The next chapter: March 2014 update

The Next ChapterToday was, indeed, a glorious new day. This morning, the sun was shining, the high for the day was predicted to be above zero degrees Celsius (it turned out to be plus six), and Phil made me breakfast—wakey, wakey, eggs and bacey!

Unfortunately, around noon, I threw my back out. Note to self: do not try to dead-lift the over-full laundry basket.

Still, I went out and bought a new pair of sandals (yes, I’m that optimistic—there was much meltage today), spent a Chapters gift card on books, and stocked up on Atlas Mountain Rose, my spring Body Shop scent. My back regretted it, but I went.

Because this month was “heck month,” I did not get as much writing done as I would have liked, and by the time the second week rolled around, I knew I wasn’t going to stick to my schedule.

Truth be told, I’d been feeling a certain tension having to leave one project for another before I’d gotten what I thought needed to be done all along. I used that tension to good effect, however, because when I did return to the project in February, that tension propelled me into the project more quickly.

In March, though, it wasn’t working for me.

Week one was for Apprentice of Wind, the second book of my Ascension series and what I’d been doing so far was cobbling together the pieces I excised from Initiate of Stone with what I had already written for AoW, cutting the scenes and chapters I’d determined I didn’t want to use, and going through to write in the consistencies I’d established in IoS.

I was itching just to get everything together in one document and formatted, though, so I could print it out and read it through, making edit notes as I went. I quickly saw that some chapters would have to be completely rewritten.

In week two, I did move onto Figments, and I did continue to work on editing the draft, but again, at the end of the week, I hadn’t quite finished refining the climax and denouement the way I wanted it.

So in week three, when I had my time off, I finished both compiling and printing out AoW and finishing off Figments. I’ll be printing out the latter tonight 🙂
This past week, I’ve only started reading through AoW and making notes. I haven’t touched Gerod and the Lions at all (though I did work on a scene at Brian Henry’s workshop and counted my handwritten words), and I just finished off the work on the short story I submitted to Bastion at the beginning of the month, but haven’t worked on any short fiction since.

I also have a play I’m working through for a friend, and I haven’t gotten nearly as far through that as I’d like either, but I hope things flow more smoothly this month.

My plan for the coming month will be to focus on AoW and Figments, as well as finishing off my review of the play.

What am I going to do with my novels? I am going to read both of them through and make notes. I’m going to use two approaches to guide me.

The first is Roz Morris’s Nail Your Novel. Without having read her method before, I realize that I’ve kind of found my own way to it. Part of her method is to write out cards for bits and pieces of the story. These cards can then be shuffled and rearranged as required in the process of redrafting.

On these cards are the short form notes for what changes for the plot, the world and the character, first and last lines, that kind of thing.

I’d actually done something like with IoS. Years ago, I’d read Donald Maass’s books on writing, and in one of the workbooks, there were several exercises that I grouped into one document I called a map. For each scene, or chapter, I needed to list the first and last lines, the purpose of the piece, the internal and external conflicts for the point of view character, and what changed for the plot and the character as a result of what occurred in the piece.

So I’ve got some of this done already. For AoW. I’ll have to do the same for Figments.
The other thing I’m going to do is start analyzing both novels in terms of Victoria Mixon’s holographic structure. I tried to explain this technique to someone recently, and really, you have to read Mixon’s Art and Craft of Story to understand it, which I’ll encourage you to do.

Suffice it to say that Mixon takes the three act structure and divides it into six component parts. Each of the six parts then has its own six components. Thus, holographic structure.
I have some work ahead of me 😉

Onto the month’s progress report.

I have to make a correction, first. I discovered an error in the way I had the spreadsheet set up.

January’s word count total is actually 11,532. February’s should be 9,789.

March’s is 10,673.

March wordcount

How that breaks down:

The blog is once again the lion’s share at 8,193. Next is Figments at 1,380, then short fiction at 455, then AoW at 333, and finally, GatL at 312 words.

So that, my friends, is my month in writing.

I will be taking a trip next weekend, to attend Ad Astra, one of the bigger Canadian SF/F conventions in Toronto. This will be my first year going, but well-known authors like Patricia Briggs and Steven Erikson will be there, as well as Canadian names in the genre like Julie Czerneda and Marie Bilodeau. I’m hoping to make some new connections, or at least some in person ones (I’ve been following Julie and Marie online for years).

The weekend after, I just remembered, I will be attending Renny De Groot’s book launch for Family Business.

Yes, there will be more Writerly Goodness coming your way in April.

I’m off to watch Cosmos with Phil now.

Catch you all on Tipsday!

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Mischief managed: The M2the5th Twitterview with Roz Morris, March 29, 2014

For my second Twitterview hosting experience, I got to quiz Roz Morris.

Squeeeeee!

For those of you who don’t know, Roz is the ghost writer for some 12 bestselling novels.
She is also an editor and book doctor (are the two the same? Read the Storify linked below to find out!), and in recent years she’s self-published two novels under her own name and the first two books in her Nail Your Novel series, all bestsellers. She also writes articles all over the internet, teaches writing and self-publishing classes … the woman is amazing.

And so gracious with her time! When we proposed the Twitterview as the culmination of a month-long Roz Morris spotlight on the M2the5th Google Plus community, little did we suspect how engaged Roz would be. Lori Sailiata, Amy Pabalan, and I may have shared her blogs, videos, and articles, but she commented on every one, and we had some interesting conversations.

If you visit her web site (linked above), you can find out all about Roz, her consultancy services, her books, and everything else.

You can also read the Storify of the Twitterview (put together by chief Tweet wrangler, Lori): https://storify.com/LaraBrittWrites/mto5-twitterview-roz-morris

#Mto5 Roz Morris Twitterview Storify

#Mto5 Roz Morris Twitterview Storify

Yesterday’s Twitterview was a great time. It’s really a matter of controlled chaos, or mischief managed, if you like the Harry Potter allusion.

Not only is Roz a great writer and writing coach, but she also, as Amy learned, owns a horse, which boosted Roz’s cool quotient in Amy’s eyes. And if that wasn’t enough, Roz attended circus classes and tried out everything from juggling to the trapeze.

New Twitter friend Mark was active throughout the hour-long session, but other participants, including Porter Anderson, retweeted and shared some of Roz’s gems during and after the Twitterview.

And that’s not all!

M2the5th (Mostly Multicultural, Mysteries, Memoir, and Myth) will be holding weekly Nail Your Novel Tweet chats followed by video hangout workshops on Saturdays throughout April (except for Easter weekend). Join the Google Plus community for more details as they emerge.

We want to keep the Roz-love going because her third Nail Your Novel will be coming out this spring!

Wheeeee!

Heck month and everwinter are almost over

This has been a demanding month for me. I’ve been out of town training for three out of the four weeks in March.

The one week I didn’t travel was technically a week off, but I scheduled it full of appointments that I’d had to put off because of work. It didn’t feel very much like a week off.

Of the four internal postings I’ve applied for in the past several months, I learned that I’ve been screened out of all of them, even the new posting for the consultant position that I actually performed for sixteen months. I’ve requested a couple of “informal discussions” about my exclusion, and I’ve applied for another position that was posted both internally and externally. We’ll see what comes of all that.

Rejection is disheartening, though. I know I shouldn’t take it personally, but I do. Like most large organizations, my employer’s hiring process leaves many things to be desired. In some ways, I wish for the days when I didn’t think advancement was possible, when I was content in my position making my own, somewhat subversive, way in the corporate world.

Add to the day-job concerns a writing workshop, a month-long creative promotion on Google plus, and my decision to start curating on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Mellie’s a bit tired. That seems to be the way of things, though. If you want to pursue what makes you passionate about life, you have to make sacrifices.

Fortunately, it looks like I’m going to be staying close to home, work-wise, for the foreseeable. I’ll still be training, monitoring new trainees, and overseeing a customized monitoring plan, but I’ll be working from my home office. I think I’ll be able to recover.

The sun has just set here, and though it’s been snowing and miserable forever (it seems) I have hope that the weather will improve. It’s not uncommon for us to have snow into April or even May, but this winter has been such a consistently snowy one, and freezing cold when it hasn’t been snowing, that it’s difficult to be optimistic.

Usually, we have some form of a break, a green Christmas, January thaw, or the sight of green in March, but this year it’s only been snow and cold. We haven’t had it as bad as some areas, but I think northern Ontario, heck, North America, is probably ready to say goodbye to this everwinter.

This is Writerly Goodness, shaking off the winter blahs.

snow can be pretty

It can be pretty, but I’m ready for it to melt 😉

Tomorrow will be another day.

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz March 16-22, 2014

Thoughty ThursdayPinterest boards for writers. Do they inspire you? They inspired me to join Pinterest (finally).
http://thewritelife.com/20-inspiring-pinterest-boards-for-writers/

Inspiration can come from the strangest places:

Emily Hart addresses the issue of her depression.

46 powerful things Shane Koyczan wants you to hear:
http://www.upworthy.com/having-a-bad-day-heres-46-powerful-things-you-should-really-hear?c=tpstream

33 tips that will help you deal with stress.
http://www.positivityblog.com/index.php/2014/03/12/how-to-deal-with-stress/

10 simple habits that could make you happier …
http://www.spring.org.uk/2014/03/10-simple-habits-proven-to-make-you-happier.php

And if all that fails, try this cover of “Happy” by Walk off the Earth and Parachute.

Jimmy Fallon is a guy who really knows how to have fun … with Billy Joel:

And with Kevin Bacon:
http://www.nbc.com/the-tonight-show/video/kevin-bacons-footloose-entrance/2764458

How spouses can help with the research from Barbara Kyle:
https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/5957418-henry-viii-my-husband-and-the-pissing-drunkard

120 year old photos of Ireland, colourized.
http://mentalfloss.com/article/30263/fantastic-120-year-old-color-pictures-ireland

More photos, this time from the 1930s. Interesting indeed.
http://www.topdesignmag.com/20-very-interesting-photos-from-the-30s/

Why kids need pets:
http://hopeshared.com/22-photos-that-prove-babies-need-pets-number-17-especially/

Imogen Heap. Need I say more?

If you like that, just wait until you see what she’s working on now. I think you may want to visit Kickstarter 🙂
http://www.dezeen.com/2014/03/20/imogen-heap-funding-drive-for-gloves-that-turn-gestures-into-music/

And that’s a wrap!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the Interwebz March 16-22, 2014

TipsdayAway from home this week and free wifi is slooooow.

I’d just posted about seasonal affective disorder (SAD) myself when Lydia Sharp posted this to Writer Unboxed:
http://writerunboxed.com/2014/03/16/seasonal-writing-disorder/

On the changing role of agents and new submission guidelines from Anne R. Allen’s blog (with the fabulous Pam Van Hylckama Vlieg):
http://annerallen.blogspot.ca/2014/03/the-changing-role-of-literary-agents.html

Part 6 of K.M. Weiland’s Creating Stunning Character Arcs series:
http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/2014/03/character-arcs-6.html

Two from Elissa Field. Is teaching a good day job for a writer? http://elissafield.wordpress.com/2014/03/16/writers-day-job-is-teaching-a-good-day-job-for-writers/ and Friday Links for writers 03.14.14 http://elissafield.wordpress.com/2014/03/15/friday-links-for-writers-03-14-14-quirky-info-sources/

Hey, who says I can’t curate the curators?

And here’s a third for good measure: novel revision strategies: http://elissafield.wordpress.com/2014/03/19/novel-revision-strategy-retyping-the-novel-draft/

The science of emotion in marketing. The article speaks to me more of braiin science and the power of story.
http://blog.bufferapp.com/science-of-emotion-in-marketing

Improve your vocabulary.
http://justenglish.me/2014/03/10/important-infrequently-used-words-to-know/

Stephen King’s top 20 rules for writers, ‘cause you know, we can never break too many of them 😛
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/stephen-kings-top-20-rules-for-writers/

Agent Carly Watters explains what she looks for when she Googles a prospective client.
http://carlywatters.com/2014/03/17/q-what-do-agents-like-to-see-when-they-google-writers/

Roz Morris on the dangers of over-dependence on your thesaurus.
http://nailyournovel.wordpress.com/2014/03/16/bring-on-the-empty-horses-handle-synonyms-with-care/

The neurological similarities between writers and the mentally ill. Get your critical thinking caps on people.
http://thoughtcatalog.com/cody-delistraty/2014/03/the-neurological-similarities-between-successful-writers-and-the-mentally-ill/

5 charts that show how publishing is changing from Jane Friedman.
http://janefriedman.com/2014/03/21/5-valuable-charts/

5 insightful writing tips from Paul Harding.
http://publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/tip-sheet/article/60070-5-writing-tips-paul-harding.html

5 reasons your platform may be spinning its wheels from Michael Hyatt.
http://michaelhyatt.com/traction.html

WOW! Did I find a lot of good stuff on the interwebz last week or what?

That’s the thing with me. Sometimes, I’ll be all over that. Sometimes I won’t. This week, for instance, being on the road, I don’t think will be very productive for the linkage. We shall see.

And this is me, saying goodnight.

Writer tech: A Twitter twit’s take on tweet chats, #hashtags, and … what the heck is a twitterview?

When I wrote about my first experience hosting a twitterview last month, someone commented, asking what the heck a twitterview was.

Yeah. BIG oversight on my part.

So, here, for your edification, is the long-delayed explanation.

A twitterview is an interview conducted by tweet chat. What’s a tweet chat, you ask?

Tweet chats are when Twitterers, or Tweeps (people on Twitter), get together and chat about a specific topic. They make themselves a virtual meeting room by using a hashtag to mark all of their tweets. Only those participating in the chat and using the hashtag can see all of the tweets, but the followers of each participant get to see all of that participant’s tweets.

This is why it’s so important to use the hashtag consistently. If you don’t, your tweet will not be included in the conversation and will not be replied to. It’s also kind of frustrating to see only half (or less) of a conversation.

Here’s a hashtag directory where you can identify topics of interest and show up for the meeting: http://twubs.com/p/hashtag-directory/twitter-chat/1064600_179

But how do you participate?

There are several ways to tackle this.

In Twitter itself, you can search the hashtag and bring up a list of the most recent tweets using it.

Mto5 hashtag in Twitter

This is what it looks like.

If you want, you can participate in the chat from there, but you will experience some limitations, like the inability to alter tweets when retweeting (RT) or modified tweeting (MT). This can be a pain in the butt.

If you’re comfortable with Hootsuite, you can set up a stream for your hashtag. In the new stream panel at the end of your existing streams, select Twitter, and then the Search button. Enter the hashtag, and voila, you have a stream dedicated to just that hashtag.

Mto5 hashtag stream in Hootsuite

You can also use Hootsuite to alter tweets when RTing or MTing, or to schedule tweets for the twitter chat if you’re so inclined.

Also, hashtag rooms can be set up using tweetchat.com (chat must be active to enter room) or tchat.io.

Mto5 hashtag room in tweetchat

Mto5 hashtag in tchat.io

The main benefit of a hashtag chat room is that the hashtag is automatically added to your tweets posted using the chat room service. Very convenient.

If you want a little more information on tweet chats and how to participate in and conduct them, here are a few helpful links:

Or you can Google your own results using the terms twitter party, twitter chat, or tweet chat.

Thus endeth the lesson.

I’m doing this in the hope of encouraging some of the more Twitter-phobic among my followers to give tweet chats and twitterviews a try, especially my upcoming twitterview with book doctor and bestselling author, Roz Morris next Saturday.

That’s Saturday, March 29, 2014 at 2 pm EDST. Use Twitter, Hootsuite, tweetchat.com, or tchat.io to attend, but if on Twitter or Hootsuite, don’t forget the #Mto5 hashtag!

So looking forward to my second twitterview hosting gig. If you like Roz or have read any of her books, please drop by next Saturday. We’re going to be talking about all things Roz 🙂

Brian Henry workshop, Sudbury, March 22, 2014

Brian HenryThis afternoon, I attended my fifth Brian Henry workshop.

This one, the third held in Sudbury and hosted by the Sudbury Writers’ Guild, was on “How to make your stories dramatic.”

These workshops are Brian’s bread and butter, so without giving too much of the content away, here are my notes:

  • The scene is the basic building block of your story.
  • There are two kinds: the dialogue-based scene, and the action-based scene.
  • Every scene must have a plot-related point. It must answer the question, “so what?”
  • Push and pull. The push is the point of view (POV) character’s need. The pull is what the pursuit of the need leads to (promise, twist, decision, new threat, etc.).
  • Your characters must be interesting. They should be unique, have their own interests, passions, a quirk, backstory (dole it out gradually). If two characters are similar, shoot one.
  • Readers, sadly, do not remember names.
  • Your protagonist should be a good “tour guide.”
  • Every character has her or his own agenda (the scene’s push). It’s better if they are at odds with one another.
  • Pick your scenes carefully. Show the important stuff. Tell the rest.
  • Don’t get to the point too quickly.
  • Scene = hook, hook, and hook.
  • Ford Madox Ford, “No speech of a character should reply directly to another character.”
  • Dialogue shouldn’t be smooth.
  • An action scene consists of set up, action, and wind down.
  • Set up = setting, background, tone, suspense.
  • Action = plot, character, relationships.
  • Wind down = the result, new information, what is gained or lost.
  • Dialogue is important, even in action scenes.
  • Make sure it feels exotic (most people don’t spend a lot of time fighting, in chase scenes, etc.)
  • Use internal monologue to your scene’s best advantage. No long-winded explanations.
  • You need to have some kind of surprise.
  • Have more than one thing going on at any one time.

We went through a few examples of dramatic scenes, one from Lawrence Block, one from George R. R. Martin, and one from Bernard Cornwell to look at the variations and interplay of action and dialogue. We also completed a writing exercise, for which I chose a scene (to that point unwritten) from Gerod and the Lions.

Since I’m always trying to learn and improve upon my craft, the workshop brought up a number of bits and pieces that I’ve learned over the years.

Emily Dickenson wrote, “Tell all the truth, but tell it slant.”

Last fall at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference, I attended a Diana Gabaldon session where she shared her technique of driving a scene forward by raising questions in the reader, but delaying the answers for as long as possible.

I just finished reading Victoria A. Mixon’s The Art and Craft of Story, in which she describes “holographic structure.” This takes the basic three act structure of hook, development, and climax and breaks it down.

The hook consists of the hook and the first conflict, the development includes (at least) two more conflicts, and the climax consists of the faux resolution and climax.

In fact, breaking it down even further, each of these six elements contains its own six elements.

Thus, the hook part of the hook section contains its own hook, (at least) three conflicts, faux resolution, and climax, as does each of the remaining parts.

If this seems confusing, please read Victoria’s book. She explains it at much more length and much more clearly than I do.

Suffice it to say that the ultimate breakdown is at the scene level, and each scene, in keeping with its overall purpose within the story, has its own hook, three conflicts, faux resolution, and climax.

That’s all the insightful I have for you today, my writerly peeps.

Until next time.

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz March 9-15, 2014

Thoughty ThursdayJust so you’ll have this straight, Tipsday is for writing-related finds and Thoughty Thursday will be for other interesting stuff. It’ll be a mix of science articles, health articles, and other stuff that might be cool for inspiration or research. Info of the public service announcement variety may appear here as well (I have my causes). Occasionally, there might be a music or other fun video in there, ‘cause you know, we all love the YouTube 😉

Oh, and BTW, happy spring, though up here in Sudbury, we’ve just had 10-15 cm of snow 😦 This is what the first day of spring looks like up here:

 

First day of spring in Sudbury

So here we go in 3, 2, 1—

Otters are bad-ass:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/03/140306-otter-alligator-florida-predator-photos-wildlife/

David Brin shared this next amazing blog post and video.

Mr. Science, A.K.A. the hubbie, informs me that the ribosome moves around far more chaotically, directed by something called Brownian motion and bumps into the transfer molecules until it finds the one it needs for the sequence.

Still, this is supposed to be “real time,” so imagine how quickly everything is moving about in the stew that is you 😉

http://www.npr.org/blogs/13.7/2014/03/04/285414954/watch-and-be-amazed-by-the-machinery-of-life

I love genetics.

One of the places I’d love to spend a month in someday. ‘Twas a lead-up to St. Patrick’s Day.

http://www.irishcentral.com/roots/travel/Stunning-travel-video-of-7-Days-in-Ireland.html

Clara Hughes, multi-Olympic gold medal winner in both summer and winter Olympics embarks on her latest journey to bring awareness to the issue of mental health. I admire this woman so much.

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2014/03/14/claras-big-ride/

The overwhelmed employee is foreseen as one of the new crises of the modern workplace. This is hard, researchy stuff, but it’s actually pretty fascinating. From the day-job file.

http://dupress.com/periodical/trends/global-human-capital-trends-2014

The health hazards of sitting. I’m still researching a reasonably-priced standing desk solution for my office.

http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/page/national/the-health-hazards-of-sitting/750/

Felicia Day tweeted something. And then she had to write this post.

http://thisfeliciaday.tumblr.com/post/79718617942/tiger-lily-doesnt-equal-human-torch-plus-a-very-long

And this was just fun. Ooh-la-la!

The Benny Hill soundtrack just makes this one shine. Oh, no, he di’n’t!

http://blog.petflow.com/this-dog-is-not-allowed-on-the-bed-this-is-what-he-does-when-his-owners-are-away-hilarious/

Until next week, my wise and witty friends!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the Interwebz March 9-15, 2014

TipsdayThough I had all of one respondent to my poll at the end of last month, I’m going ahead and curating for you.

Part 5 of K.M. Weiland’s Creating Stunning Character Arcs series. You can follow from the beginning, Katie is always good about posting the links to all that has gone before.

http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/2014/03/character-arcs-5.html

How commenting on blog posts can help build your platform. Anne R. Allen’s blog (with Ruth Harris).

http://annerallen.blogspot.ca/2014/03/are-you-ignoring-this-simple-platform.html

How knowing your audience and identifying your category is critical to querying, placement of, and marketing your book. Roz Morris.

http://nailyournovel.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/is-my-book-paranormal-or-literary-and-which-age-group-is-it-for-how-to-categorise-your-novel/

Why you should pitch at conferences even if you don’t think you’ll succeed. The importance of Networking by agent Carly Watters.

http://carlywatters.com/2014/03/10/why-the-chances-of-you-meeting-your-future-agent-at-a-conference-are-slim-but-you-should-try-anyway/

The many roles of the editor.

http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2014/mar/12/writers-editors-eleanor-catton-booker-winner

Rejection letters that will give you hope 🙂

http://distractify.com/people/famous-people-rejection-letters/

You’ll see some regulars here from week to week. I read a lot more bloggage than I’ve shared here and I’ve even gotten some good material out of a lot of it, but I’m only gathering up the material that spoke to me enough to share on the interwebz.

Hope you enjoy these as much as I did.

Ups and downs: A week in the writerly life

Greetings, my writerly peeps!

It’s been a weird and wonderful week for me.

First, I headed down to Mississauga (second of three trips for the day-job this month) on Monday. Since I had full travel days (Monday and Thursday) this week, I was able to travel in a more leisurely fashion.

My mission: to co-facilitate the Business Writing Made Easy course (my seventh time with that particular curriculum) with one of my colleagues.

Monday afternoon was spent preparing the room and testing our technology. There were a few tense moments. There was a TV in the room, and we attempted to hook it up as the monitor for the lap top so we could use it to show the slides for the course. It didn’t work.

So we brought the good old SMART Board into the room, and while not able to achieve full connectivity (some of the cables were missing) we were able to use it as a basic projection screen. Good enough.

My colleague was preparing for her own trainer certification. At this time, our employer’s internal college is getting out of the certification biz, however, and so she had to record a full day’s training, edit it down to four hours, and demonstrate the eighteen trainer competencies.

This would mean that I couldn’t be in the classroom, though, because to have a co-facilitator in the room would have invalidated her certification.

So what would I do? Due to another colleague’s absence, I was able to set up at her workstation, but there wouldn’t be a lot of work I could do.

The day ended, and I had to leave ends a little loose for the time being.

That evening, I tried to connect to the interwebz through my hotel’s wi-fi. It wouldn’t even let me have multiple windows open (that’s how I manage my SoMe). So that meant dependence on my smart(er than me) phone for SoMe for the week and actual productive writing time.

This was a boon in disguise. I quickly accepted it for the gift it was.

That night, I realized that my colleague and I would be co-facilitating Business Writing Made Easy again at the end of this month (my third trip of three) and that she could record her session again there. In the morning, I proposed that I observe her and give her some tips for the end of the month, then jump in on day two.

This was an agreeable plan and so we proceeded.

There was a little panic (actually ongoing) because we were uncertain whether the course at month’s end would be approved.

The video tapes (yes, it was an old camcorder) ran out before half the day’s training was finished. We weren’t sure if my colleague would have enough footage to even make up the four hours she would need to submit.

Regardless, that night we went out to celebrate and enjoyed Korean BBQ, a first for both of us. You cook your own food, right at the table, and it’s a la carte, so you just keep ordering as long as you’re hungry. It was very tasty.

The next day, a snow storm blew in. The course finished well—the grammar module is my favourite—and my colleague had figured out how to transfer her video to digital so she could edit. So she had a possibility of moving forward with her certification video even if it turned out we couldn’t co-facilitate again.

I had a quiet night, writing away, and finished editing my NaNoWriMo novel. I just have to fill the ending out a little more now. We have denoue- but need a little more -ment.

The drive home on Thursday was terrible, largely because of the previous day’s snow storm.

It took me an hour and a half to travel a distance I normally would in about fifteen minutes, even with traffic. Then I got off the highway and travelled a little more indirectly to bypass the closed lane I assumed was the reason we couldn’t travel more than 10 km/h.

Once past that bit, I was fine, but I didn’t get back into Sudbury until about 3:30 pm.

When I got home, I noticed I had received a lovely email from R. Leigh Hennig of Bastion Science Fiction Magazine. They would like one of my stories for an issue later this year. W00t!

I have to back track just a bit. I submitted my story on March 1st. There was originally a deadline of February 28, but when I went to check on the web site, I noticed the date had been removed and that Bastion was now accepting submissions on a rotating basis, with issues filling up fast.

I decided to take the extra day to polish, and I’m glad I did.

When I was in Mississauga the week before last (first trip of three), I received an email that my submission would be brought forward for discussion with the editorial team. I was cautiously optimistic. Hell, I was all alone in my hotel room doing the happy dance.

And yes, I was dancing again on Thursday night, to Phil’s delight, when I received the second email confirming Bastion’s interest.

In fact, while I’m not one to too my own horn (it makes me distinctly uncomfortable), I have to share the following: “After some careful deliberation on this piece with the rest of the staff, we’ve decided that it would be a crime not to publish this.”

Oh. My. God.

Mellie was a wiggle-puppy.

Please donate (find the link on their About page) to support this wonderful new magazine.

 

It was back to work on Friday, and I forgot my phone, which meant no keeping up with email or SoMe or my reading during the day.

Then it was over to my friend Kim’s for home-made chilli and much writerly talk with Kim and a new (to me) friend, Violet. There was wine. I had to drink tea to sober up before the drive home and I ended up getting home after 11 pm when I finally caught up on email and SoMe.

Connecting to like-minded, creative souls is an important part of a writer’s life. It was wonderful, even if I didn’t get to write.

Saturday morning was cranberry bread French toast with Mom, a quick clean up of the house, and then an afternoon of shopping while Nuala went for her spa day (grooming) at Petsmart. After ordering out pizza for supper, I hosted a couple of friends from out of town.

It was another night of great conversation, though accompanied by coffee and oatmeal cookies instead of wine.

Unfortunately, that meant I was unable to meet a writing deadline. I was hoping to submit to the Northwestern Ontario Writers’ Workshop (NOWW) because the judge for the speculative fiction category is none other than Robert J. Sawyer. I would have loved to get something in front of his wise eyes.

I wouldn’t have given up my time with my friends for anything though. So, I’ll have to look for other opportunities.

So it’s been a week of ups and downs, but more ups than downs. It’s been a good week. And now I’m looking forward to a week off so I can recuperate and prepare for my next business trip.

How about you? How has your week played out? Let me know in the comments below.