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Writing Ruminations

Writing is such an internal process. Why not make those private ruminations public? This is how stories take shape and grow.

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Location: Happy Valley, Oregon, United States

I've been supporting myself as a writer for many years and am watching the changes in the publishing world with fascination. For me, sharing the craft, teaching, is as creatively satisfying as the writing process itself.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Hide and Seek

Oregon winter seems to have settled in...writing weather. I have been checking on a friend's acreage at the foot of Powell Butte. Played a trick on my dogs tonight in the name of research. I'm pitching a mystery series based on my 'tracking dog' stories in Ellery Queen, wanted to watch dogs search. So while my three were playing tug of war with a fallen alder trunk (no kidding), I sneaked off up into the timber. When they missed me they started looking. They didn't cross my track (I was sneaky and laid it where we don't usually go) so I got to watch them for a half hour as they ran every single footstep I had laid down in the last few days and then quartered the property, looking for recent scent. The wind was on my side, so they couldn't air scent me. When I finally whistled they made me pay for my perfidy...got an ENTHUSIASTIC 'you were lost' greeting. Muddy!!! Of course it had started pouring right after I hid so we were all soaked, but it was fun research.

Now I can translate it into the scene.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

fantasy con

I'm back from World Fantasy Con...what a place for a hard SF writer to hang out in, yes? :-) Except that I'm hardly a hard SF writer only. Good panel topics with some quality discussions. The importance of a good moderator was...er...demonstrated a couple of times, but overall, it's a wonderful convention with lots of opportunity to visit.

I sat on a panel that discussed the relationship between reader and writer. While it initially seemed that we panelists were poles apart in our attitudes...everything from 'I have no obligation to my reader' to 'I have the obligation to make the story accessible'...in general the agreement seemed to be that although you tell the story YOU want to tell, you need to do it as well as possible so that the reader has every opportunity to share it with you.

The question of what obligation I, as reader, have to the writer cost me a bit more thought. What obligation if any DO I have? I think my obligation lies in my willingness to work, to stretch my expectations and give that writer the chance to teach me what she/he is trying to do. No, I do not mean I'll slog through 350 pages of badly written stuff, but if the story iw well written, I'll struggle with unfamiliar style and language and give the writer the chance to show me just what is going on.

Travel home was a fantasy all its own. Tornadoes and thunderstorms combined to crash a lot of the domino-chains that are on-schedule flights and I spent most of the night in airports or on planes. Enough to make me realize that the airport IS a world of fantasy, full of the boundaries between reality and unreality that I love in fantasy. Now I'm going to have to write an airport fantasy. :-)