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Good Decision 2010

Reverb10: December 10 – Wisdom Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out? (Author: Susannah Conway)

The wisest decision made this year was putting the Zeta Iota project aside and moving on to Luck for Hire. I had a crisis of faith during the first few months of this year. I was certain that if I just did my job long enough, I could make the Zeta Iota novel work for me. And it just didn’t. I’ve often compared working on writing project to romantic relationships. My experience with Zeta Iota did not resemble a pulse-pounding crush. It was more like being set up by your friends with a guy that should be perfect, but you have no chemistry, but you still go out a few more times until you realize that staying home alone is the better option. (Always avoid two "but" situations.) This doesn’t mean that I’ll never write Zeta Iota.  The idea isn’t quite mature enough. One day, Eric will come to me with another layer layer added to the Zeta Iota onion and it’ll be Thunderbolt City.

Obviously, this played out well since I consider it a wise decision. One up-shot: Eric and I as collaborative writers realized that there has to be something in it for me, as it were. I can’t just be the "writer." No matter how intriguing the idea, I need the Katherine hook. When left to my own devices, I write quirky stories filled with tricksters and fools. I need some of that in the novels too. Aleister Luck has it in spades.


Not doing as much work as I should be. I’m caught up in enjoying holiday stuff. The tree is up and looking pretty. I need to shop for the Omaha nieces and nephews. Been writing a few Christmas cards. Putting together holiday playlists. Buying long-sleeved shirts even though the weather has been in the high 70s. Reading Spacelogs. Okay, that last one isn’t holiday related, but it is damn cool.

Eric’s nearly finished with classes. His parents won’t be down for his matriculation, so we are spared the need to go to the ceremony. The next few weeks look calm and good.

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Change in Plans…

…like *that* never happens.

(Actually, there’s four month a wax and wan that seems to happen with my writing projects. I work on a trimester schedule. Or I’m selectively remembering the pattern. I’m sure it’s not that neat. Maybe it should be and I spend too much time bucking the trend instead of going with it.)

Yesterday, Eric and I discussed the status of various writing projects and we decided that getting Divine Fire polished and off to agents/publishers wouldn’t be a bad idea. It’s the "second" Weordan novel, but, like Model Species, it can stand alone. I finished DF in August of last year and put it aside in order to focus on Model Species (Sept – Dec with a November side trek). Then we started on Zeta Iota (Jan – April).  But now, as I have every summer  for the last few years, I’m going back to work on Divine Fire. Since this book is concerned with a religion based on a sun god, summer in Arizona isn’t a bad time for it. First order of business? Take a look at just how much work needs to be done.

Besides, ZI needs to stew longer. I’ll think on it, free write on it while Eric’s brain works more on the tech.

Eric’s booked his flight for Omaha in June. I’ll be staying here, which is new.  I’m developing a list of things to do while he’s gone. Cleaning the grimy apartment and eating German food is on the list thus far.

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Indefinite Progress

I love word counts. I love to quantify my progress. For the past several years, the only time a word count has worked for me is during November. Even then, I get annoyed with the lack editing when I spew out 35,000 words. I know intellectually that progress isn’t just a number, but man, it’s rough to find satisfaction in the indefinite. Therefore, a list:

  • Eric’s in the midst of the end-of-the-semester crunch. He read my Zeta Iota changes. There are new concepts to be added and tweaked. I need to make daily progress on that. We heard from Chris last week. He probably won’t be back in the States until July (late June, early July?). Since we’d like to see him, Eric’s trip to Omaha will be moved up to early June. It would be nice to have the ball really rolling on Zeta Iota by then.
  • Sent Model Species to another three agents. Okay, two. The third needs to be sent by mail. For the record, it’s had five rejections. Okay, probably six since there’s one agent I queried that doesn’t answer unless she’s interested (most annoying policy EVER).
  • I’m continuing to post chapters of Pas de Chat. I wish I had a little more feedback on it, but I’ll just trust that someone out there is reading it. It would probably help if I were more consistent with promoting it on Twitter. I forget to hashtag…
  • I want to get back in the habit of free writing. My goal with that is to produce a some #fridayflash pieces. We’ll see how that goes.
  • Tertiary projects: I should edit the Eden story and send it out. Also, I tend to be writing a bit of fairy-tale-urban-fantasy in my flash projects. Maybe there something to be done with that.

Hmm, interesting where the month of April took me. I have more fiction online for public consumption than I ever have. Whether it’s good or bad thing remains to be seen. Whether it counts as real work is in question too. (It probably doesn’t.) I shall continue to slog onward.

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The State of Stuff

Progress on Zeta Iota has been haltingly slow. Eric and I had a good talk on Monday a week ago. I need to take chances in writing this, but I have been fear-bound. I need to get over it and get on with writing…something. This is an old fight of mine.

I screwed up my back about three weeks ago, but tonight, despite a game of Wednesday disc, my back feels about 85%. Usually, my back pain responds to exercise, but this has been different. Stretching has been the way through it. I fear that really must improve my core strength. And I have to find a good way of doing it without hurting my back. Paradoxical.

Next week is the last game of Spring League. First game of pool play to be exact. The team I’m on, NDLB, has a 2-7 record. Most likely, we’ll play through pool play and be done for the season. Which is fine. It’s been a pretty fun team to be on. My play has been decent when I can actually move, so I can’t be unhappy with that. Next Saturday promises to be a day with some play, some grilled food, and some beer. Can’t be unhappy with that either.

Also in the land of VOTS, we got summer fields earlier than usual. I spent yesterday setting up pages for a women’s league and a men’s league that was switched to an open league. (It’s quite possible that Keith meant it to be an open league to begin with and I jumped to the conclusion.) Regardless, much HTML fun.

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2010 First Quarter Summary

Model Species, or using Science! to change a manuscript

Back in December, Eric and I did a semi-final polish on Model Species and, in January, I started sending it out to agents. But, one thing still bugged Eric about the manuscript: the first chapter. During a read-through in 2009 (I think), it occurred to him that it might be better if the second chapter was the first. With my horror sensibility, I found the first chapter to be a great hook. The second chapter didn’t seem as compelling to me. Eric, on the other hand, found the mystery in the second chapter to be as persuasive. Being too close to the project, I decided we needed data. So, I enlisted a dozen friends and acquaintances to read the first three chapters for me. I gave about half of them a PDF with the original first chapter and the other half a PDF with the chapters reversed, and asked what they thought of the given excerpt. (Here are links to both PDFs: Original & Reversed.) The results generally supported Eric’s hypothesis: Everyone who read the “reversed” manuscript thought the first chapter worked. While the results for the original were similar, there were also comments that the original first chapter might be a little off-putting. In other words, there’s a chance that the original first chapter is a turn-off rather than a hook, while the second chapter works just as well for a hook. From here on out, the manuscript will be changed to reflect that. A big Thank You! goes out to everyone who helped with this little bit of writing “science.”

Zeta Iota, or the new project

After puttering around with the idea during NaNoWriMo and a serious discussion with Eric about it January, I wrote 10K words on Zeta Iota. The plot elements are there. The setting (far fallen future) is not.  The next step is to start over from scratch, word-wise. Eric has been uber patient with me on this, so I assume he thinks I can do this…eventually. I’m reading more SF in an effort to become more comfortable in that skin.

Pas de Chat, or that *other* horror novel

In January, I also took a look at where Pas de Chat was: nearing the bottom of the potential agents list. It isn’t terribly helpful that PdC is modern horror, not period horror like Lucinda at the Window and not science fiction like, well, all the other novels. I’m also not excited about going the small press route with another book. What to do? Maybe it’s time to go “non-traditional.” I’m thinking about giving the sucker away online, episodically, with the possibility of a PoD edition if warranted. This is in the planning/mulling stage (I guess).

Other, or stuff that is only occasionally on the radar

Obscure Music Monday has fallen by the wayside due to a combination of laziness, being out of town, lack of excitement and disc on Mondays. I’ll probably pick it up again after league is over, or maybe do a few shorter entries since I’ve come across a few interesting things. I’m considering spiffing up a few short/flash/beginnings for #flashfriday or something like that. I need to start getting my writing out there. Or something like that.

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Ohrwurm, Return to Disc

I realized this morning that Cake’s "Love You Madly" reflects my feelings toward the Zeta Iota project. I don’t really buy the idea of my subconscious sending messages through earworms, but I’ve had this song stuck in my head on and off for the past month or so. To sum up:

I don’t want to sit across the table from you
Wishing I could run

I want to love you madly

Like the diagnosis of a chronic disease, it’s good to pinpoint and name something. The subtlety of the Cake song is that it’s about wanting to love rather than already doing so. If you want something, really want it, you have to work for it eventually.  This novel is going to take a lot of work. I want to love it, but even loving is going to take work.

Or something like that. Because it’s always a good idea to live life based on pop songs.

On Wednesday, I played disc for the first time since mid-February. Played at noon and felt pretty good, with a crossover game scheduled for that evening. With liberal application of IcyHot, I felt decent until after the evening game as well. Betsy and I played savage and I didn’t run out of energy until the last few points. Throughout the day, my play was okay. My cutting during the evening game was pretty shoddy. I felt like I was running into people all night. I don’t remember any major throwing mistakes, though I’m sure there were some. Pain-wise, all bets were off after the game. Thursday was pretty miserable. No injuries, just a lot of beat up muscles. I need to work on my core. My back would be better off.

Eric’s on spring break after a few uber busy weeks. I need to actually work, but there will be some gaming, some EQ2, and probably Shutter Island today.

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Nothing to see here. Move along.

Been working toward journaling here every other day. Unfortunately, there are days when I’m hermit-y and I don’t have much to say. Today is one of those. So was yesterday for that matter.

Missed a couple of days of reading, but otherwise I’m somewhat keeping to my plan.

Zeta Iota is up to 4K words.
Pros of bumping work to Eric and talking about the project every day: I stay on task and potential problems are nipped in the bud.
Con of bumping work to Eric and talking about the project every day: Tough when I’m having a hermit day. How did I ever work a “real” job?

No further replies on my Model Species submissions. I should take a look at where Pas de Chat is in the submission grinder, but that might require writing an email or two. *cringe*

VOTS Spring League is not currently eating my life. New Year Fest in two weeks.

Consumed most of Community before it expired on Hulu. I’ve also been enjoying The Unusuals, which I might write up as an OMM entry.