Progress: To Move Forward

Progress by dingatx, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License  by  dingatx 

It’s been about a month since I last updated my blog. I’ve had a busy social life and a sick cat and frankly haven’t written much. I also helped out a fellow writer by critiquing her entire finished novel over the last couple of weeks.

But another thing I did work on was submissions.

I finally bit the bullet and submitted a manuscript to Viable Paradise. In their own words,

Viable Paradise is a unique one-week residential workshop in writing and selling commercial science fiction and fantasy. The workshop is intimate, intense, and features extensive time spent with best-selling and award-winning authors and professional editors currently working in the field. VP concentrates on the art of writing fiction people want to read, and this concentration is reflected in post-workshop professional sales by our alumni.

Viable Paradise encourages an informal and supportive workshop atmosphere. During the week, instructors and students interact in one-on-one conferences, group critiques, and lectures. The emphasis at first is on critiquing the students’ submitted manuscripts; later, the emphasis shifts to new material produced during the week. Even when not actively engaged in teaching or critiquing, instructors often share meals and general conversation with the students.

The Viable Paradise experience is more than the workshop itself; it also includes the autumnal beauty of coastal New England and the unique island setting of Martha’s Vineyard. Taken all together, they create a learning environment that’s perfect for helping you reach your writing and publishing goals.

I’ve wanted to go to VP pretty much since the first day I heard about it—Egad! Six years ago!—when podcaster and writer extraordinaire Mur Lafferty went in 2006 (VPX) and talked about the experience.

Of course, I’d also like to go to Clarion/Clarion West. But I have a full-time job and only 23 PTO days per year, and Clarion takes six weeks, or 30 PTO days. (Which actually isn’t all that bad, considering. They’d only have to let me do a leave of absence for seven work days . . .)

The shortage of time off still didn’t stop me from attempting to apply. I mean, once I got in, I could worry about getting time off, right? But I misread the submission guidelines. I worked for hours editing a story to get it as perfect as I could get it. And then with just about twenty minutes to spare, I was getting ready to email everything in and . . . realized they had asked for two short stories, each between 2500 and 6000 words. I had just the one, and it was 6900 words.

Here’s a tip: Read the submission guidelines thoroughly, boys and girls. <grumbleblather>

Not that Viable Paradise was a distant second choice, mind you. It could even be argued that my subconscious sabotaged Clarion on purpose. Dastardly subconscious.

I sent in my submission on April 16th. The deadline is June 15th. They will make a decision as soon as possible after that date and let everyone know one way or the other. Only 24 students will be accepted. They will, of course, have to read and evaluate all the submissions they get at the last minute, so I wouldn’t expect to hear one way or the other before the 20th of June, certainly.

So now, I wait. Patiently? Well . . . :)

In other news, I have recently started listening to a newish podcast called Toasted Cake by Tina Connolly. Tina is an accomplished author (and Clarion West 2006 graduate) and voice artist who frequently voices stories for the three Escape Artists podcasts, EscapePod, PseudoPod, and PodCastle, as well as Drabblecast and Three-Lobed Burning Eye.

She decided to podcast a flash story per week for 2012. She hit up her writer friends for the first dozen or so, then opened up for submission from interested listeners during April. I sent her three of my extremely short flash pieces to see if they strike her fancy. She likes ’em dark and kind of twisted, which these three are. I sent the anti-Valentine’s Day poem, “Pot O’ Gold,” and “Nothing Lasts Forever,” all of which I have put on this blog in the last year. I should get a “Pass” or “Hold” email before too long. Submission deadline is April 30, and I sent it in a couple of days ago.

So that’s basically what I’ve been up to. Which doesn’t amount to much on the page, but I’m hoping one or the other or both of those pan out.

What I have done, writing-wise, is come up with a veritable mother-load of ideas for the second novel in the Urban Fantasy series I’ve come up with (which I’m tentatively calling The PCIU Case Files). You know, the second novel. I haven’t finished the first one, but my brain is supplying me all kinds of good stuff for the second one.

Stupid brain.

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