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Welcome to my blog!

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This blog was my online wordsmith workshop, where you'll find notes on my writing experiences, excerpts from my fantasy and science fiction novels, and essays of a more homeworld flavor.  Some of the advice therein may still be of interest to new writers so I have left it here but due to technical difficulties, I no longer post here regularly.  You can look me up on Dreamwidth, although I do not post frequently. 

Feel free to share a link to this site. If you opt to download it or share content, please give due credit to this website and the author: Emmalyn N. Edwards. Thank you--Emmalyn

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Finishing and waiting
I finished a table runner and a fall 60-60" quilt, hand quilting it with leaf and vine patterns. It's a bit warm in the house for lap quilting and I had finished other things, so I finished cutting the sewn strips for my rag quilt, sewed a couple of those blocks, and started cutting my next quilt, inspired by the 2014 Olympics web sites I've seen, multiple sizes of diamond shapes in intense colors, all of them new bought for the quilt rather than my usual mix of stash and new fabrics. I have one diamond template with medium to small sizes, and measure out four of the template to come up with a large size. I'm making strips to use as filler, because they aren't all intended to line up in neat rows. Dramatic scrappy is my hope. Even the gold fabric is a dark gold with brown and bits of the other intense colors.

My current story revision is nearing completion and I've started writing the synopsis for the first in the series. I don't like synopses and I have no faith that i write a decent one, given the bare minimum of feedback I've ever gotten. The only guidance is to NOT go chapter, exactly, to try to give the flavor of the story, and to explain some of the "tricks of the trade" you used in building the story and crafting the writing. It needs to be well written, but it's not the same as writing the story itself. If I ever get anywhere with selling a story or at least getting a personal response, I'll try to convey more tips of what worked for me.

One more week, then I should theoretically know if my short stories made the cut. I have no idea if those accepted for the anthology will actually get edited. I will be interested to find out, and to see how the editing process goes if they do that.

Writer's prompt: The sudden change in weather changed out plans.
27 sep 13 @ 9:44 pm

Friday, September 20, 2013

Waiting and Keeping Busy
Only the sewing deadlines left, and I'm closing in on finishing those so I'm no too worried about finishing them on time. The rest is waiting: will either of my stories be accepted for the Long Hidden anthology? Will my handbook at work get published in any kind of credible forum? (They have in-house e-publishing in several forums for in-house documents. Like e-publishing outside, some forums have more status than others, more likely to be seen by the people that matter, more credit for me as having done something valuable and credible than others. Waiting for decisions. For the sewing, it's similar, waiting to see how well they do at the fundraiser they are being made for, as silent auction or loud auction items in one case, raffle items in another.

Meanwhile, I'm not one to sit still. My energy isn't always well directed, and mending and window cleaning and such have been much neglected, but stories do nicely. I'm polishing my current trilogy and outlining book 4 (I'm aiming for six, since the series has the shortest books I've written, space fiction, unrealistic. I hope to draft the actual book during the NaNoWriMo - November, 50,000 words. But I'll have a couple of more deadlines by then so it depends on how much I get done by the start of November, including sending in Book 1 (or a query therefor) to a publisher or two. I'm waiting until the beginning of October, when I will know whether either of my short stories have been accepted. It would be nice to include some form of success in my cover letter. I can't imagine manuals and other technical nonfiction "successes" are persuasive to a fiction publisher, conveying not much more than that I know something of the language and punctuation. It's not creative writing at its best, though it has some similar guiding principles: clarity, interest, readability, a message worth sharing, and no wasted words.

Writer's challenge: start your plans for a novel.

Writers' prompt: "What do you mean, no? What happened to 'sure, of course'?"

Quilter's challenge: fall and winter are great time for lap quilting: have something ready to work on for those chilly evenings.
20 sep 13 @ 10:01 pm

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Whoosh! Quick Deadlines!
Long Hidden anthology, to which I submitted my first attempt at a proper "historical fiction" (a real historical place and characters) fantasy short story, extended their deadline. What that meant to me was a chance to do a second submission (more being allowed and now having a bit of time), so I wrote a second story, this one in just over a week, then jumped through some last minutes hoops trying to verify that the submission went through since the web page, not surprisingly, was having difficulties on the last day as probably many submitters cut the deadline fine.

I probably should have written a more substantial cover letter, but being uncertain what was and was not going through; having very little idea what to write--it didn't seem like the kind of letter I would write for a query with no fiction material attached would be appropriate--and being overly aware of the looming deadline, I didn't say much more than here is my submission. I did make sure, repeatedly, that my stories met all of their requirements. Comments on the website suggest that was not the case for many of the writers who sent queries or short story submissions for the first deadline (Really, how hard is it to read the requirements when they are spelled out very specifically?).

I understand why writers will choose to ignore or be very loose in the interpretation of requirements for books: we hear stories about random cold submissions hitting the right tone with a publisher; requirements tend to be broad and vague; and a book is its own entity, requiring acceptance but not otherwise having to align with other unseen entities and styles. But this is short stories for a fairly specifically themed anthology: if they don't meet the requirements, do authors really think their work would be accepted, no matter how great a story it was? Is the concept of an anthology that poorly understood (or that weakly defined due to recent misleading and/or inappropriate use of the term?) I would not be surprised if the whole concept of a themed anthology has been lost in some circles. The abuse and misuse of terms has become more and more prevalent.

Sometimes it is just ignorance and sloppy usage: those who don't understand a term are bound to misuse it, and even a good dictionary may not convey the specific use to which a term applies to a specific industry or other body of work. Sometimes it is intentional, trying to tie something to the current "bandwagon", the new trend, the hot topic. A little has its use. A lot can weigh down a term until it has lost not only its original meaning, but any meaning (vampires, warewolves, and zombies used to be horror, but can you really have comedy horror? So now gets the label of science fiction slapped on it, meaning not more more than pop fic, and "horror" is left to "serious" literary works). When supposed experts in the field start using it wrong because they never learned otherwise or because the term has become less and less well-defined over time, we are doomed to poor communications. How do we create a new term, to re-create the old meaning, or to address a new concept that doesn't fit an old definition? Sometimes, we just let the language drift, but when there is still room for the base of the fan as well as all the fan's new panels, how many adjectives do we need to add to be clear on what we are talking about?

Writer's challenge: invent a new word and its meaning in a near-contemporary context.

Writer's prompt: "What did you just say to me?"
3 sep 13 @ 7:06 pm

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Be sure to get in touch so I know you're out there! See contacts page or e-mail wyverns(at)earthlink(dot)net.

Every word should be an experience