September 2004


Teresa Nielson Hayden has a blog entry about a guy selling his unfinished manuscript on ebay. He includes a letter from a “legit company” offering to publish his novel for only $700. I have no idea if this guy can write or not, but I hope he listens to the people on TNH’s blog who say they’ve emailed him. And I really hope he doesn’t vanity publish; it doesn’t sound like he has $700 to spare.

BTW, articles like this and Slushkiller are why I’m a regular lurker on TNH’s blog.

Speaking of Slushkiller (yes, I know she posted that in February)…

There’s a comment in the Slushkiller thread by Jo Walton: “Submitting a manuscript is like a combination of applying for a lifechanging job and going down on one knee to propose marriage; when it’s rejected after a looooooooooooooooooong wait, I think it’s a natural human impulse to want to lash out at the person rejecting, because otherwise they’re all alone with the fact that they’re not good enough.” I just can’t let myself go there. I can’t. It’s not a lifechanging job or a marriage proposal, it’s just one magazine looking at a story. I think this is why I don’t ever want to quit my day job to write: I don’t want that kind of pressure on my writing. It’s just a story at one market. No one place is the only place that can buy your story/novel/script. There is always another buyer. It’s not final proof that you’re not a real writer, it’s not proof that your story sucks, it just means that what you sent and the editor didn’t click. Or, to quote this post by Max Adams on contests and not making it to the next round,

Well. “The average script” is not very good. You could even, in a black moment, say “the average script” is actually pretty bad. A bad script is going to get cut in the first round. It just will. So anything “average” is out of there right off.

The trick with all this is, advancing means a script has something going for it. But getting cut does not mean the script is bad. It means it got cut.

Scripts get cut for a lot of reasons. Judging is subjective. It is possible in the process of judging 6,000 scripts for a good script to get overlooked or for a script to just hit the wrong reader at the wrong time and if that happens, you are out of there for that round. In a subjective process, that just will happen. Especially when you are dealing with 6,000 scripts in a very short period.

Bottom line, figure, if you advance, that is encouragement, and if you do not, well do not get distraught, it just was not your turn.

For those of you who thought scripts and fiction were completely different markets, well, there are some constants to the writing universe. I try to keep the writing and selling completely separate; I write, and I also have this thing I do where I send stuff I wrote out to markets. The writing is the important, fun part; the selling is just this wacky thing I do.

So, Grandfather Paradox is currently at 1500 words. I think this is a bit short, and I think it’s short because I’m not breaking things enough. Things need to be broken in order to have things to fix during the course of the story. So, clearly I need to break more things and be meaner to my poor characters. Which is strange, because in light of spoiler I think I’m being plenty mean to them already! but they’re succeeding at things too easily and must be vexed, circumvented, and otherwise treated meanly.
*wracks brain for cruel and unusual things to do to my story*

Analyzing structure.
It’s not something that tends to occur to me often. I’m more of a sleep-on-it, wake-up-drooling-into-my-pillow-with-the-answer kind of writer. There’s a part of my brain that I seem to access most easily if I’m not completely conscious that seems to understand story better than I do. But when it gets stumped, it’s time to sit around and ask dumb questions about protagonist and antagonist and beginning/middle/end. You know, bring in the analytic brain when the crazed weasel approach to plotting fails. Sometimes I’m writing to see what happens, and it’s often not what I expected when I started the first draft.
And I should be writing.

One of my stories in progress has just gone in a totally unexpected direction. Which is when the good stuff happens, in my opinion. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that there’s no point in writing if I know how the story is going to end, but a large part of the pleasure for me is figuring out what’s happening and why the characters are doing what they’re doing. Of course, now I don’t know what happens next! What I had planned for next was kind of puzzle-boxy, if you know what I mean: clever and perhaps a bit too pat. I’m not sure that fits any more. Hopefully, whatever happens next will be better than what I had planned. That’s often how it works out, odd as that may sound.
I took one of those silly online quiz things and it informed me that my writing style was “mystic,” which fits. I figure out a lot of plot points in that hypnagogic state between sleeping and waking.
I’ve been feeling guilty about the amount of writing I’ve been doing lately (or, to be more accurate, the lack of same). It’s the moving thing; I’m completely frazzled. I’m trailing off in mid-sentence when trying to talk to people at work and such. I have stuff in circulation, but I don’t think anything is due back. *peeks* Nope. But it would be nice to have something new to go out. I’d hate for JJA to forget about me. ;)
In a complete non-sequitur, the Geek Dinner thing Bill mentioned looks fun! I suspect it would be more fun with Bill and Cynthia, though.

Happy birthday to the lovely, delightful Freddie Baer: a talented artist, a sweet and wonderful person, and one of the few people I would be happy to lose Alice in Jungleland to at auction. :D
Happy birthday, Freddie! You rock!

Y’know, after the sixth machine I put my floppy into started screwing up, I might start to think maybe it was me. Or my (virusy) floppy. I’m just sayin’.
No, I’m really not getting much writing done, so you get virii and the pain of utilities. Sucks to be you.
The phone company is evil. Why does it take over a week to get a phone in Atlanta? Dude! I mean, DUDE! It almost made sense when I lived in the Ninth Circle of Hell, population 600 bankrupt people and shrinking fast, but Atlanta? Dude!
Tomorrow. Sigh.
Cable modem is worse. Next Tuesday. I’m Jonesin’ here!
Luckily, I have unlimited Internet on my Treo. I’m sure you’re glad I was able to share my pain.

I just changed my address for F&SF and Asimov’s via their nifty forms.
I feel like there’s something I’m forgetting to do. I wish I knew what it was.
In other exciting news, my Internet connection at home is the suck. Also, I am weary of cleaning spam off my *@(#&!@% guestbook and have therefore abandoned the NMS guestbook in favor of a Movable Type guestbook a la the girlie matters. I’ll probably spend some time trying to make it prettier later. It looks like Brad Choate managed to get his MT guestbook to store location and stuff. I may not want to put that much effort into it.
Damn. I know I’m forgetting something.