Saturday, February 20, 2010

Short Story Tally

Over the last few years I've managed to sell most of the short stories I've finished. There weren't many to begin with, but I like to figure out on paper what I've sold, what I have left, and what needs to be finished every so often, so here it goes.

This Dark is Mine
First Moon
Ithuriel's Kiss
End of An Era
To Rest

See? That's not many. And that would be between the years of 2002 and now. Actually To Rest hasn't seen print yet. It's in that "Forthcoming" limbo. It's funny that "First Moon," is the only one of them that sold the first time I sent it out, and it's erotica. I realized only later that maybe I should have changed my name. Oops. Figures.
Now, here's what I have left that's finished and not published yet:

The Life of Memory
Red Red Scream
Getting Fixed
Wings of Brothers

Not bad really, I guess. Red Red and Getting Fixed are both vampire stories about the same characters. They will someday live in the book I write about them. If I get to that point. The Life of Memory is sort of a Sleeping Beauty story, and so a hard sell, besides the ending is a little wonky still.
The last catagory is of course short stories I haven't finished yet. It's not as long as it used to be:

The Never

And that's it, for short fiction. I know that at my age, or almost my age, James Patrick Kelly had over 50 short stories published, and the Charles DeLint had over 50 books published. I suppose that's why they don't have day jobs, right? But I don't write quickly. I'm faster than I used to be, but still. I'm much better with technology than I used to be too. I never thought I'd actually write stuff on the computer. Twenty years ago I wrote in a spiral bound notebook, and then re-typed stuff on eraseable typing paper with an electric typewriter. Then I'd revise and type again. I don't suppose much has really changed except for the erasable typing paper (which, twenty years later feels like parchment and smells a little like cat pee). The computer makes it faster. Now I find myself writing trasitions, connecting scenes on the keyboard because I want to get through them quickly. That still feels like cheating. This still feels like cheating.
But I'll do it. I'll cheat as much as I can to get the story down.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Where am I?

One of the things they don't tell you about writing a book is how easy it is to become lost in it. At about, oh maybe 150 pages, it starts to happen to me. I begin to forget where I left that character, where that bit of diologue is. I start to wish that I was the kind of writer that made outlines, timelines, something. I begin to think maybe I need a spread sheet.
It's scary to look at the page and wonder who wrote that and how it go there.
That is where I'm starting to be in Fall now. I just found a whole notebook of stuff that I'd forgotten belonged in the story. I should be a little freaked out, because it does seem like losing control. But I'm not. This happened with the last book, and now I can recognize it as the process I have to go through. I can't control the story I'm telling--that notebook full of scenes is proof of that. I don't know where I'm going, or where I'll end up, but that's okay. For me, it's the only way to write. Now that I've lived with the characters a while, I know them. Now I just have to figure out where to go with them.
Until then, I'm lost, but I have to remember that it's a good thing.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

e books

I work at a big box bookstore, which has just put its own e-reader on the market, and I have a book that's looking for a home. It's boring, I think to explain how much I love books personally. How much I love the smell, the feel of paper. That's all been said before, and yet, ereaders are huge business.
Clearly the industry is changing. It has been changing for 15 years, but I think that change is speeding up. I think that instead of saying, one day everyone will carry 300 books around in their purse it's going to be in 6 months.
So where does that leave my book--I won't even address where that leaves my job. It leaves the book in my hard drive. I've collected a healthy stack of rejections that say "this is great, we really enjoyed it. Best of luck elsewhere." The first few of those are nice, but after a while, you know how it is. But I do not want to give it to an e publisher. I mean, it's clearly the logical thing to do, but I don't know if I can. Reality is that print publishers, for the most part don't have the money for new writers, and I know that. Maybe it's vanity. I want the thing to be solid, I want people to hold it in their hands. I'm not sure I can reconcile myself to submitting it to something so insubstanial. I say that, but I know that in reality I will end up doing just that.
Someone pointed out to me that now is the time to do it. Before it becomes as common as itunes. But I'm still on the fence. Really, I'm not trying to be difficult, I just don't know if I'm ready for this new century.