Still Alive

— September 30, 2008 (0 comments)
Just got back from our visit to the States. Got 2 more rejections on Travelers queries. In October I plan to send out another transport of 10 queries,* maybe submit a short story, and actually write something for Air Pirates (I've got 0 words logged for this month - yay, vacation!).

I've also picked up about 13 books to read - sci-fi and fantasy all - so I'm looking forward to that too. It's a nice mix of true classics, modern classics, and modern midlist.** Though unfortunately I couldn't find the books I was really looking for. I guess I'll have to inspire my own airshipping.

In all other wise I'm just trying to get my house back in order after others have been caring for our kids for 3 weeks, and in less than 5 minutes I hope to pass out. I hope to wake up approximately 14 hours later.

* With draft #7 of the query letter.

** That could be classic any day now.

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Travelers Plans

— September 20, 2008 (2 comments)
I apologize for the lack of posts. We've been visiting the States, and I've gotten very little writing done, let alone blogging. It's been a good trip, though. In particular, I got to talk to a friend of mine about my plans for Travelers, and I more or less pitched Air Pirates for the first time, which went well.

I've sent out 40 queries so far for Travelers, of which 29 are negative - they didn't get past the query - and the others haven't responded yet. So it doesn't look good, but I'm learning a lot about writing as an industry, and I intend to put that knowledge to good use when Air Pirates is finished. Until then, I'll finish the list of agents I have. When that's through, I'll try publishers that accept unsolicited submissions, and then I might look at small presses. I don't think I'll go the self-publishing route, mainly because I don't have the time for it.

The thing is, Travelers was always a novel I wrote just to prove to myself it could be done. At the time, I had two ideas I thought could be made into novels, and I chose to start with the one I liked the least (so that the one I cared more about would be that much better when I got to it).

So in some ways, Travelers is a story I don't care about. In some ways. I mean, I like the story. I care about what's being said in it. If an agent or editor thought it had potential, I would work hard on it for sure. But if nobody else is interested, I may not care enough to redo the whole thing myself just to maybe sell it later. In the far future, perhaps, but as long as I've got other stories tugging at my imagination, Travelers would be put on a backburner.

But it's not over yet. I've still got a couple transports-worth of agents to query, and each batch gets a revised query letter which (in theory) increases its chances. Speaking of which, sometime next summer (about a year after I sent out the first transport), I might resend to the first batch of agents. Some of those agents were the most likely to be interested, but they got the crappiest query letter. I don't think it'd hurt my chances to send them the best revision of the letter over a year after they rejected the first one.

Anyway, we'll see. Hopefully before it comes to any of that Air Pirates will be done and I can focus on that. I'd rather get an agent for Air Pirates and then see what they think about Travelers and its chances.

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On Writing About Airships

— September 03, 2008 (4 comments)
I love airships. I'm not sure why, but they've always captured my imagination. From the first one I can remember in Final Fantasy to my koala pilot in Mutants Down Under. Those were the hooks, but it became an obsession when I saw Laputa for the first time. I've gotten other hits since, but mainstream media seems to be lacking in strong airship-based entertainment. I've been itching to create something with airships for a long time, and it's exciting to finally be doing so.

The other day, I got to the first airship combat scene in Air Pirates. I thought writing it would be a breeze. Like chase scenes. I hardly ever have to plan a chase scene ahead of time. So long as I have a mental picture of the location, the action just happens and all I do is record it. Imagine my surprise when I realized that airships are slow, ponderous vehicles, and combat between them isn't inherently exciting at all.

It worried me at first, but I though about similar vehicles - seagoing ships and submarines, for example. Sea and undersea battles are also slow, boring affairs, but that didn't keep me from enjoying Pirates! or The Ancient Art of War at Sea. Nor did it keep Pirates of the Carribean, Master & Commander, or Hunt for Red October from their exciting action sequences. It's just a different kind of action.

One I need to learn to write.

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Why I Do Write

— September 02, 2008 (1 comments)
Everyone has their influences and teachers. These are some of mine:

From J. R. R. Tolkien, I learned about sub-creation.

From Orson Scott Card, I learned that a world is only as good as its characters.

From George R. R. Martin, I learned that every character should have a name. From Masashi Kishimoto, I learned that every character should have a story.

From Chris Avellone, I learned that a well-designed character, no matter how complex, is definable in one interesting sentence.

Also from Orson, I learned that cliche is not a bad place to start, but a terrible place to stop.

From Chris Baron, I learned that revision can make anything better. From George Lucas, I learned that it is possible to revise too much.

From David Mack, I learned that writing is like exercise - the hard part is sitting down to do it. On my own I figured out that, most of the time, I don't actually want to write; I just want to have written.

I'm still working on that last one.

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