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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?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Random Thoughts

You even notice how many blogs are titled "Random Thoughts"?

It's like people are ashamed of their randomness, and so they feel the need to warn you up front. These aren't deep thoughts, or particularly instructive ones, or even helpful--well some of them might be, but not all. Because it's random.

Dude, chill. It's a blog. Of course it's random.


Still working, still making progress, but not necessarily on the same things, and not necessarily on the things I should be making progress on. I haven't worked on my revisions for Vanishing Act for at least a couple weeks now. I had a story come back with a very nice personal rejection, and I decided I really should get all my short stories out the door and looking for homes. In this market, publishing a short story might be helpful in getting a foot in the door and getting some cred. Even a semipro sale is better than nothing, methinks. If nothing else, selling one story semipro might help me sell a later short story to a pro market.

But I've learned a lot since I wrote those stories, and I wanted them to reflect the lessons I've learned in recent months, and to be the best versions of themselves that I could send out. "Unintended Consequences"/"The More Things Change"* was pretty much ready to go, since I'd already polished it. "Cabrón" doesn't need a lot of work either, because I wrote it pretty recently. On the other hand, a computer glitch cost me some revisions, so a little bit of cleaning up is definitely in order. "War Crimes" is a story I love, but it is the oldest of the three. It's gone through many rounds of revision over time, but I wasn't necessarily looking for the things I'm looking for now. Hopefully I can make it an even better story.**

So I decided to get those three sent off and then return to Vanishing Act, but then something else came up. Back in January, I think, I agreed to an artistic gift exchange. It's just like a Secret Santa/Secret Maccabee exchange, except the gifts are stories, sketches, poems, what have you, and the identity of each gift-giver is not a secret. It sounded like a great idea, and hey, the deadline wasn't until March 15th, which was like a lifetime away. By March I'd surely have loads of time, having finished my revisions and being bored by then of spending my afternoons poolside with a margarita, wondering what the heck to do next.

Well now March 15th is looming. I've got most of a story mapped out, which I wrote trying to think of what themes and elements would speak to its recipient. I'm really excited about writing a brand new story, and trying to put in what I've learned from the beginning, instead of in the process of revisions. I've got to finish writing the thing, and soon, but it still looks like I can get it done on time.

It does mean, though, that for the last few days I've tabled the revisions on the short stories. So I've got one project tabled while I work on another, and THAT one tabled while I work on a third. Sheesh! Hopefully, though, that means when I get back to Vanishing Act I'll bring fresh eyes to it.

Oh, and look for a new short story to be posted here soon, since I've got that handy dandy encryption feature. I'll allow anybody I "know" to read it--that includes people I know in real life or from the internet, including anyone who has posted on my blog, or anyone on whose blog I've posted. You'll just have to ask me for the key, and make sure I know your e-mail. Or if you know me REALLY well, it will be the first name of the person for whom I'm writing the story.

* I realized yesterday to my chagrin that while I had changed the title in the file, I had not changed it in the filename, because I got back an acknowledgment that still had the old title.

** Yes, damnit, I will say "even." It's my blog. If I don't believe in my writing, who will?


lotusgirl said...

Your deadline is sooner than mine. March 15 is, uh, really soon.

My deadline to have things exactly where I want them is now May 1. I have someone, who really knows what he's doing, who said he would read the first 10 pages that day. If he likes what he reads he's going to help me with agents/publishers. It really puts the pressure on though to make it good. I know he's only going to read the first 10 pages, but I want it ready to go if he likes it.

Joe Iriarte said...

Heh . . . I just realized I was unclear. March 15 isn't the deadline for my novel; it's the deadline for the gift exchange story. Hopefully we're talking about a four or five thousand word story here, and it's already [pretty much] plotted out.

As for the novel revisions . . . ::mumbles:: . . . I already blew through a couple of softish deadlines for that, in that I had agents ask to see it and I decided it wasn't ready yet. :o I've always heard you shouldn't keep an agent waiting more than a month. I definitely overestimated my capacity to clean stuff up while working full time. I thought since it was complete, revising it wouldn't take so long. Guess that's a lesson learned. :-\ At this point, I reckon getting it good is more important than whether I send it in this month or next. If those two agents will forgive the delay, great. And if not, well that's the price of my slowness.

(Sadly, the agents I stiffed are really GOOD agents. I mean, it's only sensible to start at the top of your list, right?)

Joe Iriarte said...

Oh hell, what's wrong with me?! How self-centered can I be?!

Congratulations on that opportunity! That sounds awesome!

It's funny . . . I think back on all the years I spent toiling without getting a sniff at anything like success or even validation, but in the last year or so I've had some pros take time to help me out too. I'm starting to feel like the opportunities start coming along when you're ready to take advantage of them. Until then, you may think publication is your immediate goal, but you're really working on getting good at what you do, so that publication can come later on.

(And I know what you mean about wanting more wanting to have more than just what he asked for ready. I think my partial is pretty good, actually, but I want to have cleaned up well beyond that point, in case anyone wants a full.)

Well good luck!

lotusgirl said...

Ah. We're all self-involved as writers, aren't we? I'm glad you have agents asking to see your ms. I'd just send them a heads up that your revisions are taking longer than you envisioned and that you would appreciate their continued patience. I have a friend who sent a note like that to an agent wanting to look at her stuff, and he told her to take as long as she needs. It couldn't hurt. It lets them know you're still thinking about them and you keeping them posted.