Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Take whatever you can, girl

Thanksgiving was both a bust and a blessing. I spent the weekend home with the stomach flu and the dog, while Steve and the boys headed to Tennessee to spend a couple of days at Steve's brother's house. It was a quieter than normal celebration there, too, because the other brother didn't make it and the sister was also home with stomach flu. (But with three kids instead of a dog. I think I got the better deal.) By Thursday evening, however, I was able to do some writing. Actually, I was given no choice by my muse, who finally shared with me exactly how the Heimdal story ends. It was one of those very exciting moments when you feel like you've been struck by a bulldozer of inspiration.

Friday I went back to work on a short short story I've been working on for an anthology call for submissions. The anthology's theme is the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and I had this old rough draft sitting around that seemed well-suited for it, so I've been fiddling with making it a final draft. In the course of rewriting, I switched the story to first person, present tense in the interest of making it more immediate, so I could connect better to the story's protagonist. I hadn't looked at it for the better part of two weeks when I sat down with it Friday. The very first thing I did upon trying to read it was say (to the dog, who likes to help me read), "Ugh!" Which, translated, turned out to mean that the viewpoint and tense of the story were so utterly jarring and artificial-seeming that I couldn't even begin to read it. So I offered up a silent apology to the friend I'd already sent a draft of the story to and then went back to my computer and changed the story back to third person past tense before even attempting any other revisions.

By Friday night, I had a finished draft and cover letter for "On A Black Horse" and eventually managed to convince myself to push the Send button already. I then switched back to working on the Heimdal story and found, upon doing a read-through to make notes for further rewriting and revision, that the story was... Way better than I thought it would be. I found things that needed work, yes, but they were much smaller and lower level changes than the big gaping holes I'd expected to see. It was like watching a bunch of scattered kaleidoscope pieces suddenly fall into a pattern that looked like something real. So I waded in, revised and reread and revised some more, put together the cover letter and did some final polishing and formatting, and managed to convince myself to hit the Send button on Monday evening.

So. Two more stories out into the wild blue. I have no idea how either will fare, so I'm aiming for cautiously hopeful and attempting to move on. The anthology deadline isn't until Dec. 31, so I won't hear back on that story until mid-January, and the Heimdal market has a 3-4 month turnaround time. That's way too long to sit around waiting to hear back, so the plan is to not wait around.

In other news, Joe-Bear got the results from his high school placement tests. (Placement tests as opposed to entrance tests. They're just intended to help determine which classes and level of classes he should register for when registration rolls around.) He scored above average or high on all the categories, in the 99th local percentile (scored better than 99% of the kids who took the test the same day) in the reading category, and in the 96th percentile overall. Along with the scores, he received invitations to enroll in two honors courses his freshman year. He has been talking about high school since last year, and last night when I asked if he was interested in the honors biology class, he knocked me over with "Well, yeah. I'm thinking about chemical or electrical engineering in college." Which isn't as entirely out of the blue as you might think, since he has a cousin in each major, and his father spends a lot of time telling him how lucrative the engineering field is. But it was the first time he'd shown actual interest in it, beyond just rolling his eyes at his dad and muttering something about drums and rock bands and computer programming.

I think I'm mostly just blown away by how much thought he has put into planning for high school and college. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised to find out he's a planner.

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