Friday, May 30, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Pulp Archaeologist Meme Exchange

For a piece with a superior title, head over to the Prince of Cairo's blog for Indiana Jones And The Satisfactory Franchise Installment. Ken Hite is a delightful film analyst.

I was much more interested in being old enough to get a lot of the film-makers' references. There are several points of the film that have been borrowed from the Stephen Sommers Mummy franchise, which I thought was fairly interesting. Between the insta-flensing bugs, and the the loss of a certain character in a very Benny-like fashion (you'll see it coming), it was a fascinating experience. There's even a bit of Tomb Raider as Indy jumps around on big, square boxes. Both of these franchises were heavily influenced by Indiana Jones, and it was a lot of fun to watch the original borrow back.

I've got a couple of criticisms, but I'll concentrate on one: the big fistfight. Indy is a pulp hero. He's an academic who gets into bar brawls, he's not a professional fighter. He uses trickery and Robert Howard-level endurance to win. The other guy pounds Indy until he comes up with a way to win the fight (the propellers of a flying wing come to mind). In the original film, we winced at the big fist-fight, but we knew Indy could take it. He's tough. The paradigm shifts when there's a thirty year-old in his prime pounding on a sixty year-old Indy. Yes. Indy is tougher than a oak stump, and we know he's going to win, but we also know that this stuff hurts more when you're sixty.

But this is minor. The film is a good, enjoyable Indiana Jones romp. There are some brilliantly assembled moments ("Part time."). Harrison Ford gives credibility to anything that comes out his mouth, and the rest of the cast is quite solid.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hey, a New Experience!

Mood: Figety

Well, for the first time ever, I've gotten a proof of a project I'm in, and I get to scan through my story it and see what errors have been made by the editor and company. This is reassuring because it gives me something to do, and tells me that Cthulhu Unbound is progressing.

The majority of the errors are, however mine. I want to take whole unnecessary phrases out of about half the pages, but that's not what this is about. I caught a few things here and there, a dropped word, an m-dash that should be a hyphen, little stuff. Kind of neat to be doing a part of the process I've heard about, but never done myself.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Stings a Bit...

Mood: Needy

This is my rejection letter for "Tatterdemalion," from, Vince Liaguno at Dark Scribe Press for their gay horror themed anthology Unspeakable Horror: From the Shadows of the Closet. I had sent in my story "Sire," and to my surprise I received a request to revise the story and resubmit. The good people at Dark Scribe sent me two pages of revision suggestions; what they liked, what they thought was weak.

So I spent a lot of January hammering away at the story, revising the weak spots, and changing the ending.

And on February 26th, I received this rejection letter:

Dear Mr. Goodrich:

Thank you for submitting your short story for our consideration in the Unspeakable Horror: From the Shadows of the Closet anthology. We gave the revised version of "Tatterdemalion" a thorough read.

Although you successfully incorporated much of our feedback, the ending just doesn't work for us. You quite successfully craft an excellent psychological portrait of a closeted man at war (literally) with himself, but the supernatural ending seems tacked on and doesn't seem to connect with the story that preceded it.

Regrettably, we're going to release "Tatterdemalion" back to you from our consideration at this time with our best wishes that your story finds a suitable home.


Vince A. Liaguno, Editor-in-Chief
Dark Scribe Magazine

Well that stings a bit. It's a great letter, and many thanks to Vince for going the extra mile and being personal. There are a couple of submissions where I've essentially had to imply that I've been rejected, because nobody has bothered to get back to me.

I need to look at this and realize that I got a call-back where most people simply got a rejection. I was good enough to get a request to revise, but not quite good enough to get into the anthology. And I was not the subject of the "Tips of the month" that listed the common problems with submissions. No psycho trannies or man-hating lesbians in my story, and no one's unmentionables were mutilated.

But let's do this Heinlein's way, by the numbers:

For November:
* Total # of queries = 19
* Total # of greenlighted queries = 19
* Total # of actual new submissions = 18

* Total # of re-submissions from previous month(s) = 1

Disposition of submissions:

* Accepted = 3 (2 new/1 re-submission)
* Rejected = 10
* Held for second reading = 4
* Revisions requested from authors = 2

And in February:

* Accepted = 3
* Rejected = 15
* Held for second reading = 1
* Revisions requested from authors = 1

This was the first pro-pay (5 cents a word) anthology I've ever submitted to. Although it's cold comfort, I came close, and I have to remember that I didn't consider "Sire" to be a particularly good shot in the first place. I really got my hopes up when I was asked to revise, and although I made the piece stronger, it wasn't quite enough. While I'm not in the anthology, I do now have a story that is substantially better than it was in December. And even if it didn't make it into Unspeakable Horror, I think I've got a shot at placing it somewhere else.

Time to stop feeling sorry for myself and take a look at the markets again.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Now That's Being Dominant!

Mood: Not yet awake

Nine years ago, I interviewed San Francisco Bay Area dominatrix Mistress Selina Raven. It was an interesting experience, a little adventure into the world of kink that I didn't understand. That interview has become one of the most consistently-read articles on my website.

Well, Mistress Selina Raven was chosen by the San Francisco Bay Guardian as their Best Dang Dominatrix of 2007. That's pretty big: it's not like she's been awarded "Best Dominatrix in Pownal." There's a lot of kinky stuff in the Bay Area, and to be recognized for it indicates that she's really gotten somewhere in her profession. Her website (Not safe for Work!) is quite interesting, and her writing about what she does is very clear.

If you've consistently looked at dominance and submission in askance, I suggest a visit to her site. She lays out in pretty clear terms what she does and says a few words about the psychological underpinnings of it all.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mood: Lord of the Bananas

Despite my complaining about it, the writing group really liked the story that I messed up my April to write. While I am pleased, I also hope that it won't take that sort of manic obsessiveness to make a good story every time.

I have subsequently increased my day goal from 1,000 words to 1,500 words. The difference is rather surprising—it has taken me only three days to get past the half-way mark with the story, and I've really only got two more days' work to get the first draft done. That's pretty fast, considering that I've been writing a story a month for the past four months.

The down side is that I'm really going to annoy my writing group, since we meet once every other week.

I appear in Privateer Press's No Quarter #18. My brother decided to take some clever pictures at Templecon, and I was part of the execution.

On Saturday, I also won my first bout against the teacher of my fencing class. I've been trying to do this for nearly four years, so I'm pretty pleased.

And I've just promised to go to a roller derby on May 31st with the estimable Dr. Paffenroth. It's the first (encounter? game?) of the season, the Hudson Valley Horrors vs the Lehigh Valley Rollergirls. I have virtually no idea how rollerball is played, and the last sports event I went to was during high school, but this looks like it won't be a night of the same-old, same-old.