Sep 29

Progress

It’s been a busy few days but just as much fun as I expected. “What Dreams May Come”, “That Others May Live”, and “The Dying of the Light” are now loose in the wild. “The Gravedigger’s Tale” is at that point where I know it’s not right, but I can’t tell what’s wrong. It will go back into therapy with four others that are in equal states of disequilibrium. Time to start exploring new territory, I think.

I am heading into hypomanic phase right now. I have enough energy to get a lot done and feel the creative juices bubbling. I just have to watch out for myself. In this state, I am prone to feeling invincible and taking on more than I can handle.

Counting down to Fall Quarter starting on Wednesday. It’s always fun to jump into the busiest time of the year shorthanded. I’m glad I’m manic and not depressed. LOL!

Sep 24

Whew!

Just catching my breath right now. We’re short-handed at work (again!) with Fall Quarter breathing down our necks (next week, Yikes!). We’re on break right now, so I am taking a couple of days off. I’m looking forward to getting a few little things done.

One thing I am doing is getting some more work done on “What Dreams May Come”. This short story has finally taken a turn in the right direction after a couple of years of semi-serious thrashing around. I just need to do some research on oil painting to get the final layer put on it. I got a beginner’s book on oil painting (about which subject I am abyssmally ignorant) and will study up on it some on my days off, with an eye to getting this thing finished this weekend.

I am also working on some revisions to “That Others May Live” and hope to get it back into circulation early in October, if not before. I also need to get “The Dying of the Light” tightened up and polished some more, so I can kick it out the door. “The Gravedigger’s Tale” is also begging for some more work to get it into submission shape. My days off will be busy ones, it seems, but lots of fun.

That 100th rejection has been a real relief. I finally feel like I can stop holding my breath every time I send something out. Now that I have passed 100, I feel like an old pro. At getting rejected, at least.

Sep 18

100!

My 99th rejection came in over the weekend, and number 100 arrived last night. yay?

This is definitely an ambiguous achievement. On the one hand, it demonstrates commitment and perseverance in the face of adversity. On the other hand, I would much rather have 100 acceptances in hand.

In honor of the occassion, I am declaring a virtual holiday. That means, of course, that it is not a real holiday, but I give you permission to take one if you wish. Unfortunately, I don’t have that luxury.

Onward to the market listings and my next submission.

Sep 16

A Brief Snippet (Even Though It’s Not Friday)

This is the scene I mentioned before that I cut out of “Now or Forever”. It seems apropos at this time.

I hold the copyright on this work. Please don’t copy or use it without permission.

—–

The clay bled as red the blood seeping from the wound in David Giles’s heart. How unfair that this day should be so beautiful. The sun was a yellow button on the clear blue fabric of the late autumn sky. A small breeze whispered through the trees, and a few tattered horsetail clouds sailed overhead.

Small groups of darkly-dressed people moved away from the graveside, leaving the family alone to face that uncomfortable moment when they must admit that the service was over and that she was dead after all. The funeral director stood by the limo, waiting with the patience of one who sees eternity every day.

“Are you sure you’ll be OK, Dave?”

He turned his gaze away from the rosewood box and looked toward his sister-in-law.

“Yeah, I’ll be all right.”

“We can stay a couple of days, if you need us to…”

“Thanks, Julie. I’ll be all right. Really.”

She looked so much like her sister that he had a hard time looking straight at her. He found himself looking over her shoulder at things off in the distance, and he knew she was thinking that he was distracted and shocked. He was both, but that was not the point. He forced himself to look at her face. Her eyes were red and watery, her lipstick smeared.

“Really. I’ll be OK. I think I need to be alone some right now, and you guys probably do, too.”

She looked dubious, but Rich, her husband, looked relieved.

“OK. But call us if you need anything. Anything. OK?”

“All right. Thanks again. You guys have been great.”

They stood facing each other for a few more moments, unsure where to look or what to do with their hands. They hugged awkwardly, not really friends–they had only met the one time less than two years ago at the wedding. Now they were not really relatives, either. He shook Rich’s hand, and they exchanged one last round of meaningless noises as they moved away from each other, Julie and Rich toward Tulsa and their alien Great Plains life, Dave toward his three-bedroom suburban house, ordinary and empty. His heart was full of echoes, his soul full of dust.

Sep 03

Considering Rewrites

Last night, I was looking over a story I am considering rewriting (provisionally titled “The Gravedigger’s Tale”), and I started wondering about how other people handle rewrites.

I usually just revise, rather than completely rewrite. After 2 or 3 revision passes, I print it out and do a manual edit and polish, then type that in. Only occasionally do I actually start over and redo a story from scratch.

I did that recently with “Now or Forever” after receiving some very good input from my critique group at Forward Motion. I printed out the version on hand, moved it to my Elephant’s Graveyard folder, and started with a blank document. Then I rewrote, incorporating the parts I wanted to keep from the original. I feel like that made it a much stronger story with a much better chance at life outside my imagination.

I think I am going to do the same thing with “The Gravedigger’s Tale”. It is one of my more successful Story-a-Day entries from back in May, and I really like it. It has serious problems, though, and I think it is probably a good idea to start fresh with the idea and salvage the parts that do work.

The problem I have with working this way is that I feel like I failed on the first draft and wasted my time and work, etc., etc. I know those are fallacies, but it is an attitude that is ingrained into my personality. One of those things I really have to work on. Maybe this is a good way to fight that.

How do you handle rewrites? Do you really rewrite or do you revise the existing first draft? Please help me satisfy my ‘satiable curiosity.

Sep 02

Want to See Something REALLY Scary?

Check out the National Hurricane Center. Let’s be careful down there, or maybe I should say down here.

We’re far enough inland that we very seldom get anything more than a Tropical Depression. Fols in Florida probably better duck and cover, though. Hanna is projected to go towards South Carolina, but you just can’t bet on hurricanes doing what they are supposed to. She is wandering around lost just like Fay did right now, so anything is possible.

Ike and Josephine are too far away to tell right now.

Looks like we’re in for nasty weather, as the song says.