I feel like this summer is flying by. I guess it always does, but this year it seems compounded by the vacation-followed-by-moving time warp. But I've also been pretty busy:
• Finished a new short story, "Infinity Sky," which I'm pretty excited about. This one one of those completely fulfilling writer moments, because I started this story a few years ago but couldn't get it to work: an aging rock star finds herself playing at a wedding reception and then getting mixed up in some shady business at the hotel. Then, when I saw that Grift magazine's next issue has a music theme, it all clicked into place. I submitted yesterday--we'll see. If I start writing something and abandon it, no matter how much I like it, I can almost never go back and finish. So this is especially sweet.
• Sent out The Highest Order of Angels to about twenty literary agents. Still waiting to hear back from most. I did this mainly as an experiment, because I'm totally happy with being an indie, self-published author, but I wanted to see what the experience would be like.
• Continued hate-watching Taxi Brooklyn, because I have a problem. This week's episode only featured one on-screen Surface (the tablet for people who hate fun), but they actually went for something way more blatant;
Yes, I replayed it on Hulu just so I could record this gem with my 16gb iPhone 5. (See what I did there?) There is something so awkward about how they wrote this in. It would already be suspicious if they just name-checked the Surface, given that the show's premiere was basically one long Surface commercial as it is. But the way this character says, "my Surface tablet" instead of just "my Surface" or "my tablet" seems to simultaneously convey that the show doesn't care how obvious the product placement appears, and that they're worried the Surface doesn't have enough cred for viewers to even know what it is. I mean, I think it's believable enough for a person to namecheck electronics, a la my Galaxy, my Wii, my iPad. But I don't think anyone would realistically say "my iPad tablet." Oh, but don't worry, this particular Surface turned out to be a clue in the show--they also managed to plug the fact that you can get something engraved on the back of one, should you dislike someone enough to give them one as a gift.
• Read Steven James' excellent Story Trumps Structure, which is basically a writing craft book for people who hate craft books. James advocates intuitive, "organic" writing rather that highly methodical, organized plot outlines and characterization exercises. I loved this, because nothing can kill my enthusiasm for a project quite like outlining it before I write it. Plus, unless you're writing a series with all the same characters, you can't know what someone will do or how the characters will feel until you spend time writing them--so in this way, rigidly conforming to an outline that you created before you started writing might actually keep you from seeing how the characters really should behave. Anyway, that's always been my experience, and why I usually hate craft books. James is a suspense writer, which is pretty clear throughout this book because many of his examples relate specifically to the suspense genre, but Story Trumps Structure is worth a read whether or not you're a suspense writer, whether you're an outliner or an intuitive writer, because it does give chapter after chapter of tips on how to create natural, compelling fiction without just "winging it." Especially useful is his advice on "character status" (here's a teaser--read #6)
(The writers of Taxi Brooklyn could learn a thing or two about status, quite frankly).