Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Cross Post: Grading and Plotting Future Writing Projects


I took that great shot at the Chicago Cultural Center, where I am currently sitting and grading papers.  So, as you my have noticed I haven't posted for a while.  Unfortunately, I have been busy NOT working on my novel.  I forgot how intense summer school can be, but my students are amazing.  I spend most of my time grading and writing grievances for my union members.

Still, I have been thinking about the ending of the current novel I am writing, The Harvest, and a sequel where the androids play a greater role, but one step at a time.  The glimmer of hope is what has me captivated.  There will be hope in my novel because the characters will grow in that direction.

On a practical note, I think from now on, I am going to come to the Chicago Cultural Center to write because it's relatively quiet and close to work.  (Of course, as I finish this entry, someone is practicing her singing, and it is gorgeous.  I think singers come here for the acoustics.  How wonderful!)

Here is to finding quite places and spaces to write.  #Resist

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Cross Post: The Android Are Coming and More of the Harvest Draft

I was watching the news the other day, and they announced the robot priest/pastor.  It can have the voice of a woman or man, and it can bless you with the light of its arms.  Think I'm joking?  Think again.  http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/robots/a26698/germany-robot-priest/

I told some friends about this news report on WGN, and they thought I was joking.  Food for thought, pastors and priests.  The robots are coming for your jobs, too.  Anyway, on that happy cyber-note, back to my writing.

This morning, I finally spent a few hours working on my novel.  It had been a while since I woke up at 2a.m. to write, mostly because I was tired from teaching.  In fact, I thought the writing itch was dissipating, and it was.  Ergo, I read a lot of literature.  But, I started teaching the summer term yesterday, and I am back to waking up with the drive to write.  Of course the teenagers listening to loud assed movies at 2a.m. helped, and also, my brain is trying to solve union problems.  Nothing like a little problem solving to get the brain-engine going.

Today, I developed the character of 147-Paul a little more.  He will play a larger role with Alan and his new mother, who I am not naming yet.  In fact, I may not until something happens in the plot, which I won't reveal until the end.  She needs to remain anonymous because she is going against the state.  Enough of her.

I have big plans for the androids in the revolutionary process.  In fact, my goal is the humanize the androids, while the women in this setting are losing their humanity with every mod and upgrade.  (And I can't wait to see the Blade Runner sequel!)

Here's a bit more of The Harvest:  A Novel.

Resist the robots if they don't serve us, the people!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Cross Post: Hang onto Your Dreams and More of My Novel: The Harvest

The Harvest:  A Novel.  Mysteries are no joke, and I am finding this sub-plot development to be a challenge. Plus, since my girls, my characters, aren't necessarily PI's, I may have them find the culprit by accident.  Maybe.  I had a thought about the team they just competed against having the enemy in their ranks, like the long-haired girl.  Also, I want to amp up the tension between Jackie and Ashley, and possibly have an irresponsible sponsor leak that a rebel has infiltrated the candidacy process.  (Which the Dean is lying about and has happened before.  That will be a small twist.)  If you're like, "What is JesĂș talking about?" consider reading the draft of the novel.
I posted more of the novel draft, and am still grappling with how to find this traitor: 

I was also struggling with what to call the Dean.  I wanted a name that meant power, so I picked Amaranda.  I am still working on that choice.  I also need to rethink Vye and Lisa because even though they have different qualities, I keep confusing Vye with Lisa as I write.  Lisa needs more qualities because she's kind of bland, so I may backtrack in the writing process and draw them and write down their qualities and characteristics.

Anyway, these last few weeks I have been thinking about Octavia Butler, may she rest in peace and eternal creative joy.  One of my indulgent goals this summer is to read all of her long works, none of which I have read.  I started with The Fledgling, a vampire novel, and I believe her last long work that she printed before her early death.  I love her style of writing and admire her writing choices.  I am writing the Ashley section in first-person, present tense because I want the action to be "real".  That makes sense, right?  The Allen sections are in third person because he is less of an agent in society.  I made those point of view choices deliberate.

Butler wrote The Fledgling in first person, past tense.  What?!  Seriously, who does that and creates engaging prose that sucks the reader straight in?  That takes real craft, and I love how she splits up her dialogue, which I am emulating in some of my "he says" or "she says" sections.  Wow, I hope some day, I will be that good!

Until then, I am still pecking along, trying to finish my novel and let it end, when it ends.  It's not that I don't have a deadline in mind, but today, which would have been a great day to write, I am rereading the short stories I want in my syllabus.  I start teaching next week. I decided as I was drafting my syllabi not to keep the same stories and in that order.

I also have to write a report that will take all of my brain power, and I need to focus.  Ergo, the kids are out of the house.  See, it would have been a great day to write, and I will, just not my novel.  (I did write this morning for an hour and read over past segments.)

Today will be a strange day of reading dystopian short stories and political economy, but stimulating.

Stimulate your brain and hang onto your dreams like babies.  #Resist.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Cross Post: Copyedited and Posted More of The Harvest

I am taking a brief reprieve from grading.  Right now, I am going through a pile of fantastic poems by my creative writing students.  I already workshopped them, twice in most cases, so the grading is going easier.  I just have to say grading poetry is really fucking hard.  (Keep reading)

http://www.barrioblues.com/un-blog-de-writing-musings/copyedited-and-posted-more-of-the-harvest

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Cross Post: Still Writing Like a Fiend (And, Feliz Dia de las Madres, All!)

First, of all Happy Mother's Day to all Godmothers, Mothers, Teachers, Aunties, Sisters, Spiritual Guides, Nurturing Creatures, yes, even, stay at home Dads! Without you, society would simply collapse.

I haven't blogged in a while because I have been grading and reading placement essays, but I have a mom victory.  I have been writing like a fiend, and I am well past 1/3 of the novel draft, The Harvest.  I am posting the draft in a bit, and hope to read it on my way to my Mother's Day surprise destination, which will more than likely be a park where we will picnic, far, far away from Chicago (if I know my clan). (Keep reading.)

http://www.barrioblues.com/un-blog-de-writing-musings/still-writing-like-a-fiend-feliz-dia-de-las-madres-all

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Cross Post: Still Writing and Making Different Choices for My Novella and Short Story Collection

I know it's been a while, since I blogged.  The Union and teaching has kept me really busy, but I actually have not been slacking off in terms of my writing.  I am back on a regular writing schedule and working on my novel The HarvestPlus, I found an editor for my longer fiction pieces, which is a huge step forward in my writing path.

I also have a new editor for my novella La Bruja del Barrio Loco; that awesome friend is Eric Allen Yankee.  He is giving me a "friend discount" for editing my work, like my other friend Adam Gottlieb who is editing my short story collection Down South where the Water Is Warm.

So, I invited Yankee to come talk to my creative writing class about digital versus print publications.  You can see the talk here:  https://www.facebook.com/eric.yankee.90/videos/10213283231220953/

It was a phenomenal talk, seriously.  I hope to bring him back again, so we can do a step-by-step process as many of my students should publish their work.  I learned great information about Amazon and pricing online books.  He had great suggestions I plan on taking.  One was to separate the short story collection into two parts.  In the digital revolution, volume and frequency of publications are the way to go.  He also suggested that I publish a novella every six weeks.  I am up for that challenge since I plan to serialize La Bruja del Barrio Loco stories and already have the second one in the works.  I was also considering putting La Bruja del Barrio Loco in my collection of short stories, but that would defeat the purpose of serializing the novellas.  I am so stoked because I learned novellas are in!  What?!

I suppose that's just a sigh that people are really busy in this modern age.  But that's good for me because I can crank out novellas and tend to write long short stories anyway.

Well, keep on doing what you love and be a kind human being!  #Resist