Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thursday Thoughts

Wow, this is (probably) my last post for 2009.

Writing-wise, it's been a good year. In some respects, I'm still treading water - though I'm proud of the sale to GUD and the fact that I'm getting more of my poetry out there - but where I've made progress is I think I've developed a better eye for self-editing. Several of the last few stories I submitted, I made significant changes before shipping them out, whereas previously, I basically did line-edits. (Or maybe they're just inferior stories, but I prefer to think it's a more keenly developed eye.) I've had a perfect record with having rewrite requests accepted in the past six months - every time I've tweaked, the market has accepted it.

I also learned I'm good at proofing and technical edits (grammar, punctuation, etc) for other folks ... and that I like doing it. A lot. The neurotic, picky part of my brain perks up and warbles an operetta. My first project was a highly technical non-fiction work in regards to businesses and healthcare. Approaching these fine details while making sure I understood the context they were in was challenging.

Other milestones ... Flow has received more requests for partials than any other manuscript I've submitted (though no further bites yet). I'm unsure as to whether this is because it's a better query than my previous attempts, or because urban fantasy is "in" and so agents tend to look at more of those proposals ... or both.

I received an "almost" for a story from a pro-level market. Frustrating as anything, but still a good page for my mental book.

I've come into reluctant touch with my experimental side. I'm not "literary" by nature, but after stories like Inside the Box (about what happens to Hope when Pandora fails to release her), Light Off Snow (a Vantage-Point-style story wherein the plot advances by showing the same scene from different perspectives), and the free-write I just finished (the all-dialogue piece), it's hard to deny that I enjoy doing whacky, off-the-wall stuff every now and again. But I don't force it ... it just happens.

And, of course, always reaching for new things - primarily the science fiction novel, which has been an amazing learning experience for me, and sometimes an example of, "The more things change, the more they stay the same." And I have a cyberpunk freewrite begging to be finished at some point ...

No goals - the only things I really want for 2010, I can't control directly. (That would be "a novel contract," yes.) But looking ahead eagerly. Maybe this is the year.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The charm?

Make that three stories in a row that are highly experimental with a short expected length. What was going through my head this last spring? Though this last one has to be blamed on the prompt, as it was to write a piece in "fourth person" ... I'm not even sure what I've got is a fantasy story, more like an anthropomorphic allegory.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thursday Thoughts

Happy Christmas Eve!

Journal of the Dead - halfway mark. Oddly, both Journal and Scylla and Charybdis are in similar spots. The main character is dealing with the mundane politics of a society with complex superficial rules. In Journal, this is the center of the character's new world; in Scylla, it's just one stop along the way for Anaea. My love for fantastic intrigue and politicking definitely shows through in both, though.

Been working on turning my old free-writes into completed stories. Oddly, the first two I encountered were both pieces of what I knew would be fairly short works and experimental.

In the first, the narrator tells the story of what happened when she babysat for four young dragons ... backwards mostly, but also sideways, in the manner of someone who keeps forgetting she's left out chunks of the tale and scrambles to fill in the missing pieces.

In the second, the entire piece is written as non-quoted dialogue between two minds trapped in the same body. All description and action is implied or indicated in the conversation. I was worried about this being none too comprehensible, but everyone who read the original piece (about 600 words, I think) thought it was very easy to follow the two voices, so I'm going to go for finishing it in the same vein.

Once I'm done with the second story, it will have taken me through March - the next free write is dated to April.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


This story has just sold to Alternative Coordinates (! It's a fairly short adventure piece with a child protagonist and a city that never sleeps ...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Arcane Whispers Vol 2

Arcane Whispers, Vol 2, is now available from Wolfsinger Publications! It contains two stories of mine, both reprints from 2008 - Soul Siblings, a sword-and-sorcery style fantasy, and Apartment Tour, an urban / contemporary flash fiction.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thursday Thoughts

Progress continues apace - finally slipped back into the warm embrace of Scylla and Charybdis. I've only written about a third of a chapter, but it's good to be back. I'm concerned this section is moving too slowly; I still haven't gotten to the crux of the matter. But the dangerous delicacy segment will be on this current page, and then quite soon after that, the hammer comes down on my poor main character ...

Otherwise, been working on my short stories. Have two of them, finished right in a row, that are way shorter than my usual wont - one is about 2500 words, the other about 3200 (I think - I'm away from my home computer right now).

Trying to decide where to go next: if I focus on editing until, well, January (when another challenge story comes up) or if I want to go to my backlog of unfinished hour writes and finish some of those up. I'd guess I have at least ten ... sheesh.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Every Genre

When you think about it, don't most books contain an element of every genre?

Romance - not universal, but many novels have romantic subplots or flickers of chemistry.
Mystery - it's hard to think of a book that doesn't have a hidden element of some kind that the reader might try to puzzle out in advance ... even if it's a fairly straightforward work and it's just a question of, "What next?" Fantasy settings have the puzzle of the world.
Science fiction / fantasy - let's face it, even the most mundane book isn't quite like the world as we know it, if only because it's framed and "tidied up" for readers.

I could go on: every book is a suspense; many books include some element of horror, at least in attempting to get the reader to fear for the main character; action is a popular component in other genre works.

Doesn't it come down to which element you choose to make the star?

Random theorizing over. Carry on.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thursday Thoughts

Now about a third of the way through Journal of the Dead ... I'm surprised (and worried) that Oliun hasn't even appeared yet, considering his attack on Rhiane pretty much fuels the rest of the plot and its resolution. I don't think it's far away, though ... but as I've been editing, I keep being aware of the weight and flow of events, which often differs from the way I picture the timeline in my head. A third of the way and no Razentis, no Atsihl ... and these are characters I think of as central to the book.

Haven't touched Scylla and Charybdis since I last wrote. Been busy working on a pair of short stories, both of which are much shorter than my usual fare. The second one, I'm not too pleased with. The assignment was to take a comic subject and write it seriously, and in doing so, I think I made it somewhere between banal and deadpan. The latter I'll take; the former, not so much. Probably I will post it anyway (it's an challenge), but ask if, for the purposes of it as a story, I should plug the humor back in. I so wanted to go there several times.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Balance of Power

This story has sold (sold!) to MindFlights, which used to be The Sword Review and purchased two of my prior stories. Publication date to be announced.

(If anyone's wondering about how I order my future publications, it's roughly chronological, with a vague estimate for anything that's TBA.)

And I just realized that my last three blog posts have been about sales. That's pretty nifty.

Monday, December 07, 2009


My terzanelle, Dreamweavers, will be appearing in Every Day Poets at a time to be determined. Haha, I inflict more scary form poetry on the world ... ahem.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Four Tests

This flash fiction story will be appearing in Moon Drenched Fables ( in March of 2010! I will let it speak for itself when it comes out. ;-)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Thursday Thoughts

I changed the length of my writing cycle again - we'll see what happens. Trying to do two pages at once, enough to get into the story, but not so much that if I get snowed in with real life that I am hopelessly stalled.

I've reached about the quarter mark with editing on Journal of the Dead. I somehow manage to be surprised by the scene in the river every time I read it. It's very tense and (if I do say so myself) quite well-written ... it's one of the few real action scenes in the book, and I love it. It's also a sneaky setup for Parik's story much later on, which I swear I didn't know at the time I originally wrote this scene. (Journal was originally a Nano novel - ironically, the first year (my third attempt) that I failed to hit the word count - so it wasn't heavily planned out and I didn't do a lot of groundwork while I was writing.)

I'm really glad I saved the original draft separately and am going to keep doing it as I pass through the book. I've found some unusual typos that I couldn't decipher from context, so back to the original manuscript. Grant I could look at the printed copy, but being able to compare the two could be useful.

Scylla and Charybdis, I'm approaching a scene I've been looking forward to, involving the consumption of a very dangerous local delicacy ... just crossed the 100k mark. I know, I should be wrapping it up now. It's going to be what it's going to be.