Friday, October 29, 2010

For Writing and Writers: There's No Place Like Home?

photo by denny s. bryce, south beach, florida, 2010

Have you ever seen a spot, a room, an island, a whatever, that has shouted - this is the perfect place to write? A haven where you feel positive you'll be able to write, write and write? No? Well, I guess we're in the same boat.

I've spent most of October writing on the road. Business travel has been eating up my life. But I've managed to keep up with writing, but not so much new words as editing and polishing (which is a familiar rut I tend to get into when I'm on the road a lot). But a friend asked me recently - have you found that place where you know you've just got to be? He wasn't necessarily talking about writing, but that's where I took it. And I thought I'd found a place (a bed and breakfast in Maui:), but everyplace I go is just another place to pull out a book, pull out my laptop and 'go' wherever my characters want me to go. So, the answer to the question is there's no place like the 'home' inside your mind when it comes to writing - at least for me.

But tell me, is there a spot you go that is your favorite place to write? Or a house you've been that has a dream room, porch or view that inspires you beyond belief? Tell me about it.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

What's at Stake? I Think I Need to Know, You Know?

More Fun Graphics available at NaNoWriMo.org!

Before diving into today's topic, I need to spend a moment on November.

Yes, I"m on board for 2010 NaNoWriMo. Are you? I want to expand my buddy list - need all the support I can get:). So please find me (Denny S. Bryce); or just reply here and I'll find you! If you've never done NaNoWriMo before - this is the year to get it done! (Note: I always say this and haven't finished once in the past four years. But, never say die!)

In other news: I'm on a mission and here it is: I have to figure out what's at stake in my story? I also must nail down the premise and the story question. Sounds simple? Well, apparently not in my book (double-meaning is deliberate:).

What put this top of mind (because I've been down this road before, read all the right books, took all the right workshops and writing classes, so why now?) Because getting better ain't easy. But the impetus for this focus is The 2010 Heart to Heart Contest at SFW-RWA.

I came in second place in the final in the Paranormal category! Hoorah! However, I didn't get a request for the manuscript - full or partial. In the score card arena, I received mostly 4s and a couple of 3s, but it's the 3s that made be sit up and pay attention. And although I should, and although I thought I had, I didn't have a clear picture of the answers to the following questions regarding my manuscript: What's at stake in the world? What's the story premise? What's at stake for my heroine? I keep thinking I know this, but not always...

So, I found this article - click here - by Bill Johnson.  I know I've read this before in dozens of books and heard it any number of times, but this article (an oldie, too) is working for me now. I'm also excited about a class I signed up for with Gotham - multi-time published, romance writer, author, and teacher, Leigh Michaels is the instructor for the online romance writing course at Gotham Writer's Workshop. So this will be fun!


Finally, check out some Steampunk links below. When I was at Phauxcon two weeks ago, I got some great info from the folks there you might enjoy!


Monday, October 4, 2010

Commander Black and Commander Brown

Photos snagged from Internet by Denny S. Bryce

Twitter buddy and fellow 2010 RWA National Conference attendee, Ricki Schultz put up a challenge today on her blog  - she needed a scare:). Okay, I said, recalling a short thing I wrote a few years back for a writing class. It was so creepy - it creeped me out and I wrote it ... lol! So, I decided to share with my blog readers a well as with Ricki!




Commander Black and Commander Brown

Two giant wolves, Commander Black and Commander Brown, were standing on snow banks outside the kitchen window of their grandmother’s house. The snow had fallen for days and the garage, the steps leading to the front door and the driveway, were all buried beneath tons of it. There was no way out for two eight-year old children. And all alone, they were terrified that the beasts would find a way to get inside.

But Grandmother said Chrissie and John were the two smartest children on the planet. Brighter than anyone ever and more resourceful than any two children born.

They ran up to hug her, proud of being so smart, but she pressed her round body against the wall, holding them off with an outstretched arm. Her big belly shook with something akin to fear.

Grandmother wasn’t as strong as Chrissie and John would have liked. But the wolves were strong. Powerful haunches, closely spaced narrow eyes, slanted with hatred. Chrissie told John she could hear their thoughts, and they wanted to kill, butcher the children, and chew them up mercilessly, like two little pigs.

John wasn’t certain what mercilessly meant, but he didn’t doubt Chrissie’s warning. They’d have to kill the wolves, kill them with a thought. They’d done it before. With the rats in the barn and the spiders in the basement. They’d even advanced to larger prey.

Right then, Grandmother flew down the stairs, landing at the bottom, twisted and quiet. She hadn’t been pushed. They’d been sitting on the sofa in the living room, watching the TV flicker, when they’d stared at each other and thought up her fall.

If they could do that, they could certainly kill Commander Black and Commander Brown.

By Denny S. Bryce

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Star Trek, YA, Steampunk and Me:)!

Photo of Captain Riker snagged from internet by Denny S. Bryce

Once a year for the past six years, I've attended an event called Phauxcon in Philadelphia. How I learned about this event isn't as important as the experiences I've had over the years and the people I've met and gotten to know. From notables (in the world of writing) such as Jim Butcher, L.A. Banks and Lawrence Schoen (a 2010 Hugo Award Nominee for his short story The Moment), and a laundry list of creative, obsessed, delightful women and men, who are professionals, businesspeople, artists, designers, writers, you name it. They take a day or a day and a half out of their busy lives to talk about their passions -- whatever those passions might be -- within the realm of popular culture. Let me emphasize the event attracts about 15 people on average - almost 40 the year Jim Butcher joined the fray, but it's always been small, intimate and friendly - but most of all, for me at least, informative.

This year I learned that "the sky is blue, and I am your god" (you had to be there:); Captain Riker of Star Trek fame belongs to only one woman who lives in Philadelphia; Deep Space Nine has been added to my Netflix cue (thank you Kelly); YA paranormal and SciFi is controversial, edgy, and there are a list of authors I'll be checking out real soon; and there is a Klingon Language Institute, and I met the man who created it and was instrumental (if he didn't handle the translation himself) in translating Hamlet into Klingon.

And what really scares me is that spellcheck on my Mac has no problem with Klingon...

My point with this post is to of course say a big thank you to Sierra and Rob for getting this done each year with their extremely busy schedules. My other point is to let you know that some of the best events are small, informal, and all about sharing the love.

And by the way, I like the fact that there's only a handful of people at Phauxcon. It can be the best kept secret on the planet for years to come as far as I'm concerned.

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