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Mike Jasper
Posted on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 10:02 am:   

Okay, here's your place to share what you're working on, writing-wise these days. Now that the June-July Novel Dare's over, I wanted to have a place for folks to come and talk about what they're working on today.

I find that reading about other people out there slogging away in the fiction mines is quite inspiring, so please share!
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 10:06 am:   

And, since this is my little slice of cyberspace, I'll start:

I'm doing hard-copy edits on the first 3 chapters of the novel I just finished this past weekend, trying to make my opening as pretty and effective as possible.

At some point I also need to write a synopsis of the entire novel. Maybe I'll get to it tonight.

All of this effort is for an upcoming novel workshop I'm attending in Oregon, taught by Dean Wesley Smith. I'll have three other writers (counting Dean) read my novel and give me feedback on it, plus I'll have 7 or 8 other writers read my "query package" (1st 3 chapters and synopsis) and give me feedback, PLUS Dean sends the query package to a New York editor he knows to get that person's input -- a great big foot in the door is what I call that.

So that sort of explains why I've been working my ass off the past 2 months!

Now, then, what's up with YOUR writing?
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Jamie
Posted on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 12:02 pm:   

I got stuck on this supposedly-short-story a couple of weeks ago and it just... won't... end! It's made the whole story-a-week production goal a real trial, but it's a story I really want to do justice to (and, of course, one I have this nagging feeling I'm not.) It's unlike anything I've written before, or at least I *think* it is. Readers may have a different take on things.

But slog along I do. And then I'll have to type it up.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 01:03 pm:   

Go for it, Jamie! Maybe it's a novel in a short-story's clothing...?
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Tim Akers
Posted on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 01:53 pm:   

Jamie, that's how I ended up writing novels in the first place. All the shorts I wrote were just picking up steam at 15k words. Just don't seem cut out for the short form...
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Jamie
Posted on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 02:49 pm:   

Shh. Don't say that word, or you'll scare away my muse.

Jamie,
hoping desperately it isn't an oval, because he doesn't write those. At least, not all the way through.
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 03:19 pm:   

Let's see, got The Limb Knitter out to market in mid July. She is 8,300 words.

Got Homesick Commo Dog back at the same time with a list of rewrite suggestions from the market editor. I'll probably implement them, sooner or later. I'm just not ready to look at this story again yet.

I have transcribed first drafts of:

Tearing Down Tuesday at 2,800
The Cost of Living at 1,300

and have started a longhand draft of a new story with the working title of Till Death Do Us Part (I don't like the title and I'll probably change it) that is up to three sheets since I started it yesterday.

Most of my projects are stuck needing some transcription work of one type or another due to the death of my laptop and the use of a very cranky 166mhz Pentium II computer. As soon as I salvage the Pentium III I got from my parents and get it working, I'll be back at it again.

Congrats on getting the baseball novel done, Mike. I know you've been wanting to write that one for quite a while now.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 08:44 am:   

Nice work, y'all. I spent this a.m. printing out 2 copies of my finished 1st draft of my novel for the upcoming workshop I'm attending (almost choking the printer in the process), and I'm putting off writing the synsopsis/proposal that's due for the workshop for the novel... Maybe tomorrow...

Man, I don't know what I'm gonna do with myself now that it's done. I'm letting it sit for at least a month, that's for sure.

We'll see if I still like it in September...
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Mike Van Wie
Posted on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 03:51 pm:   

Hey Mike, congrats on finishing, and good luck with the synopsisizing. I'm still plugging away on mine, and starting to realize the problems I've brought on myself by writing without an outline. About 200 pages in, I started thinking, OK, now I need to start moving toward an ending...and there's this mess of spaghetti I need to tie together to get there. I've been told that middles are hard, but this is torture (in a pleasant sort of way, of course!). ;) Anyway, a page plus a bunch of index cards last night, and a page-plus today. It's slow, but it's moving.

The query-package-to-the-editor deal at your Oregon workshop sounds fantastic. Who runs it? (Aside from Dean Wesley Smith, I mean.)
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Thursday, August 05, 2004 - 10:25 am:   

Hey, thanks Mike! I keep putting off the synopsis. I'll try and knock that out tonight. It feels so flat, writing it after the novel's over. No sense of wonder or discovery, you know? And it HAS to be interesting to pique the editor's interest.

Dean runs the whole workshop himself, more or less, plus he sends everyone's query package to the editor (whose name he hasn't yet revealed) in New York, and the editor reads everyone's query and chapters and gives feedback.

Should be fun! Now, to synopsize...
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Mike Van Wie
Posted on Thursday, August 05, 2004 - 08:40 pm:   

I got another page last night and four more today. It's a start. I'm going to 4 hours/day starting tomorrow -- I'll let you know how it goes. :-)

Mike, when you've written your synopsis, would you mind if I took a look? I'm interested in seeing as many of these things as I can get my hands on right now.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 07:07 am:   

Go Mike Go!!! Enjoy those long stretches of writing time -- I really got a lot of great writing done during those in the past few weekends.

And I'm emailing my synopsis to ya right now. It's more of a proposal/outline, but it ought to do the trick...
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 07:09 am:   

And yeah, I am DONE! Done with the novel drafting and the synopsis-writing, and everything has been mailed and emailed and saved and backed up.

I'm ready for a break. And a beer. Or probably a glass of Scotch. Mmmm... Scotch. Haven't had that in a long, long time.

And the best part is, after all this, I really like the novel.
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Mike Van Wie
Posted on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 03:43 pm:   

1500 words today...not quite as much as I'd hoped for, but I did manage to keep my butt in the chair for the whole 4 hours, so I'm counting it as a victory.

Thanks for sending the synopsis! I'll check it out as soon as my printer's working. :/ Enjoy the Scotch...

By the way, all this talk of baseball made me go back and read John Kessel's "The Franchise." Fun!
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 09:03 am:   

Mike -- I went back and re-read that story as well, and damn if Kessel didn't write a story that is even more relevant TODAY than it was 10 years ago. I love the idea of Castro playing in the bigs.
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Mike Van Wie
Posted on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 06:26 pm:   

Finished another chapter...the book is starting to turn creakily toward the climax. Finally. It's at 248 pages and a little over 58,000 words. I'm shooting for 400-450, so there's still a long way to go.

Yeah, The Franchise is still relevant. Recently I read "A Prayer for Owen Meany" for the first time, and the Reagan rants in there are also very topical. (Aside from helping to show the biggest tragedy in the book, which is the POV character's betrayal by absolutely everyone and everything he once cared about.) I kind of liked the idea of a Castro corrupted by baseball. :-) Did George H.W. Bush really captain his team at Yale?
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Mike Van Wie
Posted on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 07:24 pm:   

9 pages and 2200 words so far today. This qualifies as a big day for me -- I doubt I'm going to have any monsters like you pumped out toward the end of your dare, Mike. But I'm happy. Another day like this and this chapter's in the bag. Current total: about 65,000.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 10:56 am:   

Nice work, Mike! Glad to see those words piling up for ya!

I've been doing some story-revising today, with the hopes of getting some more stuff out in the mail. I could have close to a dozen stories out there soon. Three of the stories are taken from the novel I just finished, so it should be interesting to see if they work as standalone pieces.

The other story is the last of the two Wannoshay stories I'm trying to sell -- five of the others have sold, and this one is the only one not actually in the novel -- it got excised for the sake of brevity. But the character comes back later in the novel (he's in the story I first wrote at Clarion, by the way -- the one with the three guys hunting the alien in the abandoned Indian reservation).

I'm also reading stories from the latest Year's Best Fantasy and Horror antho, and the Lucius Shepard post-9/11 story is a damned good read.
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Mike Van Wie
Posted on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 08:30 pm:   

How many Wannoshay stories do you have?? I remember the one you workshopped at Clarion. Do you have any bites on the Wannoshay novel?

I'm going to be writing for a while yet tonight. I keep thinking about the early chapters, and dreading all the work I'm going to have to do when I revise them. Plotting has never been my strong point.

I've been reading a book called '68, by Paco Ignacio Taibo II, which is a history of the student strike and demonstration that led to 400 deaths in what was more or less the Mexican Tienamen square. Still waiting for another one called "Massacre in Mexico," on the same subject. Then I'll probably go read "Slaughterhouse-Five" again, just because I can.
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Mike Van Wie
Posted on Monday, August 16, 2004 - 12:54 am:   

OK, Chapter 12 is done -- current total is 68,500 or so. There are another couple of chapters to write before I hit the beginning of the end, and the end is going to be...messy. I think this book will be at least 100,000 words. But what would I know? It's the first one I've tried to write!

Thank God we get to revise these. :-)
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Monday, August 16, 2004 - 01:16 pm:   

Hey Mike -- I've got seven Wannoshay stories total, including the two I drafted at Clarion way back when. Five of 'em have gotten published -- three at Strange Horizons, one at Writers of the Future, and the most recent one coming soon to the new Interzone.

I just sent out a revised Wannoshay story to Sheila at Asimov's. The other one's at Futurismic.

I've actually got the entire novel at a small publisher who appear interested in the book. We'll see. And I just queries about half a dozen editors who've had my query package for the novel since March or so.

If it doesn't sell, I may revamp it at a later date. But for now I'm gearing up for the revising of the baseball novel. I dig revising.

Good luck with YOUR novel!
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Mike Van Wie
Posted on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 03:24 pm:   

Chapter 13 done. 72,000 words.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 12:06 pm:   

Nice work, Mike!

I'm still not writing. Just reading. Lots of reading. It's fun -- who'da thunk?
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Mike Van Wie
Posted on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 08:28 am:   

Chapter 14. 79,000 words. Still nearing the beginning of the end.

Good luck with the Asimov's submission. How the recharging going?

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Mike Jasper
Posted on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 04:14 pm:   

Go Mike, go!

The recharging's going well. I've got a couple stories I'm thinking of working on, but for now I'm just enjoying reading. The Graham Joyce novels are treating me just nicely, thanks. :-)
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Monday, August 30, 2004 - 04:28 pm:   

Well, I had a couple story ideas mapped out at the start of the weekend, but then I got a note from an editor I'd queried about my SF novel, so I've been busy preparing the first 3 chapters and updating the proposal for that (in between painting our baby's room and the guest bathroom and a million other chores).

Looking back at that novel as I rewrote the synopsis, I realized that this is a really good story. It's nice to get pumped up about your own writing once again. :-)
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Mike Van Wie
Posted on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 02:06 pm:   

Chapter 15 is dead. Long live chapter 15. 85,500 words. But there's still a long way to go! And that's just the *first* draft -- what ever gave me the crazy notion that writing a book would be a good idea, anyway? :-)

Interesting info on the spanish contest, by the way. I may even have something to submit.

Congrats on the Wannoshay novel bite. BTW, I was recently told that synopses should be "about 2 pages," yet every synopsis I see is 5-10. What's the deal? Bad advice?

I'll look for your book @ WorldCon. Too bad you won't be there!
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 04:11 pm:   

All right Mike! Way to finish the draft -- you da man. Now let it set for a while and have yourself a big beer.

Synopses -- they're wide open. The one I sent off was 15 pages double-spaced. Everyone has they're own opinion. I started mine off with a 1-page "overview" of the novel, followed by a more detailed description (about one paragraph per novel chapter) -- that way the editor can see that you can tell a story with a beginning middle and end. 2 pages is more of a summary. It depends on your terminology.

Hey, buy lots of copies of my book, okay? :-) I wish I could be there too, man. Have fun!
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Mike Van Wie
Posted on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 05:45 pm:   

Heh...well, it's not quite done *yet*. But I have all the characters in place for the ending to begin. Maybe another 50-70 pages (ugh...and school's starting on Monday!).

I'll definitely buy at least one copy of your book!
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Monday, September 06, 2004 - 12:54 pm:   

Good luck, Mike! Let me know how the con was.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Thursday, September 09, 2004 - 06:45 am:   

As for recent writing, well, I've not been doing a whole lot of that. Been too busy recovering from drafting the novel (and soon I'll be knee-deep in the revions, after my workshop today).

But the good news is -- I know what my next novel will be about! More info in my online journal (I'm too lazy to repeat myself!).

It's nice to be inspired again...
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Mike Van Wie
Posted on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 01:14 pm:   

Well, writing has been happening, but since Worldcon (read: since the fall term started) it's slowed considerably. I just got back from the school cafe, where I did about a page, and sketched out the next couple of chapters. I've done about a page a day since getting back.

I'm glad to hear that you have your novel idea! I have a couple of stories that I'm keeping bottled up until the first draft (and a post-mortem, which is how I start planning for my rewrites) is done.

By the way, I couldn't find your book at the con -- guess I'll have to buy it on-line!

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