Monday, April 29, 2013

Creatively Legal

It's April 29, and I'm five weeks into my process of applying to law school. After years of giving myself excuses for not going back for a higher degree, I finally gave myself permission to do something I want to do.

So I've narrowed my choices to a selection of fifteen with the following as my top 5:

UNH - Franklin Pierce Law School
U-Washington Seattle
John Marshall

I've been practicing the LSAT and doing moderately well. I'm confident in my test-taking ability, and the deductive skills suit my mindset already. It's exciting.

So this-being my first post in a year-will be my chronicle as I apply, study, and move on to law school. It'll also by my own study of how a creative writer approaches law and how IP law affects those of us who are creative.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Guess What: Writing is Art, Too

I have a beef.

There seems to be a sincere lack in Milwaukee for two things: true community and artistic openness. When I came into this business 7 years ago, there were a number of writers groups in the city, but they were disjointed and isolated. And they liked it that way. There were even some that met within half a mile of one another and did the exact same thing.

(My biggest success story over the last few years was the merger (after a very long, very congenial partnership) of The Milwaukee Writer's Group (a group) and The Milwaukee Writers Workshop. That group, along with ours, worked en tandem to enrich the community as a whole.)

Now, six years later, it's only changed slightly. The major players in the writing world here in the city have all become part of the growing power behind WriteCamp. Slowly, sluggishly, we're pooling our resources to better the literary field in the city and aid one another as a community really ought to do. It's been fruitful, and partnerships are building between our organizations in a way that is exciting and hopeful.

However, and this is a big however, there is little in the way of advocacy for literature in the city. The biggest association for artists only recently began to have programming for writing; the city's largest advocacy groups for art barely considers writing art. Part of it is frustrating; part of it is just par for the course, or so it seems.

So what are we to do?

Recently I attened a Spreenkler Meetup that hosted a panel of local creative spaces for individuals all over the city. There were crafters, business people, artists, and other creatives, but out of six panelists not one of them mentioned poets, novelists, fictionists, or any other kind of writer. It was disappointing, but there was a message that they projected that I am going to latch onto: Be Proactive!

So here is my challenge, my call to Milwaukeeans, Southeastern Wisconsinites, or any other writers: build your community, support your community, and advocate for your community. If there isn't one, make one. If it's small, grow it. If it's disjointed, work like hell to bring it together.

In this world where art is seen as subsidiary to all but the most diehard, we are not competition. We are partners. We all succeed if one of us succeeds. Because you know what: WRITING IS ART

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

More New Projects

Two new projects to announce, which I'm really excited about.

First, after six years, Armand Rosamilia and I are putting our heads together again to work on some projects. Armand was the publisher for Carnifex Press back in the day, and gave me my first editorial gig working on "When the World Runs Thin." So now we're going to work on a few projects together, one of which might be on-going.

There's going to be a new anthology first. It's called "Nonproliferation" and will be all (Post)-Apocalyptic stories that don't involve nuclear disaster. Stories can be 2500-7500 words long. Check out the submission details on the website.

The other project is one that I'm quite excited about. I haven't quite pinned down a title (I have a few in mind), but it's going to be a quarterly magazine geared toward adventure and hard retrofuture pieces: you know, steampunk, dieselpunk, clock-work stories, and even some gaslight fantasy. I'm very excited for that, because I think we're onto something unique with a few of the ideas we're throwing around. Keep an eye on Rymfire Press in the near future -- and here of course -- for the announcement on that one.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Writer's FAQ #1

So here's a new series I'll be working on. I call it the Writer's FAQ. I think there are a lot of small questions that never really get touched on in writers books, because they focus a lot on larger topics like Theme and Character and Setting. So I'm going to work on some very specific questions sent to me by our lovely readers or given to me by members of The Milwaukee Writers Workshop.

Q: How do I keep my writing fresh and inventive?

My answer to many questions like this is two-fold: read and write in equal parts.

In all seriousness, though, to keep your writing 'fresh' is to understand what is going on in the contemporary world of the style you're writing. If you're writing science fiction, for example, know what other science fiction writers are writing. That doesn't mean go and buy every new book as soon as it comes out; it just means keep tabs on what's popular, what's pushing the envelope, and who is doing things that impress you. 'Fresh,' to me, means unique, and that means creating your own voice and finding your place in the world as a writer, within the context of your peers.

'Inventive' is a slightly different matter. They're kind of one-in-the-same, but my interpretation of this word is that it means "outside the box." I don't know that this is always necessary, but it's certainly a good way to go. Genres -- of all varieties -- begin to have tropes; it's inevitable. Understanding those standards (tropes) and utilizing them to your best advantage, or in some cases doing away with them entirely, is the best way to make your writing inventive. Understanding takes knowledge, though, so I'll go back to my original statement: read and write in equal parts.

I think some of the most Fresh and Inventive writing comes out of short fiction. So in the next week, go to the bookstore and look for some of the literary journals in the magazine section and pick up one in your favorite genre. See what those writers are doing. See what they're not doing, too, because honestly not every writer is going to speak to you -- even though they got published. That's ok.

If you have a question for the Writer's FAQ, send it to boone@milwaukeewritersworkshop or visit us on Facebook.

Friday, February 3, 2012

New Project

So as of yesterday -- the 2nd of February -- I've been invited onto the team at Pure Steam RPG to write two companion novels to their d20-licensed gaming system for Pathfinder.

If you're not familiar, here's the run-down. Pathfinder is a system that is based on the Wizards of the Coast new release of D&D 3.5 rules set. (For those of you who aren't gamers, that's Dungeons & Dragons). It is a unique system with its own worlds and rules and is highly adaptable to a variety of worlds and eras. It was started in 2009 by Paizo Publishing and has a pretty good following in the tabletop rpg circles.

So I've been asked to help Pure Steam market and promote their material with two companion novels about a major character (or two) from the world to help shape the gaming world. It'll be like my own Drizzt or Elminster (look them up; they're cool characters).

I'm pretty damn excited about this. I even get to work with a guy named Crockett. I mean come on. Boone & Crockett. That just sounds like a bad-ass cop-drama team. Way better than those guys from Hawaii Five-0.

I'll keep you all abreast as I learn more and as we progress through development. Thankfully, I am still working diligently on the "Charles" novel, which is going through some of its own major changes. But it's working out well, and I'm exciting for the new material I'm writing.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Story!

So I completed my first short story of the year. Hooray! I am currently typing it up -- being a hand-written kind of guy -- and it's breaking 2000 words right now with plenty to go and plenty of room for expansion.

 It's tentatively titled, "The Temple of Guayna Tuampa" and takes place in the same world as my "Empress of the Danforthe" stories. It was a challenge on one of the websites I participate in to write a story in alternate history Earth that included dragons. So I wrote about a temple-busting explorer who encounters a dragon in a temple in South America. It's a pretty romping good time.

 I'm working as hard as ever on the new Milwaukee Writers Workshop venture. I.E., it's a business now (or will be very shortly) and so it's a bit of a mentality shift to go from "Oh, this is just a fun group I run" to "Hey, this is a business, and I need to treat it professionally." Not that I wasn't professional before, but it's a big change, and I think it'll put a good light on us for the future and help our potential. It's exciting nonetheless, and we've got some good help with a new intern who's very capable.

 On a side note, the revisions to "The Mechanics of Man" -- my steampunk rewrite of the infamous "charles" novel -- have been going very well, and I am nearly through the entirety of Book One with my additions and rewrites.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year, 2012

It's a new year, and it's going to be a big one.

 The Milwaukee Writers Workshop will soon (i.e. this week) be a full-on business with dues and a budget. Oh man! It's going to be hectic and wonderful all at the same time. It's also going to allow us to do a lot more, provide a lot more, and expand in the future.

 In writing news, I've been working on a NaNo-driven rewrite of my infamous "Charles novel," now tentatively titled "The Mechanics of Man." It's a 12-year-old project, and it's given me a lot of trouble over the years, but I finally extracted what I think is the most intriguing aspects of the story and woven a nice plot. So I am excited for that.

 I also started a graphic novel project with an artist for the steampunk series I started after CONvergence in July. That's exciting.

 Lastly, I will be starting up the new science fiction short story analysis blog shortly, along with a host of good friends and stellar writers. Keep an out for that, as I'll certainly plug it here.

 Happy New Year!