Date:

March 13th, 2007

Right. So I realize I vanished for a long time (I use the metric of whether my brother in law asks me if I’m ever going to blog again to know whether it’s been a long time. This past weekend, he asked). But the crocuses are back, and the woodpecker too (even though the city cut down the tree he lived in last year and I thought I might not see him again) so why not me too? I have returned!

As of yesterday, I sold my first story. No kidding. It’s “The Way Before”, going to Escape Pod, which is a dream market for me because a – I love it and b – I think audio stories are the bomb and c – it has a wider listenership than F&SF has subscribers. Thousands of people could hear my story. Ha! And here’s the thing : I completely was not expecting it, because my story didn’t make it to the finals in the Contest. Now, all along Steve (editor) had said “top three get special prizes plus standard contracts to whichever other ones I like,” but I had just kind of assumed those would be culled from the other finalists. So imagine my surprise when he announced which stories he was going to buy (an additional nine, besides the winners) and my story was on the list. I thought it must be a typo, then found the email with the story contract in my inbox. Vertigo, shouting and dancing ensued in quick succession.

I’m going to be published, though probably not promptly. About six months, I think. Don’t worry, I’ll let you know when my story is available for download. With any luck, it’ll be read by someone who doesn’t stumble over the pseudo-Quechua names.

Not only am I going to audio, I have three other things out in markets. I rock. Not as much as I could, as there should be way more stuff out trying to find homes, but still. Nolove from Fantasy magazine on “Stranger’s Child” so I sent it elsewhere, and turned around “Another Boot” on Flashquake’s rejection (the classic rejection for me: this story is about too many things at once). Though I’m sure they didn’t peg it as a Garden of Eden story. Those serial numbers well filed. “Hindsight” still out, too, and I’m going to trunk it when it gets 10 rejections. It’s done well for me as a thing I can stand to have rejected, but I’m not sure it’s really publishable.

So other than the obvious giddy inducing first sale, writing lately is a little…spotty. I seem to be beginning things just fine, but I don’t seem to be able to finish anything. So because I’m a listmaker, here’s a list of the things I’m currently working on. There’s a meme I’ve seen a lot of places lately that has writers posting the first lines of their published things, or their works in progress, or their unfinished things, or whatever. so I’m going to use the first line meme as a frame for my list. First lines is one of the things I’m terrible at, but working hard on, so this is good work for me in more ways than one. In fact, highly verbal and unselfconscious me totally shut down at Viable Paradise during the opening line exercise. I wrote them, but they were all so bad I refused to read them aloud. Which, you know, is not like me at all. But I’m working on it. Here are some fruits of my work, though you’d be wise to watch for worms and rot.

  • the glass ghost story, untitled, “Daisy stood as close to the tank as she could, watching the shark.” Here is the counterexample to my bad opening lines claim. I’m completely happy with that line: it sets tone, foreshadows, tells you about the world, and suggests the menace I want. I don’t think I can get much more work out of an opening line. I don’t know how hooky it is, which is my biggest weakness, but it’s about as hooky as I can come up with at this competence level. The only thing I’m not sure on is the protag’s name, but that’s just a placeholder.
  • the margins story, also untitled and which has two opening lines at the moment. 1 – “Millie was the sort of girl no one usually addressed.” or 2 – “Millie sat in her corner of the library, reading her book, knowing it would be up to her to observe when it was time to leave, because neither her classmates nor her teacher would notice her absence.” 1 is backstory, too much like telling and having an obvious narrator. 2 is clunky. Neither matters until I get this written to the end, of course, but they’re both pretty terrible as is.
  • This one might be called “Tattoo Code”, or it might be called something else, “‘Share with me,’ the man behind the counter said, when he saw the Mardi Gras colors shifting over my skin.” Does some good work but isn’t hooky enough.
  • the moving backward hard to plot one, no title,”Time is a luxury, they say. I miss my wine cellar, the fit of tailored clothing, and sailing. Those were the extravagances I sought before, and would gladly indulge in again, were I able.” Yech, there’s nice resonance with the luxuries there but I’m not sure I can afford to start with a cliche. Does a saying qualify as cliche? I don’t know, but this opening line doesn’t work as a standalone (I had to add the second line) and it’s certainly not hooky.
  • untitled, nursing home one, “‘What really counts is people.'” Not all that hooky, but it’s dialog, so I think I’m allowed some leeway.
  • Provisionally titled “The Genocide Hotel”, “Josh stood in the lobby with his tablet tucked under his arm and the guest card gripped tightly in his right hand”. Needs work, I believe.

These are only things I’ve started in the past few weeks, of course, not counting the reams of other unfinished things from the past two years. I’d like to get back to finishing things, and not just starting them.

In other news, my new favorite song is Gogol Bordellos “Not A Crime”, though I still love their “Start Wearing Purple” too.

iTunes says I was listening to Not A Crime from the album Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike by Gogol Bordello when I posted this. I have it rated 4 stars.

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