Journal

Submissions, Charlton Heston, & Sticky Brain

Oh my goodness, so weekly updates now once a month? XD I’m working on it. 

In my defense, it’s been a busy few weeks. 

WHAT I DID LAST WEEK:

Travel dominated my past few weeks, as I flew out of state for my cousin’s wedding in Texas. It’s the first time I’ve flown since Covid, and it went surprisingly smoothly. I edited a ton on my latest short story (thanks in part to traveling alone without kiddos), and watched some movies I’d been hoping to see. 

When I got home, it was an all-out push to finish the short story and get it submitted, which I did! I’m thrilled that this weird specfic story gets to go hunt down a home. Who knows where it will land, but I feel like it’s one of the best things I’ve ever written, and that feels fantastic, even if it never sells. (*hopes desperately that it will sell*) 

It was a huge relief to get that story submitted, as I’ve been working on it, bit by bit, for months now. I wish I was faster at this, that I could turn a story around in a month, but I’ve come to realize that such speed is just not me. Slow and steady, especially with so many distractions around these days.

After getting that one out, I dove head-first into the novel project I’ve been nursing along for the past few months with a scene here and a sketch there. It’s a weird little monster, but I’m really enjoying just playing. Hopefully it’ll morph into something solid, but I’m keeping my hands open on it. 

Oh! And I learned I sold my short sci-fi story, “Dynamo”! No contract yet, so I can’t announce it fully, but keep an eye out here for details to come. I’m so excited that my ode to Charlton Heston (complicated as that man was, and with whom in actual life I would have probably strongly disagreed on most things) has found a home. And such a fun one, too! 

WHAT’S INSPIRING ME:

Inspiring me this week is the book The Elements of Eloquence, by Mark Forsyth, which has had me cackling and also going “Ooooo! I need to try that!” I’ve really enjoyed learning about all sorts of rhetorical tricks, and even used a few of them in the last story I submitted because it was just so fun. I’m no poet, but having a little more insight into what sounds good and why has been very intriguing. 

Otherwise, vaccines. Covid has finally landed in our home after two years, but thanks to the fact that everyone (minus Thing 2) is vaccinated and boosted, so far those who have it haven’t felt all that terrible. Fingers crossed it continues to be so. It’s a stressful thing, though, having Covid in the home (“Is it?” says Captain Obvious). Even without being infected, it’s like you have this sudden awareness of AIR, any bit of which could be carrying something that will make you and your loved ones feel like shit. It’s annoying. 

And of course, this week Stranger Things 4 came out, so Andy and I have been plowing through that and diving deep into the Upside Down. Is there anything quite so pleasant as a Stranger Things episode with an Old Fashioned in hand? (Well, aside from the whole kids/murder-school thing… That hit pretty hard.)

WHAT I’M WORKING ON THIS WEEK:

This week, it’s all novel, when I can squeeze it in. With Covid in the house, Thing 1 is home for the week to watch for exposure, so my timetables will be a touch screwy for the next few days. I’m aiming for 500 words a day, which is fairly reasonable/reachable for me. It feels great to open up the mental throttle and just write without obsessing over every word choice. Later. That comes later.

I think it’s finally occurred to me, with the genesis of this last story, what the difference is between writers and other people. Anybody can draft something. Anybody can get words down (not that it’s always easy). The difference between the writer and the general writing public is the writer’s ability to UN-write. To take out everything that isn’t necessary, to say as much as possible in the least amount of words, trusting the reader to fill in the gaps but giving them lots of subtle clues to guide them. Writing isn’t rewriting. It’s unwriting. It’s distilling. It’s cooking your words down to the absolute purest syrup of your thought. 

Now my brain feels sticky. 

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