Mine/Not Mine

13 May 2002

So. Good morning. I feel a bit better this morning, though not all better. Writing group last night was really helpful for me -- more helpful, I think, than it ever has been. Then again, I've never given them anything this rough before, so that makes sense. It's the problem with trying to write what needs to be a novelette in two days, I think. It was 4400 words when I gave it to them. I know it'll be at least 8000 when I'm done. Which is fine, I suppose. I've been wanting to write at a few different lengths, and there's a novelette anthology coming up to which I'd like to send a couple of things.

The key right now is to keep the momentum that I have on this story from the crits without letting it get in the way of work on the Not The Moose Book, which is firmly and absolutely the priority. I know that a lot of people seem to work best if they let things sit and percolate after they've gotten critiques -- both Avi and Zed have given this group stories that they had their other writing group critique months ago. I think I would go screaming mad if I did it that way, but it seemed to work for them. I get going on a story, though, when it's drafted, and then I want to finish it, do all of the things that it needs. And when I let it sit -- this is happening with "The Children's Village" -- it just doesn't have the momentum any more, and it's easy to keep letting it sit and move on to the next thing. And I don't want to do that. I don't think, in my case, that it's a sign that that project is not worth working on.

Which makes me think that I should revise "The Children's Village" and give it to the group for next time, if I'm not immediately satisfied with it. Then they'll tell me a million things to do with it, and I can maybe keep the momentum going long enough to get it finished again and out. Maybe. Sounds something like a plan, doesn't it?

But. Novel first. Short stories later.

Avi was talking about how he keeps editing and editing and editing his first chapter and can't really move away from it. I can see why this would be tempting, but I just don't work that way, myself. I can know in my heart that my first chapter is a piece of hack work the likes of which the genre has never seen before, but right now, it is not my job to make it better. It is my job to write chapter 17, or chapter 2, or whatever, I'm not so good with this chapter stuff.

Hmm. It occurs to me that I handle a lot of things by dividing them into "mine" and "not mine." Jobs. People. Books. Restaurant food. Hmm. I'm not sure what that says about me, but it happens a lot. I think it's just that if I consider something "my job," I feel like it's my job right now. And if someone is "my people," I need to be taking care of them all the time. And so on. Some middle ground would perhaps be useful, I'm thinking.

I started reading Gwyneth Jones' Phoenix Café last night -- it was the last of the $1 what-the-heck books we'd bought on a run to the used bookstore in Fremont, and I had very little idea what to expect. I know Jones writes spec fic professionally; other than that, I've had no exposure to her. So. I still haven't read much of it, but what I've read is, let me assure you, much, much better than Psychlone. (Mark thinks that Mr. Bear should write a series of these: Psyclone and Psycologne and Psycolon. Ick.)

Yesterday for lunch I made a casserole with roasted veggies and basmati. Yum. I think I'm totally giving up on Minute Rice. We can just make basmati and sticky rice and wild rice, and it'll be good. We may need some Minute Rice around for in the wild rice soup, but otherwise, I'm thinking no. I hadn't made any basmati in awhile, and I had forgotten how good it is. We were short on cheese, and I decided that lappi was not the way to go on this casserole -- which I was already essentially totally remaking from the recipe from the paper -- but other than that, I was happy with it.

All right. Novel first. Cleaning second, perhaps. And "Fair Use" after that. I think. Maybe. We'll see. It's something akin to an agenda, in some fashion.

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