Monday, December 16, 2013

Lit Corner: Where John's Been

Welcome to the last month of my life.
December came with several goals. With better health than November and a few weeks before family returned for the holidays, I decided to finish and submit at least four short stories. It was easy to pick the four, especially the first two: a tiny piece for Apex’s Christmas Flash contest, and a succubus Comedy I brewed up in August. I guarantee if you like my all-dialogue flashes, the succubus story will get you going. It’s the closest thing to Alligators By Twitter that I’ve written in a couple years. Ridiculousness is just in my nature, or too deep in my nurture to dig out.

Both of those stories are already out to markets. The third story is the longest, technically a novelette, and an idea I’ve been struggling to write a good version of for at least five years. There are so many flawed drafts, rewrites and blank slate works alike, that I’ve probably spent more energy word-for-word on this than any of my novels. It wasn't until reading Zelazny's Lord of Light that I hit on the style that really suited the story, but that gave me a white heat and about 14,000 words in one sitting - which I've since cut drastically. It’s a bit of an epilogue to the Magical Girl genre, and a testament to the many ways I’ve felt uncomfortable being so fond of the genre, which I’m calling, “Remember When I Saved the World?”

Thank God the beta readers liked it. It may truly be done. This is the first post-VP piece that my peers have gone over, and they’re a blessing of a group.

This story also got me to watch Madoka Magica, which is a fine piece of trope subversion. I'm thinking of doing a post on my wacky reactions to it, since I was the series-virgin this time, as opposed to our unnamed subject who went blindly into Evangelion. Is that of interest to you, internet?

This leaves me with just one more story to finish, and that project starts today. It is every editor’s least favorite: my totally original take on zombies. Yeah, I can feel Neil Clarke throwing heavy things in my direction already. But it’s an angle on solitude that I don’t see very often and that’s very close to my own life. Besides the zombies and all the Lysol.

Also, at some point I made this.
With those four done, I’ll be able to focus on #bestreads2013 and January. Helene Wecker had to go and write such a magnificent piece of work in The Golem and the Jinni that I’m revising my list of favorite novels, and will probably just let it run long to accommodate. I’m also thinking of doing a separate post about essays and short fiction, as I came across some incredible short pieces this year that don’t feel right to stick next to novels and long comics. What do you say? Maybe “Best Shorts” this Wednesday?

As for January, I have this tradition of starting a new novel every New Years. I’m stuck right now between two possible projects. The first would be rewriting The House That Nobody Built, a task for which my style is now honed enough to handle, and the crits from VP let me know what directions it ought to take.

But the second would be writing more novels in The Last House in the Sky series; those characters were addictive to write about. There’s a certain allure to chasing those thieves across the blown-up world for the rest of my life. Or for the books in the sequence I’ve plotted out. One or the other.

All of this is why the blog has been a little quiet lately. It is, besides shoveling a foot and a half of snow and fending off syndrome tremors, what I’ve been doing with my daily dose of ATP. What have you been up to, internet?


  1. Wow. Where you have been is awe-inspiringly busy - and productive with it. Congratulations.
    And I am thrilled to hear that your health is at least a little better. Long may it continue.

  2. Good luck with the writing contests. I entered one a short while ago, but alas got no where. I'm sure you will though. It sounds like you have your writing planned for the next year and I wish you a happy and successful year of writing for 2014. ^_^

    1. Oh and I forgot to say I'm happy to read that your health has improved and I sincerely send you my wishes for a much healthier 2014

  3. That's a lot of writing projects. I'm sure once January hits, you'll know which novel you want to write.

  4. That sounds incredibly productive to me :) Hope that 2014 is a good year for you John!

  5. I'm sorry I didn't know about your health problems, but glad to hear you're doing better! I love your ridiculous stories, they're too fun. And a foot and a half of snow? Glad I moved to Texas!

  6. I'm not at all surprised to hear that you're keeping yourself so incredibly busy, though I am sad to hear that the snow is testing your newfound return of health. Hopefully it'll lighten up?
    I'm psyched about best reads though I'm way behind in my reading goal for the year, again. Oh well, at least I keep trying.
    Good luck with family time over the holidays, I hope they don't find your fortress of solitude. (Or your cookies!)

  7. Unless you're changing Puddle to the star of Nobody, I'd love to read more adventures from The Trio. But that's just me. :)

  8. I hope you hear good news on all your projects. Write, write, write, submit, submit, submit. It gets us places.

  9. I definitely think you should do two #bestreads2013: one for novels & one for shorter pieces. I'd like to see both lists for sure. Good luck on your submissions! I've started a few short stories in the past few days also... And a toast for Good Health in 2014! :)

  10. The Golem and the Jinni was probably one of the best books I came across this year - thank goodness someone recommended it to me. I like the idea of a Best Shorts. I enjoy your ridiculousness; sometimes I burst out laughing at one of your pieces, and that feels good. I hope your health continues to improve, that we don't get any huge snowfalls, and that you have a Merry Christmas. :-)


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