23 02 2010

The doldrums are a region near the equator where all the air is going up and away, north or south, and leaving behind a vast region of dead calm only occasionally punctuated by an inconstant breeze. Mariners of the pre-steam era were very leery of this region which could trap a ship for weeks as the water ran low and tempers ran high.

...maybe I should write about ships... or about calms...*sigh*

I feel like I’ve given birth to something. My last story took a lot out of me and since its last read-through I have quite lost the flavor for stories. I’m trying, don’t misunderstand me. I write a little everyday, draw outlines, lists of enigmatic and intriguing titles, but I haven’t been inspired. Usually during these periods of respite I take the time to clean up old work, research odd and interesting subjects and read- and I’m doing all of these, but I’m just not moving forward.

That’s the best thing about working on a novel. After a few weeks of writing, the thing just sort of takes off on its own. You find yourself never having enough time to get writing done and always having to pare down the things you do. Those first tenuous and slow 60 hours of writing fall away behind you and the immense pressure of the story begins to drive itself with you hanging on to the rudder trying to control, at least superficially, the direction. I have written two novels, neither one was worth a damn, but they were fun to write.  I’ll talk more on novel writing one of these days- probably when I start working on my own. For now spring is in the air and it’s shorts, shorts, shorts!

Got a standard rejection from Clarkesworld Magazine a couple of days ago. My rate of submissions has really fallen off of late. Mostly this is due to my desire to retire a huge crop of stories and start fresh, but it’s partly due to a sort of late winter psychic malaise that’s eating at my brain-stem. I’m waiting on two potential rejections to come home to roost and then I’m starting a whole new round of submissions with a fresh crop of about half a dozen stories. I’m also cutting down on the number of venues I submit to. Right now I have about thirty, but many of these have become very unreliable and I’ve decided to stick with only about fourteen of them. (Actually it’s thirteen, but because I’m so religious I added one to that number by submitting to myself. Wait, I meant superstitious. I apologize to all my readers who are followers of the various organized superstitions.) Just two overdue rejections. Both are from pro-level zines, and while two and a half months is technically within the 90 days that you can wait before assuming rejection, it still sucks. Yes I queried both, and yes I got responses that said be patient. So the lesson of the day is: If you don’t have a hobby you will end up like me. Oh, and don’t trust whitey. That’s always a good lesson.

My point of interest for the day. If ever a film is made about the exploits of that greatest of thinkers and explorers, Alfred Russel Wallace, then I have found his celebrity look-alike.

Alred Russel Wallace, to be played by....

Jemaine Clement!

If anyone else has any 19th century scientist clones to suggest, feel free. I am not accepting suggestions for Charles Hutton. He has but one clone:

Mr. Hutton...

meet Mr. Hutton

That is the Science of Fiction. I want to apologize to the estate of Mr. Fresh. Any suggestions that Mr. Fresh was actually a triple bleached wad of anthropomorphized goo was merely satirical and not meant to connect the mathematician and geologist with the Pillsbury™ creation and spokes-golem, Charles Hutton©.

Next up: The unconditional love of puppies. Or something else, I don’t know, come by and see! Also a new story of the week should be discovered by the end of the day if I can find time. There are tons of good ones, but none that fit my particular educational criteria. I’m making sushi for some guests, so time may run short.

Andrew C. Porter




3 responses

24 02 2010

>That’s the best thing about working on a novel. After a few weeks of writing, the thing just sort of takes off on its own.

You and I must have a very different novel-writing style. Man, I wish mine would do that already… >.<

25 02 2010

I’m not saying it gets easy. You are still involved, but I find that after a certain point to begin to ride a certain momentum as the narrative that has come before narrows the possibilities of what remains. At the same time you grow to know your characters more intimately. I tend to write first drafts with wild abandon and I only look back on occasions of narrative breaks and shifts. I can imagine that if I were to polish as I went, the writing would be harder.

26 02 2010

Ah, that’s my problem. I’ve known these characters for going on eight years. I know them so well, they’re like live-in roommates that clutter up the place and JUST WON’T LEAVE. It’s hard to figure out how to introduce a character you know so intimately that you’re not sure where to start or what trait to show first.

Also, it seems like it’s been a doldrums/unproductive week for absolutely everyone I know. Weird… must be a cosmic thing.

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