Dancing to Dirges

Depressing and happy things Tim says, sometimes while drunk

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ten Thousand words to brush his teeth. Ten. Thousand.

I've been told that my story ideas are too big. I believe this. I'm working on a short story right now, and I'd like to keep it at 8k words. I'm at 4400, and I'm only just getting to the plot. The problem, you understand, is transitioning from the novel form back to the short. 4400? That's about one chapter. You line up twenty or so of those, and you have a book. That's the scale I've been working on. But 8k? Uh, that's two chapters. Two scenes, maybe three. I can't tell a *story* in that kind of space. I mean, obviously I can because I've done it over and over again, but my mind is no longer tuned to that particular scale. I can understand why writers who have made it to the novel stage, where people are paying them to pile up 80k or 90k worth of words on a consistent basis, why those writers stop doing short stories. Shorts pay more per word, but you can't produce enough to live. And once you've stretched out into the nice wide space of a novel, and you've got all that text to grow your world, and characters can develop over dozens of scenes, full scenes? And then those characters can go on to other books, and more scenes...it's pure luxury. Intimidating at first, sure, but once you've got it happening, it feels good. Hell, it feels great.

But for now? I've got this short story I have to write. I'm excited by it, too excited, since I keep typing and typing and the narrative is just bloating out. Only really it's not. It's just the story, happening in the natural progression of the story. We'll see. But it's fun.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Another day, another chunk of text. I'm just getting into my writing pace. That's nice. I think I could produce a lot of stories if this were my usual routine. Day. Dreamin'.

Anyway, lemme tell you a story. It's about my father-in-law. We get along well, he's an old school SF fan, and while he may not love the specifics of my stories he certainly appreciates the job description as a whole. But he's a funny guy, in a way that's hard to describe. We were talking about what various people drank, while he was here over the holiday. This must have been at breakfast. He starts to go on about the joys of Clamato. That would be clam-infused tomato juice. Right. But he skips over the taste and stuff, and says "But the bottle is great. It's square, so you can fill it with cat litter and put it in the back of your car. It won't roll around any, and when you get stuck in snow you can just dump the litter for traction."

Let's be clear. I can almost *guarantee* you that he was walking through the store, walked past the bottle of clamato, and noticed nothing but the bottle. Picked it up and thought "Square sides. If I filled this with cat litter, it wouldn't roll around in the trunk. Excellent." and then he looked at the front and thought "Yeah, clamato. What's in this? Clams and tomatoes? I can probably drink that. Sure, I can drink that. Round bottle in the trunk problem? Solved!"

Anyway. He's a great guy. It's just a funny story.

Monday, November 26, 2007

My calendar is IRRESPONSIBLE

I hope that everyone had a pleasant and non-stressful thanksgiving. I spent part of the day crawling through the tiny attic over our addition with my father-in-law, trying to pinpoint a leak in the roof. Found it! But it comes down to loose shingles and we're going to have to get a roofer out here. So there's that.

Vacation time at my office is weird. I get a lot of days, but those days include my sick time, and also I never take time off or get sick. And I've been at the company a long time (sniffle) so I get a lot of days. Which I never use. So every year around the middle of november, I have to find some way to use the majority of my days without being gone at the specific times that I can't be gone, and without treading on anyone else's time off, because they're usually visiting family or something, whereas I'm just sitting at home, fixing things and writing.

So I have this week off. I was supposed to take off the first two weeks of December, but management didn't feel like they could handle me being gone two weeks straight. Yeah. So it's this week, then the second week of december. Sitting and writing. I need to plan my time off next year better, because even moving the maximum number of days into next year, I'm still losing three days randomly. The suck.

And, you'll notice, I'm not writing. Had to get some stuff done around the house, first, and now it's lunch time. But I'm hoping, after lunch, to get some words down. Cuz I have this deadline, see, the first week of january. Wouldn't want to dis the new hotness.

That's all for now. I'm having a chicken sandwich on toast, and a tomato sandwich. Then words.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Stretch stretch your fingers in the sky

Today's really my sort of day. This morning I took the dog out, and the world was wrapped in quiet mist and gray. Not a sound on the street, just quiet leaves shuffling under our feet, the drip, drip from the last leaves to fall. Trees like tangled black lightning combing through low clouds, their tips dipped in fog and faded away. I'm pretty happy with today.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Glamor Glory and Fame

To distract myself, I'm working on this other thing. Well. I'm working on this other thing because it has a deadline, and I haven't written with a deadline in years. Anyway. And I find it distracting.

What I'm running in to is that I like the world I'm making, and I like the story I'm trying to tell, but I'm really not happy with the story I'm actually *writing*. I suspect that if someone else wrote what I've got so far and handed it to me, I'd say "Nice, but you haven't gotten to the beginning of the story yet." Actually, I know that's what I'd say. So that's a couple thousand words that I'm just throwing down the pit, trying to get it high enough that I can walk across.

Have you ever sat down and figure out how many books you'll need to sell to make a living? Don't. It's depressing. Or I'm bad at math. But I'm not bad at math...so there you go. Depressing.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Back from WindyCon

I'm back from WindyCon. Well, I was back yesterday, but yesterday was just about unwinding. Recovery is nothing like getting over WFC or anything, but still. Downtime. This will be an incomplete report, because I'm quite busy.

I drove up Saturday morning and registered. While I was paging through the schedule my agent walked by. We went off to some quite corner and I signed an agency agreement and went over stuff. More on stuff later, when I can unpack it fully. Went to some panels, which were mixed. One, about medicine and healing in a fantasy environment quickly devolved into people talking about their chronic gout. Devolved, I say. But I really enjoyed the panel on American and Canadian fantasy, how the voices differ. I think a lot about what it means to be an American fantasy writer, when the environment is so dominated by celtic and germanic iconography. Especially, in my particular sub-genre, love poems to London.

Saturday night, feeling great. Dinner with the JABberwocky folks, then back to the hotel to drink free alcohol. There is a distinct difference between "local fan con" and "World Fantasy Con" when it comes to room parties, but I made the adjustment. I ended up in the bar for a while with Tobias Buckell. Turns out we have a lot in common. I ended up in the room party for a Chicago Fan group, and that was a lot of fun. Toby showed up there later, and we sat around and yelled loudly to each other about industry stuff. Wandered some, drank some excellent bourbon with the MidWestCon folks, talked Aztec. Saturday was good.

Sunday was complicated. Mostly dominated by driving my agent around to various bookstores, doing recce for a kind of driveby signing he had planned for today with Toby and Jim Hines. That was work; a lot of running through malls and suburban driving and horrible parking lots. I didn't eat enough Sunday, either, so by the time I left the con I was ten sheets into a bad headache and very, very tired. And that's why I'm only posting today. And not posting much, either.