Alpha Happened So Much

Otherwise known as the “what happens at Alpha in under 6000 words happens again later and in much larger form” post.

Pictured here is my current happy exhaustion, in sleepy kitten form


So I’ve spent the last ten days at the Alpha Workshop, learning All of the Cool Things. Those Cool Things include, but are definitely not limited to:
-from Malinda Lo, how to worldbuild without stressing over really tiny details, but also how to use really tiny details to do a ton of worldbuilding
-from Max Gladstone, how to consider the scope of the worldbuilding you have to do for a particular story, and what does and doesn’t fit inside that
-from Amal El-Mohtar, how to draw the line between poetry and prose (individually, on a case-by-case basis, and in some of those cases, that question doesn’t even apply)
-from Tamora Pierce, the importance of research and lived experienced in the context of writing fantasy, for children and for adults.

-that the graveyard a short walk from campus is a great place to watch a meteor shower
-that playing Frisbee in the rain, at night, with glasses on, means that the glasses will get really, really smudged (I am really impressed that I managed to catch it as many times as I did. Good for you, past me.)
-that good prose results in gifs of Joe Biden looking really happy
-that the amount of research you have to do for a story can range from Pacific Rim (GIANT ROBOTS ARE COOL) to reading actual scientific papers, and how to judge that difference
-that I can’t read more than one sentence from The Eye of Argon without absolutely dissolving
-that I am capable of writing a short story first draft in three days, even if it means that my hands will still hurt even after getting home
-how to feel a little less anxious (not entirely calm, but still. Progress.) when asking for and receiving critiques from and in front of other people

And those lists could be way longer, but then I’d just be putting screenshots of my notes from lectures instead of writing a post, and my notes are not the most organized thing in the universe, so…moving on!

I think the next logical step, after dealing with the weird sad feeling of knowing that I have a ton of new friends, none of whom live close to me, is to set some goals. Or something. That’s how productivity works, right?

I present to the Internet: Alina’s List of Things To Write After Alpha:
(note: this is where “what happens at Alpha happens again, later, and in much longer form”)

  • Extend the story I wrote while there into a novella (it sort of works as is, but now that I have more than three days to write it, I can do all of the things I wanted to and some of the suggestions I found useful in critiques, and give it the wordcount it needs). This is what I’m most excited about right now.
  • Finish outlining and eventually write the novel I started based off of the story I applied with and had critiqued while I was there.
  • Write the story I started outlining the last day I was there, currently titled “Our Lady of the Corpse Flower,” about what zombies might worship.
  • Write some more short stories. Short stories are fun, and I need to practice actually getting ideas to fit inside of them.

So some of those things would be nice to get done, preferably before the end of this year. But right now, I’m not going to do any of them, because I wrote this post and then two sentences of a short story and figured out that my brain, currently, is kind of fried. So instead of doing any more work today, I’m going to play Mass Effect and read until I pass out.

TL;DR: The best ten days of my life up to this point happened. Now I want to go write a lot more things.



The Return of the Blog

As some people might remember, I used to have a blog. (“Some” probably means “zero,” because it had barely any readers, but a little optimism can’t hurt.)

I deleted that blog a few weeks ago, which was a completely stupid decision on my part because I did it on impulse and didn’t save any of the posts. Not that there were that many posts to save, but there were a couple (mainly reviews) that I really miss, now that I can no longer get to them. I deleted the blog because I was scared. I had just posted a review of a book by a85494094n author I admire and had tweeted it at them because I had felt brave that day, and then–gasp!–an entire sixty-seven (67!!) people saw the post in one day, and the author retweeted it, and then some more people I admire retweeted it, and then I took myself way too seriously for the next two months and got too scared to post anything else because what if important people saw it, and what if they didn’t like it, and what if that doomed me to a life of never achieving anything because people didn’t like me, and then in a moment of glorious wimpiness, I deleted the whole blog because…not so deep down, I am very, very small and sometimes easily scared.

Which is something I clearly need to fix, because while I might never achieve anything if people don’t like me, I will definitely not achieve anything if nobody knows I exist. Also, I used to write for my school paper/site in high school, and I got–in my opinion–fairly decent at writing things like articles and editorials and reviews. I don’t want to lose that skill. Therefore, I am bringing the blog back from the dead. I am every kind of terrified as I do it, but I am doing it, and for that, I am giving myself a pat on the back.

This blog is going to [probably] contain book reviews (yay!), my opinions (oh god!), cool things that happen to me (more yay!), and maybe essays or something. Also, probably some complaining, because what would the Internet be without complaining? And I’ll have to figure out a schedule for this, probably. I’ll do that. Maybe.

(Probably better. It would probably be better.)

In sum: Hi. The blog is back. It will hopefully become a more regular thing. I am trying to be less of a wimp about it.