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Writing Ruminations

Writing is such an internal process. Why not make those private ruminations public? This is how stories take shape and grow.

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Location: Happy Valley, Oregon, United States

I've been supporting myself as a writer for many years and am watching the changes in the publishing world with fascination. For me, sharing the craft, teaching, is as creatively satisfying as the writing process itself.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Game's Afoot

I have survived the Virus From Hell and the manuscript of Eternity Shift has arrived with editor David Hartwell's comments on it and his revision notes. I need to have the revion finished in early August...the sooner the better. So now I stand on the edge of the pool, knowing that once I'm in, wet and swimming, I'll love it. But there's that cold water when you first jump in...

I'm pleased with Hartwell's comments. I produce the strongest work when I have good input...I can't see everything and inspiration lies in someone else's perspective.

I think I'll keep a diary of the revision process. Revision is where I do the most work, tweaking, bending, making everything work. And it's an all-or-nothing state of mind for me, almost an altered consciousness. I've been wrapping up one last SF story because once I get started, I won't have any room for any other creative venture in my brain. I find I have to 'hold the picture' of the entire story in my head until I am done. Not on the first draft, but on revision. Everything else takes a back seat.

And it has already started. Woke up as the birds first tuned up this AM...about five...with a right brain revelation of how to make something work. Grabbed the notebook and pen that lives in the drawer by the bed. Annoyed the dogs who said it was WAY too early to be up. I think I'll crack the ms and sit down with it on Tuesday...I have dog shows on the weekend, and I want my birthday off. Once I start this there ARE no more days off until it's done.

So I'll go out and weed now and see if my right brain can work on another of the things I need to fix while I'm busy with dirt. :-)

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Fever Dreams

Well it has been awhile since I have been in here. My friend Leslie, whom I stayed with up in Seattle while I was busy scavenging the future, was busy sharing her rather nasty virus with me. What are friends for? :-) However, it did have its silver lining. I got a call from Amazon.com about a flagship downloadable short story project they plan to unveil at the end of June...and they wanted a story in three weeks. At the time, I think my temperature was about 102 or more and I was sharing the sofa with Annie, my puppy, who makes a nice warm body pillow when you have chills. Couldn't come up with a plot, but no sooner had I dozed off than I did one of my very rare plot-dreams. I really envy those people who dream elaborate and complete plots. Me, I mostly dream about whatever was a pain in the butt during the day or promises to be a pain in the butt tomorrow. Hardly a good story in the lot. Maybe I should get fevers more often, though. This plot worked okay. So now I'm ten pages into the story...now that I can sit in front of the computer again.

And the week was hardly a loss. Tor Books made an offer for Eternity Shift, the SF novel I completed last fall. It will be out in early 07 in both hardcover and paperback and that is VERY cool news! I also got contracts back on my newest mystery story, another of my tracking rotts stories. Fast turnaround, Janet, and thank you very much! :-) Of course I was taking care of my friend's Thousand Million Assorted Fowl while I was sick. Of COURSE. The gods plan these things you know. Talk about fever dreams...stumbling around amidst hoards of ducks, geese, pheasant, turkeys, assaultive banty roosters, llama, goats...uh did I leave anything out? Probably. Anyhow, it had a decidedly dreamlike feel to it. Top this with the appearance of a county sheriff's K9 unit and I was beginning to wonder if I was really there or on the couch with a higher fever than I had guessed.

But the deputy, a rather nice man, was there to take a look at a stolen 4 x 4 across the creek from the Hoardes of Poultry. And of course, how could I NOT talk dogs and tracking with a K9 handler for the Sheriff's Department? I THINK I was pretty coherent. :) And of course, after I stumbled on home I got to thinking that here was an ideal informant if I actually pitch a mystery series based on my tracking dog stories. Fortunately he had given me his card, so I sent him a note and 'Find It' the tracking story that appeared in Ellery Queen and we'll see if I hear back from him. Probably depends on whether I was as coherent as I thought I was or simply came across as a wild-haired, raving lunatik. :-)

But I'm back in the land of the functional even if my head still feels as if it will explode any minute (and the visual images of that event dancing in my head are REALLY yucky!).

Lessee...two weeks left to finish this story. Onward huskies, MUSH! Back to the keyboard.