Wednesday, February 07, 2007

deadlines

When they loom, they're almost paralytic. I hate missing them, but I've already had to ask for an extension from an editor for a scifi piece which was due last month (everyone who knows me is aware of the sad fact that scifi leaves me cold and that, "Hollow Girl" aside, I have yet to actually write a decent one).

I actually finished the piece before the deadline but I am so unhappy with it - it's flat and trite and predictable and soulless - that I began another story, in which there is science but it is not central to the story. I don't want a gimmicky story wherein science saves the day or is the big reveal or a scientific process -unknown to laymen- explains everything. I'd rather have people in an environment where science is everyday, and how they continue to live their lives in that environment (like the sensibility of one of favorite sf stories, Tony Daniel's "Life on the Moon"). I will never be one of the "ideas" writers whose texts drip with mindblowing scifi concepts, every page an startling avenue to a new place so alien to my own sense of wonder. I find those kinds of stories tiresome after a while, and I find my reader-self disengaged or skimming through dense paragraphs held down by the gravity of their own cleverness.

I have another deadline, for another story, by the end of next month. This is the LitCritters novella and the going is slow and rough. I may have overthought the story - sometimes, too much preparation is not good for me - and question the narrative's ability to hold itself together for the required length. Ultimately though, the proof will be in the writing and in the finished text. Don't get me wrong, this is the type of challenge that I like.

In the meantime, I'm working on another pair of stories for my inventory (well, to be honest, it's also almost Palanca-season and I'm considering entering some prose this year; last year, I won for Short Story for Children; the year before that, for the Novel - it would be nice to have another short fiction prize).

So, writing-wise, these past six or so weeks have been difficult (especially since the Game Boy beckons), but I plan to turn it around beginning next week.

In the meantime, Ian Casocot and the LitCritters Dumaguete have finished their initial fiction writing assignment: seven delicious new stories for them to workshop and discuss. Good going, guys!

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