Sunday, September 13, 2009

Kris and Dean Show

I spent a weekend in Lincoln City with Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch at their workshop, colloquially known as the "Kris and Dean Show."

Eye-opening workshop.

The point of the whole weekend was discussing how to be a working fiction writer...that is, how to make a living at it.

I said in a facebook post that the workshop not only showed that it was possible to make a very comfortable living as a fiction writer, but that I'd be a fool not to try.

I want to share a couple things that might help other writers.

The first are Heinlein's Rules which are simply this:
1. Write
2. Finish what you write
3. Do NOT revise (unless a paying editor tells you to)
4. Mail what you write to someone who will pay you for it
5. Keep it in the mail until someone buys it.
6. Start working on something new.

Simple, right? Well for the past fifteen years, I've only done the first two, and ignored #3 entirely, lustily revising short stories until they were limp and fraying. Three or four years ago I started #4, but quickly became discouraged, mostly because I wasn't following #6.

As a result of these rules, here's what I propose to do:
  • I will write and finish one story or 20 pages of a novel a week.
  • I will put the stories into the mail the same week I finish them.
  • I will put the novels into the mail as soon as I have a first reader copy-edit them.
  • I will endeavor to write more than one story a week eventually.
As always, I'm posting this on the Interwebs so that I can be held accountable.

So, in the 12 days since the end of the workshop I have mailed five stories (four of which were laying around from years prior), written two stories (one finished last night...need to find a market for it), and just today, I put the novel Liz A. Stratton Closes the Store into the mail to four publishers. I may even mail it to one more.

And, today is my 36th birthday, so it will be easy to remember when this all happened.

Wish me good fortune, mon amis!

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