I've long wanted to play with interactive fiction, but the notion of creating three dozen branches of significance in the same story, just for the reader to discover only a fraction of them, was exhausting. I loved the concept of the reader making choices, especially subtle choices that they didn't know the ramifications of, but it was just not worth the effort, to me. I played with some IF structures like Inform7, but they had difficulty tracking the kind of complexity I wanted.
Enter Ice-Bound, an interdiegetic interactive fiction game by Aaron Reed, the author of Blue Lacuna. You make your story choices on the app (PC-with-webcame or iOS), and then "confirm" your choices are correct by holding up a page of the physical art-book that comes with the game. The app uses augmented reality to show you hidden aspects of the compendium, but the "artificial intelligence" you're creating the story with may also be affected by what it learns by seeing those pages.
But what really interests me is that the engine driving the story isn't a branching hypertext style, and it isn't a text-based adventure like Inform7. It's a combinatorial narrative engine: it has dynamic snippets of story text that it recombines, using different chunks from the whole set in different orders to produce the narrative. It changes the number of people in a scene, who performs an action and how they perform it based on other choices the player has made, it changes setting details based on choice. It's fascinating, and if they reach their stretch goal of 22k, they'll release their engine open source so others can create stories.
I've tried to create (conceptually, I never got to the coding stage because there are a lot of problems to solve) an engine that did things similarly, but I overcomplicated my solution every time. Reed's is both a simple and sophisticated solution.
I cannot tell you how much I want to play with that engine. Their kickstarter has already funded, the engine is built as is some of the content already, so it's a pretty sure bet for your money. For just $20 (if you're in the US, $32 if you're outside it) you can grab yourself a copy of this game for the next seven days, until their kickstarter closes.
For the interested, they've also put links to their academic papers on the engine, and to blog posts they wrote discussing it.Write comment (0 Comments)
So, I'm doing NaNoWriMo again this year (I'm avaenuha if you'd like to buddy-up), but a little differently. As mentioned in my previous post, my next novel isn't ready for drafting yet. However, I've long been a proponent of using NaNo as best suits you, so instead, I'm going to be writing ten short stories, longhand in my notebook. My stories tend to average around 4-6k words, so I figure it'll even out, even though I'll be fudging my final count as a per-page estimate.
At this point, I have seven-of-ten stories planned out. I need to plan the final three this week.
I have a brand new teal moleskine line journal to write my stories in. The line-height in it is much narrower than the notebook I just finished, which makes me a little gleeful (I love the visual of a notebook of densely packed written text. Just go with it.) but I'm not allowed to write anything in it until November.
It's going to be an interesting challenge, mostly because I have a hen's day-night, a weekend-wedding and my own thirtieth birthday bash (a themed mad-scientist party. There's a lot of prep-work involved. There will be blog posts). crammed into November, plus having agreed to go to Oak's day this year. (Melbourne Cup. It's a horse-racing thing.) For me, that's a lot of socialising at times I would normally be writing, so my time is going to be extremely limited in a month I'm trying to achieve far more than usual.
But I intend to post my progress (or lack thereof) each day, partly to be accountable, and partly so I actually remember that this blog exists, because I've done a good job of neglecting it the past few months. So: each day I will post my progress. You are very welcome to post yours in the comments.
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This post is my part in the ‘My Writing Process’ blog tour, which prompts writers to consider their work and their craft. My thanks to my friend Peter Samet, who tagged me with some lovely comments (several weeks ago, but it is that time of the year).
What am I working on?
Right now? So many things. I am a story-magpie. I always have several projects on the go, each at a different stage of my process. In fact, one of the first rules I had to make for myself was the one about finishing existing things before I’m allowed to start new ones, to make sure things actually get finished, and I don’t die surrounded by half-written drafts of half-baked novels. My brain thrives on novelty, and having another puzzle to turn to when I'm stuck on an aspect of a story keeps me writing, as does the kick of achievement from regularly finishing something, but it’s also like a drug, and can completely distract me from a more mundane aspect of writing, like getting the first draft down.
I haven't met many writers who multi-project, especially to the extent that I do; most writers I know feel they need to get lost within the story they're writing, and they can’t switch focus like that. I, too, need to immerse myself in a project (I find it near-impossible to work on most things if I know I have to be somewhere in twenty minutes) but multiple stories has never been an impediment to me in that regard. I switch quite easily between them; I did the same thing reading books as a child, with three or four piled up at once with bookmarks squeezed inside, hopping between them each night as I read, never getting confused between books or forgetting where I was up to (as so many people insisted I must).
But, as much as I can hop from one project to another, not all tasks in a project are created equal. For example, I can plan or revise a half-dozen stories in a weekend, but I find it very difficult to write the draft-zero of more than one story at a time. So I schedule and time my projects using ‘story slots’ so that only one story is in draft-zero stage at any one time; the others are either being planned, transcribed or revised. (For those truly interested; yes, a larger project takes up a lot more ‘story slots’ than a shorter one. They're basically units of estimated time. I've actually switched over to using Agile Scrum Sprints (from programming principles) to manage my process, but that's a post for another week.)
This requires some preparations, as obviously when a large project reaches draft-zero stage, no other stories can be drafted during that interim (interrupting one draft-zero to write another comes with a high risk of the interrupted project never being completed: see above with my rule about finishing things), so I build up a bank of stories to plan, transcribe and revise for when a major project hits that stage. Everything gets worked around that baby.
So, what am I actually working on?
- My next novel, (working title: Apocalypse Then) which is a reworking of the story that I tried (fairly unsuccessfully) to squeeze into 5000 words six years ago, is in the planning stage. There is time travel, multiple realities and multiple versions of characters and timelines going on, so I’m still sorting out how it all hangs together, what the rules are, and what story I actually want to tell.
- In the lead up to NaNoWriMo in November, I have twelve short-stories that I’m plotting. I plan to draft-zero ten of them (the extra two in case I start some and decide they’re not working or I’m not feeling it) during November. There’s a mix of everything from hard-science fiction to fantasy to interstitial-weirdness going on here. Estimated average word count, about 5000 words.
- Three science fiction short stories I'm draft-zeroing for an anthology I want to submit to, Temporally Out of Order. They're due at the end of November. November is going to be interesting.
- My surrealist-fantasy novella, (still untitled, dammit) originally intended for an anthology I AM THE ABYSS, but which took an unseemly number of months to finish the draft-zero of, (this was the project that taught me not to try to draft-zero more than one thing at a time) and which ended up far longer than the market would accept, which I'm slowly transcribing into a first-draft.
- Six short stories that I'm revising and submitting to markets.
There are many, many more stories waiting in the wings. Too many to count, and they needle me constantly, playing “tag” with my brain and gleefully running where my brain isn’t allowed to chase yet. I also have a great fascination with interactive fiction. While I don’t have any projects of that one the go at the moment, I’m looking into ways I can leverage my skillsets as both a writer and a programmer to do some really innovative stuff, there. (Brain says: Oooh, shiny idea, get it, get it! No, brain. Eat your other story-vegetables first.)
Before you throw things at me for my apparently abundant free time: I live alone, I work from home running my own business, my only dependent is a potted cactus and I’ve pruned away almost every other competing hobby and interest--I don’t watch much TV, I don’t follow sports, I don't go to 'interest groups', I don’t go out all that much at all (thank you, introversion). I lead the kind of life that makes me hate the question “so, what’ve you been up to lately” because I have nothing to say to anyone who isn’t a writer. I’m trying to make this a professional gig whilst working full time, so I carved out about 20-30 hours a week for writing, and I guard it with an irradiated hamster and an orbital plasma cannon.
How does my work differ from others in these genre?
If you’d asked me a year ago, I’d have told you my stories were depressing as hell. Looking back, they’re certainly bleak. There’s an in-joke with my critique group that it’s not a Sofie Bird story unless the complete destruction of a civilisation is involved somewhere.
I’m branching out from that, now--I have new things to say that require different vehicles in tone and content, I’m feeling a lot more confident exploring things I haven’t tried, or haven’t done in a long while (like happy endings. Woah). But my stories are still very idea-driven; the intellectual and conceptual is what comes naturally to me, and I work to include the emotional and character aspects. I play a lot with what makes reality ‘real’, with one’s experience of the self, identity and the mind, and impossible decisions.
I used to have a love affair with ambiguous endings, courtesy of Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, but while I’ve set that aside, I still rejoice when I witness people arguing over their interpretation of my story. Much as I’d love it, I don’t know if I’ll ever be a writer who grabs your heartstrings and feeds them under a steamroller, but I certainly aspire to be one who makes you think, who leaves you with an idea or a perspective that you hadn’t had before.
Why do I write what I write?
When I first read this question I scoffed--why do I write? You might as well as why I breathe--but on reflection it’s a little more nuanced than that. Why do I write my intellectual-explorations instead of, say, hot romance, gallivanting space operas or true crime?
Primarily I write to explore my ideas--whether it’s an examination of an aspect of humanity or the fact that I think it’d be really cool if X and Y caused something other than Z. I enjoy these thought puzzles, and I want to share them, and my enjoyment of them. I’ve always loved science and contemplating what’s possible, (and what’s not) and I love the ability speculative fiction has to hone a story down to the core element you’re playing with. Rather than being locked into verisimilitude, you can create a world that amplifies and embodies the nature of human greed, or the universality of suffering, or the tendency for everyone to forget where they put their damn keys.
I loved my university studies, but I never struggled more with writing as when they told me I had to write “literary fiction” (which they interpreted as ‘pretty sentences about human drama in a mainstream-reality’). I hated writing that. I perfected my pretty sentences, but it felt empty and futile. I had nothing to say, the stories held no interest for me, I was bored. I used to stretch the boundaries wherever I could, creating magic-realism (which was still frowned upon, but borderline-permissible) and psychological was-it-all-in-your-head-maybe-not horror (which was definitely not).
In short: I live and write for the what-if.
What's my process?
I’m going to be terribly self-indulgent here and explain it in some detail, because quite a few people have asked how I develop a story, and I think where I differ is in the step that would ordinarily be summarised by “and then I think about it for a while”. I'm going to talk about orchards, or trees, and trebuchets.
Find the seed
I almost always start with a concept, what I refer to as the story's novum, the speculative element. It's not always immediately evident what the novum really is or how it works, or even sometimes how it’s even speculative, sometimes it's as vague as a choice a character has to make, or a feeling I want to evoke. Something that grabs my brain and makes it go "ooh, shiny!". It can come from anything, it’s usually just a confluence of thoughts, from images I’ve seen, snippets of dialogue, fumbled conversation, and of course (being a spec-fic writer) advances in science and scientific theory.
I used to just write from that point, trying to capture that choice, or my own feeling of epiphany when I first realised the novum. I wrote a lot of pieces that were really just "look at my idea," I wanted the reader to feel what I had felt as the author, (which was mostly an inescapable smugness for having thought of something so clever--I shall never deny my early arrogance) rather than exploring what journey I could take them on.
Since my time at the Odyssey writing workshop, I put my stories through a lot more development before I actually write them. Before they see a penstroke, I noodle the idea around until I have an idea of what I want the final climax to be, what emotion I'm going for, what difficulty I want a character to face. This is a lot of spaghetti-on-the-wall; often I find the spaghetti morphs into two or three stories, and I have to decide which to work on right now. Fundamentally, I want enough of an idea of the story to know how I want it to end, but not so much that I start getting attached to darlings that I’ll want to put in even though they don’t fit with the final product. It's a careful noodle-balancing act. I have a giant whiteboard in my lounge-cum-writing-room, which helps me corral my noodles effectively, but does occasionally lead to awkward questions when I have guests over and my whiteboard is asking them fifty-seven questions about nuclear armaments, the exact composition of a silicon-based atmosphere, and whether it's possible to extract the vitreous humour from an eyeball with a big enough leech.
Tend the sapling
Once I have an ending in mind, I structure the rest of the story; I see where the character must have come from in order for that ending to be meaningful, which gives me a beginning, and the core aspect of the character (how they’re going to change) and then I see what price I can as make them pay along the way to prepare them for the ending--that gives me the middle. I ask who the main character has to be in order to to make these choices--who is the worst person these choices could be forced upon?-- and build up what their values and fears are, and how the world is going to push against them. All of this is more or less done in tandem as fragments of world, character and plot inform on and shape each other over the course of a session or a couple of days. The whiteboard at this point looks like someone is plotting the invasion of the mysterious bubble people.
Prune and shape
I find that my first result ( a plan, we're not drafting yet) generally doesn’t give me something overly coherent; the story is there, but it doesn't seem to have a point to it, it's not leaving the reader with a takeaway. So I look through both the choices and actions my character has made, and the novum they're reacting to, and try to see what themes I can draw from it: what statement that decision makes, what values it embodies. Sometimes I need to stab things a little to get them to give up a theme. (Did I mention you don't want me looking after your plants? I'm not really a horticulturalist, but I'm pretty sure stabbing is not typically in the instructions.) When I have a theme that I can a turn into a statement ("love conquers all, hope without truth is deadly") I tweak (or hammer) the rest of the story elements to support it: in decisions and actions the character makes, and echo it in the worldbuilding, the pacing, and in supporting characters. Anything that distracts from the theme, and especially anything that runs counter to it, must be removed.
The plot is then broken down into scenes, with the setup, the actions the character will take, why they take them, the information that needs to be revealed. For short stories I often just do this in paragraphs, but for longer or more complex pieces I create what I call a Plot Grid.
Weather the first storm
Then--no, we're still not done planning--I test my plan against the bad habits I know I have as a writer. I make sure my character is active, moving the plot forward themselves instead of observing it or reacting to it. I make sure they're interacting with other characters, unless the story really, truly, undeniably needs them to be alone. I make sure they have internal logic as to why they're making that decision, and they're not just doing it because I want that to happen, dammit. Any bad habits at this point send us back to pruning and reshaping (or sometimes all the way back to the seed, if the story is broken enough).
Tend the tree until harvest
Now I have a scene-by-scene story plan that should be a functional story, in terms of the emotional journey of the the character, the setup and payoff, and the theme. It's basically an instruction manual for how to write this story. Which probably sounds hideously dull to the pantsers out there, but I have good reason for doing it this way: I hate draft-zeroes. There is nothing I will procrastinate over more. Some writers hate revisions, my enemy is the blank page. All my planning serves to make it as easy as possible for myself; I don't have to make big picture decisions while I'm trying to craft sentences, because I already know where I’m going. I can look forward to the good bits because I know what I'll do then, I can delight in the unexpected details that crop up and add depth or angles to the theme I hadn’t thought of, and I can speed my my way through the draft without dead ends or false starts and get the why-am-I-doing-this-why-didn’t-I-just-learn-accountancy part over and done with.
Which is not to say my stories don't change as I'm drafting them. They do--details trigger layers and concepts that write themselves in as I go. Quite often I'll get partway through a scene and want to change something, (sometimes the entire scene) or add something in to make a later detail significant, to tie another thread to the theme in a way that I hadn't seen before.
I used to try to do this digitally, on the laptop, but lately I’ve found it drags out my drafting time by a factor of five, because I can go back and edit right then, and I can't seem to resist doing that. Instead of getting my draft zero out the way, I tinker getting sentences right, and changing my mind again and again. So now I longhand, in pretty notebooks with fountain pens in pretty inks. The flow of the pen keeps me going, I get the reward of choosing a new ink when I've written enough to run the barrel dry, and when I realise I need to add or change something, I just leave a note on the relevant page in the margins and write on as if I added already made that change. My hand does start to cramp after about six thousand words, though.
I get to the end of draft-zero, and generally I have a scrawled mess. If it’s a long enough story, there’ll be sentences where I have to guess at what I actually wrote, because the scrawl is that illegible. There are some pages of my novella where I wonder if I actually wrote words in the first place, or just scribbled and hoped I could make it up when I edited because I hated that bit so much. I leave it for at least a day after I've finished draft-zero (unless I procrastinated draft-zero long enough that the story is already due, which is frankly most of the time)--long enough to be able to think about the words less immediately. Then I transcribe it into Scrivener on my laptop, incorporating the rewrites that I had in the margin notes and editing the text as I go.
One of the bad habits I'm trying to train out at the moment is my ability to skip over my endings. My brain is ridiculously analytical and it loves solving puzzles, and I have a tendency to give my readers all the ingredients to figure out the character's motivation or decision (or whatever the climaxing revelation is) but not walk them through the actual moment that it happens. Writing-brain figures that if it could figure it out, so could you, so we don't need to actually tell you, because it's obvious, right? This may work for the very small subsection of readers who both enjoy reading things the way I do and also think on a similar wavelength, but it leaves most of my readers lost and frustrated at the end of a story. So now I try to deliberately slow down the pacing of my ending a little, spell things out a bit more.
Once the story is transcribed, I send it to my critique group (if they’re lucky, I edit it first, but I’ve usually procrastinated too much on draft-zero to allow for that). They give me detailed, wonderful, thorough feedback that I immediately close and pretend I haven't read because my story is perfect and you're reading it wrong, dammit. I put the story aside for several weeks, more likely a few months, until I can look at it and the feedback more objectively and be prepared to dissect the parts that need to go or change.
Pack the fruit
I revise in passes. I find trying to revise everything at once by just "looking for problems" and then "making it better" just makes a puddle. I address issues that my critiquers pointed out, then layers of structure, characterisation, worldbuilding, pacing, tweaking imagery and description and actions to best convey what I want. Toward the end I do passes for language, looking for weak word choices that haven't already been picked up, for "is-isms", for variation in sentence structure and length and language tics I have, like my love-affair with semi-colons. Then I read it aloud, put it aside, take it out again in a few days and read it aloud again.
Fling it at the market in a trebuchet
As they say: stories are never finished, only abandoned. I have a newfound determination to send all my stories out, even the ones that I feel aren't my best, or don't speak to me as much. So: find markets, read them, send them your stuff when you have a story that fits a market, or a market that fits a story. When the story comes back, do it again. The trebuchet comes into it because you have to do this with a confidence that you certainly don't feel, and it helps do it quickly.
I have a rule that a) when I send a story out, I plan what market it will go to next when it comes back rejected, and b) rejected stories must be sent back out within 24 hours of the rejection. Most of the time, I manage to do it within the hour. It makes the rejection sting much, much less.
Now I get to tag some people to continue the blog chain. I'd like to introduce you to three of my Odyssey workshop writer-friends:
Kate Hall, who writes vivid, imaginative, emotionally-gripping stories, and who's published several short stories, the latest of which is The Scrimshaw and the Scream, in the Women Destroy Fantasy anthology by Lightspeed.
Kathrin Köhler, a fiction writer and poet, who crafts the most exquisite prose and combines gorgeous poetic imagery with a philosophical curiosity and reshaping of perspectives I envy.Write comment (2 Comments)
So, it's been rather a while since my last post. Basically I moved my home life and my business at the same time, and all of my routines and schedules promptly fell over, and things that didn't actually have direct consequences like not being able to pay the bills fell off the todo list and rolled under the chair. *ahem* Attempts at regular service will now resume.
I've seen this going around on facebook a little, but my writing friend E. Markham listed her own ten most memorable books and I felt inspired to add my own. The brief is:
Just pick 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. They don’t have to be classics, they don’t even have to be that good. They just have to have made an impression on you.
So, my own ten books, in the order that they came to mind:
Dune, Frank Herbert
This is the first science fiction book I ever remember reading; aged eight at my grandmother's house, because my brother had suggested it to me. The complexities of the political aspect impressed me as a child, as did the sheer scale of the stories of the houses behind the scenes, and the notion of religion being seeded into populaces on a galactic scale for the sole benefit of the members of a group that may need to use it, centuries later. I've studied parts of it later, and despite its many flaws, it still remains one of my most beloved books.
Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood
This was my introduction into Atwood, recommended by a friend. I loved her world and characters, the clear difference in character between Snowman and his younger self. The first time I read it, in my late teens, I absolutely had to know all the secrets right now. I had to know how it all happened.
And while I know she hates this distinction, Atwood was my introduction to the idea that you could write literary science fiction. Science fiction that dealt with ethics and big questions and humanity in ways that command respect. Up until that point, I had seen a clear distinction between "literature" which was worth reading, and "genre" which was nothing but cheap escapism. She showed me that I could thumb my nose at all the English teachers and literature professors who would sneer at me for my love of the fantastic.
Everything Is Illuminated, Jonathan Safran Foer
I studied this as part of my honours thesis, looking at unreliable narrators. I love Alex's use of language and the way you can clearly see both his 'real' narrative, and the narrative as he would want you to believe it. While at times I found it tiresome, that Alex was so hung up on other people's opinions and things that I thought to be of no consequence, it stayed with me as a powerful example of telling two stories at once with the same language.
Robinson Crusoe, Daniel, DeFoe
I studied this in my enhancement literature class in year 12, and I have a strange relationship with it. Because some parts of it are undeniably boring and dull. They really are. And yet I love the book. I think it's the isolation; when I'm feeling the pressure of people far too often, this is an isolation pill in book-form. I have always loved the notion of self-sufficiency; I used to love the mental exercises we'd play in grade school about what you would take (to survive) to a deserted island, how you would solve various problems with what you had. It's often a mental exercise for me, to imagine such a scenario, so reliving it in such detail is a pleasure of mine.
The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury
I have a strange relationship with the stories in this book. Bradbury wrote them long before we had any good idea of what the surface of Mars was actually like, and before we really understood the science of it, as well. But also, he wrote it without the idea that any of that mattered. It's science fantasy; it doesn't care if there isn't oxygen on Mars or if that's not how rockets work or gravity or any of that. I love it for two reasons: the distant-but-clear interconnectedness of the stories. This was not originally written as an anthology, but rather an anthology collected after they'd been published elsewhere. So some of the stories have clear connections, and some are far more distant to the point of having no points of contact (other than the planet), but that weaves together to give the uneven feeling you get from history; where the world was only being recorded when someone was watching.
The other reason is the beauty of the stories themselves. They're just such a pleasurable read, such wonderful ideas. The book also contains one of my favourite stories, where the actual story takes place entirely in one moment of realisation, where you work out what has happened, and therefore what this poor character (who is not the main character of the story) has gone through. You can clearly see, laid out, the decisions he's made, the pain that he's dealt with, all in one moment. And there's nothing anyone can do about it. It's beautifully bittersweet.
The Handmaiden's Tale, Margaret Atwood
Another Atwood, but I have to mention this, because this book is what gave me a ten-year love-affair with ambiguous endings. I practically needed a twelve-step program to stop trying to write ambiguous endings to every damn thing, because I loved the perfect, knife-edge balance of Atwood's. Everything leads to that point, and that single moment encapsulates the whole of the book, it's masterful.
The Borrowers, Mary Norton
I loved this as a child. I always loved miniature things, and creating things, so the idea of miniature people created things out of other things just stuck with me. Somehow I got the impression that, were I that size, I would do quite well surviving for myself. I imagined the world from that size quite vividly.
Daggerspell, Katherine Kerr
For her interweaving, redefining-of-the-word-epic narratives, I'm kinda cheating and including the whole Devery series in here. I devoured these books as a young teen, absolutely obsessed with the way she wove different timelines of the same people together, showing their various progressions through learning the things their souls had to learn.
The Lathe of Heaven, Ursula Le Guin
A great deal of Le Guin is still on my Shelf of Shame, unread, but this is one of my favourites, and the SF book I most commonly recommend to people. Its concept is simple, but I love Le Guin's exploration of the ramifications of it, and I love that there are no evil people in this book. This is just what happens when normal people get unprecedented secret power, and use it with the best intentions.
The Ivory And the Horn, Charles de Lint
I read Charles de Lint around my university years (and made my lecturers despair with my obsession with fantasy, until I explained it away as 'magic realism', which was perfectly alright back then, thank you Gabriel Marquez). This grabbed me about three stories in, when I realised that the stories were connected all peripherally: not to the same person (though there are several connections to Jill, who connects most of his Onion Girl collected works) but to different people here and there from other stories, like tiny easter eggs. I adored making those connections as I read, and the feeling I got of the book-world being so much the larger for it. It's something I've wanted to emulate in my own work for some time.Write comment (0 Comments)
Yes, no blog posts for rather longer than intended, I'm sorry. I moved house, and then Telstra decided to demonstrate their spectacular incompetence, in not only completely losing my relocation order, but adding in a bunch of orders into my account that made no sense whatsoever (We need to remove a landline that doesn't exist, and then add it in, and then delete your cable connected and give you 200Gb of data allowance for a non-existent connection) and stuffing up my account so much that the technicians wanted to just cancel the whole account more than once.
It's still not fixed, but thankfully they've so far left my mobile alone. Touch wood. Everyone look the other way in case they realise I have a mobile account with them...
Honestly, I've not had much to say the past few weeks anyway, my brain cells have entirely realigned into car-tetris calculators, to the point where when talking with some friends, it proudly announced to me that it had worked out how to get all my friends into one box, though it hadn't the foggiest clue what they'd said.
Also, the movers broke my fridge and have so far been unbelievable bad at getting a technician to come look at it. Said technician's car even apparently broke down on the way to my house. I borrow my brother's teensy six-litre fridge to tide me over, got it home to discover it doesn't work, either.
I don't know what deity I pissed off, but I wish I knew how to appease it.
BUT the point of this post is that there is a convention this weekend, from Friday to Monday, called Continuum. It's a speculative fiction writer's convention, has some good panels and things going on, and in one of those panels on Friday afternoon, yours truly will be talking about intensive writing workshops--what they're like, what the deal is, the good, the bad, the insane. The full programme is available here, tickets are available at the door.Write comment (0 Comments)
... because I'm moving house. Well, I'm packing, I'm not moving right now. And if whatever weird secret embargo that's preventing any moving company from calling back with a quote doesn't lift soon, I might not be moving at all.
Before I'm packing, I'm culling my stuff, because I've had a three bedroom house to myself for years, now, and I have a lot of hobbies (not to mention a home gym) that now have to fit in a two-bedroom apartment. This is a difficult process, because the "but you might need this someday" mentality is well-ingrained in my family, along with a loathing of 'wasting' things. Because it's not at all wasted if it's sitting in a cupboard somewhere never to be used.
Though it will be well worth it to have somewhere where the walls don't move if you lean against them and the carpet doesn't disintegrate if a vacuum so much as looks at it and you can't smell the refuse dump on damp afternoons.
I did discover I seem to have an entire cupboard devoted to storing candles, musical novelty mugs, and plastic bags. This is what happens when you have too much room; you keep crap you really don't need.
I also discovered that, even after living in a three-bedroom house for years, 80% of what I own still comes down to books and things that store books. Today I learned that if you use every breath of space in a 2005 Corolla sedan... you can still only move about 60% of my library at once.Write comment (0 Comments)