stone avocado

These are totally unauthorized, BTW

I workshop like
Doyle and Macdonald

I Workshop Like by the Avocado of Death, VP alum. Improve your writing!

I workshop like
Laura Mixon

I Workshop Like by the Avocado of Death, VP alum. Improve your writing!

I workshop like
Steve Gould

I Workshop Like by the Avocado of Death, VP alum. Improve your writing!

I workshop like
Elizabeth Bear

I Workshop Like by the Avocado of Death, VP alum. Improve your writing!

I workshop like
John Scalzi

I Workshop Like by the Avocado of Death, VP alum. Improve your writing!

I workshop like

I Workshop Like by the Avocado of Death, VP alum. Improve your writing!

ETA: I have no idea how to share these, other than directing you to your browser's "View Source" button or equivalent. Cutting and pasting the HTML into a comment results in HTML.
stone avocado

State of the Avocado

One rejection last week, a personal rejection with a useful bit of criticism in it. I suspect that the bit of criticism is a problem with a lot of the pieces I have on the scrap heap, and that I'll need to correct that before I'm able to regularly sell pieces. (No, I'm not mentioning specifics here.)

One piece written last week, for a prompt game with someone on my f-list who can reveal it here if they wish. It's strange to finish a first draft and realize what you were writing fanfic of (non-skiffy; the prompt gave me the skiffy element to add in), right down to the number of syllables and stresses in your characters' first and last names.

Medical stuff going on with my family, which has taken some time lately. Don't worry; everyone's fine.

The new job continues. I have a big exam later this year that I'm having to study for. Apparently I have not only forgotten everything I learned in college, but also some things that I saw in a book once. Time has not merely burgled the cabinets and drawers of Memory, not even stopped at the furniture, but stolen the carpet, drywall, and slab. Wish me luck.

Viable Paradise stuff seems to be trucking right along, due in particular to the dogged (catted?) persistence of Aviatrix18.

If you have a Readercon report, feel free to link it in comments. It seemed like hardly anyone wrote much about 4th Street this year, and I'm feeling withdrawal from the friends and interesting discussions.

stone avocado

slush count and rejection points

Slush count: the number of items you have in slushpiles (editorial queues), waiting to be read. The longtime reader will, no doubt, recall my post about imaginary slush count, a post which I am too look for right now.

Rejection points: the number of rejections you have received, since whenever you start counting from. (I think I got that from bmlg.) Rejection points don't count (for me at least) if you really want to be rejected -- they only count if they're from markets you would be happy to be published in and content to be rejected by.

As of yesterday, I consider both counts to be set to zero.

As of right now, I have a slush count of two. Go, me.

Current goal: slush count + rejection points >= 10 by VP this year. If this turns out to be way too easy a goal, I'll adjust upwards.

I should probably write something else.
stone avocado

So, which year will Alton Brown teach at Viable Paradise?

I have been listening to recordings of some of the panels from the 2009 4th Street Fantasy Convention. Let me share a bit of it with you, with Elise Matthesen's permission, and you might see why it's one of my favorite conventions.

At 43 minutes into the “Learning to Analyze Structure” panel, moderator Beth Meacham recognizes Elise Matthesen.

Elise says, “Well, when I’m reading, and I’m looking at plot, and structure, and theme, I think of it in terms of an episode of Iron Chef. No, really – you know this show? There’s a secret ingredient, and there’s two chefs who are competing to make some very cool meal, each dish of which involves the secret ingredient.

“I think the theme is whatever your challenge ingredient is – if it’s squid this time, if it’s inheritance as we were saying in the family panel, whatever.

“The number of dishes and the order that they are presented in is the structure. You have a soup. It’s a hot soup. Then you have the three little cold things that contrast with each other. And then you have the
baked thing with the sauce that echoes something from the soup. And then you have, maybe, the fourth dish if you had time to fit it in and your editor didn’t say, ‘Cut that.’ And then you have the really, really
over-the-top dessert that suddenly makes all the other flavors in your mouth make sense.

“Now what plot is…”

Beth Meacham, the panel moderator has been interrupting Elise for the last few sentences, telling Elise to stop. Beth says, “Stop now.” The audience laughs uncomfortably. “Please come up on the panel.”

The audience applauds.

Beth replaces the members of the panel, except for Patrick Nielsen Hayden, who had just been expressing his frustration at being unable to comment. Beth asks Patrick to stay, and she transfers moderating duties to
him, as Elise and others are seated on the panel.

Elise continues.

“Theme is the challenge ingredient. It [the show] always starts out with, ‘As memory serves.” And structure is the order of dishes, and the hot and the cold, and the size, and the texture in your mouth. Is it liquid? Is it
fast-moving? Is it a slow thing? How long does it take to chew this? All that stuff. Okay, what plot is – plot are the specific dishes. Plot is – hello, my secret ingredient is... Steve, give me an ingredient.”

Steve Brust suggests ginger as an ingredient.

Elise says, “My plot is – the first course is a ginger soup, where they’ve done a ginger clear consommé, with a little ginger amuse-bouche next to it. Then the second thing is the three different kinds of ginger, spicy,
candied, and pickled. The third is the fish that’s had the ginger wrap with the blah, blah, blah. That’s your plot, the very specific tastes. And that’s the pretty words, how well you get the spices.”

Patrick says, “I’m not sure I follow all that, but I’m hungry.”