Melt-Water and Editors

3 April 2002

Good morning, good morning. I'm doing better, hoping to upgrade to "good" by evening. Eating real food and all. Timprov went out and got me a few things at the store -- I didn't leave the house. After I showered, I put on different pajamas. I think this was a good idea. Of course, I still did manage to get a few things done around here. And there are a few more on my list. Oof. Even with the stipulation that I don't "have" to write short stories just for the sake of writing them, there are deadlines for which I'd like stories on April 15, May 1, May 7, May 13, and May 15, to say nothing of the time beyond then. I can do that. The question is whether I'll want to.

And, honestly, personal deadlines do matter. I may not have "work on NTMB" on my "to do list," but that's largely because I need to do it.

Truthfully, I'm amazed at people whose outlines are meaningful. I have outlines. I always have outlines. But I changed my NTMB outline enough times in the last two weeks that it has three different colors of ink on it. There are plot threads that got submerged and didn't pop up until I was trying to write a given scene. There are entire characters and relationships that came through only in the writing of the specific paragraphs: why would X do Y? Ohhhh, because of Z three chapters ago!

I have no idea how it goes, writing a novel in sequence. I've said this before and will say it again, I'm sure. I have written short stories in sequence (although not many of them), but short stories feel quite different in the writing than novels do. For me, of course. I can't tell you how they do or would feel for you.

This is one of the things that interests me about the "MacArthur Station"/"Glass Wind" series of stories: they are definitely short stories. Without a doubt. They don't read like novel chapters, and they don't feel like novel chapters. But there'll be enough of them to make a book-length collection, I think. I don't want to stitch them together, though. I've read too many "novels" that were Frankenstein's monsters of stitched together short stories. One or two short stories expanded into a novel, okay. But there's got to be new material there, in bulk, and I'm not sure that I'd be all right with any overarching new theme in these particular stories. Episodic "novels" or collections are fine with me.

I need to go to Point Reyes in order to write part of that series, but I'm going to put that off awhile, I think. Not too long, though, or we'll be busy getting gone. Hmm. C.J. said he'd come out and visit us if he could, when his project at work ended. Point Reyes is a good place to take visitors. We shall see. If we hadn't taken Scott to the Bay Model, we'd have had time to go when he was here...ah well. Anybody else planning on visiting me soon? Where "soon" is "in the next six months?"

So. More work on the NTMB ahead. I'm never sure how much to mention of what I'm doing. I don't want to spoil the whole book, but "worked on book" isn't particularly informative. So...well, it's a Soviet spy day here in Not The Moose territory. A very confused Soviet spy at that.

Uncle Phil and Aunt Ellen suggested that I write to the Finnish consulate with my standard-of-living-1950 question, and I think that's probably as good a source as any. It's on my list, right above "kobold story for Spellbound." Oh, and speaking of which, the spring issue of Spellbound (children's fantasy magazine) has gone to the presses, I think. It has my story, "Grandma Disappears," in it, and can be ordered here if you're interested. Even if you're not interested, it can still be ordered there.

Raechel, who runs it, is good. Very good. I've attempted to write two stories for her, and both have already sold, one to her and one to someone else. So. Inspiring lady, evidently.

If you're involved in short speculative fiction at all -- if you write it, or if you just read a lot of it -- I wish you'd write to your favorite editor or editors and tell them that you like what they're doing and why. Especially if you read something that isn't Large And Powerful. I mean, if you think Ellen Datlow walks on water, go on ahead and tell her if you want to, but it's less likely to be vital to her. Whereas smaller pro mag editors get surprisingly little feedback from readers, positive or otherwise, and almost no feedback from writers. The last I can understand: you don't want to be seen as currying favor for your stories with constant praise, and you don't want to make editors mad with criticism. But editors who treat writers well should know that we appreciate it -- a brief comment isn't going to hurt anything, and I'm not asking for three-page odes to their editing prowess.

Anyway. Well. I finished rereading Cetaganda yesterday and am stalling on the "what to read next" question by reading periodicals, Scientific American and Analog. (Next time an issue of Analog arrives at my house, it will have my story in it! Woohoo woohoo! Ahem. I'm just sayin'.) And now I'm going to try to get a few more things off my "to do" list. Have a good day.

Oops, one more thing: pictures really are up now. Buh-bye.

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