Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky. (slithytove) wrote,
Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky.

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Let's sail till we come to the edge

New Year's resolutions, 2004:

  1. I shall write, and attempt to publish, fiction.

That's it? Hey, haven't we seen that one before?

Yes, that was last year's resolution, too. So, how did I do?

In 2003 I wrote 30,000 words of a novel, Spirit Road. I know, that's pitiful. But one of the reasons it's so little is that sometime in May I decided that it's absurd to write a novel only to find out at the end that you stink. It makes more sense to write short stories and find out you stink: the feedback process is faster. So my revised plan was to write short stories for a while,  polish my craft, rack up some publication credits, and grab a little whuffie for when the time came to hit up agents and publishers.

But no battle plan, as they say, survives contact with the enemy.

Since May I've written 10 short stories, about 50,000-60,000 words total. I've made one sale and collected 19 rejections. Five stories are out there, crawling the spec fic slush piles of the world. Two more are ready to go, and will probably go out tomorrow.

So, the year could have been worse. Could have been better. Moving right along, then:

In support of the above resolution, I will:

  • Spend a minimum of two hours of Butt in Chair (BiC) daily, writing. Output should be 400-500 words a day, or around 160,000 for the year, roughly double what I did this year.
  • Enough of the above time will be applied to the novel to finish it.
  • Apply to the Clarions. Attend one if accepted.

Realistically, I'm not going to be able to write every day. Life interferes. But for a single guy with stable and predictable employment, it should be possible most days, and hours of BiC missed can be made up on days off work. I don't think this plan is unrealistic.

My favorite vice, I'm afraid, is Sloth. I am easily distractible, and too fond of surfing the web for shiny things. Yes, I've found a lot of neat stuff which may wind up in stories some day, but those stories must be written. Still, my output last year was better than I could have realistically expected, based on my fiction-writing history. I'm actually pleasantly surprised. Now I must do better.

And we close with a quote from the end of Thomas M. Disch's Camp Concentration (a highly-recommended novel; ignore the depressing title):

It is December 31, another tidiness. Today Mordecai said: "Much that is terrible we do not know. Much that is beautiful we shall still discover. Let's sail till we come to the edge."

meaning: long time, lasting

永久 == eikyuu (also pronounced tokoshie) == eternity, perpetuity, immortality
(can also be pronounced 'towa', which apparently only can mean 'eternity')
久し振り == hisashiburi == for the first time in a long while (a common greeting when meeting someone one hasn't seen in a while: "hisashiburi, desu ne?")

Obscure origin. Henshall suggests taking the left part as a 'stooping person', and the right stroke as a prop, and as a mnemonic: 'Support from skilled hands facilitates craft.'

Stroke order from Josh's Chinese Lookup Thingy (animated)
Stroke order from Taka Kanji Database
Other info from Taka Kanji Database
Gahoh kanji movie

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