5 Oct 2015 04:52 pm
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I'm doing pretty well in Russian class. I think I have a 98% in the class. We've just encountered the first weird thing--verbs of motion. The "weird" part for me isn't that they distinguish between going by foot or by car, or that they take the accusative after prepositions (German does both, though the former with less strictness than Russian). No, the weird part is that you distinguish between uni- and multi-directional movement. (Which my professor explains as determinate vs indeterminate, and I think that's better than in the book.) It makes sense, but it's not intuitive, so I have to think about it a lot.

I have a vocabulary quiz on Wednesday, and there's a lot of vocabulary this chapter. And a lot of verbs. Hooray for flash cards. We also have our oral midterm on Friday (or Monday; I plan to volunteer for Friday). We get *practice* in class on Thursday. I am surprised at how much hand-holding there is.

I'm driving down to UGA next week, and this time I'm actually going to see the department and campus with students in it. Which will probably make me go "argh, students, go away," like Chapel Hill does. I'm excited but also nervous. I want to be enthusiastic but not trying too hard, and that's ... a difficult balance to strike. This time I'm staying in a hotel practically on campus, so I can walk to various campus-adjacent things as well as to campus. I'll be leaving right after class on Wednesday, or as soon as the bus gets me to my car (2:40ish) and I pop into WSM for a sandwich or something to eat for dinner on the road. It's 5 hours plus stops & traffic (I'll hit Charlotte at 5, which will suck, so I may stop at a rest area and eat my sammich), so I'll get in pretty late. Well, 9 or so, which isn't *late*, but I typically prefer to arrive places around 7.

I haven't gotten any editing to speak of on the novel since the semester started, but I'd like to start setting parts of Tuesday & Saturday (or Sunday) aside for that. Weekends keep being busy with things I can't do during the week; Tuesdays I end up running errands a lot. (Tomorrow I need to get an oil change, and I have to learn so much vocabulary...)

That's my super exciting life right now.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
Let's see. I started playing Flight Rising, this dragon breeding game with forums and mini-games and monster battles. It's fun. Look at my pretty dragons.

I started Russian 101 on Wednesday. So far we've learned the alphabet and the weird Russian pronunciation rules (regressive assimilation, vowel reduction, palatalized consonants). It's very strange being in a class with 18-year-olds. For example, yesterday, two classmates were talking before class, and one of them asked when Chernobyl happened. I answered immediately and without thinking, "1986." They both were like "whoa, you just knew that!" So I said, "Well, I was alive then..." They asked what it was like, and I don't really remember, because I was 10, you know? But there was a lot of confusion and no internet to get information from, just TV news and newspapers, and it wasn't like Russia was terribly open about what was going on over there...

So yeah. It's weird. I don't want to be aloof or standoffish, but I also have this "well, I'm a LOT older than y'all, and it's weird to try to be friends with you because it could come off really creepy." So we'll see how things go.

Dragon Con is in less than two weeks oh fuck.

Still working on revising the spy novel. I'm getting close to the part where things get exciting, but there's a bit of rewriting I need to do, not just sentence-level revision, so, ugh. Also I don't have as much time per day to write, so I'll probably do something like spend a couple hours each day on the weekends and squeeze in some during the week. We'll see.

Helsinki won the 2017 WorldCon bid, so I'm planning to go to that. As long as it doesn't conflict too badly with grad school (if I get in). Their dates would get me back to the US about a week before the semester starts, which could make, you know, course planning exciting, especially if I go to Germany for language class on a grant.

But let's not put the cart before the horse, here. I haven't finished my application yet, because I haven't taken the GRE yet and I haven't uploaded transcripts. They at least take unofficial ones at the application stage, which is great, because those are free and things I mostly have on hand.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I posted this on tumblr, so sorry if you see this multiple places.

I’m going to get this damned novel to the point where I can call it complete and send it to people (what I call a first draft). Here’s how I’m gonna do it.

For the next month, I’m going to revise, rewrite, or write at least 2 scenes a day. (A scene is the basic unit of composition in Scrivener, which is what I use. You then compile scenes into chapters. I find this much more manageable than writing in Open Office, perhaps due to the aphantasia.)

Once the semester starts and I have 4 hours of class a week, plus a good hour of travel on top of it, I’ll work for an hour before class and an hour after homework. (I’m learning Russian. There will be homework.)

I have other things on my schedule, like working out, class prep if my ad-hoc class happens, and (hopefully) making Shatterdome ATL 3 happen, so I’ll have a nice busy schedule.

If I can, and all goes well, I’ll have a finished draft by the end of the year. (90 scenes/2 scenes a day=45 days, but no guarantees on how much I can do while studying Russian.)

Today I’m rebuilding my outline (and timeline) so I can dive in tomorrow.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)

Uh, let's see. I rewrote the fucking novel again, and it's off at beta readers'. One already got it back to me, but I'm not looking at comments until next month. I'm Not Dealing With It right now so I can do other things.

I'm about 3/4 of the way through the beginning conversation class. Some of my students are more comfortable with unknown words and global reading than others, so what I need to do is figure out how to convince them that knowing every single word isn't important, so they should look for keywords.

Another teacher suggested having them highlight all the things they do recognize, then looking up a limited number of unknown words, so they a) focus on how much they already know and b) don't get hung up on every single word.

It's about time to gauge interest in the next class, so we'll see if I have another class coming up. Though it'll get into summer and the travel season, and I'm going to have to miss half of June anyway... I don't know how that works here.

Convention planning continues apace. The Shatterdome has a full complement of artists for artists alley, but we're always looking for a few good panelists.

Uh, what else? There's a huge mess surrounding this year's Hugo awards, and I don't feel like writing about it here.

I'm still trying to make a #&%!^*%# sale of short fiction. I've gotten some helpful personal rejections (and some total forms), but apparently I'm not hitting the right editor at the right time. I'm thinking about making them into an ebook and selling them on amazon and and smashwords, either individually or as a collection. IDK.

My sister's baby is 2 months old. She thinks she looks like baby pictures of me. All I can tell is that it is a small human with a round, bald head. I am nervous about going home to visit, because there may be expectations of cooing and holding.

La la la

6 Feb 2015 02:30 pm
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I went to the doctor yesterday for these weird pink bumps on my toes that hurt and itch sometimes. Chilblains. Caused by excessive vasoconstriction in the capillaries at the extremities. Not much you can do about it other than wear multiple pairs of socks and wait for the weather to get warmer. Can be related to Raynaud's, which I've suspected I have for a while now.

Since I've been feeling a bit off and have had more migraines recently, I brought that up, as well as this feeling of swelling on the front of my neck. She said if it's still bothering me next week, I should call & she'll refer me for an ultrasound. She also had me give some blood for a thyroid test, since my last one was 10 months ago.

(I haven't been feeling up for exercising, which I don't like. I like exercising. I felt too fatigued this morning to do my lifting, and I wasn't happy.)

I've got 3 stories on submission (20, 7, and 1 days) right now, and a fourth I intend to get out soon, once I remember where the next place I wanted to send it was. (I also want to give it a read-over in a few days to see if the revisions I just made work or are clunky.)

I finished the last exam in my certificate course, which means I should be getting my certificate in the next month or so. I don't know if I need to do anything else, like say "hi, I finished everything, do I need to do anything else?" I read the syllabus-like thing, and it didn't really help.

I've almost finished reading this book about Berlin 1961, and, somewhat annoyingly, it's given me ideas that would make my novel better but require more extensive rewriting than I did during NaNo. -_- But now that I've finished the course, I can spend several hours every day reworking it. (And I also have a white board where I can make notes and outline things that happen off screen.)

This weekend should involve hanging out with people I haven't seen in entirely too long, games, pizza, beer, and cupcakes, so I'm pretty excited about that. (There was a red velvet cupcake mix at the store, which I couldn't pass up. It included a frosting packet! Not that cream cheese frosting is particularly difficult, mind you.)

I think for my next baking trick I'm going to make chocolate chip cookies with dark chocolate M&Ms instead. Though I might hunt down an oatmeal chip recipe for that for texture purposes...

Um, still teaching & planning to apply to grad school, which means I need to revise the paper I wrote in Marburg and contact people about writing LORs and prepare for the GRE ugh.


15 Jan 2015 01:37 pm
feuervogel: (writing)
I started teaching a German 2 class. The school requires 3 students to start a class. I had 3 students (1 continuing from German 1, two new). This week, the continuing student dropped out. One of the new students is moving to Germany in April. There are not enough students to continue on to German 3. So my 2-hour a week job will go to 0 hours in the beginning of March. *sigh*

Makes me feel less guilty about planning to apply to grad school, though.

I got a nice personal rejection on the castle story, which I revised a bit and planned to send in to F&SF during the guest editor issue, but I finally got my VP application story back from an editor who will remain nameless--after 14 months. So I re-read it, tweaked a couple things, and sent it in.

I am waiting on tenterhooks for a response from an anthology I sent another story to. From talk on Codex, the editors are making their final decisions. I don't want to get my hopes up, because I'm pretty much out of pro markets for this story :/ but the submission call was like they wrote it for my story. So. *barfs nervously*

Planning for Shatterdome Atlanta 2015 continues apace. We have a guest. We're discussing other potential guest ideas. We need folks to buy badges!


2 Oct 2014 04:45 pm
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
Apparently the HS student who I was supposed to be teaching canceled, possibly permanently, while his mother shops around for a teacher. Never mind that they said they were looking for someone who would be able to teach him the next two years and wanted consistency. If I named the town they live in, any local would say, "Oh, of course." Well, private lesson 1 was interested in meeting twice a week, so we could do that instead.

I've finished reading the material for the second to last module in my certificate course. Since I'm traveling next weekend, I won't be starting the exam until after I get back, which gives me more time to make lesson plans for my classes that are actually meeting as well. I also am missing a DVD for the other module I need to do, and I hope it arrives soon.

I submitted a story to an anthology. I'm still waiting to hear back on a piece I sent to an editor last November. The slush reader said he's looking into it. (It's in the editor's inbox, somewhere. You have to ask him about it.) So I have three stories out right now.

If all works out, and I can get this nonfiction book read in time, I might try to get a reasonable first draft of ACARP together. (It still needs a title; I do not like naming things, I am bad at it; I don't understand how people name their cars and houses and stuffed animals and things.) I was planning to do that after I finish the certificate, so we'll see.

Also, convention planning continues apace.
feuervogel: (michel)
This week I:

- signed a contract for Shatterdome ATL
- typed up all but one of the answers for the exam I have due on Tuesday
- did a lot more con-related stuff
- wrote unpleasant con-related emails

And that pretty much ate all my hours between 9 and 5.

Other things I did:
- ordered stuff for our costumes for DragonCon
- revised & submitted a story

Thing I am proud of that I did:
- ran (jogged) a full mile at just over 12:30 min/mi. (I only slowed to a walk briefly to check my pace and see that, indeed, I was running faster than I thought and no wonder I was so wiped already.) This regular running thing is improving my stamina, yay.

Fun thing:
- A bottle of Special Effects Purple Smoke arrived at my house, and I just need to get some bleach.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
My VP17 classmate [ profile] captainecchi tagged me in this writing meme.

1. What am I working on?

Writing-wise, right now? Blessedly nothing. I have 3 stories (no, 4) on submission and a 0.5th draft of a novel, for which I am reading a book about the politics in Berlin in 1961 as research, and once I finish, I'll start revising it.

Not-writing-wise, I am in frantic pre-con mode for Shatterdome Atlanta (May 31) and taking exam 5 in my German-teaching class. I'm not certain I'll pass this one, and this time I actually mean it. Like, there's one 3-point (out of 30) question that's all or nothing. 19 points is passing. (The first exam I got 19.5.)

2. How does my work differ from others in my genre?

Uh. Which genre? The most common theme/genre of my writing is (alternate) historical fiction with places as characters that is somewhere between fantasy and magical realism (that's 2 of the 4 shorts out right now; the novel is alternate history with superpowers and spies). They're also mostly set in Germany (and mostly Berlin).

One short is science fiction on a space station with cyborg prostheses and a bisexual dockworker protagonist. The last short is a flash pseudo-fairytale.

3. Why do I write what I do?

Because people seem to like it. My two published pieces are (alternate) historical fantasy, and a historical fantasy got me in to VP 17. I suppose that also means that I like it and that I'm good at it.

I wanted to write politically driven space opera, but it turns out I'm terrible at it. I love reading it, though.

4. How does my writing process work?

I've recently started using the outlining method Mary Robinette Kowal describes here. I find that it suits the way my brain works quite well, even if I kind of fudge the last stage and have a few "and then a miracle occurs" points (quite frequently the ending).

I tried not outlining a novel or two, but as it turns out, that means I have to delete a whole lot of words where there are plot holes or the plot sucks. In short fiction, if I don't outline, it's not as arduous to fix the broken shit in the middle.

In the novel writing process, the 0.5th draft (I don't call it a first draft until it's something I could give to a beta reader) is a detailed outline, and there's some amount of writing to figure out what happens next. There's not much description or emotion, especially at the end (when I just want to get the damned thing out of my head already). Then once I know how it ends, I can go back and fix the beginning and middle, add foreshadowing and characterization and description and all the other things. And take out the things I already said.

I use Scrivener on my Macbook Air, and I love it.

I'll tag whoever wants to do this.
feuervogel: (writing)
I'm in the process of writing scene by scene synopses of the current novel, as well as saying what purpose it serves (characterization, tension, worldbuilding, etc) and where it fits in the 5-act structure. It's slow going, because I can only focus on it for about an hour or so at a time.

After I finish that, I'm going to have to figure out how it ends. I had a couple ideas when I started, a kind of forked path, and I really need to decide which branch it takes. It may even be one I hadn't thought of when I started, but I doubt that.

Have three pieces out on submission still. One of them I might hear back about while I'm in Germany, which will be interesting if they accept it and want revisions. "Yeah, I'm currently in Germany doing a teaching internship, uh, can you wait another couple weeks on that?" Because I don't know how much time I'll have outside the teaching part, and I know I won't be much able to refocus into making good English words after having spent all day thinking in German.

But that assumes they accept the piece at all, so.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
Have been for several days now. I wrote a post about it here. It's entirely inadequate, though.

I've been catching up on things, doing laundry, napping, and getting over the plague (which came to us courtesy of Lynch and Bear; hey, someone's gotta be the plague bearer among the 40-odd people). All I have left is a bit of a cough, so that's nice.

Friday I'm driving to PA for my 15th college reunion and seeing old friends. Today I got my oil changed and my tires rotated (and patched up a bit where some asshole hit me while I was parked). My brakes are ok, but I need to get them changed soon, they said.

Have I mentioned how awesome our mechanics are? I trust them not to bullshit us into spending more money, and they certainly go beyond the call of duty. One of them loaned Ben his personal car (truck) for a couple weeks while Ben's Golf was having the entire steering column replaced. Wagner Tire in Hillsborough, NC. Good people.

Anyway. I'm also researching flights for my practicum in February. Leaving the US Wednesday or Thursday the 5th or 6th and coming back Monday the 24th costs the same ($1077 on Delta right now). It's just a matter of whether the inexpensive B&B is available and if I want to try the youth hostel instead (cheaper, but shared bedroom and no guaranteed desk space). Now, it'll be February, which isn't exactly prime time for tourism, so the hostel might not be too bad.

I also need to decide if I want to fly back through JFK and leave on a 1:45 pm flight, which would allow me to leave my friends in Stuttgart at a reasonable hour Monday morning or avoid JFK and potential ice by flying through Atlanta (9:45 am departure), which would necessitate an evening train to Frankfurt and a hotel. There's one at the airport that's cheap (45€/night) and has a free shuttle. Honestly, given my travel hell flying through JFK in NOT bad weather, I'm inclined toward ATL regardless.

I won't know until mid-December at the earliest when the Hertha v Stuttgart game is going to be. If it's Friday night, I won't likely be able to go. If it's either Saturday game or Sunday early, it won't be a problem. Sunday late would be less ideal but still manageable (since I'd have to get that late train to FRA for an early flight if I went through ATL). But even if I can't make it to the game (the Friday night match is 1 out of 9), I can see Joey, and he can show me around Stuttgart, where I've never been. And if I can make the game, he can get us tickets, and we can watch together.

I've also revised and submitted the UST short I was working on. If CG doesn't want it, I haven't lost much. I don't know if there's enough of a spec hook for other magazines, but I also am not allowed to reject myself from magazines; that's all the editor's decision. But I need to make sure it's not something completely off their regular list. (ie, don't send it to Analog or F&SF or Lightspeed. Which rules out a lot...) Even if I can't sell it anywhere, I've got some character backstory for the novel, which isn't a bad thing. I like writing character vignettes for backstory.

I need to revise my Thursday story and submit it; I haven't had a chance to start that yet. I read a collection of Grimm's fairytales I picked up in college to prepare for it, though. I also need to revise my application story, which I haven't had a chance to even think about yet. Except that I'm indebted to Bear for the new title of it. Which is a good one, actually. (I am rubbish at titles.)

I'd intended to take a nap this afternoon, but that hasn't happened. Oh well.
feuervogel: (smiling Zuzu)
I got a lot of positive feedback on my submission story, and I have been urged to submit it (after revision) to a particular market.

We did an anonymous 'are you hooked' reading circle (first 500 words), and my UST piece got a lot of raised hands at various hook points, so yay. And one person said I'd set the scene so well she knew exactly what year it was. (I want to ask her what year she thinks it is, but we're not allowed to admit which one we wrote. Uh, hi [ profile] captainecchi, now you know which one was mine. If you remember it.)

I'm having a lot of fun, and I feel like I'm learning a lot--like the lectures are taking the things I already knew at a basic level and giving me new ways to think about them or adding another layer to them that was beyond what I'd thought of before.

I've always been a very subconscious writer; any cool things that appear in my piece weren't put there through any conscious decision on my part. I want to learn to write deliberately, or put things in on purpose--to see the things I'm doing because I've learned so much via osmosis about how stories work through the simple act of reading tons of stories since I first learned how to read. VP is giving me the tools to do that, and for that, I am grateful.

Also meeting my peers, the people who will be publishing around the same time I am, the people whose Hugo and Campbell and Nebula nominations I will be jealous of and root for.

Yeah. This is $1500 well spent. And now to get back to work so the badgers in the horror that is Thursday do not attack me.

VP day 1

15 Oct 2013 12:06 am
feuervogel: (writing)
Greetings from Martha's Vineyard, land of shitty wifi reception and cold wind.

I had my first one-on-one today with Teresa Nielsen Hayden. It was less terrifying than it could have been, and she gave me good feedback. (I know; she's an editor, that's her job.) Tomorrow I'm one-on-one with Bear, ack. I don't have my group critique until Wednesday.

Though I broke down in tears while giving feedback because the story was about a woman grieving for her dog (and also her husband), and a couple sections hit really hard. Like way too close to home. So that was a thing that happened. I started talking about the parts that were just spot on, and I couldn't. And I apologized for ugly sobbing in the middle of group :/ A lot. But I may have spawned a story to tell future students, about the student who started bawling and it wasn't even her critique! Eh.

Interestingly, this was at heart the same story I submitted, except hers was about a ghost dog in now-ish here-ish, while mine was about ghost war dead in 1917 Dresden. But hey. Using ghosts as a metaphor for the grief process. (I pointed it out, and Doyle said, "hey you're right, I didn't even notice that!" and then stated that the outline doesn't matter, but the execution does.

Have pages of notes and recordings of the lectures so far. My phone says it can record 176 hours, so I have a lot of space and don't need to worry much about clearing it out. Though I hope the sound quality is good.

I saw bioluminescent jellyfish! It was fucking cold, but magically glowing jellyfish!

I am terrible at Mafia and Thing. Somebody told me I was really quiet (because I wasn't really participating in the Mafia game), and that's something I haven't been called in a really long time. Though a couple folks said I was less garrulous than they expected from twitter. They'd just missed an epic wide-ranging conversation I'd been in (though I also don't want to dominate the conversation, which I know I can/will do).

I have been cured of scurvy, and I hope I can be cured of it again tomorrow.

And now I sleep, assuming the wifi works long enough to post this.


8 Oct 2013 09:07 am
feuervogel: (shiiiiiiiiiit!)
So busy.

I have a finished first draft of the UST short story, and I'll be looking for betas after the first revisions are done, ie Friday (aka before I go to VP).

- flu shot (10:15)
- writing group (11-1)
- Target
- post office
- call hotel to warn about package on its way
- watch language acquisition lecture

- read Lies of Locke Lamora

- call Frau H-S about practicum (I have a $10 prepaid card that says its minutes don't expire; let's find out)
- work out
- write post for The Hard Tackle
- work on novel
- read more language acquisition & do assignments
- read Lies
- pub quiz

- revise Hard Tackle post
- work out
- work on short story revisions
- work on language course
- read Lies
- write OTE post for Friday

- take Ben to train station (9:42)
- laundry
- start packing
- get betas for short story
- language course
- read Lies

- groceries?
- finish packing (as much as I can)
- queue OTE posts for next week
- paint nails

- fly to Boston (9:15; have ride to RDU from DFS)

Word fail

11 Sep 2013 04:43 pm
feuervogel: (sideways days)
I wanted to get some writing in this afternoon, but I got new credit cards to replace the expired ones, which means updating all the autopay accounts.

It took a minute or two to get it changed at the home security company. Yay.

Then I tried to update the room I booked yesterday for DragonCon (yes, next year). All reservations are completely unmodifiable. Like, I can't even update my credit card using the online system. I probably can't add names to it there, either. I can understand making the rate not changeable (the Hilton charges more per person in the room), but the rest is ridiculous.

Which meant I had to call the hotel. So I called the hotel directly in Atlanta, and the reservations line was busy. So I called the central number, and the guy there took my information, put me on hold while he looked something up or talked to a supervisor or something, came back on and told me I needed to call the hotel itself.


So he put me on hold again while he transferred me to the hotel's rate department(?). Who took my information again, put me on hold again, and transferred me to yet another department. Who was actually able to change my credit card's expiration date in their fucking system. All that needed to be done was literally changing one digit in the expiration field. And it took 15 minutes.

Then I had to update my cell phone billing, which involved logging in to an account I never log into, which mysteriously got changed to have Ben as the primary user, so I had to get him to go in and fix that.

And now it's too late to get into writing, so I guess I'll go read about language acquisition theory instead.


26 Jul 2013 09:12 pm
feuervogel: Mesut Özil hugs Cacau (german team 10)
So, Ben's brother gave me a copy of Soccernomics for Christmas, and I've finally cleared my reading slate enough to read it. I'm enjoying it a fair amount. There's a lot of statistical talk (in layman's terms, mostly) and asides like, regarding Manchester in 1876, "the city so miserable it inspired communism" or "Many people believe that Manchester United is evil. No one thinks they're boring." (paraphrased from memory)

There's this one problem. When I was thinking of applying to grad school, I wanted to write a thesis on integration and German football. This is making me want to write it again.

I REALLY REALLY don't want to do a PhD. Really really. Some places won't even accept terminal MA applicants, and the places that do don't necessarily offer funding. And there's no way in god's green hell that I'll be taking out loans for this.

So I'm back to square one and confused again.

Middlebury has a program that fits me (4 6-week summer sessions of 3 courses each), but their big papers aren't independent research projects; they're related to a course. (As far as I can tell. There's a course listing for Thesis, but I can't find anything about such a requirement on the site.) They don't require the GRE.

Georgetown and Maryland both have thesis options. Georgetown says they're "committed" to funding all graduate students; Maryland's funding is "highly competitive." Both require the GRE.

I DON'T KNOW, Y'ALL. Blargh. Stupid brain.

Not that I couldn't, like, do some research, outline a nonfiction book proposal, and shop it around... Come to think of it, I know enough people (via twitter) who are involved in real football journalism that I might be able to get a tip or two.


1 Jul 2013 07:27 pm
feuervogel: (writing)
I was accepted to Viable Paradise, and I'm a member of VP XVII!



24 Jun 2013 03:31 pm
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
1. I'm on pins and needles waiting to hear back from VP. It's only been a week since the submission period closed, and I got my rejection letter June 30 two years ago. So it could literally be *any time*, and the longer it goes, the more convinced I am the answer is, once again, no. Seriously, every new email ding makes me anxious.

2. This is the exam that never ends. I have 10 of the 12 questions answered, hopefully to a fuller extent than the first exam, so I get a better score than last time. The last two questions I hope I can get finished today or tomorrow. I need to read a few chapters again (or a dozen more times) and see what I can tease out.

3. The con starts Friday. (Thursday night, but that's only the GOH dinner, and we're not going; besides, I have the last sword class until September.)

4. My exam is due at 5:59 pm Saturday (11:59 pm German time). I need to get this exam completed by Thursday afternoon, because I'm going to be too busy after then to work on it, and I won't have a steady net connection, either. (I did, actually, plan it this way. I purposefully timed it so I'd have to have it in before the con, rather than having the con be in the middle of the test period, and I didn't want to postpone starting it until after the con.)

5. I need to organize all my notes for next year's con and the one after into an obviously titled google doc.

6. I haven't written a word on my novel in close to 2 weeks. I miss it. But this exam is eating all my usable brain cycles.
feuervogel: (shiiiiiiiiiit!)
The Viable Paradise application period closes tomorrow. That means I only have another couple weeks to wait to find out if I got in.


Draft 1

17 Jan 2013 05:11 pm
feuervogel: (writing)
So, in non-grad-school-related news, I have the first draft of the new short story completed. (By first draft I mean I've written everything but not really revised anything yet.)

I wrote 1165 words today, for 3345 total. The submission guidelines say 2000-4000 words, so I still have a bit of room for details and exposition.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
1. Had my dental cleaning. No crowns or fillings needed!

2. Revised Friday's scene in the new short story.

3. Written another scene in the new short story.

4. Read forums at

5. Poked some of the links from the collection.

Need to:

1. Organize the massive flood of information into some semblance of order so I can
2. Make sense of it and figure out which schools I even want to consider applying to.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
1. Called Duke Health to get them to straighten out this bloody stupid billing issue, because I paid this thing last March, and it's not my fault they moved that money to a different (wrong) account.

2. Edited and posted my review of Interfictions.

3. Played stupid facebook games.

4. Read my RSS aggregate thing.

5. Looked up more German Studies graduate programs, including one in England and a 2-year MA program that starts with a year in Salzburg.

6. Turned the synopsis of the currently untitled short story into an outline.

7. Waited for Duke Health to call me back.

Did it.

8 Jan 2013 05:23 pm
feuervogel: (writing)
I sent in my application for Viable Paradise. I sent the electronic version yesterday and put the hard copy in the mail today.

Now I wait until the end of June to find out whether they think I'm a good fit this time. Gah.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
Have you ever gotten edits back from someone and been like "Nope, that's not my voice, I'm not changing it"?
feuervogel: (writing)
My new computer arrived today, and not a moment too soon. As those of you who follow me on twitter know, the USB ports on my old MacBook have almost completely failed. They've been flaky as hell for a while, but they've finally crapped out. It wouldn't recognize a thumb drive I plugged in. It used to be that one was flaky but the other was OK, but yesterday neither of them worked right.

So while I was migrating things from old computer to new, I made some notes for a short story that's been an idea jotted down in a notebook since February or March, judging by the notes after it (from StellarCon).

Problem is, I need a good brainstorming session to figure out the key plot points (and what time period it's set in). Ben and I talked a little, and he gave me a couple good ideas, but I still haven't figured out the crux of the piece. :P (I also don't know if I want it to be dark fantasy or magical realism-ish fantasy with some spookiness. There are ghosts, see.)

I don't know. I can let it cook some more, maybe have something for my writers' group on Tuesday. I need someone to ask me questions, let me bounce ideas around, maybe make suggestions that spark ideas.

feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
This came across the Outer Alliance mailing list, and I thought some of you might be interested. I am not associated with the zine, etc. (Nothing here about payment, but the editor would probably answer if you asked.)

M2Q Zine Call for Submissions

Genderqueer is a word that points to infinite possibilities for playing with, sabotaging, cutting up, reinventing and/or reclaiming gender. However, there is a frequent perception that genderqueer is most often claimed by people who were assigned female at birth. This zine aims to address this by creating a space for genderqueer people who were assigned male at birth to tell their stories, examine and explore their identities and experiences, and offer their perspectives and visions on gender, queerness, and beyond.

There is no one path from M to Q; there are as many routes as there are genderqueers. Even the metaphor of a route is too limited; there may not be movement at all, but rather a slicing open or a flowering forth. Tell us about your journey, your process, the intricate or plain pattern of your gender history. Tell us the name of your gender, and how it feels when other people sing it back to you (or refuse to do so). Tell us your struggles, tell us your dreams, tell us the shapes of pain and liberation that swim through your blood.

Here are some questions to consider:

* How did you come to discover/create/embrace being genderqueer? What does being genderqueer look like for you, in terms of identity and expression?

* What has coming out as genderqueer been like? With your family? With your friends? With strangers on the bus? Or, why have you not come out?

* What have your experiences of the genderqueer community been like? Positive, negative, mixed or uncategorizable.

* How does being genderqueer intersect with your other identities and experiences? People of color, working-class people, people with disabilities are especially encouraged to submit.

* Have you had experiences as a genderqueer person that you consider to be directly linked to having been assigned male at birth? Either because of the assumptions that others make about your identity, or because of the internal effects of being socialized to be a “boy”.

* What would the world look like if it were a safe and welcoming place for your gender? How might we get from here to there? Political analysis, critiques and visions or liberation are welcome as long as they are rooted in your experiences.

* How have structures of domination (such as heteropatriarchy, white supremacy, capitalism, classism, ableism, and and and...) shaped, distorted or suppressed your gender identity, expression, and experiences?

* What possibilities for resistance, liberation, and new forms of community do you see in and around genderqueer lives and identities? How do you respond to the notion that identifying as genderqueer is a political act?

*Feel free to add anything else that comes to you!

Please send us your poems, stories, essays, comics, photographs, drawings, one-act plays, and sheet music--anything that can be reproduced in two dimensions and black and white. Send them to Also feel free to ask any questions you might have. The deadline to send in submissions is the Fall Equinox: September 22nd, 2012.

This zine will be co-edited by River Willow Fagan, Fauster Kitchens and Josiah Seng.
feuervogel: (writing)
I'm using the formula discussed here to attempt to dissect the film "The Lives of Others" as practice for figuring out my own characters' motivations.

protagonist: the main character. Has a goal.
antagonist: places obstacles in protag's path.
relationship/dynamic character: has been through it before, gives advice. Conversation between them & protag that gives theme. At end, convo is revisited, reconcile protag/antag.

Plot summary: Stasi Captain Gerd Wiesler performs surveillance on writer Georg Dreyman. After a while, he begins to like Dreyman and starts protecting him. Dreymann, meanwhile, loses a friend to suicide and writes a treatise on suicide in the DDR, which he gets help to publish in the west.

spoilers & length )
I don't know if I've successfully done character analysis on this or not. If you've seen the movie, what do you think? Do you agree with my decisions or not?


11 Jan 2012 04:17 pm
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
After purging and reuploading my entire domain and napping off an incipient migraine, I'm calling today a wash as far as writing.

Also, I'm going to get out some CJ Cherryh and reread that to see how she makes politics not boring as hell. But tonight I have tai chi class.


19 Dec 2011 11:29 am
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
Someone on twitter mentioned that Amazon had the Blu-Ray set of Generation Kill for $23.99, so I had Ben order it. (Pay with Points is the best thing ever.) We're one disk in, and it's pretty interesting. It's about a Marine recon squad at the invasion of Iraq, based on a book by the Rolling Stone writer Evan Wright. They swear a lot and use a lot of ableist, homophobic language (which, I suppose, is pretty realistic...), and it's hard to keep track of who's who. Other than that, I like it fairly well.

I crocheted a cover for my Kobo. It's not as big as I'd wanted it to be, because I didn't have enough yarn, but it works well enough. I may decide to sew one, make it a two-sided thing with a spot for my phone on the other side. That'll require some planning & engineering first, and I'll need to make sure I have some good interfacing floating around (or go buy some).

I made some edits on Something based on the feedback I've gotten so far, and I'm mulling one suggestion that I think has merit but I'm not sure I can pull it off without being all telling. I'll see what the last two readers have to say when they get back to me later this week.

I need to write up several reviews and one set of beta notes. I think I'll work on that this afternoon.

Our neighbor brought us oatmeal scotchies yesterday. Nom nom.

My football club is full of drama and ridiculousness right now. The coach didn't want to extend his contract, the management wanted him to; he kept dancing around the subject in the media (which he said is because the management asked him to); this week the club said he hadn't told them months ago. He was fired, and they're talking about bringing this other guy in and he's not a very good coach (43% overall win ratio...) and BLAH DRAMA LLAMA GO AWAY.


21 Oct 2011 11:59 am
feuervogel: (yeah right)
Can I just say that I'm right tired of people saying that any instance of "to be" as a linking verb (eg, the pen was green) is passive? Because, seriously, it isn't.

It may be uninteresting writing; it may be lazy writing; it may be writing that isn't descriptive. But it sure as sugar isn't passive. That term has a specific meaning in English grammar, and that meaning does not include "every usage of forms of "to be" ever."

Mistakes were made. [This sentence is in passive voice, because the actor, ie, who made the mistake, is not specified.]
He made a mistake. [This sentence is in the active voice, because the actor is specified.]
Going hiking in the mountains without a warm jacket was a mistake. [This is absolutely not a sentence in the passive voice. "Was" here links the two nouns/noun phrases [going hiking etc] and [a mistake] and equates them. It is a linking verb. It is not passive voice.]

Please count all the instances of "to be" as a linking verb in this post. There are fifteen, by my count, not including the example sentence. If you think they need to be rewritten to be "not passive," please make suggestions on how to do that without making it overwritten garbage.


feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)

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