Friday, January 29, 2010

Free Fiction Friday: Warbreaker, Brandon Sanderson

That's right, the new tradition has begun: The last Friday of each month in 2010 is Free Fiction Friday!

When I emerged after just 3 days victorious in my reading of Warbreaker I had to subdue my excitement long enough to wait for today to roll around so I could share this with you. So I've been wiggling for over a week here, biting my tongue and, while amazed that I still have one, I can now report that this -- is win. I wasn't going to review a hardcover for my first freebie of the new year. But I'd feel like I wronged the readers here if I deprived you of a chance to pick up a copy for yourselves. Moreso if I neglected to inform you about something you can't put off reading any longer. Without further ado, I present my fangirlish squeals of happy review of the latest brilliant installment of my Sanderson collection Brandon Sanderson's Warbreaker:

After bursting onto the fantasy scene with his acclaimed debut novel, Elantris, and following up with his blockbuster Mistborn trilogy, Brandon Sanderson proves again that he is today's leading master of what Tolkien called secondary creation, the invention of whole worlds, complete with magics and myths all their own.

"Warbreaker" is the story of two sisters, who happen to be princesses, the God King one of them has to marry, the lesser god who doesn't like his job, and the immortal who's still trying to undo the mistakes he made hundreds of years ago.

Their world is one in which those who die in glory return as gods to live confined to a pantheon in Hallandren's capital city and where a power known as BioChromatic magic is based on an essence known as "breath" that can only be collected one unit at a time from individual people.

By using "breath" and drawing upon the color in everyday objects, all manner of miracles and mischief can be accomplished. It will take considerable quantities of each to resolve all the challenges facing Vivenna and Siri, princesses of Idris; Susebron the God King; Lightsong, reluctant god of bravery, and mysterious Vasher, the Warbreaker.

It takes a truly excellent book to take me that extra step past "fun". Sanderson put this one together in an approachable way that made me smile, sniffle, and sit up straight with agitation as my eyes are led to the next page turn. Very few books these days make me get a giddy little lump of joy in my chest while reading, but the worldbuilding, dialogue, and twists between these covers do just that. Warbreaker even appealed to the musician in me, which in truth may heavily color my opinion of the book--the descriptions of color stoked not only the visual side of my overactive imagination, but also the auditory--a wonderful treat of the senses. Sanderson brings politics and religion back into play, at turns playful and at others serious. Between these covers waits a whole new world with customs, rules, and a pallet of characters so distinctive you'll be standing in line for whatever Sanderson serves up next. (Or going back to read Elantris and the Mistborn trilogy, which are also, if I might add, full of win.)

My two-fold regret regarding Warbreaker is simple, really, and has nothing to do with the book itself: I was sad that I must a) sleep for at least 3 hours each evening (and I do not wake to that with the skill of a Lifeless--I shamble like the classic zombies of old), and b) return to the day job after my lunch hour. Hindrances which are required for continued livelihood. Both of which involve NOT reading this book. Should you acquire this for your reading list I urge you to make the following appropriate preparations: Begin on a decadently long weekend and hook up an IV of saline (among other necessary nutrients, lest you become dehydrated from drooling in awe of the words).

So now that I've got you primed for the amazingness, to win this hardcover, leave a comment on this post with the following:

1. Your Name
2. Tell us how you found us.
3. Leave a question for us to answer on our next Mailbag Monday.

Just three quick things, post by midnight EST on Sunday, January 31, 2010. Winner will be heralded with parades on Monday, February 1, 2010.

Disclaimer: This opinion is mine alone, although I sincerely hope you share it once you get a chance to pick up the book. The reviewed novel was purchased by myself from a physical bookstore, twice, (so I can give one away to one of our lucky readers!), and is not an ARC or acquisition reviewed for compensation.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pass The Plot 3: Scene 4

Darrew stumbled against the wall as the ship jerked beneath his feet. High alert lights flashed through the corridor, washing his vision in a strobe of red. He ducked into his and Ellie’s chambers and locked the door behind him.

They are coming. A tiny smirk curled his lips. He ran his forefinger over his left eyebrow. A beeping broke the silence.

“I’m alone,” he spoke the words into the empty room.

“Finally,” a voice, soft as a whisper, emerged from the comm implant. “That female causes us too many false alarms.”

“Well, you should have put the comm somewhere else, then.”

“Where exactly do you suggest?” The voice answered.

Darrew grunted. “It won’t matter now. She’s on her way to you with a boarding party.” He snapped the cover off his cryo bed. A fat, hand-held smart matter rocket cannon lay folded in the stasis sheets.

“Good. How many in the party?”

He grabbed the weapon and cocked it. It hummed to life. “Five that I know of. Most are eager young cadets.”


Darrew tapped glowing blue buttons on a wall computer panel near the door. A map of the ship schematics flashed into view. Shuttle Bay 1 showed a launch in progress. “Be careful of one named Nara. She’s a bit of a loose cannon.”

“Don’t worry, the conversion will take hold of even the most obstinate soul. Remember what you once were?”

“I remember nothing before my enlightenment.” Darrew’s voice took on an emotionless, mechanical tone, but his steel-grey eyes narrowed. He took a deep breath and shook his head to clear it.

“Exactly,” The voice replied.

“What do you want me to do from here?” He located the second shuttle bay on the schematic with his little finger.

“Just keep us updated on their progress.”

“Will do. Over and out.” He rubbed his forehead to turn off the comm. Shouldering his weapon, he burst back into the flashing lights of the corridor.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Mailbag Monday: January 2010

Though we have a lot in common, each member of the Tri Mu has a slightly different take on writing, publishing, books, and life in general. On the fourth Monday of the month, we'll take a question submitted by one of you and each give our opinions on the issue.

This month's question: When is your writing most productive?

NL Berger's Response: Well, right now it seems like I'm never productive, but under normal circumstances I'll go with the early night hours. I have a window over my desk and once it gets dark outside, it turns into a mirror. For me, there's nothing better at keeping me concentrating on the keyboard than having to look myself in the eye every time my focus drifts away from it. Of course, I'm not much of a night owl anymore, so unlike some of the other TriMus, my nighttime writing usually only lasts until eight or nine o'clock. I might have to put an actual mirror up on my windowsill once summer gets here and the days start getting too long...

Tori Pryer's Response: I write best when my day job isn't killing and abusing my brain cells. I keep hoping that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that the obsessive working will stop soon, but alas, the time is not yet here. During ordinary times, I write best at night. For some reason, my best stuff comes out after 10 pm. Unfortunately, sleeping is also a necessity so I can't keep writing until 2 am. Sigh.

Sarah Templeton's Response: I write best smack in the middle of the day. Unfortunately, with a day job, those opportunities are few, so I settle for second best: Late at night. I can either have classical music on in the background (something without lyrics) or nothing at all. I can't have background noise--it drowns out whatever my muse is humming at my ear.

Haricot Vert's Response: I'm most productive when I can get a good 30 minutes of time open to write. The time of day doesn't matter so much, although I used to write better at night than during the daylight hours. Sometimes having music on helps and sometimes I need silence; it depends on the character POV as well as the scene.

Kalayna's Response: I'm most productive when I have pressure put on me. yeah . . . I know, that's not a time, but it is still true. Only have one hour to write in? 1k words, easy. Give me a whole day and I get distracted. Creating internal and external pressure is important to my writing process. As far as real times--well, that would me mid-day and mid-night. 10-3 are highly productive times. I don't know why. I've always been that way. Now finding a sleeping and living schedule which gives me the middle of the day and the middle of the night free time to write, that is a trick!

When are you at your most productive? Feel free to add to the discussion in the comments.

Have another question you'd like the Modern Myth Makers to answer? Just ask us in the comments and we'll try to respond in a future month.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Bonus Post: A Writing Prompt

On occasion, there comes a Monday or Friday when no TriMu is scheduled to blog. The calendar is just tricksy that way. But never fear, dear readers; we will not leave you with nothing to read today! We've decided to do a collaborative post, a brief response from each of us to a writing prompt. We hope you enjoy.

The TriMu has a new snuggly mascot to add to the ranks. Grab your popcorn and your tissues:

Late morning January 2, 2010, Sarah's aunts were on their way to decorate the reception hall for her brother's after-wedding feast. During the journey they discovered an open cat carrier sitting on the side of the highway. And there, in the 8 degree weather in the snow and ice-bound north, pressed back against the far wall into a shaking ball was Sage. Sage is a gorgeous long-haired purrbox of black and orange, once well-fed, declawed in the front, litterbox-trained, spayed--an average 3-yr-old indoor cat by all accounts--but with bruises and a tendency to flinch away from fast hand movements, both symptoms of whatever happened in her former life. The poor, half-frozen, terrified, abandoned kitty (people, it was EIGHT DEGREES outside) was acclimated in stages to the weather as she was quaking in shock. She was a "plus one" for Sarah's brother's wedding and found herself the subject of much affection during the reception. Finally, late that evening, she managed a bite of food and began to come out of her shock. Sarah, being a sucker for a good heartbreaking tail (ah-ha-ha) and hardship cases (which is almost a requirement for pet adoption into her family), brought it home to SC and determined that Sage must live in TriMu Tori's house. After a clean bill of health and a round of shots from the vet, this soft, cuddly tag-a-long has been rechristened as Gypsy Sage (for her heart-stealing ways) and is thriving in her new, warm home, and good, healthy food.

Today's Writing Prompt: Detail the event(s) leading to Gypsy Sage's bid for roadside assistance.

Darlene C. Goodman's Response: Gypsy Sage lived in a happy home populated with a human mother, human father, human boy, human girl, iguana girl, and a tasty family of mice in the dark space under the porch steps. One blustery winter afternoon, as Sage batted one of the mice children around in a playful and loving manner, she heard an awful moaning and groaning echoing through their middle-class subdivision.
Sage could not understand human speech, but if she could, she would have been just barely able to recognize a single word, a single word that sent chills into the hearts of Sage's family, neighbors, and the English-speaking mouse struggling under her paw: "Brrraaaaaaaiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnssssssssss!"
The mouse, hearing the danger, yelled at Sage, "It's a zombie holocaust you idiot! Run away! Run away!" But she didn't understand English, so she ate the screaming creature, putting him out of his misery.
Her human boy raced to her side and stowed her in a cat carrier. Then he ran. His whole family ran. They ran over the river and through the woods, but when they got to Grandmother's house, she came after them with a knife and fork. "Brrraaaaiiiinnnnsss!"
Gran got mom. Mom got Dad. Dad got the girl. The girl got the iguana. The boy, when faced with the terror of battling his entire family of zombies, realized the need to protect himself. He dropped Sage in her carrier. The family attacked her, and he ran. But he had not taken into account the surprising resourcefulness of the zombie iguana, who did not let him get fifty paces.
The human zombies, not being as resourceful as iguana, could not get the carrier open, so they left Sage there, freezing in her cage and went after new prey.

Tori Pryer's Response: Gypsy Sage was an ordinary kitty growing up in the ordinary Welsh city of Cardiff. One day, through no fault of her own, she wandered into what appeared to be an ordinary blue police box. She got a bit of shock as she entered. The police box was bigger on the inside. Being a cat and not a silly human, she took it in stride and spent the next few years travelling through space and time with a timelord. She especially enjoyed New Earth and its inhabitants. One day, she was a bit too curious and absorbed some energy from the police box/spaceship. The timelord felt that it was unsafe for Gypsy Sage to travel with him anymore and placed her in a place where he was certain that she would be found. He stayed and watched from a distance as Gypsy was retrieved. He planned occasionally to come back to check on Gypsy in between trips through time and space. *Recommended viewing BBC's Doctor Who

Sarah Templeton's Response: It's pretty obvious, isn't it? Tori needed a cat for Christmas and Santa got lost. He stopped for directions up North (It's Santa. We'll talk realism some other time.) and her carrier fell off the sleigh, right into the home of the Abominable Snowman. *gasp!* Luckily, she was rescued by a pack of rabid squirrels (That's redundant, I know. All squirrels are nutty. But just for fun, let's not do revisions on the writing prompt today.). After a week's journey, the squirrels were hungry and wrenched open the carrier, but, once again luckily, my aunt's oncoming vehicle scared them away in the nick of time.

Anyone else in the mood for some creative stretching exercise today? Post your own responses to this writing prompt in the comments!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pass The Plot 3: Scene 3

"Holy Kirk!" Nara swallowed hard and stared at the vid screen. Green smoke billowed from a large wheel shaped craft. To think that she'd been bored. "Is that what I think it is?"

The captain gave an almost imperceptible nod. Fear and latent memories rushed through Nara. She took a deep breath and whispered, "You know what this means, Captain."

"Yes." One word. One word to share centuries of fear. One word.

Nara shifted her weight and stood at attention. "Captain, I would like permission to board her." She spoke so that the others on the bridge could hear.

"You have my permission, Ensign." The captain turned to face Lieutenant Elion. "Lieutenant, I would like you to pick a crew and accompany Ensign Nara on this mission."

The other woman narrowed her eyes at Nara and then snapped off a salute to the Captain. "Yes, sir. Permission to leave, sir."

"Granted. And take the Ensign with you."

The other girl turned and left. Nara followed.

"Ellie, I'm sorry." Nara whispered as soon as the doors had closed behind them. "I know that you and Darrew had plans tonight."

Ellie shrugged her shoulders. "With that off the starboard side…"

Nara shivered. "Kirk's Bald Head, this is bad news for the Confederation."


"Ellie! Thank the moons that you're safe!" A deep voice rumbled from behind them. "What is going on? They've ordered us to our cryo chambers."

Nara turned. Darrew. Her breath at the sight of the tall, blonde man advancing upon them. He was Ellie's kryan. Never hers. She forced a friendly smile onto her face.

"Darrew! Why didn't you follow Captain Denett's orders?" Ellie crossed her arms over her chest. "All colonists must be in their cryo chambers until the danger has passed."

"Then, there is danger. Liam said that there must be." Darrew stepped closer to Ellie. "Are you ok? As soon as the ship lurched I came to look for you." He reached out and put a hand on her shoulder and Ellie visibly relaxed.

Nara looked down, letting her gaze linger on the rubberized corridor floor. "Ellie, we have to go. Soon."

"You go to chambers without me. Tell Scott, Jacobs, and Hanna to suit up. They'll be going with us."

"Yes, ma'am." Nara's gaze lingered a moment on Darrew. "Don't be long. This is the first time in a score of Earth years that they've been seen."

Nara let her mind drift back to the terror that waited on her. Xenopsychology would be of no use if they struck first.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Working and Listening

I'm reading through Madeleine L'Engle's Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art, a collection of her ponderings on art, writing, and spirituality. L'Engle is most famous for her middle-grade novel A Wrinkle in Time. I came across a passage in the early chapters of Walking that felt like a good way to start off my writerly year.

"When the artist is truly the servant of the work, the work is better than the artist; Shakespeare knew how to listen to his work, and so he often wrote better than he could write; Bach composed more deeply, more truly than he knew; Rembrandt's brush put more of the human spirit on canvas than Rembrandt could comprehend.

When the work takes over, then the artist is enabled to get out of the way, not to interfere. When the work takes over, then the artist listens.

But before he can listen, paradoxically, he must work. Getting out of the way and listening is not something that comes easily, either in art or in prayer. . . . Someone wrote, 'The principle part of faith is patience,' and this applies, too, to art of all disciplines. We must work every day, whether we feel like it or not, otherwise when it comes time to get out of the way and listen to the work, we will not be able to heed it."

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pass the Plot 3: Scene 2

"Minor difficulties." Captain Denett put his hand up to his face and massaged it. Having a hydroponics malfunction was a minor difficulty. This was in a significantly different class. "We have to have those messages changed." He shook his head. "Yeoman Silva, please make a note."

Nervous laughter spilled out of the bridge crew, most of them focused on the emergency lights blinking on their consoles.

"Yeoman, also make a note that Ensign Nara is still not on the bridge. Include the date and time stamp. Either the comm system is glitching or the Ensign is disregarding an official summons."

"Sir, the comm system is perfectly fine within the Galajax. It's outside that I can't reach." Protesting, Eloin looked up from her console, eyes wide.

"Relax Lieutenant, I'm not disparaging your system. Can we at least get a drone out?"

"I'm still working on that, Sir." Eloin dropped her eyes and spoke rapidly into her throat mic, relieved not to be on that side of the Captain's radar.

This was the problem with a new ship crew: Inexperience. The books said it was a good thing, that fresh crews were full of innovation and enthusiasm. If Captain Denett had a universal kroner for every time reality crashed through pedagogy... he would still be in this type of situation, he was a deep space kind of man through and through, but he would be a much richer man.

"Where is that Ensign?" With effort, he kept his tone mild.

As if conjured, a tall slim woman with space regulation close cropped hair stepped through the doorway that irised open with a sigh. She paused, staring riveted at the screen showing the open view of space.

"Ensign," the crack in his tone got her attention, "while I know that we are ferrying people to a colony world, this still is not a pleasure ship. So the next time that I send a summons, I expect you to treat it like it is at least in the top 10 list of your priorities."

Red flooded Ensign Nara's cheekbones and ears, but she only nodded.

"Good. Now what does your specialty in xenopsychology tell you about this?"

Captain Denett waved a hand at the screen that had drawn the ensign's attention.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Newness All Around

shake the crystal ball
...The inspiration that flows from chaos and making change
snow flakes swarm like bees buzzing
...Give rise to ideas - blooming fields on the horizon
dream of spring honey
...And I wander through the flowers, intoxicated


It's a new year, and either the tail end of a decade or the head end, depending on your point of view.

I'm working along on my goals for January (the public one here on the blog, and the secret one in my head), and hope you are too.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Enemy


Time is my. It is always my enemy. I battle and war against it every single day trying to meet deadlines and cram each valuable minute with as much productive work as possible some of which includes writing. I started this year with good intentions and I still intend to finish well, but darn it, I'm going to have to fight for every second of writing time.

Things that are demanding my time

  1. My job – I know, I know. Lots of people have demanding jobs and still manage to make the writer thing work. I fully intend to be one of those people, but for the last six months my job has been intruding on my writing time more than I'm comfortable with. Not complaining, my job is challenging and there are a lot of positives about it. I just wish that it would restrict itself to nine or ten hours a day instead of the twelve or thirteen it has been taking lately
  2. Non-writing friends – You know, I love my non-writing friends. They keep me connected with the rest of the world, but darn it, they seem to think that I should spend time with them. Time that could be used to write.
  3. Family – This one could be worse. I'm not married nor do I have kids. Still, family is family and my parents want to visit. They have expectations and needs that I must meet or attempt to meet. Yes, I know I'm an adult and I need to get over this, but I haven't managed to do that yet. Maybe, this year.
  4. Cleaning – Ok, I've given up on this one for the most part, but when the lack of cleaning becomes something that the health department would frown on, you just have to do it. My house is currently at that point. So cleaning is in my near future.
  5. Exercise/Being healthy – Exercise is good for you, but like everything else, it is a time suck. I know that I need to exercise. I know that I need to eat correctly. It is still a time suck.

Sigh….There has to be a way to balance all these things. There just has to. I must find it I've built a very careful schedule for the year. I've included catchup days and given myself relatively modest daily writing goals because I know that I'm busy, but somehow I can't seem to even find time to meet those goals.

So, I'm curious how do you do it? How do you balance your life and your writing?





Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Pass the Plot 3: Scene 1

Nara leaned against the thin field separating her from the vast void of space and stared at the thousand points of reflected light beyond. She'd spent her whole life wanting to see the stars, but after months on the Galajax XXI, the stars still seemed as distant as they ever had from her bedroom window.

The band on her wrist lit up, and she ripped her eyes away from the stars.

"Now what does he want?"

There was no telling, but she'd best not ignore his summons. Pushing away from the window, she let her feet carry her down corridors she'd walked hundreds of times over the last few months.

She was in the west quadrant corridor of the Galajax when the ship lurched. She stumbled, falling into the wall.

What was that? The ship had never lurched before. In fact, she'd never even been able to feel the fact the ship was moving. Only the ever changing locations of the stars outside convinced her the ship was really covering any significant distance. She climbed to her feet, but her legs felt strange under her, like the gravity in the corridor was slightly off.

"Well, that's certainly weird." Not that she had time to think about it. The band on her wrist flashed again. "I'm coming, I'm coming. Hold on to your moon-shorts," she said to the band--which thankfully, could not transmit her words.

The gravity in the corridor was definitely off, but she managed to shamble and trip down the hall. She'd just turned the corner when an electronic voice crashed through the ship.

"Attention all passengers: the Galajax XXI is experiencing minor difficulties. For your own comfort, please report to your chambers and activate the cryo settings. All passengers will be revived when all difficulties have passed. All crew report to your stations. Immediately."

Monday, January 4, 2010

Looking Back, Looking Onward

Okay, so for my first post in 2010, on my way into my sophomore year of stepped-up writing dedication, I'm going to take a quick peek back at nine things I learned during my freshman year of this part-time hazard to my social life. But before you get to the list, I want you all to stick your head out the window or the door and take a deep breath of air.


That right there, cold as it may have been (sorry northerners - I just got back from up there and I don't envy the fog on your glasses preventing you from reading the rest of this post), is a lungful of oxygen from the best year of your life yet. Sure, 2011 will be even better, but why waste the time middling along for another day? Get a headstart on Fantastic. Get a foot on the threshold of your dreams. And get ready to bash in the door to success in 2010 -- before the world expects you!

Okay, pep talk done. Here's the list:

9) The best laid plans are a waste of time. Emergencies come out of the woodwork, critique partners run into crunch time, old friends drop by for the weekend, major events get planned and your presence will be required in all capacities. Lesson learned, but steps to help myself cope with said lesson are still far from reach. I had no contingency plans in place and I got further and further behind until I just had to toss some goals completely out the window. I'm trying to add some sliding time in for these dealings so my goals don't get railroaded again -- hopefully I will be able to report success in 2011's January post.

8) Setting realistic goals takes trial and error. Far more of the latter than optimal. I found my average slow range and began using it to gauge my goals late 2009. That's also what I'm using now to determine reasonable deadlines.

7) Muses love snuggly warm showers but despise chilly tile flooring. For my birthday (it's coming up later this month, folks) I want a waterproof notebook. So many of what I thought were brilliant ideas somehow got lost between the tub and the bathroom door.

6) Pitching to an agent is not as terrifying as I thought. Wait, no. Still terrified. But I don't regret the experience and I now have a better idea of what's expected and how to present a query in pitch form.

5) Every aspect of the writing process comes easier when not counting words. I found out early December that when I'm not fussed about my word count, I'm in the meat of the story, much more connected to the inner workings, instead of the outer influences. Yes, I did NaNoWriMo again and I made it at a steady pace. But after NaNo, the moment I let go of the numeric stressor, clean words began to fly.

4) 15 minutes of Morning Pages a day keeps the muse happy, healthy, and calm. For the first time in a couple of years now I set my morning pages aside. For the month of November, I only worked on my word-count projects. Then, come December, I lost almost a week of sleep to Manic Midnight Muse Madness (quad-mu?). The words came and they didn't stop flying onto the page. They didn't always make the most sense at 2 in the morning, but they were there. It was about a month's worth of 15 minute playtime for my muse . . . for the sake of my health I now know better than to deny her playtime ever again.

3) Accountability begins at home. I have the hubby's support and goal reminders, but we're still working on the whole "do-not-disturb during writing time" lesson.

2) When all else fails, call a TriMu. As writers we all go through rough patches of doubt and worry. As people we all go through up times and down times. Friends tell us the hard, honest truth; give us a look when it's time to stop whining; catch our silly, you-should-know-better mistakes before we humiliate ourselves; teach us something new every day; and remind us that a break is in order to catch our balance. I can't finish a recap of 2009 without raving about the stunning ladies who alternate posts with me on this blog. I'm intensely grateful that I met and am able to work with such talented professionals and steadfast friends.

1) There is nothing more beautiful than spending the entire day writing a story your heart is desperate to share with the world. I had an opportunity to take a couple unpaid weeks off of my full-time job to work on revisions for my novel. Those two weeks were nothing short of fantastic, and memories of those two weeks are going a long way to fueling my need to become a full-time writer someday.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year, New Decade . . . New Blog Schedule?

Hello everyone and welcome to the new and improved Modern Myth Makers blog!

Okay, I know the blog doesn't look any different, and there are no new people . . . but I promise we have big things planned schedule-wise. Today marks the start of a new year and of new plans.

You might have noticed that the blog updates get a little, shall we say, sporadic, from time to time. (Or maybe you didn't notice, in which case, please look away. There was no previous sentence to this paragraph.) There are many reasons for sporadic updates which include (but are not limited to) looming deadlines (the writing comes before the blogging), real life interruptions (it happens) and just a plain lack of topics (do you realize how hard it is to think up something new to talk about every post? And most of us have other blogs we post on as well.) So, to help combat these distracts, or at least to lighten the load a little, and hopefully to also make things even more interesting for you, our readers, we are switching things up a bit.

Here is the plan:
    -The first of every month the Tri Mu will all post our personal writing-related goals. Hopefully the threat of public humiliation will keep us on track, and you the readers are invited to jeer cheer us on.
    -Every Wednesday a Pass the Plot scene will be posted. Some of you might remember PtP from the early days of this blog, but it has been dropped for quite some time now. Look for me to start the first scene of the new story Wednesday 1/6, and if you need a refresher of what PtP is, check it out here.
    -The last Friday of every month will be Free Fiction Friday, in which one Tri Mu a month will review a book and give away a copy to a lucky commenter. Don't miss it.
    -The fourth Monday of every month will be Mailbag Monday in which we answer questions from you, our readers (so make sure you give us those questions!)
    -All other Monday and Friday's will be scheduled blogging days.

So, what do you think? Are you game? To start things off, scroll down to see the first goals post, and check back often because big things are happening here with the Modern Myth Makers!

Happy New Year everyone!

First and Goals: January 2010

At the beginning of each month, we Modern Myth Makers will be posting our writerly goals for the coming month, in an effort to motivate ourselves through the threat of shaming in a public forum by giving each other, and all of you, the opportunity to encourage our progress.

NL Berger's Goals: Oh, we're starting a new year and a new way of doing things on this blog and it's all fresh and exciting and . . . I'm already feeling a little behind schedule. I'm playing catch up this month to account for some setbacks during the last few months. This month I plan to make it through 160 pages of intensive revisions of WIP #1 and get at least 48k words of the rough draft of WIP #2 written out.

Darlene C. Goodman's Goals: My goals will seem slackerish compared to the rest of the TriMu, but that is my usual technique for success. Aim low and exceed expectations. ;) Anyway, the thing I need to do in January is create a working timeline for my WIP so that I know where all my characters are in relation to one another. This should include motivation arcs as well. I want to make sure I not only know what a character is doing and when they are doing it, but the all important why.

Kalayna Price's Goals: I'm feeling overly ambitious at the start of this brand new year/new decade--or maybe that is not ambition. Maybe it is terror in a "OMG are those my deadlines?!" kind of way. So, my ambitious/terror stricken goal for this first month of the decade is to write the first draft of my next WIP. Yup, the whole thing. That's only 3k a day . . . no days off or bad days. No problem, right? (Gulp.)

Tori Pryer's Goals: My goal for the month is to finish my manuscript!!!! Also begin plotting a world war II short.

Sarah Templeton's Goals: My goals have become a little skewed in light of recent events but I'm going to try to get back on track here. I have a novella to outline by the end of the month and at least 200 pages of layered revisions to work on for one of my novels. I have to dial back the hours due to the day job hitting the busy season (leaving me exhausted at end of day and occasionally stealing hours anyway) and getting back from the holidays and my brother's wedding leaving a lot of housework for me to accomplish in my (cough) free time, so I'm back to aiming for my minimum of 20 writing hours a week. Wish me luck!

Haricot Vert's Goals: Character profiles and then a complete scene list for a short. This can happen in 31 days, right? Right??

What about you guys? What are your writing goals for this month?