Stephanie Burgis
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Aargh. I've just finished reading ten different con reports from WorldCon (in Toronto this year, just to make things more frustrating...that's not far at ALL from my family home in Michigan) and am dealing with massive waves of jealousy. My gritted teeth may soon bore a hole in my jaw!

Ah well. If you're interested in seeing a bunch of photos of famous writers and not-so-famous-but-very-cool-ones, like some of my awesome Clarion West classmates, I recommend Cory Doctorow's

The good news is that this past week has been really productive in terms of writing. I figured out why the 2nd and 3rd chapters of Queen of Thorns didn't feel right, and I actually deleted them completely, went back and started over with a new chapter 2, adding a (wildly) different POV--and tada! It works! It feels like magic every time that happens--a piece of writing suddenly comes alive for me when it's been dull and flat before. I'm now at the beginning of Chapter Five. And of course I've been submitting stories, too...

I've got 11 stories in circulation now. That is, for me, an incredible achievement. Before I went to Clarion, I literally could not have done it. Before Clarion, I wrote about 1 story every year and a half, I sent it out to a maximum of 1 market, and then it disappeared. Clarion forced me to write 1 story per week, something I thought might be impossible for me, and it actually taught me how to think about short stories. Which isn't to say that I'm a fantastic short story writer now...some of my stories I like a lot, a lot of them have gotten good feedback from editors, but none of them have been bought or published, and some of them--I know--just don't work. And the honest truth is that I'm better at writing novels. But I keep writing short stories anyway, because I enjoy it (despite the frustrations), because it's a good writing exercise, because...because.... Oh, I don't know. Maybe just because Clarion made me think that short stories were important and fun after all. Maybe just because my friends from Clarion are getting short stories published (including my partner, whose stories I highly, highly recommend!). Maybe just because I've gotten into the habit.

But geez, it's so not fun to look at my submission data and think: "No one's going to buy these. Ever!"

So I'm trying to think positive thoughts and remember that it's worth doing the short stuff, too. If nothing else, so that I can get better at it. But the novels are the real key to my heart.

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