Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Adventures in Penmonkeying

     In a process that took far less time than I envisioned, the revision is virtually com-plete. Hopefully this will free me up a little so I can get back into some flash fiction, which I miss. I've felt guilty wandering past TerribleMinds, knowing I had the revision project looming, and I pointedly avoided the temptation of checking in over there on Fridays, when the flash fiction prompts come out.
     There's still a bit of minor tweaking left to do but the heavy lifting is done (for now), in only a month and a day. And then, the very next morning after I finished the first full edit, I had just stumbled into the shower when the elusive pitch I need for this summer's conference smacked me right between the eyes (yes, it hurt). I'm never prepared for such epiphanies that early in the morning, and certainly not when I'm entirely un-caffeinated. The bruises are mostly gone now, though, so there's that.
     I'm a little freaked out about pitching to big-shot editors for the first time. Okay, I'm a lot freaked out. Go big or go home, I'd figured when I I lined up two of the biggest fantasy-seeking publishing reps I could find. I'm telling myself that a ten-minute fiction pitch is like a super-short job interview. Maybe that will help. I've still got another month to fidget, so we'll see how relaxed and self-assured I can make them think I am. Internally I'm sure I'll be as calm as a bumblebee on meth, but maybe I can pull this off. We'll give it a go. Worst they can do is say it's not good enough, and that doesn't really faze me. They can't reject me any worse than I can reject myself. I've had more practice.
     I don't intend to self-publish, but I discovered recently that Powell's Books (local repository of indie awesomeness) has an Espresso Book Machine now. I thought it might be nice to get a couple of copies of the story printed, just for fun. In case you haven't seen an EBM, they're pretty cool: picture, if you will, a huge industrial-looking copier. You give it PDFs of your story and the full-color cover file on one end, then it chugswhirrsbeeps and *ding!* spits out a perfect-bound book--your book--on the other. In an age of technology, when you can make up entire worlds that live solely within the depths of cyberspace (or at least appear within the pixels of your monitor), seeing your project in print drives home that it really is a thing. (Incidentally, that perceived un-real-ness of e-books is why I'll probably never own an e-reader, but I digress.) I had been getting this feel of the early version of the story by occasionally sending the working draft out to be printed and coil-bound, but it always ended up looking more like a cookbook or some cheesy community-school textbook. But perfect-bound...damn, it'll be like a real, live, honest-to-God 500-some-page BOOK that could sit on a bookstore shelf anywhere.
     If I'm really lucky this summer, maybe it will, anyway. Wish me luck.


  1. flash fiction? Is that the kind in which you suddenly reveal it all to the reader as s/he gets to the last page? Mar.

    1. Heh. Yep. And it's the same mental progression too (at least, from what I'm told): you psyche yourself all up to do the deed, then it's all out there in front of God and everybody...and THAT is when rational thought finally hits you and you wonder WTF you were thinking when you decided you'd show your junk to the world.