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What a Difference a Solid Writing Session Makes

by Jonathan 0 Comments

Here comes the sun

Had a less than stellar day at the keyboard yesterday. I also got a short story rejection. And I found out that a narration I did needs to be redone.

When I dragged myself out of bed at 6 AM this morning, I was not chomping at the bit. Rather, it was with trepidation and dread that I approached the writing shack.

I sat my ass in my chair, finished revising one chapter and began another. Fast forward two hours and everything is fine. Doubts are well in hand and I look forward to getting back to the writing.

If anything, it’s the act of not writing that causes me the most angst.

A couple of quick thoughts:

1. I’ve enjoyed following Peter Cooper and Teresa Frohock‘s post publication experiences. If you aren’t aware of either of these folks, well, now you are. Check them out.

2. I read a thorough article in Poets & Writers by David Malki of Wondermark and Machine of Death fame (In one day, MoD shot to #1 on Amazon back in 2010, beating out whatever dreck Glenn Beck was pimping at the time). He discusses 9 ways of looking at bookstores. Great read. Unfortunately, you can’t view the article on line, but if you can get your hands on a copy of the Joan Didion issue of P$W, I highly recommend it.

Anyway, hope you all have a great day. In fact, I hope you kick the day’s ass.

P.S. I did march that short story right back out into the world for another go round, so we’ll see.

Feelin’ Alright

by Jonathan 0 Comments

Staying fresh may be one of the more difficult things to achieve as a writer. Work on a thing too long and it becomes the proverbial monkey on the back. Flit from project to project too often and nothing ever gets done.

I’m staring down the barrel of year three for my novel, but somehow, it continues to be satisfying. Could be because it’s gotten better along the way. Could be because people have taken the time to help me and encourage  me. Could be because I’ve taken measured breaks to work on other things. A little bit of balance goes a long way toward avoiding burn out.

Nothing to do but press ahead and enjoy it, even when writing is kicking my ass.

I am feelin’ alright, even if Steve Winwood’s having a tough go of it.


Synopsis Redux

by Jonathan 0 Comments

I’ve been working on paring this down to the essentials, tweaking it in tandem with changes I’m making to the novel, which, ideally, will also result in a leaner, tighter story.

Fleeting images of Tuareg nomads near a campfire - image by Alexandre Baron

Image courtesy of Alexandre Baron


I suppose the question is, after reading the synopsis, “Does this pique your interest?”

In the crook of the Quiet Sea’s eastern shores lies the grime-ridden sprawl of Stelinople, a city of industry ruled by the Magnate Trust. Searching for new energies to fuel its furnaces and mills and manufactories, the Trust has fixed its gaze squarely upon the Jashem, seeking the energy locked in that scoured desert land. And the Yürük Çin who draw upon it.

When Yürük scout Khyrg al Wahid and his headstrong daughter witness a Trust airship crash, they discover survivors — Trust researchers. Aiding the researchers becomes a furious flight across the Jashem, sweeping Khyrg up in the Trust’s schemes, thrusting him toward Stelinople, the city that holds his deepest secret, his darkest shame.

All the while, researchers at the University conduct morbid experiments around the clock to bend the energy of the Jashem to their will.

What You Don’t Know…

by Jonathan 2 Comments

I’ve been feasting on a steady diet of podcasts and articles like a tiger on British Soldiers in Africa and came across some good stuff from Téa Obreht over at The Bat Segundo Show.  I probably would not have given the interview a second thought except that I had seen Obreht’s book, The Tiger’s Wife show up on a couple of blogs I enjoy, A Dribble of Ink and the The Speculative Scotsman. I’d considered seeing if I could find the book at our local library (that would be like winning the lottery) and then kind of left it alone. Checking my podcast subscriptions, I saw Obreht’s name beneath The Bat Segundo Show and thought I ought to give it a listen. The whole interview is enjoyable, but I particularly enjoyed this bit:

Correspondent: But if you’re constantly revising to get that precision, how do you keep yourself in surprise? Because that, of course, is very important to maintain the life of a story.

Obreht: Oh, that just comes normally. Because I have no idea what I’m doing! (laughs)

Correspondent: Yeah. The big thing that nobody really understands. That writers really don’t know what they’re doing often.

Obreht: Yeah. Exactly. You know, you stumble into things. And you’ll be 75% of the way through something and suddenly it’s like, “Oh, I changed my mind! Actually, this is going to happen because it feels more normal, more natural.” Then you have to backtrack and shift everything.

The excerpt from the show stopped before they got to the part I like the most where Obreht talks about forging ahead even when she knew what she had written wasn’t good or needed work, knowing that she could circle back and revisit it when the time was right.

There’s exquisite freedom in giving ourselves permission to be imperfect, to not know.