Friday, May 28, 2010

The demon who makes trophies of men

The sci-fi short story is done. I hope others feel as positive about it as I do. Fortunately, my writing group was helpful enough to let me put it into the mix and pick over it for sense and clarity. Aside from that, and looking over other people's stuff (which I've been told does not count towards the maximum number of projects a person ought to work on simultaneously) I've been enjoying getting back into the mindset of my fantasy series. I sat down with a pen and some scratch paper for a bit. Earlier, I mentioned that I was having issue with deciding what happens in what order. Emphasis on the order. And I think I have a problem.

Years ago, someone handed me a popular fantasy series I will not name. I got maybe through the first fifty pages or so, when a character I had grown attached to was eaten by wolves. Then his friend, who I thought maybe would benefit from watching his friend die, and go on and do great things, died from some other mundane horror. At the time, I was fairly upset. I didn't know who the main characters were because people were dying wholesale. Given that the real world serves as some basis for fantasy situations (the "Dark" Ages and such, Victorian era England) it's harder to slight someone that's actually done the research. People died often and quickly back in those days.

So it occurred to me that I could just kill characters off. And I wish I was kidding. I won't, of course. The characters of mine that are alive have things to do, important strings to hold onto, or tug, to make the whole ship move in the correct direction at the proper speed. But dang there's a lot of them, and it makes me wonder if the story is less of a ship and more of some strange, sailing mansion. But, if that's the biggest problem I have this year, it will be the best year so far. A different publisher from the one I'm contracted with wants another manuscript of mine signed over via contract. That's very flattering, but I have to admit, sadly, another failure of mine today.

I second-guess them because they're a new house. The issue is less about them and more about me, consequently. Because I've had a gripe for a long time about things like this. My theory was that people don't trust other people. Someone we don't know asks us for something, and if it isn't a dire situation, in the rain, with orchestral music playing, then the response, usually, is "I don't know you, man." I feel like it would be hypocritical of me, as a champion of trusting our fellow man, if I denied these people based on their untested status. Never mind that I'm waiting on a reply from another, more seasoned publishing house that also has my work. That actually just better proves my point.

So I'm a little sour today, about what digressions I've made in my progress as a human being and a writer. At the meeting last night, one of the guys, another writer who is normally very positive and upbeat, had recently gotten a rejection letter and it tinged his edges and crept into his tone. And I could empathize. Being rejected can be damaging, and it seems like for those individuals typically known for their sensitivity (artists), success as professionals in their various crafts requires a moderate amount of the acrid stuff. So I guess it's just a rough week. In my part of the world, it's also grown hot. Hot like... I think about how the native lady in Predator spoke about the heat when she was talking about the legend of the hungry jungle.

But then again, how's the song go? I get knocked down, and I get up again, you're never going to knock me down?

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