that whole resolution thing

At the beginning of the year, I set myself the challenge of writing a short story a month.

First off, I need to remind myself that I didn’t challenge myself to write a good, saleable story a month; sometimes one produces a clunker, after all. So I am hereby officially accepting the fact that I didn’t actually finish “Kingspeaker” until the beginning of March, and my February short story was “Schrodinger’s Crone.” Doesn’t matter that SC actually needs to be a poem; I wrote it first as a story, and if it’s a bad story, oh well.

Which is me telling myself that I can officially not kick myself over the fact that “Once a Goddess” (theoretically my March story) isn’t done. “Kingspeaker” was my March story. This is my April story.

But the real issue is on the horizon: Midnight Never Come. (And the wedding.) I don’t know if I’ll be able to write a short story a month while also writing a historical novel with lots of research. (And planning a wedding).

I might be able to, were it not for the fact that many of the short story ideas on hand also require research. “Hannibal of the Rockies” (which is technically on ice at the moment) requires me to know about elephants, Siam, the Civil War, and nineteenth-century mountaineering. “Mad Maudlin” needs research into mental health care. “The Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots” might pass, since half of it’s the same research I’m doing for MNC anyway, but “Xie Meng Lu Goes on Pilgrimage” and all the subsequent stories I want to write for it require me to learn about imperial China, and what I presently know about imperial China would fit comfortably in a thimble. Etc. The stories that don’t need research mostly aren’t developed enough to be written yet.

I had a secondary goal for this year, though, which was to get a new story out the door each month. This isn’t the same thing as writing a good, saleable story a month because I have a small backlog of things I’ve written but not revised. So I think I’m revising my intentions: the submissions will be the real priority, and the writing will be something to aim for but not freak out if I fail to achieve it. I have two non-researchy things I can write in May and June, and then I can let myself slide in July, August, and September if I need to, picking myself back up in the fall, after the novel’s turned in and I’m officially hitched.

This sounds wise. Whether or not it will happen remains to be seen. But ultimately, the point is to aim for it; any progress I make toward the goal(s) means I have more short story production than I’ve had in the last year or two, and that is a Good Thing.

0 Responses to “that whole resolution thing”

  1. ratmmjess

    “”Hannibal of the Rockies” (which is technically on ice at the moment) requires me to know about elephants, Siam, the Civil War, and nineteenth-century mountaineering.”

    Drat. You know about that little historical curiosity, too, and are quicker to write the story than I’ve been. Oh, well, you’ll do a better job of it than I would, I’m sure. I mean, your title beats the hell out of mine….

    • Marie Brennan

      Actually, the story’s on ice because there’s an entire anthology planned around that little historical curiosity, but the people behind it are currently tied up with other things.

  2. anima_mecanique

    You’re writing a story about Mad Maudlin? Heh, I love that song. It’s very interesting. I used it for the plot of my Castle Falkenstein game recently.

  3. kurayami_hime

    Don’t forget that my mother works in mental health. She’d be happy to be a resource for you.

    • Marie Brennan

      I’ve got a couple of leads; I just need the time and brain to figure out what to ask, ask it, and then turn it into a story.

  4. diatryma

    I don’t know a thing about Hannibal of the Rockies except that from what you’ve said, I want to.

  5. proudlyfallen

    I got here from mastergode’s journal… Figured I’d over my two cents… I don’t know much about the mental health system itself, but I know the science behind it. If you need to know about prescriptions, disorders, neurotransmitters, and how it all fits together, feel free to ask — I got told once (by a psychiatrist, no less) that I knew more about how the human brain worked, and what affects it, and how, than most psychiatrists.

    • Marie Brennan

      Neat! As it happens, though, the main character of the story isn’t actually insane. Prescriptions might come into it at the end, but right now the part I really need to figure out is where the woman would be put and for how long, and how the psychiatrist brought in would talk to her — what kinds of questions he would ask, and how he would respond to her answers.

      Eventually, that is. Once I’m actually writing the thing.

      • proudlyfallen

        Every psychiatrist is different — maybe a good resource would be to find a hospital with a psych ward and bug the nurses until one of them gives you info on temperments and dealings with various psychiatrists? Acknoledging, of course, that said nurse would never want to give names or any identifying information… since hearing that would probably make them more likely to talk to you.

        Eventually, that is. Once you’re actually writing the thing, and have time to poke around.

        Oh! Actually, I CAN help with this a little — I’ve had friends in the psych wards a few times. From what I know, the purpose of a modern psych ward isn’t to house the mentally unstable, but rather, to diagnose, and then treat that condition with meds until they get the concoction “right”, and come up with a contract for conditions under which the patient will be let out (usually things like getting a job or going to school, an agreement not to hurt themselves, an agreement to seek counseling if they’re having trouble, etc).

        • Marie Brennan

          I’m not sure if the character would get all the way to a psych ward or not. The situation is that it’s a homeless woman who’s babbling in such a fashion that they think she may have committed crimes, so what I’ll need to figure out is a combination of how the homeless (and therefore uninsured) get handled, how a psychiatrist interacts with a delusional patient, and how the police would deal with the matter.

          • proudlyfallen

            Ahh… well, that’s starting to get a little over my head. Thanks for putting up with me trying to be overly helpful. 😉

            I hope your writing goes well! Oh, and I like how much thought you put into things you’ve written… From your journal, I gather you’ve published work already? Could you give me titles of books (or better, links to Barnes and Noble or Amazon)? I’d love to check out your writing.

          • Marie Brennan

            The easiest way to answer that question is to point you at the bio on my website. That has links to everything, pretty much; for the novels, the Amazon links are on their respective pages, which are linked from the bio.

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