Celebrating New Year’s with Writing

Happy New Year’s Day!

I had resolved to make the second of January my launch day for drafting my short novel, Dwarves of Seven–but I forgot! The year is beginning from the first day with brainstorming, note-taking, and drafting a new page for the story.

While working on the opening lines, I could already see gaps from autumn’s research. I know of writers who leave most of their research, world-building, and character designs for last. That’s not my way. Filling in the gaps as they’re noticed helps make scenes flow smoothly.

Anyway, what’s happening is that I am now officially drafting this novel!

This week’s writing soundtrack is Carmina Burana, based on the medieval texts compiled under the same name.


WOTF – Catchup for 2010 Q4 and Personal Struggle for 2011 Q2

Contest Administrator Joni Lebaqui posted the list of Q4 Semifinalists on the Writers of the Future blog last month. A week later, Yahoo News! announced the Q4 winners:

1st Place – Patrick O’Sullivan from Virginia
2nd Place – Jeffrey Lyman from New York
3rd Place – Adam Perin from Virginia

That’s right; Patrick O’Sullivan took first place! Congratulations to the three winners, and again to the others who placed. May all the finalists, semifinalists, and HMs quickly find a home for their entries.

Looking forward…

Critiques of my current draft for the 2011 Q2 contest have me flummoxed. My intention is for readers to dislike the story’s concluding situation, and that didn’t come across well–readers simply dislike the way the conclusion is written. Several people suggested that I add action to make the ending more inevitable and thereby increase satisfaction; however, there’s little room in the story for action that’s external. Adding introspection rarely helps in my drafts, so what can I do?

Too bad I’m out of decision-making time if I’d like to keep to my critique group’s schedule.

Winter Writing Events

Finding information on the Internet about nearby conferences, conventions, and workshops for speculative fiction writers can be a pain. I’m creating my own list but thought other writers might appreciate a look at some of the options.

Below are ten events in the U.S.A. that will either take place this season or have application deadlines in the next couple months.

The estimated cost is for Admission or Membership fee(s) for an adult and does not include travel or other discretionary expenses.

Many conventions are as inexpensive as a new book on writing, if you exclude travel costs. Conferences and large workshops are harder on one’s bank account.

To view any of the event Websites in the list in a new window or tab, right click on the link. Otherwise, the new page will replace this post.


Title Dates City Est Cost App Due
COSine Science Fiction Convention Jan 21-23 Colo. Springs, CO $35 N/A
Chattacon Jan 21-23 Chattanooga, PA $50 N/A
Capricon XXXI Feb 10-13 Wheeling, IL $70 N/A
Life, the Universe,
& Everything 28
Feb 17-19 BYU, UT
ConDFW IX Feb 18-20 Dallas, TX $35 N/A
Potlatch 20
Mar 4-6 Seattle, WA $90 Feb 11
Northern Colorado Writers Conference Mar 11-12 Fort Collins, CO $327 N/A
Clarion West Jun 19 –
Jul 29
Seattle, WA $3,240 Mar 1
Clarion Jun 26 –
Aug 6
San Diego, CA $5,007 Mar 1


Half of these are science fiction conventions. Are you wondering what a convention is and why you might want to attend one? Clarion graduate Paula L. Fleming explains in her article on Attending a Speculative Fiction Convention.

What Fleming doesn’t make clear are the benefits for people who are already selling their work. Robert J. Sawyer answers Why Authors Attend Science Fiction Conventions.

Have you attended one or more of these events?

Even More News of WotF Q4

It’s not over yet!

Because this was the first quarter in which I entered a story, I’m paying closer attention to the results. Yes, the gatekeeping judge rejected my entry; however, a few more Hatrackers managed to please her.

  • Jennifer Campbell-Hicks of Colorado
  • Tom Carpenter of Missouri
  • Frank Dutkiewicz of Michigan
  • Richard Ware of Maine

Their names are up on the just-released list of Honorable Mentions for 2010 Q4 on the Writers of the Future blog.

For whatever reason, no one has published the list of Semifinalists yet. Maybe that will happen before we find out how Nick Tchan and Patrick O’Sullivan fare in the selection of winners.

More News of WotF Q4

My letter arrived in the mail yesterday.

For readers who don’t know, each Writers of the Future entrant who isn’t flat-out rejected is either an Honorable Mention, Semifinalist, Finalist, or Winner.

All winning stories are published in the year’s anthology. Some finalists are also published. Semifinalists receive a critique from the Coordinating Judge, KD Wentworth. Those who receive honorable mentions (an estimated 5 to 15 percent of entrants) get the satisfaction of knowing they impressed Ms. Wentworth.

So, how did I do? Not very well. For my first entry into the contest, I received a rejection.

The story I’m working on now for the Second Quarter (Q2) of 2011 will likely be rejected, because it breaks several writing guidelines. Perhaps I’ll see my name on a list for Q3.

Another Hatracker is on the list of Finalists! I didn’t recognize Patrick O’Sullivan of Virginia the other day, but I wish him the best of luck.

News of WotF Q4

The list of finalists for the Fourth Quarter (2010) of the Writers the Future contest was published today on a press release site. Included in the list: Nick Tchan of New South Wales, Australia!

Way to go, Nick!

It’s nice to see a name I recognize. With luck, he’ll be one of the three winners.

Three other members of the Hatrack River Writers Workshop have won recently: Ben Mann of West Australia in Q2 and in 2009, Brad R. Torgerson and Adam Colston. You can read Brad’s “Exanastasis” and Adam’s “Not in the Flesh” in the Writers of the Future Vol XXVI. (Coincidentally, Adam couldn’t physically attend the awards ceremony…)

Back to Q4. How did I do? Don’t know; possibly a disqualification. I’ll talk more about this when I hear again from the contest director.

In the meantime, keep on eye out on the WotF blog. The lists of semi-finalists and entrants who received an honorable mention might go up at any moment.

Living and Writing Through the Holidays

It’s December and time for an update!


Since my last post, I said good-bye to my wonderful coworkers at my temporary job, agonized through a week and a half of unemployment, and then accepted a permanent full-time job–directly across the street from my previous office.

Thanksgiving Day Guests and Thoughts

Thanksgiving Turkey
CC by tuchodi

My mom, aunt, sister, and brother-in-law visited for Thanksgiving Day and related activities.

While they were here, they reminded me that all of the house is usable space. Certain areas such as the “living room” are rarely used. Guests want to see and use every area they can, but we usually stuck to the four most important rooms: the “library”, kitchen, bathroom, and primary bedroom.

Oddly, we don’t own a large home; we just spend most of our time on the computer or out of the house. For example, I’m away for my paying job more than I’m at home, even counting hours of sleep.

Relief and Accolade from the SCA

I enthusiastically handed my position in the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) over to a friend. Later that day, my baron and baroness (the ceremonial heads of our local group) awarded me for “outstanding service to the barony, above and beyond that normally expected.”

‘Tis the Season

My pets got sick from an annual trip to the vets, I got sick from my new coworkers, and my husband is currently dealing with a cold. Treat this as a reminder to stay healthy, please!


The free writing software yWriter is helping me to identify and correct the gaps in DeCo. Look here for my review of yWriter in a few weeks.

Short stories went on the back burner this month. I only managed to produce a couple pages for a fantasy undergoing a rewrite. My goal is to complete the current version this week and immediately give it to a test reader. Maybe it will make the 2011 first quarter deadline for the Writers of the Future (WOTF) contest.

By the way, the contest director probably won’t start announcing the WOTF fourth quarter results until after New Year’s.


Watch the sky on the start of Tuesday, December 21 for an early morning eclipse (link to Science Daily article) of a full moon. Happy Yule!