inasmuch as it concerns Joint Ventures:
In which storytelling, whether on the Web or around a kitchen table, becomes a cooperative effort.
curious fictions would like your eyeballs and wouldn't say no to your spare change
This blog post is brought to you by the twin forces of ibuprofen and pseudoephedrine, the patron saints of my staying productive while sick. Otherwise I'd be flat in bed, shivering and sniffly and sore. Hooray for modern medical science!
Incidentally, my roller derby habit has the side-effect of complicating self-diagnosis. I mean, are the muscles of my neck and upper back painfully tight because I've come down with a cold or flu, or simply because I had a contact-heavy practice last night?
(The answer, as the kids like to say these days, is, Por qué no los dos?)
Anyway. That is not what I came here to tell you. I came here to tell you about Curious Fictions.
Curious Fictions is a new undertaking by author and web designer Tanya Breshears to bring fanstastic short fiction to a wider audience while giving authors a handy option for extending the commercial life of their already-published stories. Readers can browse stories easily from their computers or mobile devices, and, having created a login and entered their credit card information into their account, can pay for what they read by means of the Stripe system. There are no ads, and the bulk of readers' payments go directly to the authors.
If you want to try it out by reading something of mine that you otherwise might not get to, my story "Lambing Season," first published in Nameless Digest, is in the Curious Fictions library. It is in the fantastic company of (just to name a few examples off the top of the weekly rotating Featured Story carousel) Gary Gibson's "Scienceville," Kate Heartfield's "The Semaphore Society," and Benjamin C. Kinney's "The First Confirmed Case of Non-Corporeal Recursion: Patient Anita R."
And that's what I came to tell you about.
In other news, I'm afraid my weekend was underproductive as regards my hopes for clocking double days on this year's NaNoWriMo attempt. But that I did some work on it both Saturday and Sunday and didn't stint Saturday's freewriting and fictionette work isn't to be sneezed at. I have not historically been much good at getting work done on Saturdays, and I typically don't expect any writing from my Sundays at all. Well. 4thewords tells me I wrote about 5,000 words over the weekend, and by my calculations almost 3,000 of that was novel draft. Some of it was very misguided novel draft--I tore yet another big ragged hole in the plot, as it turns out--but sometimes you just have to write the misguided words to realize how misguided they are.
Today I get to correct my course. And since I'm not going anywhere tonight (I hate being sick, I was supposed to go meet our league's newest members over a round of off-skates conditioning and then help lead Phase 2, but instead I got sick so I have to stay home and I hate it), I have plenty of time to WRITE ALL THE WORDS so long as I can keep myself more or less upright.
Hooray for modern medical science indeed.
Higglety Pigglety, Hexasyllabic'ly
John and I are fond of double dactyls. They're our favorite form of doggerel, and certainly more exacting than limericks. We got to talking about them while riding the train home from Winter Park yesterday. And talking about them leads, as day leads to night, to composing them.
Or failing at composing them, as they may be more exacting than we realized. According to Patrick Nielsen Hayden, who cites a 1967 text called Jiggery Pokery, you don't just have to have a nonsense phrase in the first line and a hexasyllabic word in the sixth--you've also got to have somebody's name for the second line, too. So maybe we're disqualified on a technicality (except for John's most awesome contribution on the topics of feminism, oral pleasure, and a friend of ours from Gen Con... but that's another story that will be told at another time). But this was fun to put together anyway:
Swallows are swifting
And swooping around
Where you've stopped at a light
Turning on wing-tips, they
Dive-bomb your windshield in
- 47,202 wds. long
- 76.75 hrs. revised
Chapter 9 is over, and with it Part 1 ("Above")....
Tomorrow, I'll be working on Chapter 10 and Part 2 ("Below"). This will involve some revisions to the chapter outline, no doubt, and once more cracking open the 3-ring binder containing the manuscript's first draft, which I hadn't touched since hitting Chapter 5, the first chapter that had to be rewritten from scratch.
"What do you mean?"
But I was broken. I only knew two words.
Yesterday turned into my day off for the week (I say that so smoothly, just as though taking a day off per week was part of the original plan) because of a friend visiting from out of town. More a friend of my husband's, part of his core gaming group, but, hey, I like him just as many bunches, and once in a long long while I'll play too.
Like last night. After the six of us went out to dinner at Acqua Pazza (which, sadly, seemed to be having an off-night; better luck next time), we headed over to the largest house of those at our disposal, broke out the soda, beer, and espresso, and made some characters for this crazy AD&D/White Wolf hybrid system that my husband and our out-of-town friend had gone and thunk up. The intent was to keep the Dungeons & Dragons setting but ditch its play complexity, replacing D20 and rigid class concepts with the D10 "dot" pool those of y'all familiar with Mage: The Ascension or Vampire: The Masquerade might recognize.
And just to make things even more absurd and chaotic, John tossed into the mix a deck of Story Cards he bought at Gen Con Indy. Each card contains a very simple phrase and description: "Insomnia." "Surprise summoning." "Mistaken identity." These are dealt to the players. With them come the power to briefly take over the role of Dungeon Master/Game Master/Storyteller; you play a card and say how its contents happen in the story. For instance, during the requisite tavern meet-up at the beginning of the story, my character finds herself inadvertantly recruited for bartending duty. I play "Mote in eye" and say, "Suddenly, the bartender gets something in his eye!" John, our GM, rolls with it. "The bartender goes into the back room, clutching his eye and saying something about a splinter." At this point my character urges the rest of the party to leave the bar, right now, before the bartender recovers and sets me bussing tables or something.
It all worked surprisingly well. Resolving conflict becomes very simple when you don't have to memorize different dice combinations for each possible form of weaponry; a Ranger type just rolls the amount of D10s corresponding to DEX plus her Bow skill, and there you go. And everyone was eager to play their cards--on NPCs, on themselves, on each other. There's a "Lust" card in that deck, did you know? Yeah. One of the other players thought it would be funny to play it, resulting in my character having an unpleasant close shave with an amorous purple shrub. Ew.
We didn't get home until something like 2:00 AM. Lots of fun. We should have friends fly in from Paris more often.
Tomorrow the crew's coming over here to play a 13th Level AD&D adventure; I think I might sit it out due to my inexperience with straight AD&D at any level, and also due to some serious clean-up needed in the guest bedroom. Before that, of course, I mean to crack open the manuscript of Drowning Boy and really try to wrap my head around the order of events in the next few chapters. Sharks, assumed-dead family members, and mermaids. That's what I get to deal with over the next few writing sessions. Wish me luck...