Tangent Online, that touchstone of the internet’s spec-fic readership, has reviewed the heroic lay I wrote, “Hope and Erosion”, which Dragons, Knights & Angels ran as their lead story for July.
Dragons, Knights, & Angels, #34 by Donna Watkins, August 6th, 2006.
She liked it! Not only did she like it, she gave it more words than anybody else in the issue. Three whole paragraphs. Very exciting.
Interestingly, like almost everybody who critiqued this for me (with the notable exception of the WriteShop folks, who saw the first incarnation, wherein I’d made it blatantly obvious), Ms. Watkins didn’t catch on to the allegory underlying this story. She wonders why the Hermit could breathe underwater. I like what she said, though: “However, once under the waves, what he sees and experiences makes up for this overlooked detail”. It’s nice to know I can leave some things subtle and rely on the quality of the writing to carry people along.
Some people, anyway.
Well, TNEO has been over a while now. It was pretty great. I did all my crits ahead of time, which is clearly the way to go. On the other hand, next year I will definitely be re-reading both crits and stories while at TNEO, before I have to sit down face to face with the author of the story in question. Otherwise I forget what the hell I said and make a general nuisance of myself stumbling over my own thoughts.
Oh, and one other set-in-stone TNEO 2007 resolution: absolutely no pornographic scenes from romance novels shall be read aloud in any company while under the influence of delicious microbrews and whiskey. It just isn’t worth it.
Lessons learned from reading aloud, at the Slam and elsewhere: uber-poetical stuff that rolls off the tongue like music does not do well at holding audience attention. It lulls them to sleep, is what it does. Good for reading to hyperactive children, not hyperactive spec fic writers. Check. The thing to read aloud is the story with simple POV and plenty of suspense. And comedy. Boy does comedy work, if you can pull it off. Of course maybe there’s some kind of synthesis to be had here. I’m thinking The Telltale Heart. Couldn’t ask for a better read-aloud story than that. And it is certainly poetical, cadenced, like the music tuned-down violins lingering on minor chords. But I digress.
Lessons learned from other writers: (1) Pay more attention to what wins awards. (2) Stop being so touchy when it comes to form rejections. (3) Write every day (knew that already, but still counting it here).
What I’ve been up to since: Posted something in Writings about magic in the centaur world and its influences. Posted some pictures in Visions. Wrote a new story you can see if you belong to a certain elite.
A blog resolution: If everyone else can post brief inanities once a week as to the current goings on, so can I.
I will be giving a live reading on Thursday, July 27th at 6:00 PM, at the Barnes & Noble in Manchester, NH, as part of the TNEO 2006 Story Slam. Please come.
It’s free, and I believe there will be snacks.
I got my copy of the new Lady Churchill’s 18. My name is in the masthead! Don’t I feel big and important now?
I also got a response from Aunt Gwenda as regards a delicate conundrum I had been trying to avoid. Yes, I asked for help from an advice column. You are surprised? I am not. Perhaps I am more of a basket-case than I let on. Anyhow, Gwenda’s unmeasured response revealed a complete lack of compassion for the plight of stuffed animals. She insinuated none too subtly that I must be deranged for still possessing such things.
So I learned my lesson. No more advice from highfalutin strangers. Next time I’m asking my Rickys what they think.
The July issue of the christian fantasy zine Dragons, Knights & Angels will include a short story of mine called “Hope & Erosion”–a heroic lay about the value of striving against the inevitable. I wrote it in 2002, during a week I spent sitting alone on a beach in Corpus Christi.