Warning: long and uninterestingly rambling post below. Might even contain personal opinions and a bunch of photos.
I’ve been letting blog posting slide a bit as I deal with certain stuff. Some of it, but not all, relates to writing.
Following useful feedback from fellow Vipers, I finished editing three of the September short stories and sent them out into the world. The process got me into some introspection and, as a result, I’m going to write something about said introspection. Please, don’t take this as anything more than face value. It’s neither a positive or negative, and I’m not making a qualitative statement about my writing or that of others. It’s just an observation.
I attended the Viable Paradise Workshop in October. Right away, I noticed just how different my writing is from that of the other attendees. This is not a statement about quality or craft; just content and perhaps style. Perhaps each of the other attendees felt the same way, but I can’t speak to that.
Mind you, I like my writing, but heck, I can’t even describe it, let alone place it. One of the major differences is in the matter of social issues content. Style and words dynamics are also noticeable differences. It’s not only the VP XIX class, either.
In searching for markets for my short stories, I sampled a lot of said markets. Guess what I found? Nothing like what I write and I honestly don’t know if there’s much of a place in today’s market for what and how I write. Understand, I’m not blind to social issues, but I don’t particularly want to explore them in a story setting, or, if I do, it’s peripherally and not central to the story itself. But, it’s not just social issues . . .
Were I to characterize my writing, I would say it’s escapism to imagined worlds, characters, and situations that tangentially reflect how I wish things were, but whose primary purpose for existing is to entertain through action and occasional humor. I write characters that I know don’t exist but wish they did. I write about the congregation of rare qualities seldom found in individuals. I often write characters as idealized versions of people; I write about how I wish them to be and what I strive to be (no, I’m not nailing it . . . perhaps I never will, but it won’t be for lack of trying).
This is a reflection of my preferences. I want to read about larger-than-life situations and larger-than-life people and through them, vicariously escape a world awash with pettiness and small-mindedness.
I may be wrong and perhaps over-generalizing, but a lot of what I read in the past few weeks reflects writers smacking readers in the face with the worst of the reality that surrounds us. Well, crap! That’s already smacking me around every damn minute of every damn day. I want something different. I want the good guys winning, a real hero, a happy ending, and to be transported to a different place. I know it’s not real, and it won’t make me forget or ignore the problems we face . . . I just want a break from them.
Don’t take this as me bitching about the reality of the publishing market that I see. I enjoy writing, and I’ll keep at it; not for acceptance, fame, or recognition, but because I’m applying myself to something I like. But, mostly, because when I do read my stories, they generate the feelings I want to feel. I don’t exaggerate when I say that I often read my stuff. Escapism, remember?
I should mention one possible exception to the above . . . fantasy. When one reads fantasy, one is more likely to encounter larger-than-life situations, larger-than-life characters. I tried my hand at a few fantasy stories, but I don’t have the facility with fantasy as I do for . . . well, what I normally write. Sometimes, I start out as fantasy and drift back into science-based things (even if fantastical science). I plan to apply myself to writing a bit more fantasy this coming year. Probably, more Birro adventures.
Anyway, the September stories are all loosely classified as SF, so to SF markets they went. In the end, I picked where to submit only loosely based on whether I thought they fit with their markets. Realistically, I don’t have much hope for them. But, as I learned at the workshop, my job is to write; deciding if what I write merits publication is someone else’s job. When rejected, these stories will be submitted elsewhere until there are no more markets.
The fourth, the time travel “Wolf, are you there” story, needs more revising, perhaps major revising. Like all time stories, I realized there was a major hole in the timeline (not a pun) as it relates to the plot.
Time travel stories are fun to write, but time stories rely not only on the reader having some predisposition to them but also for the reader to turn a blind eye to the very impossibilities contained therein. I’ve never seen a movie or read a book or short story that handled the topic well. I am happier with parallel universe stories, but even there, if you introduce the equivalent of a time travel element, the whole thing goes to crap. Anyway, I plan to polish it up a bit and see if I still want to send it out.
Meanwhile, I’m three-fourths of the way to editing the 2014 NaNoWriMo, the one that got critiqued at VP XIX. That is going out to one publisher and also forming the basis for the start of my agent search, and I want to accomplish those goals before the end of the year. Meaning, finish my edit this next week and sending it out by next week.
Yes, the same thing I said above about the short stories also applies to the novel . . . I have no clue what market is best for it. I wrote it as a science fiction story, but it carries some of the trappings of a mystery novel without fully embracing the mystery format. Mostly, it’s an action story . . . where is the market for action stories?
Another thing occupying my time is our effort to flood e-Bay with a lot of our stuff. That involves a lot of photographing. Before I post the photos, a small diversion.
This post is already much longer than most people care for. I can count on one hand the number of people who will read it all, and I’d have a few fingers left over for nose-cleaning duties. Still, here’s a bit of Disperser history.
I went to a Catholic high school. De La Salle Institute, near the IIT campus in Chicago. During my junior year, I went on a retreat. I have no memory what the purpose was, but I remember the place having lots of cigarettes-dispensing machines. I came back from the retreat as a smoker.
I smoked until 1983 when racquetball took precedence, and I gave up smoking for being able to play four hours without running out of breath. In the smoking years, I often quit, sometimes for months at a time. I would quit whenever I realized I smoked without enjoyment, and I started up again because I liked smoking (note; it takes some effort to start smoking – you have to really want it).
I never had problems quitting, so in that I was lucky; when I did quit for good, I just stopped and moved on with my life, never looking back.
On a related note, I’ve always been a difficult person to buy for. People bought me stuff (some still do) thinking I might like a particular item and without considering I would already have bought it if I wanted it. BUT . . . not always. Sometimes, people pleasantly surprised me with something I did not know I wanted. This is one such item.
How is this related, you ask? Some of you might have already guessed . . .
Yup . . . a fly ashtray.
Now, in the process of snapping photos for the listing, I discovered something neat . . .
OK, perhaps it’s only neat to me, but . . .
. . . enter post-processing with Topaz Impressions plugin.
By the way, you can click on the images for larger versions.
And, not only that . . . On1 Suite B&W conversion . . .
For me, the coolest ones are these . . .
I see a version of Darth Vader that might be more impressive than the original.
Anyway, in keeping with my practice of flooding posts with too many photos, here are the rest of the photos from my session with the Fly Ashtray.
That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.
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. . . my FP ward . . . chieken shit.