Doom is coming to Arkham in the form of a 16 year old goth girl…

Not an actual writing post; I’m going to indulge my inner game geek for a moment. Consider yourself warned (unless you have no idea what I’m talking about, in which case check this out and consider yourself informed).

Chris Slee has just posted his summary of the last four sessions of my CSI: Arkham campaign over on his site, which serves as a pretty good summary of “what I did with my weekend” really.

My inner geek is so damn happy with this campaign, it has to be said. Especially last night’s session. The post-title is stolen from Chris’s write-up; probably a far better summary of the game of anything I can come up with and, since I remain too lazy to do proper write-ups of my sessions these days, I’m just going to point you over there if you have an interest in such things (much as I did for session one).

Morning.

There is a very peculiar quality to the light outside my study window today. Very white, a little too midday for this early morning hour, and it leaves the view (such as it is) a little bleached out. And although it’s cool and pleasant in my house there’s a very nifty heat-haze rising up off the corrugated iron roof of the neighbor’s place. Soon the cloud cover will shift a little and it’ll all disappear, but right now I’m amusing myself with looking out the window and taking notes.

Junked the Black Candy draft last night after long hours of debating its various merits against its various elements of wrongness. This flies in the face of conventional wisdom for new novel writers and will probably come back to haunt me in the near future, but I’m more-or-less convinced it was the right call – I have a novella that shows my love of The Big Sleep already, I don’t actually need an SF novel that shows the same love in the same way, albeit with different window dressing. Especially when the thing on the plan after this is another noir novella that draws influences from Raymond Chandler and talking cat stories.

Now I’m off to start over and validate last night’s decision by getting a lot of stuff done.

It was not an exciting day at the word mines…

Word tells me I’ve added about 800 words to the Queen of the Winter Sea today, along with miscellaneous tinkering and cutting, so it should be counted as productive by any reasonable metric. Unfortunately my head still hasn’t got with the program and continues to tell me that I’m making no discernible forward progress – I’m blaming the fact that there seems to be a conflict between my thematic plan and the subtext that’s coming up during the writing process, which largely means that it all feels muddleheaded instead of clicking into place.

Solution: call this a draft, let it sit fallow for a few days, and start a new draft over the weekend while working on other stuff. I’ve got enough of a draft down that there’s a shape, so I figure I can give the writer-brain a few days to dwell upon it and trust in its ability to deliver something worthwhile, thematically, that will amuse me as much as the story’s scene-setting and window-dressing.

Tomorrow I post something amusing, I promise. Or I post about how damn happy I am that the Dragon Warriors RPG has been re-released. We won’t know for sure until then…

This is not a reason to panic…

Earlier this week I put together my writing-based to-do list that covers all the stuff I’d like to achieve between now and the end of February. It basically consists of a novel draft, an exegesis draft, a novella draft, and a dozen stories that either need to be written or re-written. It’s the kind of workload that seems reasonable inside my head, but experience says that real life will not let it run as smoothly as I expect. Especially since the work breakdown says I should have a story draft done by this Sunday, as well as a small chunk of novel and a 3500 word outline for the exegesis. My brain is refusing to do any of it and demanding to watch Predator 2 instead (No, I don’t know why Predator 2 has become the topic of fixation, but apparently my subconscious is convinced it’s a reasonable facsimile for work).

I’m not panicking about this, which is my usual modus operandi. For starters, I’m not going to give into the Predator fixation, and I can outlast my subconscious in this kind of stuff. I figure sometime, probably in a week or two, it’ll get on board with this list of stuff and get working on it and everything will be hunky-dory until the next complete lapse of writerly discipline and self-doubt hits in March.

Year’s Best Australian SF & Fantasy

Years Best Australian SF and Fantasy 4 CoverMy internet access is  wonky at the moment, so I’ll be making this brief and hoping it goes through before the modem crashes again. The page for Mirrordanse Book’s Year’s Best Australian SF and Fantasy 4 has gone up along with a copy of the recommended reading 2007 list from the very back of the back. 2007 wasn’t really a big year for me, publications wise – I was still finding my feet post-Clarion and the stuff I did get published was mostly flash – so I was kinda surprised to spot my little SF Flash “Avenue D: The Tankboy’s Ride” among the list.

Admittedly it wasn’t a surprise I got today – I picked up a copy of the book while I was down at Conflux – but one calls attention to good stuff when the opportunity presents itself. It’s a damn good read by any stretch of the imagination, and it’s one of the three Year’s Best collections I now pick up regularly (alongside the Datlow/Link/Grant Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror and the Dozois Year’s Best Science Fiction). I’m not entirely sure why the table of contents isn’t up when the recommendations are, but trust me when I say you won’t regret picking up a copy (assuming you are, of course, a fan of spec fic and the short story, but I can’t imagine why you’d be reading this if you weren’t).

More Last Short Story

Another mention from Last Short Story today, this time from GirlieJones: “The strongest story for me in Fantasy this year was Peter M Ball’s “On the Finding of Photographs of My Former Loves”, which was also when I perked up my ears and hopped on the Peter M Ball train. It’s tender and odd and sad and bittersweet. And beautifully beautifully written. I’m looking forward to reading what Ball does next. “