Friday Five: Sophomore Writer Edition

Monday morning, I sat down to start working through my to-do list…and discovered I was effectively starting two writing programs. Don’t get me wrong – I love learning. But to accidentally discover that my subconscious is serious about reconnecting with and rebuilding my writing practice was really kind of cool.

And as my writing groups are being overrun by new writers and fellow sophomore writers looking to push themselves, and my writing podcasts are being crashed by new writers and sophomore writers looking to push themselves, I thought I would gather some of my favorite resources of the moment and share them with you so you can come write with us.

1. I had decided a couple of months back that I wanted to give DIY MFA a try, but I had a lot going on (even without considering the holidays) and decided I would look at it again when things died down a bit. Things have died down a bit. I’m looking at my rather disorganized pile of writing stuff. And I’m starting to work through the starter kit. While you could probably learn a lot as a new writer, you should probably have some sort of writing experience under your belt before taking this one on. (Your writing doesn’t have to be finished, edited, or published.)

2. And then I woke up Monday morning and discovered my favorite writing craft podcast Writing Excuses has decided to take a Master Class approach this year. These are four published science fiction and fantasy authors who’ve written across media and age bands…offering what they know, for free. The podcast is already a fantastic resource, but the Master Class approach is just going to add to its usefulness. They’ve just started, so jump in now so you won’t be playing catch-up later on.

3. If you want some place to practice and you don’t mind practicing your writing in public, you should come join the Google + Saturday Scenes community. They’re a pretty friendly bunch who enjoy reading a wide variety of stories. If you aren’t on Google+. I’ve heard that Twitter has #saturdayscenes, and I’m trying to get the hashtag up and running on deviantArt.

4. Maybe you aren’t into normal linear fiction. Maybe you’re thinking about trying some of those digital storytelling techniques you’ve heard about. This TED talk on Twitter fiction isn’t recent, but I just learned about it and I loved seeing how different people have approached using Twitter to create narrative experiences. (If you weren’t thinking about exploring new media as a narrative platform, maybe this will encourage you to broaden your thinking.)

5. This one isn’t a learning tool or anything, but I think it’s a good reminder to pay attention to influences and trends in your genre, subgenre, fandom, etc.

A couple of nights ago, I was watching the first couple of episodes of Smallville, which I haven’t seen in close to a decade. Smallville was my “gateway” into fan fiction (if you ignore that one really long, really bad one I wrote in middle school). The friend I was watching with was a huge fanficcer, and she wanted me to write fan fiction, too. So I wrote these little fifty-word drabbles that mostly centered on Clark and Lex because I was so amused at the way the show writers were obeying the fans. I started reading Yu-Gi-Oh fan fiction around the time I stopped watching Smallville, and couldn’t stop laughing at how many fanficcers kept writing Kaiba as this emo piano player…because that was, at times, how Smallville‘s Lex Luthor was portrayed. Apparently, all genius self-serving jerks had to play the piano. (It was even funnier when some fanficcers decided to “rebel” by changing Kaiba into a guitar player, not realizing what they’d done. The reaction when I explained the irony to them was always just priceless.)

I still read Yu-Go-Oh fan fiction. (Who wouldn’t? Some of it is utterly hilarious.) But it hadn’t occurred to me until the other night that it’s been years since I’ve seen a Yu-Gi-Oh fanfic where Kaiba deals with his angst (and any other negative emotion) by playing the piano. If I really sat down and calculated, I’d probably find that Kaiba’s piano playing days ended right around the end of Smallville, because younger fanficcers coming into the Yu-Gi-Oh fandom aren’t familiar with Smallville, and are reading and aping slightly older younger fanficcers who don’t understand where the piano came from. It was interesting to think about…


So, there you go. Another five random links or thoughts that have been on my mind this week. Hopefully, the first four are useful to you. (Hopefully, you don’t think I’m completely crazy after reading #5.) Next week, I’ll have another collection of five somethings-or-other.


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