readingredhead: (Muse)
I had two opportunities to talk about writing today with writers, which is really weird and unusual and lovely and should happen more often. Both of these too-brief conversations were held before the beginning of a class, and inevitably there were other (non-writer) people listening. In my Clarissa seminar the guy who sits across from me noticed my NaNoWriMo travel mug, asked about my history with NaNo, and was sincerely impressed that I'd managed it for seven years (this last year was his first). Of course my seminar leader/advisor/all around awesome person Jenny is a novelist in addition to being a professor and she started talking about writing too and it was awesome.

I was thinking about NaNo so when I somehow got onto the subject of writing fiction with a girl in the MA before my next class, I ended up mentioning a couple of my novels-in-progress. I gave her the flippant/irreverent/shorthand description of The Printer's Tale and she sounded interested, but one of the other girls in my cohort, who was sitting in front of us, turned around and made a disparaging comment that implied I was following up on the popularity of Twilight, of all things, simply because my less-than-one-sentence synopsis mentioned werewolves.

And the thing is, yes, my flippant, irreverent, shorthand description of the novels I write will always leave something out. And if you're not already into the few things that show up in the shorthand, that kind of description isn't going to interest you. But if you are? Then I can convince you in less than a sentence...or at least get a laugh out of you. In fact hopefully that's exactly what these will do!

Lunar Reflections (2005): teenage angst on the moon

Kes Running (2006): unpremeditated gap year in space

The Printer's Daughter (2007): Beauty and the Beast meets Jane Eyre with werewolves

Gil and Leah (2008): feminist fantasy cross-dressing farce

The Inconvenient Dreamer (2009): woman travels to alternate universes in her dreams

Beneath Strange Stars (2010): gender-swapped Pride and Prejudice in space

Chasing Ghosts (2011): Possession meets Neverwhere with cross-dressing

The moral of the story: I need to find more fantasy/sci-fi writers (or at least writers who are sympathetic to these genres even if not writers of them) with whom to talk about my novels.

WIP Meme

Feb. 26th, 2010 04:33 pm
readingredhead: (Library)
Post a sentence (or two) from as many of your WIPs as you want, with no explanation attached. Meme from [ profile] araine. Perhaps as expected, very few of these are actually one sentence.


“How did you two deal with going off to college?” Nita asked.

Tom and Carl shared a look that was one part nostalgia and one part “I told you this question was going to come up and that when it did, I didn’t want to be the one to answer it.”


“So let me get this straight,” he said. “You,” he pointed a finger at her, “want me,” he poked a finger into his own chest, “to help you learn how to act like a man. You want me to give you lessons in being a man, and then you want me to lend you a few sets of clothes and keep the secret that this mysterious man who’s just become engaged to your best friend is, in fact, you--dressed as a man, of course.”

Gil nodded. “Yeah. That pretty much explains it.” She paused for a second, then added, “And the sooner the better. We’d like to announce our engagement next week.”


Much has been said on the subject of universal truths, to the extent that a modern author, upon attempting to annex another aphorism to this collection, must be circumspect to say the least; but to the compendium of factual evidence thus sanctioned, I find it profitable to append one truth more: that is, that a man who does not know what it is like to be laughed at, cannot possibly have a wife, or cannot have had one for long.


For a moment, it’s all that Carl can do to look at Tom, wide-eyed and wondering which Power to thank. For safety’s sake, he decides to thank all of them. “You’re sure?” he asks breathlessly, in a voice so faint he can barely hear it.

“Carl,” Tom says, and there’s something new in his voice: impatience, and need. “Do you really think I’d have bothered with asking if I wasn’t?” He reaches up a hand to Carl’s face and traces the curve of his jaw with tentative fingers, his eyes never leaving Carl’s, not for a second.


It’s twilight when I open my eyes and find myself in the cemetery.


Everyone knew the witch’s house by its roses.


“Beautiful,” she heard him say, barely above a whisper. “Don’t you think?”

“Dangerous,” she returned.

“The fire warms as well as burns, you know.”

“It’s all a function of how close one gets,” she replied. “The closer you are, the greater the danger.”

“But the greater the warmth.”

“I don’t think I’m cold enough yet that I’d be willing to endure the pain of the burn for those few moments’ heat.”

Suddenly, he was looking right at her, his eyes cool and piercing. “Are you sure?”


Gah, going back through and looking for these quotes makes me really want to write the stories they belong to! Aaaaand now I have to stop procrastinating and actually get some work done. Less fun, but more productive than the alternative!
readingredhead: (Talk)
Item 1. I am still writing that fantasy cross-dressing story for [ profile] anenko that I started drafting as my NaNoWriMo project this past November. I'm posting it one chapter at a time on its own journal, [ profile] gil_and_leah, and you should check it out because the more people I know are reading it, the greater my motivation becomes to update at something approximating regular intervals.

Item 2. Overall much less important than Item 1, but I thought I would let you know that, as a strange outgrowth from wanting a simple way of watching my friend's blog while she spends the summer in Africa, I now have a tumblr entirely devoted to my love of words. It will mostly exist to catalogue quotes/stories/interesting language-related things I stumble across, and is basically being kept first and foremost for my own satisfaction. That said, who knows -- maybe it will be interesting?
readingredhead: (Talk)
I had a totally awesome weekend. Steph Brown had an interview on Saturday in San Francisco for transferring to the UCLA theater department, so she and Matt drove up here on Friday and stayed with me. We spent literally ALL of yesterday in San Francisco and I got to see basically all of my favorite parts of the city: the giant Borders in Union Square, Chinatown, City Lights books, North Beach, the street market at Embarcadero, Ghiradelli Square -- everything! Much walking was done, as was some late-night cable car riding. I'd squeal about the details, but I'm supposed to be doing homework right now -- you know, the homework that I wasn't doing when I was having a fantastic time hanging out with fantastic people.

I'm not really enjoying the creative writing class I'm in, but I'm sticking with it because at the very least it'll give me a chance to revise two more short stories, and read what Danica's writing, and maybe more people will turn out to be good? Or maybe some of the people I have issues with now will get better? We shall see. The only problem is that I really don't want to write critiques for the stories I'm reading in that class, because we have to write a full page single-spaced for each story! Three stories a week. And in past classes we've only had to write ~350 words per story, compared to 750 for this class... I just feel like I'm rambling so much to get to the page that my critique becomes insipid. Also it just takes too long!

But, I am loving loving loving both of my English classes (one on Milton, one on the Romantic Period). And although we've only had one meeting of our sci-fi/fantasy decal, I'd say that this semester's group is shaping up to be a good one.

Oh! And I find out about where I'll be studying abroad for all of next year within the next month! It's so weird to realize how soon I'll be leaving, and how long I'll be gone, but I'm so excited by the prospect of it. Also, this semester since I'm finally taking upper division English classes, I'm finally getting the kind of depth of analysis that satisfies me, and makes me feel smart enough to be studying English in another country. This is a silly thing to say, since neither of the schools I plan on attending in London is anywhere near as academically competitive as Berkeley, and my workload will certainly not be harder there, I still have this intense dislike of not knowing things, so I feel better about going abroad to study the romantic period having had some good detailed instruction about the romantics.

A final comment in my long collection of disjointed I-am-procrastinating-doing-my-creative-writing-homework comments: I'm actively working on the writing/revision of this year's NaNoWriMo novel, Gil and Leah, and posting it online chapter-by-chapter at [ profile] gil_and_leah. The preface and the first chapter have already been posted. Feel free to drop by and check them out!
readingredhead: (Rain)
I'm sure that some of you remember how I "sold" this year's NaNoWriMo novel in the [ profile] livelongnmarry fandom auction to support gay marriage in California. I promised to write [ profile] anenko a novel on whatever she wanted over the course of a year. During November, this turned into the "medieval fantasy cross-dressing farce" novel, which I'm sure I've explained to some of you.

Well, I finally sat down and began to edit the stuff I wrote during November, and I have posted the preface on [ profile] gil_and_leah. I'll continue updating the novel here until I've finished it! It's not much right now, but give it a visit and tell me what you think!


Jan. 1st, 2009 11:05 pm
readingredhead: (Light)
1. Finish a second draft of The Printer’s Daughter (and find a better title!)
2. Finish Gil and Leah (NaNoWriMo 2008)
3. Continue the rejection collection (i.e. send more manuscripts to publishers)
4. Visit two new countries
5. Visit five new cities
6. Learn from a big mistake
7. Do my part in the fight for marriage equality
8. Hand-print a book
9. Participate in an active non-curricular writers’ group
10. Work for a publishing company
11. Dance in the streets
12. Create more beauty
13. Do something big without asking for permission or directions
readingredhead: (Default)
There will be something more coherent than this when I *don't* have to run off to go tutor. But I just realized:

The story that I wrote for NaNoWriMo this year has main characters Gillian (who goes by Gil, which she says with a hard 'g') and Leah.

The story that I almost wrote was about a girl named Leia (after the Star Wars character) who has a best friend named Jill. strange!

And of course the stories themselves are nothing alike.
readingredhead: (Default)
Well, this marks Year Four of not killing myself during November -- at least, not physically. Metaphysically, this is probably a different story.

I've got 25 pages worth of papers due within the next week, but by 11am a week from today, I am essentially done. My finals for once are all going to be easy: in both my humanities classes that have finals, my profs have promised that the tests will contain no actual long essays and will only take up an hour and a half of the three-hour time slot allocated for finals. In my bio class, I might not even need to take the final since I'm taking the course pass/fail and a 70% is a pass. Currently I think I have a high ninetysomething.

So really -- I need to make it through the week. And if I can do that, it'll all be okay.
readingredhead: (Light)
What I really need right now is way more time than I have.

Between today and the end of November, I HAVE to:

1. Study for my bio midterm (by Tuesday)
2. Finish my novel--all 25,000 remaining words of it (by Friday)
3. Spend ridiculous amounts of time with family

Between today and the end of November, I OUGHT to:

1. Finish the bio paper (4 pages)
2. Finish the English paper (6 pages)
3. Finish the biblical poetry paper (15 pages!)

Between today and the end of November, I WILL:

1. Not sleep.
2. Not procrastinate.
3. Not have nearly as much fun at home as I ought to.

Where's Christmas when you need it?


In other, slightly more positive and life-affirming news... So my computer was out for repairs -- AGAIN -- but I got an e-mail yesterday saying it had been delivered back fixed, so I went to the mail room to pick it up. When I looked in my mailbox, I found the package slip I was expecting, but also a letter with the return address as the Berkeley English Department. I figured it might have something to do with the fact that I declared the major at the beginning of the school year; I thought that maybe they were sending me some documentation or something.

Instead, I open it up to see this:

Dear Candace,

I am happy to inform you that you are a recipient of the English Department's James Phelan Scholarship for the academic year 2008-09. This scholarship is awarded to outstanding English majors selected by our faculty who consider your work in the English Department to be of an exceptionally high caliber.

The scholarship's only $700 but I could care less about the money -- it's the fact that this award, decided upon by the English Department faculty, went to me, a sophomore who just declared the major in August! My professors, the ones that I respect and admire, think I'm worth something. It's a really, really nice feeling.


Finally, because it looked so cool when Steph did it, here's my novel, Wordle-style:

Gil and Leah 55k Wordle

And for last year's NaNo-novel, still in progress:

The Printer's Daughter 180k Wordle
readingredhead: (Default)
NaNoWriMo's night of writing dangerously was fantastic, and lots of fun, although I basically didn't write very much there at all. It had a very different feel to it this year than last year...and I can never speak this aloud to people I work with, but I think I had a better time at last year's. Then again, this year I'm not as in love with my novel as I was last year, and that's an important factor in these things. So. We'll see.

I've decided I'm basically not going to do anything other than write today, until I absolutely have to do other important things. Uh huh.
readingredhead: (Light)
"Writers are a curious species; the writing life even more so. We tell ourselves stories, not the way regular people do, but with word-by-word effort. Dreams become insufficient. We're compelled to lock them down, polish them, hoard them on hard drives and paper. We dare to compare them to the work of others. Worst of all, after months and years of labor, we hand our most treasured fantasies to strangers. And wait."

~Julie E. Czerneda, from her introduction to the 10th Anniversary Edition of her first novel, A Thousand Words for Stranger

I cannot agree more with this statement. My novel, for anyone interested, just underwent a 3,000-word digression about the creation of the world and the way that magic works, and the theological explanation of why it works this way (there are gods and goddesses involved--specifically, a god and a goddess, though I think they probably think of themselves as divinities instead of as gods). This was preceded by a 3,000-word theoretical discussion about the nature of magic, a "scientific" approach to its origin and a discussion of experiments to determine the difference in the texture of magic depending upon the part of the world you're in. I'm actually on track writing-wise.

The most annoying part of all this is that I've lost my voice, just when I have moderately interesting things to talk about.
readingredhead: (Default)
The novel is going moderately well...certainly not as well as I could have hoped, but better than it was going earlier. I should be on track to reach my word count goal for the month. Granted, I guess it's a little early to say that, but still. We'll see. I'm at just a little over 24,000 words right now, which is just a little over my expected daily value. I really don't have a plot yet, but Chris Baty tells me there is no shame in that, and I believe every word he says.

Life is crazy, but I love every minute of it. I am also so excited about the classes I get to take next semester that there may be a law against this. Sometime when I'm *not* busy slaving away over my novel, I'll tell you about some of the kickass courses I get to take next semester--including but not limited to a class in which I will get the opportunity to learn how to use a 17th-century printing press.


Nov. 3rd, 2008 08:25 pm
readingredhead: (Default)
The novel is NOT flowing. This is the hardest time I have ever had getting through the first ten thousand words. I'm stuck in the vicinity of 5k and have no real ambition to keep going on with this. Of course I have to and of course I will and of course it will eventually get good, or at least moderately decent, but right now I'm annoyed. (It doesn't help that my sister was visiting me for the entire weekend, so that half of what I've written so far was at the write-in Saturday morning from 12-2am, and I haven't had any real time to write since then.)

EDIT: I may have just realized that my story's main character is, in fact, NOT the story's main character! And that, in fact, her friend is the main character! And that, in fact, her friend is the one who should have been narrating the last 6,000 words!

I hate love hate love hate love hate November.
readingredhead: (Rain)
Well guys, this is it. Tomorrow night at midnight, I start noveling for the fourth year in a row. Tomorrow night at midnight, I embark upon another month of crazy writing speeds, missed sleep, unhealthy caffeine intake, bad tempers, missed classes, and absolutely horrendous prose.

The thing is, it's also a month of miracles. I feel like every word I write in November is a new epiphany, even if that epiphany is just that I'm okay writing things that I may not be in love with.

I've got a plot. I've got characters. I've got no title, no clue where I'm starting, and no idea how it's all going to resolve itself in 80,000 words. But I've also got a crack support team, three years of noveling experience, a great cause, and a dash of pure crazy. I can do this. Yeah, you heard me: I CAN DO THIS!

And I will. Just watch me.

That said -- I have a tendency to withdraw into a bit of a noveling cocoon during November. Don't be surprised if you do not hear from me, or if I never post on my livejournal. This year will be even worse than the last years, as I battle two paying jobs, my NaNoWriMo internship, being a Municipal Liaison, and 10,000 words more than last year on top of a full course schedule. I probably will disappear for a while. But after the cocoon of November I will emerge a more brightly-colored and refreshed (if initially a bit deflated) butterfly, ready once again to take on everything the world has to offer me.

November is coming.

I'm ready.

Are YOU?


readingredhead: (Default)

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