July 29th marked the end of the Clarion West Write-a-Thon. I participated, as you know, and sought to reach my goals while raising money for the CW workshops. I raised $10. Let’s recap what else I set out to do. This is my Write-a-Thon Wrap-Up.
Write a novel for real this time. Or, begin work (again) on longtime project Timeless Kid.
Keep up with weekly blogging right here at Ink’s My Thing.
The other day I signed up for one of the most irresistible writing activities, summer’s CW Write-a-thon. For Ink readers who may know, this will be my third straight year participating in Clarion West’s Write-a-thon, and although my results and writing totals have been…less than stellar(?) I still think it’s important to keep going back to take another shot.
This Write-a-thon is open to the public. So, no affiliation with the Clarion West Workshops is required. If you’re interested, and have time (and even if you don’t) then I recommend signing up to see if you can further any of your personal writing goals. I will be there along with a community of newcomers and familiar faces in the science fiction and fantasy genres.
CW also aims to raise money for their organization through sponsorships of the individual writers who sign up. I’ve never raised much, personally, but it’s added incentive to keep me focused on writing, if only for the six weeks of June 19 – July 29. Unlike National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which I’ve known and loved since 2005, there will be no 50k marker hanging over your head. You always set your own goals.
Here’s some exciting news, Ink readers and WYRM’s Gauntlet alum. We’re going to try something crazy, something new, something that requires delicate handling in the face of danger. When things get that rough, I turn to my favorite web designer and creative ally, the multi-talented, and quite unstoppable, Khanh Mai. And we’d like to announce that headline once more: WYRM’s Gauntlet to be crowdfunded!
At least, ‘tis the plan.
At this point, we WYRMs do not know all the details, except that we aim to do this through IndieGoGo since we feel it has a good chance of standing out against other writing-related projects there. ‘IndieGoGo’ suits us as we run the ultimate indie writing competition, after all. (I won’t have to look into the camera and tell you to accept no imitations).
We are looking at the month of July to commence, but this is still tentative. Whatever the results, the Gauntlet itself will still be run this fall.
For those who may not know, WYRM’s Gauntlet is a competition for both writers and critics, with four rounds of mind-bending challenges, time limits, and trash talk. We are open to persons of all skill levels, as our primary goal is to support new talents. However, we are not susceptible to flattery.
In the past, prizes have totaled $275, but with crowdfunding, we’d love to up the ante. If you’d like to support your fellow writers and critics, stay tuned for more on the project!
Ink’s My Thing is happy to welcome spec fic author Stewart C Baker for a quick chat. He’s bound to make it fun, so let’s make him feel at home. What do you need to know about Stewart? First, he is of the most recent crop of Writers of the Future winners, also a writer of haiku, and a perennial contender in our favorite competition, WYRM’s Gauntlet.
His work has appeared in Nature, Flash Fiction Online, and is forthcoming in Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show. His most recent contribution to speculative letters will be in the colorfully named anthology No Sh!t There I Was edited by Rachael Acks, the Kickstarter of which can still be supported, if we act quickly. Since he’s lived in so many places (from Japan to England to the Pacific Northwest) he simply tells people he’s from the internet.
For all of these diverse adventures Stewart is known, but I first and foremost think of him as the one guy who instantly recognized my NES Bubble Bobble avatar on social media. If you work with or around him, you’ll learn one thing for sure about Stewart. He always brings his sense of humor.
Well, this man will be coming to Ink’s My Thing very soon. And he will be sure to bring news, tales, and tidbits from all his travels to distant lands and foreign kingdoms. Stick around. He’ll be coming around the mountain when he comes.
It will be fun, enlightening, and who knows what else. Join me when I have a word with Stewart C Baker.
For those who remember (and for those who will never forget) my love of writing, of characters, and of visual storytelling, led me into the world of comics journalism a few years ago, and I’ve made it a habit to keep up with that world. From the webcomics I’ve discovered to the people I’ve met along the way, I’m happy to be a part of the fandom.
Now, some of my peers have been tepid toward the workshops, as they cite they are not for true amateurs, and since it asks for that scary letter of recommendation and all. I was tepid, too. But, to my fellow writers with a bend toward comics, what have you really got to lose? It’s never my intention to stir up false hopes, but whenever we submit a story, we are taking a risk. Whenever we sign on for any large project, like a novel or a blog, that’s a chance, too. We have no way of knowing if anyone will read, or if our efforts will pay off. We sure as hell don’t know if we’ll receive any kind of financial support, but we must take the experience. Why should this be any different?
So, I think I’m going to have to quote Miyazaki on this one, from a famous comic in its own right, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind:
In this harsh world of ours, the sparrow must live like a hawk if he is to fly at all.
True, a program to train comic writers from the ground up would be special, and would be awesome, but we’re talking about a highly competitive medium, and we jump through hoops for a lot less! So, why not? Cue the damn Alan Parsons Project, and get in the game. I’m not afraid to fail. It wouldn’t be the first time, and it won’t be the last time.
The writers’ portion of DC’s workshop will be headed up by none other than Batman writer Scott Snyder, who has been captured in this very blog, standing next to my friend Dan in a convention photo. (Also, thanks, Dan, for sending this info my way!) Application submissions from writers will be accepted all month (May 1st-31st).
As for some nuts-and-bolts about the application, it’s important to remember:
The application will ask you for up to two published samples (comics preferred; fiction allowed).
You will need to provide a writerly resume`, so make it flattering.
You’ll have to write a short composition explaining why you want to do this, and what you’d bring to the table as a new writer.
The letter of recommendation is optional.
If you don’t already know how, learn how to create a PDF.
There is a helpful ‘save’ feature on the app. which lets you work on it, then come back later to finish.
The Texas floods, and flooding in parts of Louisiana and Mississippi, have been covered by USA Today, Click2Houston, Weather.com, and other news organizations, and as I may have mentioned, my friends are out there.
Writing is a lonely occupation, they say, filled with shameless self-promoters bent on the get-rich-quick scheme. Oftentimes that’s true. But sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes you meet people along for the same ride as you.
The day I decided to write seriously, it seemed like a lot of other people made that same decision. Some had been lifelong writers seeking to take their hobby to the next level, others were new at it, with a lot to learn like me. I don’t see or hear from many of these peers anymore. They have gone into different careers, got busy in their personal lives, got tired of the dream, or just disappeared without a word.
I want to tell you about two women, from the vicinity of Southeast Texas, who welcomed me into this realm of writing and criticism. To this day, I know what they are up to, and they still know about me.
Nobody puts more effort into character development than Chy Burch, whose neighborhood resembles a lake at the moment. She has also judged and helped organize WYRM’s Gauntlet nearly every year since its inception, and anyone who knows her knows there is a popular fantasy series waiting to burst forth from her pen and into the mainstream. Some of us have been lucky enough to glimpse already.
Stephanie Cassey, who began the GoFundMe page “Deweyville Flood Victims” a few days ago, is also affected. When she and I began exchanging reviews, she made me consider vampire fiction in a whole new way, and I came to admire her use of bare bones dialogue, among other things.
Both helped me nail down the fundamentals, and urged me to tell the difficult stories, ones I was not always comfortable telling.
To anybody who can relate–fellow writers, readers, those who have lived through a natural disaster–if you are able to, please give. For my part, it is the least I can do. When I think of my friendships (my lasting friendships, of which there are too few) and my own development as a writer, there are no two people who’ve mattered more.
I found this a little while ago, and it’s not some game; it really exists. So, I present this in the hope that we can live together on the internet in peace: Harly’s YouTube Channel.
I don’t share this just because it’s the channel of an author who influenced me, but because Harlan Ellison has had such a glorious love/hate relationship with the web for some time. I love the intent behind the channel, that the videos serve literary history, and are there for any curious person to pursue. I think that’s what is best about the web in the first place, it’s repository of knowledge.
For anyone who might be wondering, Harlan Ellison (author of “’Repent Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman”, writer for the original Star Trek, and the guy who inspired the Terminator franchise) has long made his opinions of the internet clear: that it gives a voice to lousy publishers and writers who would not otherwise have one, that it promotes piracy of his work and the work of other artists, and that it’s just something he has little time for. On the other hand, he has gone so far as to praise the wit of some goons who thought it would be funny to write him into fake chat rooms, and other internet situations, thanking them for all the laughs.
Bear all of that in mind as you soak up his wise commentaries, updates, and biting interviews from the 90s. I’d like to especially point you in the direction of his rant about the Disney movie Saving Mr. Banks, which may warrant a closer look as a piece of revisionist history. Whether you share in Ellison’s cynicism, or if you are discouraged from clicking because of just the opposite, I’d say this corner of the web definitely has value.
You don’t have to be a science fiction fan to enjoy some hilarious vids, or to learn new things, and I’m happy to make my first blog entry as a real live author about this unlikely channel. Good luck on your journey: Harly.