astronomer-type, what subject would most grab you?  What do you hope you'd walk away with?

I'm interested to know how others have set up their goals for the year.  Has 2011 started with a mountain of projects, or has it moved in nice and easily?  What are your major milestones, and your 'if everything goes perfect' plans?  Any meetings or conferences in the works?  Plans for your blogs?  I'd love to hear it ...


Image Credit:  Crystal Shrine Grotto, Wikimedia Commons, CC 3.0