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Archive for June, 2007

Please stand by . . .

Still in Minneapolis.  Decided to stay an extra day.  Weekly progress report, such as it is, will be delayed.

Do try to contain your disappointment.

Progress Report, in which the clouds are parted, and light streams down in bright, unbroken beams

Had some difficulty getting myself on track last week. Part of that may be attributable to foot-dragging on my part (see below). It also seemed like I suddenly spent a lot of time responding to various emails and making travel arrangements–most of it writing-related, but not actual writing. Again, my inability to multitask rears its ugly head.

That said, I guess I did accomplish some genuine writing stuff. I got some line edits from Edmund Schubert for “The Frankenstein Diaries.” These proved to be very minor–easy fixes. Edmund quite rightly noted my protagonist’s tendency to burst into tears–appropriate at some points in the story, but overused in others. I dried it up a little.

Next I did something I’d been dreading: I took a hard look at “The Multiplicity Has Arrived,” trying to fix the story’s predictability. One of the main problems here is that it’s still too long; readers are getting too much time to figure it out. So I looked, first and foremost, for ways to cut it. I also questioned the story’s ending, and considered taking an entirely different angle on it. It’s good, even necessary, to challenge your own assumptions about a piece–but it’s frustrating at the same time, especially when you can’t think of solutions to the problems you see.

Then yesterday, just as I was about to set the story aside and work on something else, the clouds parted a little, and I noticed an entire scene that could be cut. All it does, I realized, is reiterate something I’ve already established. Eureka! What’s more, I will have to do very little revision to other scenes as a result of this one being cut–a sure sign that I didn’t need it in the first place. I also figured out a way to tweak the ending that should improve the story without requiring a substantial rewrite of earlier material.

Hope to have these changes done tomorrow. After that, I need to turn my attention to a rewrite of “Gone Black.” I’ll be on the road to the Twin Cities come Thursday, but I should be able to get at least some work done while I’m gone.

Write Club updates:

Rejections have been coming fast ‘n’ furious. The latest batch:

Hub deemed “Small Favors” to be “Suitable for publication, but not suitable for Hub.” That’s a tier two form rejection. Response time, five months.

Of “Doppler Shift,” Apex Digest said, “It was a decent story; it just didn’t have the horror aspect for which we’re looking.” Response time, twelve days.

Tier two reject from Noctem Aeternus, for “A Walk in the Woods, with Voices.” Response time, eight days.

And two tier one rejections from agents on queries for The Watermasters.

Oh, and if anyone’s planning to fly to Atlanta for Dragon*Con, now might be the best time to book. I just checked Orbitz yesterday, and found round-trip airfare for less than $200 apiece. Can’t beat that with a stick.

And with that public service announcement, I’m outta here.

Progress Report, in which I am caught without fishnets

A very discombobulated week for me, but I managed to at least accomplish some writing-related program activities.  These included getting another ms in the mail, wrangling beta readers for Petra, and sending out another round of agent queries.

I had intended to take another look at “The Multiplicity Has Arrived” before sending it out again, primarily to see if there was any way to cut it.  But then the weekend came, and my schedule got shot to hell . . . in a good way.

The wife, in cahoots with friends and family, threw a boffo bash for my 40th birthday, which they dubbed “MattCon 40.”  It was quite overwhelming.  Lots of people came, including

 and TH.  Much food was consumed (and much still remains).  I got roped into single-handedly trying to karaoke my way through “The Time Warp,” which is not only a bit above my range, but also a duet.  At least I had a few dancers to help me out, but still . . . and me without any fishnets.  Horrors.

The highlight of the evening had to be my buddy

 singing and dancing the “Ewok Celebration” from Jedi.  Dressed accordingly, no less.  I must admit I screamed laughter.  But it was also kinda touching, given how much he absolutely hates ewoks.  He’s not even a big fan of Jedi

Oh, and you should have seen the cake.  And the MattCon 40 “program.”  And . . . and . . . and . . .

Like I said, overwhelming.  Maybe I’ll post some pics, once I have them.  Anyway, perhaps you can understand why I didn’t get much writing done.

I also scored some cool presents, although such was not my intention.  Seriously.  I had hoped people would come and have a good time, but it didn’t occur to me until very late in the game that some of them would probably bring gifts.  Seriously, gang, you didn’t have to do that.  But thanks.

Funniest present:  this t-shirt, from my sister in Minneapolis.

So now I enter my fourth decade, and if I’m not quite where I thought I’d be at this point . . . hell, who is?  I still feel like my best days are ahead of me.  That’s something, right?

Write Club updates:

My sale to IGMS, which I mentioned last week, came in the nick of time, to wit:

Tier one reject from GUD for “Friends in Low Places.”  Response time, four days.

Tier one reject from Darker Matter for “The Problem of Power.”  Too long, as it happens.  Although their guidelines don’t say it, their absolute limit is 6K.  Response time, three days.

Tier two bounce from Weird Tales for “What Really Happened That Night.”  At least, I think it’s a form reject.  It’s worded a little differently than my previous rejection slip from Ann VanderMeer.

OK, time to try to get back to (ahem) normal . . .