Monday, August 13, 2001

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig

It's good to be back.

Maine was a refreshing break in the routine, and a good hard push for my reboot switch. I got a lot of reading done, interacted with actual humans, and aside from missing Sushi and the dogs everything was great.

I discovered several things while in Maine:
  • The sound of screaming kids doesn't bother me nearly as severely as I assumed it would
  • I've really really really been doing myself a disservice by not reading a novel a week
  • Doing a half hour of stretching exercises every morning makes a world of difference
  • There can be entire weeks in Maine wherein the daytime temperature never dips below 85 degrees
  • It's possible to be conversant with the details of Rugrats and Blue's Clues without a kid to show for it

Wing and a Prayer

This is a little scary to say (the revelation is still fresh, new and fragile), but I think this trip finally managed to kick the chocks away from my writing wheels. I've got the (very) basics of a world and a few characters roughed out, and I'm gonna try to hammer together a plot outline for a novel over the coming week.

<cabbagepatch> Schweet </cabbagepatch>

Since I'm looking to start in the SF field ("science fiction" or "speculative fiction," depending whom one asks, but never "Sci-Fi"), I'm also looking to assemble a few short stories to get into magazines like Asimov's SF and/or Analog SF&F. Short-story publication is a proven means of greasing the rails when shopping around a novel in the SF genre, so that's the tack I'm going to take.

Tripp will be familiar with this plan; I tried to commit myself to it several years ago (1997-ish), and wound up crashing & burning with one mediocre story because I solicited some peoples' opinions whom I had no business asking. Friends (as I'm sure Wendy's aware) sometimes make the very worst critics, because (a) they love you, and thus can either gush praise when ruthlessness is needed or overcriticize to prevent you falling on your face, and (b) their opinions count way too much.

More to the point, I wasn't ready. I was felled by a few slings 'n' arrows; my skin lacked thickening.

So anyway, it's a few years later now, in many ways I've been to Hell and back, and some editor half a continent away isn't as likely to knock me flat with a rejection letter anymore. I've also learned Sturgeon's Law, which reads (charitably), "Ninety percent of everything is crap." In other words, be prepared to write a lot of crap, accept it as crap, and keep an eye out for the non-crap ten percent.

...And when all is said and done, especially after a hot & humid week in an otherwise beautiful vacation cabin, central air rocks.


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