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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2001-09-01 7:15 PM
Saturday, September 1
So I decided to go for Michael Jasper's 1/24/30 Dare. That's one hour of writing a day for the month of September. This challenge is perfect for me right now since I'm trying to write every day. Not to mention the recent inertia. Also, at least this goal is realistic when I consider my current writing habits.
The first day of the 1/24/30 Dare I wrote just under six hundred words.
Hey, let the productive month of September begin!
Sunday, September 2
384 words written on day two of the 1/24/30 Dare. While I do pause the timer during the hour for bathroom breaks or whatever, I don't pause it when I reflect or stall. Unless I seem to be stalled for a long time, of course. That might be something to consider: pausing the timer when my hands aren't on the keyboard. I know a writer or two who do this. If I did this, an hour would mean an hour "hands-on-keyboard."
Today's writing was a little harder than yesterday's. I've reached the end of this one story I've been working and I wanted to get the ending right. I don't think I'm there yet. There will be some more words added to the ending but they will be added to the revision process, which I start tomorrow.
My one hour tomorrow won't be spent on the revision. The hour will be spent on the next story. New words! I've given some though on what my next story should be.
I did want to write another Trek story for the Strange New Worlds anthology. I'll be revising one this week (man, I sound busy) and I know my second will be at the end of the month when the new Trek series, "Enterprise," premiers on UPN. Every story is practice, even when it comes to Trek stories and there is only one professional market for them. "Ghost in the Machine" is a strong story and I feel good about sending it to the anthology. Dean won't be getting a lot of stories in the "Enterprise" flavor of Trek because the show premiers on Sept. 26 and the deadline for the SNW anthology/contest is October 1st. Manuscripts must be received by that date!
That doesn't leave much time. I'd like to attempt to write an Enterprise story in a day or two. Will I finish it in time? Will it be good enough for Dean to buy? There won't be much competition for that slot. I know I won't be the only one doing this. I've heard Dean say he hopes he gets at least one good Enterprise story for the anthology and I don't think I'm the only one who has heard this.
I've gone off track here. I was talking about my next story. Well, I've decided I'll make do with two Trek stories to Strange New Worlds (one just needs some revision, the other needs to be written) and start a story in a universe all my own tomorrow.
Labor Day will be a writing day!
Wednesday, September 5
Let's see, Monday I did more than an hour, around two or three hours, revising the current story. I wanted to get new words on something new, but this story needs the work. I did get some new words written on that revision so I'll just have to live with that.
And I've fallen behind. I haven't written anything since Tuesday. It's time to get back to work. There's a hour-a-day dare going on.
On Tuesday after the workshop, Alan Roberts told me this online journal of mine and my name was mentioned at WorldCon. He was at the Bridge Publications table, you know, the Writers Of The Future. It seems when Alan mentioned Eugene, Oregon and the Wordos, the three people behind the table said they liked my journal and they wanted to see more of my stuff.
Okay. "My Stuff." Obviously, for the contest. How would they know "my stuff" from everyone elses? It's blind judging. Then again, maybe I'm getting the details of this conversation wrong.
What do I get out off what Alan told me? I know this doesn't affect the judging just because they know about my web page. I am surprised! This journal is more widely known than I ever believed. I wonder how they found out about it? Alan suggested they might have done a Internet search on Clarion students. Also, our own Eric Witchey is the new WOTF volume.
I wonder if Bridge read the journal of Ron Collins before he won. Maybe they're still reading it now. Well then, what about Michael Jasper and Tobias Buckell? And there's a few more online journalers who have won in the WOTF contest. Is Bridge Publications keeping an eye on the NAW and the Web Rats?
It's certainly nice to have Writing Progress noticed. Speaking of WOTF. The story I'm currently revising will be my entry for this quarter of the contest. Deadline at the end of the month.
Saturday, September 8
During my one hour today, I wrote 675 words on the Altered State Of The Heart story. That's a working title and I'd like to come up with a better final title. Anyhoo, the rewriting continues with this story and today's word count includes new words and some old, I didn't keep seperate counts. I used my one hour today in a productive fashion.
Trey, Jim,Bill, and I start a revise-a-story-in-a-week dare tomorrow. I'll be rewriting Ghost In The Machine for Strange New Worlds, however, I might not get to it until Monday. I'll see how tomorrow goes.
Yes, Dares within Dares. The one hour a day is realistic and theoretically the revision in a week is compatible with the one hour a day.
I must get some new stuff in the mail this month. Strange New Worlds deadline is October 1st (I have one, with a second one planned). And the deadline for Writers Of The Future is September 30th. I also have a story I want to revise for Kris and Dean's workshop on Sept. 29th. Yeah, I know, that's not "in the mail" but it will soon after the workshop.
I was productive in another writing way today. I sent two stories back out in the mail. "Shattered" to Asimov's and "Recall" to Talebones. There would have been a third story sent, but I ran out of envelopes and I'm short on cash until payday. It's not a very good excuse. Then again, two out of three isn't bad.
Sunday, September 9
A hard fought hour produced 516 words on "Heart" story.
Then I had some things to do around the apartment and they took longer than expected. Isn't that the way it always works.
I didn't start my revision dare today, so tomorrow I'll start working on "Ghost In The Machine" along with the "Heart" story. I know what I want to do with "Ghost"--I made a list of things to do with the rewrite the last time the story was critiqued. I't's been a long time since I looked at those notes. I feel like looking at them tonight before I go to bed, so I'll be prepared tomorrow. I'm going to shoot for an hour of writing before work in morning.
Monday, September 10
The Dares merge together today. I worked on the rewrite of "Ghost In The Machine" for over an hour. Probably 1:15. I can't count words because it was a lot of moving things around and rephrasing sentences. It was slow going. Just like starting a new story.
And I'm glad I wrote down such clear notes on how to approach the rewrite. I did this back in June, because I knew I wasn't going to rewrite it immediately. I looked at those notes, saw my goal for the story, and became excited about it again.
Believe me, even though I say it was slowing going today, I'm still excited about the story. This is only day one.
I didn't do an hour on the other story.
Tomorrow I should be able to get one. Not so sure about two, but I'll give it a try.
Saturday, September 15
I haven't updated since Monday, September 10 and it seems like weeks have passed since then.
The incidents on September 11 have left me stunned. While I'm not the most disciplined writer and periods of inertia are common, I still think September 11 is the reason for this momentary lapse of writing. I've been watching television, seeing the images, hearing the thousands of stories, wondering what will come next.
A shimmering brilliance of bravery and self-sacrafice stands out from all the stories. It's the story of the airline flight that went down in Pennsylvania, the only airplane to not hit a building. A group of passengers rushed the hijackers, thus ending their lives, but saving so many others when you consider what the other three hijacked planes did.
One passenger, Jeremy Glick (if I'm remembering the name correctly) was on the phone with his wife for over twenty minutes before he and other passengers implemented their plan. That was enough time to find out about the other crashes. That was enough time to say goodbye.
I'm still waiting to hear if the cockpit voice recorder will reveal more about the actions aboard that flight.
After Workshop on Tuesday night (Sept.11), I went out to Pegasus with everyone else. It was a good thing to do after a day like that. There was talk about the events on our e-mail list earlier in the day, but at Pegasus there was talk about writing. It was just plain good company.
Today I'm wearing my Martin Luther King Jr. tee-shirt. It's a white shirt with a shadowy face of MLK and these words of his written across his face: "Darkness Cannot Drive Out Darkness, Only Light Can Do That. Hate Cannot Drive Out Hate, Only Love Can Do That."
I'm wearing this shirt not because I think we shoudn't do anything. On the contrary, I like the idea of tighter airport security and I like the dragnet that has been unleashed already. They've already arrested many suspected terrorists in this country already. If we know for sure it's Osama Bin Laden, I'm fine with going after him. Justice yes, revenge no. Let's keep our heads on straight.
I'm wearing this shirt for the ignorance I've heard about, where Muslims in this country have been attacked just because they're Muslim. They have nothing to do with the terrorists and the hijackers. This is exactly like when O.J. Simpson was acquitted of murder. Here in Eugene, African-Americans were blamed and yelled at by this same type of ignorance. This misdirected anger pulls us away from the original crisis.
I'm wearing this shirt because I'm afraid innocent civilians could be killed in Afghanistan if the U.S. should attack there.
I'm also wearing this shirt for the way the U.S. is pulling together. And for the volunteers in New York and for the blood donors.
As for writing, I started again with one hour a day yesterday. I did another hour today. My rewrite of "Ghost In The Machine" is going slow. I hope to pick up speed this weekend. I hope to be done on Tuesday, at the latest.
Seems like the whole country has the feeling their jobs are insignificant and trival. Writers are talking about thier writing in that way.
This will pass.
I have hope for the future. We will get through this and we will get the people responsible for Tuesday's tragedy.
I have hope for my writing. With one hour a day, I'm moving on.
Peace and take care.
Sunday, September 16
Writing hours today: 2
I like what I did today. The rewrite is going well, however, I'm behind, but I'll continue to chug along. And onward with the 1/24/30 Dare!
After three no-writing days, plus two days of difficult writing, it's good to write something I'm happy with.
Tuesday, September 18
Another hour and a little bit closer to finishing the rewrite of Ghost In The Machine. Like I said before, I'm behind, and I know it will be a few days before it's done. Man, I gotta get this done and out the door this weekend!
Sounds like Trey and Jim finished the revision dare. Congrats to them!
Thursday, September 20
I had two twelve hour work days (the day-job) this week. I hate to use that as an excuse for not writing, but it does explain why I ended up writing nothing for those days.
Things are back to the normal routine and I need a little coaxing to get Ghost In The Machine in the mail to the Strange New Worlds contest this weekend. And then I can deal with my WOTF enty for this quarter.
I have the whole weekend off and I'm telling myself to focus, focus, focus . . .
Sunday, September 23
Slow but steady progress on the rewrite of Ghost in the Machine over the weekend. I got several hours in.
Sometimes it's hard to get motivated with a rewrite. I can't wait until I'm done with this and I can work on something new. Working on a rewrite makes me feel like I'm stuck in the past. Don't get me wrong, rewrites have to be done. But right now I could use the feeling of forward progress by writing a new story, and using everything I've learned from writing previous stories.
It would be nice to make deadlines too. One step at a time. One step at a time.
The work on Ghost In The Machine will continue . . .
Tuesday, September 25
Well, I got Ghost In The Machine off to Strange New Worlds.
What next? There's that rather ambitious plan of mine to write a Enterprise story after the new Trek series premiers tomorrow night. I'll have all day Thursday to work on it and then on Friday (in which I'll have an 8hr work day) it needs to be at Fed Ex by 4pm to get to New York by October 1st (Monday). It'll get there on Saturday since the contest rules say "by." Too bad the last day of the month wasn't a Sunday.
Here's the plan: after the two hour pilot tomorrow night, I'll brainstorm plots and pick my main character. I want to get started on the beginning of a story that same night. On Thursday it will be a day of throwing words on the page.
There's a 7500 word limit and I find myself wondering can I even write half that much in a day? I've written over a thousand words, nearly fifteen hundred, in one day this summer. This personal dare has me nervous and excited all at once. Wish me luck.
I'll update here tomorrow night after my writing session.
Wednesday, September 26
I've started to watch Enterprise again because I don't have a firm story idea yet.
There are things I like. The conflict between Archer and T' Pol. Also, the character triangle of Trip, Archer, and T' Pol. The whole cast seems good. Hoshi has good screen presence, although I hope the writers stop showing her as the nervous one. That could get irritating.
I'm considering writing a first person story from the P.O.V. of Captain Archer. That might be neat, but it's too early to be sure. Trust The Wind might make a good title. I just have odds and ends and bits of strings and ideas. Got to get some of it to gel some how.
I'm surprised the premier didn't have more of a sense of wonder or a sense of exploration. There small hints of that and I think there will be episodes with that tone. My story for Strange New Worlds will probably lean towards exploration and wonder.
Thursday, September 27
1pm update: I think I'm finally on to something. I spent the morning without any clear plot (it's often hard to start something new), but before noon I stumbled on an idea to add to the characters on Enterprise. I'm definitely using Captain Archer as my P.O.V. character, however it will be in third person. I'm only one page into the story and after a quick lunch I'm jumping back into it. Archer is about to be seperated from his physical body. His astral body will be floating between decks of the Enterprise, all because of a dog-like animal that kills the physical body of its prey and then, projecting its own astral body, it goes after the astral body of its prey. Archer isn't safe yet and his crew scramble to save him. More later.
Friday, September 28
Well, I stalled on that Enterprise story last night. It's a tough thing to swallow after being sure this story in a day could be done.
I did send one story to Strange New Worlds earlier this week, so I take some comfort in that.
And thanks to Mike and Trey for rooting for me and the encouragement.
I'm planning on continuing with the hour a day dare in October. I always do better (in a deadline crunch) when I'm consistent and faithful with writing every day.
Now let's see if I can get a story off to WOTF by deadline. I do have one ready, it just needs some cleaning up.
Sunday, September 30
On Saturday I drove to the coast for Kris and Dean's workshop. Nina and Leslie rode with me and, boy, they were a lot of fun. We stopped off at this great Indian restaurant in Salem and the three of us will be collaborating on a story. It will be goofey one, a stoy involving the Fertile (is a small town in Minneota and Nina and Leslie found the name funny) fair and a mad cow. I don't consider myself a writer of comedy so this should be interesting.
We critiqued four stories at D&K's, ate spaghetti, and saw passing whales in the ocean. The only part of the whales you could see were the puffs of mist from their blowholes, but it was still cool to see.
I heard Dean say he's hoping to find a good Enterprise story for Strange New Worlds because they will have a section for the show. Oh, I still feel the disappointment of not finishing a Enterprise story.
Dean and Kris talked about their two week coast workshop they have planned for March. That workshop is one third shorter than Clarion, but probably more intense. Almost three years ago six new writers attended the first 2wk workshop. Besides Kris and Dean, the guest writer was K.W. Jeter, and the editor was Ginger Buchanan of Ace. Two of the new writers sold their first novels. And another new writer made his first three professional sales after the workshop.
The March 2002 workshop will have K.W. Jeter and Ginger Buchanan again, as well as Dean and Kris, of course. Ten to twelve writers will be students.
I heard of the plans for the March workshop during WesterCon this summer. Since then my mind has been set on attending the workshop. I do think it was to early for me when I attended Clarion in '93. I had yet to develope a critical eye. I was so green. I had built up walls and kept getting in my own way.
I've come a long way and I still have far to go. Right now I don't think I'm ready for D&K's two week workshop. I might be ready by March. This is the reason I want to continue with writing at least one hour a day. I do better when I'm consistent. I may not be able to whip out a short story in a day (last Thursday being an example) but I've made some gains this summer. I have learned if I stay in practice, I can write 1500 words or more in a day when needed. High word counts weren't that common, but again, it's those small steps that will yield the eventual short story in a day.
While my word count has been up the last few months, I'm having trouble finishing stories. I have some starts, some short-shorts, and some finished stories (besides rewriting). I need to work on this.
I think highly of Dean and Kris. Their ambition and drive enabled them to make a living at writing fiction. I want to continue to learn from the two of them. They think well of me too. Dean told me the 2wk workshop could eliminate the things I do to get in my own way.
That may be so, but I think I could get more from the workshop if I continue to break through my blocks between now and March.
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