Clarion West Write-a-thon Week 4 progress report

Sometimes, things happen during first drafts.

Last week, one of those things happened.  I was about 4000 words into the draft of Rise of Grace, and it was getting harder and harder to write. Often, when that happens, it turns out that I’m doing something wrong.

I set the draft aside for a couple of days and came back to it, and realized that those 4000 words had issues.  Issues big enough that the only real cure for them was to toss out those words (I’ll recycle some of them) and start over.

Sometimes, you have to get the wrong words out before you can get the right ones.

 

 Thistle trotted through the narrow halls of the palace, dodging guards, her sturdy new boots thumping on the tile with a pleasantly authoritative air. She tried not to shift her shoulders in her new armor too much. She wanted her old armor back, bits and pieces scavenged from plunder and gambled for over too much beer. This armor had been made for her, and it was attractive enough with its design of feathers on the dark leather, but it was all wrong. It fit like someone else’s boot—passably only.

She was happier with the daggers that rode at her hips. Those, at least, were weapons she could be proud of, with their long, wicked blades and their fine balance.

She was going to worry at the armor, though. You can’t skulk around the place looking like a— Lynnis had thought better of whatever she’d been about to day after Thistle had objected.

Raider, Thistle had finished for her. There was no shame in it. She was—had been—exactly that.

Also a smuggler and general ne’er-do-well, she thought, and grinned. Her glory days weren’t behind her, even if she had for the moment traded her own armor for the ill-fitting garb of a Hawk. She was still a windmaga, and her identity as Seaclan was written in the tattooed blessing on her face and the tilt of her eyes.

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Clarion West Write-a-thon Week 3 progress report

As you might imagine, I am a little busy (and a lot forgetful) at the moment–summer has arrived in Seattle, and this is the Season–where speculative fiction writers and readers get together for weekly readings and gatherings.  I’m hosting online events for Clarion West (a Tweetchat today and a Google Hangout interview with Randy Henderson next Sunday) and yes….writing as I have time and energy.

I have some sponsors (thank you!) but I would love more–by sponsoring me, you’ll get a new excerpt from the book I’m writing every week and a bonus ebook at the end of the Write-a-thon. Sounds good, right?  Every little bit–$10, $20, $50–helps!

In Thistle’s mind, her Bright stirred, a gust winding around her. That was the only warning she got before Idris dropped from the ceiling, the ribbons fluttering around her. Pressing her hands down against the air, her fall slowed abruptly as Thistle’s bright stirred in reaction.

Thistle had never met another warmaga who had such precise control over her talent—mostly they were good for blowing holes in building and shield walls.

Irdris landed on one of the steps, her knees taking what was left of the fall before bouncing upright with a satisfied smirk on her lips. Thistle laughed. “You’re going to break your neck some day, doing that.”

“Probably.” Idris gave her a thin smile. To Lynnis, she said, “It worked perfectly. Not even Thistle spotted me.”

“Not that I was looking.”

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Why should you sponsor me?

You’ll get sneak peeks into what I’m writing and at the end of the Write-a-thon, you’ll get a novelette cowritten by me and Storm Wilder. But not just that, you’ll be supporting me and my writing.

But if you don’t feel like sponsoring me, there are a ton of writers writing for the Write-a-thon like J.M. Sidorova, Rochita Loenen-RuizAn Owomoyela, Nisi ShawlNalo Hopkinson, and Cassandra Rose Clarke — women, PoC, people whose voices are from outside the mainstream.

Why should you support Clarion West?

Clarion West runs a six-week workshop for writers of speculative fiction at the beginning of their careers. It doesn’t do just that, though—it provides continuing education for writers, and it provides a community that extends around the world.

More than that, though, it provides support and access for writers who might otherwise have high barriers to getting published.

Supporting Clarion West supports new and diverse voices in science fiction and fantasy. These are the writers you’ll want to be reading 5, 10, 20 years down the road.

Sponsor me here: http://www.clarionwest.org/members/kris-millering/

Browse the list of writers here: http://www.clarionwest.org/groups/write-a-thon-2014/members/

Learn more about the Write-a-thon and sponsor multiple writers here: http://www.clarionwest.org/writeathon/


Clarion West Write-a-thon Week 1 progress report

The knot of courtiers drew closer together. Thistle wanted to reassure them that the wholesale slaughter was done with, but she dared not speak out of turn—and besides, Idris might well make a liar out of her. She knew her partner’s nature well, and it had been a long and trying day.

It’s been slow going the last few days, as I have been busy both with Clarion West and my day job work, but I have managed to squeak out about 900 words on the first chapter of Rise of Grace.  I will definitely have something to show by week’s end for my sponsors.

You want to be one of the very first people to start reading the tale of a newly minted Queen and how she manages to hold her country together even as forces both internal and external try to tear it apart, right?  Then sponsor me for the Clarion West Write-a-thon!

Sponsor me now!

Why should you sponsor me?

You’ll get sneak peeks into what I’m writing and at the end of the Write-a-thon, you’ll get a novelette cowritten by me and Storm Wilder. But not just that, you’ll be supporting me and my writing.

But if you don’t feel like sponsoring me, there are a ton of writers writing for the Write-a-thon like J.M. Sidorova, Rochita Loenen-RuizAn Owomoyela, Nisi ShawlNalo Hopkinson, and Cassandra Rose Clarke — women, PoC, people whose voices are from outside the mainstream.

Why should you support Clarion West?

Clarion West runs a six-week workshop for writers of speculative fiction at the beginning of their careers. It doesn’t do just that, though—it provides continuing education for writers, and it provides a community that extends around the world.

More than that, though, it provides support and access for writers who might otherwise have high barriers to getting published.

Supporting Clarion West supports new and diverse voices in science fiction and fantasy. These are the writers you’ll want to be reading 5, 10, 20 years down the road.

Sponsor me here: http://www.clarionwest.org/members/kris-millering/

Browse the list of writers here: http://www.clarionwest.org/groups/write-a-thon-2014/members/

Learn more about the Write-a-thon and sponsor multiple writers here: http://www.clarionwest.org/writeathon/


Clarion West Write-a-thon

It’s summertime, and in my world that means one thing—it’s SF season! Clarion West is gearing up for the workshop, the new students are traveling to Seattle, and it’s almost time for the round of summer social events to begin.

And the Clarion West Write-a-thon is about to start!  I am once again writing for the Write-a-thon, and hoping to get more sponsorships this year than I did last year. (Disclaimer: I am an employee of Clarion West, but I do all fundraising activities on my own time as a volunteer.)  This year, I have a goal of finishing three chapters of my new book, currently named Rise of Grace.

My sponsors will get weekly updates and snippets of what I’m writing, and at the end will receive a PDF/ebook of a novelette that I wrote with Storm Wilder a few years ago. Also, three lucky sponsors will get one of two anthologies that my work is in—a print version of Women Destroy Science Fiction, and a print version of Ravens in the Library, a charity anthology.

Clarion West is a big part of my life and has had a huge role in the successes I’ve had as a writer. Not only is the workshop an intense and life-changing experience, but the community around it welcomes and nurtures talent.  Clarion West sets up writers not just to write, but to succeed.

If you’re reading this and love what I do, I’m asking you to sponsor me. It doesn’t have to be much–$10, $25, anything helps—and even a small donation shows that you like what I do and want me to keep on doing it.

Even if you don’t sponsor me, we have other fantastic writers participating, like Elizabeth Bear (author of many fine novels, including the recent Steles of the Sky), Cassandra Rose Clarke (author of The Mad Scientist’s Daughter), Stephanie Burgis (author of the Kat, Incorrigible series), and Nalo Hopkinson (author of the recent Sister Mine as well as many other novels). Pick a name you’ve heard of, or pick a writer with an interesting goal or with a fun writing excerpt.

And if you’re a writer, there are six days left to register if you’d like to come along on this ride! Challenge yourself to write for six weeks alongside the workshop. You don’t need to be affiliated with Clarion West in order to write with the Write-a-thon—all are welcome!

Sponsor me now!


science fiction, women, and the bodies in our spaceships

There are stories that come to me in bits and pieces over weeks and months.  There are other stories that come to me all at once.

A “Word Shaped Like Bones” was one of the latter.

Not all of my short stories involve me wrestling with inner demons, but this one definitely did.  Maureen is non-neurotypical, obsessive, intensely tactile, and probably not a lot of fun to be around. I wanted, in this story, a protagonist who was unlikeable enough that the reader might understand why she was sent to the stars on her own. And then I put her in a situation where she has no choice but to cope with her own demons.

This story was actually written about five years ago, and I put it away until last year, when I revised it and then sat on it again.  I had my own decaying bodies in my starship with me, all of which needed to be dealt with.

But when the call for Women Destroy Science Fiction came out, I thought it couldn’t hurt to toss Bones in there. At least it could start gathering rejections.

And when it came back with an acceptance…I could hardly believe it.  I still sort of can’t.

And it’s significant for me because I, too, absorbed the idea that women didn’t write science fiction.  Despite the fact that my favorite SF authors as a teenager (Suzette Hadin Elgin, Melissa Scott, and Anne McCaffery) were women, I had this idea in my head that they were outliers.  Beloved outliers, but outliers nonetheless.

And now, I am friends with so many science fiction writers, and a large number of them (possibly the majority, if I decided to count) are women. I had a lot of internal deprogramming to do—a process that is still ongoing, but that I like to think I’ve made large strides with.

I am proud to have helped destroy science fiction!


My story is online for free, but if you like it I encourage you to buy the ebook or subscribe to Lightspeed and show your support!