Tuesday, June 15, 2010

On being an editor, and what I'm looking for...

Now that the first round of submissions for FlagShip is over (okay, technically, you still have about an hour to get your stuff in as of this posting), I realize a couple of things.
First, having someone respond positively to the feedback you give them, and hopefully write a stronger story because of it is a fantastic feeling.
Second, it seems to be a lot easier to write doom, gloom, and cynicism than it is to write optimistic and uplifting. Maybe it's the culture at large, maybe it's the writerly mindset. Whatever it is, it makes me realize that it's easier to write angst and sturm and drang than not. And a sense of wonder? Whoof. You might as well be asking for someone to turn lead into gold.
Maybe as an editor, I wasn't entirely clear on what I'm looking for in my short story fiction. So I'm going to explain the best way I know how... by using COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF ANIME MUSIC.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Cost vs. Value

I’ve been sick for the last few days. (Why, yes, I’m feeling much better today, thanks for asking.) During a particularly lucid period, I decided to catch up on a lot of the RSS feeds I haven’t been paying enough attention to lately.
Anyway, one of the items that really got me thinking yesterday was this one from TechDirt: "Scott Adams: The Economic Value Of Content Is Going To Zero, But Maybe It's Okay".
Mike Masnick is a smart guy, and he does a lot of thinking about this kind of thing. And since I’ve got this little e-publishing venture launching its first issue in about four weeks, it’s got me thinking about things like cost, price, and value.
The specific bit that sunk its hooks into my brain was this:

“The economic value of that content doesn't go to zero. The price of that content may approach zero, but as we've pointed out over and over again price and value are not the same thing. In fact, there may be tremendous economic value in that content -- it's just that the economic value is realized elsewhere, by making something else gain a higher price.”
Now, as someone that’s starting a business that aims to survive (at least in the short term) by asking you to pay a price for content, that hit me right between the eyes. As I started thinking about it, I realized that I’d seen it in my own life.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Taking it too seriously?

Well, I certainly didn't mean to take two months from the time I wrote the last post here to this one.

But having said that, I have been thinking an awful lot about what I should be doing. And I haven't been sitting on my hands. But me starting an e-publishing company isn't getting you stories. Oh, I've been thinking and thinking. Do I want to go back to writing novels? Does it make sense to keep on doing the short stories? How about the possibility of doing serialized work? Jonathan Coulton did the Thing a Week, and that worked out pretty well for him. Does the forced march make sense here?

The only thing I haven't been doing, alas, is actually writing new fiction. This is a problem. Moreover, I seem to be so obsessed with getting the RIGHT answer that it's not allowing me to take action. Even writing this blog post could be a procrastination technique on my part. (curse you, insidious procrastination!)

I don't know what to do. And it's really, REALLY bugging me.

On Saddles, and Getting The Frakkin' Heck Back On Them...

There's a concept in physics known as potential energy. Wikipedia describes it as the energy stored within a physical system as a result of the position or configuration of the different parts of the system. It has the potential to be converted into kinetic energy - motion - and in the process, do work.
I've just spent Memorial Day weekend at Balticon, in Baltimore, MD, USA, hanging out with and learning from some of the most creative and inspiring people I know. Authors, producers of audio, artists, (got to meet Howard Tayler, of schlockmercenary.com, and was promptly embarrassed by the implications of the Poke-Ball shirt I was wearing).
There's been a lot of inspiring discussion. I've gotten some good information. I've talked with a bunch of people about this project I'm doing at www.flyingislandpress.com, and there's been some encouraging developments along those lines. I am stoked. Recharged. Repositioned.
But that doesn't do anyone any good (aside from the warm fuzzies), unless that potential is converted into actual work. If anything, that's the lesson I'm taking away from Nathan Lowell, P.G. Holyfield, Patrick McLean, Tee Morris, Philippa Ballantine, Mur Lafferty, and everyone else. We only have so much energy to expend in a day. Let's use that to do good work.