Saturday, April 19, 2014

Pumped from Using the Prompt

I came back from my "First Pages" Loft gig at Chanhassen Library today feeling really hyped.  I had a blast playing with some of the story idea generators with the participants.  We found a couple of really entertaining sites that I'm going to share with you...

The first is really best if used completely randomly (press 'fill in) and see what happens.  We got a completely zany storyline that included robots poking each other at a funeral. (Exactly, right?  I mean, that image is going to stick in my head... possibly until I figure out how to write it.)

The other one was slightly more useful.  This site offers a number of tailored options, including the one I ended up using with was 'how I got my superpowers.'

The prompt I got in response to 'how I got my super powers' was: FROM THE FAIRY.  I couldn't resist that one and ended up writing this little snippet...

They told me if I wanted to get superpowers, I had to buy them from the fairy.  The problem was you never knew what it’d cost you.  Fairies are fickle, you know.  Sometimes they just want something mundane.  I heard of a guy who got the power of invulnerability and all it cost him was a slice of Munster cheese.  Other times, they wanted too much, stuff no sane person would part with.  Sure, you’re immortal, but your body is gone, and you’re just stuffed teddy bear without even the ability to move or speak.
I don't know if I'll do anything more with it, but it's a fun start, don't you think?

Anyway, I have no idea if the participants (I hesitate to use the term students in this situation) got as much enjoyment out of the program as I did, but I hope so.  One of the challenges of the 'First Pages' program is that it's meant to be flexible.  That's a good thing, because it can mean that the "class" is tailored to individual needs, but it can also mean the instructor (me) does a lot of flailing around from subject to subject hoping to hit on something that works.  I felt very flail-ly, but I sincerely hope that since I had fun it means they did too.

We nominally have a subject to discuss, but this one was "Read to Write" and so the 'discussion' was meant to be structured around what books can teach us about writing.  Since, as far as I can tell, the answer is: everything, we talked about that for a while, but... well, that wasn't much of a sustaining sort of subject, you know?  Maybe if I'd had a blackboard we could have listed books that influenced our writing.  Perhaps, since I'll be doing this again in Roseville next month, I can start with that next time.

But, so after we'd exhausted that subject, I opened the floor up to questions.  What do you struggle with with your writing?  And, somehow from there, we got to plot generators, and silliness ensued.

Ultimately, as I said, I had a good time, if nothing else.  And, well, I guess, worst case scenario, they got what they paid for (it's free.)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

MangaKast, the Sixth

For those of you curious about my fannish side, you can feel free to listen in to the podcast that my son Mason and I record every Wednesday.  Wednesday is the day that the scantilations (fan scan translations) for a lot of our manga appear, so we get up at stupid o'clock and turn on the mic.  I can't say we're terribly articulate, given the time, but I still think we have a lot of fun.

We're up at: (remember the little "go" arrow is kind of hard to spot, but it's right there at the very top of the page.)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

New Installment of UnJust Cause Up!

I might have been writing up to the very last minute, but that just means this newest installment of UnJust Cause is HOT off the press!

You can read it here: UnJust Cause Part 4: Mochas and Motorcycles

In this installment, Alex discovers that demons have a weakness for mochas.  Also, it seems that the sexy redhead werewolf biker, Mac, is stalking her!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Writing Process Blog Tour

Is today!

So, here goes.

Step one: Acknowledge the person & site that involved you in the blog:

Step two: Answer the 4 questions below about your writing process:


What am I working on?

Just before I remembered I was supposed to do this today, I was working on the next installment for Precinct 13's sequel, UnJust Cause.  

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My agent used to say that I was "weird, but compelling."  I suspect that's a fairly accurate description of my writing.  I tend towards quirky characters.  For instance, in the scene I was just working on, my Muse suddenly decided that the demon Internal Affairs agent, Furfur, really, REALLY likes coffee and he's currently slobbering all over a mocha in a disturbingly semi-sexual way.

Why do I write what I do?
I tend to find Real Life (tm) kind of boring. I'd much prefer it if the world was populated by magic-sword wielding shinigami and/or dragon shifters.  I can't actually imagine how tedious it would be to write an entire novel about a dysfunctional family.  But, add a touch of magic, and I'm totally there.

How does your writing process work?

In the case of UnJust Cause I have a narrative outline that I developed as a proposal for this novel, which I refer to when I get stuck or can't remember what plot point I'm supposed to be hitting.  Otherwise, I just start and see where things take me.  I'm an odd combination of a pants-er and an outliner.

This novel is also different in that I've set myself a very simple goal of having at least 2,000 words ready to publish once a week.  So, I'm trying to structure these so that each little individual section has a bit of a story arc... or at least ends on a kind of cliffhanger that will make readers want to tune into the next week's installment.  That's a little different than my usual writing process, which shoots to do that kind of arc in an entire chapter.

Otherwise, I spend a lot of time writing a bit and then wishing the Internet would either be more or less entertaining than it is.


Step Three: Pick who is on next week (your own chosen three) – give a little bio and link to their website.

Whelp, the people I asked never got back to me, so I'm afraid I'm a dead-end in the blog roll.