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Liz A. Vogel
25 May 2018 @ 10:46 pm
Carlyle went to his (new) new home today.

Am sad. I'll miss him. But he seemed ready to settle right in there, and rubbed against both of his new people. I think he'll have a good life there, and that's what counts.

This entry was originally posted at https://lizvogel.dreamwidth.org/177666.html because I got tired of dealing with whatever LiveJournal had broken this time. Comment whereever.

Current Mood: sadsad
Current Music: little whistley purr against my palm
Liz A. Vogel
23 May 2018 @ 09:26 am
Falling seems to be in the air of late. Or more specifically, getting to the floor and getting back up again: as an exercise, as a useful physical skill, and as a philosophy. Two posts:

Falldowngetup, [personal profile] rydra_wong via [community profile] lifting_heavy_things

Everybody Falls on Book View Cafe.

This entry was originally posted at https://lizvogel.dreamwidth.org/177606.html because I got tired of dealing with whatever LiveJournal had broken this time. Comment whereever.

Current Mood: determinedgetting up
Current Music: The Killers, "Flesh and Bone"
Liz A. Vogel
22 May 2018 @ 11:19 am
"You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life."
     - Winston Churchill

This entry was originally posted at https://lizvogel.dreamwidth.org/177277.html because I got tired of dealing with whatever LiveJournal had broken this time. Comment whereever.

Current Mood: determineddefiant
Liz A. Vogel
10 May 2018 @ 10:22 am
Y'know, there really is no variation of "Who still uses that?" or "I haven't seen that in X years!" that doesn't ultimately translate as "I'm a pretentious asshole who has to belittle other people's choices to feel secure about my own."

This PSA brought to you by a Toys-R-Us clerk, people who've seen me using 3.5" disks, and the fact that I'm going to have to go cell phone shopping soon.

This entry was originally posted at https://lizvogel.dreamwidth.org/177091.html because I got tired of dealing with whatever LiveJournal had broken this time. Comment whereever.

Tags: ,
Current Mood: crankyget off my lawn
Current Music: Supertramp, "The Logical Song"
Liz A. Vogel
08 May 2018 @ 05:39 pm
There's an idea floating about writer-dom that if you've had critique from multiple sources but never really gotten any critique that you could take on board, the problem must be with you. Now, there's something to be said for looking at the common factor, and maybe sometimes it is you. But that blanket assumption ignores that (a) critique is very individual, and just because what works for one person doesn't work for another doesn't mean that the another is a prima donna, and (b) giving good critique is a skill, and there are a lot more people doing it than doing it well.

So I was very pleased a while back when somebody linked to one of Maggie Stiefvater's periodic critique partner match-ups, and I read the following: "I wanted to be critiqued, and yet I never wanted to act upon the critiques I got."

It's okay for her to say it, because she's a published writer. When an unpublished writer says something like that, they're just a whiny little wannabe who needs to learn to take critique and realize that they're not a special snowflake who shits rainbows onto the page. ;-) But when a published author, especially one with decent sales who wins awards and stuff, and who can point to her current trusty group of beta readers, says it, it becomes a home truth. Which she goes on to explain with: "It took me a long time to realize that I needed to find critique partners who enjoyed the same sort of story-telling that I did; critique partners who weren’t always suggesting that I turn my novel into the sort of novel that I didn’t want to write. Also critique partners who communicated in the same way as me".

Critique partners who enjoy the same sort of story-telling that I do. Therein lies the obstacle that I have yet to overcome, critique-wise. I have had brief bursts of it -- and when it's worked, it's been brilliant, and just what the then-stories needed. Unfortunately, those instances have been non-repeatable for various reasons. What has been repeatable is people who wanted something very different than what I was trying to achieve, or who were working at a so much shallower level than I was that it really wasn't getting to anything I needed. (Or as Stiefvater puts it in the link below, "Ultimately I realized that I needed to find readers with the same story-telling priorities as mine, or it was never going to work.")

And communicates the way I do -- that's another big one. The content has to be there, but it also has to be expressed in a way that computes in the author's brain. This applies both to critique-group methodology (I need discussion; clarion/Milford or Dunning simply do not work for me) and also to interpersonal styles. (I've mentioned before that while I'm all for understatement-for-emphasis by characters and I'm prone to it myself, when it comes to critique, I need people who can baldly state what effect the text had on them.)

Unfortunately, Stiefvater's match-ups aren't a good fit for me; aside from the challenge of navigating Google Docs, where she now seems to be doing it, most of the respondents are writing YA. Which makes sense, since Stiefvater's a YA writer, and more power to 'em, but not my tribe. However, some of the things she asks people to provide are definitely pointing in the right direction, and I should keep them in mind for future use. Genre, and a small sample (I'd go with more than one line, but that's me), agent/publishing status, etc.

I particularly like that she asks for "the last book you read that you loved and also the book you feel epitomizes you as a reader" -- which are not necessarily the same thing. Not that I ever expect anyone to match me on those, especially the latter.*

So what does all this tell me? Mostly it gives me another way to phrase what I already knew, and an established author to point to when I need to back it up. How to find those critiquers with the same story-telling priorities as mine, and compatible communication styles, remains a mystery.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

* For the record, the last book I really enjoyed was Paige Orwin's The Interminables -- really compelling characters, along with cool worldbuilding and solid writing -- I kept wanting to get back to it when I wasn't reading it, which is something that happens all too rarely these days. And the book that epitomizes me as a reader? I think that honor has to go to Tea With the Black Dragon by R.A. MacAvoy. I love that book, and nobody but me seems to understand how marvelous it is.

If you can spot the common trait between those two, do please let me know what it is.

This entry was originally posted at https://lizvogel.dreamwidth.org/176706.html because I got tired of dealing with whatever LiveJournal had broken this time. Comment whereever.

Current Mood: frustratedfrustrated
Current Music: Jackson Browne, "The Next Voice You Hear"
Liz A. Vogel
04 May 2018 @ 05:09 pm
As I threatened mentioned a while ago, I went back and checked if I'd written anything useful about my process while finishing the Haley novel, because I'm feeling a similar sort of stuck on FFG.

I don't generally record much detail of that sort (which is something I should probably work on, so I don't have to keep re-inventing the clue stick). But I did find three posts that seemed to have something to tell me.

Those posts are probably worth re-reading in their entirety, though my habit of vagueing things up to avoid spoilers makes them a bit opaque even for me in places. However, for quick reference, here's the distilled highlights:

Write a troublesome scene from another character's point of view. I did this for Highway of Mirrors, and I did the thought-experiment equivalent for Haley. And it worked both times. So what is the 2C thinking right now? I thought I didn't have a feel for her PoV -- she's pretty much a cipher to the MC and has been all along -- but then I thought about her being annoyed with the MC. That's definitely my entry point. ;-)

Don't let the desire for a clear plan get in the way of getting something written. Yes, sailing ahead without thinking about where I'm going has gotten me in trouble more than once on this book. And I am at the point, approaching the end, where I probably need to keep the target in mind. But winging it and writing whatever sounds good at the time is still the core of my process, and if trying to brainstorm the next plot point or scene or whatever is brick-walling me, maybe I just need to put fingers on keyboard and give my back-brain a chance to give me something I can use.

Play to my strengths. What am I good at? Setting and character, especially angsty character-abuse. What am I currently beating my head against. A plot problem. Uh, clue-stick, anyone? And didn't I just sort out a stuck bit by thinking about not what they find out but where they find the person who knows it?

So I should probably be waxing eloquent about the spaceport (which I glossed on the way in, but that made sense for the MC at the time). I think I've fired most of my ammo as far as character angst goes, though I shouldn't rule it out if another opportunity arises. Setting doesn't just warm up my fingers, it also primes the pump for the word-generator in my brain. And if they're effin' bored with carved rock and duraplas, well, that can be useful, too.

This entry was originally posted at https://lizvogel.dreamwidth.org/176461.html because I got tired of dealing with whatever LiveJournal had broken this time. Comment whereever.

Current Mood: frustratedstill stuck, but new ideas
Current Music: Nomad Planets, "Underground"
Liz A. Vogel
01 May 2018 @ 04:30 pm
Hey, look, it's the first. I should do this.

Falling From Ground: 2890
original short fiction: 1005

Total new words in April: 3895

Not quota, but frankly it's a lot better than I expected. I blame the ongoing cat stuff, and also the being stumped that I discussed in my last couple of (spoilery) posts. And all the chaotic life stuff that still needs a massive infusion of time to get settled.

The short fiction was a brand new story! (The milk story.) Started to complete in a little over a week; very pleased.

And it's already been rejected!

Stories subbed: 1

Queries sent: 0
... but two agents researched and crossed off. Which at least means I'm working on it.

For May, just keep plugging. The various clusterfucks continue, so 5000 words is a target, but a soft one. Would be nice to get more short stories out there again. And the final due-diligence on querying HoM really needs to get done.

This entry was originally posted at https://lizvogel.dreamwidth.org/176152.html because I got tired of dealing with whatever LiveJournal had broken this time. Comment whereever.

Current Mood: sicksick
Current Music: Art In Manila, "Set the Woods On Fire"
Liz A. Vogel
25 April 2018 @ 11:24 am
More spoilerish rambling about unpublished novelCollapse )

This probably means I'm asking the wrong questions.

I wonder what the right one is.

This entry was originally posted at https://lizvogel.dreamwidth.org/175979.html because I got tired of dealing with whatever LiveJournal had broken this time. Comment whereever.

Current Mood: quixoticstumped
Current Music: Foo Fighters, "Stranger Things Have Happened"
Liz A. Vogel
06 April 2018 @ 07:01 pm
This is an example of why plot as it's usually discussed doesn't make sense to me.

Spoilers for as-yet-unfinished and unpublished novel...Collapse )

And this is part of why plot-oriented craft discussions don't work for me. They're all about those bullet points, as though that's what's driving the story. But for me, they're almost irrelevant at this stage, except for how they enable other things.

The other reason plot discussions don't work for me, of course, is that they never go into how to make those bullet points happen. They seem to think that once you have those bullet-points, it will be obvious how to get from one to another, but it never, ever is for me. There's always at least one step into a murky well of impenetrable darkness, which may conceal solid ground from which to step back out or may conceal a hole of bottomless depth and width that cannot be spanned without tools and materials and a significant investment in infrastructure. And that's the hard bit, for me.

This entry was originally posted at https://lizvogel.dreamwidth.org/175860.html because I got tired of dealing with whatever LiveJournal had broken this time. Comment whereever.

Current Mood: contemplativestymied
Liz A. Vogel
05 April 2018 @ 11:03 am
Rice Krispies: for when instant oatmeal is too much effort.

This entry was originally posted at https://lizvogel.dreamwidth.org/175404.html because I got tired of dealing with whatever LiveJournal had broken this time. Comment whereever.

Current Mood: depressedlow