Thursday, February 26, 2009

Discipline and submission; and an extract from my pillow-book

ToB is back out on the market. I love people who accept electronic submissions--no messing about with stamps and things (particularly challenging for Canadians submitting to US markets).

You would think letter-writing would be an attractive pastime for a writer; and it once was for me, back when I was fifteen and possessed a fountain pen and a great deal of sealing wax. I suppose sealing wax is not technically forbidden on literary submissions, but I cannot imagine it would do me many favours, even in SF/F.

Since I am (a) not fifteen any longer and (b) neurotic, letter-writing is right up there with pizza-ordering and expense-filing in my mental list of Wretched Things. Email-writing, on the other hand, I find relatively painless. Tonight's submission email was a bit more painful than usual, but only because my arms are so fatigued from a killer workout.

I have been very pleased with my ability to submit, of late; apparently my discipline has improved, although I don't know the cause. Work, workouts, mastery? Welcome, anyway.

And now, since I am thinking of it: the pillow-book needs an entry or two.

Wretched things:

They say it will snow again this weekend.
There is cat-vomit upon my copy of Middlesex.
A man on the streetcar touched my buttock.
I have never been to England.
My favourite boots are ruined by salt.

Things that give a feeling of grace:

My husband's hair is a hundred kinds of red.
I have seen the albino squirrel in Trinity Bellwoods.
On Lisgar Street, there is a garden behind a high gate.
One cannot have too many cufflinks.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

In which I am rejected: once again, kindly

"ToB" has come back to me. As with this story's first outing, the polite and friendly editor has taken the time to write a personal note. In this case, he praised the style, and criticized the length and the finale. Like the first editor to have seen this story, he invited me to submit other work.

I call that a pretty solid sophomore outing for this story.

"Fail better," I say to myself. Except I'm not actually sure there is a better type of rejection than this--one step up the ladder lies acceptance.

(If only this wasn't my best work! It quite outshines the other stories I've written since. I guess that's where the "fail better" will have to come in.)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Still on our backs closer than a shirt

Violence: complete. 4800 words. I don't know the real title yet.

This story felt the way I imagine it feels when shrapnel, long buried in your flesh, works its way to the surface.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

It is not for nothing I have lived through this long day

The Godot story is complete, at last. It's not very long: 3300 words. I said to my husband that it's probably completely unsaleable, but as usual with these things, I wouldn't have been happy if I had tried to leave it unfinished.

I might still re-draft it; I shall need some readers, but I'm rather afraid it will only be intelligible to readers of Beckett, in which case I will be correct about the lack of commercial potential.

It did do that thing in my brain, though.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Monthly Progress Report

I suppose it is not exactly monthly, but it has been a month since the last one, give or take. In that month I have done a fair bit of work, notwithstanding a Hardware Fail and a great deal of other claims upon my time.

Not-a-Werewolf: 19,000 to date.
Dickensian Fantasy, Draft 4: 26,000 to date. Yeah, I started on it. I don't get real credit for all of those words, though, because a lot of them are cannibalized from Draft 3.

stories in progress
Godot: 2100, and only about 250 of them suck, which is a great improvement.
Book of the Dead: 1200, all genius. Though this is a very difficult and dicey story for a number of reasons.
Violence: 990, some of which were just transcribed from the handwritten draft, others of which were added yesterday.
Talking Fish: no progress.

stories completed since VP
Pie: ready to submit, need to pick a market.
Belladonna: on submission.

The discerning reader will note that despite all of this verbiage, I did not actually complete any stories in either December or January, although I did manage to touch up the Pie Story to the point of being ready for submission.

I owe myself two past-due stories now, plus the one on deck for February. Fortunately, I have enough open tabs that I might actually be able to achieve this. Possibly also fortunately, I do not have very much money, and might take a vacation at home this month, where my expenditures will be limited to the occasional fancy coffee.