Monday, December 31, 2012

End of the Year Update


Well, here we are on the final day of 2012, and I find I’ve been sorely overdue for a blog update, so I thought I’d do one in the form of a year-end progress report. 

My word totals this year finished out at just over two hundred thousand, about half of what I did last year.  I attribute this to several factors:  Spending more time researching and world building for the novel, reading more, and a bit of burnout that set in toward the end of the year.  But I’ve had a good rest over the holidays, and I think I’ll be ready to hit it hard again the first of the year. 

I still think I’ll try to get back to my thousand words a day goal, at least for the foreseeable future, as it is doable, and tends to keep me sharp.  I do think I need to come up with some new story/plot generators, as some of the older methods that I’ve mentioned here in the blog have started to falter. 

Other than writing, as I mentioned, I did start reading more heavily in the last couple months of the year.  I’d decided that I hadn’t been reading enough, and a writer really needs to be a reader as well, practically constantly, so I knocked out twelve novels as of today, including a reread of some old favorites like Tolkien and Crowley’s Little, Big, as well as some new stuff and some Kurt Vonnegut that I hadn’t read before.  I think in the new year I will keep up the reading, trying to allow an hour or two each morning so I can knock out 50-60 pages or so.  Then I’ll spend the afternoon writing. 

My submissions also dropped off in 2012.  In ’11, I pulled off 100 subs, but of course I had a pretty large back catalog I was drawing from, and I also had a lot of flash and shorts from the 400K words I wrote last year.  In 2012, I managed 27 subs, with eleven sales, so a pretty good ratio.

One thing I did a lot of this year was flash fiction, which I enjoy, and will continue to do, but I really want to try to get more work in the 4000-6000 word range in 2013, and with these pieces try to crack more pro markets.  So the sales may fall from what I’ve been doing, but ultimately I think it will be more satisfying in the long run.  I think a good plan will be to devote a week or so a month to writing a short of this length, and the rest of the time I can work on the novel.  That should give me a shot at twelve decent length stories for the year, as well as progress on the novel. 

So, that’s about it.  Time to hunker down and try to add at least a thousand more words or so to those 2012 totals.  Happy New Year!



Saturday, September 22, 2012

Heading to Middle Earth


I’m currently on a vacation of sorts, in a much-loved realm, though I haven’t left home. 

I’m talking, of course, of the pilgrimage I take to Middle Earth every few years, in the form of re-reading my favorite novel, The Lord of the Rings.  (and yes, though it is call a trilogy, or even THE trilogy, it is really just one long novel)

I first read TLOTR in the autumn of ’81, at the start of eighth grade, at the impressionable young age of thirteen.  My sister had been hounding me to read it for a couple of years, telling me how much I would love it, but for some reason I put it off.  I was more into straight science fiction—my head was caught up with rocketships and aliens.  But, as summer was slowly waning I was finishing up Anne McCaffery’s original Dragonrider’s of Pern series, and I found it one of those books that I didn’t want to end.  And while it was billed as science fiction, it certainly had a fantasy feel to it, so perhaps a grain of interest in that ‘other’ speculative genre was planted, and perhaps I had that with me a short while later when I was perusing the stacks at my local used bookstore.   It was there that I came across the Hobbit and TLOTR books.  There they were; battered, dog-eared mass market paperbacks with those wonderful 1970s era covers (painted by Tolkien himself—they’ve always been my favorite, and what I’ve always felt were the ‘proper’ covers for the books).  



My hand moved forward, and I picked them up and bought them.  Later, with the darkness of an early autumn night, I read those famous words: ‘in a hole in the ground lived a hobbit...’  I was hooked.

TLOTR was the first real work of fantasy that I’d ever read, and it remains the best I’ve read, and my favorite.  Tolkien’s garnered quite a few imitators over the years, and I’ve read most of them, and they pale in comparison to the rich, deep, majestic world Tolkien created. 

I began the habit of rereading TLOTR every couple of years, always in the fall, for these books just have an autumnal feel to them.  I find I never tire of revisiting the world and the characters; each read brings new discoveries along with the joyous reliving of favorite scenes and passages. 

When the Peter Jackson film versions came out, I certainly enjoyed them, and I’ve watched those several times over the years, but they can never replace for me the reading of the novel.  For one thing, the movies, by necessity, speed everything up, and one of the great pleasures of visiting Middle Earth is to enjoy its coziness and its scenery.  I will readily admit that it is a slow moving novel, but I think in this case that is one of the reasons I like it, because in its indolence is the time to enjoy the beauty of Tolkien’s language, and the world that he painted with those words.   (In the books, I'd forgotten that over seventeen years pass from Bilbo's 111st (eleventy-first!) birthday party to when Frodo leaves the Shire)  Tolkien was a great lover of nature, and this is reflected in his prose.  One really feels each tree leaf and blade of grass as the Hobbits walk through the Shire, or each drop of rain as they lounge around Tom Bombadil’s house on Goldberry’s Washing Day. 

In the House of Tom Bombadil—heh, speaking of slow sections of the book, this is a chapter where even such a slow tale as TLOTR has come to a grinding halt.   It is no wonder they left it out of the movie.  But, I’m glad they did...not because I don’t like the chapter...I happen to love it.   It may be my favorite chapter of the book, and I really can’t explain why.   There is just something so absolutely charming about Bombadil, and something so dreamy and comforting about his home in the old forest.   It both opens a longing in my heart and satisfies it at the same time...I could dwell here in this place for a long while.  So yes, I’m glad they left it out of the film...the movie could not do it justice.  And so it remains a little treasure to be discovered over and over again, only in reading the book. 

I’ve just finished that chapter, and it inspired me to write this, as I wanted to linger in the world of Tom and Goldberry a little longer, before we set out for the barrow downs, and Bree, and what lies beyond.


Friday, August 31, 2012

WorldCon


Just a quick update to inform that I arrived at Worldcon in Chicago yesterday.  WorldCon, for those who don’t know, is the World Science Fiction Convention, this year in its 70th iteration.  It’s actually my second WorldCon, (I went to Lonestar Con 2 in San Antonio back in ’97), but it’s my first to attend as a writer. 

As I’m still relatively new to the game, I only had one panel appearance, which was yesterday.  I had a story come out in Daily Science Fiction’s Year One Anthology, so I was asked to participate in a reading/signing supporting the book.  I have to say it was an honor to get to read some of my work at a venue such as WorldCon, but I was also a bit nervous, so I’m sort of glad it’s over.  Now I can simply enjoy all the overwhelming craziness that is WorldCon. 

More soon...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Ray Bradbury, RIP

Ray Bradbury, one of my favorite authors, has just passed away.  Better writers than I will eulogize him.  I can only offer these simple thoughts:

Ray Bradbury was the first writer who made me realize that words alone can evoke great beauties in the mind that go beyond the mere meaning of the sentences that they make up.  He made me realize that a writer, at their best, is an artist painting with words, painting great visions on the canvas of the mind’s eye. 

Take the first paragraph of his story, ‘April Witch:’

Into thin air, over the valleys, under the stars, above a river, a pond, a road, flew Cecy.  Invisible as new spring winds, fresh as the breath of clover rising from twilight fields, she flew.  She soared in doves as soft as white ermine, stopped in trees and lived in blossoms, showering away in petals as the breeze blew.  She perched in a lime-green frog, cool as mint by a shining pool.  She trotted in a brambly dog and barked to hear echoes from the sides of distant barns.  She lived in new April grasses, in sweet, clear liquids rising from the musky earth. 

Or the equally great story, ‘The Emissary:’

Martin knew it was autumn again, for Dog ran into the house bringing wind and frost and a smell of apples turned to cider under trees.  In dark, clock-springs of hair, Dog fetched goldenrod, dust of farewell-summer, acorn-husk, hair of squirrel, feather of departed robin, sawdust from fresh-cut cordwood, and leaves like charcoals shaken from a blaze of maple trees.  Dog jumped.  Showers of brittle fern, blackberry vine, marsh-grass sprang over the bed where Martin shouted.  No doubt, no doubt of it at all, this incredible beast was October!

I cannot praise enough the way the richness of his words bring me into these stories.  They instill a longing in my heart, but also satisfy in a tangible way that only reading those words can.  There is a dance going on here between the author and the reader.  The author is leading, and providing the music with those magnificent words that delight with every syllable.  Bradbury celebrates both the mundane and the massive.  The little things:  Leaves, flowers, animals, and the large:  Seasons, emotions, and a life well lived. 

As I’ve grown older, I’ve discovered that such a thing is a feat that only certain authors can manage for me.  John Crowley and Gene Wolfe come to mind, or the rare prose of e.e. cummings.  (His poetry does it for me as well)

But Ray Bradbury was the first.  I can’t say that he inspired me to write, but he certainly made me realize that there was something going on in good writing that dwelt beyond the mere meaning of the words on the page. 

RIP and Godspeed, sir!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Dissecting A Story: Way to Blue

Writers often seem to loathe the thought of commenting on their own writing process, and even more so upon their finished stories.  This is probably a good thing, and I for the most part concur.  A finished piece of writing should stand on its own, without explanation or annotation.   It is the reader’s right to discover the charms of the tale on their own, and let the story be what it is for them and them alone.

Still, as a reader, I often times long to know what a writer was thinking when they crafted a particular story.  (I wonder this perhaps even more as a writer as well)  For this reason, I don’t have a problem if an author comments upon their own story.  I just think the comments should follow the story, so the reader has that chance to let the story enchant them on its own first.

Since this is a writing blog, I often comment on the craft of writing, and perhaps offer a line or two of commentary on a story of mine from time to time, but I’ve never really dissected one of my own stories in detail.  I’ve been considering doing this, however, as a exercise unto itself.  I am still in the process of growing as a writer (something I hope never stops, actually), so I think the endeavor might be not only of interest to a few readers, but beneficial for me as well. 

I’ve decided to comment upon the genesis of a recently published story of mine called Way to Blue.  Before I begin, however, I ask that you give it a quick read.  It won’t talk long.  It’s a piece of flash fiction.  You can read it here.

Way to Blue had a twofold origin.  The first was a germ of an idea that I had summer before last for a story about a fairy who falls in love with a mortal woman, and he is so flummoxed he loses the ability to fly.  That idea sat unrealized for quite some time.  While it was certainly an intriguing premise, I just couldn’t move forward with a story about a romance between a fairy and a mortal.  The second half of the origin lay in one of my tendencies to use music as inspiration.  I was shuffling my iPod with such intent in mind and the Nick Drake song Fly came on.  I’ve always loved Drake’s music, and particularly this song, so I decided to write a story inspired by it. 

As I wrestled with myself in that ‘blank page’ moment that all writers fear, thoughts of my ‘fairy in love’ idea came back to me.  I decided this might be the time to try to develop it. 

For some reason, however, a story about a fairy didn’t seem to fit the Nick Drake song.  The song is certainly about losing the ability to fly, at least metaphorically so, but the song is so somber and sad that it didn’t seem to fit a story about fairies.  Fairies felt too ‘happy’ for this song, and also they carry a lot of historical and literary baggage of their own.  Readers expect certain things from fairies, so using them didn’t seem to work.  Fairies certainly fly, but it is not integral to what they are.  I needed beings for which flying was so central that it was at the core of their very being.  For this reason, I invented the winged ‘Cloudfolk,’ beautiful and humanlike in size and appearance, save for their feathered wings with which they flew.  Making this change was the first step in getting the story to flow, for I no longer had the baggage of ‘fairy lore’ holding me back. 

Before I continue, let’s listen to the song. 

video

Click the play button to hear Nick Drake’s Fly.

Beautiful, eh?  Almost all of Drake’s music is like this.  Drake’s haunting voice and ethereal guitar tunings weave a tapestry of yearning tinged with sadness and solemnity.  I think this song is about someone who has tried and failed, and now wallows in the sorrow it has brought.  He asks perhaps for a second chance (Please, give me a second grace), or at least forgiveness.  He is also perhaps embarrassed by the act. (Give me a second face).  Whatever he has done, he has fallen, literally or metaphorically, far down.  Now he ‘Just sits on the ground in your way.’

Now, he can only ‘sit on the fence in the sun’ and ‘watch the clouds role by, and never deny, it’s really too hard for to fly.”  He contemplates the difficulty of what he has tried to do, and feels only futility in his act of trying, either metaphorically or literally, ‘to fly.’  I love this part of the song.  Who among us hasn’t tried and failed at something, particularly love, something which makes us feel like flying.  I love the particular phrasing he uses in this line of the song.  He doesn’t say ‘it’s really hard to fly,’ he says ‘it’s really too hard FOR TO fly.’  I don’t know exactly what Drake meant by this (I’d love to ask him, but alas, he died forty years ago), but there is something exceedingly eloquent and highly literary in that phrasing.  I also remember the first time I heard the song, I misheard the lyric, hearing instead ‘it’s really too hard, butterfly,’ as if he were addressing the little fluttery, delicate creature of that name.  It almost makes sense that way, too.

The song continues on to its dreamy, languid conclusion.  And thus, back to the story. 

After letting the song play over and over again, I still struggled to begin writing the story.  And then, inspiration, as it thankfully does, hit.  Instead of forcing myself to write this tale from the point of view of Nick, the stranded male cloudperson in love, I recast it and began to write from the perspective of his friend, a cloudgirl named Winny.

From this POV, the tale began to flow, and I finished it quickly.  I didn’t know when I first started out that Winny was in love with Nick, but this soon revealed itself to me, and the tale thus became hers, and not Nick’s.  I always love it when I’m surprised in the course of my own writing. 

With the tale complete, it needed a title.  I already had another story called ‘Fly,’ but more to the point that didn’t seem like the right title for the tale anyway.  Ultimately I chose ‘Way to Blue,’ which is the title of another Nick Drake song.  I’m very happy with the title, as it is a double entendre of sorts.  On the one hand, it speaks of the ‘way to blue,’ i.e., the ‘way to the sky,’ which is of course for them literally flying off into the sky, but also love.  But it also phonically echoes the phrase ‘way too blue,’ as in ‘way too sad,’ which both characters are at the conclusion of the story.

I got a lot of great feedback from friends and readers on this one.  One of the comments at Every Day Fiction was as follows:  “A charming story about the impetuousness of love. Winny loves Nick, Nick loves Nena, and Nena loves the boatman’s son. All that’s left is for the boatman’s son to see Winny and become smitten in his own case of unrequited love.”  I love that scenario.  It’s reminiscent of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream or Twelfth Night.  I just might have to write a longer version of this tale, and explore such things!   

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Paintings and Prose


My story, The Luncheon of the Boating Party, just came out today over at Every Day Fiction.  It was inspired by the Renoir painting of the same name:




























I use many things to inspire stories—music, random collections of words, little snippets of conversation I overhear, dreams—but sometimes I also use images to inspire stories.   These can be random photographs I’ve found in a book or on the internet, something someone posts on Facebook, or in the case of this story, something hanging on the wall of my very own house. 

I’ve always loved Renoir’s Boating Party, and a print of it has been hanging in my breakfast nook since I moved into my house fourteen years ago.  The figures in the painting just look like wonderful people having a wonderful time, and staring into the painting always stirs a longing in me. 

Images can be wonderful sources for inspiration in one’s writing.  Sometimes you just stare into the picture and wonder what the story is, and it slowly reveals itself in your head.  Sometimes the story will have a similar feel as the painting, but sometimes it might take off on a tangent and end up somewhere you’d never expect.  In the case of my Boating Party story, the painting itself is a character, driving the actions of the protagonist. 

I’ve used other paintings as inspiration, and I’m particularly fond of the Impressionists  and Art Nouveau.  Thus I’ve written stories based on paintings by Toulouse Lautrec, Monet, Manet, Mucha,  and Van Gogh.  For the latter I did three pieces of flash based on each of his famous ‘starry’ paintings, ‘Starry Night,’ ‘Starry Night Over the Rhone,” and “CafĂ© Terrace at Night.”  Hopefully, these stories will see the light of day sometime in the future.



Starry Night - Vincent Van Gogh

Starry night Over the Rhone - Vincent Van Gogh

Cafe Terrace at Night - Vincent Van Gogh

All right, time to go write!

Chris


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Today's Writing Challenge

My normal target goal for each day of writing is one thousand words.  I usually exceed this, but a thousand is very doable and good for those days when the words just don’t seem to want to come.  It also works out well that a thousand words is the commonly accepted length for flash fiction, which I really enjoy writing these days.   If I can’t seem to get anything else going, I can usually brainstorm up a flash piece and knock it out for the day.  Sometimes they suck.  Sometimes they’re acceptable.  Every once in a while, I get a really good one.  Those are the keepers.

Some days, like I said, I exceed my thousand-word limit.  I easily hit two thousand quite often, and sometimes even three.  I’ve exceeded five thousand a couple of times, and my all time record is sixty-five hundred, which I did on a day when my wife was out of town, and I was in a groove, so I decided to skip dinner and just keep writing until late in the night.

I’ve been getting a lot of writing done lately, which is a good thing, but much of it hasn’t been prose writing.  I’ve picked up a project  to do a rewrite on a screenplay for a producer friend of mine, and I’m also doing some writing for the Bail Out web series (and hopefully, someday, TV series) that I’m also working on as First Assistant Director.  There’s nothing wrong with this...any writing is good writing.  I’m not opposed to continuing to work in screenwriting from time to time, so it’s good to keep my skills up in that area, and all the words count toward my daily goals.   But my first love is prose writing, so want to keep working in that area as much as possible.  Since I know I have some screenwriting commitments this week, I decided that today I would do a marathon prose writing session, and see if I can beat my personal best and crank out seven thousand words of prose today. 

As I type this, I am already three hundred and fifty words toward that goal (blog entries count).  So, here goes.  I’ll report back on how I did. 

UPDATE:  Mission Accomplished.  7271 words in six hours.  Whew!  I'm spent!  Two stories knocked out. An SF piece and a mainstream piece.  

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leaping into the Year

Just noticed that February has almost slipped by and I don’t have a blog post for the month.  So I figured I’d better get something whipped up, and what better day to do it on than that most elusive of rare days, February 29th. 
So, first, an update, I guess.  Work on my novel “Behavior” started in mid January, and progress was good out of the gate.  I got about 20,000 words of background material, world building and whatnot written, but then I hit a wall, and things have been slow going.  I think there are two reasons for that.  First, I’ve exhausted all the ideas that had been floating around in my head about the futuristic society in which the novel takes place (it is currently set in 2064), and I guess I need time for new ones to fill it.  I’m also used to doing invention work on the fly, as I write the story itself, so I may just have to dig in and start the narrative, so that I can see what corners of my world need to be created and fleshed out, even if I have to revise significantly later. 
The second thing that has slowed me up is I’ve gotten back into filmmaking in a minor way.  I was heavily into this several years ago, but pretty much got out of it to focus on my prose writing.  But I have a friend who I worked on a pilot for two years ago, and he is starting production on more episodes, and asked if I would come back to help with production.  I agreed, as I enjoy filmmaking, (I’m currently working as First Assistant Director on the shoot, as well as doing a bit of writing on the scripts) and figured it would be a nice change of pace.  But like anything, it takes a lot of time, and in the last two weeks I’ve been working on it, I’ve made little progress on my novel, or any other prose writing.  So I’m going to have to see if I can get my head back into the game, and make the novel priority number one, or else bow out of the film project at some point in the future.  We shall see. 
On the publication front, I’ve had a few sales since the beginning of the year, and a couple of stories have come out as well.  Every Day Fiction just bought “Way to Blue,” my story of a winged man who can no longer fly, inspired by the Nick Drake songs “Fly” and the eponymous “Way to Blue.”   Used Gravitons released “Rememories” in January.  This story, about a disfigured man who visits ‘mem joints’ to relive his former life in his head over and over again, got ripped to shreds by a professional author at Odyssey, but I made a few changes (though probably not as many as he suggested) and I’m happy with it.  Sometimes you just have to let a story get out there and see what the world thinks.  Finally “The Ale Wife,” a story about a farcical courtship with unexpected results, will be published by Mirror Dance in March. 
My wife and I watched the Woody Allen film Midnight In Paris last weekend, and we quite enjoyed it.  The fact that it featured some of the “Lost Generation” writers as characters really made me want to reread some of these authors.  Hemingway, Fitzgerald and some of the others were heroes to me during college, when I read pretty much their entire oeuvre.  The film also brought the romance...the ideal...the fanciful dream of the writer’s life back to my mind.  The day to day life of a writer in reality can be pretty banal, though satisfying.  Sometimes one has to let one’s mind wander a bit, and look at things from a distant place, to realize that the romance, the ideal, and the dream are indeed there, just as they were for Ernest, and F. Scott, and Gertrude, and all the rest.  

Monday, January 23, 2012

"Fun Project" finished

Well, I finished my ‘fun project,’ yesterday, which entailed completing the fantasy novel that I started writing when I was nineteen.  The novel finished out at 90,992 words, of which 39,763 are new words added to the twenty-four-year-old manuscript. 
As I mentioned I would do in a previous post, I just blazed through the writing, using the forty-six page outline as it was written, and I didn’t take any time to worry about fixing all the major problems that this piece held.  It was a tedious and even painful thing to do at times, but I feel overall the effort was a great learning experience, and it feels good to be able to say that I’ve created even a crude, quite bad, rough draft of a novel. 
Laundry listing all the problems this novel had, or the things I’ve learned from finishing it, is probably beyond the scope of this blog.  But I’ll highlight a few of them here.  First off, the novel was quite derivative, drawing heavily on Tolkien and his imitators, as well as the game Dungeons and Dragons.  This in itself is not inherently uncharacteristic of the fantasy genre, but I myself find I wish to be more original in my writing, and that alone will probably preclude me from ever revisiting this work as something to revise.  I do like the characters, and a few elements of the plot, so perhaps these will find their way into a future work.  We shall see. 
Another problem that I found with the work was massive amounts of point of view (POV) shifts throughout, all of which were not handled very well by me.  I had three main characters in this novel, and I tended to jump between all three throughout the work.  While the third person omniscient POV is a legitimate form, it requires the most skillful of writers to handle it well (Mario Puzo’s The Godfather comes to mind) and I feel such is beyond me at this point.  It was definitely beyond me then.  This POV, if not handled well, can be very distracting for the reader, and can often thrust them out of the narrative.  It is much safer to stick to third person limited POV in most cases.  George R. R. Martin succeeds with multiple POVs in his Song of Ice and Fire series, but he handles it by breaking the work into chapters with a single viewpoint character for each. 
Another problem I found was the overall lack of danger for the characters throughout most of the novel, and the way that they usually found their way out of danger with too much ease in most cases.  A writer really needs to pile it on to their characters, and make them work hard toward their goals.  Lots of ‘out of the frying pan, into the fire’ moments are good as well.  The stakes should always be raised again and again and again, higher and higher, until the ultimate crisis moment when it looks like all is lost.  Sadly this work just did not do that in most cases. 
The novel overall seemed to lack what I’ll call depth, for lack of a better word.  Characters, particularly minor ones, were often wooden and two dimensional.  Even the major ones were two dimensional in many ways, not to mention the setting itself.  An author really needs to create a background for their characters and world that not only provides depth and realism, but also motivation for the actions and desires of the characters.  I’m not saying every novel needs the level of background that Tolkien created, but I think there is a happy medium between that and simply writing what only appears on the page.  This can probably be accomplished in many ways.  There are writers who do vast amounts of ‘world building’ before they begin the manuscript proper, and there are those that simply create as they go.  Both are valid, but there is no excuse for not doing it at all.  I think for me, a combination of both may be the way to go.  Since I’ve mostly worked in short stories, I’ve mainly been of the ‘create as you go’ school of thought, but for a novel, particularly a novel as complex as the ones that I want to write, I think I may try a little bit of pre-manuscript world building to get me where I want to be. 
And so, with a little sadness but also excitement I leave this world and these characters behind.  Sad, because I have enjoyed revisiting them again, breathing a little life in them and completing something that I started.  Excitement, because I am now ready (I think) to tackle the SF novel that has been gestating in my brain for several years. 
But, a few short story ideas have presented themselves over the course of the last few weeks, so now the decision is, do I knock those out, or move right into the next novel.  Only time will tell. 
On the reading front, I’ve just started George R. R.  Martin’s Game of Thrones novel, the first volume of A Song of Ice and Fire.  I very much enjoyed the HBO series based on this novel last year, and am surprised at myself for never getting around to reading this series.  I’d read a little bit of Martin’s work before, mostly short stories and the novella Sandkings (which I highly recommend), but this is the first of any of his longer fiction that I’ve read.  So far, I must say, I’m enthralled.  Martin is a master storyteller, and he has crafted a certain masterpiece here.  His plot is far-reaching and complicated and the history of his world so complex it almost reaches a Tolkienian level.  His world feels gritty and real, and he doesn’t pull any punches.  I would love to know more about how he built his world.  My only dislike with is prose is his heavy use of adverbs, which I’ve always been taught weaken one’s writing, but such is a minor complaint against what amounts to one of the best books I’ve read in quite a while.  I look forward to the next few volumes with great fervor. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy new year to all!
I meant to do a quick post at year’s end, but here I am, two days late.  Ah, well, better late than never. 
THE YEAR IN REVIEW:
Looking back, 2011 was a great year on the writing front for me.  Final totals were 416,976 words written, which comprised 1,367 pages--by far the best I have ever done.  I also met my goal of submitting 100 stories by year’s end, an accomplishment of which I’m quite proud.  Of these 100, thirteen were published, sixty-seven were rejected, and twenty were still out there as of the end of the year.  The new year has so far brought two more rejections, and, huzzah!, another acceptance. 
This acceptance was for my story entitled “The Ale Wife,” to Mirror Dance Magazine.  This is a humorous little tale of false assumptions and misconceptions that I am happy has found a home, and I’m glad to place something at Mirror Dance, which I enjoy reading.  It is edited by the brilliant Megan Arkenberg, who has placed a great deal of finely-crafted stories in many well-respected venues.  When I see her name on a piece, I always know I’ve an intriguing, well-told tale in store for me.   
As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m now hard at work finishing an old novel from the 80s as a little inspirational and educational side project to help ramp me up to working on the SF novel that will be my main focus in the first part of 2012.  I was averaging about 3,000 words a day on this before the holidays hit and the house filled up with family, but I’d knocked out about 16,000 words on it before that, and I’m now back at it. 
Here’s to a great 2012!
Chris