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.
Here I am, back from the beach, and with at least some progress on my Write-a-thon to report. I do not have any startling writing totals to share, but all told, I have been true to my stated goal, which was to begin. And, there is a lot of Write-a-thon left to go. As you may know, this has been week one.
Written: about 1,000 words of the novel Timeless Kid. One blog post.
Read: One graphic novel (Fantastic Four Foundation), three comics (Nightwing, Stray Sod, and old school Mister Miracle).
With that being said, I’m off to continue my Write-a-thon sans the beach distractions. Until the next update, I hope you’ll enjoy some photos!
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.
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.
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.
I’ve gone ahead and added three new writer links to the bottom of my Contact Me page, (where such things go) a page that is used far too infrequently, by the way. These links have helped me in a handy technical sense, the way my dictionary and thesaurus do, but also help to inspire me. Let’s talk links. You never know–you may be missing these in your collection.
First, I added Grammarist. I’ve probably visited this site countless times without realizing it, as it comes up often when I type a writerly query into Google. Most recently, I used it to look up the word usage rules of ‘lay’ and ‘lie’. It’s good for everything from colloquialisms to spelling tips, and the origins of phrases like the idiom ‘break a leg.’ When your 200-year-old text on English composition fails you, you’ll begin to appreciate Grammarist’s clear, concise style.
Next is a blog that I admit to reading way too sparingly, but which I love the spirit of. It is a Writer’s Digest blog called There Are No Rules. As with most WD material, it is aimed to better your writing and chances of success in publishing, but the emphasis is on how different and fast-paced the publishing world is nowadays. With all the numerous how-to manuals and snake oil salesmen out there, the concept of this blog serves to remind me that the only ‘real’ rule is to write a story worth telling.
The final update today is an essay by Maria Popova concerning Arthur Quiller-Couch. In truth, Brain Pickings itself, the blog of Popova, could just as easily be my link here, but this particular piece warrants special attention for writers. Popova highlights some of the timeless advice which made Professor Couch so noteworthy, inspiring words like these: Definitions, formulae (some would add, creeds) have their use in any society in that they restrain the ordinary unintellectual man from making himself a public nuisance with his private opinions. But they go a very little way in helping the man who has a real sense of prose or verse. In other words, they are good discipline for some thyrsus-bearers, but the initiated have little use for them.