Nebula Awards Conference

Got to see all kinds of good friends this weekend at the Nebula Awards Conference, and met some new people as well. Arly Sorg was so kind to introduce me to some cool folks: he has an incredible memory and said some nice things (about everyone!) in his introductions. SFWA is doing amazing work, and the Board is super-organized and active. Touched base with Mary Robinette Kowal, who met Heather at the workshop they both attended this spring. Lots of great panels.

Critique was inspiring

So I finally finished going through the line edits and critique suggestions for my novel, and there are some suggested tweaks that are really going to make this book AWESOME! Thanks so much to Sandy, Jeff and Adria for a super-professional and supportive critique!

Excellent writing retreat

Thanks, Randy McCharles for your thrice-annual Writers in the House: this is the first one I have been able to make in about a year, but it was super-productive. I finished the outline for my third novel in the Addicted to Heaven series, including a scene list (each with a “because” or “why now” attached), timeline and information. Lots of back-and-forthing to make connections among different plot threads and characters. It’s ready to use!

Calgary Young Writers’ Conference – a great day

I love going to the Calgary Young Writers’ Conference each year. Today I had two great groups of kids to teach, and got to see old friends–writers–that I don’t necessarily see on a regular basis. The convention committee is really well organized and it runs so smoothly every year. A highlight.

Plotting the next novel

I have tons of ideas for my next novel, but a lot of thought needs to go into the underpinnings of any new project, because it is the themes that drive everything else. Specifically, how does the theme generate character action and consequence (which needs to be made literal in the climax); how do the character’s driving wants and needs lead to that climactic moment; how can the character’s internal drives be made visible through action, and the external plot (that is, the antagonist’s driving actions) feed the central character’s internal change? I need to know all of this before I can begin to structure what happens.

But the good news is: I know what questions to ask. Now to dive in.

The Crime Scene

I have been studying the elements of writing a mystery novel with a small group of fellow writers, and one of the critical elements is the crime scene: why the villain killed (kidnapped, or whatever) the victim, their relationship, how it was planned, the location (including time of day, season, etc.) and exact mechanism of the crime–leading to clues. This scene may never end up in the book–in fact, it likely won’t–but the author needs to know it to the minutest detail.

I have decided that my next novel will be structured as a mystery, so this week, I constructed the crime scene. Man, I learned a lot.

Another Grant Application

Finished the text of another grant application. It is not due for a while, so I have submitted it to my writers’ group for critique. As it is not fiction, I queried first, and they all were interested in reviewing it. It will be interesting to see what kind of feedback I get.

Daughter with a Doctorate!

Oh, yeah! Had a cool experience this week, invited to sit in my daughter’s creative writing dissertation defense. She handled herself with terrific aplomb, and passed the exam. She will have a few minor revisions to do, and then we can all call her “doctor!” In the meantime, she is applying to professorships and post-docs for next year. We celebrated by taking her and her significant other to dinner.