Archive for writing workshops

Short-listed again!

Posted in genre fiction, lifehacking, multitasking, Science Fiction and Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , on October 18, 2010 by katekanno

Just got word that story I’ve just workshopped again because I wasn’t happy with it has been shortlisted. And this time, even if it’s rejected I’ll get an honorable mention. I’m still waiting to hear back on the first one I mentioned back in August, and I was going to quote the line from Red Leader, but then I remembered that he not only failed to successfully blow up the Death Star, he crashed into a flamey ball on its surface. So no, not going to go there.

In other news, I had to erase my laptop’s WiFi settings. Somehow the connection, once broken, had kicked in and I was wasting time in internet La La-land again. Now I’m back at the kitchen counter hooked to the cable and oh so much more focused and productive. This is not a recommendation for others, but it works for me. I’m too easily distracted. Of course to look at dark side of this arrangement, I am closer to the food.



Rejection! Hoorah!

Posted in genre fiction, Science Fiction and Fantasy, shyness, Tokyo, writing with tags , , , , , on October 10, 2010 by katekanno

Came home from Japan Writer’s Conference to a rejection email today.

Why am I happy about it?

I had little hope for this story after I’d sent it out. The high and confidence that came with completing it dissipated the second I hit submit and saw the typo on the first page.

I’ve been rejected by this publication before, but usually it’s a form letter. In fact, on their blog they posted an email defending their use of the form letter.

This was not a form letter. It was a brief, but friendly personal note telling me that their decision had been difficult, before proceeding to complement specific parts of the story and encouraging me to submit again.


The conference was a lot of fun. One thing that is good about being part of an expat writing community is that you’re more accepting of others’ differences, and it’s a hell of a lot easier to open up to people.

Gone, but er…not gone

Posted in blogging, genre fiction, Kyoto, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 29, 2010 by katekanno

It’s been a very, very long time since I’ve posted. Bikes were ridden, temples were visited, and even a few kilos were lost, which has been great for the arthritis.

Yes, two months ago I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my left hip. Oh, joy. Apparently, it was advanced enough for the doctor to recommend replacement, but I decided that to do so in my early forties would be silly, especially as I really wasn’t in enough pain to even warrant aspirin.

My father had his knee replaced a few years back, so there’s probably a gene or two to be blamed; however, osteoarthritis is near epidemic among those who grew up in the Pacific Northwest. Not enough Vitamin D, but rather than turning into sulky vampires with abominable dialogue and cement coiffed hair, we just need new joints every now and then. Yeesh.

Anyway, took the alternative route. Traded jogging for cycling, lost several pounds (not hard in Japan where you can get healthy food even at a 7-11), and now other than the occasional bout of night aches, I’m back to relative normalcy.

Back in Tokyo and the writing is going well. Still waiting to hear back on that story that was in the running awhile back, but have sent out several others. Will be going to the Japan Writers’ Conference in a few weeks, which I’m really looking forward to, and was asked to write an essay for Sequart’s book on Warren Ellis’ Transmetropolitan. A few years ago (under real-non-aspiring-genre-writer-name) I wrote one for their anthology on the Legion of Superheroes, so I’m darned excited to do another one.

And without further kvetching about joint pain…here are some pics of Kyoto.

How was your summer? Early fall?

Posted in Tokyo, writing with tags , on July 26, 2010 by katekanno

Sunday was a busy writing day.  Finished the middle draft of a 7,000 word story, and helped my partner edit a research article on Asian American art.  Now, I’ll let the story sit for a few days before peeking at it and probably running from the apartment screaming.

I’m working at being more prolific, which doesn’t mean I’m allowing myself to write crap. I’m trying to focus in short bursts, get more on the page.

Got 3,000 words down today. Gibberish, but gibberish that knows where it’s going, kind of like a determined drunk, I imagine.

Am now heading to the Tokyo Hacker Space to try out a new writer’s workshop. The one I usually attend is on summer hiatus.

Some thoughts on writers' workshops and today's ghost story

Posted in books, genre wars, ghost stories, literature, Uncategorized, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2009 by katekanno

IMG_1251I’ve been reading a lot about the value or lack of regarding creative writing workshops this year. Most focus on whether or not “writing can be taught” citing publications and famous coteries that existed at pricey and difficult to enter universities. Few mention workshops for those who lack funds, connections, or academic credentials.

I don’t know, but maybe skipping out on life for a few hours in order to attend to writing for writing’s sake shouldn’t be a mark of privilege.

I’m not slinging any nastiness toward people in MFA programs, if anything graduate success rates turn those who enter them without today’s prerequisites into brave individuals. It’s the encroachment of professionalization into every branch of the humanities that worries me more. Why are MFAs cited on the backs of more and more books? Why are some writing conferences even requiring them, as if you have to have a resume to create?

We used to be a culture of writers. Just look back at those letters written during the Civil War, or by your grandparents, and you’ll see that it wasn’t just the gilded who could turn a phrase.

And maybe when people participate in a writing group or sign up for NANOWRIMO, or scribble poetry in their notebooks, it’s just a matter of doing what comes naturally. Think about it. In a year when public rudeness is being both celebrated and lamented on a massive scale, shouldn’t we be happy that a few people are quietly trying to bring a little more integrity and accuracy to their self-expression?

That reason alone should be enough to show that yes, writing can be taught, not necessarily as a path to book contracts or publication, but to the communication skills we’re losing as a result of being time starved and painted in corporate happy face throughout most of our waking hours.

Therefore, if you are considering joining a writing group, don’ t think about publication or literary success. Understand instead that you will never have a better opportunity to see your work, and yourself through other people’s eyes. It isn’t therapy. It’s more honest than that. For a few hours each week you get to throw your own idiosyncratic and vulnerable self, your fumbling vowels, and screwed up punctuation before a group of total strangers and see how they land. Take it for what it is and relish it. It’s an increasingly rare opportunity.

On to today’s ghost story. Here is Bram Stoker’s “Dracula’s Guest”. Originally part of the novel, “Guest” was published as a prequel after Stoker’s death. It’s a fantastic story and if you live in nearby, the Orange County Museum Contemporary Art sells mini bound versions of it in their gift shop for less than two dollars.

It’s free here.