I am done being ill, please. Headache and nausea are a supremely unpleasant combination. Almost was reduced to tears at work from the stomach-churning pressure behind my eyes. Wanted to come home, but I’ve taken far too many sick days this year already. I think my current bout of hell-on-earth is sinus-related. Gulped pills, including two, red mana-from-the-gods, also known as Sudafed, and slumped with my head in my hands over my keyboard for a bit until the over-the-counter meds could smooth the pointy edges to a tolerable level. There was prolonged misery, but it gradually improved to mere discomfort.
So I am mostly functional now. Although still quite irked at how my body rebels against the notion of good health and wellbeing. What more does it want? I give it multiple servings of caffeine–wrung from the fresh grounds of burnt plant life–every day, lounge on the couch evening after evening, so it doesn’t have to suffer the ravages of exercise, and periodically get it hyped up on overdoses of pure, flavored sugar. Oh. Wait . . .
I know I’ve made a story title too long when I keep having to refer back to my own documents to remember what I named the bleeping thing.
Ten critiques so far on the story up on Critters. I haven’t had enough patience with myself to read through the comments as carefully as I usually do. I’ll go over them syllable by syllable when I start contemplating the rewrite, but for now I’ve just been skimming them to get the overall gist. Overall gist: good writing, not enough characterization. Sigh.
Decided to bundle together two, short folktales and send them up the queue. They’ll take their place at the end of the line when this story rolls off.
Also did the long put off rewrite of the story inspired by the Suzanne Vega story britzkrieg introduced me to. There’s so much subtext and symbolism to this one, I really don’t think it’s a good fit with the usual suspects, so I’m sending it to more “literary” places. Not mainstream literary, as it’s too Fantasy for that, but Specfic literary. An interesting niche to try to market, one that seems to pay particularly poorly in money, but exceedingly well in prestige amongst the highbrow SF circles.
I did some very depressing calculations as I went about my writerly procrastinating over the weekend. I added up what the Cricket Magazine Group will be paying me for the three stories I signed the contracts to last Friday. Each story was close to or over the maximum word count for Cricket, hence a good average of the maximum amount that market will pay all together. For those three sales, I will make almost, but not quite enough, to pay for one month of our household expenses (mortgage, bills, food, etc.) At the princely rate of a quarter a word, I would have to sell a story a week to survive at our current rate of spending.
I’d bang my head in frustration, except my noggin is still rather fragile, and quite unhappy with me as is. But at a quarter a word the notion of a short fiction writer making a living off their wordsmithing is utterly unrealistic. And to put things into perspective, there was a huge flurry of debate and objection when the SFWA raised what qualified as “pro” rates from three to five cents a word this year. So five cents a word is considered “good money” in the SF writing world. Obviously, five times that is damn fine pay.
Okay, I’m not in the writing gig for the money. I do it because I love writing. I’m an addict. I love when the words flow from my mind’s eye, through my fingers, and appear on the screen and I lose every sense of the real world around me, and become totally immersed in a story of my own creation. I love the feeling of accomplishment I get when I finish a story I’m proud of. I go through writing withdrawal if I don’t put words on the page for an extended period of time. And I’m vain enough to love seeing my name in print. But damn, it would be nice if the pay were better.