April 25, 2015 Burnaby Creative Ink Festival

Sandra Wickham’s invited me to do a Blue Pencil Café at her new writing convention, the  Creative Ink Festival in Burnaby, BC.

Modeled on the usual SF/F con, the day is all about writing.  I’m hoping it’s a success for Sandra. It’s a good place to meet other authors and learn about publishing and writing.

I’ll be blue-penciling script scenes at 11 am there. So, signup if you want some help on tv or film scenes! I might read from my novel in progress later in the day.

http://www.sandrawickham.com/creativeinkfestival/

The venue is the EXECUTIVE SUITES HOTEL & CONFERENCE CENTRE BURNABY.

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February 2015

It’s spring weather here in Vancouver. Time to get focused for the writing year.
I have put a lot on my plate, but for me this is the way to do things. I never really know what’s gonna turn out the very best, but if I concentrate on one project, sometimes that one goes nowhere. It’s better to have several ongoing. I think this also helps me to create excitement in my own head.

The novel needs to be done and rewritten. I’m now aiming for the end of the first draft, hard. Then I need to get to the rewriting.

I have one or two short stories I want to write, too. I currently have 4 stories out doing the rounds. There are markets I’d love to be published by – from On Spec in Canada to TOR.com and F&sf or Asimov’s – but I’m pleased to find a fair number of new markets. It’s been a really long time since I wrote short stories and I’m loving it at the moment. It gives me a real feeling of satisfaction to complete a story and email it out.

I’ve finished the Blake Snyder book ‘Save The Cat’. It’s intrigued me enough that one of my next possible projects is to follow his method along to see if it really can help me to write a big movie script. I liked the book and felt like I was learning, which is great.

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December musings

I’m starting the preparation for the big day – Christmas Day when I cook like I’m expecting a whole army but get only a small platoon.

What’s the ‘writer’ career up to during holidays? Especially vaca time away from busy corporate writing job?

So far, I’ve worked on changing a short story into a movie idea. It’s for a contest looking for dark SF, fantasy or horror shows. I normally don’t / can’t enter contests as they’re for people who haven’t sold yet or aren’t members of the WGC or WGA. But this one is a good excuse to adapt a story I have.

Also, I cook and see friends. No one does any real business this time of year in tv. Or film.

I’m also reading. I love books on writing. My newest acquisitions are kobo versions of Save The Cat by Blake Snyder and Max Adams updated version of one of my favorites The New Screenwriter’s Survival Guide.

Max Adams’ book is mostly for full-time movie writers but there are great tips for all of us.

I wish I’d re-read her chapters on agents before continuing with an agent who absolutely couldn’t sell me as a writer. Nice guy but not for me. I was too involved in trying to make a living and developing my day-job career as a tech writer to think about it.
To be fair, too I also didn’t generate the number of scripts needed per year to become a movie writer. The third time I turned down a gig from him, he dropped me which was expected, too. But the gigs weren’t totally ‘writing’ and not good enough to replace the day job.
Now I think I’ll be working on the prose and tv/film and only look for a new tv agent when I have a good portfolio built up.

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Ali Matheson photo gingerbread typewriter

 

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Christmas cactus blooming

 

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November Writing Initiative

November 30, 2014

At the end of the NaNoWriMo initiative.

I reached  14,038 words in November. This was an achievement for me and is more than usual.  I did some short story work and some on my novel. A ‘win’ there is 50,000 words. That’s hard to do, even for professional writers like me.  Plus, I’m doing a corporate day job, living my life, raising the child, cooking, cleaning, et cetera.  I can’t just lock myself up like people with supportive spouses can.

Also, to be fair, I got sidetracked by some television work I was doing (more on that in another post), which took a couple of weekends from me.

I highly recommend the wonderful pep talk by SF author Brandon Sanderson. I really love his analogy about the scuba diver.  If you love to write, keep writing.  I think he’s onto something there.  I’m not as happy when I’m not writing. Life keeps intruding :) but it’s all material, too.

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November

Robert Sawyer announced he was going to do the National novel writing month sprint earlier today. I looked it up and decided that it sounded like a great idea. Robert is a very good SF writer and some of his work has been made into great TV as well. Check out his site at http://www.sfwriter.com (yes, he has that URL.)
So, today I signed up at http://nanowrimo.org
They suggest you try to write a 50,000 novel in the month of November. It’s a great deal of writing for a busy single mum with a corporate job, but it’s also a good challenge for me. November’s usually a hard month for me, so it could be good to be very busy.
I will try to use the initiative to finish my novel. I’m at 57889 words now. I need to get to the end. I don’t know how many words it’ll take to get to the end, but that’s what I’m aiming for.

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Stettler Museum Typewriting machine from the Stettler Independent

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VCON 39

J and I attended VCON last weekend in Surrey, BC. She wore the costumes and had fun with friends in the video and paper gaming rooms. I sewed her an Aurora dress. I love to sew but don’t do it much. It’s creative.
I was on several panels and moderated one. It was great fun! I used to love hosting on radio and apparently still have the skills!
I met a couple of fans of Cybersix – sadly the other tv series I’ve written for don’t have fans 👎 but what can you do?
The discussions about critiquing, inspiration, and writing advice were really interesting. I love SF gatherings mostly for the friends. It was also the national awards so we saw lots of Canadian greats like William Gibson, Spider Robinson and Rob Sawyer there to receive awards.
I got to catch up with my old friends including Dr. Robert Runte who is now editing books for FiveRivers publishing.

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Upcoming Appearance – VCON 39

It’s that time of year again! VCON the local annual science fiction and fantasy convention is coming.  I usually attend and meet old friends.  Also, act as costume assistant for Jessica.  She constructs some great costumes – the cyborg tree for example!

This year I’m a panelist again!  It’s fun to be on panels and interact with other authors. It’s a great way to meet new writers and editors.  VCON is fairly small so I doubt that there will be agents there, but I’ve met book agents at cons.  Some small publishers such as Five Rivers and Edges SF will be in attendance, too. They offer  ‘pitches’ session for novels. As a prose writer, you can learn a lot at a good convention. This one is also the Canadian national awards host for this year: Canvention 34.  This is a very prestigious set of awards, called the Auroras- given for outstanding performance in several arenas of SF/F art.  It includes writing, art and media. (Full Disclosure: I have 2.)

If any of y0u would like to join us, see:   Information on VCON.

I’m doing 3 panels: Everyone’s a Critic, Finding Inspiration and Best Writing Advice Ever.

IMG_0173I’m also pleased to announce I’m moderator on a panel with the top writer guest there: David Weber.  He’s a well known and respected military SF writer.  Maybe best known for his Honor Harrington series, he has an interesting new Safehold series out.  I read Off Armageddon Reef recently.  See information about David Weber.

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Challenges of writing in the summer

At 56000 words of novel. A week off really helped. I multi-task like a crazy thing most of the time. It takes it’s toll.
Some nights I wake up thinking- did I send that last email before signing off day-job computer? One of my rules is no going back on till the next scheduled work period. I learned to do this after getting up and emailing producers (Lynne Booth and Larry Raskin) at 3 am. Larry kindly convinced me that nothing in our documentary show was that urgent.
So, now I separate my ‘work lives’ as much as I can. The home computer has my novel on it. There is no tech writing on my IPad, etc.
I really got a lot of words done on my novel during my week off– about 6 thousand! But, alas, today it’s back to the corporate job, dance lesson ferrying and, soon, child in new school.
No wonder people dream of a solely creative writing career. I can’t do it – unless my ship comes in, I sell big time, or my teaching gig goes full-time (unlikely ) ! But then again, I often create new stuff under pressure!

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