It's a post of ten things:
1. I've just got back from WORD Christchurch. I have a tendency to miss out on writers' festivals due to work and disorganisation, so this time I decided to do it properly: I bought a festival pass and some cheap flights and listened and laughed and cried and learned and I loved it all. AJ Fitzwater read "Gravity Well" which I've adored since I first read it. Ivan E. Coyote's work emotionally destroyed and rebuilt me multiple times over the course of the weekend (I'm not even being melodramatic here that's the honest truth). I'm watching Sophie Rea very carefully because holy shit she's on track to do some amazing things. And who'd have thought the mortician would be the light relief of the weekend? Plus I caught up with some lovely friends, slotted in a visit to the art gallery and drank the odd cocktail. Excellent all round.
2. Continuing the themes of "doing the things I don't have time for when I'm working" and "making good use of my tax refund", I'm looking forward to the National Writers' Forum next month (though I should probably work out how I'm getting there, and where I'm staying...). There are some great speakers and I'm discovering this newfound love for going to events I have no responsibility for organising whatsoever. There should be more of those.
3. Now I'm back, it's back to writing. I started the new novel today; the Wellington-set urban fantasy that still needs a title. It took some fiddling to get the voice right, but I think I'm on track. My software is throwing up motivatey-statistics all over the place and it's so nice to be digging in to a new project again.
4. The software in question is The Novel Factory. It's much more structured than anything I've used before, and that has its positives and negatives but as I'm both still reeling from my Ice Flight related plotting dramas and writing a novel which is narratively and structurally rather straight-forward, it's proving to be exactly what I need to cure my habit of leaping in and hoping the plot will just sort itself out.
5. I've also been really excited about interactive fiction lately (that's what happens when a writer goes to coding bootcamp, I guess!). I want to explore the ways it can move beyond the choose your own adventure structure and be used to explore concepts such as choice and timing and possibilities. I have two larger projects in progress, but to let loose a bit and experiment, I've signed up to the 100 Days Project with the goal of producing a snippet of interactive fiction or poetry a day. I'm trying to do something different with the mechanics as well as with the text each day. Do I have enough ideas? Time will tell. I'll make a master post here shortly so you can check out the weird.
6. We announced our third Guest of Honour for Lexicon. He's a rat. A ghost rat, to be precise. We're honoured, and pretty sure we're starting a global trend. Also we're collecting ideas and thoughts on our programme. If you think you might attend, please do fill in our short survey.
7. Unemployment is... not great. I'm in a relatively privileged situation; I do not want for things to keep me busy (see items 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10) and while I am rather broke the mortgage is being paid and my caffeine addiction is being maintained. But this is also the longest I haven't had a job of some description since I was fifteen, and it's unsettling and brain-weasel-producing in all kinds of ways. Fingers crossed something comes up soon.
8. My short story, "And Still the Forests Grow though We are Gone" got some rather nice attention in this tor.com review.
9. We released Capricious Issue 4 - meaning the publication survived its first year. And the next few issues are well underway. I need to stop, take stock, have a think about where it's going (I have some ideas, I need to work out the details) so it doesn't lose momentum - but I'm really proud of the progress so far.
10. Lastly, now I've started writing one project, I'm starting the planning for another; the third book in the Flux & Flight trilogy alongside Liquid City and Ice Flight. There are a lot of directions I could take this and it's going to take some serious thought. Despite all my dramas with Ice Flight, this is a world I love, and this book is most likely going to be my goodbye to it. I want to make sure it's a good one.