link digest for january project, week 1


This week’s words:






Development diaries:







The plan

The Moorcock model

Thanks for reading!

new year, new site, new project


TL;DR: I am writing, or furiously attempting to write, two novels in 20 days, and posting all first draft copy as well as daily notes and occasional essays to Come stop by.

Hi all. I’m a little late with this, mostly due to frantically getting things up and running the past few days, but I have things to say! And a place to say them! So I’m running out of excuses for not getting them said.

I have a new author site. I haven’t decided the division of labor between the sites yet; as I imagine it, Cobbler & Bard will be pretty business-focused, the Pulchrifex Papers will continue to aggregate random non-writing-related stuff that grabs my interest, and if C&B takes off then PP will probably slowly die. Further bulletins as events warrant.

For those of you who do follow this site in any measure out of interest in my fiction, you should know that NOT ONLY will C&B be hosting that stuff in general in future, BUT ALSO I have a huge writing and meta-writing initiative that I’m posting up there RIGHT NOW, and will be through all of January. This is surely the place to start—so surely, in fact, that it’s sort of mind-croggling that there isn’t a permalink to that somewhere on the blog page, ah well another thing to do oh god.

And I am now officially way over my allotment of social media time for the day. So I do sincerely hope to see you over at C&B, and please share and comment if you like what I’m doing.

Henson on genre, part deux

On The Muppet Show, the young and annoyingly earnest Scooter gets to have his way—because his uncle owns the theater. Kermit, in order to put on his show, must keep him happy. Scooter suggests a number with a dancing poodle.

Kermit says, “It sounds, said the frog, displaying his artistic judgment, sappy.”

Scooter mentions his uncle.

Kermit adapts: “It sounds, said the frog, displaying his will to survive, wonderful.”

Ibid. (I’ve just discovered the “your Kindle highlights” page on Amazon — can you tell?)

Jim Henson talks about genre without talking about genre

[Henson:] I didn’t call him a frog.

[Interviewer:] Right, he was just Kermit the thing.

[Henson:] Yeah, all the characters in those days were abstract because that was part of the principle I was working under.… I still like very much the abstract characters and some of those abstract characters I still feel are slightly more pure. If you take a character and you call him a frog, or like Rowlf, our dog, call him a dog, you immediately give the audience a handle. You’re assisting the audience to understand; you’re giving them a bridge or an access. And if you don’t give them that, if you keep it more abstract, it’s almost more pure. It’s a cooler thing. It’s a difference of a sort of warmth and cool.… [I]n terms of going commercial and going broad audience, you want to reach the audience as much as possible, and you need those bridges.

Quoted in MAKE ART MAKE MONEY, Elizabeth Hyde Stevens

short fiction update

A few things brewing in the short fiction arena, though nothing along the lines of “sold a story somewhere” —

  • “Your Voice Everywhere I Go” is still at, where it’s been for nearly a year now; as before, this means some of the editors liked it, but the acquiring editors have yet to look at it, or at any rate have yet to decide.
  • “Continents of Summer, Firmaments of Sun” was rejected from THE COMMON and has been at ASIMOV’S for a couple of weeks now. No reason for optimism that it’ll be accepted, but at least I’m moving forward with it.
  • I’ve finished a draft of the first Department of Crimes against Scum story, tentatively titled “Suicide Scum.” Not totally sure what to do with it. It definitely needs revision; I think the next question is whether I bother trying to sell it or just put it straight on Wattpad and the stores.
  • “Dispatch from a Colored Room” continues to syndicate drib-by-drab on Wattpad, but it’s now finalized, so I could self-publish it whenever I want. I guess there’s not really a good reason to wait. (“Dispatch” is meant to be a free introduction to THE DANDELION KNIGHT, so there’s not a whole lot of point in trying to sell it.)
  • Perhaps most interestingly, I’ve either been invited or invited myself (sort of hard to say) to a Wattpad anthology of stories about summer. I’m simultaneously trying out a couple of things, one a typical-for-me wistful near-future literaryish story called “Summer Sister,” and one a story in the world of THE EIGHTH KING called “Sack of the Summer Palace.” I think I like the latter better, and will finish it regardless, but may not be able to keep it below the word limit.

This is mostly to remind myself that things are happening in my creative sphere, despite my constant nagging feeling like nothing is getting done.

Oh, right, here’s the first paragraph of “Sack of the Summer Palace”:

The Rafters of the World are justly and unjustly famed for many things. The mandarins of the Orchid Court praise the refinements of poetry, strategy, and agriculture that have draped our dry and craggy lands with the rich silk of a flourishing society; the lamas of the White Way praise the favor of the deities that brought us the great prayer-engines of the Iron Harvest, whose secrets are like oysters, sweet to the persistent mind and lacerating to the hasty; the half-civilized zealots of the River whisper in fear of our deadly snakes, which they describe in terms that violate the precepts of physics and physiology, and croon with longing at the merest mention of our unremarkable goats. But even the albino barbarians, who betimes blow in on the spars of shattered ships or stumble arrow-pierced across our border with the Grass, are clear on one thing: Ua is not a warm realm. Warm days there are, aye, and warm regions, especially in the south of Degyen where the tableland begins its kowtow to the sea; but the kingdom’s fame is for chill cliffs, tree-deep avalanches, bears and tigers with fur enough to hide a brace of Therku lumberjacks and warm their lunchpails.