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Short stories, strippers and cookies

This week’s been fun. This week I have been –

Watching: Once Upon A Time

If I could be a fairy-tale character in this programme, I’d be someone who grants wishes in exchange for the things my heart most desires. Then I would demand The Evil Queen’s red, red lipstick, and the forest-y wallpaper the clever set designers used in her house (pic below). I’d also claim Emma Swann’s knee high, lace-up boots and her cool, yellow VW Beetle. Sheriff Graham’s beard (above) and Irish accent are also very pleasing, but I don’t think they’d suit me.

Reading: Creating Short Fiction, by Damon Knight.

Partly because it’s supposed to be amazing, partly because I want to try writing short stories once this novel is done, mostly because I am jealous of Emma who’s been selected to attend Clarion this summer. Not heard of Clarion? It’s a very cool, very prestigious writer’s workshop in San Diego with a ridiculously impressive lineage of tutors and students. Here’s the blurb –

Established in 1968, the Clarion Writers’ Workshop is the oldest workshop of its kind and is widely recognized as a premier proving and training ground for aspiring writers of fantasy and science fiction.

Damon Knight was one of Clarion’s co-founders, and so far the book is as good as I’d heard – very readable, with advice that works for stories of all length, not only short ones. Congrats Emma – I’m sure you’ll have a blast, and I look forward to reading the stories that come out of the workshops.

Laughing at: Jo’s letter’s to Hunger Games characters. I think the one to Finnick is my favourite, or maybe it’s her note to Rue? Read them and giggle.

Magic Mike 2012 Steven Soderbergh Channing Tatum Matt Bomer, Alex Pettyfer William Levy

Waiting Impatiently For: Magic Mike to be released. Steven Soderbergh directs a film about male strippers, featuring Joe Mangienello (a familiar face round here) and the gentlemen pictured above. Jaw-droppingly exciting news, yes? No word yet on a David Holmes soundtrack but that would make me even more excited. It’s not til July though. boo!

I haven’t seen Haywire yet (though I own and love the soundtrack), but that’s out on DVD next month so perhaps it will sate me in the meantime. Don’t think it has any strippers in it, though.

Gorging on Dark Chocolate & Sour Cherry Cookies. Mmm, yes. If I really was that wish-granting character from a fairytale, I’d demand a pack of these as payment as well. Every day.

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Yonder: Writing, Edible Clone Troopers, and Nicholas Brendon wet

smiley face made of pebbles

Found lots to like on the internet this week, despite a demanding writing/social life/Sims schedule and an allergic reaction to something currently mysterious that wiped out most of yesterday. Bleurgh. Probably not a reaction to Kindles, chocolate, laptops or Twitter, though, so I’ll soldier on.

I read this post by Trent Jamieson, that kinda made me tingle –

Devour the world…Write what you don’t know…Dream that you can write the best stories and that, even when people tell you you can’t, you do, because you dreamt them.

Read it in full here.

Kristin Cashore wrote honestly, and helpfully, about writers block  here, which basically says that writing is hard and when the going is tough it doesn’t mean you’re blocked, it mean’s you’re working. Which is good to hear cos it means she’s got the right sensibility to finish BitterblueGraceling gave me shivers.

I’ve finished the punk cookies I mentioned last time (and made a second batch), now I want me some Star Wars food. Click the image to read the Instructable.

edible clone troopers


And finally, I’m aware that I will alienate some readers here, but others of you are going to LOVE me for this – a photo of a wet-shirted Nicholas Brendon. Yes. Ahem. I was always Angel’s girl, but I might go back and re-watch with new, invigorating  intentions. Click the image for more wet photos (no, not a phrase I thought I’d ever type). (Psst, if you like this you might also like this)

Nicholas Brendon

He's wet but he looks happy, right?






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Quick Quick Slow

feet to fast for shutter to catchI’ve not yet finished the draft I thought I’d be done with last month, but I have had some great ‘ping!’s about what this middle section needs. Insights that help change it from ‘and then, after The Beginning, they decide to go Slay The Baddies, uncovering (and solving) a Mystery in the process, which leads nicely to The End‘ to something with more substance – less of a service-station stop en route to the end, more of a village in its own right.

I wonder if I’d have got those pings if I’d hurtled through the draft at the pace I’d intended? Yes, I probably would. Going slower got my brain composting some stuff and working on some neat revelations, but had I gone faster and – crucially – worked every day, I’d have been so submerged in the story that the same revelations would have come and probably been signposted more clearly. No justification for slackening the pace, sadly, but good to know that both speeds still get me the same story.

My reading’s going much more swiftly, what a surprise, eh? I loved A Long Long Sleep, by Anna Sheehan, despite a slow start, and stayed up late to finish it. Review for the BFS to come. I was angry and disappointed by The Magician King; Fillory sounded like my kind of place til I realised that all Grossman’s strong female characters meet terrible ends (or are, like Janet, left on P.27 and never seen again). Audra at Unabridged Chick puts it well –

‘I don’t mind darker themes and I don’t mind a harder edge to my fantasy — but I want it doled out in equal part.  Sparing all the male magicians while making the women all victims is frustrating, and whatever pay out comes at the end never feels enough to make the violence okay.  It’s disappointing and frustrating and frankly, feels cheap.  

Her review is here and my review for the British Fantasy Society is linked to here.

Talking of the BFS – it’s FantasyCon this month! It’s the first one I’m attending, and I’m very excited. Thank you to Lou Morgan for writing a newbie A-Z – check it out on her blog here.

Right, must get back to The Sims – oops, no, I mean work. Honest, guv.


Things I’m doing this week:

Watching: Lost Girl, Season 1 on Syfy (great so far!)

Reading: Roil, by Trent Jamieson (also great so far)

Eating: punk rock vegan cookies. If they’re vegan I can eat as many as I want, right?

Listening to: Pot Kettle Black, Tilly and The Wall

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