Showing posts from April, 2020

Everyone’s Looking to the Future

Every weekday throughout what blogger and novelist, Chuck Wendig , calls the "Quarantimes," I go to a day job as a front desk concierge at a downtown Toronto Condominium. Socializing when most everyone else is hiding out gives me a catbird seat view of the CoVid 19 fallout and how people are adjusting and responding. I have some level of personal relationship beyond the mere exchange of pleasantries with a good percentage of the residents. And most people in the building will open up to some degree if I make an attempt to converse.   With the quarantine going on and almost everyone working at home, I would have thought people would be eager to socialize, but the opposite is true. Our conversations, six feet apart and through a layer of plexiglass, tend to be marked by an unfailing and sometimes strained politeness. I see most people far less than I used to see them.    We have lots of young people in the condo and I have been surprised about how many have moved in with the

Are We There Yet? The advantages of a late-blooming career.

Are We There Yet? As a young writer, I thought of writing a book as a very cut and dried thing. You type the words “The End” on your manuscript and send it to your agent or publisher and soon your book would appear on shelves with a professional and hopefully attractive cover.   If you were lucky, it would come out in hardcover and become available in libraries. I never factored in the editing, proofreading and all the other things that go into publishing a novel. I remember being astonished when Dean Wesley Smith told me at an SF convention that the “pipeline” from submitting your manuscript to seeing it published direct to paperback was about two years from the time it was sold to a publisher. If you were starting from scratch, the path would be more like two years to find an agent; another year for the agent to sell it; then two more years while it went through the full editing process;   substantive editing, copy editing, proofreading. So five years after typing “The End,” the

Learning to Manage the Thorny Relationship with my Muse

 My very first creative writing class in university focussed on the importance of mastering "The Creative Process." Decades later, the struggle continues! I have gone to the next level in terms of both output and the quality of my writing but I didn't do it by mastering my creative process. Instead, I acknowledged the Creative Process as its own master and learned to work with it.    Over my first 35 years of writing, I produced and sold a few dozen short stories and finished rough drafts of two novels. In the ten years since coming to a partnership agreement with my Creative Process, I have published one volume of short stories and have a second almost ready - having  completed more than a dozen new stories; and  taken four (mostly new) novels to 3rd draft or better. Learning to work more harmoniously with my muse more than quadrupled my output of polished prose and made me twice as good a writer.   If Your Muse Won't Stay on a Leash, Maybe You Can Get It to Hold Han