In Which We Make Mistakes

WRITING 02A couple of days ago I got an email from Rich Horton, editor of The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2015, pointing out that I’d made a slight error in a previous post when I said it was the first time I’d made it into one of his year’s best compilations. Quite true. I did have stories in his 2005 and 2007 books, but in my defense I’ll say that I wasn’t completely wrong, either. This is the first time I’ve been included in one of his combined sf & fantasy editions, since for many years the fantasy and sf volumes were separate. The two previous times I’d been reprinted by Rich were in his exclusively fantasy volumes. Yet I did misspeak (mistype?) and Rich was right to bring that to my attention.

Just as it was right for the reader yesterday to point out I’d included a physical impossibility in one of my scenes from Power’s Shadow. That’s also the reason I was hesitant about this experiment in the first place. See, this is the first time I’ve let anyone other than First Reader see one of my rough drafts, and there are good and solid reasons for that. What the reader has a right to expect when they pick up one of my books is that I’m not going to waste their time with sloppy work. Yet here’s the thing—this is a first draft. Almost by definition it’s going to be a little ragged around the edges. First drafts are the perfect place for mistakes, and don’t they know it. They show up and settle in with deep sighs of contentment. First drafts are made for them. Or as I’ve pointed out in the writer’s groups I’ve belonged to and elsewhere when a colleague was complaining that they get bogged down in this or that piece of minutiae when trying to get a project done, here is your mantra:

“It is not the job of a first draft to be perfect. It is the job of a first draft to get DONE.” Continue reading

Our Text For Today

While I’m rather fond of the idea of blogging in general, it has some serious limitations and now and then you wonder if the time couldn’t be spent more productively somewhere else. The very thought of which makes me realize that I’m enjoying this, and so probably won’t stop to do something more productive, for I am a sybaritic creature by nature. Besides, if one is in the mood to get up on a soapbox as I am at the moment, there’s no substitute.

I’ve been thinking about and remembering what it was like when I was trying to get started. And how I wished there had been someone there to lay down the basics for me. I don’t mean Heinlein’s 5 basics (and if you don’t know these, you should. Practice your Google-fu), I mean the other basics. It would have saved several precious years of floundering around. To that end, I’m going to post my list of the Five Things I Wish I’d Known Then: Continue reading

Rambling Status Update

Today’s post really is all about me, so fair warning. If you’re not in the mood for narcissist on parade, bail now.

The new Yamada story has gone through a couple of revision passes and was safe to hand over to First Reader. Likewise for the “Voodoo Christmas” story, which turned out well enough that it might be worth trying on places that do seasonal pieces. Regardless, everything gets at least one revision pass because, except for me who has no choice in the matter, nobody sees my first drafts, not even First Reader. They’re generally a mess, since I give myself permission to write awkward transitions, to ramble, to write things out-of-order, whatever it takes to get the story out. In revision, all those permissions are revoked, and the offenders will be ruthlessly hunted down. I’m still in the habit of printing out a hard copy once a story first draft is finished, so if there ever comes a time when anyone cares, they can read them after I’m dead. Maybe.

That catches up the short story projects, at least until First Reader reports back on the Yamada story. Once I’ve attended to that, it’s time to decide what’s next. At some point this year I’d like to get back to work on the sequel to Black Kath’s Daughter. At the end of BKD Marta had only found three Laws of Power, and there are four to go…well, four that she knows about. Up until BKD, all my novels had been stand-alones. The sequel definitely won’t be. While on the surface the only connection between The Long Look and BKD is the setting (500 years later) and the Power called Amaet, there’s more to it which will come out in the third book. Still, you can read BKD without reading  TLL and it’ll make sense. That probably won’t be true with the third. The working title is Power’s Shadow, but is of course subject to change.

Yesterday I got a clear reminder that the best advertising of all is a happy reader championing your work. Writers need champions. Probably because, when we do it ourselves, nobody really believes us. That’s sensible because, sure, what else would we say? Yet we have to do it anyway, since usually we’re the only ones who will. Though it is nice, every now and then, to be able to say “Don’t take MY word for it….”

In the last year I’ve done three signings, which is three more than I usually do. I don’t know if this is a blip or a trend, but time will tell. I’m actually in danger of running out of books. I’m still on track next year for a novel and a short story collection, so that should help. I’m also thinking of doing a print version of one other ebook this year. Just the one, though, so I have to decide which one. Right now I’m leaning toward A Warrior of Dreams. There are a couple of pending reader reactions, so I’ll make up my mind when the votes are in.

That is all.