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02 December 2007 @ 12:04 am
12/1/07: If you wanna end the war and stuff, you gotta sing loud  
Word count: 71704 | Since last entry: 5586

Well. It's been three weeks since I've had a proper blog entry. Sorry about that.

It's been a busy few weeks. As an example of those Telling Details they're always telling us to put in, either "Pack" or "Unpack" has been on my to-do list nearly continuously during this time. Which means that I've either been just about to travel somewhere, just back from somewhere, or too busy (or lazy) to unpack the bag that's sitting in the middle of the living room.

I participated in a multi-author SF/Fantasy event at Powell's in Beaverton. It was apparently a success. I had a large pile of the current Year's Best Science Fiction and a very small pile of every other anthology this store had in stock with one of my stories. I managed to sell one or two YBSFs and all but one of the other anthologies. Also spent the evening hanging out with the other writers and playing with the pencils on the bench there, so it was a win all around.

I was a very busy boy at Orycon, between panels and workshops and dinners with friends. At the writers' workshop, the other pro and I found ourselves with a bit of time to discuss the manuscripts before the workshoppers arrived. One of the stories had a blind protagonist, and both of us thought that she was shown doing things that no blind person would actually be able to do and found her generally unconvincing. And then the workshopper came in and sat down, with the seeing eye dog she sat down... the moral of the story is that there's a difference between factually correct and believable.

I was on a lot of panels, which occupied most of the convention, but I didn't mind because they were all very good panels and I feel I owe my hometown convention a lot. I had about a dozen people for my reading, and I was told several times that I moderate well. I also spent most of Friday evening at the RadCon party (on the bed, with curiositist), because I will be Short Story Guest of Honor at RadCon in February, about which I am right chuffed. Orycon got a very nice article in the Oregonian, in which I had the honor of being mentioned in the same paragraph as Ursula K. Le Guin and Kate Wilhelm.

The best thing that happened at the con was learning that I have sold a collection of 15 of my previously-published short stories to deborahlive. A pre-publication edition should be available at RadCon, with the real edition available at WisCon. A whole book all to myself! I am most pleased. We are in discussions about title, cover, and introduction and I hope to have very exciting news on all these fronts shortly.

Right after the con we discussed The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett at our neighborhood book group. This first Discworld book is rather disjointed and episodic, and the characters are largely cruel and unsympathetic -- it doesn't reflect the later magnificence of Pratchett. But all of the seeds of what Discworld would eventually become are here, from Unseen University and the Librarian to Death and, of course, The Luggage. An interesting historical note.

We played host to friend Lise WINOLJ, from New York, for several days after the con, then drove up to Vancouver BC for the annual Thanksgiving square dance. On the way we stopped in Seattle, at the home of Kate's sister vofpracticality, where we had a Thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat and didn't get up until the next morning when we all had to drive to Canada.

We managed to get past an accident at Mount Vernon that blocked all lanes of I-5 (yay Google Maps!), but then at the border we waited for two hours in a crowd of Canadians coming back from the day-after-Thanksgiving sales, flexing their Strong Canadian Dollars and kicking sand in the faces of ninety-eight-cent weaklings. All in all it took nearly an entire day to drive the 120 miles from Seattle to Vancouver, but the fly-in was tons of fun. As usual, we enjoyed the hospitality of airporter, the calling of ewe_bull_akr and leatherlion, and another Thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat. allanh, you were missed.

After returning from Thanksgiving I focused my attention on my writing, shamefully neglected during the previous two weeks. I managed to pound out over 2500 words yesterday, by dint of working diligently (though not continuously) from 10am to 1am, and finished chapter 10 of my second novel in time for today's critique group meeting. 2500 words in one day might be a record for me. I don't understand how some people are capable of 5,000-word or even 12,000-word days. Part of this is almost certainly because I edit as I go and my first drafts are in publishable shape (in terms of words, sentences, and general coherency, anyway... the story always benefits substantially from critique, and often changes dramatically before it is ready for submission). I sometimes wish I had a different process, but this seems to be the way I work.

In other writing news, Issue 12 of the e-zine Aeon Speculative Fiction, containing my rather short story "Moonlight on the Carpet" and over a hundred pages of other stories from fine writers such as lisamantchev and klingonguy, is now available for purchase in Microsoft Reader (.LIT) format. Other formats will be available soon. And I received the contracts for another sale to Aeon, novelette "The True Story of Merganther's Run," along with the pleasant surprise that Aeon has doubled its pay rate from 3 to 6 cents per word. That story is tentatively scheduled for Aeon 15 (August 2008).

During this time we also spent a lot of time and emotional energy on our friend M, who had to go into the hospital with (still undiagnosed at this writing) serious problems with vision, balance, and cognition. Special thanks to deedop for taking care of M's dog for most of two weeks. He is supposed to return home on Sunday, which will be a big improvement even though we all know this story is far from over.

And that was November.

Karrin Jacksonkarjack on December 2nd, 2007 09:36 am (UTC)
That was a really neat article. Thanks for sharing it. :)
csinman on December 2nd, 2007 10:09 am (UTC)
One of the stories had a blind protagonist, and both of us thought that she was shown doing things that no blind person would actually be able to do and found her generally unconvincing.

I once watched an editor from a large publisher rant about how unbelievable this deaf character was. It was one of the pieces I'd also read and critiqued, and I agreed with the editor because I found the writer's ignorance annoying. Then I handed the marked manuscript back to the woman who wrote it and realized the editor and I were sharing whole new levels of ignorance. The writer was deaf! It was humbling for me (perhaps not the editor, who I doubt ever found out), and not something I'll forget.

Regarding your writing process, I share that same one. My wordcount really depends on my mood, but I edit as I go because I feel imbalanced if I'm trying to write good prose as I go forward when I know there's bad prose behind me. Sometimes I can do it (like when I throw all cares aside and NaNo my ass off) but usually I'd rather make something at least possibly-publishable the first time instead of one draft of crap and a further draft of better-than-crap.

Good luck to M--he's lucky he has such caring friends. Mine would take me out back and shoot me. Actually, my dog would probably help them, since I haven't taken her for a walk yet. I better go do that.

Thanks for the update! If you guys ever drive through Bellingham without an important arrival time (like a turkey coming out of an oven), you should let me know ahead of time. I'll show you the best places in town to eat food, ice cream, and coffee.

Smofbabe: poohsmofbabe on December 2nd, 2007 10:19 am (UTC)
Mazal tov on the short-story collection! How cool is that!

[BTW, because I'm an editor and can't help it, might want to fix the "Discwould" typo...]
David D. Levinedavidlevine on December 2nd, 2007 04:51 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Fixed.
scarlettina: Fantastic!scarlettina on December 2nd, 2007 01:51 pm (UTC)
Congratulations on the collection! Wonderful news!

Also? Looking forward to seeing you at RadCon. It's been far too long.
Kalimackalimac on December 2nd, 2007 01:57 pm (UTC)
A short-story collection? Wonderful! I liks short-story collections, but because trade publishers rarely do them anymore they can be hard to find.

I will definitely take note of this one; it will be my chance to catch up on a lot of your work which I've missed due to its being located hither and yon.
joycemocha on December 2nd, 2007 04:00 pm (UTC)
(Bangs self on forehead.)

I *was* supposed to check up on long-term dog help, wasn't I?

Sorry. It's been the week from hell, both personally and professionally (as in day job, the writing stuff's actually been mildly positive this week in comparison). I'll talk to Miss Molly (who's also been in Book Fair Hell) this week.

Writing speed--I think you're making similar progress as I am, ultimately--if you're editing as you go along and your draft is a final, then that's a different story from what I do. I write quickly when I get the time, but I plan for at least two more passes through whatever I write. I've found that if I do what you do, I get bogged down in details.

It may bite me on this current story, but I want to finish that story before I go back to edit. I know I have a whole new thread to add, but it will all work better if I finish it first. I'm not afraid of revising a written story. Something as I go along? Um, well, I think you might remember the results from the long-ago writer's group. Nothing ends up on paper, and I freeze.

Different methods for different folks.
David D. Levinedavidlevine on December 2nd, 2007 05:34 pm (UTC)
If all goes as planned, M and his dog will be reunited today, so we're cool for now. However, thanks for your help, and I'd appreciate it if you would go ahead and ask anyway because if there's another crisis we will almost certainly be on the hook to find a place for the dog again.
Matthew S. Rotundo: Typewritermatthewsrotundo on December 2nd, 2007 04:23 pm (UTC)
Congrats and well done on the collection!

Rock on!
(Deleted comment)
David D. Levinedavidlevine on December 2nd, 2007 04:57 pm (UTC)
Title is still under discussion, if all goes well you'll be able to get a copy at RadCon, and I'll be happy to give you an inscription that references our torrid night of forbidden passion in McMinnville if that's what you want.
e_bourne: pic#66792610e_bourne on December 2nd, 2007 06:28 pm (UTC)
Congratulations on the short story collection, you've been very, very busy and I'm very glad to hear that things are going well for you with your writing.

I hope things get figured out with M soon. I know that must be very emotionally exhausting for both you and Kate. He's fortunate to have such good friends.
A.kaiweilau on December 2nd, 2007 07:58 pm (UTC)
Congratulations on the short story collection! Sneaky you, burying it in the middle of your post :)
David D. Levinedavidlevine on December 2nd, 2007 11:34 pm (UTC)
You know, when it comes to the shameless self-promotion thing, sometimes I really suck...
Amy Sissonamysisson on December 3rd, 2007 01:36 am (UTC)
Hooray on story collection! Keep us posted every step of the way!
chiefwireheadchiefwirehead on December 3rd, 2007 04:35 am (UTC)
"I will be Short Story Guest of Honor at RadCon "

See, there are advantages to be vertically challenged.


I am looking very looking forward to your collection, in any case.
Lawrence M. Schoenklingonguy on December 4th, 2007 01:26 am (UTC)
Hey there. Great to be sharing a cover with you!