Posts Tagged Flashathon

Flashathon Hour 3 Prompt: From Danielle Ackley-McPhail

It’s 2pm here on the east coast, 11am on the west coast, and somewhere  in between in the rest of America.  If you’re here in the Eastern Time Zone, I’m hoping you’ve had a good lunch to keep you going through the day.  If you’re west of here…eat lunch!  Keep the brain fueled, and it’ll keep churning out the creativity.

This hour’s inspiration comes from writer and anthology editor Danielle Ackley-McPhail.  It’s a little more abstract of a concept, something that might get your mind churning.  And perhaps your stomach rumbling a little.

“Dessert first” might be great once in a while, but it’s no way to live.

Life is uncertain, so get your story written!  As usual the comments are wide open for your stories, your progress reports, or anything else.

Award-winning author Danielle Ackley-McPhail has worked both sides of the publishing industry for over a decade. Her works include the urban fantasy, Yesterday’s Dreams, and its upcoming sequel, Tomorrow’s Memories. She also has co-edited and contributed to numerous anthologies and collections, including Dark Furies, Breach the Hull, and the upcoming science fiction anthologies Barbarians at the Jumpgate and Space Pirates. Her non-fiction works include a chapter on writer’s groups in The Complete Guide to Writing Fantasy: The Author’s Grimoire, a chapter on the vehicles of magic in the upcoming Elements of Fantasy: Magic, and a chapter on self-promotions for the upcoming Profitable Publishing. Danielle is a member of the electronic publishing organization EPIC, as well as Broad Universe, a writer’s organization focusing on promoting the works of women authors in the speculative genres. Danielle lives somewhere in New Jersey with husband and fellow writer, Mike McPhail, mother-in-law Teresa, and three extremely spoiled cats.

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Flashathon Hour 2 Prompt: From Laura Anne Gilman

I hope everyone was able to get through the first hour without too much trouble.  Just like any other online writing challenge.  Now’s where the rubber hits the road as we all turn around and do it again.

This hour’s prompt was provided by Laura Anne Gilman, providing a setting for your stories.  So let’s get down to it:

The protagonist, the antagonist, and the narrator meet at a crossroads…

Use it, have fun with it, or write something else entirely.  Just create!  And let us know what you did in the comments.

Laura Anne Gilman is the author of the Cosa Nostradamus novels, including the forthcoming Tricks of the Trade (November 2011) and the Nebula award-nominated Vineart War fantasy trilogy, which began with Flesh and Fire and Weight of Stone, and concludes in October with The Shattered Vine. Her story collection, Dragon Virus, was published as a limited edition hardcover from Fairwood Press. A member of the on-line writers’ consortium BookVew Café, she writes the “Practical Meerkat” advice column for writers on their blog every Friday. Learn more at www.lauraannegilman.net or follow her on Twitter: @LAGilman.

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Flashathon Hour 1 Prompt: From DL Thurston

Aaaaaaaaand GO!

Ladies and gentlemen, if you’re seeing this post, it means Flashathon has begun!  I’ll be here for the next twelve hours, as will the other members of the Cat Vacuuming Society taking part.  Join us for as much or as little of the madness as you’d like.

Since I’m in charge around here, I thought I’d take responsibility for the first hour’s inspiration.  Since we’re warming up, I’m going to keep it easy.  Trust me, I’ve seen all the prompts (the benefit of running the event) and there are some fantastically complex ones on tap.  For this first hour, let’s just start with:

In the beginning…

There it is.  Use it, don’t use it, have fun with it, and let us know in the comments what you’ve done.  If you’d like to post your stories, you can, but if you’d prefer not, at least mention what you worked on.  Next prompt coming up at 1pm Eastern.

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Flashathon Eve, More Guest Inspiration

I was hoping to have a few more names to announce as the week went on, and as it turns out I do.  We’re still hoping to hear back from one or two people who have promised prompts and have specifically said they’re still thinking about them, so I might have one or two last-minute surprise guests announced when their prompts go live.  Again, I can’t express how amazing it’s been that people have taken the time to provide inspiration for what started as a silly idea bandied about between friends.  With just 24 hours to go, it’s starting to feel so very real.

If you missed the previous announcement, here are the other people who have been so gracious with their time.

Laura Anne Gilman: (From Capclave program) Laura Anne Gilman is the author of the Cosa Nostradamus novels, including the forthcoming Tricks of the Trade (November 2011) and the Nebula award-nominated Vineart War fantasy trilogy, which began with Flesh and Fire and Weight of Stone, and concludes in October with The Shattered Vine. Her story collection, Dragon Virus, was published as a limited edition hardcover from Fairwood Press. A member of the on-line writers’ consortium BookVew Café, she writes the “Practical Meerkat” advice column for writers on their blog every Friday. Learn more at www.lauraannegilman.net or follow her on Twitter: @LAGilman.

Leah Petersen: (From her website) Leah Petersen lives and writes in North Carolina somewhere between the day job and the wife-and-mother gig. Rather than waste her time getting fresh air and sunshine, hanging out with friends, or pursuing an actual career, she reads books, writes, knits, and games. Sometimes all at the same time.  Her first novel, Fighting Gravity, is coming in 2012 from Dragon Moon Press.  Every Tuesday at 12:30pm Eastern time, Leah Petersen runs a 5MinuteFiction contest. It’s fast and it’s furious and there’s a slight chance of injury. But it’s fun. Join us!

James Morrow: (From Capclave program) James Morrow has been writing fiction ever since, as a seven-year-old living in the Philadelphia suburbs, he dictated “The Story of the Dog Family” to his mother, who dutifully typed it up and bound the pages with yarn. This three-page, six-chapter fantasy is still in the author’s private archives.

Upon reaching adulthood, Morrow proceeded to write nine novels and enough short stories to fill two collections. He has won the World Fantasy Award twice, the Nebula Award twice, and the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire once.

To date Morrow’s most conspicuous literary effort is a postmodern historical epic called The Last Witchfinder, praised by the New York Times for fusing “storytelling, showmanship and provocative book-club bait … into one inventive feat.” It tells of Jennet Stearne, who makes it her life’s mission to bring down the 1604 Parliamentary Witchcraft Act. The author followed this novel with a thematic sequel, The Philosopher’s Apprentice, which NPR called “an ingenious riff on Frankenstein.” Jim’s most recent book is his Sturgeon Award-winning novella, Shambling Towards Hiroshima, set in 1945 and dramatizing the U.S. Navy’s attempts to leverage a Japanese surrender via a biological weapon that strangely anticipates Godzilla.

Danielle Ackley-McPhail: (From Capclave program) Award-winning author Danielle Ackley-McPhail has worked both sides of the publishing industry for over a decade. Her works include the urban fantasy, Yesterday’s Dreams, and its upcoming sequel, Tomorrow’s Memories. She also has co-edited and contributed to numerous anthologies and collections, including Dark Furies, Breach the Hull, and the upcoming science fiction anthologies Barbarians at the Jumpgate and Space Pirates. Her non-fiction works include a chapter on writer’s groups in The Complete Guide to Writing Fantasy: The Author’s Grimoire, a chapter on the vehicles of magic in the upcoming Elements of Fantasy: Magic, and a chapter on self-promotions for the upcoming Profitable Publishing. Danielle is a member of the electronic publishing organization EPIC, as well as Broad Universe, a writer’s organization focusing on promoting the works of women authors in the speculative genres. Danielle lives somewhere in New Jersey with husband and fellow writer, Mike McPhail, mother-in-law Teresa, and three extremely spoiled cats.

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Flashathon Guest Inspiration Announcement

Leading up to this post I’ve mentioned Jennifer Brinn several times as the “con networking ninja.”  I say that in part because she and I are the exact opposite at cons, she becomes a complete extrovert, I tend to become a complete introvert.  The “ninja” is because I would be sitting in a panel and suddenly she would come up and say “I’ve got someone else willing to give guest inspiration.”  How she does this?  I’m slowly learning.  For that reason, it wouldn’t be fair to her to announce these names without pointing out that she did absolutely all the leg work.  So a massive round of applause to her.

I can currently confirm four names who have already provided their guest inspiration for Saturday’s event.   For the purpose of this announcement I have shamelessly grabbed the Capclave bio for each.

Bud Sparhawk: Bud Sparhawk is a hard science fiction short story writer who started writing in 1975 with three sales to ANALOG. Since returning to writing his works have appeared in ANALOG, Asimovs, several anthologies as well as in other print media and on-line magazines both in the United States and Europe. He has two short story collections and one novel. He has been a three-time Nebula finalist. He lives in Annapolis, Maryland and is a frequent sailor on the Chesapeake Bay. A complete biography, lists of stories, copies of articles, and other material can be found at his web site.

Jean Marie Ward: Jean Marie Ward writes fiction, nonfiction and everything in between. Her first novel, With Nine You Get Vanyr (written with the late Teri Smith), finaled in two categories of the 2008 Indie Book Awards. Her short stories appear in numerous anthologies, including The Modern Fae’s Guide to Surviving Humanity, coming from DAW Tekno Books in March 2012. She is also known for her art books, such as the popular Fantasy Art Templates. She edited the web magazine Crescent Blues for eight years and now writes for other online venues, including Buzzy Multimedia. Her web site is JeanMarieWard.com.

Scott Andrews: Scott’s literary short fiction has won a $1000 prize from the Briar Cliff Review, and his genre short fiction has appeared in venues including Weird Tales, Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, and Space and Time and is forthcoming in On Spec. He is a college chemistry lecturer and Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of the pro-rate fantasy e-zine Beneath Ceaseless Skies, which Rich Horton calls “a really important source of fantasy.” Scott lives in Virginia with his wife, two cats, nine guitars, a dozen overflowing bookcases, and hundreds of beer bottles from all over the world.

A. C. Crispin: A. C. Crispin is the author of bestselling Star Wars novels and Star Trek novels, but her most famous genre work was the 1984 novelization of the television miniseries V. Crispin and noted fantasy author Andre Norton wrote two Witch World novels together. A.C. Crispin has been active in SFWA since soon after joining the organization in 1983. She and Victoria Strauss created SFWA’s “scam watchdog” committee, Writer Beware, in 1998. Crispin still serves as the Chair. Writer Beware warns aspiring writers about the numerous scam agents and publishers that infest the Internet these days. Crispin and Strauss have assisted law enforcement in bringing several infamous con artists to justice. Before submitting your work, visit Writer Beware. A.C. Crispin’s new book is the prequel to the mega-popular Pirates of the Caribbean films. Pirates of the Caribbean: Price of Freedom, and chronicles how Disney’s infamous film pirate first became a pirate captain. Her major science fiction undertaking is the StarBridge series, which will be reissued in omnibus editions from Meisha Merlin in 2007. Crispin’s newest work is an original fantasy trilogy for Harper/Eos, The Exiles of Boq’urain. Book one, Storms of Destiny, was released August 2005, and she is hard at work on Book 2, Winds of Vengeance. Book 3, Flames of Chaos, will be her next project. She currently teaches writing workshops at Anne Arundel Community College and Dragon*Con in Atlanta.

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Flashathon Questions Answered!

As you can tell from the graphics splashed all over the site, the full flashathon takeover of Writerly Words has begun!  The event is this Saturday, October 22nd.  The closer and closer it gets the crazier and crazier the idea feels.  But it’s an exciting kind of crazy, like sitting at the crest of the first hill of a roller coaster.  The fact that roller coasters scare the crap out of me make this potentially a very frightening analogy.

So to answer some Flashathon questions:

Where do I go?  Right here to this very blog.  I wasn’t sure how big this event would get, and especially with it being twelve hours, I don’t have any plans for an in-person gathering other than hosting a few members of the Cat Vacuuming Society.  This year’s event is going to be entirely a virtual write-in here on the internet.  If this is big and takes off, I might look into expanding that next year.

How many hours do I have to do?  To be considered a participant, just one.  To get a blog badge, at least two.  This is all about bringing people together and getting them to write during the time they have available, so whenever you can, come!

How much does it take to claim an hour?  Very little!  Join in with the flash fiction prompt.  Write a chapter in a work in progress, or a scene.  Finish that half-done short story.  Outline a few chapters.  Just do anything that’s actually writing.  Research doesn’t count, thinking doesn’t count, but anything that involves words being put on paper, into a comment on this blog, or into a Word or Scrivener file absolutely does.

How do I claim an hour?  Make a post.  If you’re participating in the flash fiction side of things, throw the story up in a comment for that hour’s post.  If you’re working on a novel or longer short story, give a word count for that hour, post a favorite sentence that came up, a plot twist you liked, or a milestone you hit.

It’s five minutes past, am I too late to claim the last hour?  Absolutely not!  I lose track of time while writing, so I’m not planning to close posts right at the hour.  New posts will go up automatically every hour, but old ones will still be active for people who didn’t realize what time it was and hadn’t yet checked in.

As I said when setting up the Non-Rule of Flashathon last month, this event is about manic creativity.  I’ll provide some structure for people who want structure, cues for people who want cues, but this is about you!  You are the writer.  You know what you want to write.  You know how you write.  All I’m hoping is that this Saturday you’ll join us in what will hopefully be an epic online write-in and get some writing done.

Tomorrow I’ll be announcing those people who have agreed to provide guest inspiration for the Flashathon, at least those I can current confirm.  These are all going to be thanks to the best con networker I’ve met, Jennifer Brinn, who pulled some serious strings that I can’t thank her enough for.

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State of the Writer: October 2011

Another month.  September absolutely sped by.  Here in the DC area it was a hell of a month with earthquakes and flooding, and on a personal end included getting a new sewer line finally installed at the Casa Del Thurston.

What it didn’t include much of was writing, unfortunately.  I’ve been working on a steampunk short story located on Venus that has a lot of promise, but needs better direction than it currently has.  In the end it’s one story that could be told in two different directions, which is interesting considering my upcoming project for October.

After the blog post I made a few days ago about my conjoined novel, I’ve been thinking more and more about the status of Capsule.  The final conclusion is that it is, and always has been, two novels.  The final straw was reading Kraken by China Mieville.  It’s a story that goes in a lot of different directions, but at its heart it remains a heist story.  Capsule?  It’s gone in not only different directions, but has transitioned from being one type of plot line (murder conspiracy) to another (cult kidnapping) with only the most tenuous of ties between the two.  It’s had this problem as long as I’ve been writing it.  On one hand, I wish I could have seen this sooner, on the other I’m glad I was able to see it at all.

So this month, the process of division starts.  I’ll track it in the blog, as I suspect it’ll make for an interesting case study.  Scrivener for Windows is going to be my tool of choice, identifying which pieces go in novel A (still called Capsule) and which go into novel B (working title: Post Apocalypse).  Really, the entirety of the process will be broken into three parts:

  1. Identifying the pieces that go in each novel.
  2. Identifying what needs to fill in the missing pieces from each half.
  3. Outlining.
  4. Writing.

In an ideal world I’d have one outlined enough to be a Nanowrimo project, but I highly doubt that’ll happen.

Two other big October features:

Capclave!  As I’ve attended other writers conventions, the local one here in DC still strikes me as my favorite and the best I’ve attended.  If you’re a genre fiction writer in the DC area and you haven’t been to Capclave…why the hell not?

Flashathon!  There are still some details to leak in the coming three weeks, and then the event itself three weeks from today.  October 22nd.  I’m hoping to get a nice turnout for the event here on the blog.  I’m hoping even more for some fantastic mental exercise and inspiration.

State of the Writer’s Blog

Blog viewership continues to grow, for which I am eternally grateful.  In the ongoing quest to reach eyeballs in all 50 states, I entered September needing six more states.  During the month, this blog got its first views from Montana, South Dakota, and Louisiana.  That leaves only North Dakota, Arkansas, and Delaware to go.  I’m not sure what the next goal is going to be after finally collecting all fifty, but I’ll figure that out when I get there.

State of the Writer’s Beer

No news.  Haven’t done any brewing or much drinking this month.  Means that bottles we have are that much better aged.  Been meaning to crack another bottle of Lazarus.

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Administrata

Topic the first: Fortnightcaps.

I’ve enjoyed doing the Fortnightcaps for the last few months, and I still intend to continue them through the end of the year.  However, after much deliberation, I’ve decided that the project will not continue into 2012.  This decision comes for a variety of reasons.  First, the project was intended to get my brain working on a twice a week basis, coming up with a story idea and bringing it to quick completion.  I still contend this is a great exercise for writers, but it’s an exercise that I’m now doing twice most weeks thanks to Five Minute Fiction and Hump Day Challenge.

That’s a reason, but it’s not really the reason.  Since I already did some pulling back of the curtain on Friday when showing my pageview stats, I’m going to talk a little more about my site views.  Fortnightcaps by far account for the worst traffic that I get on this blog.  According to my bitly stats, the last five links that I put up for Fortnightcap stories got 0, 0, 1, 1, and 1 hits.  Now, this website isn’t primarily a vehicle for generating hits, or else I’d be doing all the stupid SEO stuff that my spam comments are always talking about.  But when we’re talking about any kind of creative output, there’s the necessity to keep in mind the viewing audience.  Anything story I put on this blog has its first publication rights used up, making it harder to potentially turn around and put out to anthologies, magazines, or any other publication venue.  If I’m burning the rights on stories and then having no one actually read them, then I ultimately feel like I’m doing a long term disservice to myself.

So while this blog isn’t primarily a hit generating site, I still have to keep hits in mind when I do something like burn story rights on here.  I’ll probably keep a similar project going on in 2012, just not on the blog.  I’d like to thank anyone who has read and enjoyed the Fortnightcaps thus far, and hope you will enjoy the few months left in the project.

Topic the second: #flashathon

I like to mention this occasionally to keep it in people’s minds, and will probably do it more and more as the date arrives.  I’ve not talked about it in awhile because I haven’t really had news to share.  I am starting to put feelers out to bring in “guest inspiration” from other writers and blogs.  We’re getting closer and closer to the date, as you can see in the countdown on the right hand side of this blog.  1 month, 10 days as of this morning.

For those who might be new, or haven’t seen me talk about it before, the #flashathon is going to be a flash fiction marathon hosted on this blog October 22nd.  It will consist of 12 hourly posts, each of which will provide some sort of optional story inspiration (probably in the form of a word or phrase).  Participants in the #flashathon are then encouraged to write a flash fiction piece either using that inspiration or inspiration of their own.  The goal is 12 stories in 12 hours.  Or however many hours you can/want to participate in.

More details can be found in the Flashathon tab at the top of every page.

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#flashathon Early Details

If you’ve been paying attention to my Twitter account lately you may have seen me mention something called #flashathon, without any other real details.  Right now that’s because there aren’t a lot of details to give, but I’d like to start changing that.

Flashathon is a flash fiction marathon that I will be cohosting with Unleaded.  The goal was to create an event as a lead-in to Nanowrimo to get the creative juices flowing.  I had the idea a few weeks ago when I saw a blogger elsewhere do what she called a blogathon, a twenty-four hour sleep-deprived crazy blogging session that resulted in a new post every thirty minute.  Crazy things like that appeal to me, though our event will be half as long and half again as frequent.

So that’s all philosophical stuff, you want the actual meat and potatoes.  Flashathon will be a 12 hour flash fiction marathon running from noon until midnight eastern time (9am to 9pm pacific) on October 22nd, 2011.  That’s a Saturday.  The event will consist of 12 posts here in Writerly Words, each with a cue for that hour to give people a jumping off point for their creativity.  I’m going to be taking a lot of inspiration from #5MinuteFiction and the #HumpDayChallenge, so sometimes the cue will be one word, sometimes it will be an opening sentence, and sometimes it will be five words to include.

The idea is to create a drop-in-drop-out event.  We realize that we’ve picked a Saturday, and that some of our participants have lives, but we want to make it welcoming for someone who wasn’t able to do, say, 2pm and 3pm to come right back in at 4pm.  There will be badges, and we’re currently working out what the three success levels will be.

Also, in the spirit of Nanowrimo, the rules will be loose.  There will be cues every hour, but that doesn’t mean you have to use them.  There will be posts each hour so that stories can be left in the comments, you don’t have to post them.  As always, since this is a public medium, any story posted may be considered already published by a prospective editor, so if in any particular hour you want to just post that you did write a story and perhaps what it was generally about, or share any of the thought that went into it, you will still be considered a participant in that hour.

This will all be based on the honor system, because I tend to trust writers.  And really, all you’re winning in the end will be a PNG blog badge that we’ll be unveiling at a later date.

So those are the details thus far.  I’ll make more posts as we have major details, and I’ll be maintaining a Flashathon tab at the top of this page to keep details all in one place.  Come join us.  It’s going to be crazy, and we’re hoping to share the insanity!

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