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Progress Report, in which I invite my muse over for a chat

5800 words on Petra last week, bringing my total up to 38K.

 
I finally managed to escape that first act–which, as you may recall from last week’s exciting installment, was getting quite bogged down.  It was such a relief to limp past that particular hurdle.  Now, things are looking up.  The following chapter, nearly complete, flowed pretty well.  Made me feel like a writer again.
 
Last week, I had expressed some frustration with this whole “write as fast as you can” thing, since I was convinced I was writing crap.  But it occurs to me that it’s possible to write crap slowly, too.  (I should know; I’ve been doing it for better than fifteen years now.)  So I could have used my old process to slog through the end of that opening act, agonizing over line edits, staring at the monitor, engaging in avoidance behaviors . . . and it would have taken me a month instead of a week, and it probably still would have been tripe.  Instead, I just bulled my way past it, which is what I would have done eventually, anyway.
 
Lesson learned.  I hope.
 
Anyway, now we’re into the second act.  I took a glance ahead, and perceived . . . uh, nothing.  I knew what was going to happen in the next chapter, the one I’ve nearly finished, and after that, I had only vague hints, with still no sign of an ending.  This struck me as a problem.  I don’t outline, per se, but I knew I needed something a bit more concrete than what I had.  It wasn’t that I had written myself into a corner, with no way out.  Rather, I had a wide range of choices–way too wide.  All kinds of conflicts and loose ends.  The story could have gone in a number of different directions.  And that amounts to the same thing, really, as writing yourself into a corner.  So while I had a few moments, I decided to sit down yesterday and have a chat with my muse, see if we could work it out.
 
And what do you know, she was amazingly forthcoming.  As if she’d been waiting for me to ask.  She told me all about this secondary character who is about to become very important to the plot.  Then she dished about what’s going to happen in the second act.  She even let me in on–get this–the ending!  Which I thought was exceedingly generous of her.  Many details and fine points to work out yet, but that’s for me to discover on my own.  “Not a problem, boss,” I said to her.  “I’m on it.”
 
In all, a very pleasant visit.
 
I also took some time yesterday to update my marketing database and get a few mss back in circulation.  Harder to do when you’re working on a novel, but you can’t just let this stuff pile up.
 
Write Club updates:
 
Analog bounced “The Multiplicity Has Arrived” with a tier one rejection.  Ouch.  I had grown accustomed to personal notes from Stan Schmidt.  I knew this story was a longshot, but hey, I had felt the same way about an earlier piece I sent him–and that one, even in rejection, had garnered glowing praise.  Response time, about a month.

A second follow-up to Weird Tales re “The Woman Who Hated Halloween” netted the response I was expecting:  the ms is lost.  Nearly eleven months wasted on that one.  But to her credit, Ann VanderMeer got back to me immediately.  My original follow-up, sent before she took over Fiction Editor duties, got no response at all.

And that’s it for now.  I’m outta here.

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