Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The house that we built (sorta)

The Significant Other and I are moving. Again (sigh). Hopefully, this will be the last one for quite a while (fingers crossed. Again.).

Unlike last year (told ya we've been doing this a lot), we have more than a single, frantic weekend in which to haul two packrats' lives worth of oddities. Also, unlike last year, the house had been abandoned by it's previous occupants, and left to the mercies of the elements.

Burst pipes, animal leavings, three year old food - as if the other family had merely stepped out for the afternoon, always intending to return after lunch, but had somehow forgotten the way back.

I particularly like the sugar maple that's trying to grow from the moulding on the picture window.

Each whimper is accompanied by a little thrill, though (we HAVE a picture window. Mold on the basement carpet...we have a basement!!! Kitchen cabinets full of mice - our own kitchen cabinets!)

It cuts into my writing and other useful things a great deal, including this little online diary adventure. Apologies for the random timing of the previous posts, and probably upcoming ones for the next few months.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Publishing takes FOREVER, don't panic.

I didn't exactly panic, but I'd given up on a submission - one of Shroud magazine's Arkham Tales anthologies - horror poetry in a Lovecraftian vein.

Since I wasn't too invested in the piece (I shot together the poem in fifteen minutes, specifically for that submission - thanks again to the kind person who made me aware of it in the first place) it was a bit easier not to obsessively check my email for updates.

I completely understand the compulsion - try not to do it. Forget about the submission, work on something else.

After not hearing for a month, I was a little disappointed. Shrug, and move on. About a week later, I got an email asking if I was willing to edit the poem structurally - the editor didn't seem to care for the quatrains, and wanted to break them into random pieces.

Personally, I felt that it weakened the piece - but at my stage in the game, I felt that being easy to work with and willing to compromise is important. You may feel differently, and that's fine. Artistic integrity is a funny thing, and the line for each person is different.

What I did, was break the poem up three or four different ways, mentioned how it seemed to weaken the rhyming and the rhythm, and said I'd love to see how he (the editor) saw it being broken up, because I couldn't see how it would work.

Then I spent a few days worrying about being presumptuous, obsessively refreshing my email, and hoping that I hadn't inadvertently pissed someone off.

Two more months go by. I figure I must have annoyed someone, get a little down, and forget about it for a while. (Where else would I be able to submit a poem so specific?)

Then, I get an email informing me that I've made the first round of cuts, the editor is going on vacation, and will be in touch in September.

WOOHOOO!!!!! (For those who don't know, Shroud is a pro-rate paying publication, and counts toward membership in the Horror Writers of America.)

And more waiting, but I feel better about it now.

Look at it this way - four or five months of waiting, just to this point. Publishing takes an eternity, so don't sweat it, and keep working on something else, or you'll drive yourself nuts with the wait.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Beating the slushpile? Not so much

All those 'change the face of publishing' sites that offer to 'show your work to real publishers'?

I've been hearing about Authonomy ad nauseum lately, so I decided to do a little homework.

Click the title for the not so exciting reality.

There is no way to 'beat the system'. This type of thinking is what vanity presses live for. Now do your homework, write well, and remember that there are no shortcuts. Ever.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Wisdom can Stink

This is a story from my dear significant other:

The company he works for has branches all over the world, which is nifty. The Japanese branch, as a gesture of magnamity and goodwill sent a gift to his local branch - a set of trees purported to encourage wisdom and creative growth.

During the late spring and summer, for whatever reason, these trees give off a pungent aroma of stale urine. Since the company wishes to remain diplomatic (and I'm sure, not pay for the removal of said trees), they remain planted along a walk that the employees all rush past on their various errands.

Conclusion #1: Wisdom smells like pee.

After reflecting for a moment, I had a thought: what better way to try and increase productivity than keeping dawdling to a minimum? Rather than using an iron fist or other crushing tactics, why not use a visually pleasant, subtle deterrent. (The trees are quite pretty to look at.)

Conclusion #2: Someone is much smarter than we give them credit for.

So my thoughts on wisdom - there are subtler ways to get what you want, even if people might think you stink.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Updates, and thoughts on non-fiction writing

Moving forward, slowly but surely, on the cleaning and repair of the new house. There's enough space to set up a small photo studio, which I'm really excited about. (Once that happens, the photo blog may be big enough to be it's own thing - we'll see.)

I started writing a few film making articles here and there, now exclusively hosted on filmmaker IQ; and I wanted to talk a little bit about writing non-fiction.

Part of it is a whole lot easier - there's only development of one character (me, sorta) and I don't have to pull a plot out of thin air, which is a lot of mental exersize easier.

Yet there still has to be a clear thread from point a to point b - an article with no path makes no sense. What I basically do, is pick a topic and figure out how to attack the subject from there. I write how-to's, so they tend to be a low budget idea from concept through execution.

Not to say that its one article on the entire art of making a film - that would be a book. So part of it is figuring out how to keep these articles a 'friendly' size for the web. Tone is also important.

Were I writing for a print outlet, I'm sure my writing style would be more formal, maybe a touch more complex. I'm writing these primarily for new filmmakers, who tend to be younger, and a web audience - so I want to keep things simple, interesting, and moving fast.

I'm also trying to build a 'character' of them. Gimmicky? Probably. But it helps me figure out the tone that I want for these, plus building a web presence of this particular person - who, while also me, can be built up in the head of a reader as someone in particular, while maintaining my personal privacy.

I've a new one coming up, so let me know how I'm doing.