Archive for the ‘writing’ Tag

Alas. Even though I expected it.

Made another submission for professional publication. This time I met their submission requirements, so it got read.

And I failed to make the sale. Which I expected, because no one sells their first story. Lesson learned: I can be rejected on content and quality reasons and not die. I’m happy with the lesson, even though it would’ve been far cooler to have sold the story.

In contrast to the last time, I had to expand the story to meet their requirements. The original was about 470 words; of course, it was written presupposing you already knew the characters — it’s meant to be a later entry in my overall anthology. So I had to add a few things to introduce the characters and scenario, and it ended up about 670 words.

That was probably as educational as trying to compress a 7000 word story into 4000.

So I’m pleased, even without getting accepted.


Twenty five minutes

Is apparently long enough to write a complete 500 word short-short, including editing it into its final shape. Of course, it’s going to be largely meaningless to those not familiar with my world (and not many are since I haven’t published yet), but it feels good to bang one out like that.

So that’s around 20,000 words completed. Three other stories exist in varying states of completion. One file is loaded with stray ideas, and lines I need to be sure I include in some story somewhere. Probably around 30,000 words total so far.

And no, I don’t do NaNoWriMo. I can’t turn it on and off like that — either I’m writing, or I’m not. Besides, November is horrible for finding spare time to write. Too many other things going on.

Heard back already

It’s my first rejection notice, and I more or less expected it. They wanted up to 4000 words and I couldn’t get below 4700, which I submitted hoping it was a soft (even squishy) limit of 4000. The original length of the story was about 7250, so to keep it coherent after lopping 2500 words off was a major accomplishment, I think — to say nothing about being educational.

But fundamentally, I failed to meet their criteria, and that’s my fault. I emailed him back a thank you.

So the lesson of today is that I can submit my work for professional consideration and not die. And that I can take a rejection notice non-personally.

Kinda feels like I’ve successfully passed the first phase of a long, slow hazing process, and in a way that feels promising.

I finally did it.

I submitted a story for consideration for professional publication. Wish me luck.

Well, as long as I want to write…

I tumbled across some old text files with some light verse I’d scribbled several years ago, and decided they didn’t completely suck, so I’ll toss one or two out here every now and then.

I’m no Wordsworth… I’m shooting for Ogden Nash on an off day. :D

On Coffee
Coffee, coffee, in my cup
How I love to drink you up
Black as night and hot as hell
My oh my, I think you’re swell

Turkish coffee ground so fine
Fresh Sumatran, smooth as wine
Columbian, Jamaican Blue
Blessed coffee, I love you!

Mokka, Kona, Sulawesi
For my coffee, I am crazy
French roast, mild, or cappucino
Hail the holy coffee bean-oh!

Cream and sugar, plain and black
Iced, or with a shot of Jack
Fresh and hot from my carafe …
*ACK!* *GAG!* *CHOKE!* This stuff’s DECAF!

Oy, my back…

Took advantage of my time off from $EMPLOYER to visit a couple days with my friends Walt and Siobhan, their two children, and three oversized dogs who are convinced each of them that they’re really no more intimidating than a chihuahua.

Absinthe—prepared the traditional way with a sugar cube and a cold water drip—has been consumed. It’s lovely.

Golf was played. I shot two bogeys and a 74 at Kyber Run. Unfortunately the two bogeys were my *best* holes and the 74 was for nine holes, not eighteen. I reached a par-5 almost in the regulation three shots—a five iron off the tee, a five-iron out of the woods, and a five iron up close to the green. I then took three chips to get it up on the deck, and three putts to get it in the hole. Oh, well.

We talked–and this will hopefully be of interest to , , , and any other Vanguarders that I’m forgetting as I’m really exhausted—about the possibility of a 20th anniversary special issue for Vanguard Dossier in 2010.


Some of you may recall the MSTing and I wrote of the Batman Forever script, in the opening host segment of which I made reference to the fictional comic book “Moose Man #37”.

Imagine my shock…

You know, it’s a moral imperative to get that now…

EDIT: Not to be outdone, the Swedes offer this… the home site is here, where DivX and MPEG2 versions await. Oy.

Thinkin’ ’bout writin’

So has an interesting meme/question going, which is:

What would you say are the trademarks of my writing? What themes or quirks or turns of phrase have you noticed? What is it that makes a story by me — well, a story by me?

There being not so many who have seen my writing (my dear fellow Vanguarders, various folks from HoIF, one or two from APA:D, and a few who probably only know my writing style from my MSTings—if you don’t know the alphabet soup, you weren’t there :D), it’s not really a fair question for me to ask—although those familiar are certainly welcome to kick in their tuppence).

I know what my primary theme is.

Culture shock.

Generally in the form of someone who wants nothing more than a normal life thrown into circumstances that force them to act abnormally. I know in Vanguard, by the time we wrapped in ’94, Geoff still hadn’t quite given up on his middle-American white picket fence and two car garage dreams despite being the leader of the national superhero team and quite definately not a normal person… or even really Terran, for that matter.

I might consider tackling the reverse—the special person forced to live a normal middle-American life—but ‘The Incredibles’ already did that.

I am also aware that I rarely write short, declarative sentences. I love the em-dash and ellipses and parenthetical statements, perhaps too much. And while I’m not as far over the edge as H.P. Lovecraft, I don’t often leave words and phrases unmodified. I can spin on a dime from full, complete (if not overcomplete) and formal sentence structure to sentence fragments and vernacular/vulgar usage.



A little late, Jo. Again

Link had from my dear : J.K. Rowling says Dumbledore was gay. That’s nice. D’you think you might’ve actually put that somewhere in one of the books, Jo?

This is bothering me more, the more I think about it, actually.

First of all, I’m not a big fan of divining authorial intent by anything more than the marks they made on paper—if they meant to make a particular statement, then a writer should be able to bloody well write it that way. If they can’t, then either they should rethink what they’re trying to say, or start major edits. If they didn’t write what they meant to say, then either they didn’t mean to say it, or they’re not as good a writer as they thought. So what she says now about what she wrote seems pretty meaningless to me. If she wanted Dumbledore to be gay, give us some better clues in text, not after the fact. I mean, she may as well be telling us that McGonagall and Sprout have been having a lesbian affair for the last fifteen years. We lack canonical data to back up the statement.

Second, it’s contextless, which is a problem we’ve had with JKR’s writing from day one that caught up with her in a horrible way in the last two books. Things appear from whole cloth in later books—particularly in HBP and DH—that she did no setup for in the first five books. So Albus had the hots for Grindelwald. I might care if we knew anything about Grindelwald other than a few obscure and negative references before now. Our pre-DH knowledge of Grindelwald is little more than A) he was a big nasty dark wizard during the same time frame as WW2 and B) Albus defeated him. How are we supposed to divine anything more from that?

Third, she had a couple that was damn near canonically gay—Lupin and Sirius—and ran away from it, as far and as fast as possible.

At best, I can say her authorial intent was muddy. At worst, she completely lost her narrative thread and didn’t know how to get it back.

Mainly, I say that if you mean to say it, write it. Don’t backfill after the trees have already chopped down and covered in ink marks.

Many moons ago, and I started a ‘zine–a shared-universe APA, really–called Vanguard Dossier. We were later joined by , by , by suburbanbanshee, and many others who are not to my knowledge on LJ or WordPress, and in a later incarnation by and .

Many of the things I did in there I still consider to be some of my best writing to date — a fact which doubtless amuses both and , because they got to see first hand how much of a stresspuppy and self-critic I am of my own work. :)

Anyway, we had a mini-get-together on Monday — just me, Jeff and Lisa, and Chris R. suburbanbanshee was going to be there, but she took ill unfortunately. She is feeling better now, happily.

Jeff and Lisa’s daughter is seven now, which is a mind-blower. That’s half the age of my younger cat, which is also a bit weird to contemplate.

Looking back over our twenty-four issues plus one special, plus the one restart issue, I have to say that I haven’t been that steadily and reliably and fundamentally creative since then. A couple well-received MSTings (solo and et al.), some stray fanfic, but I keep looking back and thinking, Dayamn, I peaked already and missed it!

Which I know is ridiculous. It’t not like I’ve stopped thinking or creating, but I just haven’t found a way to be so focused since then.

I’d love to see it all start up again, but that’s unlikely. We all have lives now, and I can’t find half the old team. Meanwhile, Jeff and Lisa have lent me some back issues I have not been able to find in my files, so I’m moving ahead with the PDF-on-CD version for the old team. I have no expectation of making it available to anyone who wasn’t already involved in Vanguard, so please don’t ask. Too many rights issues involved–it’s not my place to decide to disseminate other people’s work. I could release mine, but it would be in a vacuum, almost meaningless without the rest of the universe they were part of, and most of my stories mention other creators’ characters.

I plan to correct a few typos and some raw grammatical errors, but leave it otherwise as published. Although I wonder, and this is a question for anyone (former Vanguarders’ opinions will carry more weight with me, though, since its our stuff we’re talking about): would it be appropriate to correct glaring factual errors, so long as they don’t punch a hole in the story? Or is the “historical” record itself more important?

Either way, it damn skippy was fun while it lasted.