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Michael Winston

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tangent [Jun. 23rd, 2008|11:54 am]
Michael Winston
[Current Location |Dallas]
[mood |amusedamused]

So, I was reading through my friends page and ran across a list of books and their associated authors and I had no idea what prompted the list and it dawned on me that I'm living LJ in reverse, which is probably the only way to really do this...and I'm rambling. Anyway, it brought to mind the legend of Merlin and how he was suppose to have lived life in reverse. I don't know if this is a valid Arthurian concept or not, but it's stuck with me from one of the many fantasies I read once upon a time. This sent me off on a tangent of course, wondering how this would all work.

My first realization was that life would be experienced in an effect by cause manner rather than by the standard cause and effect. I found this morbid to say the least, but I guess it is standard fare for the mystery genre. It would be hard to meet a person as a corpse and then grow to care for them as they grew younger. How does one not warn them? My second realization was it would have to be a life of solitude. Every encounter would be an introduction and then I realized this would be utterly impossible. The group encountered would just wonder who the weird old guy was who kept babbling unintelligibly. The only way this might work is if Merlin were living scenes or chapters in reverse. And then still, it's tragic, which is probably the point.

That audible click you just heard was the light switch for the bulb in my head. I need a break.
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(no subject) [Apr. 15th, 2008|08:28 am]
Michael Winston
[Current Location |Dallas]
[mood |determined]
[music |NPR]

I have been reading doctodd's book "A Clockwork Murder" and it made me think about the book I pitched at WW06 and what it would feel like now after so long without reading or editing or thinking about it. So, I did what every would-be writer would do and opened it up and started through it again. I realized around midnight last night I had to stop or I would sideline my short story goals for the year and start trying to sell it again and even possibly go back to other books I had planned to be doing by now. I did notice that my voice or writing style from novel to short story has changed. I don't know whether that is because of the length of story or because of my growth or even possibly my lack of growth as a writer. I don't know. Anyway, I decided to stick to the plan of doing ten short stories this year. Wish me luck.
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Talebones Subscriptions [Apr. 11th, 2008|10:25 pm]
Michael Winston
[Tags|, ]
[Current Location |Dallas]
[mood |greedy]
[music |A Fine Frenzy]

I guess we all have our own modes on how we generate story ideas - stream of consciousness, news headlines/articles, bumper stickers, overheard conversations. There are those that are random I suppose, spontaneous even, or at least they seem like they are, but I would bet most of us tend to go back to the watering hole in the same spot. Anyway, I almost always come away with a new story idea from reading one of the different magazines I subscribe to. My favorite is Talebones. I just received the latest issue and can't wait to pour through it. I have two stories working from Mr. Swenson's Fall issue. These are a page or two per idea waiting in line in that ever growing list of stories. But, none of this is really my point. In his "Letter from the Editor" type piece he mentioned declining subscriptions. I guess I could always get new ideas from reading bumper stickers, but where would I publish them? Don't misunderstand me. This is a completely selfish appeal on my part. The more of our type of magazines vanish, the harder it will become for us beginners to get started. Subscribe!
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Kanji [Apr. 11th, 2008|10:12 pm]
Michael Winston
[Current Location |Dallas]
[mood |pleasedpleased]

Kanji came home last night with a positive rejection letter. It was the standard form letter with choice phrases underlined. The most telling was "try me again", which is encouraging. He did say it didn't grab him fast enough. I'll take another look at the start, but I want to get it back out as soon as "The 5:37 Train" comes back in. I'll let it sit for now, though, until I finish my WIP.
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not writing what I wanted [Mar. 30th, 2008|01:20 am]
Michael Winston
[Current Location |Dallas]
[mood |tiredtired]
[music |KT Tunstall]

I did not go back to Valhalla. I thought about it. I moved onto a story, Jinxing Crossing, that grew up out of a conversation about settling Venus. I know I said I wanted some good old fashion Fantasy, but these characters just wouldn't get out of the way. Anyway, I'm off to plot the outline.
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submissions [Mar. 18th, 2008|08:42 am]
Michael Winston
[Current Location |Dallas]
[mood |excitedexcited]

Kanji and The 5:37 Train are in the mail to Talebones and Analog respectively. Good thoughts!
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death of a premise [Mar. 16th, 2008|10:13 pm]
Michael Winston
[Current Location |Dallas]
[mood |working]

My first contact story is official dead-ish. Anyway, I've decided the believability of the protagonist being in the situation I've put him in just isn't going to work. I like the concept, however, and think it's still usable at least for a setting for a future story. Even the protagonist is likable enough to be reused, but I just can't make this work. It has too many leaps of faith.

Kanji is done. I plan on sending it out this week to Talebones. Cross your fingers.

I'm going to revisit a story I've had on the shelf for some time. Its working title is Valhalla. This is one I don't know how I'm going to end as of yet, but I need some good old fashion fantasy for awhile. It was originally a novel idea and I'm not sure I can squeeze it into a short story baggie, but maybe I can flush it out enough so when I'm back to working on longer fiction I know where I want to go with it.
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editing voice [Mar. 8th, 2008|10:35 pm]
Michael Winston
[Current Location |Dallas]
[mood |tiredand grumpy]
[music |soundless]

I managed to cut around 250 words from Kanji this week and only have about 75 more to kill off before I'm below the 6,000 mark for Talebones. Ya know... This whole short story thing is a completely different animal and not the cute and cuddly kind either. Forcing a story into such a short distance is like packing pudding in plastic baggies. I find myself cutting words for count sake alone. I give up depth because it doesn't push the plot. I leave out the feel of stone beneath a character's fingertips because, well, it doesn't push the plot; it's just texture. I know, I know, I know. I'm gaining more than potential publishing credits. I'm learning to write concisely, to tell the tale without the ramble, but sometimes I worry I'm losing my voice. A sell would make me feel better, I guess, which means I should get back to editing. A little sleep would be nice too.
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Doomsday seed vault [Feb. 26th, 2008|02:55 pm]
Michael Winston
[Tags|]
[Current Location |Dallas]
[mood |amusedamused]
[music |soundless]

What a wonderful scifi concept? For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, Norway has opened the "Doomsday seed vault" today. This is a store of the world's agricultural seeds, not to be confused with wild plant life, and it is being set aside against catastrophe. Meaning, boom or cough-cough or man it's getting hot in here, it sure would be nice if we had some food right about now kind of catastrophe. It is even in one of the most remote places on earth. Which means, whoever is still standing when the need arises, they must walk as far north as a few degrees south of the North Pole, swim across the artic sea to get to the island where the vault is kept, get the life saving seeds, carry them back south to warmer climes, plant them, and then wait for fall to eat. It's a good thing only the strongest survive. Maybe they will have some "lunchables" on hand for the poor souls on the walkabout.

Don't get me wrong, I think this is probably one of the smartest things man has done to ensure our survival. Other smart things on the "before we all die to do list" are, in my opinion: mandatory population control, elimination of all greenhouse gas emitting vehicles and power plants, international laws controlling the growth and production of chicken and pigs and fish (note: this should not be done together in the same building where the different species may share their diseases like it is being done today in most countries.), and, since I am a scifi/fantasy geek, terraform a nearby plant such as Mars or Venus and move at least a couple of us over there. Feel free to add to my list or reject it or just laugh about it.

If nothing else, the Doomsday Vault will give settling aliens something to plant when they finally get here. Hopefully, there will be some drinkable water for them. What kind of hosts would we be if we didn't even leave something for them to drink? We should add a keg of Guinness to the Vault.
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Simian submission [Feb. 24th, 2008|12:14 pm]
Michael Winston
[Current Location |Dallas]
[mood |mellowmellow]
[music |without sound save the chimes on the wind.]

I have submitted Simian to Abyss & Apex, which is not what I said I was going to do the other night, but my friend who puts up with all my early drafts insisted I leave the story alone. She argues the story isn't about the world building, but about Chella loosing her son to the military and how she feels about it. I'm worried the outside world is too thin and leaves the reader wondering and wanting more info. Anyway, I gave in mostly because I agree with her, but also because I want to see what someone else thinks. Maybe it just wasn't a fit for F&SF.

Kanji has progressed. I haven't devote as much time to it as I should. I've been reading during my writing time, not because I'm behind, but because I've just wanted to read. You know, drift on someone else's written word for a change. This leads me to S. M. Stirling's The Sky People. This was a good book, fun and a throw back to stuff I read as a kid. I'm a Stirling fan and all his books have been at the very least good, most are really good to great.

I had another character introduce himself to me the other day while I was sitting and waiting at work. Most of my stories start with a quick daydream. Tomin lives in a high fantasy world rife with magic and beasties and wars and prophesies and, well, fantasy, but he could careless about any of that. He actually strives to avoid it all as part of his personal doctrine. "It's what gets people killed." He's a lot of fun if not a royal pain in the ass for his friend and business partner.

Anyway, this is me for right now here in this place.
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