This is a Good Book Thursday, January 14, 2021

This week I started a Connie Willis binge, starting with To Say Nothing of the Dog and Crosstalk, both of which I love. Then I looked to see what else was on my Kindle and saw something called DA. It was a YA, but I like YA, and I was immediately invested in the heroine and her problem and her best friend, and while I saw the plot twist coming, I wanted to see what the protagonist did with it, and it was going along great and then the protagonist just changed her mind and the story ended. It’s a short story. And I am frustrated. The whole thing would have been a great first act because Connie Willis is a terrific writer, but then the protagonist evidently got a mind wipe or something and became a different person, and the story that was set up here, one I’d really like to read, just does not happen. Amazon needs to label novellas and short stories as short fiction. Actually, I think it does usually say if a book is a novella when you read the descriptions, but this time there was only a plot tease.

So now I need a Willis that delivers, which I assume is most of her books since she’s really great. Weren’t there some that had downer endings? Because I can’t face those right now.

What did you read this week?

Working Wednesday, January 13, 2021

This week I’m working on getting out of the house. I intended to go out on Monday, but just wasn’t feeling like it, and the Tuesday came and I just couldn’t get moving, so today I am leaving the house. I’m only going to the grocery, but still, today, I’m gonna do it. Also I have a lot of work to do, but groceries first.

What did you work on this week?

HWSWAnswers: Everything Else

And we’re back with more answers to questions you asked earlier in the week.

Cate M asked:
Any tips for getting the most out of an MFA creative writing program as a genre writer (in this case romance)? This is definitely putting the cart before the horse, since I may not even get in. But in the event I do, and you wanted to give me some tips any time between February – September, that would be lovely.
Alternately, what are some ways to grow/ and learn as a writer if I don’t get into that MFA program?

I don’t know anything about MFA Programs. There are some good ones. A bunch seem more designed to produce teachers of MFA programs based on my experience one year applying to every one as an instructor since I had nothing better to do. They preferred people with MFAs rather than publishing credentials. I’d take a look at who is teaching and what the graduates do. If you don’t join one? Read a lot. Write. Get some people you trust as a small critique group. I’m not a fan of large groups. Two, at more three people. Continue reading

Happiness is Difficult but Nothing But Good Times Ahead

If you’re an American, this was a bad week, especially since we’d been telling ourselves that the worst was over (it wasn’t over). It’s still ten days until inauguration, and the mind boggles at what could happen in ten days. Still, happiness is on the horizon, or at least sane government here, and spring will eventually get here with a lot more people vaccinated, and it’s all going to be all right. And I have a recipe kit to make tahini chocolate chip blondies, except the tahini broke so I don’t have that, but the chocolate chips are all right, so I’m happy.

What made you happy this week?

HWSWAnswers: Characters

And we’re back with more answers to questions you asked earlier in the week. There’ll be more on Monday. Today, it’s all about character.

Nicole asked:
How do you prevent your characters or plot from always being the same thing while on the surface level they aren’t? There are a few authors I’ve read where it’s always the same story in the end – dif plot, but it just feels the same. Continue reading

HWSWAnswers: Ideas and Writing

You all were good enough to ask a lot of questions, and we answered them in Slack, and then I tried to group the answers together so they were at least somewhat related. The plan is to put the answer posts up here tonight, tomorrow (Saturday) and Monday. If there are any more questions, put them in the comments on any of the answer posts and we’ll hit Slack again on Tuesday. This first bunch is all writing questions.

DeniseTwin asked:
I read on Reddit a sub where it has writing prompts – I love some of them, they are such clever ideas! So how do you decide what is a great book idea, one that will last all the way to a finished story and what is destined to be nothing but a series of fun rabbit warrens? Do you jot down the rabbit ideas just to get them out of your head so you can focus on the “real” stories or ??? Continue reading

This is a Good Book Thursday, January 7, 2020

I re-read a lot this week although I did start a new-to-me series, Novik’s Temeraire stories. The first story is a little military-ish for me but she’s such a lovely writer that I’m sticking with it. I also read the NYT, WaPo and 538 obsessively last night while the Capitol caught fire, metaphorically. Thirteen more days. I’ll just bury myself in a good book.

What did you read this week?

We Pause This Blog To Watch Our Government Blow Up and Reassemble Itself.

It’s like a movie. This was always going to happen. Twitter has even suspended Trump. When Twitter says, “You’re inciting insurrection,” you’ve screwed up.

It’s going to be okay. I know I keep saying that, but in a way, this is one of the best things that could happen. Want to see how differently police treat BLM protesters from MAGA protesters? Want to see which side is the most violent and deranged? Want to see how bad it gets before even Ted Cruz starts backtracking? Yep, we’re there.

Just a note: None of these idiots wore masks or social distanced during the worst part of the pandemic. Karma is relentless these days,

feel free to discuss below, maintaining respect for your fellow commenters, please. You always do, that’s just managerial stuff,

Working Wednesday, January 6, 2021

I’ve been throwing things out with abandon, or at least with verve. Making big plans for the house. Watching the Georgia nail-biter elections. Reading to escape politics. Figuring out how to answer questions with Bob. The usual. It’s okay, Steve Kornacki worked hard enough for both of us last night.

What did you do this week?

Got a Question?

So Bob and I took December off from HWSWA. I was reading and sleeping all month and he was trying to convince his wife they should buy an abandoned mine with heavy equipment in the Arizona desert. Now it’s 2021 and we’re regrouping: I’m still in bed but I’m working (a lot of writers work in bed, do not judge me) and he’s given up on the mine and is heading into the hills with one of his dogs to do whatever it is he does in the hills. Mountains. Whatever. We touched base briefly, trying to figure out if we wanted to do anything online this year. He’s halfway through one book, needing to start another in his ongoing series, and I am still in bed reading, so it would have to be something easy. Like answering questions. As in you all ask a question and we go to Slack and argue about it. Like Questionables only two people answering.

(He never told me what kind of mine (I asked) but it was in Mayer, Arizona, so it did seem sort of fated. Those of you who’ve been on Argh for a long time man remember when, fed up with the male half of the population, Lani, Krissie, and I decided to buy an abandoned nuclear missile site in the Pacific Northwest and move there; Lani said we would call it Clitoris because that way, no man would ever find it. Good times.)

So do you have a burning question you desperately need an answer to? Or, you know, just something you’ve wondered about? Anything you want two answers to, really. Put it in the comments below. Please remember that half of the team answering this question suggested I eat my left arm to survive a snowstorm in New Jersey.