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If you followed a link here from a comment I made on somebody's google blog, I would love to have you visit my blog, but this is no longer it. While I may occasionally post things here again once in a long while, virtually all my content will be at from here on out. If you were curious enough to come this far, why not give me one more click?

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Too many pots on the stove

In the last week I've written chapter 22, begun chapter 23, and then been distracted. For some reason, I haven't felt like blogging. Oh yeah. Distracted.

Strange Horizon's submission window opened this week. I had this thought of subnmitting "War Crimes" just minutes after midnight Utah time, but it took me a couple days more than I expected to get it ready. First I had technical issues--my printer suddenly and inexplicably deciding not to work, until it had slept overnight, and then me losing my stylus--and then I had to work on chopping the story down to get under their maximum word count of 9,000. The printer . . . *sigh* It's a beautiful printer when it works. It's an OKI 3400, but it seems to have odd little connectivity glitches from time to time, that are a major pain to figure out. Even when I finally get it working, as often as not it's a mystery to me what finally did the trick. In this case, spending the night shut off seemed to get the printer going again. Maybe it perceived it as a warning. And then the stylus . . . a tablet PC's pretty useless without one! I spent an hour searching for it before it occurred to me to look in the pocket of the jeans I had taken off earlier.

Cutting "War Crimes" down has been eye-opening. I have put so much work into that story these past six months, and tightened it up quite a bit. I think I was so uncommonly pleased with the story when I first wrote it that I couldn't see the places where it needed to be improved. As I went through it this time, I found lots of places where I could tighten it up, remove redundant verbal diarrhea, and so on. I also found a lot of repetitive phrasing by using CTRL-F to count up how many times I used this or another specific phrase. That was eye-opening. And a bit disheartening: if it takes this much effort to clean up a short story I think is my best work, will I even be capable of tightening up my novel in the same way? I thought it would take an hour or two to get "War Crimes" ready to go out the door, and it took about three days. Hopefully the payoff will be worth it. But I don't know if I can give Vanishing Act anything like that close a reading.

Also, I haven't really gotten started looking for beta readers, but I worry that I'll get a lot of people who want to do me a favor but don't really have time to stick to the reading.

I'm debating taking a break from writing to try to read through as many of the Hugo nominees as I can, since votes are due in a couple of days. I wouldn't vote in a category in which I had not read all the contenders. No matter what, there will be categories I abstain in. On the other hand, I'm so close to the end and just twitching with every day that passes with me not finished. And even once I finish that first/second draft, there's so much I have to do before it's ready for anyone else's eyes.

1 comment:

Ray Wong said...

It's not a bad idea to study and find out what your target publishers/etc. want. But at the same time, there's no need to stop writing altogether. Taking a breather could be a good thing, though.