Saturday, August 28, 2004

I do need to do my perspective on Clarion from one year later at some point. For now, I'd like to reminisce about the Writers of the Future Workshop and ceremony all of one week ago:

Firstly, and most importantly, add Tim Powers and K.D. Wentworth to the pantheon of seasoned professionals who took the time and energy to convey some of what they learned through hard work to we, the unwashed, brash newcomers. (Hard to imagine anyone, even myself, calling me brash. Many other adjectives fit, some unprintable on a public forum, but not brash.) I suspect that we can hear these things a gazillion times, and it won't make a difference because, like so much else in life, wisdom must be embedded deep in the bones. Such knowledge only from the pain of hard experience comes.

Author Services and Galaxy Press know how to put on a party. It was a strange sensation to be the center of attention in a way I had not experienced since religious ceremonies of my youth. (My wedding was less formal, and everyone in the audience was someone I knew well and with affection. Entirely a different kind of stage experience.) Suffice it to say, I'm glad I'm a writer not a public speaker. I very much enjoyed the experience and the "coming out" party for professional writers feel to the entire event. Hopefully, most of us will warrant the title five years from now.

Back to the workshop. Powers (He calls himself that, who am I to argue?) put forth a method of outlining that works for him - to create an awfully good novel every several years. He and K.D. then required us to use the method, foreshortened, to prepare to write a short story in 24 hours. Actually, the results were much better than I anticipated. Amazingly, a few of the workshop participants produced what I would call completely finished works in that time. Another created an image that has stuck with me - I'm expecting to see the eye on award ballots of the future. Mine was less finished, but longer and more complete a story than I had lately been writing.

Now, back at home, I just completed another 24-hour story today. With work and infant and the realities of living near family, the weekend days are sometimes the only quality time I have free to write. If I can write 3-4 thousand words on a Saturday, my dream of advancing as a writer still has some modicum of momentum behind it. (4,000/week * 50 = 200,000/year. Only three and a half more years to get through the "first 1,000,000 words are all crap" syndrome. Ugh. I better write more on the subway. Does freeform journalling count? Please?)
Seriously, if I produce another 30 or 40 or 50 stories that I'm proud of in a year, that ain't so bad.
Hopefully, the revising on the subway, lunch hours, and at night after the baby settles down will be enough time to polish those rough-hewn stones.
Or maybe this plan won't stay in force. I do have a novel to finish, and another that wants to crawl out of the trunk to a website near you. And I'll have no free day this upcoming week, what with Worldcon and its attendant festivities.
It's really hard to say where any of this will lead. It's great to feel the thrill of potentially writing well again. If I had to run around at the last minute shoving myself into a tux in order to get that feeling, it was worth it.

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