November 30th, 2008


[process] A writerly meme

A writerly meme, gleaned from a locked post elsewhere but provided here unlocked. In case you thought this was a quick or easy career path…

  • Age when I decided I wanted to be a writer: 14
  • Age when I got my hands on a typewriter and taught myself to use it: 14
  • Age when I wrote my first short story: 14
  • Age when I wrote my first novel: 30
  • Novels written between age 30 and age 39: 4
  • Age when I first submitted a short story to a magazine: 27
  • Number of rejections prior to first story sale: About 150
  • Lifetime number of rejections: Over 1,100
  • Age when I sold my first short story: 37
  • Age when I wrote a saleable novel: 39
  • Age when I sold that novel: 40
  • Novels written since age 40: 8
  • Age when a story was first shortlisted for the Hugo award: 39
  • Age when I won the Campbell award: 40
  • Age now: 44
  • Age when the money coming in exceeded my statuory employment: not yet
  • Number of books sold: 8 (novels), 2 (single title novellas), 5 (short story collections), 12 (anthologies edited or co-edited)
  • Number of short stories sold: about 240
  • Number of titles in print: 4 (novels), 4 (short story collections), 10 (anthologies)
  • Number of titles in production or pre-production: 4 (novels), 2 (single title novellas), 1 (short story collection), 2 (anthologies)

Originally published at You can comment here or there.


[links] Link salad, culture edition

An Apollo 15 Panorama from APOD — In case you had moonscapes on the brain today.

Fluegar — A car from car heaven. :: wants :: (Thanks to danjite.)

Rockets help build bridge higher than the Empire State Building — Um, wow. (Thanks to lt260.)

Poodles — Wrong. Just wrong. (Thanks to willyumtx.)

?otD: Why are you fixing a hole for the rain to come in?

Body movement: 85 minute suburban walk
This morning’s weigh-in: 221.6
Currently reading: The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade by Herman Melville

Originally published at You can comment here or there.


[writing] Sunspin synopsis progresses

Well, the Sunspin synopsis now stands at 8,800 words. And I’m almost ready to think about plot and character! Seriously…this is all backstory, worldbuilding, and what will be my world bible later. Context, context, context.

And as some of you clever lot have noticed, the most recent Sekrit Projekt is in continuity with Sunspin, although about six centuries into the past of the trilogy’s narrative present. As a result, part of today’s work was aligning the relevant bits and pieces of character, history and setting with the existing material in the synopsis.

By gummies, this is fun. Once the Sekrit Projekt is a little less sekrit, I’ll discuss this more. I am now considering writing several other backstory pieces simply because this one has been so damned productive for me. Not to mention which first readers report it’s a pretty neat story.

For now, you may shop as usual. No need to return to your homes.

Originally published at You can comment here or there.


[writing] Herman Melville’s friend, the humble comma

Whilst reading The Confidence Man: His Masquerade, by Herman Melville, I continue to marvel at the shifts in literary style over time. Consider this sentence:

While the merchant, strange to say, opposed views so calm and impartial, and again, with some warmth, deplored the case of the unfortunate man, his companion, not without seriousness, checked him, saying, that this would never do; that, though but in the most exceptional case, to admit the existence of unmerited misery, more particularly if alleged to have been brought about by unhindered arts of the wicked, such an admission was, to say the least, not prudent; since, with some, it might unfavorably bias their most important persuasions

I have several observations here.

First of all, this is a typical sentence for Melville, at least in this book.

Second, I have probably written entire novel chapters with fewer commas than this single sentence. One imagines a mid-nineteenth century fire sale on punctuation. Try reading the damned thing aloud.

Third, if I turned a sentence like that it to Tor, editorial ninjas would come to my house and choke me to death with my own copy edit. To general approbation and good cheer, I should think.

Nonetheless, I soldier bravely onward, for like all fiction, ’tis not the bottle but the contents which makes the play.

Originally published at You can comment here or there.