Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Writing forum - writing practice & short stories

I found a good site a little while ago. is a fairly small forum with a reasonable turnover of members and a small core group.  The average writing age tends to be on the mid-to-late-teens side, so there is a fair amount of vampire fiction and zombie soldier stories, but the readers run the gamut of skill levels and age ranges.  That means it's a great way to get a range of feedback on your ideas or stories.

Better yet, there is a weekly short story 'competition' for bragging rights - the vote #s usually don't pass the half-century but there is usually up to about 10 entries with a handful of decent stories among them for good competition.

There is a 'blog' function on the site and I have been making blog posts under my username 'nzric'.  I am starting to write again, using the short story comps as motivation to get off my arse.  To mix things up I have been trying out different writing styles, some have been a hit and some have been dismal failures.  All in all it's great practice, especially at the moment when I don't have a novel-length idea to keep me occupied.

I will keep my stories on the blog in the writingforums site, but I'm planning to write a bit more detail about the stories in this blog.  If you don't want my spiel and just want to read some of my stuff, you can go straight to my blog at writingforums.  Make sure you put an entry in the weekly short story comp on the way.

Marathon man!

I signed up for the Auckland marathon a couple of weeks ago.  Event is on 30th October '11.  This will be my first marathon ever!  I'm currently clocking between 20-30km per week, and I have to get that up to 50km per week in the next six weeks.  That way I will have a good base for the actual marathon training which will be much harder!

I have consistently done half marathons at around 1:45:00 pace when I am feeling on form.  That means my goal is going to be 3:30:00 to 4:00:00 for the actual marathon.  Is 3:30 do-able?  Well, the marathon is 16km more than I have ever run at one time but I have 6 1/2 months to concentrate almost exclusively on my running fitness and build a good endurance base.

What can I expect?  I have done the Auckland Marathon for the last 3 years.  The first half has rolling hills and a couple of annoying (but not really tough) climbs.  If I get through that in under 1:50:00 I will try to switch to leg turnover mode and try to cruise the rest of the way at a good pace, maybe find someone to run with.  The last 25 km is dead flat, from the bridge turnaround to St Heliers and back, so the main thing is good form, minimising impact on the legs and enjoying the scenery ;-P.

Stay tuned.


noun \ˈstā-səs, ˈsta-\
plural sta·ses

1 : a slowing or stoppage of the normal flow of a bodily fluid or semifluid: as
a : slowing of the current of circulating blood
b : reduced motility of the intestines with retention of feces

a : a state of static balance or equilibrium : stagnationb : a sta
te or period of stability during which little or no evolutionary change in a lineage occurs  


This is the definition of "stasis" in the Merriam-Webster dictionary.  Similar to the Oxford dictionary definition of "a period or state of inactivity or equilibrium" (or "civil strife").

That is my idea of stasis, and why this blog is titled 'stasis removed'.  Although there will probably be a lot of reasons why 1b above may also be a valid description :)

What do I mean by stasis?  I mean that moment of inactivity, that period of inaction where momentum is stalled but almost unbearable.  Think about the giant boulder resting on a 'Buddha's hair' on top of a mountain, or the state of a huge crowd at the moment the first window breaks during a protest, or a group of bystanders waiting for the first inclination of action after watching a car crash.

Some people live in that moment.  Some people spend their whole lives there.  That boulder on top of the mountain may have huge potential energy but it may gather moss for thousands of years before having that simple push.

The fact is stasis is comfortable.  If I am in stasis I am bursting with potential energy, with potential.  I have all my options open to me and I have the confidence that there is only more momentum ahead.

And so... we don't move.  The common criticism is that change doesn't happen because people procrastinate.  That is not the way to think about it.  People procrastinate because they are in stasis.  Why launch yourself down the hill and find out how much momentum you have?  why commit yourself entirely?  why move from excited equilibrium?  It is more comfortable to stay in stasis - after all you can always say you "could have/should have/would have" if you wanted to.

So.  Stasis removed?  I don't care what the action is once the first push happens.  As long as you move out of stasis.