Friday, March 30, 2007

Betty's Story

Gwenda and Meghan redress the gender balance on the Hugo ballot through the magic of parallel-universe-portal Internet software.

It's nice (or maybe it's depressing?) to know that somewhere in the multiverse George is talking about how to get men onto the ballot.

But what's really interesting to me is reading Betty's story.

(Kind of humbling, actually, all that that reveals about my oh-so-very-posthuman future...)

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Podcast of "Start the Clock"

Stephen Eley's Escape Pod is podcasting a series of dramatic readings of science fiction and fantasy stories, and this week's issue does my story "Start the Clock".

The reading by Chris Fisher is marvelous -- particularly her take on Suze's character and tone. She sounds a lot like the way Suze sounded in my head when I was writing that story.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007


photo credit: Holly Black/Kelly Link/Gavin Grant model: Holly Black's cat

Making Light reports that "The House Beyond Your Sky" is on the Hugo Ballot... up against Tim Pratt, Robert Reed, Bruce McAllister, and Neil Gaiman! Wow!

(Congrats also to Tim, Paul Melko, Charlie Stross, Gordon, Gardner, Sheila, LCRW, Sarah Monette, Frank Wu, Scalzi, and everyone else on the ballot. I wish I was going to Tokyo!)

(p.s. if you don't get the cat thing, go here)

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Teeth Gritted, He Forces Himself to Post About the Novel-in-Progress

Zero words on the chart for today, though I did actually make it to (pace Scalzi) the cafe by 8:45 or so; after a depressed half an hour looking through a newspaper, I managed to do some scribbling in the direction of an outline.

OK, "outline" is an exaggeration. I have no idea what this book entails, what is going to happen. I sort of feel like I know what it's about in terms of theme and idea; but how these characters are going to do anything satisfying plot-wise, I haven't the faintest. I fear the whole thing will be an ungainly wreck.

So say I don't need an outline: say an Octavia-Butler-style sentence would do. I wrote one of those.

I still feel like I'm drowning.

At this point in a short story, one big push -- one leap of faith -- would do it. One crazy planning/dreaming/writing jag, and the whole thing might cohere into a shape, and then it would be one frenzied gushing of words until the end. Like when I wrote the zeppelin story, say -- there's a moment when the protagonist (the other me) finally asks himself "hold on; an assassin, AND pirates, AND a war-city all at once? Surely this can't be coincidence?" I was at that moment myself in the writing of it; I'd just been piling on one pulp extravagance after the other, and suddenly reached a panicky moment of wondering -- how is this going to cohere?

But in a story that size -- well, it was a scary hour or so, but pretty soon a way for it to cohere bubbled up from the sunken burrows of my brain; and after that I knew the plot, and it was one rattletrap, breakneck ride through the first draft to what I thought was the ending (David Moles balked at that ending later, and forced me to come up with a better one, but that's another story).

I'm pretty sure this strategy is not going to work in a novel. And certainly not at this point -- only 17,574 words in. (A shortish novel is 90,000 or so.) The outlines are only just emerging. I have plenty more blundering to do.

I sort of thought I knew what this book looked like. It had a single main character. He had a problem. It would just follow him until he solved that problem.

It was going to be easy.

But about 10,000 words in, that character ran into a dead end; and after fretting for a while, I took a flying leap and just went on, by creating a whole new point-of-view character in a whole new milieu.

The connection between Siob and Fift -- those are the characters -- is a thematic connection, not an energetic one. I felt like I needed a new place to stand for thematic reasons -- that I had to look through someone else's eyes now, or the book would be thin and false.

But is that a good idea? Can I pull off on the plot level what theme has pushed me into? Will the two storylines be able to meet and merge and carry each other?

Or have I just blundered into a swamp? Will I end up throwing away everything I'm writing now?

Currently, the spreadsheet tells me, we're looking at mid-March 2008 for a finished first draft.

I hate this.

Tell me it gets easier.

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Noah and Aviva Review the Cinema

Why do you like Popeye?
A: Because he can do amazing things.
N: Because I like scary men.

Why do you like Charlotte's Web?
A: Because Charlotte is so smart.
N: Because I like pigs.

Why do you like My Neighbor Totoro?
A: Because Mae is so brave.
N: Because I like trolls.

Why do you like Dora?
A: Because Dora is adventurous and so am I.
N: Because I like monkeys.

Why do you like Spirited Away?
A: Because Haku is so nice to Chihiro.
N: Because I like pigs.

Why do you like Arthur?
A: Because Arthur is so good at many things and I think he would like me and he solves his problems really well.
N: I don't like Arthur.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Noah on Conflict

Ben: Noah, who do you think would win if Popeye and Bugs Bunny had a fight?

Noah: Daffy Duck!

Ben: Wow, good point.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Dad and Me

My Dad just called to say that if you Google "rosenbaum time quantum", he is hit three (is that citing this? ) and I am hit four.

Isn't that cute?

Even cuter: "Super Hilbert Space and the Quantum-Mechanical Time Operators" came out the same year I did. And, yes, Dad consulted on "Ylla's Choice".

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Scalzi for President

Allow me to offer my endorsement of Mr. Scalzi for the august office of SFWA President.

Before I can write him in, though, I have to find my ballot... or figure out how to vote online. Does anyone know if this is possible? Or do I have to find the actual piece of paper?

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Novelistic Exhibitionism Teaser Meme

via Moles, Barzak, and Bond:

Turn to page 123 in your work-in-progress. (If you havenít gotten to page 123 yet, then turn to page 23. If you havenít gotten there yet, then get busy and write page 23.) Count down four sentences and then instead of just the fifth sentence, give us the whole paragraph.

Fift's parental cohort were mostly liberal Kumruists. That is to say, they were adherents of a religion which frowned on prenatal polysomatic engineering while it venerated the act of birth as a central mystery. Competition for who was to bear his single initial body had thus, naturally, been intense, and it was no surprize that the Younger Sibling of that particular Struggle was Mother Pip. Pip, a grand, fat, intimidating personage, very high-strung for a Pale, had had himself specifically outfitted with ovaries, uterus, and vagina, and required the rest of Fift's parents to acquire penises, the week of the (very traditional) impregnation.

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Friday, March 2, 2007

Disasters strike!

Twenty-three small disasters is live at ideomancer!

I'm really, really eager to know what people think of this experiment. The stories link to each other, and there should be a hanging-together-ness if you read the whole thing.

Thanks again to my excellent collaborators Chris, Greg, Kiini, Meghan, Tim, and Elad.


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