I don’t usually write about my day job here. It’s web programming, if you want to know. And starting Monday I’m going to Philly for a week-long, 13-hour a day, programming concentration camp on the extreme reaches of .net — basically, Nothin’ but Semi-Colons for 65 hours.
So, no fiction writing next week, which sucks, because I’m in the middle of editing the second book, Oh You Pretty Things and trying to get a couple short stories jump-started. After the World Fantasy Convention in Calgary a couple weeks ago I came back with the Eye of the Tiger, the Heart of a Lion, the Ants in My Pants, and other general animal metaphors for motivation. (The ants can only be killed by sitting down on them and writing for hours a day.)
Why so motivated, Daryl? I’m glad you asked. At WFC I got to hang out with writers and editors and publishers, have Writerly Conversations (Chris Roberson is my new guru of the bar stool), hang out with great friends like Heather Lindsley, Sam Butler, and Tim Akers, get career advice from Jonathan Strahan and Lou Anders, have fan boy moments meeting comics legend Bill Willingham (Fables, The Elementals) and Dr. Who writer Paul Cornell (who also writes Captain Britain, and possesses some weird power of hilarity which — without him having to speak at all — renders waitresses helpless). Then Heather finished reading Oh You Pretty Things and gave me particularly perceptive notes which made me want to sit down and start rewriting immediately. (Also, it’s embarrassing to be asked about a plot point and not be able to remember — time to go back and see what I actually wrote.)
It was also a jolt to find out that people had been reading Pandemonium and liking it. The book was talked about it on panels — I found out the book had made the Locus Recommended Reading List for the year — a few luminaries were recomnending my short fiction. Then at parties editors were hitting me up to write stories for their anthologies.
This is deeply weird. I’ve been going to cons for a few years now feeling like a Spy in the House of SF, so it’s disconcerting to walk into a party actually knowing some of these people, and weirder, having them act like I belong there.
So, I came back primed to write. And then got almost nothing done as I caught up on the day job.
However, a few good things did appear on fiction front. First, the New York Review of Science Fiction, one of the oldest (the oldest?) and well-regarded and — get this — print magazines for criticism in the field ran a pretty damn nice review of Pandemonium. Greg Johnson said the book
…swims confidently against the tide of grand space opera and epic fantasy that dominates much of current science fiction and fantasy. And like the Minister Faust novel [mentioned earlier in the review] is the work of a young writer willing to play with the conventions of science fiction and fantasy and turn them in to a fresh, new vision of the world we live in. (Full Review)
That’s right, baby. Young writer. Which is true, career-wise, but when you’re 43 it’s always nice to sound like a young turk.
Also last week, Aaron Hughes of the Fantastic Reviews website ran the long rambling interview we did when I was in Denver for WorldCon. I cringe at some of my run-on sentences, the points that don’t quite come to a point, etc — but you can certainly tell it was done in person and that I was having a lot of fun talking about myself. Oh, and you can read Aaron’s review of Pandemonium that he ran earlier in the year.
Okay, I’m out of minutes again. It’s time to put on my programmer hat. See you on the other side, people.
3 thoughts on “Write Now! No, wait…”
We’re all young writers, man. All we need is a manifesto. Something about paradigms, or something.
I have to confess that the “young writer” phrase was an assumption based on Pandemonium being your first novel. I bet your age was mentioned somewhere there in the publicity materials, but I obviously missed it. Sounds, though, like you didn’t mind the description.
On the other hand, a couple of years ago I had to have a cyst removed from my back, and after the surgery a nurse complimented me on handling it very well for “such a young man”. (I’m 53). Some compliments, it seems, never get old.
Anyway, congratulations on the success of Pandemonium, and I’m certainly looking forward to the next one.
I don’t think my age was mentioned anywhere in the PR materials, Greg, and for good reason. I’m sure Del Rey thinks I’m more marketable as a wunderkind — like Mr. Tim Akers above — than as a guy who took way too long to get around to writing a novel. I’m very pleased to be taken for a young, feisty up-and-comer ready to overthrow the establishment. Right now I’m going to go drink a Red Bull and ride my scooter in the rain while texting my next edgy novel to my editor.
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