Thursday, May 31, 2012

Writing in the (Word) Clouds

What would your short story, book or blog look like put into a “Word Cloud?”  A friend of mine shared a link with me to a site that lets you make Word Clouds out of any block of text you want to paste into it.

I think this site is pretty cool. Here are three Word Clouds I came up with. The first two are from large chunks of writing from my novels in progress (BLACKHEART and SUNLIGHT.) Take a look, please.
Click on the image to enlarge it

Click on the image to see it full size!
So what if anything do these Word Clouds say about my writing?

My main characters apparently get lots of time on the pages. (Their names show up big and bold). Secondary characters, settings and symbols from my books come through, as I’d hope they would. Apparently I’ve also got some favorite words I need to consider avoiding and/or editing out of my manuscripts (why is BACK so damned big? Hmmm.)
Do the themes shine through? You tell me.

For the BLACKHEART cloud I do like how Blackheart’s name ended up in black and Noel’s name came up in pink, her fav color. (Although I did pick a custom color scheme.)

Extra credit in the SUNSHINE (Job) Word Cloud: find the naughty word

The last Word Cloud I created is for this very blog, based on a several copied and pasted postings from the past couple months.
click on the image to enlarge it!
With this one I’m pleased to see WRITING is what shines through the most. "Comments" made sense to me to, because of course all blogs have comments, but our group spends a lot of time commenting on each other's writing during our critique sessions.

If you come up with a Word Cloud for your piece(s) of writing I’d love to see it.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Live from Wiscon

Ah, Wiscon.

My favorite Feminist Science Fiction convention. Held in Madison, my second favorite Midwest city.  Where the annual winner of the Tiptree Award (a literary prize for science fiction or fantasy that expands or explores our understanding of gender) is announced. (The above image is Space Babe®, the mascot of the Tiptree Award. Image by Jeanne Gomoll.) Where I sell the freaky creatures I needle-felt during Scribblerati meet-ups. Where I go to hear old favorites read new works, and discover new favorites. Where I go to be reinvigorated, immersed in a geektific community of writers and readers.

And I am here now. Wheeeeeeeeh!

I've set up my art. I've mapped out my weekend in my program. Now I've just got to perfect that temporary whole-body mitosis process I've been working on so I can somehow manage to get to both "Before Self-Publishing, I Wish I..." (authors who successfully self-published their work share some of their mistakes and biggest lessons) and "The Nuts and Bolts of Trade Publishing" (as a writer, how do you navigate the trade publishing business?)

Highlights coming soon to a blog near you.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

What is best in life?

So true, so very, very true. But he forgot a part y'know. It's true. Do you know what's really best in life, or maybe more accurately, do you know what is ALSO best in life?

A day of writing.

That's what I'm doing this weekend. I have to mow tomorrow and I may have to do some grocery shopping at some point too. Plus, I am definitely going to see the Avengers again tonight. (Wait, what? You haven't seen the Avengers yet? What the HELL is wrong with you, man? Go. Go on... Go! Ugh!... some people...) Anyways, that's my plans for this particular weekend, a couple of errands, nothing else, nothing....

Except for writing.

You see, a couple of weeks ago, I took up a new six month position at the Salt Mines. They were having a lot of turn-over lately due to a recent (and quite frankly somewhat excessive--I'm looking at you, Head Overseer Mungo) rate of slave deaths, coupled with the openings of several new mines, so now my days have been starting early and running long once again.

These days, I get up with the sun, pack in with all the mewling, stinking dregs of humanity all jammed in tight into their cattle car, and I spend my days writing down the general process of drudgery and shame that makes up daily life here at the Salt Mines, and all in order to ensure that the other business casual day-slaves are clear on what exactly is expected of them and how exactly they are to go about doing it.

It's really not that bad, to be honest, at least as far as Salt Mine slave positions go. It's a lot of: Mine the salt. Load the Salt. Lug the salt out of the mine for your masters. Be quick about it, or we'll whip the crap out of you. Repeat until you die.

For this I get nearly $0.15 an hour and a hole to piss in, too! Ha! I swear, it is just like Christmas. The downside, of course, is that my writing schedule has been thrown off.

Maybe "thrown off" isn't quite the right term. Derailed. That's a good way to put it. In fact, in the past two weeks, I haven't written at all. It is frustrating, to say the least.

(sad face...)

This weekend though, oh, this weekend! This weekend, I get back on track. This weekend, I remember what is good in life and I make myself a little time to get some writing done. In fact, I'm gonna get started right now!

You should try it. Make some time to work on your writing. I feel better already.

Thank you, Conan!


Monday, May 14, 2012

A Crisis of Gagh

Those of you who are loyal readers of this blog know things have been a little angst-ish around here lately. Jon's deep into the middle of his first draft and Lisa's contemplating both the end of one journey and the possible beginning of another. As for me, I just finished my latest draft. You would think I would be pretty stoked about that, but I'm not. I'm going to keep the angst train alive, kids, at least for a little while.

So what's my problem? I'm worried it's still not ready.

If I were to take the traditional publishing route, my next step would be to find an agent and through that process I would find out if it's ready or not.

Problem solved, right?

Unfortunately, I have no intention of doing that. Ironic, eh?

So where does that leave me? On my own. Yes, I have the Scribblerati as well as friends, family, and the Lovely Leann, but at the end of the day it's all going to come down to me.

Am I ready to set my baby free?

I think so. I hope so.

Could I make To Kill the Goddess better? Probably. Most likely. After all, it was Leonardo da Vinci who said, "Art is never completed, only abandoned." At some point I have to follow Leo's advice and cut this bad boy loose, but there are a thousand articles and posts out there in the inter-webs screaming about how you will ruin your career if you self publish before your book is ready. I know most of those articles are meant for people who do NaNoWriMo in November and then put their book on Amazon in December, but that doesn't mean those articles aren't true.

I know my book is better than before. It feels good, like a proton torpedo ready to slide down the exhaust shaft, but still – I worry and maybe I shouldn't. After all, I'm confident that worse has been published. Look no farther than Fifty Shades of Gray or Mockingjay, which I'm currently choking down like a big plate of squirming gagh.

 So maybe I should quit this pansy-ass worrying and just take the plunge. Maybe what I have is good enough. I've thought that before. Maybe I just need to take my own advice.