[P1] The Daughters’ Pact

The Page One Project / June 1, 2017


“Dead at school or alive in the woods,” Darla had said. But she had wanted to meet at night, and Serena’s closest experience with nature had been her mother’s window flower box.

Right before she was ready to panic, give up, and pull out the forbidden phone, Serena spied a light flickering through the trees. She breathed a sigh as she finally found her bearings. She hurried toward it, trying not to make a lot of noise to attract the wrong kind of attention, but trying to make enough noise to avoid sneaking up on the others.

Jasmine stood by the fire, holding her hands over it and staring at it. A stuffed backpack sat at her feet, leaning slightly against her calf. Her tight braids hung around her face, and only her eyes were visible.

Darla gathered more tinder for the fire, looking up at Serena when she arrived, acknowledging her with a nod, and then getting back to work. Her limp was less pronounced in the woods. Why had Serena never noticed that before?

HD sat leaning against a log, her hair short and dirty, face twisted as if pained. Her hand clenched on the sack on her lap: a fraying vinyl bag that said Carolina Mudcats. Its thin straps, no wider than thick yarn, drooped over her legs, and Serena wondered how much it hurt to carry it.

HD’s eyes flicked to her as she joined them. “You’re late,” she said. “Did you bring them?”

Serena nodded. “All I could find, anyway.” She dropped her leather backpack on the ground and opened it. Trying to hide her distaste, she reached in and grabbed the bundle of bloody rags, drawing them slowly out.

Darla watched her, transfixed. “Do we really have to do this? If my mother ever finds out-”

“Sure, your mother is what we have to worry about here,” HD interrupted. She rubbed her face, leaving a smear of dirt. “Your mother is the least of our worries.”


What happens next? That’s up to you.

Read more about The Page One Project here.

Creative Commons License
The Page One Project by Mur Lafferty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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[P1] Announcing The Page One Project

The Page One Project Logo
A few years ago I was blogging a creativity exercise I called The News from Poughkeepsie. I would post a daily writing prompt, character sketch, MacGuffin, setting, etc that people could use in their own writing. I did it to push my own creativity, as well as prove that ideas are cheap, and anyone who held onto their precious jewels of ideas for fear of them being stolen was only hurting themselves.

Today I’ve decided to go one better. I’m launching The Page One Project, a weekly gift to you. 250 – 500 words of the beginning of a story, and you can do with it what you will*. Continue the story. Edit the heck out of it and make it a poem. Use it as inspiration for your webcomic. Make it the beginning of a bestselling trilogy. Quote it in interpretive dance. I don’t care.

ALL you have to do is mention the work began as part of The Page One project and include my name. That’s it.

Today, launch day, it’s free to everyone. After this, Patreon supporters will get the pages before everyone else, but they will eventually all be posted here.

This is the most free use of a Creative Commons License I’ve ever done, and it’s exciting. The official license is the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (don’t worry, it’s a human readable link below, not fifteen pages of EULA.) If you have any questions, please check that page before you ping me, it really is plainly spelled out.

Page One for June 1, 2017, The Daughters’ Pact, is coming later today!

* Incidentally, so can I!

Creative Commons License
The Page One Project by Mur Lafferty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

ISBW #376: Must you be writing daily? And Robyn Bennis interview!

Is Writing Daily a Necessity?

Writing daily, with Robyn Bennis interview

Robyn Bennis

A new article has writer Twitter in a froth. It turns out that someone wrote a clickbait article about how if you aren’t writing daily, then you might as well quit. This is so, so, so wrong.

Did I write daily for a while? Yes. Do I recommend the Magic Spreadsheet for others who want to write daily? Yes. Did it help me and others? Yes. But telling you that you MUST write daily because I did is like saying that since I ran a marathon, everyone must run a marathon else they have no chance of being an athlete. So I get into that more in this episode.

Then I talk to Robyn Bennis, author of the debut novel The Guns Above! (Note, the interview has some NSFW words but I reversed them, so there’s no swearing but there are a few strange backward-sounding words. But I do have a new tool coming to make bleeping words easier!)

Also, don’t miss the latest Ditch Diggers regarding parenting and a writing career!


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Ditch Diggers #40: Ditches for Writers and Parents

Show Notes for the Parents

(Note, we are having some problems with the official Ditch Diggers site, so please be patient with us.)

  • Mur and Matt welcome parents: author Adam Rakunas and author, games, transmedia, and screenwriter Andrea Phillips as guest co-hosts!
    Andrea Phillips: Writers and Parents

    Andrea Phillips [Ditches for Writers and Parents]

  • Adam and Andrea are both full-time freelance writers and full-time primary caregivers to their (what seems to Matt to be, anyway) many children.
  • Recording this episode was delayed because Adam’s daughter vomited on literally everything in the world, which sets a perfect tone for the topic of the show.
  • Andrea and Adam share their backgrounds as writers, how and when they started, and where they are now.
  • Full-time caregiving while full-time writing, and how each affects the other.
  • Matt asks if having kids changes your professional goals as a writer (e.g. lights a larger fire under your ass to succeed).
  • Andrea talks how being a mother unduly influences others’ perception of her and her writing, the struggles of that, and about crowdfunding her Lucy Smokeheart series of fiction.
  • Mur asks about scheduling conflicts and other insightful things as the sole Ditch Digging parent among the regular hosts.
  • Our guest co-hosts tackle Q&A from Twitter!

Links

Adam Rakunas: Writers and Parents

Adam Rakunas [Ditches for Writers and Parents]

ISBW #375: Feedback with Pacing, the Magical Negro Trope, and more

It’s a feedback show where I go back through the spring and clean up the outstanding questions and topics!

Feedback Show Notes

ISBW Cover (Feedback Ep)

ISBW Cover


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Ditch Diggers #39: Lexi Alexander and Punching Hollywood. Metaphorically.

Lexi Alexander is Punching Hollywood

Lexi Alexander

  • Mur and Matt come to you live from Morgan Freeman’s Dojo (where we’re punching Hollywood) with special guest co-host writer, director, and martial artist Lexi Alexander!
  • Lexi is excited to talk about the writing side of her career as a director of films like Green Street Hooligans, Punisher: War Zone, the Oscar-nominated Johnny Flynton, and pretty much ALL of the TV series.
  • How we needlessly shake the confidence of English-as-a-second-language writers in America. How a chance encounter with Quentin Tarantino cured Lexi of that self-confidence issue.
  • Lexi recounts how she began her career as a writer and filmmaker. (It involves Chuck Norris. No, seriously).
  • It’s easier to be accepted as a woman in a martial arts/competitive combat sports environment than it is to be accepted as a female filmmaker in Hollywood.
  • Lexi talks about the many challenges women writers and directors face in the entertainment industry. She includes her own experiences.
  • Lexi tells the Ditch Diggers about her recently sold pilot script, the process of writing it, and what inspired/motivated both.
  • Lexi talks about what stopped her from writing for a long time, how she almost left the business to become a war correspondent, and what brought her back.
  • Mur asks about the difference between working on your own film projects and writing/adapting the work and ideas of others, and how you survive doing both.
  • Lexi takes questions from Twitter!
  • Mur and Matt attempt unsuccessfully to end the show several times, but Lexi is just too damn enthusiastic and complimentary about everyone. (New goal: Get both Cory Doctorow and Lexi on the show together.)

Lexi on Twitter: @Lexialex
Lexi’s website
Lexi on IMDb

Ditch Diggers theme music provided by Devo Spice


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ISBW #374 – Writing conflict with two facets (at least)

We are back to basics this week with conflict and what tools you need in your toolbox to create strong characters and plots. Show notes ahoy!

ISBW Cover - conflict

ISBW Cover

  • I credit one of the things that is making me consistent lately to taking ADHD meds for the first time. Yay, mental health!
  • Been feeling invisible lately. It’s not too terribly bad, but it’s strange. I can’t go into details, but dang, it’s not a good feeling.
  • I started a new book! Alasdair Stuart code named it SPACE MEAT DINER for me. I probably will not submit the book under this title. Current wordcount (including proposal parts) 7706.
  • Main Topic: Conflict!
    • Characters work best with an internal conflict to make fighting the external conflict harder.
    • Internal conflicts include: phobias (India Jones and snakes), flaws (Hamlet’s hubris), or basic human weaknesses (inability to address your own needs, like unrequited love).
    • Internal conflict will shape how the character deals with the other conflicts you put in their story.

We will see you in two weeks for a feedback show. Next week I will have a new Ditch Diggers for you!

Email: mightymur at gmail
Twitter: mightymur
Patreon: patreon.com/mightymur


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(I have managed a weekly show for a while now! WOW! My audio is not the best in this show, but I think I’ve figured out what is wrong and next one should be different.)

Ditch Diggers #38: Tobias Buckell and The Power of No

Tobias Buckell

Tobias Buckell

  • Live from Morgan Freeman’s bear sanctuary, it’s the (Hugo Finalist!) Ditch Diggers with special guest co-host Tobias Buckell!
  • Mur recounts Toby blowing her mind this past January at ConFusion in Detroit, which prompted his appearance on the show.
  • Toby talks about accessing your inner asshole (the tactful version uses Toby’s description: “the power of no”) in negotiations as a freelancer.
  • What happened when Toby had to stop accepting con invitations on his own dollar, and how it took him to the next level as an author and speaker.
  • Toby on releasing his earlier work as a self-published book and educational tool for writers.
  • Toby talks about trying out Patreon as a partial income replacement for a year, what prompted it, and how it’s going.
  • Twitter and email Q&A! Many of Toby’s fans ask him questions ranging from professional advice to the inside scoop on characters from his Xenowealth universe.

Also mentioned by Toby in this episode…

Ditch Diggers theme music provided by Devo Spice


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Writing Podcast News For Your Ear Holes

It’s been a banner few weeks! In the past 10 days or so, I’ve managed to get back onto a weekly schedule, writing podcast-wise. I guess this means my ADHD treatment is working, which is awesome.

So the new podcast plan: I’ll be doing ISBW and Ditch Diggers in alternating weeks. This week had ISBW #373 released on Monday, and next week will feature Ditch Diggers #38 with Tobias Buckell about “The Power of ‘No'”. I have episodes planned through May, and my brain fog has lifted, for the most part, which is making this planning so much easier.

(If you’re a Patreon subscriber, you get the podcasts as soon as I edit them, instead of waiting for release day. All the supporters got the Ditch Diggers episode today, for example.)

More writing podcast news outside the Murverse:

New writing podcast: Get To Work HurleyGet To Work, Hurley: Frequent Ditch Digger guest host Kameron Hurley has her own writing podcast now! She produced this podcast as a Patreon supporter goal, and she’s doing it for everyone who wants to listen. Episode one just dropped, and she’s as fun and natural on the mic as she is when she guest hosts Ditch Diggers.

New writing podcast: Critiki PartyThe CriTiki Party: This is an interesting idea for a writing podcast that my old friend, Travis Heermann, let me know about. Listeners can submit work that will be read aloud and critiqued on the podcast. If you wonder how to give a good critique, or just want to see how people critique common errors made by beginning writers, then check it out.

Other Recommendations:

Do you not have enough writing and SF podcasts in your life already? Of course not! There are some other fine podcasts also are finalists for the Hugo Award for Best Fancast, and if you want to check them out, here they all are!

 

ISBW #373: About all those writing rules

Don’t use adverbs. Show, don’t tell. Often blanket terms, what do they really mean, and why should we use them? And what does it mean when someone makes the effort to carefully follow those rules?

Recommended book: Nabokov’s Favorite Word Was Mauve
~
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