Apex Magazine, Art, Journal, Portland/Oregon, Writing

Oz-bodkins.

SO! Lots to cover since the last post. I won’t really try too hard. I’ll just recap this weekend so far.

FRIDAY
Worked–as usual, so nothing new there. BUT! We had the “corporate” X-mas party at Players later! Players is a restaurant/bar/arcade//bowing-alley. It was a ton of fun. We all got a few free drinks, the food was really surprisingly good, and then bowling-! Oh, bowling.

Okay, let’s have a little background here. I have bowled “for real” (8lb+ balls and all) maybe once in my whole life. Andy has gone twice. In short, we are not pros, by a long shot. The first round, I managed to scrape together something around 50. Yes, that bad. But not the worst on my team, surprisingly. Andy was on the SUPER TEAM, of which all the members broke 100 except for Andy (but he got 75, which compared to my 50, is darn good). He also had more strikes/etc.

But that second round. Oh man. I hit my stride. Still far from pro-levels, but I got two strikes, a spare, and worked my way up to a nice neat 98. But that’s not where the story stops–oh no! I WAS going to break 100, because we still had one more round, and with the way I was bowling, I knew I could get the 2 pins to top 100. But before I could do that, the alley cut off our game, because we had passed our “allotted time.” LAME.

But still, it was tons of fun, excellent company, good laughs, and just an overall great time.

SATURDAY

Slept in = awesome. Then we headed over to Safeway to get donuts (yum), and went on to Kohl’s, where my grandma had reserved us our x-mas present= a HUGE set of white dishes! YAY!!! Now we actually have more than the three bowls/four plates we’ve been barely scraping by on! XD! Love. This is something we desperately needed, and we’re looking forward to using very, very often.

Then when we got back, we called up Kaku, who had picked us up an X-box replacement (ours died, for some unknown reason) while he had a steep discount on gamestop hardware (he works at B&N). So we drove downtown to have lunch with him and his parents. We ate at this little deli next to Escape from NY Pizza, and it was delicious. Plus hanging out with Kaku (and his parents!) is always a ton of fun. But he had to work today, so we couldn’t hang out like we all usually do. Ah well. It’s the x-mas season, and B&N is one of those places that gets swamped over the holidays.

So Andy and I came back here (after a little shopping with Kaku at the Lloyd Center B&N so we could steal his discount–very sneaky of us, I’m sure, as we pass him stuff to buy for us at discounted prices lol), and I set to painting. I’ve had this SciFi idea in my head all week, so I decided to give it a shot. I’d sketched it out already, and decided to try the wet-on-wet style for the background.

I have decided that I do not like the wet-on-wet style. I like fighting the paint to get it to blend–makes for fewer brushstrokes. Still, the beginning of the painting isn’t horrible. I’m hoping I can polish it up a lot with details, but I’m going to have to wait at least a week or so for the bottom coat to dry before I can start layering new stuff. I’ll have to figure out another picture to work on until then. This time, no wet-on-wet.

Then we just finished eating our leftovers from Players and watching The Little Shop of Horrors–which I must say, was a heck of a lot funnier than I thought it would be. Good times! ^_^

Tomorrow, the goal is to top off all the submissions in my Apex inbox. I must say, all the recent peeps whose stories I’ve had to pass on have been exceptionally cool, professional people. I love that so much. Thanks you guys! It’s more appreciated than you know.

Writing Stuff:

Not a whole lot new to talk about. Got “Earthbound” out again after it’s last rejection, still waiting to sub-out “Ten-Day” again. I really like both stories a lot, though I worry that there just isn’t a whole lot of market for “fantastical but no-magic” fantasy. Fantasy has truly come to be defined as “stories with magic” and while I love magical items, and occasionally like magic systems, I tend to drift toward bizzare, beautiful locations with mystical/magical *feel* rather than outright magic. Unless there are robots involved. lol

Still, I checked my progress on the New Year’s Revolutions: Writing 2008 this past week, to see how I’m measuring up.

1. Rough-rough Draft of YA novel

– half-done, should make decent progress if I can figure out where the plot snagged up again.

2. 4/4 brand new rough drafts, short stories.

– “Merge”

– “Infected”/(aka “Hesperia”)

– Alien Spawn

– The Yawning (Chekov ending)

3. 3/4 edited, submittable manuscripts, short stories.

– “Earthbound”

– “Mimicry”

– “Mechanical Difficulties” (edits for reprint)

So, that means that in the next 2.5 weeks, I need to finish the novel draft (it’s a summary draft, so hopefully that can be accomplished or close to it), and I need to polish up one more piece. Luckily, I’m already almost done with that latter challenge: I’m polishing up “The Road to Ki’o Ahi” (Ki’o Ahi = Hell, in Hawaiian)–the modern Hawaii set “ghost” story. I’m almost through my return run-through of an edit, then it will be a matter of reading aloud to get flow down, cutting out whatever else I can manage, etc. This story has already had a ton of input from outside sources (familiar/cold readers alike), and I think it does have a lot of promise. Just need to finish editing it. ^_^

Also, I’ve been thinking about this upcoming writing year’s goals. This year, due to several huge life changes (a family death, marriage, honeymooning, moving across the country, getting a job (TWO!), and various personal stresses), was not much for new creations. At least, not compared to the infamous “Chekhov Year” of ’07. This upcoming year (2009), I’d like to return to the Chekhov plan (for those unfamiliar with the term, Russian short story writer Anton Chekhov wrote one story a week regularly–our Chekhov plan consists of one year of this proceeding).

However, this time, I’m not going to do a full-out Chekhov year; I’m going to do a modified Chekhov plan. I’m going to write one short story every two weeks. First week is planning, conceptualizing, and rough-drafting (if I get that far). Second week is writing and/or editing. The goal of this is to produce better, more conceptualized stories without the mad-rush during the last half of the week which characterized the first Chekhov year. This lead to abrupt endings (such as “and then the bear ate her. The end.”), summarized endings, and later in the year, a lot of flash fiction.

But besides just that time outlining, I wanted to frame this upcoming year. Instead of the mind-boggling “anything goes” which led to weeks of “oh crap, I don’t even know where to start” brainstorming, I’m going to write myself an anthology. That’s right. I’m going to write myself an anthology. I’m going to pick a theme/premise, and I’m going to explore it as much as possible for a certain number of stories. Since this is a modified Chekhov year, I should be able to produce 26 new stories total. I figure 13 stories is a good, solid anthology.

I’m going to proceed like this: I’m not going to worry about submitting anything new while I’m working on the anthology. Old manuscripts are fair game for submitting, so those will be making the rounds. But the brand new stories will sit, unsubmitted, until I finish the entire collection. I figure this way, I’ll be able to focus on writing what I want, rather than worry too much about submitting/publishing/getting published/etc. It’s so easy for that side to take over the creative process, and I need to remember that if I never sell a darn thing, it doesn’t matter. That’s not why I write. I write because I love it and because for some reason I can’t stop doing it.

Then, after the anthology is complete as a whole (edited, etc.), I’ll split up the individual stories and begin submitting them. And I’ll get working on the next anthology.

Right now, the themes I’m considering are as follows:

– Sepia Fantasy (similar to “Earthbound”, “Ten-Day”, and “Imaginix”), with perhaps a little more magic (like “Imaginix”)

– Clockwork Fantasy (similar to “Mimicry” and “Mechanical Difficulties”)

– YA Space-Realism (modern-esque stories that just happen to have a space station/intra-solar-system setting (like “Hesperia” and the current “novel” project))

If I do the latter one, it’ll probably be later in the year, since I want to continue my research on space stations/interplanetary travel/general space-environment. It’s mostly a battle of which of the first two will go first, since I’ll likely do them both at some point. I’ve got some ideas for both–now it’s just a matter of gut. I’m somewhat leaning toward “sepia fantasy” since I’ve got some magic systems I’d like to mess around with that fit exceptionally well into that storytelling voice. Plus, I can always throw in a few robots for good measure. ^_^

So many things to think about! So little time to decide!

NOTE: Oz-bodkins, the title of this entry, is one of Ozzy’s nicknames. As is Ozmosis Jones, Oz-Fest, Oz-Face, Banana Phone, OzMatoz, Ozdisius Rex, and Ozkins. The poor cat is probably so confused, but he doesn’t act like he cares. lol

2 thoughts on “Oz-bodkins.”

    1. Thanks for stopping by, and thanks! Glad you like it! :-) I actually don’t know who the host is–it’s whoever the WordPress blog company uses. All I know is it’s free and it seems to work pretty well. :-)

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