last story

Not a good idea to put off starting my fourth story until Thursday. It’s going to be a stretch, getting this one done in time.

And what is the story, you may ask? Is it “Kingspeaker,” as I said it might be? Or “The Unquiet Grave”? Or even, perhaps, “The Last Wendy,” which made a raid on my attention recently?

“The Moon and the Son”

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611 /

Of course not. That would make far too much sense.

Another low estimate for length; who knows if it’ll be at all accurate. I hope so, what with the late start and all. Not to mention that I’m going to have “Hijo de la Luna” on repeat the whole time; for the sake of me having any liking for that song by the time I’m done, I hope this doesn’t take long.

And then maybe I’ll write “The Last Wendy.” Not on a one-week deadline, mind you, especially as I have to read Peter Pan and let it compost first, but soon after. And maybe “Kingspeaker.” And “The Unquiet Grave.” Just because they got mugged by a baby-stealing celestial object doesn’t mean they don’t deserve some love, too.

Patrick O’Brian in Mid-Air

I’m sure three-quarters of the people reading this journal have already caught at least some of the hoopla over these books, but I finally got around to reading Naomi Novik’s elegant alternate Napoleonic novel His Majesty’s Dragon. Short form: think Patrick O’Brian, but on dragon-back. My recommendation for it (and its subsequent series) is up on my site.

Made it!

“Degrees of Heresy”

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6,128 /

“Everything comes to an end someday. That’s what this place is for. But it doesn’t make the end hurt any less.”

Speaking of ends, the last couple of lines sort of fall flat, but hey — this is a first draft. I can always fix that later.

Three short stories in three weeks, and I finished this one well in advance of the wedding I’m going to tonight. Yay me! Now I just need to figure out what I’m doing for the fourth and final week. “Kingspeaker”? “The Unquiet Grave”? Nothing involving research, and bonus points if it isn’t over 6K like this one was. We’ll see what comes to mind.

back to Driftwood

“Degrees of Heresy”

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4,601 /

Wrote about 400 more yesterday after the sale, then another 900 so far today. I’ve had to revise my length estimate back upward to my old default of 6K; I fear it may prove even longer than that. Things still have to go horribly wrong for Qoress, and then he has to make his decision. The title got changed, too; I realized that it isn’t really a question of heresy. It’s a lot of such questions. And Qoress is going to have to decide what degrees of heresy he’s willing to accept.

when pushiness pays off

Look, a post that has nothing to do with the Driftwood story!

I don’t know how I missed it when the notice went out, but Farah Mendlesohn is editing an anthology in response to a proposed British bill that would make illegal “the glorification of terrorism.” This sparks, of course, concerns about free speech, and how the government might use it to clamp down on political dissent (whether in artistic expression, history books, etc). So Farah’s anthology is called Glorifying Terrorism, and it’s chock-full of stories that challenge the restrictions of that proposed law.

Including mine.

As I said, I missed the initial call for stories, but I e-mailed Farah to ask if she was still considering submissions, and she said she might, if any of the ones she was waiting on edits from fell through. Long story short, she’s bought “Execution Morning.” The Kitsune is likely one of the only people reading this who’s familiar with it; it has the signal honor of being the first short story I wrote that didn’t profoundly suck. I’ve tinkered with it off and on in the years since, but as it’s a story about unpleasant and dubiously moral decisions in the face of terrorism, it’s met with extremely mixed reactions, ranging from the Kitsune’s awed silence when she first read it down to people telling me it’s a complete and utter failure as a story. (So that lack of profund suckage is, I guess, in the eye of the beholder.)

As per a recent discussion on Jim Hines’ journal, I’m not usually good at putting myself in an editor’s path like this; if Glorifying Terrorism hadn’t originally been an open-call anthology, I might not have tried. But hey, pushiness pays off: another sale for me, and that story finally has a home where it belongs.

And kudos to Farah for this move. She’s fronting the money for the antho herself, paying well more than a token fee for the stories, and publishing it through a political press. When I’m constantly seeing listings for anthos promising their authors “a share of the royalties” (which will translate to nothing), this makes a really stunning contrast.

two days left

“A Question of Heresy”

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I may have to revise my length estimate upwards, as Last is only now planning Qoress’ trip for him. Serves me right for dropping my usual estimate from 6K to 5K.

If I ever get to publish a collection or chapbook of Driftwood stories, I’m going to have to revise them. It’s an unfortunate truth of the place that I can’t write a story in Driftwood without explaining Driftwood; even once I start selling these pieces, I won’t be able to assume that my readers are familiar with the ones already published. But in a collection, I’d have to snip out all the repeated information; otherwise it would get tedious.

Time to go pick up the laundry; then I write more. Ah, the scintillating life of a writer.

ick time

“A Question of Heresy”

That’ll do as a working title, and possibly a permanent one.

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Qoress is not happy that I made him drink someone else’s spit.

Got derailed for a good chunk of time this evening, but good progress on the whole; I did about 1800 words today. Dude whose name I still don’t like is onstage (it was his spit, but to be fair, he drank Qoress’ in return), and the moral dilemmas will come fast and thick now.

I’ve noticed a strong tendency to skip over things in this story. It’s a technique I’m still mastering, I think. Certainly there are virtues in describing intervening events, but those virtues are mostly native to the land of novels; in this case, I think it’s a good course of action to skip them. Mind you, we’ll see what my readers think when this story is done. Might be I’m wrong. It’s happened before. (And it was called “On the Feast of the Firewife.” I still need to go back and write the damned in-law scenes for that.)

Bedtime now. More story tomorrow.

poor Qoress

Untitled Driftwood Story #3

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This story may be called “A Question of Heresy,” but it isn’t sure yet.

Poor Qoress. The man is afraid he won’t have any morals left by the time I’m done with making him surrender them.

Onward with the progress. If I’m to be done by week’s end, I need to keep at it.