lenora_rose: (Default)
I love the wild and crazy tumblr story idea posts as much as anyone (this is one example of the phenomenon. there are a lot of others, a whole series of them about humans and how they interact with or are perceived by aliens), but I think they demonstrate something writers have been saying for a long time.

Ideas are the easy part.

These posts are almost all series' of quick sketches of really amazing ideas. Vignettes get written, and they're good. But they remain vignettes.

Take the example above.

Someone posits a silly idea. Someone else writes the opening scene - frankly, it can stand against some published short stories and a solid short story in its own right. (Tuesdays with Molakesh the Destroyer is actually a similar story, a bit more polished and with more of an arc, but proving it can be done.) Someone draws a cartoon.

Someone else then says "I would watch six seasons and a movie."

Note the wording, though.

I would WATCH.

(no suggestion of "Can I help you guys turn this into...". Please note, this is not a bad thing of itself. We want watchers and readers. We love people who witness our art. The more the merrier. And this is true even when the art is unpaid stuff for fun.)

The next person sketches out a paragraph of the town's initial reaction, and a one-line thought for one story arc... in the fourth season.

The next person similarly posts a summary of some of the details that could become scenes throughout, then another story arc.

The last two people who post ideas, not reactions, post an extended plot summary of the final episode, and scripted dialogue for the last minute of that episode, respectively.

Arc done. Whole six seasons of a tv show (With a spin-off movie in the middle, presumably, since the ending is, er, final) in 2,832 words -- 1,410 or very very close to half of which is the opening scene written out by one contributor.

THAT is how easy it is to come by an amazing writing IDEA.

I'm not dissing these ficlets. Please understand. I adore them. I want people to keep spawning these ideas all over the place. I want to see them in comment threads discussing why a particular book was good, or bad, or deconstructing them. I want to see them tossed out under a photo or a piece of art or fanart someone particularly liked. I want them to pop up all over facebook, tumblr, anywhere else people make and collect random story ideas. I've thrown one up myself in the comments to a review of the Disney movie Rapunzel, though rightly speaking that was more of a plot sketch for a fanfic, not for an original story like many of them (Although i love and encourage direct fanfic, too. And formal written short fiction.)

And as I understand it, if you happened to meet such a fic in tumblr via a different person, you might see a different thread of responses, spawning another sketch-out of the same kind of six-season arc, with a different ending, different suggestions for scenes along the way.

But... six seasons of a tv show is a sustained effort. A different thing entirely. Multiple writers throwing out these ideas across a table in front of critics and executives, and then expected to come back with a polished and perfectly 42-minute-long script (with the right commercial breaks) out of their one-line sketch, which also needs to be added to and accounted for in continuity by every writer after them, just as they had to account for every script ahead of them AND the already agreed upon seasonal arc. The existance of tv producing forms that no longer have to leave room for commercials leaves wiggle room for exactly how to set up the arc and the exact length of an episode, but audience expectations still hold a writer within a fairly short distance both of ultimate length and of where to fit in plot points and reversals and beats.

And that? That is exhausting. Because if you're the one tasked with introducing Nettie's birth family (And the true fate of the real Todd) into the business, based on the equivalent of somebody's (Even your own!) one-paragraph tumblr comment, you have a lot to think about that simply isn't in that paragraph, which the reader of that paragraph can create for themselves in a flash. You now have to set out every single breath of what's in your head in concrete terms for everyone from the actors to the lighting crew to the set designers to the wardrobe crew to the storyboard artist turning your ideas into each and every camera shot and exact actor's mark on the carpet.

This is why "I've got this great idea, you just have to write it, and we split it 50-50..." is so nauseating for writers. We see those ficlets, and we love them, and we rejoice at people who would not call themselves writers tossing out yet another new idea into the mix, and making everyone squee. But there's a noteable difference between that and ongoing sustained effort. And now we can point to tumblr and say, "Look. If I want ideas from outside myself, I have a literal thousand to choose from. Why do I need yours?"
_________________
* One of my current novel ideas is spawned by a series of posts deconstructing another popular book, AND by the commentary and mini-fanfics and fix-fics caused by that deconstruction. I really really enjoy these things.
lenora_rose: (Default)
A point I think should be made to ALL publishers. Diversity doesn't just happen.

Spellbound Submission stats.

The money quote (emphasis mine):
"Out of eighteen issues, over a span of five years: I have received more submissions that aren’t either specifically based in a North American or Western European setting or based in a pseudo-medieval European setting for this one issue than all other combined."
lenora_rose: (Gryphon)
Let's start with the current Random house Brouhaha. Short version for those who don't know - Random House just opened three new imprints. Whose contracts are outright vanity contracts.

John Scalzi has a breakdown of the contracts.

And this is my publisher's response: This is not how it is supposed to work.

As Frank Wu noted (NB: his post is mostly about a side question), there are places which have used contracts where they take this many rights from a writer. It's called work-for-hire. But then they pay them a large sum, where this contract ... doesn't.

One Viable Paradise alumnus has already received an offer from Hydra, and near unanimous response was to turn it down*; if it's good enough to be accepted at Random House, it's good enough to be accepted elsewhere.

______________

Next up. Simon and Schuster. Who are apparently trying to get bloggers popular with self-published and aspiring authors to send people their way. For money. This one is a superb breakdown, but not the only one (Both links via James D. Macdonald at Making Light - aka Yog Sysop, Viable Paradise teacher, and Uncle Jim of Absolute Write's "Learn writing with...")

Yog's Law: Money flows towards the author.

_______________


And for [personal profile] leonacarver, this sort of crap is why I had to pause and double check that your acceptance was from a legit small press. (And why I was so happy.) This sort of thing happening in guise of a small press is ... not as uncommon as it should be.



* Aside from the obvious Captain America jokes...

Sigh...

Jan. 29th, 2013 09:56 pm
lenora_rose: (Labyrinth)
So I got my first royalty statement for Illusion of Steel. Granted, it includes half a month of sales. But those sales do include the first week, often one of the busiest times for a new release.

The number is depressingly teeny. About what I expected. Or maybe a bit lower, but within the range.

I genuinely hope the other works Raechel is selling are doing better. I LOVED Etta Mae's Little Theory, enjoyed Vessel of Heaven (Both of which i read first time around), and I am considering getting Hearts Starve (The first fully new work), which sounds my thing*. I want Raechel to do well.

I've been wishing to see reviews, but as much for my own curiosity as anything. (Good or bad, as long as they're honest and give me the salient details why.)

I may be doing a guest post, soon. It could be fun. If I figure out how to make my point without rambling on about my own work, especially the unpublished.



*My reason this isn't an auto-buy, actually, are mostly to do with the fact that I don't have an e-reader so I'd need an extra app.
lenora_rose: (Archer)
Just came back from an excellent, if slightly overwhelming, Thanksgiving dinner with the extended family. A slightly smaller gathering due to one aunt being in the hospital recovering form surgery (And her immediate family's priorities being with staying with her, as they should be), but all went well, everyone seemed to be getting on. My cousins looked good & healthy and mostly happy. Much enthusiasm and questions about the two expected babies, naturally.

___________________

This week, I discovered that I managed to unknowingly hit what I consider to be a particular hurdle in my writing career, one I was sure I wouldn't encounter until after I've had considerably more published, and especially more of what's been published still available.

I'm on a list of boycotted writers.

No, really.

Just about since I've had a regular presence on the internet, I've been watching different writing groups discuss, expose, and in a few happy cases, help to prosecute, convict, and jail, the perpetrators of any number of scams intended to part naive young writers from their money. This started back when my most regular haunt was the sadly defunct Rumour Mill, a writing community I haven't really seen paralleled since its heyday. This included Dave Kuzminski, of the site Preditors and Editors, which attempts to list both scam companies and legitimate ones in a searchable format, and Victoria Strauss and Ann C. Crispin of Writer Beware, a scam watchdog site. It was here I learned most of the basic markers for a scam, watched the rabid defenders of scam publishers and agents leap to their defense and either be proven sockpuppets - or, if legitimate, naive writers, take back their words once the publisher or agency on which they'd pinned their hopes and their belief in their own writing proved to be just what they'd been warned about - someone who took away their money and either never sold or published their book, or did so in a manner which would sell possibly less than they would have made self-publishing. I learned Yog's Law (Money flows towards the author), and the discussions as to how this works with self-publishing, and how it thoroughly does not when publishing through a vanity press. And after a while, I could make the points about scams versus legit myself, and add my support to these discussions.

I left the Rumour Mill before it actually died out, but ended up in two other places - Absolute Write, a similar web forum, though where the Rumour Mill was focused on speculative fiction, Absolute Write is open to all genres. Some of its most invaluable members are James D. Macdonald, science fiction writer, who runs the "Learn Writing with Uncle Jim" thread -- and the numerous people, including Uncle Jim, who run their own scam watch threads. The longest of these the last time I was there was far and away the thread on PublishAmerica, a vanity press trying desperately to convince writers it's a "traditional" publisher. (I wandered away from this site, too, mostly due to sheer time on the internet)

And Making Light, run by Teresa Nielsen Hayden and Patrick Nielsen Hayden (and later, welcoming Avram Grumer, John M. Ford until his passing, James D. MacDonald again, and Abi Sutherland as posters) -- a general weblog, but, run as it is by people involved in the publishing industry, some of whom have a decided interest in exposing scams, it delves into this same territory, sometimes with razor wit, if Teresa's up for it, and sometimes in extended and gleeful detail, if Jim Macdonald chooses to raise his head. (I've varied between lurking and posting regularly here, depending on my internet time, but I read, including most of the comment threads).

Besides these, I've watched writers right on LJ, most noticeably [livejournal.com profile] jimhines and [livejournal.com profile] marthawells make similar points, or link to further scam discussions.

The Write Agenda claims that it's a site set up by aspiring writers whose purpose is to "watch the watchmen", as it were, and expose the lies and false commentary perpetrated by people like Dave Kuzminski, Victoria Strauss, Ann C. Crispin, James D. Macdonald, and Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

However. They are, as far as I can tell, obsessive, digging for the slightest possible offenses by the above, so that Victoria Strauss using a curse word in a Facebook status is proof of perfidy, Jim Macdonald mentioning a too-common trope in horror and action films where a heroine ends up in her underwear is Jim being some kind of an inappropriate sexist pig you wouldn't want near your daughters. And so on. Their page of quotes from P.N. Elrod seems like it's almost entirely made of Facebook and twitter remarks about PublishAmerica, most of which seem to me to be far from as nasty as one could get about that particular cesspit.

Here are a few points:

- I've never seen so much allegation, out-of-context quotation, rampant speculation, and distortion used to try and defame someone in one place. Not a pretty site.

- Cussing on Facebook is far from any kind of evidence of unprofessional behaviour. Facebook is not professional.

- I don't approve of boycotting writers -- though I will argue for an individual's right to choose their own reading material, I don't agree with trying to push one's views on other writers or readers by any means more forceful than a good or bad review. I approve even less of boycotting books based on something a writer does OUTSIDE the writing. (I have books by Orson Scott Card, and a collection of short fiction by Harlan Ellison. Card is a radical rightwing homophobic nutbar. And Ellison? I've had my say.)

- I REALLY don't approve of going about and posting one-star reviews of books you do not appear to have read, especially when the reason is that they're on your boycott list. Post one-star reviews because you hated the book. Sure. Go for it. Even of my favourite books. Even of my books, should such exist. DO IT FOR NO OTHER REASON.

- THIS? Is a whole new layer of madness.

So. Malice and insanity and obsessive fixation on a handful of individuals. Not an agenda I would follow. Where the people they're attacking are people I respect; published authors, people with a name in legitimate publishing, and/or strong and tireless advocates for a cause.

Boycott away. I think I'm in better company.

ETA: Just checked my links again. They cut their boycott list down to the bare minimums -- probably in reaction to the recent surge in traffic and commentary in any number of places on people WANTING to be on said list, or at least, like me, not unpleased by their company. Which means I'm off it. Alas, I don't know if anyone has a screenshot of the original.

_________________

On a related note:

My first three story sales are as follows:

- a short original fairy tale, purchased by Jackhammer Zine, a small paying online press that closed. In its day it had a good reputation for its size, and I generally liked to read its issues. Currently, I chose to put the story on my web site, since I had no intention of attempting a re-sale. One of very very few things I wouldn't rather wipe out if I ever get to updating the thing. The Ghost of Him

- A novella-length fairy tale (Loosely based on the Seven Ravens, which is a variant on the Six Swans/Wild Swans with a different means to cure the curse.) This won first place in a contest run by an e-zine I also believe is long defunct. (In the interests of honesty, the e-zine itself struck me as publishing mediocre stories, but again, it was paying. And I felt the contest winners -- that is, the second, third and runners-up -- were good enough to make me feel proud of the effort).

- A high fantasy novella mostly released as an e-book in .pdf format, or on a mini-disk as same. This made very little money as it was on a pay-per-copy-sold format, and less than a year later the publisher closed. (Again. This was the same editor as Jackhammer. Again, she seemed to garner a good reputation in counter to her low payments, and I bought at least three other novellas from them.) Essentially out of print, though I have four of the mini-disks I'd be willing to sell even now - though before I speak too soon, I need to check them, as one person did have a problem getting her computer to read her copy.

Now, the fate of the first is pretty decided.

The other, two, now. They're an awkward length at the best of times, and of course, before they were published where they were, I exhausted the few then-extant bigger publishers willing to touch that length. There may be one or two new ones out there I don't know about, but 20-25K is not a friendly length to try and sell separately. And I really don't know how much it's worth my time to try and re-sell old work of an awkward length when I'm not making near enough effort to sell short works of more manageable lengths.

OTOH, I like both of them in their basic form, though I'd be inclined to do some sentence-level edits.

Well. Except I could do the self-publishing thing. E-book formats have made this far easier and potentially more lucrative. Their having been accepted for publication does mean someone other than me thought they were cool. Having two of them show up at places like the Kindle store plus at least one current-enough-to-be-visible actual publication credit might help boost them slightly.

But is it worthwhile? I don't know, these days. I know for the novels, I'm going to exhaust my chances to publish before I self-publish. But these two are in a funny place.

Anyhow. Time to stop thinking and sleep.
lenora_rose: (Baby)
So the big explosion in the writing blogverse this time is based on these two items:

Yes to Gay YA

and

Agency's Response

(To which Brown and Smith issued a joint statement basically saying they stand by their original words, and emphasizing that this should be about the blanket issue).

I would advise reading both articles before delving into either comment section if you really want to form your own conclusion. I don't know how someone else's more objective analysis of these two perspectives would go, but mine is that one of these two did their best to keep the complaint professional, and one made it very much personal. And that keeping it professional seems to increase that side's cachet, while making it personal reduces the other. But I am not objective. I AM a writer, for one, though not in YA. Moreover, I am a regular correspondent with one of the authors as well as a fan of several of her works, and a regular reader of the other's blog (and have read some of her fiction work, in the form of some manga-esque comics). The agents/agency, while on my list to query, are effectively unknown entities to me.

_____________

On more personal and thus more boring notes:

To go back in time slightly:

The event mostly went well. The lack of husband and several friends was more than made up by some of the people who WERE present, including two pleasant surprises (One was only there to merchant for a day, but we got to chat a fair bit. The other shared my cabin, so we spent more time together). And some newish people I didn't know well and like even better now. Lots of good company, overall. I got to the semi-finals in the archery shoot -- though my first round was in many ways the most interesting, as it really was a case of winning by a handful of seconds; he shot at least as well, and ended with a beauty. But semi-finals! I think that's the best I've done.

The food was EXCELLENT. I got through court without making any major oopses (though I stepped down as Baronial Herald, I ended up asked to do Royal Court at nigh the last minute. The extra running around had the queen say that if all this bustling put me into labour... apparently the last few reigns have been punctuated by queens or ladies-in-waiting who were quite knocked up> Theirs was the first one without). I even got to do a bit of dancing, though i took care not to overdo it (Cristina worried as it was, becuase I start panting so soon these days, but that's more about having less space to expand my lungs and less about how I feel while I'm panting. Actually, it reminded em of the times I fenced in a corset.)

The weather was meh - we had a thunderstorm roll in Friday night (Which made a spectacular backdrop for dark ages court), and it went drizzly and wet part of Saturday. But I kind of preferred that to sweltering, and by Saturday night it was pretty much cloudless, so we got to do both fire pits and fire arrows.

My one disappointment is hard to articulate without spending more words on it than it deserves. The bardic circles went well, and I was very happy with all I heard from pretty much every comer. I was, however, exceedingly disappointed in what I SANG on Sunday night (Saturday went okay but nothing standout). Mostly because that night, I sang three times, and

A) ALL three were someone else's requested song, not songs I would choose to lead if anyone else were available (One Colin usually leads if either of us does, and he's much better at it)
B) two of these weren't songs to which my voice is well suited, which means I WILL be disappointed in my performance to an extra degree, as wil the listeners, no matter how much they want THAT song NOW. (One, people pointed out that even though I'm an alto with an occasional tendency to tenor, I sing too high for most people to join in, and trying to drop it pushed, not the lowest part of my range, but one of those weird transition zones voices have, though they thanked me for trying anyhow).
and C) my voice wasn't at its best, especially in the deeps. Which last I could have lived with, if I'd done my own choosing.

However, the circle included a lot of strong new voices and a lot of strong out-of-towners, so i got to hear a lot of good stuff both nights. Which is a lot more yay.

Since then:

Renos progress. Most of the outside of the house is done. Next for Colin and my FiL is electrical, wall destruction, then insulation, and while they're doing this, HVAC is happening.

Baby progresses. Lots of kicking and moving. Which I usually LIKE to feel, except when it's too big and sudden and I jump or squeak. Hips occasionally bad. Got a therapy ball to sit on some of the time, which is fabulous, though for now, I can only do so for a couple of hours or so, not full time (and I'm always playing music, so I bounce fairly often, which is better than just sitting still - realistically, just sitting on it isn't *much* better than perching on a chair, and my posture's not that improved.)

Work progresses. I'm on for sure to the end of September. More happy. And this week I made the other part time person almost ecstatic by the amount of work I got through. (I do two jobs; one, which has been in extreme high priority mode all summer, which I do exclusively, and one which we share, but which has been low priority for me, and thus piling up on her. I finally had a week where I could take some of the strain off her.)

Writing doesn't progress. The week before the event was focused on sewing (to excellent effect) and the week after I was too tired. After that, I felt a bit disconnected from the story, so I started to run through a quick reread/editing pass. I'm near the end of that (and which gets less reread and more edit the nearer I get to current work, no surprise.) and feeling better about the answers to where and how to break this story from its sequel.

Bike -- had a big argh. I took it in last week because the bearings in the pedal system were badly messed up. Got it back Tuesday, rode it to and from work Wednesday, and this morning I had a flat tire. Which either implies - the guys at Gord's screwed up, or my timing sucks incredibly. If it's a busted seam instead of a hole, I WILL assume they over-inflated the tire. (Because I had a busted seam once before, and I KNOW that time they didn't check how far they inflated, they just made it as hard as they could.) Sigh. Just when I was all happy that she was no longer taking extreme effort just to take to and from work.

Had a good visit with a pair of friends I haven't seen in AGES -- we needed to speak to one for practical home-renovation related reasons (he's an electrician) and he brought the other friend along for a chance to hang out. REALLY happy; I hadn't realised I missed her until i saw her. We ended up feeding them both supper - made mildly embarrassing by the fact that this particular brand of farmer's sausage has a layer of plastic inside the plastic wrap that looks just like the natural skin, at least until it's cooked. (The sausage turned out tasting fine anyhow, but it's kind of ugly to have to remove plastic. Honestly. I think between my MiL and us, we've bought three or four brands and kinds of Farmer's sausage the last few months, and never had this problem before.)

Anyhow, on that dull note, I should sleep.
lenora_rose: (Default)
Hmm. A while since I posted. Colin and I did our little run out of town, I went to Keycon, we watched a verra good concert with S. J. Tucker and Heather Dale and their musical teams, we've been making lots or prep work for house renovations with my father-in-law, and am now at 17 1/2 weeks, or over 4 months. Yow.

I'll try not to blather too long about any of the above, but I do have a few things I thought were interesting and/or cool.
_____________

On a writing-related note, there is *nothing* more frustrating than waiting for an answer from an agent.

To be specific, during Keycon, I got an e-mail from one agent that she'd like to see my full MS (Dance! Dance!).

So I e-mailed the agent who's had the partial for a while and might want the full -- in hopes of speeding up the response now she knows there's other interest. I thought sicne she requested the partial first, this was the appropriate order. No reply yet.

Of course, to me, this is *TWO WEEKS AUGH EEK!* but for her, I presume she's swamped with work for her current clients. (Not least because she replied to my earlier "You've had that 4 months now" with "Sorry. Swamped. I still have it, but haven't had a chance to read." (In more professional words on both sides, of course).

But really. NOW would be nice, says the writer-anxiety brain. I don't suppose anyone knows how much longer before I should push again? I really would like to be able to say something to the one who requested the full.

____________

Keycon was fun, I missed a lot of panels, and did a lot more singing. A good year, and good to catch up with a number of people I hadn't seen, especially among the filkers. I danced a bit at the social, spent a lot less time than you'd expect in the Consuites, and listened to yet more music. I was completely floored by Lanna (I THINK that's the right spelling) and Wolfgang's costume pairing of a young Steampunk scientist and his Igor, who was complaining about this newfangled steam tech and how the old days, and the lightning, were so much better. (Lanna was inside the Igor puppet, melting to death and Not Dropping character.) Also cheered Suninherhair's gorgeous dress , and a highly impressive Red Queen who used an amazing wig and makeup job to make her head look genuinely big. Did catch a good panel with Robert Sawyer, Derryl Murphy and Craig Russel (Not to be confused with P. Craig...) on writing, which was entertaining but mostly 101 level writing advice. I didn't get into the writing pitch and advice session as it was full.

More interesting, though not necessarily to his benefit, was the talk I heard by the author GoH, L.E. Modesitt. The first thing that annoyed me was how he interspersed interesting remarks with things that struck me as painfully over-generalized, especially as regards gender (Your examples of humans as a tool-using species are "Look at any man's garage and any woman's kitchen"? Really, if you'd dropped the "any", I might not have gnashed my teeth).

Although the one that really stuck for me was when he was talking about his magic system, which seems to combine magic-as-engineering, IE, people will develop reproducible results where possible, and the "You need to HAVE the innate talent to do it at all" approach. But he did concede that not everyone who has the talent has the same amount -- but most of them, except the least talented, go to the big equivalent of Engineering school, if one had no choice but to go to engineering school if one had the aptitude. So I asked, "So nobody in your world ever does magic as a hobby? The way people who don't have or want the formal training still paint watercolours on Sunday?"

He answered very quickly, "Put it this way. You don't see very many ... surviving ... Sunday Electricians."

Which admittedly got a laugh, even from me. But also had me immediately think that Colin has done a fair bit of the wiring in our house, has done it safely, and up to Code (And no, I have no fear of out house ever showing up on those "worst mistakes" type renovation shows. Not, at least, for unsafe electricity.) By actually reading up on it of his own free will, and being shown things by other people who've done it at what is, effectively, a hobby level -- and at least a couple of times, by watching the mistakes people have made that might be dangerous and vowing not to repeat that. And knowing when (as with the reno coming up), he wants a real electrician to do the work, or look over it.

I didn't say so, but I was thinking it over ever since. Really. Is there no way to get a hobbyist magician in a world where magic has as strict and firm rules as physics and chemistry? No text for how to do it safely? And if not, then doesn't that make people with a smidgin of power MORE dangerous than hobbyists?

(It seems unlikely in my particular fictional world, but it really doesn't seem to contradict his stated rules for Recluse)

I have no idea right now if that's a plot kernel or merely a cool toy for my brain to play with. But there it is.

______________

Everyone in my local circle (Though not necessarily everyone on LJ/DW) has a pretty good idea who Heather Dale is. (Lookie, official video!) But I felt like I was about the only one outside the filkers who had heard of S.J. Tucker, and that was via the band Tricky Pixie.

I discovered the existence of Tricky Pixie because Alexander James Adams is one of the members, and I've been a fan of his since around 1992, but the very first song sample I heard din't impress me much; it was kind of rough around the edges (Plus Alec was obviously still getting used to a different vocal range, and was not singing terribly well). Later, someone (either aymaera or Greek_Amazon, I genuinely don't remember and don't really want to dig through OMG journal entries to figure out) linked to their version of Tam Lin, which was much smoother, much more impressive, and told me the band had really come together since the first sample (Also, that Alec's voice had settled nicely). Anyhow, once I registered that this was *that*( singer, I decided that Sooj solo would also be a pretty fair bet. Yay! I was right.

Turns out S.J. also brought fellow Pixie Betsy Tinney, the cellist, so I got to meet the other 2/3 of the band. And S.J., in spite of some of her banter being about how little sleep and how little brain she had, was also quite good at the between song banter and the overall performance, as well as writing interesting and enjoyable songs. (Sometimes in live concerts, the presentation itself is key. Loreena McKennitt, for instance, barely spoke in the concert I saw, which, from reports I hear from her being pretty boring when she does, via those who saw her at the folk fest, meant she gave exemplary concert by not doing banter. Where, with Heather, I think you'd lose a lot from the live show by *not* hearing her and Ben doing commentary.)

Sooj's style is a bit closer to the singer-songwriter folk, with an occasional gospel-like bit thrown in, but her lyrics are strongly fantastical. I especially liked Ravens in the Library myself (And the very silly Alligator In the House, which she blamed on Betsy songwriting wise, though the album credits them together). Of the two albums of hers, I found the current one, Mischief, mostly good, and the 2005 one, Tangles, rather more generic; had I bought it before hearing her, or the recent work, I'd have dismissed her as promising but not really interesting.

Anyhow, two superb acts. Lots of fun. Plus, of course, getting to see the Bhigg House crew and others of that ilk.

_____________

House reno plans are ... a lot bigger than they were when we started talking about it idly in march/April. Like, a whole extension. Colin has been toiling away at the computer on the plans (He has an amazing program for doing so, plus it's exactly the sort of thing he's skilled at.) We got the surveyor to confirm the actual property lines, he had an engineer in twice to look over Colin's drafts of the project (Ha approved them, confirmed this would be fairly easy, but also told him exactly what he'd need for the actual permit that he hadn't drawn out in detail yet) and a concrete guy to give is price estimates on foundations.

My Father in law was intending to return to BC on Friday, but had to cancel his flight due to illness. He seems a bit better, though far from well, and he has antibiotics. And I'm under firm orders not to go near him (My mother-in-law is exceedingly protective of her unborn grandchild, even if she has to call from BC to be so. I do want to remind her that I'm ALSO very interested in the fate of said little one and am indeed taking care of myself. But some things, like walking up or down a flight of stairs, don't exactly worry me yet. Not until the bump is much larger. And exercising is strongly in my interest. Though I agree that exposing myself to ill people, even ones I care a good deal about, is not. So I'm fretting at a distance.)
______________

Doctor Who this season seems to be aiming for cracktastically weird as its gold standard. Which the emphasis on the cracktastic, not the gold, or even the Who. It doesn't quite feel Whovian as I'm used to thinking of it, even less than last season, but whatever it is, it's having fun.
______________

The Sea Thy Mistress just cemented Bear's Edda of Burdens as my favourite of her series'. (Okay, I'd have to read all three and the two Stratford Man books in rapid succession to be sure, but I think if I tried that just now, my head might explode). Though it seemed to me for the first half of the book that there was a lot of not-much happening, most of it did turn out to have accomplished more than it first looked like, and the second half more than paid for the slow start. Wow.

______________

Similar wows for N.K. Jemisin's The Broken Kingdoms. (If you haven't read the first one, the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, and you've ever wanted to read something a little different and a lot amazingly good in fantasy, FIND IT. NOW.)
lenora_rose: (Wheeeeee!)
One of the things abut posting more sporadically is that it tends to leave out the strangest tings happening in one’s life.

Frex. I finished my query package for The Serpent Prince, and it’s been sent out, so far, to four agents (and I’m compiling a list, slowly, of fresh information on other good agents/agencies).

One already requested a partial, or, for those not in the business, the first 50 manuscript pages, off the summary and first 5 pages. (Squeeee – in case the analysis below leaves any doubt.)

This doesn’t put me as far ahead of the game as it sounds, since one agency asks people to send a partial right off the hop, as the query. SO she's not seeing a lot others wouldn't also see. Yet.

But. The agent in question puts her statistics up for all to see. She requests manuscripts or partials a bit less than once a week (exactly 8 in the 12 week span I checked, or 2/3). She gets an average of 167 queries a week. That is to say, 0.4% of the time, she asks for more. The odds at that point are STILL cruddy (I don’t recall how many new clients she picks up in a year, but I’d be surprised if the number was significantly higher than 1, and not surprised if it was lower than 0.5) but – they’re higher than 0.4% .

There are other ways this is a good sign, though, less obvious. If you’re good enough to get the attention of one agent, you’re good enough to get attention from more. It isn’t a random distribution; once you can write a coherent story and follow submission guidelines, you’re competing with at most the top 5%, and more likely with the top 2% or less. After that, it’s mostly a combination of personal taste, commercial viability, and timing. (I’ve heard even more grim statistics about the awfulness of the slush pile.) So it’s already an affirmation that I’m good enough for someone, even if the someone ends up being not-her.


I should know better than to get too hopeful. matociquala was just the other day talking about how poisonous is magical thinking. But there's a difference between thinking that wishing will make it so and trust that my abilities are really there.

(I also sent a short story to Tor.com. Because while I'm being optimistic and tryign to do something about this writing gig, why not?)
lenora_rose: (Wheee!)
I opted to go only to the Sunday of Keycon, since I wasn't in the art show and I don't have that much money (I did, however, buy my pass in advance for next year, so i wouldn't have this issue.)

This may have been a slight mistake; Keycon isn't usually a guest heavy con (usually 2 authors, 1 artist, 1 fan guest. I count six authors, one editor, one artist, two fan guests, one media guest, and a toastmistress. That's THREE TIMES as many...) and moreover, doesn't generally get people from the business end of writing in the non-guest listings (well, Canadian SF magazine editors sometimes). So I'd thought my main interest in the guests would be getting the lovely Nalo Hopkinson's autograph on books, and hearing authors talk in panels.

This year, they had Sheila Gilbert of DAW as a major guest. Also, Virginia O'Dine of Bundoran Press (A legit Canadian small press, but so new that their entire line-up is four novels by three authors, and one anthology). And what looked like at least two other small novel presses represented mainly in the dealer's room. Saturday, there was a pitch session, which netted at least one friend of mine genuine interest, albeit in a project she hasn't finished. (Huzzah, anyhow, [livejournal.com profile] crowdog66. I guess the next cheer is, "Now write!")

I got to the autograph session, and as well as talking to Nalo and another mostly-aspiring writer, I got into a conversation with the also charming Julie E. Czerneda, starting with my comment that the cover and title of her first book sold me on it completely (Which is true; the book was a decent read, albeit too much in the amnesia trope, but not one that caused me to want to own it or make me seek out her next ones. I've periodically considered the latter based on others' remarks about being her fans.) It continued into somewhat more writerly talk. When she asked me if I'd sold anything recently and I got to say yes, she asked me to e-mail her so she could let me know the next time she's editing an anthology. (Small squee - I admitted that i can't often write short stories to order - If I could, the Disco Dracula thing would be done - but that I've had luck sometimes matching theme with something already done, which is true; my first ever sale back in 2000 (This one) was from doing just that. So were some of the more polite and useful rejections.

I also made it to a kaffeeklatcsh with Ms. Gilbert, though, who was friendly and open to the lot of people, and I don't think I said anything dumb (Well, I TOTALLY pimped Jim C. Hines' recent first novels poll for the other aspiring writers as a source of fact vs. fiction info on what you "should" do. But the one other person who'd looked at it was right with me. I also ended up pimping Goblin Quest to someone else afterwards, with the utterly true statement that it's a book I've pushed on several of my friends, to the point where I still haven't my copy back.) However, I didn't put myself forward to her. MY friend Chris Q., an artist looking for more cover work, did so at the end of the kaffeeklatsch, since in the kaffeeklatsch, he was slightly outnumbered by writers :). It sounds like results were fabulous for him.

I then - thanks to my husband having managed with last-minute notice to get me a printed copy of the darn thing - entered the opening page to Bird of Dusk in the Writing Idol, with three editors (not Sheila Gilbert, alas - she commented that while she'd been asked to appear, it has been very last minute) and Robert J. Sawyer. The reader (author Hayden Trenholm, also a voice actor) was to read the first 250 words of a project, and the panel was to raise their hands where they'd stop reading if it came in through the slush (It would stop dead early if three people did), and discuss why they did so (Or didn't, as the case may be). This included seeded openings to novels by Ursula K. le Guin, China Mieville, George R.R. Martin (Sawyer raised his hand instantly on this one, on the basis that the first line, "The Dead man was coming", could be read two very different ways.), Stephanie Meyer (People will be glad, no doubt, to hear that it got voted down very fast), and Danielle Steele, whose opening line was actually decent, though it got awful very quickly. (One person said it was better than the le Guin one, which was rambling about jellyfish).

I don't think it was remotely a true slush-off; all the entries were in grammatical English, and the worst contenders were mainly a case of overuse of cliches.

Bird of Dusk made it to the end, with two hands eventually raised against it. There were two major critiques - one which would have been answered if the reader had read just two words into the next paragraph, which forced me to practice the all important lesson about biting my tongue and arguing with the editor. (I'm amused to note, doing a word count, that he stopped reading at word 243, not word 250).

The other, too many characters in the room, was legit, but I thought I couldn't do much about it based on the rest of the novel, and it wasn't a dealbreaker for most of them anyhow.

This morning, I woke up knowing how to fix it. Yay!

(Now that we're done with flooring for today, that's my next project)

Anyhow, I did another panel (On living with a writer, by the spouses of writers, which made me appreciate my husband yet again; though almost everyone there *currently* had a spouse/SO who was supportive in some way.) Then hung around and talked with some friends upstairs in the consuites. Then walked home for dinner, and back afterwards, to find and hang out with friends until the filking could start.

Well, actually, since the Aurora Awards ceremony ran even later than expected, I ended up after a time working on the synopsis for Bird of Dusk, and at least making some progress. Then congratulating the artist who won and chatting with a photographer from Calgary I met at World Fantasy.

But we eventually sang and played the rest of the night away. I heard a lot of work, familiar and new, that was quite worth lingering until 3 AM. Dave Clement is always a treat, Lana was in good form, and Wolfgang, who I last saw in a music circle at Folk Fest 2008, has made huge strides of improvement.

I also had two moments that felt positively triumphant: First, I got through Death on Hennepin with mandolin without faceplanting - that song, as I admitted, can't be sung, at least well, without getting right into a particularly powerful headspace. As in, my hands were shaking a bit and I had to take a couple of minutes to 'come down' from it afterward.

But I also sang the Three Wolfen Sisters for the second time in front of an audience, and had someone request either the music (which I haven't ever written down, and is mostly a case of taking a Swedish folk song and warping the melody enough to fit a new scansion) or a recording, audio or video (we don't have the equipment. I'd actually like sometimes to do a recording of what i sound like, so that I can hear the mistakes I'm making as they sound from the outside.)

I also had a couple of weaker moments, mostly due to breath control not being what it should (Missed too much choir), but I generally felt I wasn't making a fool of myself, and the company was altogether worth it.

Overall, definitely worth being there for the day, and I mildly regret not being there Saturday, too.
lenora_rose: (Wheee!)
I opted to go only to the Sunday of Keycon, since I wasn't in the art show and I don't have that much money (I did, however, buy my pass in advance for next year, so i wouldn't have this issue.)

This may have been a slight mistake; Keycon isn't usually a guest heavy con (usually 2 authors, 1 artist, 1 fan guest. I count six authors, one editor, one artist, two fan guests, one media guest, and a toastmistress. That's THREE TIMES as many...) and moreover, doesn't generally get people from the business end of writing in the non-guest listings (well, Canadian SF magazine editors sometimes). So I'd thought my main interest in the guests would be getting the lovely Nalo Hopkinson's autograph on books, and hearing authors talk in panels.

This year, they had Sheila Gilbert of DAW as a major guest. Also, Virginia O'Dine of Bundoran Press (A legit Canadian small press, but so new that their entire line-up is four novels by three authors, and one anthology). And what looked like at least two other small novel presses represented mainly in the dealer's room. Saturday, there was a pitch session, which netted at least one friend of mine genuine interest, albeit in a project she hasn't finished. (Huzzah, anyhow, [livejournal.com profile] crowdog66. I guess the next cheer is, "Now write!")

I got to the autograph session, and as well as talking to Nalo and another mostly-aspiring writer, I got into a conversation with the also charming Julie E. Czerneda, starting with my comment that the cover and title of her first book sold me on it completely (Which is true; the book was a decent read, albeit too much in the amnesia trope, but not one that caused me to want to own it or make me seek out her next ones. I've periodically considered the latter based on others' remarks about being her fans.) It continued into somewhat more writerly talk. When she asked me if I'd sold anything recently and I got to say yes, she asked me to e-mail her so she could let me know the next time she's editing an anthology. (Small squee - I admitted that i can't often write short stories to order - If I could, the Disco Dracula thing would be done - but that I've had luck sometimes matching theme with something already done, which is true; my first ever sale back in 2000 (This one) was from doing just that. So were some of the more polite and useful rejections.

I also made it to a kaffeeklatcsh with Ms. Gilbert, though, who was friendly and open to the lot of people, and I don't think I said anything dumb (Well, I TOTALLY pimped Jim C. Hines' recent first novels poll for the other aspiring writers as a source of fact vs. fiction info on what you "should" do. But the one other person who'd looked at it was right with me. I also ended up pimping Goblin Quest to someone else afterwards, with the utterly true statement that it's a book I've pushed on several of my friends, to the point where I still haven't my copy back.) However, I didn't put myself forward to her. MY friend Chris Q., an artist looking for more cover work, did so at the end of the kaffeeklatsch, since in the kaffeeklatsch, he was slightly outnumbered by writers :). It sounds like results were fabulous for him.

I then - thanks to my husband having managed with last-minute notice to get me a printed copy of the darn thing - entered the opening page to Bird of Dusk in the Writing Idol, with three editors (not Sheila Gilbert, alas - she commented that while she'd been asked to appear, it has been very last minute) and Robert J. Sawyer. The reader (author Hayden Trenholm, also a voice actor) was to read the first 250 words of a project, and the panel was to raise their hands where they'd stop reading if it came in through the slush (It would stop dead early if three people did), and discuss why they did so (Or didn't, as the case may be). This included seeded openings to novels by Ursula K. le Guin, China Mieville, George R.R. Martin (Sawyer raised his hand instantly on this one, on the basis that the first line, "The Dead man was coming", could be read two very different ways.), Stephanie Meyer (People will be glad, no doubt, to hear that it got voted down very fast), and Danielle Steele, whose opening line was actually decent, though it got awful very quickly. (One person said it was better than the le Guin one, which was rambling about jellyfish).

I don't think it was remotely a true slush-off; all the entries were in grammatical English, and the worst contenders were mainly a case of overuse of cliches.

Bird of Dusk made it to the end, with two hands eventually raised against it. There were two major critiques - one which would have been answered if the reader had read just two words into the next paragraph, which forced me to practice the all important lesson about biting my tongue and arguing with the editor. (I'm amused to note, doing a word count, that he stopped reading at word 243, not word 250).

The other, too many characters in the room, was legit, but I thought I couldn't do much about it based on the rest of the novel, and it wasn't a dealbreaker for most of them anyhow.

This morning, I woke up knowing how to fix it. Yay!

(Now that we're done with flooring for today, that's my next project)

Anyhow, I did another panel (On living with a writer, by the spouses of writers, which made me appreciate my husband yet again; though almost everyone there *currently* had a spouse/SO who was supportive in some way.) Then hung around and talked with some friends upstairs in the consuites. Then walked home for dinner, and back afterwards, to find and hang out with friends until the filking could start.

Well, actually, since the Aurora Awards ceremony ran even later than expected, I ended up after a time working on the synopsis for Bird of Dusk, and at least making some progress. Then congratulating the artist who won and chatting with a photographer from Calgary I met at World Fantasy.

But we eventually sang and played the rest of the night away. I heard a lot of work, familiar and new, that was quite worth lingering until 3 AM. Dave Clement is always a treat, Lana was in good form, and Wolfgang, who I last saw in a music circle at Folk Fest 2008, has made huge strides of improvement.

I also had two moments that felt positively triumphant: First, I got through Death on Hennepin with mandolin without faceplanting - that song, as I admitted, can't be sung, at least well, without getting right into a particularly powerful headspace. As in, my hands were shaking a bit and I had to take a couple of minutes to 'come down' from it afterward.

But I also sang the Three Wolfen Sisters for the second time in front of an audience, and had someone request either the music (which I haven't ever written down, and is mostly a case of taking a Swedish folk song and warping the melody enough to fit a new scansion) or a recording, audio or video (we don't have the equipment. I'd actually like sometimes to do a recording of what i sound like, so that I can hear the mistakes I'm making as they sound from the outside.)

I also had a couple of weaker moments, mostly due to breath control not being what it should (Missed too much choir), but I generally felt I wasn't making a fool of myself, and the company was altogether worth it.

Overall, definitely worth being there for the day, and I mildly regret not being there Saturday, too.
lenora_rose: (Gryphon)
I have decided I might want some help with critique for Bird of Dusk after all; not for the length issue, though no complaints if I have it, but because I realised that dismissing it all as length issue forgets at least one major reason I DO want other eyes on it.

For why, see this (revised) entry.

Please note, the issues raised in that entry do NOT exclude anyone else from offering. Because of course I have my moments of doubt in plotting (OMFG, who's going to believe this? It's a great big coincidence), character, language, and of course, the ridiculousness of the whole premise. Plus length.

Some things:

I had rather not have to print and mail the whole thing if it's possible to send the file instead. (I'm more willing to print and mail the first chapters if need be)

I had really rather a reasonably quick turnaround - as in, four to six months as an upper limit for the whole. I can start by sending the first 3, 6 or 11 chapters whenever I'm asked. (There are 35 chapters; 3 6 and 11 are the first three "parts" of 9.)

It's GBLTT friendly, and does include sex. If either of these bug you - I'm not the WRITER for you, never mind 'this is not the book'.

Trigger warning: Contains rape, psychological torture, actual torture, and emotional abuse by a parent.
lenora_rose: (Gryphon)
I have decided I might want some help with critique for Bird of Dusk after all; not for the length issue, though no complaints if I have it, but because I realised that dismissing it all as length issue forgets at least one major reason I DO want other eyes on it.

For why, see this (revised) entry.

Please note, the issues raised in that entry do NOT exclude anyone else from offering. Because of course I have my moments of doubt in plotting (OMFG, who's going to believe this? It's a great big coincidence), character, language, and of course, the ridiculousness of the whole premise. Plus length.

Some things:

I had rather not have to print and mail the whole thing if it's possible to send the file instead. (I'm more willing to print and mail the first chapters if need be)

I had really rather a reasonably quick turnaround - as in, four to six months as an upper limit for the whole. I can start by sending the first 3, 6 or 11 chapters whenever I'm asked. (There are 35 chapters; 3 6 and 11 are the first three "parts" of 9.)

It's GBLTT friendly, and does include sex. If either of these bug you - I'm not the WRITER for you, never mind 'this is not the book'.

Trigger warning: Contains rape, psychological torture, actual torture, and emotional abuse by a parent.
lenora_rose: (Labyrinth)
Editing is going... weird. I feel like I'm hacking and slashing chunks out. I went over the chapters I'd already hacked pieces out of once and each one lost yet more words, which i hadn't thought I'd be able to manage. Granted, very few in some places, but a couple of chunks much bigger than I'd anticipated. And I've gone through a lot of the not-previously edited bits, and they lost much higher word counts, and more large segments.

However, I'm still at 135k. And I have only 30K left to edit.

That is to say, I'd have to trim HALF of what's coming up to make my goal. The next scenes are probably the most rough-written, and therefore not only will likely lose the most words, but will also require other kinds of polishing. (If the chapter I just finished is anything to go by.) Regardless.

This book is not going to be 120k.

*I'm* okay with it being 130k. But it sounds so much like agents aren't, overall.

To which: FUCK.

I suppose I could send out a call for critique with an eye to cutting words in particular. (it rarely hurts to have a beta of some kind). But, for various reasons, I've been feeling leery about tacking on yet another half year at least of waiting on responses and yet another run of editing of who-knows-how-long; this time, it feels like the fruits resulting of such a delay would not be different enough from the fruit already borne to affect how any agent would react to this project.

Time is what I haven't got, or at least that's how it feels.

Tell me if I'm being an idiot.
lenora_rose: (Labyrinth)
Editing is going... weird. I feel like I'm hacking and slashing chunks out. I went over the chapters I'd already hacked pieces out of once and each one lost yet more words, which i hadn't thought I'd be able to manage. Granted, very few in some places, but a couple of chunks much bigger than I'd anticipated. And I've gone through a lot of the not-previously edited bits, and they lost much higher word counts, and more large segments.

However, I'm still at 135k. And I have only 30K left to edit.

That is to say, I'd have to trim HALF of what's coming up to make my goal. The next scenes are probably the most rough-written, and therefore not only will likely lose the most words, but will also require other kinds of polishing. (If the chapter I just finished is anything to go by.) Regardless.

This book is not going to be 120k.

*I'm* okay with it being 130k. But it sounds so much like agents aren't, overall.

To which: FUCK.

I suppose I could send out a call for critique with an eye to cutting words in particular. (it rarely hurts to have a beta of some kind). But, for various reasons, I've been feeling leery about tacking on yet another half year at least of waiting on responses and yet another run of editing of who-knows-how-long; this time, it feels like the fruits resulting of such a delay would not be different enough from the fruit already borne to affect how any agent would react to this project.

Time is what I haven't got, or at least that's how it feels.

Tell me if I'm being an idiot.
lenora_rose: (Labyrinth)
A quick skim through the last year's writing progress.

The Good:

I finished the draft of Bird of Dusk I mean to start editing next month. If I manage to cut this by as much as I hope to, this is lengthwise a viable commercial project; it's been out to some agencies, but not for 5 years or so, which is more than long enough for an "I sent this before, but I rewrote. Please look again?" type query.

I made serious progress, if not always in the order or direction planned, on the Serpent Prince, Soldier of the Road, and The Dragon Queens (Aka my sole Heteronormative traditional high fantasy trilogy). To the point where I can see the ending of Serpent Prince from here. And Serpent at least is, or can be, a viable length combined with an attempt to make it sufficiently standalone to be a worthwhile project (Books two and three don't stand alone; you could start with Soldier, but not end with it, and probably won't be able to start with Queens.)

I got a new idea, currently dubbed Merlin's Dive, with enough writing and progress thereon to consider it a solid entry in the random book ideas.

I similarly added words to a number of other projects.

I sent out three separate short stories at least a couple of times each to viable markets, and, while rejected, got occasional good comments.

One of the above got a rewrite request I intend to review and fix between the end of Serpent Prince and the start of Bird of Dusk edits.

The Less Good:

I sent out Raising the Storm to 4 possible agents, with rejections.

Then I stopped. Not because of the rejections, which are par for the course, or laziness, but due to serious thinking.

Raising the Storm is roughly 180k words. And it can't be cut in half in any reasonable way that i can see (If a future agent or editor can see a way, and has a really good suggestion, we'll see, but I tried it before and it failed.)

These days, every major agent who's expressed an opinion on the subject has said it would about take a miracle to buy a 180k book. Most have said flat out it's a form rejection whatever the query looks like. That anything over 140k isn't a viable first sale. Period. And anything over 120k is a REALLY Big stretch. (Ergo also my desire to manage to cut 15-20k from Bird of Dusk.)

This is mostly frustrating because I *Still* believe in the project. It's as complex and layered as I could manage at the writing, especially considering how it developed over years, and as far as I can tell, it earned its word count the hard way, word by word.

But it means I have to get an agent to look at Bird or Serpent or both before I can even think of pulling this one out. Which makes all the work on it kind of feel like wasted time.

The even less good:

I wrote no new short stories and didn't finish any old short ideas.

I wrote a lot less than I ought to have, even if serious editing and rewriting count. if they don't I wrote far far far too little. For the first part of the year, this was exceedingly understandable, as I was going mad on pottery. And stretches of the other 2/3 of the year were full of great shiny progress. Briefly. Not enough to justify how low the actual count is.

And that's why i don't feel like I got as far as I should have.

But also, I haven't been practicing mandolin as I ought for much of this whole year. Which implies something about what I should be doing right now. Writing or playing, but productively.
lenora_rose: (Labyrinth)
A quick skim through the last year's writing progress.

The Good:

I finished the draft of Bird of Dusk I mean to start editing next month. If I manage to cut this by as much as I hope to, this is lengthwise a viable commercial project; it's been out to some agencies, but not for 5 years or so, which is more than long enough for an "I sent this before, but I rewrote. Please look again?" type query.

I made serious progress, if not always in the order or direction planned, on the Serpent Prince, Soldier of the Road, and The Dragon Queens (Aka my sole Heteronormative traditional high fantasy trilogy). To the point where I can see the ending of Serpent Prince from here. And Serpent at least is, or can be, a viable length combined with an attempt to make it sufficiently standalone to be a worthwhile project (Books two and three don't stand alone; you could start with Soldier, but not end with it, and probably won't be able to start with Queens.)

I got a new idea, currently dubbed Merlin's Dive, with enough writing and progress thereon to consider it a solid entry in the random book ideas.

I similarly added words to a number of other projects.

I sent out three separate short stories at least a couple of times each to viable markets, and, while rejected, got occasional good comments.

One of the above got a rewrite request I intend to review and fix between the end of Serpent Prince and the start of Bird of Dusk edits.

The Less Good:

I sent out Raising the Storm to 4 possible agents, with rejections.

Then I stopped. Not because of the rejections, which are par for the course, or laziness, but due to serious thinking.

Raising the Storm is roughly 180k words. And it can't be cut in half in any reasonable way that i can see (If a future agent or editor can see a way, and has a really good suggestion, we'll see, but I tried it before and it failed.)

These days, every major agent who's expressed an opinion on the subject has said it would about take a miracle to buy a 180k book. Most have said flat out it's a form rejection whatever the query looks like. That anything over 140k isn't a viable first sale. Period. And anything over 120k is a REALLY Big stretch. (Ergo also my desire to manage to cut 15-20k from Bird of Dusk.)

This is mostly frustrating because I *Still* believe in the project. It's as complex and layered as I could manage at the writing, especially considering how it developed over years, and as far as I can tell, it earned its word count the hard way, word by word.

But it means I have to get an agent to look at Bird or Serpent or both before I can even think of pulling this one out. Which makes all the work on it kind of feel like wasted time.

The even less good:

I wrote no new short stories and didn't finish any old short ideas.

I wrote a lot less than I ought to have, even if serious editing and rewriting count. if they don't I wrote far far far too little. For the first part of the year, this was exceedingly understandable, as I was going mad on pottery. And stretches of the other 2/3 of the year were full of great shiny progress. Briefly. Not enough to justify how low the actual count is.

And that's why i don't feel like I got as far as I should have.

But also, I haven't been practicing mandolin as I ought for much of this whole year. Which implies something about what I should be doing right now. Writing or playing, but productively.

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