Works In Progress

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Learning What You Don't Know

Writing my short story for Dave's Contest has taught me a few things.

First, it taught me a bunch of cool surfing lingo, courtesy of sites like

It also taught me the difference between Neap and Spring Tides.

And it taught me about various divisions of an Air Force Wing.

Granted, it's not a lot of knowledge==not the stuff Jeopardy millions are made of. But then again, I don't want to learn too much and wind up like this guy.

Monday, August 22, 2005

17 Years and It's Victory Now

It's been roughly 17 years since I metriculated into UC Santa Cruz with hopes of a degree in Creative Writing. I wound up with a BA in English Lit from San Jose State, but that's another story.

Still, I wanted to be a Writer.

It wasn't until last November that I finally got around to becoming one (hence, this blog). And it wasn't until this past Spring that I took steps to becoming an Author (also known as a published writer).

Back in June I submitted a short humor piece to The Door Magazine. I received word today that they would, in fact, like to publish it.

Technically, I'm not an Author yet, but I'm a heck of a lot closer than I was 17 years ago.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Happy Croatoan Day!

According to, on this day in 1590, "John White, the leader of 117 colonists sent in 1587 to Roanoke Island (North Carolina) to establish a colony, returned from a trip to England to find the settlement deserted. No trace of the settlers was ever found."

This incident is key to my novel, so let's celebrate!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Who is Panhu?

All the writing books offer the same advice: Since you never know when inspiration will hit, keep a notepad with you at all times; keep one on your nightstand, too. Being me--and related to the people to whom I'm related--I'm gonna learn the hard way.

And so, I spent forty-five minutes or so the other day trying to recover the ideas I had been so keen on earlier that morning before I got out of bed.

Since then I've kept a notepad on the nightstand. Used it a couple times, too. Like this morning: I got an idea about some mannerisms a character can use when he's uncertain if what he's seeing is real or if it's just "pink elephants." I reached over, grabbed a pen and scribbled away, then went back to sleep.

When I got out of bed, I looked at the notepad: Panhu bolked. I tried to remember what I had been thinking of when I wrote that down. No help (that's why I wrote it down, so I could forget what I was thinking). Who is Panhu and why is he (she?) bolking. And what's bolking mean? And can I write that without doing hard time in Purgatory?

Fortunately the next sentence cleared thing up. "Th grl was still thire."

Ah, yes. My resident Otis Campbell witnesses the coming-back-to-life of young Maya Daniels. He can't believe his eyes. How to test his vision for accurate perception of reality?

Paulie (aka Panhu; apparently he was a sherpa at some point in his backstory) blinked (or, bolked, in that special Himalayan way). The girl was still there.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: <sheesh>

Maybe there's a course I can take on semi-somnambu-scripting and improve my half-awake penmanship. If you know of one, please let me know.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

First Draft Fun

I was revising the first draft of my conversion short story (hey, we have side-bet taker) and I came across this luverly faux pas:
I brush a hand at a drowsy bee near my head. It flies off, buzzes down to the beach.
Aaaah, the joys of pronouns with unclear referrants.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Writing Contest Announcement

Dave Long, acquisitions editor at Bethany House, has sponsored his second contest at his blog (don't know if this'll be an annual thing or not, but it's number two in as many years). Last December he held a Christmas short story contest. This time around it's for stories featuring a literal "come to Jesus" moment, conversion/salvation.

More details may be found on his website, but here are the most pertinent ones:
Rules (to this point, more may be added)
  1. 3000 words or less.
  2. I have no definition for what a conversion story is, but we're talking about some Christian salvific experience. It also needs to be fiction, no autobiography or memoir.
  3. Deadline will be Friday, September 30, 5:00pm central time. Earlier is appreciated. You can email your entry. One story per writer.
  4. I haven't talked with anybody about partnering on this one, but I'll try to track somebody down. Let me know if you have suggestions or contacts at online journals.
  5. There will be prizes for the chosen finalists. They will be more symbolic than impressive. Unless someone wants to give me a grant.
  6. But remember, these things get read and a book contract emerged out of the last group.
If you're still reading this (as far as I know, most all the people who read this blog also hang out on Dave's site and already know about the contest and may have stopped reading), here's a special bonus. If you submit a story to the contest and include the word "cheese" (cheeses, cheesy, cheeseshop and other variants okay, too; cheesecloth, for some reason though, is not) and your story hits the top five, I'll send you a pound of Oregon's Tillamook cheese for every spot five or above your story lands (5th place=1 pound; 2nd place=4 pounds). Top place holder only (if 4th and 1st both qualify for the side bet, only 1st pays off). You must comment below before Dave's deadline that you're playing the cheese game to be eligible.

Have fun!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Section Quotes

Well, I tentatively have section quotes for the three major divisions of Revival. They are:
(for "Welcome to Graphite" - Wednesday)
"Here we come walking down your street...."
                --Davy, Michael, Mickey & Pete

(for "Hymnsing" - Thursday)
"Pack up the babies and grab the old ladies, and everyone goes...."
                --Neil Diamond

(for "Revival" - Friday into Saturday)
"Preacher cried out 'Hell's been raised!' The preacher cried out 'Hell's been raised.' "
                    --Michael Been
They're not set in stone yet (does anyone actually still publish in stone outside the mortuary crowd?), but I'm comforable with them.