Ad Adstra and Inspiration

I've taken a long hiatus from this blog, mostly because of school. This year I'm directing my new play, "Invisible Aliens Stole My Gym Shorts." Between school, the play and having a home life, I haven't blogged since the fall. Another reason is that one of my students came across this anonymous blog!

At first I hesitated to write, in case my students started reading the entries but I've decided that's just vanity. I'm sure my students are more concerned with their own things. I also doubt that student outed me to any other students. Really, what would be the point? This is a book-review and writing blog, not something salacious or even teen-friendly.

Does that mean I will be watching what I write from now on? Not really. I'm not writing as a school-teacher but as a reader, writer and fan of books and movies. I'm also not ashamed of anything I've said here.

So much has happened since October so I'll just begin with my current obsession: SF. I have recently completed an 88 page detailed outline of my latest novel and it's pure SF. Elements of comedy are creeping in as I expand the tragic outline into chapters but what can you expect? I'm a bit wacky. Melodrama makes me yawn but tragedy brings out my naughty side. I've always considered Othello a comedy, for example. Shakespeare expects us to believe that an intelligent, noble man is convinced by Iago's slight of hand and a lost handkerchief that his wife is cheating? It's farcical material, just begging for a comic rewrite. Race, obsession, jealousy, rage: wouldn't you rather laugh than cry?

My newest story is about spores from outer space, young women's obsessions with their weight, a family-run Chinese food restaurant and, of course, alien lifeforms taking over the Earth. Once again, not exactly laugh-out-loud material. The protagonist's father is dying and nobody can figure out why. My only hope is that like Terry Pratchett writing about the Grim Reaper or Christopher Moore writing about just about anything, writing the story out can turn the direst scenario into something amusing.

For once it's very nice to know where the plot is going before I begin. After completing two timed-writing contests for practice (JulNoWriMo and the 3-day novel contest) I'm finished with writing without planning. What I have learned from these challenges is how to write faster. My new goal? Write better, at a steady pace so that I can finish at least a draft by WorldCon. This is the big convention for SF fans, editors, publishers and writers, and since it will be in Montreal, Canada this year, I just have to have a manuscript by August 6, 2009.

I have a bookcase of 'how-to' books on writing. It's time to bring my latest MS to a high polish. I may not have the novel editor-ready for World Con but if I can make a few contacts, maybe someone will agree to read the manuscript when it is.

I will blog more about Ad Astra at a later date. It was a thrill meeting Canadian SF authors and editors and I had lots of fun picking up books at the Bakka display.

Happy reading.

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