I finished a rewrite of Clocks over the weekend. The result were many corrected misuages of the noble apostrophe and a new title ‘At the heart of the maze i will find’, the lower case i being a deliberate feature to fox autocorrect software. I’m starting to reach a pattern with titles, where the usualy monosylabic working title is replaced with the proper title late in the creative process.
A reason for completing ATHOTMiWF (not the most useful of acronyms I grant you) has been to include it as part of my application for the Stegner Fellowship. I sent the application a few hours ago. At odds of 140 to 1 I will now forget all about it until sllghtly before 1st April.
And the story has also made a late entrance into the Clarkesworld queue before their Xmas hiatus on 1st December. It started at 32nd, and by the end of the day had made it to 15th. At that rate I expect my rejection by midday tommorow.
I spent most of this Sunday evening planning out a talk I’m giving tomorrow on the subject of The Entrepreneurial Writer. Part of this talk could be called ‘How to get ahead in the cut throat egotistical world game of being a writer’, but mostly I am talking about how writers are important to communities, and how the online world is changing how communities work and how writers contribute to them (for the better in my thinking)
So it was timely to run into Clarkesworld magazine’s call for Citizens. You might call this a creative and original way to raise funds, which of course it is. But it is also an acknowledgement of the role that a online magazine like Clarkesworld plays in forming and maintaining a community of people. Like any community, Citizenship comes with both rights and responsibilities, and those who take on the later get more of the former. I could imagine Citizenship becoming the defacto method of generating support for many online communities.
***UPDATE: SUPPORT OUR ‘ZINES DAY now 1ST OCTOBER***
Last week I put a call out for suggestions of magazines that as an SF fan I should be reading. My subscriptions have lapsed recently (its been a busy year) so this week I wanted to renew some subscriptions and start a few new ones. I wanted to do this because I get a huge amount of joy from reading and listening to good stories, and want to contribute to keeping the publications I like going. I think a lot of people feel the same. So why don’t more of us subscribe and donate to our favourite publications?
One of my favourite stories of last years was Summer in Paris, Light from the Sky by Ken Scholes in Clarkesworld magazine. I loved the stopry so much that I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of Schole’s first novel, which has recently been released in hardback in the States. We may have to wait sometime for a British edition so I don’t know when I will get to review the full thing (hint hint any editors from Tor who might read this…send me an ARC!!) but there is a tasty extract over on Bookspotcentral. Go have a read. I have a feeling Scholes will be someone to watch for anyone who likes great storytelling.
Its a tough life being a writer. Take poor old William Gibson. I read all of Gibson’s books obsessively in my mid-teens. I’ve traveled great distances to see him speak. I’ve even twice been compared to him in pseudo psychometric testing. But when I was less than gripped by his new novel ‘Spook Country’ I put it down and haven’t been back since. Thats the nature of fans. One minute you are the total centre of attention, the next you are just another unread tome of a bookshelf somewhere.
I will come back to ‘Spook Country’ when time allows. I am so busy with work, new freelance projects and my own writing at the moment that my reading has fallen behind, at least of books.
I have however found a new taste for short fiction in recent months. This began with a spate of excellent stories read in online magazines including Serendipity, Strange Horizons and Clarkesworld among others. I really believe e-publishing has come into its own in the last few years. E-books may still be emerging but for short fiction online outlets are now as strong if not stronger than their cousins in print. I’ve also been thrown into new realms of reading through The Fix. Their reviews are so good they have lead me to take out subscriptions for at least one more publication in addition to the four I already get.
Another revelation in the last few weeks have been audiobook’s. Realising I had less and less ‘quality time’ for full novels I decided to try out audiobooks as a way of squeezing reading into times and places it might not otherwise fit. I’ve become instantly converted, and currently have stories by Garth Nix, George R R Martin and Ursula K LeGuin loaded on to my Ipod. I think audio will become an increasingly vibrant area iver the next few years as its so well adapted for the internet and peoples bust, commuting lifestyles.
I am determined to get bakc to reading entire books though. I have a wonderful holiday to Egypt booked December, so between excursions to The Valley of the Kings I intend to get in some good quality reading time. The only problem is what to take with me. How about you well read lot help me out with some suggestions?
Its Sunday and I finally have a free half-hour to update the blog.
So how is my life as a writer for hire going? Well since going PT at work I have installed myself as unoffical writer in residence at Leicester University Library where the studious atmosphere and lack of internet mean I have no option but to focus on the task at hand…writing. Its also occured to me that when I make the New York Times bestseller list for my fantasy epic they might give me an honorary degree or something. I’m doing two or three full days a week there, and its the most productive writing period I’ve had in my life. I’ve found that if I can dedicate a whole day to writing, I can manage three two sessions which produce about 2000 words. I’m going to find it very hard to give up this dedicated writing time if / when I return to the world of full-time employment so I’m intent on enjoying it while it lasts.
On the literature development front I am keeping myself busy. 2008 is the National Year of Reading around which I have big plans.
I have taken on a couple of freelance projects as well, most notably organising the Writing Industries Conference for the Literature Network. The conference is scheduled for early next year, more details here when they are available.
I completed my mentoring last week, which had stretched from a six month to an almost year long project. It has been tremendously valuable for me and provided a real focus for my development. I really doubt I would have taken the plunge in to the world of part tijme work and freelancing otherwise, or managed the progress I’ve made with writing.
I have also recently started reviewing work for The Fix. My first assignment was the retrospective short story collection Viewpoints Critical by L E Moddesitt. It turns out my mentor has met Modesitt which gave me a different insight into why I might have struggled through his stories. My next assignment is Cabinet des Fees: A Fairy Tale Journal by Prime Books. I’ve barely scratched the surface yet but it seems like an intriguing publication. The Fix is proving to be a really vibrant hub for the SF community so I strongly suggest taking a good look of that kind of thing interests you.
Transmission #9 and Electric Velocipede #13 have now hit the streets so I have no other confirmed publications ahead of me. I do have a story under serious consideration for an online zine, and I have stories submitted to BBC Radio 7, Realms of Fantasy, Clarkesworld and Elastic Press. My priority is to finish more work though, because I’m runing out of stuff to send out!
I have another 1000 words to bang out this evening. Good luck to any of you doing NaNoWriMo BTW.