Spring is just a few days away, though you wouldn’t know it from the recent snowfall blanketing our east coast. Writing contest season is also in full swing, which means I’ve been spending more time judging other peoples’ writing than focusing on my own these past few weeks.
It’s an interesting experience.
For this year’s Golden Hart, I’m just finishing up a set of “inspirational” entries. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but they’ve mostly been “sweet” contemporary stories (no sex and occasional God references). Definitely different from the paranormal entries that I judged previously, but it has, as always, been a learning experience. It seems far easier to recognize what is not working in someone else’s story than it is in mine. Using the information in Nancy’s recent post on conflict-locks last week, I tried to create a conflict box for each of the stories I read. No surprise that the stories I enjoyed the most / rated the highest were those that had a clear conflict lock. It’s a good reminder to me to take a close look at my own stories and make sure I have the conflict locked down.
As soon as I finish the last few contest entries, it is back to writing for me. Naturally that means I need to watch some television first.
Wait, what? Continue reading
The fourth Penric novella by Lois McMaster Bujold is a delightful episode! (Image via Goodreads; cover design by Ron Miller)
So, first the most exciting news I had all week: Lois McMaster Bujold’s new Penric novella, Mira’s Last Dance came out this week (February 27th and 28th) on all the usual e-outlets! And it was fantastic! If you were left hanging a little bit by Penric’s Mission, then you’ll be pleased to hear that the story picks up from that point, and we get one lovely episode of courtship via political intrigue, escape and a brothel. That Penric is a delightful travelling companion, and I recommend the journey.
I’m not going to spoil you, though – Bujold reports that the novella is 28,000 words, which is perfect for a large pot of tea and an afternoon on the sofa. Spoil yourself.
What I am going to talk about is something that Mira said in the book. She’s the . . . well, the ghost/image of an Adrian courtesan who is part and parcel of the past lives that make up Desdemona. (Desdemona is the demon in Penric’s head.) She has a very clear and pragmatic view of sex and love, and mentions at one point,:
“The darling men used to imagine they’d fallen in love with me all the time. Most of them were actually in love with their own cocks.”
Ah, yes. And thus, genitalia doth betray us all. Continue reading