Apr 06 2010

Attention, Furries!

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If you haven’t yet, pick up a copy of Divine Misfortune, by A. Lee Martinez. One of the main characters is a raccoon god in a Hawaiian shirt and sunglasses, fercryin’outloud.

Only 1/3 of the way through it so far, but so far it’s a fairly zippy and enjoyable story. Full review when I’m done.

-The Gneech

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Apr 05 2010

Gettin’ Serious

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I’ve mentioned (here and elsewhere) that with the wrapping up of Suburban Jungle, one of the things I intended to take on was “getting serious” about my writing … and indeed, the recent revamp of gneech.com was part of that. But among other things, getting serious is also going to need to include a pretty drastic inversion of the way I even think about my writing.

For the most part, over the course of my life, I’ve written what I felt like writing and then looked for people I thought would be interested in it. This works to a certain extent and is perfectly suitable for writing-as-hobby. Certainly it worked for Suburban Jungle, which I always looked at as a labor of love and assumed would never “make it big.” Very valuable as a learning experience, but something of a 10-year-detour from a professional point of view.

But to start getting somewhere as an actual, y’know, paid writer, I’m going to have to flip that model around: I need to find things that people want written and are willing to pay for it, that also match (or at least closely overlap) my skillset. I mean, I could probably pull down six figures a year writing proposals for government contractors, but I would hate my life.

This is going to be a whole new set of skills for me to learn, watching markets and keeping an eye peeled for opportunities. But hopefully, it’ll also open up a lot of nifty new experiences. For instance, in response to my recent bemoaning the lack of pulps, Phil Brucato recommended Steampunk Tales, which until then I had never even heard of. That led to: “Steampunk? Me? Hmm … I might just be able to come up with something there…” I probably would never have thought of trying to write steampunk if I was just noodling around with story ideas — but upon being told “here are people looking for steampunk stories,” my brain started coming up with interesting notions and it wouldn’t at all surprise me if I toss something at Steampunk Tales in the next couple of months.

At lunch today, I bought myself a new dry-erase board to mount in the studio, next to my computer. On it I intend to write lists of things like target markets (ranging from ‘zines to guest blog spots to The New Yorker), project due dates, topics to research … anything that I want to keep Up Front and Visible in order to stay focused on it. I have until now been scribbling such things into notebooks or word processing files, which leads to them being out of sight and out of mind. Woody Allen once said that 80% of success was just showing up — and as a corollary to that I’d add that in order to show up, you have to remember that you’ve got someplace to be!

-The Gneech

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Apr 02 2010

I Miss Magazines

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What can I say? I miss magazines. Not that there aren’t magazines still around, of course, but there are so few that are worth the trouble of actually looking at. Wired is good, and if you feel like heavy lifting The Economist might do the job, but there’s nothing like, say, Punch, there are only a handful of fiction magazines and you have to dig under rocks just to get to those, etc.

The reason they’re gone, of course, is that people stopped reading them. They were supplanted by radio and TV for a long time, and nowadays the closest thing in the same niche is blogs.

Now mind you, I like blogs. I’m a texty sort of guy and finding a good blog is a joy. I’m not sure yet how blogging fits in to a writerly income, although I’m told there are people who pay their rent with it so I’m eager to learn. And with the advent of the tablet, I can foresee a world where reading comes back into vogue — done in your bed (or comfy chair, or on the bus, in the waiting room at the dentist, etc.) as in the days of old, but with a screen instead of glossy paper.

But I still miss magazines. I miss flipping pages and seeing two-page spreads, I miss finding funky stuff advertised in the back or little bits of light verse tossed into a corner because an article came up 250 words short. Most of all, I miss the sense of the “vetted writer” that magazines created. If somebody gets published (meaning, by someone other than themselves), that instantly says that their work had value in the eyes of the publisher. Not to knock self-publishing — it’s a great way to go if you’ve got the moxie — but it does have to overcome the hurdle of blowing your own trumpet. If you’ve been chosen by a publisher, that means a more objective (and certainly a more profit-oriented) party has looked at your writing and decided that it’s worth taking a risk on, even if it’s the moderately small risk of a single column in a periodic magazine.

I also miss there being a wide and ready market for short fiction. I’d be off like gangbusters if only the pulps were still around! But hey, Benny Goodman wanted to be in a jazz quartet instead of a big band, too. The world is what it is, not what we’d have it be, and one must learn to cope!

-The Gneech

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Apr 01 2010

The Long, Slow Import of the Soul

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I started a big website-related project this evening: I have transferred 48 of 300 (or so) Brigid and Greg Fictionlets to gneech.com. It only took me all night! Whoof. 0.o

WordPress has an “import from LiveJournal” option, but that would have transferred my entire LJ, comments and all, going back to 2001 or whenever it was I started posting. Yikes! There isn’t any ready way I could see to automate the import by tag. So it’s all been copy-paste-copy-paste.

I’ll be glad when it’s done, but for now … oog. Good thing there’s only 252 more to go… *collapses*

-The Gneech

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Mar 30 2010

And We Have Website!

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Permanent domain host found … check. CMS loaded … check. Content loaded from previous website … check. Snazzy layout … check!

Ladies and gentlemen, gneech.com 3.0 (for lack of a better term) is on the air! Here is where I’ll be posting stories, reflections on writing, RPG materials, new projects I may have in the works, and so on. If you’re already a follower of my LiveJournal, posts made here will be echoed there, so you don’t have to change anything. As time goes on, however, I expect the LJ to be more of a home for daily ramblings about my personal life, internet memes, or other flotsam and jetsam, whereas this site will be more oriented to what you might call the “business end” of my keyboard. And while my prose has been more or less on “the back burner” for the past several years as I concentrated on my webcomics, this year I will be picking up the slack. I’ve already got two novels under various levels of construction and am casting around for markets for other works, so I hope to have a lot of news to post here as the year goes on.

If you’re new to my work, welcome aboard! I recommend you start with the Stories, there’s some good stuff there! The Fictionlets alone should keep you going for a while! Or, if you’re more interested in comics, you might enjoy The Suburban Jungle (Starring Tiffany Tiger) or NeverNever.

Finally, if you’re trying to reach me about something, you can leave a comment on this post via the link at the bottom, or e-mail me directly.


-The Gneech

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Feb 12 2010

Pardon Our Dust

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Getting a bit of a revamp here. Hurrah for teh CMS! Stay tuned for actual websiteness.

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