Archive for category End of the Line

State of the Writer: February 2011

People tend to like to really look at themselves at the beginning of every year, making resolutions and the like.  As part of pushing myself to be in more direct touch with my writing, I’m going to start these state of the writer posts every month.  I make them public largely just to make myself do them.  You hear me, five people that Google Analytics says visited my site yesterday, I need to be kept honest.

Novels in Progress:

  • Capsule.
  • End of the Line.

Short Stories in Progress:

  • Back Half.  For the Primogeniture anthology.  Rough draft completed.  Due date April 7th.
  • The Luchador.  For Bad-Ass Faeries 4.  Proposal accepted, and rough draft in progress.  Due date June 2011.

Short Stories Sold:

  • The Rustler.  Woot.

Short Stories Out:

  • Sleep

Short Stories Doing Nothing.  Bad Writer.

  • !Div0
  • Queen of Belmeth

I’ve been falling down on my goal of keeping a certain number of stories circulating at any one time.  In part this is because I lucked out and sold one of my main circulators, but also in part because I’ve been falling down on Duotroping.  On the other hand, my goal of 6 stories written for specific anthologies is doing well, as I’ve got two in progress, even if I’m starting to back off on the notion of sending one to its intended destination.  I’ve been frustrated about the way Primogeniture keeps adding details to the ship, which is really reinforcing my initial fear that submitters had to somehow correctly guess how the editors always planned the ship to operate.  However, it’s still a fun generation ship story that I might clean up and send to anthologies that don’t have nearly so many rules about how a generation ship should work.  I’ll probably give one more try, but if the goalposts move again and make it even harder to tell my story on their ship, then I’ll have to go on my own.

I haven’t forgotten Capsule.  I’ve actually been doing a lot of mental outlining that needs to turn into physical outlining to get me from where I am to where I know this act ends.  There’s a few key scenes, I just need to make sure there’s no more.

People who’ve known my writing for awhile will notice an old favorite on my Novels In Progress list: End of the Line.  I feel like something needs to happen fast with it, since the whole conceit of the story is based around the five lines of what will soon be a six-line DC Metro system.  I’ve had multiple suggestions made, from ignoring the sixth line to inventing a sixth horseman of the apocalypse (I feel like adding a fifth is about the most I can do to stretch that particular concept), to setting the novel in a given pre-Silver Line year.  None of them strikes me as all that fulfilling of an option, with the third the most appealing of an unappealing lot.  So I think instead I’m going to push to get something done with it, even if it ends up on Smashwords (my emergency fallback point to be sure).

I’ve been happy with the first two installments of the Fortnightcap project.  It’s going to keep going for now.

In all, I’m satisfied but not thrilled.  I’m certainly ramping back up from my lost 2010.  I’d probably be doing better if Altair and Ezio didn’t need nearly so much help assassinating people.

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The Alien in the Mundane

The conditions in Tysons around 4:00 last Wednesday.

Last week it snowed in the DC area.

This, in and of itself, is not an unusual occurrence, and compared to last year the quantity of snow was nothing, just a few inches.  However the nature of the snow (wet and heavy) and the timing of the snow (hitting around 3pm on a workday) made all the difference in the world between last week’s event and 2010’s “Snowpocalypse”.  Heavy wet snow brings down branches and power lines as it sticks to everything and anything.  And mid-afternoon snow means working out exactly when to leave work and how long it’ll take to get home.  There are a lot of horror stories out there about commutes, but since this is my blog, I’m going to tell mine.

I left about 3:35 from Tysons Corner.  This was, perhaps, the worst possible time to leave.  A little earlier and I would have beat most people out the door.  A little later and I probably would have given up and had a leisurely dinner with some coworkers, which probably would have been a better idea in the long run.  As it was, it took me over an hour to finally establish myself on the Beltway, I didn’t get off the Beltway at Little River Turnpike until 7, and didn’t get home (after leaving my car legally parked, not abandoned I stress, at the start of the subdivision) until 7:35.  To find that the power was out.  And would remain out until 11:35 on Friday night.

The drive home included not just slow traffic, but snow falling almost faster than my wipers could move it, and flashes of light that lit up the sky.  I’m not sure which flashes were thundersnow and which flashes were transformers blowing.  I’ve been told the blue or green ones were the latter, and there were plenty of both.  I’ve never seen the sky glow those colors before, at least not outside of a fireworks show.

The next day, I went to work.  Largely I was lured in by the promise of the cafeteria being open, hot food sounding so good after a dinner of Pop Tarts the night before.  As I drove home, I was on largely the same roads that just 24 hours before had been such madness.  By now they were plowed, most of the abandoned cars were gone, and normalcy was returning to Tysons.  It wasn’t until then, with the panic of the previous commute well behind me, that I could really appreciate how quickly the mundane can be taken away.

And how it all comes back to plot crafting.

Shoving the alien into the mundane is a long standing trope of film and literature.  It’s really where most of the movie Cloverfield comes from, a couple of people who have to go places they’ve been a hundred times, but with the new reality of a massive creature destroying them and the military counter response.  This is obviously an extreme.  It can take so little to get us out of our routines and for the world around us to be so very different as a result.  Driving north on a road you’ve only ever driven south on before.  Seeing a place for the first time in the snow.  Discovering that the Metro system has been taken over by the Horsemen of the Apocalypse.  Plot can come from any number of changes made to the routine of an every day person and how he or she reacts to the differences.

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Unleaded quickie, Nanowrimo

New post up at Unleaded featuring SMBC and me…well, linking right back here again.

Next Monday marks the beginning of Nanowrimo.  This year I’ll be missing a big chunk of the month as I’m heading to New Orleans for a cruise to celebrating the wedding of the proprietors of the Unleaded Blog (yay!).  That means that the standard 50,000 word goal is out the window.  But here’s the thing.  I wouldn’t really want to anyway.  I feel like I’m less than 50,000 words from the end of Capsule, and that trying to put that many more words into it would be contrived.  And I sure as hell don’t want to start anything new, no matter how much I’ve been thinking about a plotline I’m currently calling “The Filibuster” (based on the old definition…shameless 200 Years cross-link).  So here’s my Nanowrimo goal:

Maintain Nano pace on any day that I’m not on vacation until I get to the end of Capsule.  Then work on editing, oh dare I even say it?  End of the Line.

Also, came up with an odd idea for a flash fiction piece that I’m hoping to write and post here in the blog by the end of the month.  Yay, flash fiction!

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