mer: (Not Amused (Bones))
Things that are ridiculously disheartening--

From my control panel in Duotrope:

Pending responses for last 12 months: 4 (Subscribe to a RSS feed Special RSS Feed of your Pending Submissions) BETA
Submissions sent last 12 months: 14
Submissions sent this month: 3
Acceptance ratio for the past 12 months: 30.77 %
Note: Your acceptance-rejection ratio is significantly higher than the average for users who have submitted to the same markets. Please report all your rejections as well as your acceptances. Your submission reports will be discounted by the system until your submission patterns fall within normal limits.


I've not under-reported a single rejection or submission.

I understand wanting to filter out bad data, but c'mon. I'm hardly burning up the world here with my 30% success rate, and while it is flukey, there are other legit folks who have 30% years, I'm quite certain.

I'm gonna have to write a ranty message to the Duotrope folks, I'm afraid, because I really don't need to be chastised for the truth. It's a great service. I donate to it, even.

What kind of message is that, anyway? That there's a level of success that's believable, but anything more than that, you're not a real writer? Uhm...

Look, I sold two stories last year--one new one to a great market, one reprint to a great reprint market. But this is hardly the stuff of pathological lies. For my troubles, I got 10 rejections and a dead market (and one pending response), and yes, that is a pretty fantastic rate of return, but I also made a whopping $260 on that, so come on. It's not like I'm faking acceptances from the New Yorker while secretly filing all my rejections in Peru--or insert your own strangely difficult to render politician sex scandal joke here--, and it's certainly not like I'm not reporting my rejections. There are some stories I have sold on the first time out. There are many more that I have never sold. The data backs all of that up.

What's the writing world really about if even my tiny modicum of success is considered a fabulistic outlier?
mer: (Books (carriage steps))
-Where did I put that page of notes on Victorian madness and insane asylums? REALLY. It's been days since I started looking for it.

-Is it necessary to point out random connections when I talk to people on the phone? "Hey, my name is Merrie, too!" or (today, on the phone with an ILL staff member at Northern Illinois University) "Do you know [ profile] rarelylynne? Because I do!"

-Am I overdrying my skin by taking too hot showers, or is it okay because I used that stinky, oily body scrub from Aveda that was in my Christmas stocking?

-Don't put that stinky, oily body rub in your Christmas stocking next year.

-Possibly also, stuffing your own stocking isn't really that fun, but I don't want to miss out on the cool Sharpies I buy for everyone else. Conundrum!

-Here's a page of notes on what constitutes a "proper English education": dress, conversational subjects, musical instruments, singing, dancing, speaking French. Possibly also: needlework, the getting up of fine linen and ironing. In addition to that, Jane Eyre was able to teach history, geography, and the use of a globe, plus grammar and writing. On my notescrap, I have also written "maybe arithmetic" but I don't know where I got that from. Most of the rest of the information came from Understanding Jane Eyre: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources and Historical Documents. Which I need to check out from the library again. Because I did not take adequate enough notes on insane asylums.

-The Herbalist's Apprentice, as a spoken phrase, is occasionally too easy to trip over. You have to jump in, and elide the sibilants or die trying.

-I am rereading some of Anne McCaffrey's romances with a more critical eye to the gender politics. And I wanted to wash myself. And I was actually doing the re-reading in the bathtub, so you see how bad that is. (FOR EXAMPLE: "He clipped one warm, strong-fingered hand under my elbow, and I have never been omre conscious of a square inch of my own flesh than that moment. As if he sensed my reaction, he removed his hand and gave me a quick searching look. 'It's a cup of coffee, Miss Dunn, not an invitation to rape!'" UHM, DUDE, DID YOU JUST CASUALLY BRING UP RAPE (as in you-and-me-time) WHILE TRYING TO INVITE ME FOR COFFEE? This conversation is OVER.)

-On the other hand, I thought this book was just lovely when I was younger, and thus I have faith that The Kids These Days are going to come through the Twilight-era just fine.

-I *seriously* could not love Cougar Town and Community more. Cougar Town *is* Scrubs, reborn without daydreams and internal monologue. The cast interactions have gelled so fantastically that it reads like a sitcom that's been on the air for years. Community is a bit more self-aware and absurd, but it's very emotionally truthful. Between those two shows and Castle, I could get by with watching only shows that start with the letter C, if I had to. (But I would be sad to miss Tabatha's Salon Takeover, which is mine and Kayla's new thing, because we love competent women who make people cry.)

-HEY! I just found my old collection of fortune cookies. (My current ones are: "Adventure can be real happiness" and "Use your instincts now." My old collection includes "Education is the movement from darkness to light." (I wrote beneath that one: "So is phototropism."))

-And THAT is a picture of the Bronte parsonage in snow. *grab* Need that for my Jane Elliott collage.

-I purchased STORY by Robert McKee on, and started listening to it today. And promptly turned it off, after screaming obscenities at it. Mr. McKee says that because we are all horrible, cynical people with eroded values who live and breathe by the code of relativism, that there has been an erosion of story. We can't get good stories from Hollywood because we don't have the morals to appreciate story. We can't tell good stories because we can't impart the values that people need to know.


Did I mention I was SCREAMING obscenities at my radio after this? Because, between Unitarian Universalism, anthropology, and a particular preference for the protection of civil liberties, I am, yes, deeply relativist in my moral world view. Cultural relativism, mainly--as long as it doesn't impede on individual human rights. Informed consent, mutual consent, and consent in general--as long as there's that, people should be allowed do what they need to do, and I should not be allowed to stop them. To me, that is the core of my value system, and my ethics system. (I think library-ness comes in there, too--the ALA Code of Ethics comes in there, too; I haven't worked in libraries for 15 years without that stuff seeping in.)

I promise you, my being what I believe to be a reasonable human being does NOT impede my ability to deal in story. Either to hear it or to tell it.


-Anger aside, I am going to a) start cleaning the basement tomorrow; b) buy a new heat register at the hardware store so we can stop baking our plants on the plant stand; c) schedule a massage.

-And d) finish finishing my damn book

-I got more and more anxious while thinking about going back to my new doctor, the one who was so terribly dismissive of my heel pain, and on top of that, when I asked to have a pelvic exam, basically said, "Why would you want one of those?" Like, dude. You're a doctor. AREN'T YOU SUPPOSED TO BE TELLING ME TO GET ONE? And also, she didn't care about any of my other bloodwork, even though my good cholesterol is too low, and other things. All she cared about was my vitamin D. So anyway, I got a recommendation from the fabulous [ profile] redmomoko, and I'm going to go see her doctor. But not until May. Because that's how far out they're scheduling her. WHATEVER. NEW DOCTOR, YAY. Old doctor? NOT A GOCTOR! (tip of the hat to [ profile] porphyrin and [ profile] mrissa and Robin, there.)
mer: (Reading (Liza Bennet)) without cynicism wildly romantical without being romance-focused entanglingly character-driven
...has characters with swords
...has mysterious religions written with transparent prose so I don't have to fight my way through it going, "Wait, this is what I wanted, but it's not."
...has assassins. Good assassins.
...and gruff old men with hearts of gold
...and lost heirs in disguise
...and is basically all wish-fulfillment fantasy, all the time, but for girls who used to like unicorns but don't anymore
...and maybe there's a desert. And if there's no desert, there's a mountain fastness. And if there's no mountain fastness, there's a some other fancy, dominating landscape.

I want, basically, The Blue Sword again for the first time. Plus a little Seven Daughters for Seven Sons and a lot of Crown Duel, and maybe even a tiny bit of Dragonsong, with a dash of David Eddings and Mercedes Lackey (no really). And little tiny bit of I Capture the Castle, but only in the voice.

Anyone know where I can find that?
mer: (Default)
There is serious, spring-like birdsong going on outside, and the sun is up and bright, and I can almost FEEL the upness and the brightness of said sun, but it's only 13 degrees (F).

*flops back onto bed with the disappointment of a thwarted walk*

I was seriously considering going to the park until I checked the temperature. It's really gotta be at least 30 for that.

This next bit is grim.

Apparently, Sarah Connor is not John Connor's mother. Because her blood type is O (negative, not that this matters) and John's is AB (negative, I think).

ARGH. *tears hair* It's not that hard to get these things checked in a script (or book or story) people. HIRE ME if you don't have any geeky and/or pedant friends. I know enough things, and the things I don't know, I check. If you're gonna go ahead and say that the mom is O and the son is AB, this HAS to be a set-up for "she's not really my mom." And if that's the set-up for The Sarah Connor Chronicles, I'll eat my left shoe, because the whole series is predicated on "she's my mom." (Or rather, "I'm her son.") The necessity of biological motherhood (and fatherhood) to the plot of the whole Terminator series is RATHER SIGNIFICANT.

I was a biology geek in school, and I'd have known this stunk badly--maybe not since I did my first punett square in 6th grade, but certainly by 10th grade, and probably somewhere in 8th. Maybe it's not that obvious to everyone who has ever done a modicum of the biological study of humans. Maybe I am totally over-reacting on how obvious I think this is--I did major in biological anthropology, and I sometimes overestimate just how much other people know (or even care) about things like this, and I also sometimes underestimate how much I actually learned in college. But I work in a library and haven't done anything at all with my degree (beyond the paces I put it through towards writing science fiction), so I tend to think of myself as an uneducated layman--which would be fair, but is also a little bit not fair, because I do also spend time mentally calculating possible genotypes of friends and family whenever I notice certain traits. ALL THE SAME, THEY COULD HAVE CALLED ME, AND I WOULD HAVE TOLD THEM THAT THEY DIDN'T NEED TO BUILD FAKE TENSION WITH THE RARITY OF THE AB BLOOD-TYPE when the tension was really about something else anyway, and a B or an A blood type would have worked just as well and would not have introduced the impossibility of Sarah being John's biological mother*.


*A and B are co-dominant. If you're AB, you got an A gene from one parent and a B gene from another parent. O is recessive. If you're O, you have no B or A anywhere in ya, because you only express O if your genotype is OO. You can't then give a B or an A gene--you don't have one to give. No O can give birth to or father an AB kid. The other parent can supply an A or a B, but can't supply both to one kid, so an OO (expressed as an O, like Sarah), depending on the genotype of the other parent, can produce and O, A or B kids, but never ever ever ever an AB. EVER.

Knowing all of this (and a few other things) is how they used to do paternity tests, in the days before DNA testing. It couldn't give conclusive results, but it did rule out impossible fathers. Such as O fathers and AB kids.


Jul. 31st, 2004 01:26 pm
mer: (if I were me)
I meant to write today. Today was going to be the writing day. But by the time I sat down to do this thing, it was noon, and by the time I actually opened a file, the doorbell rang and I had to go talk to a neighbor today about our blue spruce trees they're going to cut down. (The property line runs right through the trunks, so they're just as much their blue spruce trees as ours, and neither Dann nor I want to quibble, plus this would do good things for the veggie garden boxes, and they're only going to take one down.)

(Oh, yay! I finally heard a cicada! Yay, yay, yay! I'm disappointed that it's not been raucous cicada nightmare, after all the anticipation about Brood X. I like markers to the years, particularly non-harmful-just-annoying markers, like raucous cicada nightmare could have been.)

Anyway, it's 1:30. We have to leave at 3:30 for ah, uhm, a thing I can't report on just in case there's more journal readership than I think. It's a good two hours to work, and that's not anything to sneer at, but it's not enough time to get into the intensive novel work I was thinking of today. The novel work I was thinking of today will involve at least 20 minutes of scrubbing in order to provide the proper sterile operating environment before I open her up. The liver is in the wrong place, you see. So, I'm going to have to dig up something less intensive to work on, like maybe, "The Paradise Covenant." Which is a much less bad story than I remembered it being, and I don't need to rewrite it from the ground up. I have some lovely So-Fic (Social Fiction, as opposed to Science Fiction, mwaha, watch me *not* coin words right there) in it, including a backlash against psychiatry. Woo. I'd totally forgotten that.

But, still. Grumpy, because my plan has been derailed. Do you think if I tried to write for eight hours a day on my vacation, anyone would let me? I don't think so, either. Oh, they'd say they'd let me, but they wouldn't, really. Dann's not as bad as my mom was when I was growing up, who in turn wasn't as bad as my grandparents...

But let's face it, the problem with living with non-writers is that they don't realize how the process works. That yes, you-the-writer are allowed to get up, leave the quiet area, initiate conversation, rant, wring hands, call someone on the phone, eat snacks, dramatically beat the keyboard, demand that anyone around illustrate some fine point of wrestling, knife-fighting or kissing (depending on appropriateness), beg for help on word-choice and discard all their suggestions as too banal, and otherwise be an apparently interactive (and yet irritating) member of society/the family while writing. Because, in-between, you're dashing back to the computer and typing furiously, headphones on and head down and not talking to anyone. It might not look like working, but it is; that's how it is when I'm writing fast. That's a 10k day, right there.

Inevitably, the not-writers come up to you and demand that you take out the garbage, because it's apparent that you're not really working, or interrupt you in the middle of the typing-furiously-time to ask if you want snacks--because clearly, you're interruptable, look at the crazy stuff you just did in the last half-hour--or just want to know where they left the hairbrush/remote control/car keys... Or even better, little nine-year-old non-writers come in and want to "watch you work." Uhm... And boom, you're out of crazy writer world. "Gaugh!"

And that's the best-case scenario--that's if anyone even respects the quiet area. Often times, the quiet area becomes the TV-watching area, or the loud conversation area, or the sleeping area. Or the brushing teeth area. (That one I still don't get.) And you get told that you were crazy to expect the quiet area to remain the quiet area, and don't you have an office?. Well, I do, as it happens, and it's full of guestbed, and it gets hot, and some days, you just can't work in the same place. Even so, I don't have an office at the lake. And I believe the nearest Starbucks or Borders to the lake might be in Grand Rapids, which is a bit of a haul. And if you do retreat to an office or even a bedroom, you get lambasted for being anti-social.

Am I going to offend everyone in my family with this one? Probably. Please keep in mind I'm basing this on years and years of experience, from age 11 on up to now. And that I wasted 40 minutes of completely interrupt-free time while Dann sleeps in the other room to complain about how my time is devalued. Because I'm hilariously hypocritical like that.

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