Rachel's Blog Rachel's Blog: Writing

Sat, 04 Jul 2009

I have a wee little story in AntiSF at the moment. It's called Warrior. I hope you like it.

Wed, 04 Feb 2009
It's my birthday today!

My story The Girl in the Cupboard has been published at ticon4. It's free. It's not too long. It's not too scary. Did I mention it was free?

I'd really like to know what you think of it, so please leave a comment over there for Russell (wonder-editor) to read, or here if you just want to say Happy Birthday ;-)

Tue, 20 Jan 2009
Rachel gets up too late, showers too long, eats mostly the right food

I am trying to write a brief bio to accompany a short story publication. I think it must be the hardest thing in the world.

Sat, 01 Nov 2008
Midnight Echo

If you, like me, would like Halloween to last at least as long as, oh, Summer? you might want to take a look at Midnight Echo, the inaugral issue of the magazine of the Australian Horror Writers Association.

There are some big names in the contents, and also,




But don't let that stop you! What I've read so far is a great collection of all kinds of creepy tales.

So can we take a vote? Halloween for at least as long as Thingymas? At least can we have a ruling that the two celebrations' decorations should not be in the stores At The Same Time? Although I am rather partial to a Gothmas Tree.

Sun, 04 Nov 2007
NaNo '07 Update: Plot? What plot?

The NaNo website is currently gasping for breath under a stacks-on of enthusiastic writers, so I thought I'd give you an update on my progress so far.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
6,008 / 50,000

I'm pretty pleased with how it's going. Of course only one paragraph in twenty is any good, but my mantra is "First draft, first draft..." I'm eagerly waiting to find out what the plot will be, but my main character is discovering a most interesting setting, meeting some quite bizarre people and having a very confusing time of it. Much like the author really.

Excelsior, fellow NaNoers!

Sun, 28 Oct 2007
NaNo '07

So I've signed in again for NaNoWriMo. That's me there. You can keep an eye on my word count if you like. Please don't harrass me too much about it though! After numerous divination techniques I still don't have a plot. Moreover, I don't think Abbey would be impressed if I tried to postpone her birthday party. Plus all that holiday stuff I need to get onto. Yikes.

I'll make sure to tell you all at exactly what point I give up.

Wed, 08 Aug 2007
The Chosen One

Jane Espenson has an explanation of why certain fantasy and sci-fi stories cross into popular acceptance, and others do not.

It's a very specific type of Hero's Journey, the most potent sub-case. It's told over and over again, and it works, over and over again. Dorothy Gale, Buffy Summers, Harry Potter, Charlie Bucket, Luke Skywalker, even Peter Parker, they all fit a very specific pattern. They're living a life, sometimes a fine one, often a troubled one, but certainly one governed by ordinary rules, when suddenly the curtain is pulled back and a whole new world, or a new set of rules of this world, is revealed. And what's more - and this is the important part - in that new world, they are something special. They are The Chosen One.

It also goes a little way to explain the current popularity of YA fiction among adults. In a world where so much is going wrong, wouldn't it be great to have the opportunity, ability and belief from others that you can make a difference? Yes, please.

Fri, 27 Oct 2006
Fiction; Hemingway-style.

Lots of people have jumped on the six-word story bandwagon, including me:

Egg donor wanted: Near-human preferred.
Pluto unappreciated. Seeks new solar system.
I'm not your mother, am I?

The hardest part really is getting the six words to tell a story rather than just evoke an emotion or be a clever quip as capnoblivious has mentioned. The advertising format ("For sale:..." "Egg donor wanted:...") seems to be the easiest to work with because the language is already in a clipped style. Similarly straightforward is the headline style of poor unappreciated Pluto. It's easy to write a story in a sort of shorthand, such as "Cold call. Life insurance? Too late." but it then ceases to be something that is pleasant to read.

I think my favourite of the Wired stories is Eileen Gunn's, because it doesn't rely on any of those tricks.

Computer, did we bring batteries? Computer?

There must be something in the question-with-no-answer story, but I'm not sure I've got it with my attempt.

Wed, 22 Mar 2006
Ten Mistakes

Pat Holt, editor and publishing industry critic, has an article on Holt Uncensored called Ten Mistakes Writers Don't See (But Can Easily Fix When They Do).

I read it in a knowing way, nodding along in agreement. Then I picked up a random sample of my own writing. It's back to the editing desk for me.

(via Spinister Blog)

Thu, 02 Mar 2006
Cover Letter

Dear Editor,
Please find enclosed my short story. I look forward to receiving from you my first rejection letter.
Nervous Writer.

Tue, 14 Feb 2006

The final version of the nanotech book is currently elbowing its way toward the inboxes of my learned reviewers. (Yay!) Now for a drink** and a short break to work on l'histoire du vampire.

* Would that be mosquito?
**French sparkling, hence the nonsense.

Mon, 19 Dec 2005
Wouldn't Be Seen Dead

Red Right Hand has issued a challenge to spec monkeys to post a page of a screenplay to their website. There are words on my hard-drive going to waste, so, I participate. Not that I'm a spec monkey, but I have written a lot of pages of screenplay. Here's one from Wouldn't Be Seen Dead which I wrote circa 2000.

I apologise for the tiny text, but blarg, it's me vs. Juno (the computer) vs. the vagaries of script formatting.

(via Chained to the Keyboard who has posted a page from an Invader Zim spec.)

Thu, 27 Oct 2005
Nano Calculator

As a service to person-kind, and as witness to the fact that you can procrastinate as well as finish 50,000 words in 30 days, I present here the Nano Calculator I created during last year's NaNoWriMo. Appleworks format (.cwk) 50kB

To see its magic, just run a word count on your NaNovel and plug the total into Column C (End of Day Count) beside the appropriate date. I think the rest is self explanatory. Let me know if you spot any problems. There are probably better ways of doing the equations, but I'm not a mathemagician. (Although I think I'm in love with the graph a little bit.)

Here's what mine looked like at the end of NaNo04.