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Like I needed another lesson in humility

May 21, 2010
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I do my best thinking at night.  Even when I’m tired, the brain works better with the sun below the horizon.  It’s like the opposite of Superman, the yellow sun disrupts my superpowers.  Thus it was tonight that I realized I did something particularly stupid.  On par with sending-five-pages-too-many-to-Clarion-West stupid.

I had a copy of E.E. all printed and ready to mail, addressed envelopes and everything, on Monday when my mother asked why I hadn’t consulted my father more on this story.  Backing up, the scientific theory in E.E. was my father’s and I just provided the characters, plot, setting, and style.  I had asked if he wanted to co-author the story with me and he declined.  We discussed his scientific speculation in depth and I created the character that created the machine that exploited my dad’s theory.  I played with things a bit and created what I thought was a workable fictionalization of his idea.  I sent him a copy of a late draft of this novelette.

So I consulted dear old Dad before mailing and apparently my version of the invention was too 60’s sci-fi pulp in form for his taste.  I listened to his argument, accepted his take, and set about upping the scientific plausibility of the model.  I was pretty happy with my result but sat on it a few days before mailing it today.

No, that wasn’t right.  I mailed the old version today.  To Analog no less.  For those who don’t know, Analog is reputed for its harder SF (though by no means tied to it exclusively).

I need to hire an assistant to do things for me, things that normal human beings should be able to handle themselves, like realizing that typing new words does not change the pre-printed copy.

On the upside, I should be inventing Flubber any day now.

I am not profoundly successful (yet).  I am just a guy trying to achieve a dream and is somewhere in the middle of the yellow brick road that he’s been traveling for a decade.  But if it gives you any comfort at all, I still d really stupid things that jeopardize my success.  Little things, but significant things.  I have lost copies of stories, lost track of which version is the most recent, replaced decent prose with drek that sounded good with a few beers and no sleep, mailed wrong manuscripts, forgotten stamps on SASEs, sent IA1a outlines instead of summary outlines to agents (early career flub), trunked good stories while sending out bad melodrama, dismissed good advice, taken bad advice, and more other poor career moves than you can shake a lightsaber at.  Maybe that’s why it’s taken me ten ears to get here.  But I am a Writers of the Future winner with 11 published stories and a novel in the works.  Even I was able to do this.  Stubbornness and drive are as important as talent and organization.  You can do this if you don’t get in your own way.

This public service announcement comes from a guy trying to make something good come from his chaotic stupidity, the letters D, U, and H, and the number 8.

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