28 September, 2010

The cab rank

I re-did the back end of the story that needed it and sent it off for feedback from the editor. So far have heard good things, but more notes are to come. One product of this crazy rash of deadlines I'm trying to meet is that I find I'm allowing/asking editors to have a say on stories, whereas before I'd just battle through that stage stories sometimes pass through where they have to shatter and be rebuilt, all by myself, and send the finished product at the end pretending it sprang fully formed from my head.

This week I have to finish the story for Yellowcake that will increase its quotient of lovingkindness, at the request of Knopf. It's drafted end-to-end, but needs amplification, and it has one broken wing (or, one only partially existent wing) that needs re/construction.

Then I've got to write a set of 4 stories about...something. I've got the first one planned. They don't have to be connected, but they can be, if I want. I'll write the first one and then see what idea pounces on me next.

Oh yes, and those novel revisions. Must start on those, come October.

19 September, 2010

I'm back...

...from time at the beach, up the country and visiting family. While I was away I finished one short story, realised that the back end of another needed chopping off and rewriting, and eyed another drafted one from an amiable distance.

I also received an email from my two wonderful editors at Allen & Unwin, with extensive-but-not-frighteningly-so notes on The Brides of Rollrock Island (possibly not to be called that any longer, but we'll see—bloody titles...). And when I got home, an annotated MS was waiting, along with 5 pages from my Knopf editor, who is also wonderful and full of very useful suggestions. The upshot of it all is that the novel starts and ends well, but needs a bit of surgery in the middle. Which I'll have to conduct while juggling the remaining umpteen short stories due in the next four-and-a-bit months. It'll require some close scheduling.*scowls at diary*

16 September, 2010

Hi to all in 9th-grade English at Fredericksburg Academy!

Thanks for all your comments here - I've had time to glance at the class blog, but I'm travelling right now and unlikely to be able to answer your comments fully before next week.

One thing I can quickly say is that 'Singing My Sister Down' takes place at no particular historical time, except that it must be a time where trucks and pistols are available. It also takes place in no particular country. Although the original tarpit that inspired me was in Africa, the story's not set in Africa, and it's definitely not set in Australia.

I promise to get back to you in a little while with more detailed answers. In the meantime, feel free to ask more questions if you need to, and enjoy your short-story reading!

02 September, 2010

Pretty much the end of the crazy

The Literature Board met today and finished the assessment of the individual New Work grants, which is one part of the obligatory reading that's been taking up my every waking hour since late July. There's a little more business to take care of tomorrow, and then I'll have a weekend to come to grips with the next short story deadline off the rank; we'll see if I can switch hats quickly, from the bureaucrat's (kind of pork-pie-ish) to the writer's (something dreamed up by a crochet artist for the Alice Springs Beanie Festival (oh, go and look—there are some fabulous creations there, many of them extremely writerly!))

Spring is here. Jasmine, wattle, later magnolias and all-sorts-of-thing-I-don't-know-the-names-of are out, and the air is balmy. HSC trial exams are over. My 3-day-a-week job at UNSW has been extended to the end of the year. My novel and Yellowcake short story collection have sold in Australia and Allen & Unwin are making revision noises about the novel—when will I ever fit revisions in? Things are still being worked out in the US and UK for both books, but should be finalised soon. My impressive list of short-stories-owing still looks pretty darn impressive. However, I've written three of them and had all three accepted. I'd like to complete another two by the end of September, but there's the small matter of a week or so in Melbourne coming up. Still, with no grant applications to read, you never know...