Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The difference between which pages stay blank

I'd like to claim that I did blog and you just didn't know it. Technically, I wrote something, and handed it to a friend to put on his, small e-rant page. And I've been writing other things, too. As fate would have it, I'm working this week, also, which is not getting in the way of my earlier pace of a chapter a week on each book, but this close to the finish (my ever-changing outline I carry around in my pocket finally has the end of each book) is beginning to unnerve. I wonder if my computer will hold up, if some gremlin will sneak into my room and magnetize my flash drives, if I'll sleep walk into my Google docs and rewrite all the pages in pig Latin. Next week is my week off, and provided this week goes well, next week I'll have roughly 6-9 chapters to write before work starts back up again. I don't think it's going to happen, at least not as quickly as I'd want. But then, that is my theme song.

This Thursday I meet back up with the writing group. This week my own words will be covered in red marks, arrows pointing from small passages explaining the faults and merits of things, the letters A-W-K littered about. It is my hope to hone the beginning of my book to house all the qualities a book should, and that publishers look for. I feel confident that my story is good, and is some shade of original. Now the problem is the delivery system. Is it clear enough, and is it fast enough? Last week, we had a discussion about the internet ruining books, or rather the experience of reading, not because they can be downloaded and read on screens, but because the speed of the age has translated into a needfulness in the reading public that puts pressure on the author. I didn't sound off on the issue, but I did think about it. While I would like some warm up time, personally, I can support throwing away useless passages that connect to nothing at all. But I've been accused of being a minimalist before, even recently one of the writers in the group commented on my packing my sentences tightly with multiple ideas, and then explaining them (for some readers) not quite enough. Reading me is work, for some, and the mental trudge can be unpleasant. I wonder if that makes me a conformist of the new or not.

When I started this, I submitted to Tor, and Roc, and Del Rey, and I have a stack of those rejection letters. This was years ago, and I think I've gotten better since. Another writer friend of mine told me when she finished her book, she was going to submit it to the "big boys" first and then she would "join the 'I've never heard of that publisher' club." As you might suspect, the people who contracted my novel back in January puts me squarely in that club, so my feelings were bruised. Further, the last few places I've submitted to would extend my membership to the club. Hearing her talk, I wondered why it hadn't occurred to me to try again. I'd tightened the work, renamed it, found its center and become more confident in its abilities. But not once did I even think about going to their websites, printing out some copies as per their submissions standards, and mailing them. I wondered if that is some indication of some viral and secretive pessimism in me.

No, I thought to myself, because I'm still writing. I thought up a new story just the other day. It's a 'proper' science fiction story with ships and laser guns. Not too much metaphor and analogy, none of the rubbish of figurativeness (okay those are all lies). At some point, when I finish these next couple, I'll have a handful of short stories to send out to places. That'll be good, I figure. My mentor said to me once "Good stories get published," and I chose to believe them then, and I choose to believe him now.

That Office Depot application is still unfinished on my desk. It's opened to the Background Information Release Form. Almost done, but subtly refusing to give in. Smells like optimism to me.

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