Mad Revisionism

I just sent out a few submissions, which means I now have ten stories pending at different magazines and zines:

  1. Upgraded Phrase List for Mil-Spec iTrans Phrase Translation Unit
  2. The Country of the Young (Clarion West Story, week 4, I think)
  3. The Wager
  4. Cai and her Ten Thousand Husbands
  5. Improperly Prepared Blowfish
  6. The Day I Lost My ‘Thulu
  7. Dyscrasia
  8. Ogallala
  9. On Punctuation
  10. The Egan Thief

(Update: Those marked red are beyond not only the average response time, but also the estimated response time listed at Duotrope, which tends to be significantly longer. This could mean anything, of course; with the exception of one story, which I know is pending because of the editor’s blogging the subject, the rest might be held up for any number of reasons, including stretching response times or editors’ personal lives being busy. But I am still taking it as a good thing. At least they’re not speedy rejections!)

One of my dissatisfactions with this list is that most of it is quite short stuff. With the exception of numbers 2, 4, and 8, none of them are over 3000 words long. Those who know me well know how weird this is. But one of the problems is that I’ve been seduced into writing short pieces for markets making calls for submission in request of short work. It’s not that I don’t think the short stuff is worthwhile — it’s hard to master writing a story in 500 or 1000 or even 2000 words — but I am beginning to doubt that the kind of story that originally got me excited about SF can be very often done in 1000 words or less.

Pending submission #4, “Cai…”, was a breakthrough for me in that I realized I could indeed write stuff under 8000 words that did the kind of thing I wanted to do. Cai’s a firm, dense 4000 word-piece. So I am training myself, these days, to be able to work at this length. It makes stories more saleable, where longer work just isn’t.

The other thing I’m doing is working on getting some of my already-drafted stuff reworked and polished and out the door. Right this moment, I’m working on “Jjangguk and The Madman of Pyongyang”, or whatever it’ll finally be called. (I don’t know that I like the working title, is all.) After that, I think I can rework “Comfort Woman” and “Lester Young and the Jupiter’s Moons’ Blues” fairly easily: some work is needed, but not a major amount. After that, there are a few options for moving ahead. I think I want to rework “Winter Wheat” next, though, and that would leave only one Clarion West story unfinished — “Why Korean Eat Dog,” which needs to be overhauled massively. (By starting the story where I finished it in the original draft, and moving on from there.) There’s also a deep-future SF story called “Realer”and a weird little fantasy my crit group gave me excellent, but daunting, advice about called “Professor Whitney’s Resignation”, which await my attentions. (I’m more enthusiastic about the former story, since the latter requires, if I’m to really pull it off, a kind of literary ventriloquism I’m not quite up to at the moment.)

Since I’m currently feeling so ambivalent about “A Killing In Burma” and what it can/should be — especially since a conversation, and then a documentary I watched, got me thinking about what in fact it could all in all really be about — I think now’s a good time to work on revisions of older works and let the thing boil and bubble in my mind.

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