The #3DNC Plans of Andrew Stirling MacDonald

Reblogged from

Every Labor Day, a great many authors and author-hopefuls embark on a mad quest – attempting to write a novel in three days. It’s a sort of NaNoWriMo all compressed into one weekend of frantic, don’t-stop-writing-no-matter-how-silly-it-gets work. I will be joining several of my friends this year, and I will be trying to write a complete short story, or perhaps novella. I recently read (and reviewed!) The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, and came away from the book very impressed with the way he made his city come to life. My goal with my novella is to make a part of my Noose world come to life in a comparable way. I have a few small ideas now, but I think I will be setting my story in the capitol city, following one main character and focusing on the part of the city in which he spends his time. I’m looking forward to the experience, and may publish the story here once I’ve edited the work.


Aakroveil – a group reading of Marian B’s Novel

unnamedThe second weekend of this year, a group of creative friends gathered together to read through Marian B’s fantasy novel for the first time, as a group. The group consisted of many of the Ekphrasis faithful, as well as some auxilliary members who’ve come to occasional events.

We were hosted by Elaine S in her beautiful home on the outskirts of Kutztown, Pennsylvania. We arrived prepared with food for the weekend, comfy clothes and blankets for long reading sessions (with a fireplace roaring, no less!) and various phones, tablets, and laptops from which to read our parts.

Josh L, Sharon G and I read the main three perspective characters. Josh read Dorian, a young (secretly half-farie) lord trying to keep war from breaking out between the humans and faries. Sharon read Meg, Dorian’s love interest. I read Draven, Meg’s love interest. Oh, he is also Dorian’s brother, and the person who is trying to cause the two races to go to war.

Other parts were read by Momo S, Betsy G, Beth B, Earl P, Lindsay S, Elizabeth S, Amanda L, Jeff H, Steph H, and possibly some other people that will angrily admonish me for fogetting them after they read this blog post.

We spent several hours Friday night reading, and got quite a good start on it. This has been the fourth group reading of a complete work that we’ve done and we seem to be getting the hang of it. After reading, some of us played board games for a while, then we went to bed.

We got up early Saturday morning to eat pancakes and continue our reading. We read most of the day Saturday, taking occasional breaks for snacks or to stretch. In the evening we assembled at a local diner for a meal. After some excitement with a flat tire, we eventually got everyone back to the house. An impromptu dance party commenced for the people who were staying overnight, which eventually evolved into the group laying around in a circle and asking difficult philosophical questions of one another.


Sunday morning we went off to various local houses of worship, and met back at 1 pm to finish off the novel. Overall I think that it went very well. Marian’s novel was a lot of fun, and we had a lot of good discussion about parts of the novel that worked and that didn’t. I think that the information garnered over the weekend will be a valuable tool for Marian as she is revising her work and beginning the process of shopping it around.

Ekphrasis Report, 03.03.14 – Commas, Short Presentations, Musical Performances, Asyndeton

March’s Ekphrasis gathering began with Sørina H. leading a workshop on the proper use of commas. As several of the group’s regular members are currently working on long-form narrative fiction, Sørina has been offering some instruction on different English techniques. Several people brought in sample sentences from different works, punctuation removed. After the workshop, several people presented works. The group had been asked beforehand to bring works that could be presented in three minutes or less, rather than the much longer chapters from our respective novels that have marked many of the recent gatherings.

Jeff H. started us off with a page of cryptic notes that he didn’t remember writing (but which was clearly written by him). He found it in a folder on his computer, apparently.

I presented a short work of prose that I’ve been working on, and the group then had a lively discussion as they worked to interpret the meaning behind the piece. I listened to the discussion, but did not participate in it, which was a very interesting and fruitful experience.

Josh L., a frequent attendee but first-time presenter, brought in a series of his photographs. We talked about his composition style and shooting techniques.

Sharon G. unveiled an acrylic painting she’s been working on for several months, a still-life which pictured several different types of glass vessels.

Marian B. read us a short story she’d written called “Steph,” which was inspired in part by Steph H, another person present that evening. It was a funny story, which claimed to be full of inside jokes, but ended up being quite accessible to everyone who heard it.

Betsy G. finished the non-musical presentations for the day with a poem called “The Battle of the Galloping Sausage,” a rousing epic about a food-fight.

The group then moved into the room with the better piano, and the musical performances commenced. Betsy and I have been working (in a very languid manner, I grant) on a duet performance of the song “My Eyes” from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, which we presented to the rest of the Ekphrasians. I sang the part of Billy and Betsy sang Penny’s part, and I accompanied on the piano. We’d planned to perform the song with microphones, but it seemed that only one microphone was present in the building. We decided to muddle on anyhow, and sing it without any amplification. This proved to be a mistake. Our execution on that first attempt might have been the best we’d ever performed (extra impressive since we hadn’t sung together since the middle of January), but heartbreakingly, the audience could not hear our beautiful voices.

We decided to try again, and attempt to share the microphone. I moved the bench over so that Betsy could sit next to me and hold the microphone. What followed was not exactly terrible, but did include several false starts and two abortive restarts of the final verse.

Finally, I performed a song I’d written, accompanying myself. The song was a reprise of a longer song from an album I’ve been working on. I hope to make a rough recording of it this week and upload it here, so that all of you gentle readers can enjoy it.

After that, people trickled out slowly. The remaining attendees had an impromptu sing-along party, performing songs from Les Miserables, Frozen, Once More With Feeling and several other works, until the night eventually wound down to a close. Overall, it was a very good meeting.