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[personal] Stepping out into the dawn

Going on another trail hike this morning, with Team E— and [info]mlerules. Breaking in my new/old boots with a (hopefully) better pair of socks. This afternoon I’ll put more time into the current short story project, a requested horror piece entitled “Spendthrift”. Plus hanging out with my kid.

Tomorrow is a busy-as-usual day, then I’m off to North Carolina prior to the crack of dawn on Tuesday. If you’re anywhere within striking distance of Greensboro, consider coming to my open dinner Tuesday night [ jlake.com | LiveJournal ].

I get home from that trip very late Wednesday night, more like Thursday morning. Thursday after Day Jobbery, I’m off to my gig as resident pro at Cascade Writers, which will take me right through the weekend.

This week, I also plan to finish this short story, send the latest revision of the Going to Extremes outline to my agent, turn another round of effort on a book outline I’m working jointly with [info]calendula_witch, and get back to serious revisions on Other Me.

Busy much?

[personal] Taking the weekend off

The Going to Extremes outline is in the can, pending a few more days to steep and a light revision pass of the China chapter. I’ve completed my recent read through of Other Me, and need to let it steep a few days before I dig into more serious revisions. The Sekrit Projekt is in good shape and awaiting some business input next week. And I have a friend in town this weekend.

So I’m taking the weekend off. Possibly no blogging at all, possibly light blogging if I feel so moved. I’ll be back on the normal broadcast schedule next Monday.

Y’all play nice while I’m gone.

[writing] Seeing your own tropes up close and personal

I’ve been doing a close line read and light revision pass of Other Me, my short YA science fiction novel with bonus identity paranoia. It’s been an interesting experience for a couple of reasons.

For one, I wrote this quite a few years ago, before the cancer with its surgeries and chemotherapies. Yet I find I remember a great deal about this book. Color me mildly surprised. Its interesting how deep some things run.

Second, I am very amused to see how my tropes repeat themselves. I already know about this. We all do it. In my case, I write about lost boys, mechanical men, hidden underground tunnels, layered truths, self-discovery, and oddball animals. There are elements of Other Me that to my eye clearly tie back to Mainspring, to Green, to Trial of Flowers.

I don’t think I’m plagiarizing myself. I do wonder a bit if I am repeating myself. On the other hand, should I be writing de novo every time I launch into a story? I find myself wondering where the balance lies between repetition and novelty.

Got no answers, but got more questions. Ah, the writing life.

Your thoughts?

[writing] Stories out the door, et cetera

Two stories out the door last night. Both to requesting markets. One I wrote fresh to requirements, “Grindstone” at 5,100 words. The other is an existing piece from new-but-unsold inventory, “Down in the Ship Mines” at 3,000 words. (The second has already been accepted, by SQ Magazine.) Which is terrific, but I really need to up my short fiction submission game a little.

I also finished the Kalimpura copy edits and got them back to Tor. Started working on some forthcoming conference critique, and also about to launch into that aforementioned tight editorial read of Other Me.

Work work work. I love it.

[writing] Minor updatery

In progress and/or next up in the batting order…

  • A small amount of effort remaining on the Kalimpura copy edit, then doublechecking my responses to Tor
  • Steampunk short in need of minor revision and submittal to requesting market
  • A quick assessment of any other short stories I might owe or need to write just now
  • Crit reading for the forthcoming Cascade Writers event
  • A close editorial reading pass through the existing draft of Other Me (young adult SF), also awaiting input from my agent on the outline

[writing] Update on goals and activity

Back in January, I posted my year’s writing goals [ jlake.com | LiveJournal ].

Here’s what I said about June and July:

June, 2012 — Initial revisions to Their Currents Turn Awry, release to my first readers.
July, 2012 — Take a break from Sunspin, pursue short fiction commitments.

In practice, what I did was reverse these two. I finished the first draft of Currents in mid-May, and decided to take my break in June rather than bulling into initial revisions. Then I spent a bunch of time on Going to Extremes and some other work. I still owe a couple of short stories this month.

However, next month I will not immediately start the Currents revisions.

Had a long talk with my agent yesterday about the state of the market, my books and my career. Because the sales process is ongoing, I won’t comment on how Sunspin is doing out there in the market. Suffice to say that with the overall issues in publishing, we’re looking for diversification.

This is actually a long-standing strategy of ours rather than a change in direction. One piece of that is already in play; the Little Dog collaborative project with urban fantasy author J.A. Pitts. That should be happening mostly over the summer. So is another element; Going to Extremes, the Antarctica/cancer book. The Waterloo Productions feature-length documentary project about me is tied into Extremes as well. I plan to have the finalized version of the book proposal off to my agent by Friday of this week, so we can hopefully go to market quite soon.

Where the change in direction occurs is that we’ve added two more elements, one of which will slide into my schedule prior to the restart on Currents. One is that I’ll be revising for market a YA science fiction novel I wrote a few years ago called Other Me. (Think Philip K. Dick identity paranoia for kids.) It got shelved simply because I was very busy at the time, and I’ve always had something else to do. Now I’m going to take a few weeks or a month to work through Other Me with a strong revision pass.

The other new element is an illustrated novelty book of sex humor. I now have a very good artist lined up, and will be developing the project over the summer with a probable deliverable next fall, depending on the art schedule. Still in discussions with my agent about whether this is an independent press project or a trade press project, though she is potentially interested in repping it to the trade press. I’m not going to say more about the project right now, because I want to see how it gels before discussing further detail in public.

There are also plans in the wind for some Web series scripting, along with the usual array of short story ideas and opportunities.

Sometimes I think there’s not enough going on in my writing life. Apparently, I am an idiot.