February Goals

For a while now I’ve been struggling with revisions of stories. I seem to have no problem writing new stories, and working on novels has been going well lately. But old stories which have gone through the critiquing process – either with Altered Fluid or at Clarion West – have given me pause. I’ve resisted diving back into them, and when I do, I often feel like I don’t know what to do.

I’ve thought a lot about the reasons for this and I think it comes down to fear of breaking them. Most of these stories have something that I like in them. These tend to be my most recent stories, stories that have received better feedback and I think there’s a fear there about taking away what makes them special, of losing something – the voice, the energy, the freshness. But, as we all know, fear is the mind-killer. It’s preventing me getting these stories, stories that I think are some of my best, out into the world.

So, my goal for February is to work on revising some of these stories. I’ll be conservative and say I’ll revise (to a point where I can submit them) three stories. I’m going to shoot for five, though. It’s a short month and there are birthday celebrations and other things going on, but I’m going to commit to this. When I have more stories circulating, then I can feel better about diving back into the novels (not that they’re going to be ignored).

Do other people out there ever have this problem with revising?

The Night Jeffrey Ford Read in Greenpoint

Last night I had the pleasure of seeing one of my favorite living authors, Jeffrey Ford, read at the WORD Bookstore in Greenpoint. Jeff’s stories are surreal, funny, poignant and personal to use just a few adjectives, and always entertaining. Last night was no exception. He read a story called “The Double of My Double is Not My Double”. The story is new and, I believe, unpublished. That’s one of the great things about Jeff’s readings – you usually end up with something you’ve never heard (or read) before. I think Jeff’s one of the finest short story writers I’ve ever encountered and if you’re interested in short stories as either a reader or a writer, you must check out some of his fine fiction. You can read some of them for free here, here, and here. Also here. Or you can hear me reading two of his stories at Podcastle – The Dreaming Wind and The Annals of Eelin-Ok.

Also reading last night was Felix Gilman who read part of a short story set in the same world as his most recent novel (which I’m dying to read), The Half-Made World. What I heard of “Lightbringers and Rainmakers” sounded great and the whole thing is available to read (for free) on Tor.com.

Which brings me just to one point. WORD has this thing, particularly for this Wold Newton series of readings, where they have musical accompaniment with the readers. It’s an interesting concept, but one I find ultimately problematic. While the band is great, and the music a pleasure to listen to, I find that it often competes with the author’s reading and, the way my brain works, I have to fight to focus on the words rather than the music. Last night, Jeff managed to be heard throughout his reading, but Felix, who is more softspoken, sometimes seemed drowned out. I wouldn’t have them ditch the music completely, but I think it would be used more effectively to intro and outro the readers and perhaps as people are coming in and in-between readers. Otherwise I, at least, find it to be somewhat distracting.

Afterward, we moved over to the nearby Lulu’s for a beer. I have to admit to being pleasantly surprised by the place. It’s a comfy, dark yet somehow elegant bar with a decent beer selection and with each drink you order after 6, you get a free pizza. I paid five bucks for a Captain Lawrence Smoked Porter, which I enjoyed, expecting a wilted, cardboardy slice of pizza to accompany it. Instead I got a fairly decent mini-pie that filled me up completely.  I have to admit to now being a fan of the place and I will certainly return.

All in all, quite a wonderful night.

Recent Posts

  • Falling Sky is now available for preorder
    03/14/2014 —

    As people on Twitter and Facebook already know, Falling Sky, my first novel, has a release date – October 7, 2014 – and is now available for preorder on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other online retailers. Right now…

    Read more »
  • And we’re back!
    03/13/2014 —

    After a long absence, my website is back! After repeated hacking attempts, I have a new web hosting service and, better still, a brand new site! The site was designed by Matt Kressel who is, without hyperbole, a wizard. If…

    Read more »
  • NYRSF Reading November 5
    10/23/2013 —

    In only a couple weeks, I will have the honor of reading at the NYRSF reading series in New York along with Fran Wilde. I’m very excited.
    The reading will take place at the SoHo Gallery for Digital Art –…

    Read more »
  • I am going to be a published novelist
    09/26/2013 —

    Many of you have seen this by now, but I can announce now that Pyr has decided to publish my SF novel, Falling Sky. This is what went out to Publisher’s Marketplace:
    Rajan Khanna’s FALLING SKY, set on the west…

    Read more »
  • Link Roundup
    07/26/2013 —

    Over the past few weeks I’ve had a lot of columns and reviews and other things go up on various sites (well, two) and so I thought I should link to them here so that people could actually, you know,…

    Read more »