Oh poor Livejournal, you're really getting the short end of the stick these days. Or the long end. That could potentially be much worse, depending on how the stick is applied.
It seems this journal has become only a platform for sharing publishing news and not much else, something that was never the intention. Still, I can't keep quiet about the flash story I have out in the current issue of AE Scifi - The Canadian Science Fiction Review. The piece is called 'A Multiverse Love Story', and it appears alongside two other nice stories.
But wait! There's more! Two days ago I also sold a story to Sci Phi Journal - a real 'what if'-story that focuses on entirely new feelings that we could experience if our brains were ever expanded with additional neurons. The editor warned that it could take a while before the story is out, but I'm fine with that. (This from the guy who sold a story to Time&Space Magazine in 2012 that hasn't come out yet ;-) )
Sales are pretty rare compared to the number of rejections I get (27 sales to 653 rejection), so I'm savoring the moment.
I've done what I can with 'The Third Transmutation', and though I'm currently working on three different short stories (at 400, 6000 and 12000 words respectively), I'm also getting ready to work on another novel, since that's what writers seem to do.
It seems I have plenty to choose from, so I'm going over the projects one by one.
The first is a novel I drafted in 2011 (seems so long ago…) It's science fiction, space opera/planetary romance, and it's quite heavy on the politics. A genocide took place on this planet, but it seems that not all the disappeared people dies. In fact, they're ready to come back…This idea still intrigues me, but the execution, the plot and the characters are… dull. Sorry, Mr. Writer, but the story you have here just doesn't grab my attention. I've had that reaction from first readers as well, and I know it'll take a humongous rewrite to get the idea to work properly. I think I could, with the right investment of time and words, but I'm running the very real risk of pouring time into a story that simply won't work at all. Need I say I'm wary of going back to this one?
The second is an unfinished but outlined fantasy comedy featuring a very nice but misunderstood high priest of The Temple of The Goddess of Revenge and Retribution. I'm told that humorous fantasy doesn't sell, and I know from experience that it's extremely hard to be funny in writing, but I could have some fun with this project, at least right up until the moment I tried selling it.
The third is an idea for a fantasy book for children/YA. My daughter keeps asking me to write something in Danish, but I'm not sure the story I have in mind is the one she wants to hear. This one is about a poor and possibly mentally ill boy fighting a monster haunting his school through the CCTV network. Based on her reading habits, my daughter seems more likely to fall for a story about magic and animals, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't write this.
The fourth and fifth are ideas too, but both of them tickle my fancy. A murder mystery taking place in an orbital facility, and a story about a dreamwalker who frees people from the monsters plaguing their dreams - and finds out where they keep their treasure in while she's at it. Both those projects have come to me pretty recently as noir-style story ideas, so maybe that's what my soul really wants to work on now?
Last but not least, I have half a NaNoWriMo novel from last November lying around. It didn't turn out too bad, so maybe I'll get back into dealing with an enslaved humanity's future soon.
My course of action will be to figure out which of these projects I'll have the most fun working on, but I'd love to hear from other writers how you pick your next major project? I suppose established writers with agents can pitch projects to see what tickles their fancy, but if you've got another way to make that choice, please share.
Starting late January I moved the office from my bedroom to an office hotel in Aarhus. This has done me good on several fronts, most of all because I get to see other people regularly. I like my house and workspace, but the wall paper just ain't good conversation.
The change in surroundings has also led to slightly different work routines. I still mix writing and my freelancing copywriting day job at my office, and I still mostly work mornings and afternoon. The news is that work at the office is inevitably structured on the 'Sit Down and Work' model, because that's what everyone at the office is doing. That makes for an even production rate that works well for revision projects, sending out stories, project management, emails and copywriting.
We also have periods where we talk or have lunch. Unlike my time at home, the 'not-working' time doesn't feel nearly as unproductive, probably because it's stimulating, and it doesn't feel like skipping work when everybody's doing it.
Yesterday I took a day to work from home, which turned out to be good for drafting a new story (I got 1400 new words). My work process at home isn't as Sit Down-based. Instead I go back and forth between writing and doing home chores while thinking about the story. During my pre-office days I could work in pretty much the same manner and reach much the same results. The difference is that yesterday it didn't make me feel frustrated. I think it's because this break from my office routine of 'Sit Down' showed me that I can work both ways and still be productive.
There's also an added freedom in the perspective from the office that if others don't stay focused every moment, I don't have to either. I'm surrounded by generally hard-working people running their own companies, but guess what, they take breaks too. Social media updates by writers/media professionals (including me) tend to focus on victories and productivity. The idea that those productive hours can be found in spurts and between slow hours instead of only during an eight-hour production line grind is liberating.
LJ, you really want me back after all I've done to you? I've tweeted. I've joined Facebook. I've even seen posts on G+, but I swear they are few and far between. Can you find it in you to take back a repentent writer?
Contrary to every intention I had, 2014 was not the year I took to blogging again. I wrote stories instead, and revised The Third Transmutation into perfection (*).
But I miss the company here, and I miss writing posts about the bumps I encounter on my way as a writer - and the victories. So I guess I'll be around a little bit more, at least when the fancy strikes me. I have the ideas. All I need to do is sit down and share.
I really can't tell you why I haven't done so before. ___ (*) It just seems right that such a statement should have an asterisk. Or some kind of modifier. Or perhaps a cure against megalomania. But it's done, and I'm shopping it around to agents, which is new to me.
Over the years, Earth has been visited by a variety of intelligent extra-terrestrial species. Many scientists refute this, of course, since there's been no actual proof of contact. However, a new study (*) now shows that the problem hasn't been the lack of contact on the part of the aliens. Rather, the way earthlings have managed first contact has been remarkably clumsy, not to say lacking in etiquette.
The scientists behind the study sum up five examples of what they think could have gone wrong during these first contact events, and why we haven't hear from the aliens since.
1) "Of course it can swim. Look, it's got fins and tentacles. Throw it back in." 2) "Yuck, that's gross! Joss, I'll give you five bucks if you eat it." 3) "No, honey, of course I won't give you any STDs." 4) "How about we send that Saint George guy over to talk to their scaly ambassador?" 5) "You address him as 'Mr. President', you goddamn exobiologist piece of shit." ___ (*) Better than the old studies, trust me.
In the last couple of days I've found two reviews of the Far Orbit anthology (ed. Bascomb James) which contains my story 'The Vringla/Racket Incident'. Both reviewers liked the anthology a lot and praised it for the many different kinds of stories that Bascomb James had selected.
The first review is in The Future Fire and 'Vringla/Racket' is singled out as a fun read. In the review at Good Choice Reading, 'Vringla/Racket' makes the reviewer's list of favorite stories. Go me!
The first review of Unidentified Funny Objects 3 (ed. Alex Shvartsman) is also up on Tangent Online. A lot of the stories in the anthology are to the reviewer's liking. My story, Master of Business Apocalypse, is judged 'A fun diversion and little bit better than average' – which is of course just the kind of wholehearted praise that every author dreams of hearing :-)
On a personal note: I read some of the other stories in an advance reader's version, and in my own biased opinion there's a lot of fun to be found in this anthology.
I'm pleased that London got selected to host WorldCon, as it means I get to go to my first large con since EuroCon in Stockholm in 2012. The kids are big enough to handle four days without their dad, which would have been a bit too short a time for a trip to the US. So London, I'll see you on Thursday.
My programme for LonCon3: I'm not on it ;-)
Instead I plan to visit a lot of panels, especially with writers I've met online. That includes all you LJ'ers, so if any of you are doing a panel, I'd love to come by and applaud your writerly wisdom. So feel free to plug your amazing panel in the comments. I hope to see you there.
'Monsters Big and Small' was a flash story that originally appeared in Daily Science Fiction. Last year I was contacted by director Alex Grybauskas, who wanted to make it into a short film. Giving permission was one of the easiest things I've ever done.
Alex has been working on it over the past year, and I got to read the script and comment on it, an entirely new experience for me. After shooting and editing it's now ready for the big screen.
Even better, Alex just mailed me to say that it was named an official selection to the HollyShorts film festival, where it will make its world premiere at the famous Grauman's Chinese Theater in L.A.
I just watched it with my wife, and I thought it was great, especially the acting. I also think they did an outstanding job turning a story that has a lot of internal dialogue into a visual experience. The movie won't be online for some time, but there's a teaser trailer here.