Friday, December 03, 2004

Sometimes they come back

Lead news item on the radio this morning: "For the second time this week, a Macon was killed."

That's what she said, I promise!

I think once would be a gracious plenty for me. Once they kill me, I intend to stay dead.

Rejected!

One more for the round file, but with a ray of sunshine. I got a nice, personal rejection note from Glimmer Train on "Carrion Comfort". Onward to the next market. Got to find my notes...

Which brings me to ...

I lost my mind. I lost my virginity. Hell, I sometimes even lose my car keys! So when do I lose my amateur status?

I believe there are 2 main aspects to becoming a "professional writer" -- attitude and income. Obviously, I'm not making an income at it. My total income from writing for this year (which means ever, also) come to around $12.50. Can't hardly live on that! That part will take care of itself as time goes along. The one thing I can help is developing a professional attitude about my work and work habits. This weekend, I am committed to sorting out my priorities, goals, and schedule for the coming year.

Cover me, guys! I'm going in!

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

I have met the enemy, and he is me

The mind is a strange and terrible creature that behaves in ways known only to itself. No matter how hard I concentrate, my mind always gets away from me and sabotages whatever I'm doing well at. I even can watch myself doing these things, but can't seem to change course. It's as if my fear of success is so deeply ingrained that it's a lizard-brain reflex for me to get in my own way.

I have been doing well on the novel, making good progress, watching it all come together. Suddenly I realize that I haven't done anything on it in two weeks. I've gotten so scattered that I'm not sure what I'm doing. Time to step back, reset priorities, and get back to business.

A step in the right direction

I'm finishing up a first draft on "Though Your Sins Be As Scarlet" this evening. I've been using this short story to explore some of the territory that I'm heading into with WITB. It's like a recon patrol out ahead of the main force identifying the mine fields and ambushes that lie ahead. After I get everything in, the first draft will be around 1800 words. That will drop some on revision. I'm thinking 1200 words will get it done. I'm going to put this one up for crit. I'm too invested in it to be able to see it clearly.

I've got a database on my Web site, and I'm not afraid to use it!

Been messing around with MySQL and PHP, floating some ideas on how to leverage those capabilities in a way that can put my particular blend of skills to use. Strange and terrible, indeed. We'll see what falls out.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Daddy, where do stories come from?

My Meditation Card this morning was the 8 of Swords. Not a good way to start the day.

A woman, judging by her dress she's not a commoner, stands on a muddy plain. She is securely bound and blindfolded. Around her are 8 swords stuck upright in the mud. In the distant background, a castle stands on a rugged mountain.

This card speaks to me of helplessness and of unseen danger far from the safety and comfort of home.

I think of my mother at supper last night. She has been an invalid since her last major stroke abour 4 years ago. For the past six months, she has been fading. She can barely see and speaking is a real effort. She has little strength and cannot sit upright for more than a few minutes at a time. She can no longer eat solid food and lives on Glucerna.

The horror is that she is still alive in there, trapped in a body that no longer functions, her personal oubliette. And she can't even scream.

Title: The Scream You Hear May Be Your Own

Synopsis:

Bill Akers is troubled by a recurring dream that he is having more and more frequently. In the dream, he is in a hotel hallway, drawn there by screams that apparently only he can hear. They are coming from inside Room 832. He approaches the room. As he touches the doorknob, a scream occurs that is more physical force than sound. It flings him across the hall and pins him to the floor. He feels like the force is filling him to bursting. As he feels that he can't take any more and is going to explode he awakens.

On his way to work, the bus is much more cropwded than usual, and he is forced to stand. Instead of reading his newspaper, he has to watch the scenery. Along the way he sees an old but elegant hotel which draws him. He knows that it is the hotel from his dream.

On his lunch hour, he goes back to the hotel and asks about Room 832. It is empty, so he checks in. Upstairs, he sees the exact same scene he has been seeing in his dream. He walks nervously to the room and opens the door...

And then I woke up!

Ha! You didn't think I was going to give away the ending, did you?

This is what Frank Herbert called the "demanding memory" in Dune. This story does not demand to be written, it compels me with overwhelming force. That means it should be a good one.

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Submitted "Where the Heart Is" to C/OASIS. I am also getting "Baby Blues" ready to submit to "The People's Friend". Since they are in Scotland, things are a little complicated.