This month I was very lucky to be able to celebrate a double birthday with my little nephew, Sai. He turned one just a few days apart from when I turned... an integer greater than one. Family relationships come up quite a bit in my novel-in-progress, Rassam's Eye, as the protagonist - Nimasha - returns to a backwater planet on which she was born, but can barely remember. Of course, since drama makes for good fiction, Nimasha's family situation is quite strained and high-stakes... I, however, feel blessed to have loving support from all sides!
- Nalin

Writing Update: Rassam's Eye and Writing Courses

The first draft of Rassam's Eye continues to gain ground, though progress was pretty slow in the last month due to travel and family commitments. I'm back in the saddle this week, but have also just started an 18-week training plan for the Richmond Marathon in November! Ack.

Running often takes priority on my mornings (definitely in the summer) since the temperatures are generally too hot later in the day to run. I've had to do some Schedule Tetris, but the upshot is that each week I should still have a couple mornings for drafting and one evening for "author stuff" - blog, editing, searching for markets, planning for cons, etc.

I recently took a two-day seminar called "Becoming a Master Writer" at The Muse Writing Center, and posted some takeaways on the value of memoir to the blog. I'm also looking forward to a short Muse seminar on Making Sci-Fi and Fantasy Digestible towards the end of the month.The courses are interesting, and mostly useful -- in the end though, I know that what I really need to be doing is spending more time with fingers on keys and butt in chair, drafting.

The loss of the writers group / critique circle that I had in Boston years ago has been affecting this I think. I'm someone who enjoys the constant give and take of ideas and feedback, the inspiration to keep writing from what others are working on, and the group accountability of regular sharing deadlines. I continue to seek a local group (or individuals from which to fashion a group) that might be the foundation of a new writer circle, and the courses also help with meeting other writers who may be potentially interested.

So... if you're in the Hampton Roads area, write prose fiction, find the kinds of things I write interesting, and are open to forming a writer circle, email me!

Fiction Consumed This Month

  • Started reading Pandora's Star, by Peter F. Hamilton. Really enjoyed the worldbuilding and concept of wormhole gates making spaceflight (and the public desire for it) obsolete. However, the plot and characters started to drag, and I left it at 20% complete (which, to be fair, was still like 450 pages). Takeaways for me:
    • Don't be afraid of huge scale, multiple plot lines, and multiple points of view. It doesn't have to be insane; in fact, multiple perspectives can add spice and context that would be hard to get from a tighter, single POV.
    • It's okay not to be literary all the time. Often, the writing world gets very caught up with ideas about what makes for Good Writing, and these ideas are often good ones. However, sometimes... they just don't matter. Blog rant later.
  • Started reading Gardens of the Moon, by Steven Erikson. WOW. The world and characters are fantastic. It's also the best example of "implicit exposition" for speculative fiction that I've encountered. I'll probably post to the blog later, but in short what I mean is, there are almost no explicit information dumps -- the reader learns about a very complex, fantastical world almost purely through context, dialogue, and inference. It's amazing, though certainly not light reading, so I would not recommend it for beach skimming!
  • Still slowly working through Shadow and Bone on Netflix (watched through S1E8). Still loving the aesthetic and the premise. It's also a great reminder that characters don't need a dozen layers to be engaging... a few simple anchor points for each character concept, set against a unique concept and world, can be enough to hook and carry attention if the rest is interesting.
What have you been reading or watching? Any recommendations for me?

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