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Riddled with Bullets...

Instead of actually trying to organize this entry into any sort of structure, I thought I'd cheat and use bullets to summarize some of the interesting stuff going on lately. (I really need to stop using PowerPoint at work!)
  • Last night I was listening to the baby, and while my head was on Lizzie's belly, Drew kicked me right in the ear. Hard. It was quite awesome.
  • Tonight I plan on stopping by the bookstore to get the year's best fantasy and horror antho to read on the flight out and back to Oregon, plus I want to buy Drew "Where the Wild Things Are" so I can mix up my nightly readings to him (well, almost nightly, when Lizzie and I are able to stay awake long enough to read to the little un).
  • I read over the play that Aaron Vanek and I put together from my short story "Unplugged" (thanks to Jenn and a bunch of other kind folks for their feedback) and it's coming together quite nicely. Some rough spots to fix here and there, but it could be a good dramatic SF piece. Maybe Aaron, who lives out in LA, can get it to run in a small playhouse out there. That would be sweet.
  • Just to cheer myself up with regards to our financial situation, I got out our old credit card bills from January of this year. With Elizabeth and me both working full-time (no more grad school for her, no more "sabbaticals" for me), we were able to cut what we owed on the cards in HALF, and pay off one completely. Damn. Not bad. And we haven't used the credit cards more than five times since March or so. That's pretty damn good. Credit cards are evil, evil things.
  • I've been reading the various query packages for my upcoming workshop -- the first 50-60 pages of everyone's novel, plus their synopsis/proposals -- and it's been a lot of fun and quite educational. Every time I'd read someone's chapters, I'd have to go back to my own chapters and compare (I'm a competitive bastard). I'm at the point now where I can't tell if my opening is dull or engaging or what anymore! But I still feel excited about it, even if I keep finding errors here and there in the manuscript...
  • I think I can pull three relatively self-contained stories (well, more like novelettes) from the newly written novel, and I want to polish and tweak them and get them into the mail. Of course, because I'm crazy, I want to change them all from 3rd person to first person and change around the viewpoint character in all three versions...
  • I don't think anyone other than writers (and probably editors) care about things like first person or viewpoint characters. Readers just want a good story. Sometimes I wish I could enjoy a novel without thinking about viewpoint or narrative. Sort of like people who memorize constellations -- you can't just look at the stars anymore without seeing the designs in them.
  • Weekend plans, if the two hurricanes heading our way don't hit -- do the baby registry on Friday, party with my younger sister and the rest of the fam on Saturday before she returns to school, and see the Durham Bulls play on Sunday (it's Negro League night, so they'll be playing in uniforms from that era, though hopefully not 80 years old -- a nice bit of serendipidity, as the novel I just finished deals a lot with the Negro Leagues back before they were officially organized).
  • I killed my printer as I was printing out copies of my recent novel, and now I've got to fix it. Of course, I can't just have a simple paper jam -- I think I mucked up something in the guts of it. Lovely.
  • One of the books we're supposed to read for the workshop is Albert Zuckerman's "How to Write a Blockbuster Novel," which so far is not impressing me. For one, he uses tons of examples from Ken Follet (who? thriller writer from the '70s? zzzz...), and he also has ideas I'm not totally crazy about, but then again, his goal is to get writers onto bestseller lists, so I'll read it and see what he's got to say. Personally, I like Donald Maass's "How to Write a Breakout Novel" much better. So which is preferred -- a breakout or a blockbuster? Hmmm...
  • I came to the sad conclusion that I can no longer drink Scotch. I bought some a week ago to celebrate finishing my novel, and all it did was give me a mother of a headache. I actually poured the rest of it down the drain. This is probably a good thing.
  • Just because I need more stuff to do, I'm thinking of writing short letters to the various editors to whom I've sent novel queries in the past 6 months. Unless I can get their email addresses, that is. I still have over 20 queries out there.
  • Four weeks from today I'll be heading out to Oregon. This will be the last trip I take without Lizzie for a good long time. I hate traveling without her. It's just not nearly as fun, and she's way more adventurous and intrepid than me. I'm happy to sit in the corner with a book or my laptop. And once the kid(s) are old enough, we're taking 'em with us on our travels!
And I think that about catches me up. I need to wind down from all this busy-work -- I think I'm still in frenetic novel-drafting mode. It's hard for me to shut my brain off. Later!

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