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Thunderstorms and Rewrites

Last night the workshop participants were all treated to a fantastic Midwestern thunderstorm, with a fine view from our 6th Floor rooms in Olin Templin hall. The lightning was far enough away that we hardly heard the thunder, but the high vantage point meant that we saw lightning strikes out to a very distant horizon. All this plus air conditioning.

I'm still powering along on my books, and have written about 13,000 words on the Venice book and maybe 3000 words on the Monkey King book since I got here, not counting all the revisions and so forth. I've had time to grapple with some structural problems that needed more time and thought, and I've solved one exposition problem, one sequencing problem, and at least a dozen plot problems.

This afternoon, Frederick Pohl (of Chicago, as it turns out) spoke about how he writes novels, how he edits, and so forth. He's the Hugo, Nebula, Campbell Award winner of The Space Merchants, Gateway, O Pioneer!, and a few dozen other great SF novels. It was good to hear his stories about the writing life, especially to hear that he usually doesn't know the ending of his books when he starts them. That's a relief because I've changed both endings and beginnings rather often for the Venice book. Nice to know I'm not alone in that.

I can also just heartily recommend the writing retreat: that is, drop everything and check into a really nice dorm room without distractions. I can leave my papers spread out all over the rooms, reorganize sections by just dropping scenes or chapters in chunks on the floor, and generally not have to dump everything I'm writing out of a workspace and into storage every time I take a break or stop for the night. Everything is still where I left it when I'm ready to start again. It's glorious.

Comments

( 3 sutras — Your wisdom )
mckitterick
Jul. 10th, 2003 08:08 pm (UTC)
glad to hear it!
We were hoping this would be a great retreat for SF writers, and will surely advertise it far and wide for next year, though we'll likely need to put a cap on registrations if it gets too popular.

Fred is great and grand, and I hope he lives a million years and keeps coming back here every one of them.

So glad this is a good experience for you! I'll be popping over to visit the dorms in a few minutes... unfortunately, for Kij and me, it's not quite the relaxing time we try to make y'all have ;-)

Best,
Chris
the_monkey_king
Jul. 13th, 2003 07:49 pm (UTC)
Re: glad to hear it!
Chris-
I truly appreciate the hard work and love of the field that you and Kij display, and the way you have expanded the retreat and the conference in both big ways (launching the Writer's Retreat) and small ways (cool t-shirts). I will be recommending both the workshop and the retreat to a number of Seattle-area writers next year.

How you manage to buy a house, teach classes, hold down a second job, and still have the energy to organize and help host the conference is beyond me, but more power to ya! If you ever need help tracking down some guests for a fantasy track, I think Greg Keyes and a number of Seattle folks might make interesting teachers for the program.
mckitterick
Jul. 15th, 2003 12:46 pm (UTC)
Re: glad to hear it!
Cool!

Yeah, I guess keeping busy is a mixed blessing, though...

I think putting together a couple more scheduled things for the Workshop and/or Conference would be very good idea. Perhaps a couple of panels put on by the guest stars, or guest speakers at the Workshop, or a full day's activities on Friday...

Chris
( 3 sutras — Your wisdom )

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