Writerly Meme

I don’t do memes for the most part, but marshall-payne asked me about my writing stats and prodded me to do this one, so it’s all his fault. So for folks who wondered about the publishing industry and the ease of breaking into it (or lack thereoff), as seen through the lens of my experiences:

• Age when I decided I wanted to be a writer: 5ish, maybe 6.
• Age when I got my hands on a typewriter and taught myself to use it: 7, on my mom’s manual typewriter (although I didn’t learn how to touch type until I was 12).
• Age when I wrote my first short story: 9. It had something to do with magical horses and has been long lost in time’s passage.
• Age when I wrote my first novel: N/A (sigh)
• Age when I first submitted a short story to a magazine: 28
• Number of rejections prior to first story sale: 22 (but there were 68 rejections and a year between my first and second sale).
• Lifetime number of rejections: 700ish
• Age when I sold my first short story: 30
• Age now: 37
• Age when the money coming in exceeded my statutory employment: Hah. Not even close.
• Number of sales: 122 (which includes 30 stories in anthologies, 41 in print magazines, 38 reprints, 2 chapbooks, and 1 short story collection).
• Number of short stories sold: almost 100.
• Number of titles in print: Brain go ‘sploidy. Too much math and other variables to calculate.
• Number of titles in production or pre-production: 1 collection, 6 stories in anthologies, and 7 stories in magazines.

(Note: I deleted the questions in this meme which weren’t applicable.)

Muse food from Lethe Press!

Lookie what mroctober gave me! Muse food from Lethe Press! Aren’t they beautiful?


From left to right: The Story of Oriental Philosophy by L. Adams Beck, Legends of the City of Mexico by Thomas A. Janvier, Shallow Empire, poetry by Sou MacMillan, Stranger Than Fiction: Welsh Ghosts and Folklore by Mary L. Lewes, and Irish Witchcraft & Demonology by St. John D. Seymour.

I’m already nose deep into The Story of Oriental Philosophy and making periodic forays into the Sou MacMillan poetry. Squee! Thank you, Steve!!

But now I really need to grow another head so I can devote one to reading full time.

   


Writing Stuff

Got an email from a fellow writer in Budapest whom I didn’t know was Hungarian. She saw that a Hungarian translation of “All in My Mind” was forthcoming in Galaktika in April and sent me snaps. I asked her if she’d be willing, if I sent her the English version, to give me a summary of how good the translation was. I’m always a bit anxious to know how my foreign language translations turn out. One of my writers group peeps is Greek, so I’ve got a thumbs up from him on the Greek translations, and I can more or less stumble through the French on my own. But for the Polish and now Hungarian translations I’ve just been crossing my fingers.

Anyone out there read Polish?

This meme has been floating around my flist, and since my muse decided to play hide-n-seek yesterday (mostly hide), here’re my 10 things:

Ten Things I Learned from Writing Fiction

1. Write. Write more. Keep writing. Then write something else. Don’t stop writing.
2. There are stories out there begging to be written. Once you start looking for them, you’ll find them everywhere. Just remember not to get so wrapped up finding the stories that you forget to write them.
3. There are no rules to writing, just guidelines. Use what works for you and don’t angst about going against the common wisdom.
4. Get other people to read and critique your work. They’ll catch things you miss, and you will miss things, no matter how vigilant you are.
5. If you want to be published, you must have a thick skin. Rejection is a part of the biz, as is criticism–and sometimes most crushing of all, indifference. Don’t snark at folks who reject your stuff; take it in stride and either learn from it or let it roll off (or both). After all, they’re not rejecting you, just that particular configuration of words you put together.
6. Trust your instincts, but be open to suggestions. No matter how good you are (or think you are), you can always be better . . . or wrong.
7. If you thought being a writer meant you’d never have to talk in public again, you were mistaken. (*sigh*)
8. Write for you. Write what you love. Write what you want to read. Be passionate about your story, your words, and your characters. Cherish what you write with a burning, fiery, obsessive madness. It’s the best (and oftentimes only) reward for writing. Anything less and you might as well be a cubicle monkey; cubicle monkeys earn a helluva lot more for their souls.
9. Writers are insane, especially if they do it full time (see #8). If you hang out with writers, expect some dementia to pop up.
10. Writing is staggeringly hard (see #9).

Received:
- Payment from Oceans of the Mind for “The Few, the Proud, the Leech Corps.” Yay!

Editing/No new words:
My muse was not kind. I did one editing pass on the second section of The Novel, tentatively titled The Goddess of Beauty and War, and then *poof* no words. Snartleblast. Since I got so many folks clamoring for that Egyptian folktale, aiming my muse that-away instead.

Also did do a couple editing passes on “A Thread of Silk” and did indeed decide to stick on an prologue.

Club 100 For Writers
      13

Needy skunk and 5 quirks

Did our part in being good little capitalistic consumers. Much shopping was done and we’re almost finished. Almost.

When we came home, Hobkin came running up and I gave him a pat before heading upstairs to the library to retrieve my laptop. The stairs are blocked off by a rover gate and while I was on them, Hobkin astonished me by pacing back and forth in the foyer and squeaking. It was a high-pitched, chirpy noise–sort of like bat calls–that gradually turned into the grumbly roinking I’ve heard him make before. I came running back down, because Hobkin is normally an utterly silent animal, and any vocalization from him is cause for immediate attention. I picked him up; he stopped and buried his nose under my chin. The little guy was calling for me! I think he’s been upset that we’ve been gone so often in the afternoons, Christmas shopping, and after we’d just got home, me going upstairs was the last straw for his poor walnut-sized brain. He clung to me for the whole night, to the point of following me into the bathroom (which is disconcerting, to say the least), and not letting me out of his sight. My skunk’s neurotic. I think that means the last bits of shopping we had slated to do today will have to wait until tomorrow or Friday. I’d also meant to swing by the post office today. Silly little fuzzwit.

canadiansuzanne tagged me good. So:

Rules: The first player of this “game” starts with the topic “5 weird habits of yours” and people who get tagged need to write an LJ entry about their 5 quirks as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose the next 5 people to be tagged and list their names.
My quirks

Five idiosyncratic things about me

I’ve been posting an unusually large (for me) number of memes recently–this is the third (fourth if you count the Shakespeare and Firefly ones as separate) in the last week. This isn’t a trend, really! I just thought the recent fads making the rounds were more interesting than the typical quizzes and memes that usually circulate.

So:
Five idiosyncratic things about me:

Mostly writing

I slept through most of yesterday. Apparently the weekend tuckered me out; I just don’t have any stamina anymore. Even the tiniest bit of activity exhausts me.

Stupid human suit.

In less aggravating news, the feel of Autumn is on the breeze. The trees are turning themselves gold and brown, the ground crackles with dried leaves when I walk over it, and the air is crisp with an undercurrent of impending cold. I love the seasons here in Georgia. It’s already dropping to the 40s at night in the Midwest where I used to live, but here it’s lingering between the 60s and the low 80s. Perfect. Time to fill up the hot tub. Ooo, and time to put up the Halloween decorations!

   


Writing Stuff

I’ve noticed that now that I’ve gotten Tangent back on a regular publication schedule, editors, readers, and writers are much more anxious about getting their ‘zines reviewed yesterday. Raised expectations due to experience and all that, which is fine; I want people to expect timely reviews from Tangent because I want to be providing them. But the query emails and posts are beginning to come with greatly frequency–despite our publication schedule staying pretty much steadily the same as its been since I took over–and are something of an added stressor on both me and the reviewers. I’ve got nearly thirty reviewers, and I think I need to take on more. Plus I’m worried about burning out the ones I put the heaviest loads on because of their quick turnarounds. Gleep.

Opening Lines Meme:
Post the first line of each of your works-in-progress:

Parental visit stressing and quotation memes

My mom and step-dad are visiting this weekend from China. The house is a mess, and I’m all freaked out again. Yes, their last couple visits have actually been enjoyable, and yes I quite adore my step-dad, but I’m still stressing myself loopy about their impending arrival. I waffle between abject denial, “don’t clean, don’t prep for their arrival, don’t think about it,” to absolute panic, “AGHHHH!!!” *twitch*

Here’s a couple nice, safe, non-parental memes. *twitch*
When you see this on your friends list, quote some Firefly:

Yep, I’m sick.

The swelling joints in my fingers to go with the aches in my neck and shoulders as well as the perpetual exhaustion have convinced me that I’m having a flare-up, fever or no. Made an appointment with my Rheumatologist for Friday. Also got a note from the leech labs, and it seems my white blood count is low, so there’s qualitative indication that all is not well on the Eugie front. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Dragon*Con took a lot out of me and then I followed that up with GABPC which, while nothing on the scale of Dragon*Con, undoubtedly threw my system off just as it was in the process of recovering. I’m sure the whacked out sleep cycle I’m on isn’t helping either. (Being awake at 4:30AM is not my idea of healthful.) So yeah, I feel like crap.

My Things-to-Do list is exploding out of all reasonable size and all I want to do is sleep. Of course, I piddle about with a meme. All the cool kids are doing it . . .
My results on the Politics Quiz. *So* not a surprise.

First Sale Meme

First Story Sale Meme, ganked from douglain:
Describe the first story you ever sold to any publication. What was the title of the story? The name of the publication? The plot? The public reception to your work?

My first story sale was “The Adventures of Manny the Mailmobile” to Cicada. It was also my first submission to the Cricket Magazine folks. The beginning of a beautiful relationship! It was also the first place that story had gone to, so in one fell swoop, I’d made my first fiction sale, my first professional sale, and my first one-hit sale. I think my neighbors might still be talking about the day that strange whooping noises issued from my roof. I was walking on clouds for weeks after I made that sale. Good thing too. It had to hold me over for a year before I made my next one.

It was published in the Jan/Feb 2002 issue, a light science fiction/mystery caper with the hero being a lovelorn mailmobile robot. Well, actually, to call it a mystery is probably doing a disservice to Hitchcock and Ellery Queen; the who-done-it part is pretty clearcut and there aren’t any red herrings. But my intention was to focus more on the lovelorn part than the mystery.

The story and mailmobile protag, Manny, were inspired from my days working as a teeny cog as a cubicle monkey for a really big corporation (before I moved to Atlanta). My ex-company had these automated mailmobiles, about the size of ponies, that were programmed to run set delivery routes. Secretaries and other clerical assistants would know when they were near by their, again programmed, beeps. They also had sensors so they (theoretically) knew not to run down pedestrians. I’ve never been hit by one, but I swear I’ve had them lunge at me a couple time while I was innocently walking the corridors, to and from meetings. During the early days of their introduction, there were some *ahem* learning curve issues. Like the time a mailmobile trapped someone behind a door. Its sensors told it not to move, but the person couldn’t get around it because they were blocked in on all sides, so the mailmobile just sat there, flashing and beeping. They had to call a tech person to come and rescue both of them. Then there was the time when a mailmobile accidentally entered a small conference room and then couldn’t figure out how to get out again–since it was too large to turn around. From first hand accounts, the process of moving it out was much like backing up a cow. Finally, there was also the brief hubbub when anonymous third shifters started putting stuffed animal heads on the mailmobiles and taping names like “Bessie” and “Matilda” to them. Personally, I think the mailmobiles should have been allowed to maintain their personas, but apparently upper management was without anything remotely like a sense of humor. Guess anthropomorphizing the mailmobiles was too whimsical for them to stomach. They removed the names and heads, and sent out a company-wide memo prohibiting people from “defacing” the mailmobiles. Spoil sports.

Kill joy management notwithstanding, I was so charmed by the antics of the slow-moving, quirky-yet-loyal mailmobiles, I had to write a tale featuring one. I’m still quite proud of that story. It’s been re-published in Greek (the Feb. 16, 2005 issue of 9), which also marks my first foreign language reprint sale. “Manny” was the first professional validation that I might actually have some ability at this whole writing thing, and it was the fulfillment of a childhood ambition: publication. And the fact that my first sale was to such an excellent and discriminating publication as Cicada still gives me a nice egoboo when I’m feeling discouraged.


Writing Stuff

Received the long-awaited contract for “The Wizard of Eternal Watch and the Keeper of Forever” (I think my longest title, evar) from Pitch-Black books for their Sages & Swords: Razor-edged Arcanum anthology. It prompted a bit off Googling, and I found the cover art that Storn Cook is doing for it. Sweet. I believe the anthology is scheduled for an April 2006 release.

Got the electronic proofs of “Second Daughter” from The Sword Review to approve. The editor said he’s aiming for it to go up next Monday.

Also published a review of the June 2005 issue of Realms of Fantasy to Tangent. Michael Bailey had this to say about “The Storyteller’s Wife”:

“Author Eugie Foster has consistently used words to craft vibrant mental images in past stories, and this tale is no exception. The story is replete with intense visuals . . . The author expertly builds tension early in the story . . . At its core, “The Storyteller’s Wife” is a love story, but the early elements that hint at suicide, and the sinister nature of the denizens of Faerie add a dark element that enriches the story.”

Overall a positive review, although he wasn’t as fond of the ending as the beginning.

New Words: 200
On a re-telling of a classic Korean folktale. This one has the potential to be a little darker than my usual. Not sure if I want to let it go that route, or tone it down. Haven’t decided on a target audience yet. Although, to tell the truth, I’m a bit hit-and-miss when it comes to targeting readers.

Club 100 For Writers
42

Super-sized fictitious boffing

Watched Super Size Me. Very pleased that 1. I’m a vegetarian and 2. I don’t eat fast food. But watching it still made me nauseous. Although now I think the nausea might be due to something else. We ate very healthy yesterday. I had fruit for breakfast, and we had a vegetable stir fry for dinner. But even so, I seem to be having some sort of major tummy upset. It’s spread to a general malaise and headache, so I spent most of yesterday crashed out on the couch. Ugh. I’d wonder whether I’ve caught a virus of some sort, but I’m not sporting a fever, and with my immune system being as over-zealous as it is, if anything bug or bacteria-esque hits me, the first thing my body does is ratchet up a high fever. That would lead me to think food poisoning, except we don’t really eat anything that has a particularly high dangerous quotient–that whole vegetarian thing–and fosteronfilm has eaten everything I have, and he’s fine.

Blah.

A fun little meme, because I need something to take my mind off how icky I feel:

Pick 10 fictional characters you’d boff: