Nov 18

Closer to the Top

I was going to write a post saying that nothing was happening around here, but then things started happening. I’ll save that one for another time.

The first thing that happened was that I got a revision request from an editor on one of my short story submissions. I am thrilled by that, needless to say. This is a market that pays professional rates (3 cents / word).

Revision requests for short stories are very rare. The plain fact of the matter is that editors just do not have time to analyze every story for revision potential. To get one of these just really made my whole day, week, month, and year.

The comments that the editor made are insightful and valuable to my growth as a writer. She pointed out some fundamental flaws in the story that will help me a lot in my future endeavors. She also made some comments about the quality of my writing that make me feel all warm and snuggly inside. Pardon me while I bask in the glory of my own magnificence for a moment.

Speaking of warm and snuggly brings me to the second thing that happened last night during the Monday Night Football game. Our furnace suddenly decided to be a giant bumblebee. I kid you not, that is exactly what it sounds like. I am afraid it’s about to throw a bearing or a fan blade.

The repairman is on the way even as I write this, though, so maybe we can be warm and snuggly when the temperature reaches 24F tonight. I know that doesn’t sound cold to most of my readers, but for this part of the country, that is positively frigid. Especially so early in the season. Thank heavens for fireplaces.

Hope everyone else is feeling all warm and snuggly on this beautifully sunny, windy, and cold day.

Nov 07

Why No NaNo

I don’t do NaNo (National Novel Writing Month for non-writers). Why? Because I have come to a realization: I am not a novelist.

I do have one novel in progress that has been in progress for several years now and that causes me enormous angst. I just don’t feel like I have enough to say to fill 100,000 words or so. Everything I want to say, I can usually say in 5,000 words or less. Maybe that means that my thoughts and dreams are smaller than others. More likely it means that I am parsimonious with words to a fault.

Whatever. I love the short story format, and I intend to keep writing them. If this novel ever comes to fruition, that would be great, but the chances of me ever attempting another are vanishingly small.

What this means in economic terms is that I will never make a living as a writer. Short story writers are just out of luck there. Ray Bradbury and Flannery O’Connor could do it in the Fifties and Sixties, but there is one insurmountable problem for contemporary writers: pay rates have not changed significantly in those forty or fifty years. Once upon a time, four hundred dollars for a story was a good payday, but we all know what has happened to prices in the meantime. I sure would not turn down that amount of money, but it also would not pay my expenses for very long.

I wish all of you novel writers great success during NaNo, and I think you are doing the right thing for your writing by participating. But I will sit this one out.

Nov 05


AlienSkin Magazine has accepted my story “Garlic Chicken” for their February/March 2009 issue.

Getting those acceptance letters is a thrill that never gets old. It’s always good for a Snoopy dance. Mentally, at least. You really don’t want to see that acted out.