I have a cold. It comes and goes. For Christopher, it just stays, so I’m not complaining (too loudly). And we haven’t even begun to Xmas shop yet. But a post on recent writing stuff, anyway…
Turkey City 2007.
For those of you who don’t know, the Turkey City Writer’s Workshop is, to quote the home page, "a long-running Texas science fiction institution," held in Austin. It is, of course, the genesis of the infamous Turkey City Lexicon. When Chris Nakashima-Brown graciously invited Christopher and me to attend this year’s incarnation as guest workshoppers, we immediately said yes. (Or it would have been immediate, were I better at keeping up with the e-mail.) Plus, any excuse to impose on Maureen’s hospitality is thoroughly welcome.
The thing that makes Turkey City a bit different than the usual workshop is that it takes place over one day. The format involves spending the hours up to lunch reading everyone’s stories (we had 12, I believe, a few of which came a day or two in advance via e-mail), grabbing lunch, then indulging in the standard Milford-style critique circle until every last story’s been given the royal treatment. It’s kind of like Survivor: Workshop. Sounds brutal and hellish, I know, and, well, it is brutal, but thankfully not so much with the fiery torture. We didn’t see a whole lot of TC’s legendary acid and scrappy critique stylings, for which I’m grateful. Instead, we read a bunch of really good stories and had very cogenial discussions about how to make them better. I got some excellent feedback on my novel’s opening. Afterward, there’s a party, which was fun (if sort of a blur due to the complete and utter exhaustingness of the day). (C-Nak’s house, btw, is basically the coolest pad in the world.)
The next day we slept in, then went for a delicious lunch at local staple Las Manitas Avenue Cafe. After that, we paid a visit to the extremely excellent Harry Ransom Center to see the current exhibits; one was about the trend for costumes and staging in Victorian photography (including a whole bunch of Lewis Carroll’s stuff that I’ve loved for ages), the other about Arthur Miller’s theater and featuring some amazing letters written during the McCarthy era about his refusal to name names. Christopher and I both had our pictures snapped in the interactive part of the Victorian exhibit and they can be seen at those links–we’d have done something more interesting if we hadn’t been so wiped. Then on to Book People, where I overindulged in the stupendously wonderful children’s and teen section. (Seriously, best staff recommendations and selection EVER. What a great bookstore.) Airport, ice cream, hellish flying experience that at least involved free booze from the flight attendant, and home home home. Needless to say after this report, Maureen and Chris are the best hosts around.
Revision. & Again.
Yes, we all love Scrivener. I’m finding it’s really and truly worth its weight in gold (or more, actually, because it probably doesn’t have a weight in gold) as I go into revision mode. Not that it’s not wonderful during composition, but it seems there are so many functions I’m only discovering now.
Which is a short way of saying that things will probably continue to be sporadic around these parts until next year. My intention is to turn around the major revision of Monster Nation in the next month or so (I leave for my next MFA residency January 13, and more on the First Year of the MFA soon), which will be lots of work. I’m working on my revision outline the rest of this week and then will dive into it. Luckily, as I said, Scrivener makes rearranging and tweaking your story spine and managing the overall task of stuff so much more intuitive. This is a very good thing. Then, I’ll circulate it to some people and see what they think. (And start something else.)
Oh, revision, my favorite favorite part of the writing process. The part when you get to make stuff good.