[From “Nothing Much — And Then Even Less”] So, now that the first post is out of the way …

Four more days, and I’m flying out to Massachusetts, to attend the Viable Paradise XIII workshop.

Needless to say, I’m duly panicked. I’ve never attended an official workshop before, and I’m not really sure what to expect. I understand there will be some tearing apart of the writing I sent as my application, and also tearing apart other people’s writing. I attend (and currently host and organize) a writing group, so I’ve had some experience with critiquing fiction, although my group uses more of a conversation style, rather than “the reviewer talks and writer stays quiet” format I’ve seen recommended across the internet. But I also understand there will be on-the-spot writing, which I’ve never had to do and I’m really nervous about. And I tend to be intimidated by Names. And Names there will be.

So, I’m counting days and fretting away. I’ve let the piece of writing I used for my application sit untouched, and it’s taking quite a bit of willpower to do so. Otherwise, I’m pretty sure I’ll think it’s the worst piece of crap under the sun when I hear other people talk about it or read it at the workshop. Harboring severe lack of self-confidence makes life fun. I can’t wait!

Either way, I’ve decided to start this blog to follow my experiences at the workshop, my adventures as an aspiring author, and more or less anything else that strikes my fancy. I’ve attempted other blogs before, but have never been good at keeping them up to date. I sincerely hope I’ll do better with this one.

So, to get my “introduction” to the whole wide world out of the way: My given name is Irina Ivanova. I’ve been contemplating using a pen name for a long time, and think I’ve finally settled on adopting “Rilan White.” All my decisions are subject to change, of course, but right now, this name feels right for several different reasons that I won’t go into here. (if you’re still curious: for one of the reasons I don’t want to use my given name, do a Google search for “Irina Ivanova” — I’ll just tell you that I’m not Russian, and then you’ll probably understand)

I’m an engineer by profession. I wrote my first science fiction story just over twenty years ago. I drew my first fantasy scene at around the same time. I think all history before steam engines is fascinating. I’m cautiously hopeful and love speculating about the future. However, in my own fiction I tend to put aside the likely and instead explore the unlikely. I love adventure and I love stories about overcoming (or manipulating) the odds. I also have a very soft spot for lone wolf tales. Generally, I’m attracted to grittier stories with realistic, darker characters in extraordinary (from our point of view) situations. That’s where I like to keep most of my writing, though I’ve also tried my hand at high concept shorts, hard sci-fi, and lighter tone prose.

Until about two years ago, writing was only a hobby for me. Since then, I’ve grown hopeful it may become more. Whether this notion is at all realistic remains to be seen, of course. And I hope to use this blog to show my progress.

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