Rob Vagle
Writing Progress

Now Appearing: my short story "He Angles, She Refracts" in Heliotrope issue #3

"The Fate of Captain Ransom" in Strange New Worlds 10

My short story "After The Sky Fell" in Polyphony 5, Wheatland Press

"Messages" appeared in Realms Of Fantasy, April 2001

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October 1999

October 1999
Tuesday, October 5

It's about time I write something in here.
Tonight at my workshop, I was talking with another writer about online journals. It quickly became apparent that there are two types of online journals. One, a journal where the writer rarely talks about writing and sending out stories to the market--let's call it posing. Two, a journal that does talk about word count, submissions, rejections, and focuses on that part of the person's life.

Now, I definitely want my journal to be more like the last one. I'm not here to thrust my personal life upon an audience. I don't have a need to feel important and I am essentially a shy person. Writing about my writing life and reading about the endeavors of other writers is helpful, like a community. The DARE YA! journals are great examples. There is a question of why do I want to do this? Keeps me in check, keeps me focused? That remains to be seen.
If I start rambling on about other aspects of my life without getting back to the writing, BAD IDEA. A little personal detail is fine and even neccessary to some extent, but there is a line.

This is about PROGRESS.

Moving on, I have too many stories sitting on my desk. Three could go out right away. I want to do rewriting on two others.

I signed up on the workshop calender to bring in a story on the 26th of this month. I need to stick to this deadline. I have an idea. Time to brainwash plot and theme. What do I want to do with this story?
I do have work to do.
More later.

Sunday, October 10

I went to Kate and Damon's workshop last night. They have a workshop at their house the second Saturday of every month. Well, almost every month. When they taught the last two weeks of Clarion they used to never have a Saturday workshop during the summer months because of traveling. But they haven't taught at Clarion for the last four or five years. Some months we ask K & D if we could have the workshop on a different weekend. Next month is such a month. World Fantasy is the first weekend and Orycon is the second weekend. We booked the next workshop for November 20th.

Anyway, I'm rambling. Back to topic. Last night we critiqued three stories, none of them mine. I asked Damon about the fate of Clarion at MSU. After all, there is a Clarion next summer and I hadn't heard anything about the possible cancellation for months now. Damon didn't seem worried. There was going to be a review board, but he hadn't heard anything yet. When I mentioned next year's Clarion as a good sign he said there will probably be another after next year, and so on. Probably still couldn't hurt to send in a testimonial in support of keeping Clarion at MSU for the benefit of future writers everywhere.

For the last couple of years I haven't been going to Damon and Kate's on a regular basis. Sometimes I miss a month, sometimes months at a time. Usually I would like to bring a story. If I haven't been writing I usually don't feel like going. Bad Attitude. I'm getting back in the swing of things and I'll be going each month now. I'll even try to bring a story more often. Maybe make each monthly workshop a deadline.
I need to prepare three stories for the mail. Those will be sent out on Tuesday. I need to get started on a new story. The story is titled "The gray matter of Fredrick Haylor". I still haven't sat down to brainstorm this one to get the feel of theme and the direction I want to go. That's the project for today and to start the actual writing of it.

I'm going to start writing an hour each morning before work. I work on a grounds crew of a golf job. A great job that just allows me to think out under the sky on a mower. We start at dawn and dawn is coming later now. I don't have to be in there until 6:30 am. We used to start at 5:30 am. Now if I get up at 4:30, which is in the realm of possibility, I could get in a hour writing session. It would be nice to get some writing done first thing in the morning. It will most likely be hard at first to do this, both to get myself up earlier and to get the writing flow started, but it will get easier. Still would like to do an hour after work too. It's a plan.

Making this page has been fun, maybe even a little distracting. I've spent too much time looking for html codes and trying to find neat things to put in here. I don't want to get too fancy. This should be a basic thing for my writing. I'm just happy with having a storyboard (I learned how to make tables) and finding a couple of gifs to put in here. I wish I could have better buttons, but I was having too much of a problem finding button images AND getting them to link to other pages. The basic ones will be fine. I'm happy with the page. Not too basic. It has a little character. And I'm sure it will evolve.

Why do I go to extremes? Either no journal entry or a long rambling

Cheers and take care.

Tuesday, October 12

I sent three stories out today. "Messages" to a new fiction market called Darkling Plain. At three cents a word, I believe that is considered a professional market. Also, "One story from the carousel of realities" to Asimov's. Then there is my first submission to Alfred Hitchcock's mystery magazine, "To Anna From The Styx." I'm not sure about this one. I haven't done any reading of the magazine, but in Speculations it is stated they take ghost stories, and all stories should involve a crime. The crime is betrayle (involving a ghost) so I hope that is not a stretch. I'll make a note to read that publication more. Couldn't hurt to get to know other genres.

It feels good to get those stories out, so good, so good. Now for more writing.

Perhaps another journal entry later.

Tuesday, October 19

I've received a rejection from the Avon anthology. It was a form letter, but a nice and positive and upbeat form of a form letter :)

I'll get that one, a story called "Shattered", out again right away. Then I have two others on my desk. There's some rewriting I want to do on those.
I'd like to update more oftern here. Once a week isn't cutting it. Some things I'd like to write about here tomorrow (I'm too tired right now and ready for bed): forthcoming World Fantasy, my first WFC; self-inflicted guilt; current stories being worked on; the new Clarion newsletter, and day jobs.
Well, that's a lot for tomorrow, but the point is there are reasons to update more often.

Thursday, October 21

October is almost over and soon World Fantasy Con will be here. Or rather, I'll be there at World Fantasy. While in Providence I'll try to pick the brains of various editors and agents. I'd like to talk to agent Donald Maass. His book, "The career novelist", is a good book. It was published in '96, and I would like to know what other advice he would add to it today. When I think of how publishing is changing with print-on-demand and electronic books, it fills me with awe. The writers, I hope, will come out as the winners.
I also notice, glancing at the membership list at the official website, that some "on-line journalers" will be there. Ron Collins, John Sullivan, Jen Coleman-Reese. The latter two I started reading when they went to Clarion this last summer. I started to read Ron Collins journal in late August, and I was impressed by his persistence and he sticks fairly close to the topic of writing. I wonder how easy it will be to introduce myself to these people I've been reading about, these people I've been watching--an internet voyeur, so to speak. Perhaps I should introduce myself in advance.

Joe and Gay Haldeman will be there at WFC. Joe taught at my Clarion during the second week. It will be good to see the two of them again.

It would be neat to meet Sean Stewart. I'd like to talk to Charles de Lint again. Not to mention, meeting editors like Gordon Van Gelder and Scott Eldeman.
There will be so many people to talk to.
All of this is just two weeks away.

Tuesday, October 26

Sent a story out to Starlight 3 today. "Shattered", the story I got back in the mail last week from the Avon anthology.

And I wrote 330 words so far today on a new story. I had planned on handing in a story to my workshop tonight, but I don't think I'm going to make it. I need to stick to those deadlines. I'm going to sign up on the calender tonight once again. November 16. I'm not going to feel guilty and depressed about not handing in a story. I'm just going to aim for the next date and try to end this pattern/cycle of self-defeating behavior.

As of last Saturday, October 23rd, I've lived six years in Eugene. I, of course, think that I should be further along as a writer, not so much as being published, but as a more disciplined writer. Well, that's the goal for the next six years. With discipline comes productivity. Productivity equals quantity. From quantity comes quality. Then being published will follow.

Saturday, October 30

An early update to the Storyboard above. Darkling Plain sent my story "Messages" back. About a 17 day turnaround time. The personal rejection letter was nice. David M. Cox liked it enough to share with one of the staffers, J.A. Howard, and he/she said, "This is 'Horton Hears a Who' meets 'A Prayer for Owen Meany,' and it had good elements of each in it. The idea is good, but it lacks development. It is a half a story." David M. Cox goes on to say, "This is the sort of story we are looking for, but we're looking for one that more fully explores it's themes. Speaking to God (?) about dealing with our mortality is rich subject matter, and this story doesn't do it justice. Best of luck with it elsewhere, and please do try us again."

Well, I will try them again. I'm not familiar with "A Prayer for Owen Meany," but I am familiar with "Horton hears a who." This story has been out circulating the markets for awhile with some down time in between markets. I know I should refrain from rewriting and just submit it elsewhere. I re-read the story, the first time in a long long time, and I'm statisfied with it, yet I can see where I could explore the theme more. Perhaps I should have someone from my workshop look at it, but again, (and I know I'm being indecisive) I should just get it back in the mail.
Ahh, decisions-decisions-decisions.

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