Saturday, May 29, 2010

I'm Published (Well Sorta)

Well, let me explain. No, is too much, let me sum up. (Gotta love Princess Bride quotes.. hehehe)

Ok, so the story I submitted to Tesseracts 14 didn't make the cut for Tesseracts, but the lovely people over at the Aphelion webzine found space in their hearts and on their webpage to publish it for me. So, in essence I've been publish. It's on the web and I didn't receive any money for it, but it's out there for complete strangers who've never met me to read. Keep in mind, up to this point I've met everyone who's actually read the story, even the editors for Tesseracts 14 (Lovely gentlemen I met at Ad Astra).

So why am I pointing this out? Well, it means I'm actually getting feedback from people I have no direct relationship with and have absolutely no reason to care about me one way or another. I'm going to assume, well, hope really, that they're decent human beings and will give me usable feedback and not comments like, " it was total garbage, the guy who wrote it should be taken out back and shot," and so far that's been the case. There have been two posts about it in the Aphelion forum, and both have been honest and helpful.

I did have the chance to change the story before Aphelion posted it, but aside from a couple of typos I didn't. There were a few reasons for this. First, the story's done and I should resist the temptation to continually tinker with it. Maybe in a few years I'll pull it out and rewrite it and see if I can get it publish for payment, or maybe I'll just leave it as is so it remains as an example of where I was in my development as a writer when I finished writing it. The second reason I left it as is, I wanted to see if the feedback I received matched my own thoughts and what I received from the pros, and that wasn't going to happen if I started making changes.

I'm happy to see some of the parts I was worried about go so well. From the feedback it seems the character of John went over alright, and no one has told me that Unwyn was unrealistic. Also, no complaints about my dialogue. So, while the story wasn't perfect at least it wasn't a complete flop.

All in all, I'm happy to see it published somewhere, and Aphelion looks to be a great starting point for authors looking for an knowledgeable audience. Hopefully, someday someone will pick up a novel I've written, read it, and say, "I remember when this guy published on Aphelion. He sure has come a long way."

We'll just have to wait and see. Well, you wait, I gotta get back to writing.

For those who are interested, the story can be read here.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Cold and Windy Update

Why is it I seem to get good news on really crappy days?

Anyways, on to the good news. So today was my meeting with Karl Schroeder, the current Writer in Residence for the Merrill Collection in Toronto. When I got onto the bus in St. Catharines the weather looked fine, but on our way to Toronto we hit a solid wall of water, which stopped before we hit Toronto and then picked up again as soon as I got off the bus.

Note to self: Check the friggin weather report next time I'm travelling more than a few kilometers.

So, wet, cold, and let's face it, nervous, I arrived at the Merrill Collection. Thankfully I had time to wring myself out and dry off before my meeting. Heck, I was over 2 hours early thanks to the bus schedule so I took my time getting there. Yeah it was cold and miserable out, but I saw something happening on a side street so I had to investigate. Turned out to be some kind of science festival, since a bunch of U of T students were setup outside in booths. One kiosk/tent invited you to submit names for a new pair of supercomputers. I submitted Bender and Fry. Wouldn't it be great to have a supercomputer named after a drunken violent robot?

Another booth asked the question "How Unique Are You?" According to the assessment of 9 of my traits, less than 1 in 1000 people are like me. This is a scientific fact. I have a certificate to prove it. :)

Anyways, so after that I did reach the Merrill Collection with over an hour to spare. I ended up perusing the Pulp display/sale that was on in the basement. Some interesting stuff down there, and I'm glad I didn't have any cash on me or I would've been tempted to pick something up. But that is immaterial to the reason I was there, so on to the good stuff.

My meeting was at 1:00 PM, and Karl and I headed to a back office to speak. To sum things up, I'm doing well. My mechanics, such as dialogue, are good, and from what emerged in our discussion the way I'm doing things will work in the long run and I should just keep plugging away. He even said I "sound like a writer" which has to be one of the best statements about me I have ever heard. I do need to work on characterization, and there were a few other quibbles about the story. Part of that is that Karl is a hard science fiction author, while I am, hmmm... let's say my scientific background is not as extensive as his. Still though, while the story wasn't perfect what needs to be fixed isn't Earth shattering, nor will it require the entire story be nuked and paved. Another nice comment I got was that I'm writing complete stories, and that my structure is good. All in all it was a very encouraging experience, and Karl gave me his email address and asked that I keep in touch and let him know when I finally do get published.

The main thing to take away for this, is that I may actually be able to pull this whole writing thing off. Huh, who woulda thunk it?


Saturday, May 1, 2010

One Week and Counting

Well, I heard back from the Writer in Residence program at the Merrill Collection in Toronto. Mr Karl Schroeder has read my manuscript and my appointment is next Saturday in the afternoon. I'm scared, excited, nervous, thrilled, and slightly overwhelmed, all at the same time in some kind of whirling vortex of doom. It will be nice to get some feedback on that specific manuscript, and to get a general sense of what I need to work on as a writer. I just need to remember to keep positive. I know I'm not where I want to be on my writing, but I can get there as long as I keep at it. Even a little bit of forward movement is progress.