Friday, August 6, 2010

Story sold; book read

"Clockworks" has been sold. It should appear in Asimov's in the late winter or early spring, about a year after my last Asimov's publication.

Gotta pick up the pace on those. The next one in the sequence (also a prequel) is stalled because a) I've been working on another story and b) I have quite a few questions about both the plot and the physical details. It's a challenge.

I finished The Blue Flower, Penelope Fitzgerald's Booker Prize–winning novel. I hadn't read Fitzgerald before. I have a novel (unread) of hers that I picked up at a library book sale, and I've seen her name listed often enough among the great English writers. She came to writing late, it seems.

I knew nothing about the novel before getting it from the library except that it was highly recommended. (I'm looking for contemporary novels to add to my AP Lit. class.) Had I known the plot, I'd have probably balked; knowing nothing (which is how I like to approach a book), I instead was drawn in by the story and the voice, having no idea where the thing was headed. It's the story of Fritz von Hartenburg, a real-life German poet of the late 18th century; he took the name "Novalis" as his pen name. Rather than a description of his career, it's the tale of his first love. It's also the story of the people around Fritz, family and friends who are mystified by his attraction to young Sophie ("my Philosophy," as he comes to call her); in addition, it's a vivid rendering of a time and place, the era of Goethe (who puts in a brief appearance) and a time of civil upheaval. It's a wonderful novel that defies categorization.


Calvin said...


It's not always automatic that the magazine picks up sequels/stories set in the same universe (Analog declined another story set in my "Icarus Beach" universe).

I'm looking forward to reading the story.

William Preston said...

Thanks, Cal. I'm looking forward to hearing what people think of it. The wait is too long. (I'm also looking forward to my future self finishing his work on the other related stories.)

Do you have a complete list of your published works? Your website is way behind, it appears.

Calvin said...

Yeah, I need to update my website. I kept thinking I'd update it when I sell something new.

The isfdb is fairly complete on stories published in more major magazines; it's only missing a couple from minor zines.

William Preston said...

Did you take a break from fictiion in that large gap?

Calvin said...

More like, editors took a break from publishing my work :)

Although for a while I did not submit much due to feeling discouraged.

William Preston said...

More like, editors took a break from publishing my work

You blinded them . . . with science (fiction)!

Calvin said...

Well, my main weakness is my plots tend to be clunky and forced.

Also, as you probably know, it tends a hell of a lot of persistence to break in. I have a good share of persistence and a reasonable stack of rejection letters (many of them quite nice nowadays) but many have stories of having hundreds of rejections built up before getting published regularly.

Since 2007 I have written probably a dozen stories, but only submitted half of them, for roughly 40 rejections.

It's pretty clear that in today's market I can't just slap together a story and send it out; I have to really really push it and make sure it terrific, because editors always find the little weakness that I worried about.

(Although also: some editors complain about too much science in my SF, while Stan Schmidt, who loves science, also prefers more upbeat stories than the ones I tend to write. He writes me very kind and thoughtful notes, though.)

Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

William Preston said...

I wouldn't think of talking you out of it.