Wednesday, September 17, 2014

You like it when I'm spontaneous

So, Mahria (and her husband) came to visit a couple of weeks ago. We had a weekend of gaming and fun, which was very cool. We're doing the Pathfinder "Rise of the Runelords" adventure path.

She and I were standing in the dollar store during a supplies expedition, and I looked down at a square, foil-wrapped package. It was labeled Ed Hardy, and for a moment, I wondered why the fuck Ed Hardy had come out with a condom line. And if it made a fake tattoo on one's....member.

I pointed this out to Mahria, who gestured as one would at one's...member and said "I got it for you, baby. You said you like it when I'm spontaneous." We then dissolved into hysterical laughter, to the chagrin of our fellow shoppers. This is what happens when Mahria and I go anywhere together.

But this is what it actually was:

Monday, September 15, 2014

Geographic Issues

Due to my diatribes/obsessions on South Africa and Detroit, you may have noticed that even if I'm significantly altering the history or even present rules of reality in a real-world place, I want to be pretty accurate with regards to said real-world place.

Novel-wise, I've so far only done my home state of New Jersey once, this past November. I set it in my area, but just prior to my birth. So, enough overlap of geography I was very familiar with, combined with those apocryphal things of an era (and area) which give places in time their flavor (and no, that novel isn't finished, though I did hit the requisite 50k).

Manasquan Inlet, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Friday, September 12, 2014

To know or not to know

Well, I've withdrawn Learn to Howl from the Angry Robot Books open sub. Or at least I think I have; nobody answered me. I know they're undergoing restructuring, and they're a busy business. It is what it is.

Which brings me to the question: what next?

I need to finish The Wolf You Feed (that's book 2 of the trilogy, for those of you just tuning in). I know a lot of what the story is supposed to be, and how it's supposed to end, and all that. I just need to start the book where it needs to start (currently, it starts far too early) and get there. I also need to figure out book 3, because so far, I know how it ends and who dies. That's a much larger gap than I'm normally working with (or a much smaller one, I guess. Because I know things).

Right now, I'm waiting on a few short stories still out on submission. One of them actually has a link I can go to which tells me where I am in the queue. Clarkesworld subs do this as well, and I both love it and hate it. It's like tracking when you're waiting for a package. Is it there? Is it not there? Is somebody reading it? Do they hate it already? Interestingly, on Absolute Write, there's a thread about this particular numbered submission. Currently, I'm number 60 (and have been for several days); somebody on the thread got their rejection when they were still number 63.  Apparently science fiction magazines have a loose interpretation of what numbers mean. But being "stuck" at that good? Is it bad? It's probably neutral at best and worst; there's no way to know. Until I know. But whichever it is, it isn't personal.

I've also got a story which feels ready for submission, actually, and I'm totally gridlocked on a title. Sometimes, by the time I'm done with a story the title has come to me, but no, this one remained with its working title the entire way through. I gave it a different title, just to try it out, and it leaped out at me from my desktop in its wrongness. Joy. Ooh, I wonder if I should try a random story title generator? Perhaps one of my saved lists from a Wendig contest? Now there's a plan!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

It's the time of the season

I get it. Fall is in the air. Some people like things other people do not. But seriously, even Chobani has a pumpkin spice flavor ("limited edition"; can you imagine just for a moment how fucking stupid I think "limited edition" food items are? Seasonal, I can get. Shamrock Shakes year round would clearly produce just too much happiness. But "limited edition" suggests once it's gone, it's gone forever. And that's silly with foodstuffs.)

But anyway. Fall is not my season. Summer is. So fall is equivalent, in my perception, to summer being pried from my grasp. Literally stolen. Not a fan. Fall is also when both colleges come back to town, and I end up with an hours-long cavalcade of high-pitched idiots shrilling themselves down my street to head to Frat Area. I just want to sit on my porch with a shotgun and the Doberman and tell them to move themselves along, quiet-like (I don't do this. I sit inside and glower at them from dark rooms.) So that's what "back to school" means for me now, noisy nights and clueless people (who I feel should be displaying a modicum of intelligence as college students, but that's one of life's big contradictions!) coming to the library to see about getting cards. Sometimes it means swag discounts on office supplies, which are great for gaming, but I don't even like Halloween anymore (though I do like candy corn still. So I've got that going for me).

Sunday, September 7, 2014

What's in the fridge?

I have a period of time  (period of mood?) when I've finished intensively working on one project and haven't really moved on to the next. The Last Song has finished 5 rounds of editing/drafting/deleting/writing from me and is now, electronically, in the hands of two readers. I have mentioned before, I am not the "did you read it yet? did you read it yet?" writer, and hope to never be. That's a great way to drive one's friends away, and I'm great at doing that to begin with.

So. I haven't yet settled on what I'm doing next. I haven't completed Esto Quod Es (the April 2014 novel) to "The End" yet, but I feel like it isn't done percolating yet.

I've got a short story I wrote in July that I should probably read again, to see if it actually works. If it does, I should figure out where to start sending it.

I'm number 60 in the queue for my F&SF electronic submission. It's a blessing and a curse to know where you are in line, something I've discovered while submitting to Clarkesworld.

So I've got that feeling, you know, when you're hungry and you don't know what to eat? So you circulate in the kitchen, open a cabinet or two, go through the fridge. That's how I feel about writing right this second. I look at the files I have, read some articles, mentally comb through my ideas. Is it time yet for the biker novel? The bitcoin one? Space? I don't know. Maybe I need to finish an existing short story, to add something else to my small bundle of offerings. Maybe I need to do this week's Chuck Wendig challenge (though I won't, because I'm pretty sure next week's challenge is to pick somebody's beginning and write the end, and I don't want to do that). Maybe I need to write the next installment of Klara.

Or maybe I need to read (perhaps the "ordering of takeout" equivalent in my prior metaphor). I'm currently reading Wild Thing: A Novel, by Josh Bazell, which has been quite amusing (apparently it's a sequel. Ah well).

What do you do, when you're between projects?

Monday, August 25, 2014

I kind of think I probably don't need that....

Two years ago (!) I posed about the word "that"; how most sentences retain their meaning without it, how it's overused in writing (I definitely overuse it in my first drafts!), that kind of thing.

In editing The Last Song, I've noticed a couple of other words or phrases I've overused, the removal of which seem to strengthen the sentences, and the writing overall. "Probably" is one; it's one thing to use probably in conversation. It happens. It's cool. But in descriptions? It can be very frustrating to read "probably" over and over. You just want to know, "well is it or isn't it? Why won't you tell me?"

The same with "kind of", which has two meanings. There's "What kind of dog is that?" which okay, fine. You can say "type of" or "What breed" or whatever instead, but not too terrible. Then there's "It was kind of a pain". Is it or isn't it? "It was a pain." Say that instead (and there's that word again).

It's occurred to me to wonder if, organically, I've begun the attempt at removing most/all "weasel words" from my novel but no, apparently weasel words are something else and not like this:

But whatever words one might want to get rid of, suffice to say the "find" function you can do in a document is a Godsend.  Called somebody by two different names? Find and replace. Can't remember what kind of guitar it was? Find guitar. Did the thing with cats happen before or after this conversation? Find cats.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A collection of thoughts, mostly to do with writing

Remember how in the 90's, Old Navy had those awesome cargo pants? They still do for men. For the ladies, they have a single pair of skinny cargo pants. I don't even.  I was so incensed by this, I took to Twitter last night and inadvertently did a Ginsberg's "America" mashup, with Old Navy and cargo pants replacing key words. Because I wore my cargo pants until the zipper disintegrated on a school trip and never got a new pair and I wish I did. They were low rise (I think) and had relaxed legs that were also perhaps flared or boot cut? They were baggy without being too terribly baggy. And I miss them.

"Old Navy, I feel sentimental about Nirvana./Old Navy I used to be into cargo pants when I was a kid and I'm not sorry."

Obviously, I'm not going to rewrite the whole poem, as that would just be taking it too far. Probably. Also, I appreciate that Old Navy seems to think literally everybody should wear skinny jeans, but I'm not taking that bait.