Wednesday, July 20, 2005


Entered "Frame by Frame" in the SpecFic Contest, and I just printed off a new story to enter in Wrtiers of the Future. This is not a goof like "In Deep Shit," but an honest-to-goodness serious science-fiction story. I was just about at the point when I thought I'd burned all the seriousness out of myself; everything I wrote seemed to come out funny, and I was living for those moments when I'd get a big laugh at a punchline at my writer's group meetings. Then this story came reeling out one night. I cried when I wrote it, and The Wife cried when she read it, so I guess you could say it's not so much a comedy.

Starting back to work on Flip is not easy. I wrote a couple of scenes pretty easily, but they were basically transitional scenes. I'm coming up on a real meat-and-potatoes action sequence, a "production number" as my old screenplay teacher used to call it, and I'm seriously frightened of starting. The book already has about a million logical holes in it, and I'm terrified that I'll never solve them and the whole book will just be crap. But I'm afraid to try to go back and solve some of those problems until I've finished the first draft. It's one of those Ourobouros dilemmas, a snake feeding on its own tail, and it's the kind of thing that caused my previous paralysis on the book. I thought I'd solved it, but now it looks like I just pushed it back a few pages. Now it's back.

I've got to break through this thing and get moving. Maybe I should ask for help.

Sunday, July 17, 2005


Spent the weekend at Conestoga, our local sci-fi con (yes, I said 'sci-fi' - wanna' make something of it?). Made some good connections, I think, and got to meet some personal heroes like Howard Waldrop and George R. R. Martin and Warren Spector. Now I've got to turn this enthusiasm into productive work on Flip.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Getting Back to Work

Well, it's not as if I haven't been working lately. I wrote a short story just a couple of weeks ago as a matter of fact. But I had a novel that I'd been deeply into, when I realized I'd taken a horrible wrong turn in the plotline. So I decided to back up about fifty pages and have another run at it.

Total blockage. Someone in my writer's group suggested putting it in a drawer for six months. I thought, "I'll try one month. I really need to get this finished." One months later, I wrote about a page and put it down again. Two months later, nothing. Now it's going on nine or ten months; every time I would think about going back to it, I would get another short story idea. "I'll just do this one more story, and then back to the novel, promise." That was five or six short stories ago.

And then last week, I saw one of the members of my writing group looking over notes for a book project she was working on. They were very extensive, pages and pages devoted to this or that character, and I began to feel guilty. And I thought, "I should try that again. Do some more structural work, some character exercises, get back into the rhythm." (The novel I was working was one I'd planned to plot out carefuly, but I got excited and jumped the gun, writing an opening that just forced me to keep pushing deeper into the story, until suddenly I was too far in without a map. I wandered around a while yelling, "Help, I'm lost," but that didn't work.

So I searched around and tried a couple of structural things and found one that seems to be yielding some initial results. We'll see how far I get this time.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Getting Used to It

Okay, I'm feeling a little better about the new computer now that I've had a chance to work with it a little bit more. I'm getting the settings tweaked to fit my preferences and exploring some of the new software. One thing I'm doing that I should have done a long time ago is putting together a spreadsheet to track my story submissions. I've read other writers mention this on their blogs, and I thought, "Why am I not doing this?" But I put it off because I don't really like Microsoft Works and I wasn't ready to buy a better spreadsheet program.

However, the new computer comes with Quattro Pro, so I've taken the plunge. Only problem now is, I don't have Quattro Pro on the office computer, so it doesn't look as if I'll be able to work with the spreadsheet there without laying out money for another copy.

Saw "Batman Begins" over the weekend. Aside from Christian Bale's odd-shaped head, this is the best version of Batman on-screen ever, bar none. But yeah, there's something seriously wrong with his head.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Got One

Okay, the new computer is now mine, and it's underwhelming so far, to say the least. I had actually gotten Windows 98 tweaked out to where I really liked how it ran, and now I'm having to learn Win XP. Despite the fact that my processor is over 6 times faster, and my RAM over three times bigger, everything seems to run much more slowly on the new machine. I'm sure as I delete the bloatware and trial programs that the machine is clogged with, I'll become more satisfied with the new computer's performance, but so far, it's a pain. Plus I'm having to transfer so many files from the old machine to the new, so it'll be a while before I'm fully up to speed. On the other hand, it's a welcome opportunity to ditch some old files that I didn't want to part with, but that I wasn't really using. And I'm sure I'll be enhancing the look of the system for a while. Get back with me in a week and maybe I'll be less frustrated.

In other news, I didn't win the Pitch Black books Storn Cook fiction contest, and "Frame by Frame" was rejected by another magazine (Aeon Speculative Fiction). But the editors at DaiKaiju want my story "Out of His League" to run in an e-anthology, so there you go. My first official fiction sale. It'll only pay about $7.50, but hey, it's a start.