Friday, September 23, 2011

What Happened At Homework Club

So, for the record? Not gonna make it on my novel writing challenge. I am closing in on it, will be done in a few days, but I found that I had a choice between working well and working quickly, and I chose the former. Still, the experiment was a rousing success. I am getting better at getting work out of myself. And this finally feels to me like something that has a chance in the market.

Next novel? Massive preparation, rapid execution. Probably won't be the next volume in the trilogy, because I want to do something fast and goofy and commercial.

Also, I lost a good chunk of time on Swill-related issues. The next issue is solidifying nicely. But in the course of that, I ran into an... amusing situation.

One of my pieces that might see publication in the next issue of Swill is also the piece that's been accepted for an upcoming Lip Service West. It originated in a blog post that I put up a while ago; I'll include a link later. You don't necessarily want to go there. But when I wrote about the dangers of working with horror? Here's a cautionary tale on the dangers of memoir. (Of course, in my case it may not be possible to distinguish the two.)

Now. I've written before of the particular lust that falls upon one when a story is submitted that is not... quite... there. It's a form of pimple-squeezing, let's not dignify it any more than we have to. When Rob Pierce saw the piece, he said, "I want more details. The little things. I want to be grossed out. And this isn't a romance. Where's the fucking love? You're not tearing my fucking heart out."

Rob has a distinct editorial approach.

So I ponder. I think back. I summon mental images. I return to that frame of mind.

Ooh, there it is. I kind of hate Rob, but not as much as I hate my brain.

So I beef up the gore and the emotional content, and send the revised version out to Rob and, since it's going to Lip Service West, Joe Clifford as well.

Joe responds with terrifying promptness. And his request?

My depression needs to be more visible.

Well, that's a new one. It's certainly something I could do.

So I did it.

And I sent the newly-revised version on.

So then comes the Wednesday night Homework Club meeting. I wish I could show you a clip of how this went. You kind of need to know the cast of characters in order to get the full effect. Rob's small, lean, blonde, bit of a roosterish affect -- verbally aggressive, forward in his body language. Warren Lutz is tall, gentle, soft-spoken if not particularly quiet. I am about what you would expect. Maybe a little more so.

Rob: The ending reads like a punchline. This is a romance. Romance needs to be like a spike through the chest!

(Do you ever have difficulty refraining from comment? I did, right then.)

The Oaf: Okay, okay, I'll turn it over in my head and see what I can do. But Jesus! I send you an amusingly macabre little anecdote (Yeah, I do talk like that.) and between you and Joe it's turning into this fucking nut-crusher. It was supposed to be a fucking punchline!

Rob: Anecdote? Anecdote? When I first read your fucking anecdote on your blog it wrecked my whole Saturday! It was the most fucking depressing thing I ever read! And now I've read this like seven or eight times and I can't feel anything anymore! I've broken something! You've ruined me!

(Of course, nothing can live up to Rob when he is at full flood, but here's the appalling story in question. The current version is much, much, much worse.)

Warren: Well, it looks like you made Sean's day.

Sean: Rob, it ain't like I like to see you miserable. I just have to take pride in a job well-done.


Lutz said...

I'm sure my children would take issue with me being described as gentle and soft-spoken. But then, you and Rob don't sneak into my bedroom and attempt to draw on the walls with hard candy and, uh, other substances...

Sean Craven said...

Warren, you rule your house like a celebrity tyrant. It is a fascinating thing to behold.