Viable Paradise – Thursday

“Writing is many things.  Being kind to your characters is not one of them.”


No break-out groups today.  Instead, we started off with a collegium led by TNH on Agents and Contracts.  Very useful from a business side of things.  I knew quite a bit of this (being a fan of Writer Beware and Absolute Write), but there were a lot of little tidbits that I had never thought of before.  She also talked about the importance of learning how to edit yourself so you can save money and time.  So like everything else, not a second wasted.

That was followed up with a lecture on the Business of Writing by JS.  It’s adapted from a blog entry Scalzi made.  Seeing it in person gave us quite a few more tips and advice.  In short, writing is a business so act like it.  And if you can, marry someone that’s sensible with money because god knows us creative people suck at it.  (Right, Steph?)

I also pulled off a One-on-One with Bear during lunch.  This was pretty cool, as she focused more on the voice of the first person narrative than anything else.  It was also helpful as my previous ones had focused on character and plot. Bear gave me a ton of recommendations and suggestions.  Being as how Genie Memories is my first foray into First Person POV, I soaked in every bit.

My One-on-One was held in the Staff and led to one of the coolest examples of how damn good the VP Staff are.  Bart was listening in as Bear recommended a book, ‘Hour of the Octopus’.  Little did I know, after lunch, Bart went to the local used bookstore and found a copy.  He brought it back and proceeded to give to me.

Simply incredible.

That afternoon,we were treated to a lecture on Character by SG.  Lots of good information in that one.  I’ve already made notes on how to tweak my characters and make it that much more real.  He also read the highly enjoyable ‘Behaving Badly As a Career Strategy‘ article that he posted on

Later, we broke into smaller groups, each one headed by an instructors (I had JMD) and read through our stories and writing prompts.  All the stories were great.  Ferrett actually had me feeling emotion for a squid.  Bo knocked my socks off with a butterfly zeppelin and Chia’s clown brigades, well, it’s a brigade of clowns.  C’mon.  My story had a crazed jester going on a rampage in an orphanage.  Between Chia and I, I think we have the potential to traumatize children for ages to come.

Jellyfish Walk - Pic from Chia
Jellyfish Walk - Pic from Chia

Dinner was some delicious curry (with oodles of kale), then a long night of mingling and talking.  There were no more assignments or readings.  It was just time to get to know one another.  It was great.  Sometime around 11pm, we all gathered up and headed down the road to watch the glow-in-the-dark jellyfish.  That was simply amazing.  These little flashing lights in the water.  Looking up was another sight – a perfectly clear sky without a hint of moon or light pollution.  The Milky Way was a bright band from one end of the sky to the next.  It was beautiful.

A group of us (Eric, Lara, Irina, and Miranda, I think, it was dark) stood around for a while on the beach and watched the sky.  Heard some great stories about New York and Central Park.  Got to know people even better.  In time though, the fog rolled in and we headed back for some much needed sleep.