August 31, 2012

Redux: Where I Write

As time goes on, I find there's a topic from my old (decommissioned) live journal that I wish people might have read. So I post it here as a "redux", meaning I haven't changed anything, so some of it may be out of date. Still, the heart of the post is worthwhile, so I post it for you to read. In case you're wondering, I settled on THE TRIAD SOCIETY as the final title.


How strange. I seem to have fallen into a pattern of posting every other week on a Thursday. That is unintentional. June is my busiest month out of the year and this year was particularly bad. The amount of dreck that came out of editorial was massive. The worst offenders submitted and then promptly left on vacation. Jerks.

But that's not what this post is about! I just had to get that off my chest. (The last month really has been miserable in that respect. So much more work than was necessary to complete these projects. Sometimes it took me longer to decipher what was needed than to actually create the ebook!)

Have you heard of The Rejectionist? She's a popular insider/industry blog, written by an anonymous agent assistant. Her agent reps fantasy, too. She seems like a pretty cool assistant to work for. I hope she works for an agent I query and not one I've stricken from my query list. I think we'd have a fun dynamic working together (though her tastes lean toward classic metal and maybe some NWBHM while I lean toward Nu Metal and Metalcore). (Interesting aside, I plugged Metalcore into Last FM the other day. I was pleased it recognized the genre, but displeased when it spat death metal at me instead. I know the difference, Last FM! Don't try and fool me!)

Now, we don't always see eye to eye. She reminds me of Anna Genoise a lot in her absolutist take on prejudice and discrimination. While we all agree that discrimination based on gender, ethnicity, or sexual preference is wrong, I tend to lean toward a "multiple factors" approach rather than pointing a finger and calling for the torches and pitchforks. Still, I enjoy her blog. She has sass and I'm a sucker for sass.

Well, last Friday she made a proposal. Don't tell, show us where you write. It's a common question, "Where do you write?" That and When... At home, on the porch, whatever. Writers tend to adopt favorite spots, locations where they are most productive. Some people go to Borders every day and that's how they do their thing (I've tried this and neither Borders nor Barnes and Noble are conducive to maximum output). Instead of just saying where we write, which has become almost rote memorization by now, we should show it.

Now for me, I write in public places, so I limited my pictures so I wouldn't creep people out by taking pictures of them. If you've followed this journal or read my website, you know I love breakfast food. I like it from a diner. And I like it at a counter. Specifically, I like Jackie's Diner. (I also enjoy Dylan's in Chelmsford as a second option.)



I went to Jackie's with my wife when we first moved to Nashua. I tried the coffee and it blew my mind. They serve Green Mountain coffee. If you live outside of the Northeast corridor, this is the coffee the serve at McDonald's except without the shit ton of sugar that McD's adds. Specifically, they serve breakfast blend which is the awesomest coffee ever. Enjoying the coffee, I went back. And back. And back. I am now a regular and eat at the counter with other regulars. They know I write and mostly leave me to my devices (especially when I stare off into space). We can differ on politics, which is a big deal in New Hampshire, and other things, but that's all cool because we're all regulars. The waitresses know what I do and they support me in my effort even though the owner Carol doesn't like laptops. Mine doesn't take up a lot of space, thankfully.



She's okay with it. I'll give her a signed copy when I finally get published. Coffee, pancakes, eggs, more coffee. Who couldn't write like this? My brain is powered by breakfast! Rrraaaaaaahhhh!!!!!!

Problem is, because I'm such a regular, they like to talk to me. That's all right. That's more of an early morning or weekend writing spot. I get the bulk of my writing done on the MBTA commuter rail between Lowell and Boston North Station. Getting a job in Boston has proven to be one of the greatest events of my life. Not only because I work for a much better publisher than I used to (which I do), but because now I have a commute. This was hard to get used to and some days it still runs me down. Getting home at 6:15 in the evening being "early" sucks. Getting home at 10:00 at night sucks more. But despite all that, the commute has proven the absolute best thing that has ever happened to my writing. It is time that can't be taken away (except by standing room only and shrieking children). I tried to set boundaries with my wife when we first moved in together (before we were married, because you know you were asking). It would last for a few weeks and then dissolve. This can't be taken away. This is dedicated writing time. Two hours of writing a day, one hour each way. I wrote BLACK MAGIC AND BARBECUE SAUCE and WANTED: CHOSEN ONE, NOW HIRING in a year's time because I rode this train. People think I rushed or I didn't revise. Nope. Two hours a day, five days a week and then writing at Jackie's on the weekend. That netted me two novels. Bam!



My regular seat was taken when I took this picture. I was in one of those sideways facing seats that fold up when no one is in them, so I couldn't frame the best picture I wanted. But writing on the train is writing on the train regardless of where you sit. This is also why I use an Eee PC (early gen netbook if you don't know what that is). Like any good fantasist, I have a bit of a belly, so using a full-size laptop is kind of hard. And who needs it? I can type on this thing and that's all I need. Type type type.

After taking this picture, I worked on my WIP for the rest of the ride in. I will do the same on the way home. Later this year, I will have another completed manuscript to send to agents and eventually I'll crack this glass ceiling and publish my damn books!

And who knows, when I finally do, maybe the Rejectionist will be the assistant who pulls my work out of the slush pile. (That's Joseph L. Selby, Le R. The next work you'll receive from me will be either THE TRIAD SOCIETY or THE HOOK AND HAMMER SOCIETY depending on which title I finally settle on. Get ready with a request for a full! ;)

2 comments:

  1. When I used to work in San Francisco, I'd take the BART every day. I couldn't focus at all. I commend you for busting out those novels while on the train.

    When I write, I tend to binge. I'll do it maybe once or twice a week, but when I do, I'll go for hours in almost a trance. When I'm lucky enough to have my schedule wide open, I can get a hell of a lot done. I need about a third one one book is roughly a week or so. It's not prolific compared to some things I've heard (Harlan Ellison writing an entire book in a day) but I don't think it's too shabby :P

    I tend to write best at home. There are no good coffee shops or diners nearby where I can comfortably hole up, so it's not much of a choice to begin with.

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  2. When I was a bachelor, I could go hours writing at a time. I get a few hours on the weekends, but mostly my writing is confined to my commute. My wife and I are much busier than we used to be, so we make sure we have time together.

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