Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Excised Audio from Dunesteef

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

The audio podcast of my story “Excision,” which appeared in Weird Tales a few years ago, is out now from Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine. You can check it out here.

Audio fiction podcasts I believe are one of the most exciting areas of F/SF short fiction these days. They have a growing audience, something that print short fiction hasn’t had for over twenty years, and they’re a perfect match for current technology in portable music players and internet audio distribution.

The folks at Dunesteef were great to work with. They had me tape a segment of author’s notes explaining the genesis of the story, which you can hear at the end of their reading performance. And they have this very cool cover art for the story! I love its vibe of medical-ness and blood.

Dunsteef Excision Artwork

Check out their podcast, and let me (and them) know how you liked it!

A Boy Finds a Home

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

Over the weekend, one of my many stories wandering the wilderness found a home!

The story, “Keeli’s Ordeal,” is about a boy in a tribal society who goes on a solitary wilderness quest. It will be appearing in Crossed Genres, an online and print magazine that publishes issues with rotating themes.

One of their themes for this issue was “Child Fiction”–stories with child protagonists but intended for adult readers. That’s exactly how I intended this story–the protagonist is young, but the issues he struggles with and the concepts he sees but doesn’t understand are designed for adult readers.

Which is a very astute distinction. I had thought about it before, but I’ve never seen anyone except Crossed Genres articulate it. Their editors not only understood the story on that level, but they also enjoyed all the meticulous little bits that I built into the character and the world, and they found particular resonance in the ending.

(I did something different in the ending that I’d never done before–nothing revolutionary or uncommon, just a different approach (no spoilers) that I’d never taken. It worked for the story and it worked for them.)

This issue should be appearing quite soon! I will post the date and links as soon as I find out.

2009 Submission Stats

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

My fiction submission stats for 2009:

50 submissions (all short fiction; three more than 2008)
49 rejections (three more more than 2008)
0 new sales
1 reprint sale (audio)
1 story published

It was yet another trying year, even moreso than 2008. My stories continued to get passed up to editors at pro mags, and they continued to get a lot of “almost” rejections. Exactly like the two last years.

For the first time since I’ve been submitting, I went the whole year without selling a story. Calendar years, of course, are arbitrary demarcations, but that still was quite disappointing.

I did make my first-ever reprint sale, an audio podcast of my Weird Tales story “Excision” to Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine. Which is very cool, and I look forward to hearing their podcast.

My story “Ebb” in Space and Time #107 got two glowing reviews in “mid-list” online SF/F review magazines (here and here), which was extremely cool. But, even though Space and Time is a well-designed magazine with a known name, “Ebb” didn’t garner any other interest and has not yet sold as a (audio) reprint.

Overall, this year was pretty much the same as the last three. My brand of character-driven, secondary-world fantasy isn’t a priority for most all magazines. Editors at major mags have said that my stories are too swords & sorcery for them; editors at S&S mags have said that my stories are too character-centered with endings that are too dark. So I’m caught in between.

But I can’t blame it all on that. I’ve written several stories in other styles, and they’ve gotten the same “almost” rejections. Which suggests I still haven’t made a leap in the quality of my fiction.

In the past two years’ Stats posts, I mentioned I was working on improving a specific element in my fiction. I think I made progress on that this year, but the jury is still out on whether it’s made a difference. I unfortunately only got two new stories out the door this year, one for the Homeless Moon chapbook and the other only recently sent out, so I haven’t yet gotten editorial reaction to it.

The coming year will tell whether or not I have made a significant improvement. I’m already working to get more new stories out the door this year, while also rewriting several older ones based on pro editors’ comments. We’ll see if that makes a difference.

Endless Payrate Debate

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

Wow–it’s amazing how these blogosphere debates in the SF/F writing community go viral like Sauron’s army sweeping over Middle Earth. Here’s what I think about this endless “payrate debate,” in case anyone out there in radio-land is listening (I DJed enough 2AM college radio shows to know that it’s often dead air out there :) ).

I think the fact that short fiction pay rates are not a “living wage” is irrelevant. Short fiction is a dying industry with a tiny consumer base; it can’t pay a living wage anymore. Genre novel publishing pay for mid-list writers is getting smaller every year; even with “high” advances like $50,000, novels can’t pay a living wage either. Connie Willis, at a workshop I attended, said that the era when the majority of writers could make a living at it is gone. I agree.

The only point I see in the wage debate is that if this magazine Black Matrix is spending lots of money to produce a slick glossy magazine but only paying 1/5 cent per word for fiction, their budgeting priorities are way wrong. The biggest expense for my magazine by far is paying the authors, and that’s how it should be. Isn’t the fiction the priority?

It also saddens me to see these same-old endlessly circuitous debates between pro writers and aspiring ones, like similar arguments over self-publishing. The gifted pro writers who’ve never struggled through hundreds of rejections don’t understand what it’s like to be struggling like that, and the aspiring writers don’t understand that publishing is not an elitist system that’s stacked against them. Neither truly understands the other’s point, so they argue endlessly.

The saddest thing to me is all the time they both sink into it–time that would be better spent writing! :)