Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Tightening the Gut

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

The first thing I do each morning is sit up in bed, then remove the mask on my CPAP machine. And then I tighten my gut and stand up.

Specifics can vary. Sometimes I may take off the CPAP mask first. Sometimes (especially when running behind), I may leap straight out of bed in a single motion, without sitting up first. But the gut-tightening is always part of the process, for unavoidable physiological reasons that also work nicely on a metaphorical level. Hence this post.

(more…)

The Writing Rookie Season 2, #4: Yes, I’m a Stalker — Er, Writer

Monday, November 28th, 2011

This post is cross-posted at A Motley Vision. For the complete list of columns in this series, click here.

A couple of months ago — shortly after my oldest son got back from his mission — I hijacked him for a day to go driving with me in the northeastern suburbs of St. Paul, about 45 minutes from where I live. He, unwary soul, neglected to ask the purpose of our expedition prior to departure. When eventually he did discover the purpose — to check out a neighborhood and high school that I’ve adopted as the model for the set of novels I’m working on at present — much eye-rolling was evidenced. (Note my clever use of the passive voice to clue the reader in to just how clever I am. For, um, using the passive voice. Yeah.)

(more…)

The Writing Rookie Season 2, #3: The Search for a Writing Group

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

This post is cross-posted at A Motley Vision. For the complete list of columns in this series, click here.

Back when I was in college, one of the best things I ever did was join Xenobia, an sf&f writing group. It was a great experience. I didn’t do much writing back then, but the process of reading, giving critiques, and listening to other people’s comments taught me a lot about both writing and what I value as a reader. For several years, it served as one of my primary social groups. Some of the people I met there have become longtime friends — people I’m still in contact with today.

As a writing group, Xenobia is no more, alas. (It still exists as a kind of email list where people share news and encouragement from time to time.) And I truly regret it, because now that I’m finally trying to get my own creative writing going again, I find that I need both readers to react to my work and people I can bat ideas around with.

(more…)

Book Signings and Other Delights

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

I went to a book signing this past weekend. Sadly, I wasn’t the one signing the books. Instead, it was Dan Wells, the LDS author of the John Wayne Cleaver books (I Am Not a Serial Killer, Mr. Monster, and the just-released I Don’t Want to Kill You), a YA/adult horror/suspense/supernatural series that I ranted about (approvingly) here.

Wells is a former editor of The Leading Edge, BYU’s science fiction and fantasy magazine, where I also got my start in editing back in the mid-1980s (about a decade before Wells, I think). He also tied for the Whitney Award for best first novel in 2009 for I Am Not a Serial Killer — an award for which No Going Back was also eligible, but did not win. I can’t really resent him for it, since I Am Not a Serial Killer is really quite good — and the later books are better.

So I made my way to Uncle Hugo’s, the Twin Cities’ premier independent sf&f bookstore, where Wells was holding forth. I stood around for an hour or so, then went with him and several other fans (including William Morris, a compatriot in the field of Mormon letters and coeditor of the forthcoming Mormons and Monsters anthology), and we went to lunch, where I listened and tried not to talk too much and generally absorbed good writing vibes. And then I went home, while Wells and several of the others made their way to Minicon, an sf&f convention that was being held in Minneapolis Easter weekend and which I had briefly contemplated attending, before deciding otherwise.

It was a good experience. Well, maybe. As a fan, I was glad to go. As a writer, I felt (and feel) deeply ambivalent.

(more…)

The Writing Rookie Season 2, #2: Choose to Write! (When a Choice Is Placed Before You…)

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

This post is cross-posted at A Motley Vision: Mormon Arts and Culture blog.

Every minute of every day, each of us has to choose what he or she will do next.

Okay, maybe not every minute of every day. Practically speaking, most of the time we’re in the middle of tasks we’ve already started, and so not really actively thinking about our options. I suppose that technically, even at those times we’re choosing to continue what we’re doing by not choosing to do something else, but that’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m talking about is the times when we pause at least briefly between two or more options. So maybe every 15 minutes, or every half-hour if we’re particularly focused or stuck in a meeting or something. Then again, who knows what we’re actually doing mentally while we’re in those meetings? (For the purposes of this paragraph, I’m choosing to ignore all those hours we spend sleeping, in comas, being experimented upon by aliens, etc., on the grounds that they’re not relevant to my point. Not relevant, I tell you! Bad reader! No milk bones for you.)

Ahem.

Anyway, it occurs to me that one very simple definition of a writer is someone who — among all the myriads of other things he or she could be doing — chooses to write often enough to actually produce something. The rest, as Einstein might say, is details. (And don’t you just want to whap Einstein upside the head when he says that? And people like me when they quote him?)

(more…)

A Consecrated (Artistic) Life

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Mormon thought includes the concept of the law of consecration: that is, that each fully committed Latter-day Saint (i.e., member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as LDS or Mormons) should devote all of his or her time, talents, possessions, and effort to building up the kingdom of God. Early in the LDS Church’s history, there were efforts to live this law on a community basis. Today, the notion of a consecrated life is still at the heart of LDS thought, but Latter-day Saints are expected to figure out what it means on an individual and family basis.

(more…)

LDS Family Encyclopedia

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

Fed Ex delivered a big box on the doorstep today. It was full of books — contributor copies of The Latter-day Saint Family Encyclopedia, published this month by Thunder Bay Press. I’m listed as coauthor — together with Chris Bigelow, a longtime friend from the Mormon literary community who also coincidentally happens to be the publisher of No Going Back. Or not so coincidentally, as it turns out…

(more…)

On Being an Emotional Yo-Yo

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

Quick one tonight:

I was feeling somewhat discouraged earlier today. Someone who had agreed to read and review my novel backed out, because she thought it might have more “questionable” bits than she was comfortable with. And I went on Goodreads and found another 3 rating, which brings down my average.

And then I did my periodic Googling on my name + No Going Back, and I found a tweet from earlier this week from a blogger who’s reading my book and liking it more than she was expecting. And suddenly I’m feeling happy again.

It really is true (for me at least) that as an author, I can’t really separate my own ego from how people react to my book, no matter how much everyone seems to claim that it ought to be possible…

The Writing Rookie Season 2, #1: Floundering Around

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

This was also posted today at A Motley Vision Mormon Arts and Culture blog.

Back by popular demand*, I now continue my blog series chronicling my adventures into the realm of creative writing. Previous posts recounted experiencies related to the writing of my first (now published) novel, No Going Back. This new “season” focuses on questions such as: What next? Is there life after publication? What’s different about attempting to write a second novel? And (for those of you who remember a certain PBS program of my youth): What about Naomi?

* For some particularly dubious values of “popular demand.”

For the complete list of columns in this series, click here.

They say that when you wipe out on a bicycle, the thing to do is get right back on and start riding again. At least, I think that’s what they say. Personally, it makes more sense to me to put on some bandages and let the scrapes heal first.

(more…)

Extravagant Chocolate Chip Cookies

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

I should be writing right now. Or at least, you know, writing about writing. Instead, I’m going to write about the batch of chocolate chip cookies that I just put in the oven, basically because I want to. And maybe I’ll bring in a writing tie-in later.

(more…)