layla: grass at sunset (Default)
My long-time comics-making friend Jane Irwin is currently running a Kickstarter for her graphic novel Clockwork Game. This is the print edition of the webcomic Clockwork Game, meticulously researched and beautifully drawn historical fiction with a slight steampunk vibe, about an 18th-century chess-playing automaton and the contemporary PR circus surrounding it. This is a gorgeous labor of love on Jane's part, and I know that the print editions will be excellent quality, because I know Jane and she's very detail-oriented about that sort of thing! There's an introduction by SF & fantasy author Nisi Shawl. It's well worth taking a look; you can check out the comic online at the above link.

My ~14K-word Torn World story "The Lichenwold Crossing" has finished its run on the Torn World website. The story begins here and is a part of the Empire Explores the North storyline.

I ran across this intriguingly creepy link today in which the author Alan Gardner talks about the real-life ghost story behind one of his novels. I don't think I've ever read any of his novels nor heard of this one, but it was a fascinating story anyway! Sometimes life is truly stranger than fiction ...
layla: grass at sunset (Default)
Part 2 of The Lichenwold Crossing is up on the Torn World website.

In other news, I signed up for college classes this week. I'm taking 14 credits starting in September. This is something I've been thinking about doing for awhile, but the stars aligned this year, or something, and it works out really well with both my schedule and Orion's. Normally we have a car-sharing issue (we're rural enough that there's no public transportation out this far), but this year he's on sabbatical so I have 24/7 access to the car, and no other responsibilities at the moment, so I went for it.

I have a crazy outside idea that I might eventually try to get a B.S. in archaeology, but I'm thinking probably not soon. The thing is, getting a second degree would involve devoting most of my life to it for at least another couple of years, and that isn't really what I want to be doing with my time right now. I have other near-future goals that are more important to me. But I get free tuition because of Orion's job, and I'm not yet too old a dog to learn new tricks, so I'm going to do the college thing for a semester at least.

The two classes that I specifically wanted to take were introductory archaeology (because once you have that, you can volunteer on any of the University of Alaska digs) and a language, any language -- I'm tired of being monolingual, and of my top choices, French fit very well with my schedule, so French it is. (My first choice was Russian, but it happened to conflict with the archaeology course ... so, no.) And then, since I'm going to be on campus 4 days a week anyway, I also picked up another anthropology course and the senior creative-writing seminar.

(The second ANTH class is Biological Anthropology, i.e. the introductory human evolution & physical anthropology class, mostly because it's a prerequisite for a number of other classes I want to take. Flipping through the textbook on Amazon, I'm pretty sure that I actually already know most of the class material (early hominids, etc) because of my extracurricular reading -- I guess the problem with taking an introductory course in anything that's a particular area of interest at age 37 is that you already know the stuff. But I'm sure it will be interesting anyway. I don't think I've ever taken any class that didn't teach me something.)
layla: grass at sunset (Default)
This week kicks off my latest (and most ambitious to date) contribution to [ profile] ellenmillion's Torn World project: The Lichenwold Crossing - Part 1. For the next seven weeks there will be a new installment every Monday. It's about 14,000 words long, in total.

Torn World is a shared world project -- anyone can get involved -- and I have to say that "adopting" a character (actually two of them) changed my perspective on the whole thing in really interesting ways. I'd been contributing in small ways for awhile, because Ellen is a friend; I've been copy-editing stuff and doing little bits of art here and there. Last winter Ellen talked me into adopting Tiren and Anler, who are major players in the "Lichenwold Crossing" story and other parts of the storyline surrounding it. Somehow this eventually snowballed into me actually writing this part of the story arc, since 2/3 of the characters involved are now "mine".

And it was fascinating for me to notice how my perspective on the whole project changed once I had made Tiren and Anler "mine". I got to write Anler's detailed character description (Tiren already had one) and, while some decisions were already made because they were established characters, I got to make decisions about smaller aspects of their appearance and personality and who in the various Torn World villages they were related to.

But it also made me care in a way I hadn't before. I found myself going back and reading all the stories in which Tiren and Anler appear, trying to get a feeling for who they are as people, especially once I started writing the Crossing Lichenwold story. Torn World has two major settings, the North where Tiren & Anler live (an Alaska-like place with small villages who herd snow unicorns), and the South, where there is a major empire and a rather steampunkish vibe. I'd been sort of vaguely, broadly interested in both regions, but picking Tiren & Anler as "my" characters made me suddenly switch my allegiance to the North -- er, not that it's a sporting event or anything*, but I had never really cared that much before, and now suddenly I'm all invested in the North and what happens to it. It's interesting!

*Although it could be. Now I'm amusing myself with the idea that a century or two from now they might have South vs. North sporting events, kind of like the Olympics.

Anyway, I'm glad "The Lichenwold Crossing" is finally going live on the website so that I can share it with people. It's part of a story arc, South Meets North, which like most of the Torn World arcs consists of a number of (more or less) self-contained stories; the rest of the arc can be found at the Empire Explores the North story collection on the Torn World website. And here's the Torn World intro page.
layla: grass at sunset (Default)

For some reason I can’t seem to focus on any project for more than 5 minutes today. Guess I’ll write a slightly disjointed blog post, then.

Tomorrow I’ll be at the Biz Bee as the table-decoration judge. This is an annual fundraiser for the Literacy Council of Alaska: local business sponsor 3-person teams, who compete in a spelling bee. I participated on the News-Miner team for several of the years I worked there, and had fun, even if we often washed out in the early rounds (which, since we’re the local newspaper, is just embarrassing). Anyway, I haven’t been to the Biz Bee in a few years, so it’ll be fun, or at least different. There’s a small cover charge (proceeds going to the Literacy Council) if you want to just show up and watch.

Random link stuff (under the cut):

Read the rest of this entry )

Crossposted to Wordpress, Livejournal and Dreamwidth. Comment wherever you like.

layla: grass at sunset (Default)

Poetry Fishbowl today at Elizabeth Barrette’s journal. Explanation for how it works at the link.

The shared setting Torn World has just launched a new core storyline in which the cultures of the South and North meet for the first time. The first story is here, and you can follow the South meets North tag on the Torn World Livejournal to keep up on it. This is something I’ve been rather excited about; I really like the Torn World setting (it’s fantastically complex, with a huge amount of material) but it’s difficult to find a good place to jump in, especially as there are few large ongoing storylines — for the most part, Torn World exists in a lot of small vignettes without a core story. This storyline is meant to be a jumping-on point for new readers and a window for exploring the world.

Today’s main creative project (though I’m currently procrastinating, as you can see) is writing a query letter and synopsis of my novel for an agent submission package. As I was browsing through synopsis-writing advice, I stumbled upon this interesting page on developing a novel’s plot by focusing on the main story goal and the complications that follow from that. I’m still trying to find a method of story development that works for me other than the highly inefficient “just start writing” method; I’ll have to try this!

Crossposted to Wordpress, Livejournal and Dreamwidth. Comment wherever you like.

Torn World

Jan. 10th, 2013 11:40 pm
layla: grass at sunset (Default)

Torn World is a shared world project that I’ve been loosely involved with, off and on, for the last year or so. (Not that I’ve been particularly active. I keep meaning to do more, but then … stuff happens.) Anyway, there is a new overview post at [ profile] torn_world, and there’s going to be a new ongoing story starting up soon, so if you’re curious about Torn World, this is a pretty good time to start watching the community — there will be overview and backstory posts coming up soon, leading up to the launch of a new world-spanning storyline.

On a (mostly) unrelated note, I just discovered this awesome conlang-word generator courtesy of [ profile] trobadora. I’m mostly posting the link to increase the chances that I’ll manage to find it again, given the deplorable state of my bookmarks. *g* But I thought some of you might enjoy it, too!

Crossposted to Wordpress, Livejournal and Dreamwidth. Comment wherever you like.


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