Friday, December 11, 2009

Don't you miss that ticking clock?

All through November, I was aware of every hour, every day going by, knowing I had to write X number of words, or if I was ahead or behind of my daily goal at any given point. It's like "mindfulness" theory applied to writing. Now... now... that sense of urgency has evaporated. Well, at least as far as writing is concerned. Now it's urgency about "HOW many days is it until Christmas?" and getting holiday shopping done and mail sent out and events to go to, etc. Writing? Err, what's that? Yeah. Bah, humbug!

What am I doing now? What are my characters doing? I have no idea. Spending money, I suppose.

Friday, December 4, 2009

New story disease...argh...

And not just one, but three story ideas have burned themselves into my brain. It's three stories from my "Future History Channel". At least they're not completely new ideas, they're just things from a future history that I wrote up that I decided would make decent stories.

  • Upaya, or the Road to Hell: In which the "worst criminal in human history" explains why she had to save humanity by destroying it.
  • The Gate of Eirene: In which a despised cyborg observer first watches everything go to hell, and then decides to steal an experimental starship and take a group of surviving humans to safety out among the stars. And fails. Or does he?
  • The Peace War: How the humans colonized an inhabited alien planet while fighting off the enemy they brought with them.

I even started writing "Upaya". Couldn't help myself! Argh! Here's the opening:

The prison is an anonymous ship drifting silently in the asteroid belt, its location a closely-guarded secret. The prisoner is the only human aboard. The crew and staff are all machine intelligences, as they were deemed superior in reliability, patience, and detachment, with their emotions dialed down to their minimum settings. The machines don't care about the crime; they only care about the optimal operation of the prison.

Over the past twenty years, security has only been breached four times, and only once did the would-be executioners get so far as to board the ship. The hull still shows the scars where the assassins blasted through the airlock door.

Today's visitor is no vigilante. She has official clearance from the Screening Board to be here, in person, on this prison ship.

"Ah, so you've come to see the monster, have you?" The prisoner bares her teeth at the visitor in an approximation of a smile.

The visitor squirms and clearly doesn't want to look at the prisoner, even with the bullet-proof glass wall that separates them. She mumbles, "It's merely a formality."


...and just reading that much makes me wonder, why bother trying to board the ship? Why not just blow it up from a distance? But the ship must have sophisticated and powerful anti-collision systems/weapons/detection/whatever, as a stray hit from even a tiny rock could rip it open, so it would be well-defended against missiles. But then how could attackers get close? Traitors aboard? Not likely. Confuse the AIs and sneak in? Hit it with an EMP? (They defended against the possibility.) Overwhelm the defenses with a swarm, hope something gets through and hits? But you'd detect the swarm before it got that close and take evasive action. We're assuming the assassins can't get ahold of a whole fleet, which is true. They're the lunatic fringe of Solarian citizens. (Should I even be calling them "Solarian citizens"? Eh, what the hell.) So yeah.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Looking forward...

...to revising? NOT.

It's been about ten years since I last sent stuff out to be rejected. I should get my act together (and a working printer) and try again. The idea of revising an entire novel makes my head explode, so perhaps I'll go back to writing short stories.

This time, I WILL learn MS Word, and it WILL obey me! Ten years ago, I made the mistake of doing up my stories in Latex, which worked great for setting out a bunch of complicated equations, but not so great for printing out stories in standard submission format. The trauma! Arrgh! I got two stories rejected in rapid succession from one editor, who told me not to right-justify the damn thing (on the first story), and then told me on the second one, "I told you not to right-justify them!" (or words to that effect). *headdesks* Well, he did include a comment on one of the stories, so maybe he did read some of it. Ha ha ha!

The other thing is that these days I don't really have the patience to read big long epic novels. I read children's books (short!) and short story collections and non-fiction mostly (if I'm reading anything at all.) Mysteries are good, too, in not dragging out forever and ever. Also Chinese swords-and-almost-sorcery books, which I read at the rate of ten pages every few months or so. :-P So if I can't even manage to read anything long, I can't expect to be able to write/revise one, either, can I?

So um. The plan. I has a plan? *chokes* I will work on short stories and revise them into submission and then send them out. Starting in January 2010.