Sunday, September 18, 2005

Life Away from the Computer

Monkey? Alien? Trollish editor? Or maybe it's a writer who didn't ever leave her computer. We found this amazing eight foot long, two and a half foot tall section of old aqueduct or something while hiking through a botanical garden.

The current rule seems to be that you can't simply write a great book and then slink off to the woods ala JD Salinger. Sound bites are in. Curmudgeon is out. Which is really too bad, because I have that whole anti-social writer thing down to a science.

When I'm typing, you better be on fire or bleeding profusely if you plan to interrupt. If you're not, it can be arranged.

Yet I love talking to other writers.

An ERWA lister needed a place to crash for the night while visiting LA. In exchange for my couch, I got to talk to her into the wee hours of the morning about writing. I love the lists I'm on and the conversations we have, but nothing compares to a real live person. To paraphrase Kate Dominic, but not by much, "Sometimes erotica writers just need to get together and talk about blowjobs."

A couple months ago I held a writer's salon at my place. I didn't have a huge turn-out, but again, it was a great experience. The information and ideas were flying around the room. I'm still thinking back to that wide-ranging conversation.

Since I enjoy talking about writing so much, I'm thrilled to be working at the writer's workshops at Conjecture 4 (October 7-9 in San Diego.) Being edited by Marcy Sheiner was the best writing class I ever took. She changed the way I approached my stories and the way I thought about them. I hope my critiques help the writers at Conjecture the way Marcy helped me.

In other writing news, I submitted my first non-erotic story today. It's science fiction, so it isn't entirely out of my genre, but I'm so conditioned to using sex to reveal my characters that it was a challenge to rely on dialog and action outside the bedroom (men's room, elevators, picnic tables...) to tell the story. Since I like to write near-future speculative fiction, one of the biggest problems I had was that science caught up to my story while I was writing it. I thought I was imaging something fairly out there, and then some brilliant scientist announced he'd done it. There goes the "fiction" part of it.

Speaking of that submission, Richard Labonte deserves good editor karma for acknowledging my e-mail submission. I like it so much when people extend that courtesy. Whether he accepts or rejects my story, I will thank him for his manners.

On the other end of the spectrum (the yin and yang of editors), word has it that one editor of a erotica anthology only notified writers that were accepted. The rest are simply supposed to guess that they're free to submit their stories elsewhere. Not content to rely on gossip, I e-mailed the editor asking for clarification. If it's true, I would love to hear the editor's reason for such unprofessional behavior, not that any excuse would be acceptable. If I were that editor, I'd rethink my policy. Writing rejection letters is part of the job description. Unpleasant, but necessary. Running from it doesn't make you any friends. Quality submissions are going to be harder to find next time around, because writers have long memories, and we talk about editors as much as editors discuss writers. Maybe more.

If I get a reply, I'll post it here. Maybe I should evoke the curse of the monkey on trollish editors.

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