This is a thing I wrote about 9/11 in 2011 over in the journal world in which I live. Seemed worth updating and posting over here. Continue reading
Posts Tagged With: brain dump
Words in Progress – 2013
So, 2013 is coming to a close. Another year gone like lightning. At least, that’s how they feel to me, for good or ill.
It’s been a busy writing year. I seem to have really caught the bug for writing and submitting, being rejected and submitting again. And writing again and again. Kinda like it.
As much for my own curiosity as anything, here’s a list of what I wrote and/or had published in 2013.
- “To The Edges” – published in May in Crossed Genres’ Winter Well: Speculative Novellas About Older Women. Starred review in Publisher’s Weekly happened in September.
- “Buccinum Anningiae” – written this summer. Submitted and rejected. Submitted again. No word yet.
- “Mind Over Murder” – also written in the summer. Submitted and ACCEPTED! More news soon.
- “Piper Deez and the Case of the Clanless Woman” – written in 2011. Submitted and ACCEPTED back then. But things got weird with that editor. Long story. Anyway. Submitted three times this year, rejected all three. 😦 Back in development. Planning to resubmit in early 2014.
- “Ketset Kismet” – written this fall. Submitted and rejected (awesome rejection email, though–very encouraging). Looks like I’ll be submitting somewhere else in 2014, maybe in February.
- “Meanwhile, Inc.” – I have a title, an idea, and am about 1000 words in. Another possibility for a February submission.
- The Travelers – the long-suffering novel. Still in process. The whole thing’s outlined now and the final scenes are coming together. Still working on the plan of having this draft finished in the next couple weeks and then spending 2014 rewriting.
Goals for 2014.
- “Breaks Like Glass” – another Piper Deez story, written in 2012. Submitted and rejected three times back then (I’m sensing a trend here.). I want to fix it and submit somewhere next year.
- Write more and submit more!
All those rejections up there seem a little sad, don’t they? But really? Of all the stories I’ve written since 2011, I have an acceptance rate of 43% (7 stories written; 3 accepted). Even if I do the math using number of submissions (12) instead of number of stories (which is probably the more accurate way to do this), I come up with a 25% acceptance rate. That’s ridiculously good.
So, yeah, as far as writing goes, it was a pretty good year in my world. Thanks, everyone, for reading my sporadic posts this year, and maybe even buying the books over there on the right. I wish you all the best in the new. I hope 2014 is as good or better for all of us.
The State of Things
We’re supposed to get 3-5 inches of snow tonight. I’m not excited about this.
Yeah, I know. I live in Vermont and it’s December. Just not in the mood.
Writing’s going well, though.
- Submitted a story last week. Fingers crossed on that one.
- Revised “Mind Over Murder” and the editor’s pleased. Apparently she’ll have news on the anthology in a couple weeks. Hopefully, it’ll be stuff I can share with you.
- Getting ready to submit another story that I’ve been rewriting. I have a spreadsheet of possible places to submit to. Alpha Reader thinks I should use the dartboard method. Seems as good as any right now.
- Speaking of Alpha Reader, he has all the scenes I’ve written for The Travelers since August (41,000 words worth). While he’s reading those, I’m going back and outlining the thing. Um, yes, after the fact. Better late than never? It’s already proving useful as I’m finding scenes that aren’t necessary and others that need fleshing out.
Oh, and I have a movie to recommend to you. The Rabbi’s Cat! This is a film adaptation of Joann Sfar’s graphic novels The Rabbi’s Cat and The Rabbi’s Cat 2. Really delightful. The artwork and animation are great. The story and the characters are super fun, it has a good message, and the star of the show has me wanting a talking cat in a bad way.
The State of Things
So, it’s been a while since I’ve posted something that doesn’t have a video or a list of links attached to it. It’s been a busy summer, like I’ve said. Care for an update?
Over the last few months, I wrote and submitted two new short stories to a couple of themed anthologies. Still waiting to hear. There’s also been a lot of reading. I’ll be done with the next WOGF Challenge book soon and will have a review. I went old school this time; so far, it’s another good one.
The Travelers continues to limp toward its conclusion. I’ve mainly been typing up (dictating, really–my wrists have been sore lately) pages I’d already hand-written. That’s been interesting: 1) I wrote some of these scenes months ago (maybe longer), so I’m revisiting them with various levels of “cringe” and “oh, that’s not too bad”; and 2) Windows speech recognition doesn’t always hear quite what I said–latest fave mistake: “put a sock fuzz” for “bodhisattvas.”
Alpha Reader and I had a really good brainstorming session last month figuring out where The Travelers should end up. Lots of good questions and conversation. Let’s see if that translates into a good story!
In the realm of already-published business, Winter Well received a starred review from Publishers Weekly! There were good things said about my story “To The Edges,” which made my day, and continues to, even though the review came out last week.
I also ran into the dark side of attempting to get published yesterday, when I discovered that the latest issue of a magazine I’d submitted another story to was just terrible. (TW for rape; it’s on the right) It felt like a backlash against the really cool hashtag #DiversityinSFF that was happening on Twitter last week. Obviously, this place is not the home for my badass space detective. I immediately submitted somewhere else that feels a lot more welcoming to anyone who, you know, doesn’t find assault titillating. Here’s hoping they think my story’s a good fit, too.
In the what’s-happening-next category, I’m going to be posting an interview with Justin Robinson, author of the soon-to-be-published City of Devils. That’s going to happen on the day his book’s coming out, Sept. 24. I hope you’ll tune in for that. Should be fun. There might even be a giveaway!
That’s it for now, I think. How’ve you all been?
Wherefore Art Thou John Teague
Alpha Reader finished the sub-zero still-not-finished draft of The Travelers last week, and he had thoughts, the main one being that he didn’t really see what one of my characters brought to the story.
Um, that would be a guy named John Teague, the character that kind of got the whole story rolling because I thought he would be interesting.
Apparently, the interesting bits are still in my head. Which, okay, Alpha Reader is right. I know this. It’s just all those bits are really vague and/or scattered at this point.
Let me be honest. Mr. Teague intimidates me. Not in a scary, violent way; he’s not that kind of guy. But his story is huge. Deep and wide. Stuff like that. And I’m not really sure how to tell it, including not knowing what to leave out. I really don’t want to fuck it up.
So, I’ve been avoiding that by telling the rest of the tale. Which Alpha Reader likes! So, I have that going for me.
And I’ve written another 40 pages or so since the last time I updated you on The Travelers. We’re now into the Summer of the Novel and it feels like we’re in the third act and heading toward a conclusion of some kind. Since I’m more of a pantser than a plotter, though, that conclusion is covered in mist. Kind of like John Teague is.
But that’s why I write. Both the conclusion and the character are in my head somewhere, and the easiest way I’ve found to get other things out of my head that seem stuck is to pick up a pen and write. Here’s hoping that works in these cases, too. The only way out is through.
Apparently, I’m bored with the Weekly Linkroll thing. Just seem to have lost my gumption where that’s concerned.
Of course, I have excuses I could use: all the gardening that’s been happening… when it’s not raining and raining and raining, which was getting old and depressing…
And then we had company last weekend! R’s sister and husband came up from MD to spend a few days. Lovely to hang out with them; it had been quite a while. We played tourist, taking them to Herman Melville‘s Pittsfield home, Arrowhead. I used to work there and hadn’t been back since I left 10 years ago. Fun to see it again. It’s a magic place. At least, I think so. Amazing words were written there.
We also took them to Hildene, the summer home of Robert Todd Lincoln, but the admission price had gone up slightly. $21 to tour the fancy house of another rich man whose only claim to fame was his DNA?
So, we passed on that, and instead, we had an adventure! R noticed a sign for the Museum of the Creative Process on the way up, so, when we left Hildene, we backtracked in search of the place, got lost, but finally found it. It was… interesting. Kind of neat, very woo. Very northern California. A B&B (in another old fancy mansion) with a sculpture park is probably the most succinct way of describing it. It’s in a beautiful spot, too, on top of a hill looking out over the Batten Kill valley. The sculptures are pretty cool, for the most part, and a few are quite intense. I especially liked the Holocaust one (powerful, but I can’t find a link to that one) and the Bible one, which is made out of scrap metal and license plates and painted gold (the pamphlet we had also pointed out that one of the purposes of the sculpture was to point out the problem with male-dominated Abrahamic religions). There were lots more, too. And a temple of sorts with the place’s owner’s philosophy written all over the walls. Plus Wizard of Oz stuff. Like I said, interesting.
And that was part of our mini-vacation. Good times.
I’ve also been writing and editing. My latest short story is with R again and will hopefully go to my betas tomorrow or Monday. The novel? It progresses.
And reading! There’s been that, too. Almost finished with Lathe of Heaven. A review will be up soon.
All this to say that I don’t think Weekly Linkroll is going to be a weekly thing anymore. I’m still finding things I’d like to share; just having other things fighting for my attention. Practicing and learning goes with blogging, too.
Steph over at Visible and Real invited me to write a guest post for her last week. It’s up this morning! If you’re interested in some of my thoughts on process, I hope you’ll check it out. I’ll have a guest post from Steph up on later this week. She’ll be writing about The Dark Tower!
Randomocity for You
So, I was thinking of writing a Words in Progress post today. There have been words and they are progressing. But then I got distracted by Karen’s shiny post about herself and decided to play along. 25 random things about me is the meme. Here’s what I came up with (although some I stole from Karen because I’m kind of lazy).
1. My first drafts are almost always handwritten.
2. I’ve lived in 15 different places (7 states).
3. I’ve lived longer in the place I live now than anywhere else in my life. (just did the math on that; wow, I thought it was just my adulthood)
4. I worked for years as a veterinary technician.
5. I like fast cars. Shiny fast cars.
6. I’ve only owned one, though. It’s still my favorite car, long ago that it was. (a black T-bird named Phaedrus)
7. My current car is a 19 year-old Jeep named Clayton. Yes, I name my vehicles.
8. I’ve considered myself a feminist since I was 15. (35 years now!)
9. I love genealogy. So many stories. (My aunt who attended Mt. Holyoke College in the 1850s. My grandfather who was an Orphan Train rider. My great-grandmother, the piano prodigy, who was forced to marry a man 20-some years her senior instead of going to music school. I have dozens.)
10. Both of my parents are the children of immigrants.
11. My cd and record collection is kind of huge.
12. I’m a Cancer. And married to a Aries. Yes, we are both stubborn and cranky in our own ways. I’m not sure astrology has anything to do with that, though.
13. I like spiders. And snakes.
14. My other grandfather was a pianist for a silent movie theater. (see? So many stories)
15. I’ve seen the Northern Lights twice and want to see them some more.
16. I used to volunteer at the Marine Mammal Center when I lived in the Bay Area.
18. I would totally go on a vacation to the moon. (or anywhere in outer space)
19. I have a fondness for Existentialism. (I’m a Whedon fan–kinda goes with the territory)
20. Someday, I want to have a successful enough garden, it produces all the veggies and fruit we need.
21. I support psychedelic research, although I’ve never actually tripped.
22. I love ancient cultures and tribal societies. (well, historic stuff, in general)
23. Yet, I’m just as fascinated with artificial intelligence and future science.
24. I watch at least 2 movies a week, more often than not.
25. I’m always on the lookout for the next perfect pop song. (which very rarely syncs up with what’s actually popular)
Wait, it’s Monday? What?
Apparently I’m still recovering from the weekend. No links, no music. And how did it get to be almost four?!
Welcome to March, I guess…
Words in Progress
“Come to the edge, he said. They said: We are afraid. Come to the edge, he said. They came. He pushed them and they flew.” – Guillaume Apollinaire
As I was getting my novella “To The Edges” (which actually had nothing to do with that Apollinaire quotation, but I just ran across it and it really fits, so now it does) ready to submit a few months ago, I decided that this winter was going to be…
The Winter of the Novel!
Because the damned thing has pretty much stalled, and I really would like to finish it before I die. So, dramatic fanfare and bold italics were called for. My plan: from the day I submitted “To The Edges” (which turned out to be Hallowe’en) until the spring equinox, it was going to be all 2082 all the time.
And so it has. I started out by rereading all 169K+ words and was pleased to discover that quite a bit of it doesn’t suck. Some of it, of course, does. Like, why did I give a very minor character almost a page of description completely derailing the scene he’s introduced in? He’s a big guy who sewed his brother’s eye shut. Nobody cares about his business practices, M. And no, I don’t know why he sewed his brother’s eye shut yet. Still figuring that one out.
But quite a lot of these words are very salvageable. There’s a story in 2082 that I still like a lot and want to share with folks once it’s done. What I’m seriously pondering is whether a major subplot even needs to be there, though. It’s interesting in its own right and has ramifications in all my world-building, but is it the story?
“When you write a story, you’re telling yourself the story,” he said. “When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story.” – Stephen King
That major subplot is a good story, too, I think, but is it this one?
So, that’s part of what’s been going through my mind as I’ve moved on to editing, rewriting, moving things around, crossing shit out. Seriously wondering about structure, pacing, all that. Oh, and what happens next.
Last night, though, while R was rubbing my shoulders (because he’s neat like that), I had a bit of a revelation. I realized that my big problem is that those two stories should each be their own book. When that thought popped into my head, a little weight lifted off my shoulders and I could feel things sliding more comfortably into place. Two stories, same world. One won’t necessarily be the sequel of the other, although it kinda sorta might be. Crossover business will definitely happen.
Does that mean it’s going to be…
**more dramatic fanfare**
The Winter of Two Novels?
No. One at a time, please. That was part of things feeling right: I don’t have to do it all at once. I might even finish one, now that I cut the sucker in half. Here’s hoping, anyway. Especially since I still don’t know how the one I’m going to be working on ends.
I know the ending of other (new working title: The Tribe & The City), but the one I want to finish first (now called: The Travelers), I’m still not sure. I was hoping by getting myself immersed in the book again, I could start to figure out that part. And things are starting to bubble, so I’m hopeful.
Yeah, this is a pants kind of operation. Although I like Felicia Day’s idea.
“When I get stuck writing, I just put in, ‘Suddenly a Nuclear Bomb hits the town and all the characters die. THE END’ and go eat chocolate.”
There will be chocolate. And probably explosions. One of my main characters loves to blow stuff up, so that can’t be helped. Will there be nukes? Could be. One of the darker endings I’ve come up with has that happening, kind of a last man standing sort of ironic thing, but R thinks that’s too gloomy. And if this world is going to hang around for another book, that could be problematic. We’ll see. Wish me luck!