Back To The Cutting Room

Well, it looks like the week before and the week after Christmas will be a little different than I imagined. I’ll have a fair amount of packing to do, I’ll probably need to find an apartment for March, and it looks like I’ll be in Canada for something like 2 weeks. Lime is going to be able to leave around Feb 1st and will need to be back by about Feb 18th.

Since a person cannot pack, pack, pack all day, one of the things I plan on doing is some writing and revision. I’ll have basically two weeks before New Year’s, and maybe week after Winter Camp, which, you know, is three solid weeks of time to spend on writing. Last time I had three solid weeks (a year ago), I drafted a novel.

One of the things I’m considering doing is working on editing that novel; it needs some polishing, and a few more episodes added, in order to really work. So that’s one project I could take on.

I also have a short story called Instead of Pinochets which I would like to whip into shape (meaning edit into shape) and send out soon.

In addition to that, there’s the following:

  • Soul Competency: the story of an Aramaic-as-a-Foreign-Language teacher in the time of the Second Coming.
  • Rupt: an increasingly complexifying story (or novella) focusing on a specific kind of psychological terrorism (non-corporate green-activist advertising) that uses the medium of VR to break into the clouded mind of the average citizen, and which looks at the story from the point of view of the activists, and the “victims” too.
  • A tale told by a kind of official-investigator-and-people-retriever who travels through time retrieving temporal refugees fleeing contemporary (mid-21st century) genocides, when their presence in the deep past has a strong enough effect on the future for a measurable ripple effect; these people are brought back and made to live in Lightcone-External Containment Units, their children reintegrated to the world population slowly, one by one. The guy has some issues with this, especially considering he was also retrieved in this way himself during his adolescence. This story is pretty deeply flawed but I love the idea of the use of deep prehistory by refugee groups as a kind of zone of sanctuary, as well as the idea of the Lightcone-External Containment Unit as a bureaucratic response to the kinds of paradoxes that ensue and which need to be averted.
  • A story about a group of superheroes like the X-men or The Fantastic Four, except that this team of superheroes is made up of mutants from Northeast Asia — Japan, China, and the Koreas — who just can’t seem to get along. It’s hard to write clever political allegory.
  • A novel about a futuristic Cold War, which I’m not talking about these days since I’m sketching notes continually, and don’t want to blow any secrets.

I have decided to abandon the story I was thinking of writing based on the apocryphal belief that during the Colonial Period, Japanese astrologers set about driving metal spikes into mountains in order to weaken Korea’s national “chi”. Despite some of the interesting things stated in this essay, I think the whole notion is urban legends and that they’re effectively explained by this comment over at Japundit. I hardly believe the Japanese sent Astrological Corps to Korea to mess up the mountain chi. It sounds like America sending droves of tourists to some African country armed with cameras for the purpose of stealing souls — the misunderstanding of an encounter with a technologically more advanced society (the Japanese beat the Russians in naval warfare, don’t forget) becoming legend. But it still is an interesting legend, and I think I may work the whole misunderstanding into a fiction story set in a more fantastical setting. The notion I have for my NaNoWriMo project next year is coming together and I think it’s going to be a decent novel draft, actually, especially if I think and prepare a lot in the coming year.

I plan also to print and send out some stories which need to go to magazines soon. I have a stack of short stories which ought to have been sent out years ago, and I mean to have them in envelopes and ready to go with me to Canada, from which I can post them more easily. I’ll also have an address where reponses can be posted to me, by then.

One last thing I want to do in my free time: review the Taiping Rebellion books I have here. I intend to go to Nanjing sometime soon, perhaps next summer during one of Lime’s busy periods. I’d like to know what questions I have, what I want to learn while I’m there, and to make a plan as far as what to do — shall I see Shanghai? shall I try to meet scholars on the subject to pose questions? — and review is the best way to prepare. It shall be my spring semester hobby.

And now, I must hurry off… I have to get my day on, and a busy day at that.

6 thoughts on “Back To The Cutting Room

  1. Oh yeah, man. I don’t know if you know Rudy Rucker, but I’m planning on the kind of preparatory work he does. Pages and pages of notes and preparations; plotting, background, cultural notes, tech notes, language notes, character backgrounds, notes notes notes.I began flitting through the notes for one of his novels, Freeware, and man, I learned a lot about his writing process, including things I want to integrate into my own writing process.

    Exhaustive notes written in preparation are allowed, right?

  2. Yep, exhaustive note-taking in preparation is allowed (in fact, I think it’s a very good idea). The rule of thumb is that anything goes except for the actual novel itself.

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