Date:

September 23rd, 2006

Merrie had recommended some podcasts about writing (and no, I’m not Elizabeth, but I can steal recommendations with the best of them), and because I already subscribe to more podcasts than I can reasonably listen to, I added some of the ones she pointed to. On Thursday, I listened to the first episode of Holly Lisle’s “On Writing” podcast. Her advice on this one is don’t start your book with weather. Amusingly, and this is probably an indicator of how limited my repertoire of beginnings is, it had never even occurred to me that one could do such. I thought over my openings. I couldn’t come up with a single one that has weather in it. I read a few, to make sure. Nope. No weather. Total absence of rain, snow, wind, clouds, sunshine. Well, I’ll be. I was doing something right and didn’t even know it. But here’s where we come to the peril of writing advice, especially when it comes to me. My Connerly woman genes dictate that if someone tells me I should not do something, I must then immediately find a way to do that forbidden thing. Start a story with weather…so tempting. Not only does Holly warn me away from such a course of action but (extra bonus plus) I’ve never done it before! Hmmm. This writing advice podcast business may not be for me.

I am doing a second (in some places third) draft of Cualcotel, have I mentioned that? I haven’t done a writing post in so long I forget what I’ve told you about. I’m still in the first quarter of the book, and I’ve discovered that I hate revision. This is part of why stuff languishes in my “to be fixed up before sending out” pile. There’s also the queasy feeling I don’t much like any of it and maybe it’s all terrible and I’m doing myself a kindness by not sending it out. If I don’t much care for it, how can I expect anyone else to? Though Gaiman said (on this very website, how cool is that?) that he doesn’t expect anyone to like everything he writes, including himself, so maybe it’s all pointless grumping on my part. Then again, he demonstrably doesn’t suck, while I…well, let’s just say I haven’t proved my not suckitude yet.

I sent “Hindsight” out again, which means I officially have something out there again. It had languished for about six months. So, that’s on its way to its sixth rejection. My goal is to get a second thing out before “Hindsight” comes back. I also already have the next market picked for “Hindsight”, which should help turnaround matters. Really, how am I ever going to get that 100 rejection party if I don’t snap to it?

The last thing I completed was a retelling of the Garden of Eden story. Snake’s point of view, of course. Yeah, I know, so done. Like the world needs another one of those. Stack of useless words. On the other hand, it’s what I had available to be written, so I wrote it, and it’s preferable to the alternative: no story and no words. I did another one of those idea generating exercises, which is kind of fun. I did actually write up some stories from the first iteration of that exercise (including the mournfully, grievously broken “Far From the Tree”) and I hadn’t done it this year, so I guess that’s useful. Spent about twenty minutes on it. About ten ideas, maybe about three or four of those usable. One that I thought was really cool.

I’ve had, lately, a lot of existential angst about my writing. Almost two years and I’m not anywhere, to speak of. I have a pile of words that I don’t know what to do with, I seem incapable of sending anything out, and my writing lacks any sort of luster, though I do try. This has led to me weighing down my friends and relatives with numerous “woe is me” discussions of my writing (sorry, guys). Thankfully, you can be spared the brunt of all that, and I can get straight to the funny parts. With one of my friends, I had this exchange :
11:41 AM me: This was better when I thought I was GREAT!
my friend: hahahaha
and hugs
11:42 AM i find your fiction to be markedly different from your conversations.
where you, in the words of admiral nelson, forget maneuvers and go right at ’em.
11:43 AM me: hmmm i’m digesting that. so my fiction is indirect?
11:45 AM my friend: i would say oblique without the payoff.
11:46 AM that the very best oblique writing can deliver.
me: i’m working on payoff! really, I am.
Then, with another friend, discussing a specific broken story:
“So of course I’m headed for the showdown so I have to put the caretaker in sooner.”
She, “Well, actually, I’m never sure which way you’re going with something. I find you often go in directions I didn’t expect.”
“Oh,” worried pause, “I’m not sure that’s a good thing.”
“No, no, no,” she assures me,”This can be a good thing.”

Right, so on my first book, the one where they excerpt reviews down to a single word because anything else would be damning, I’m having them put “oblique…” and “unexpected”. I’m sure my friends won’t mind blurbing me. Also, it appears I won’t have to turn in my internet bloggers member card, because I have managed to post a chat transcript. First memes, now chat transcripts, will my conformity never end?

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