Million Word Theory

In the 2000 movie Boiler Room, a recruiter, Ben Affleck, gives a roomful of prospective employees this pitch: 
“If you become an employee of this firm you will make your first million within three years.  Okay?  I’m gonna repeat that: you will make a million dollars within three years of your first day of employment at J.T. Marlin.  There is no question you will become a millionaire working here.  The only question is how many times over.”

I don’t doubt this is true of certain professions, like working for shady pump-and-dump microcap stock fraud brokerage houses.  But there’s gotta be a catch, right, or everybody would do it. 

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Annals of Superhuman Persistence, Vol. VII

All successful writers went through immense suffering and agonizingly long periods of rejection before becoming successful.  We know this because they constantly tell us.  But what did this suffering consist of, and how does it compare with the suffering of unsuccessful writers?

In 2015 George Saunders wrote some recollections of his early years in an MFA program and subsequent experiences trying to write.  He describes how after he was admitted to the program he abandoned his early type of stories and focused on writing boring, mediocre, realistic stories that were “Hemingway imitations.”   Read more »

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I’m always interested in where books were written, so here is a thing about where I wrote some books.

From late 2010 to March 2012 I wrote a novel called “The Dream Devours the World” in San Diego, in my apartment–

sd apartment

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The Next Re-Edit

You must learn the ways of the midichlorians, if you’re to come with me to Alderaan.

Judge me by my size, do you? And well you should not. For my ally is the midichlorians, and a powerful ally they are. Life creates them, makes them grow. Their energy surrounds us, and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the midichlorians around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere.

A Jedi uses the midichlorians for knowledge and defense, never for attack.

A Jedi’s strength flows from the midichlorians. But beware of the dark side. Anger, fear, aggression: the dark side of the midichlorians are they.

I felt a great disturbance in the midichlorians, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

The midichlorians are strong with this one.

Through the midichlorians, things you will see, other places, the future, the past, old friends long gone.

Don’t be too proud of this technological terror you’ve constructed. The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the midichlorians.

Vader was seduced by the dark side of the midichlorians.

The midichlorians are what give the Jedi his power. They’re microscopic life-forms within all living cells. They surround us and penetrate us, they bind the galaxy together.

Remember, the midichlorians will be with you, always.

Use the midichlorians, Luke!

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Notions, Concepts, and Ideas

In “Annie Hall,” when they go to LA, at a party at Paul Simon’s house, one “Hollywood player” is heard saying to another, “Right now it’s just a notion, but I think I can get the money to make it a concept, and later turn it into an idea.”  We know that the recent Star Wars movie “Rogue One” was greenlit by Disney based on John Knoll pitching them on “a movie about the spies who steal the Death Star plans.”  Well, “a movie about the spies who steal the Death Star plans” isn’t an idea. Read more »

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Plan B

Successful people are unanimous: if you want to succeed, especially as an entrepreneur or culture-industry something-or-other, don’t have a back-up plan.

“Because you will NEVER succeed when you have a back up plan.

Plan B’s are for losers. Winners have only a Plan A and work their butts off to make their Plan A work.

Do you want to be a winner or a loser?” Read more »

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Wisdom of Mike Resnick

If wisdom means that from which we can learn, there is much wisdom in the nonfiction writings of Mike Resnick.

“Gardner Dozois, who was editing Asimov’s at the time, told me that he got about a thousand slush stories a month. How many did he buy? Three a year” (2010).

But Asimov’s publishes, what, five stories an issue? That’s 50 to 60 a year. Of which 3, Dozois tells us, are “slush stories.” That means the other 95% aren’t “slush stories.” So what are they?

A few clues: Read more »

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Annals of Superhuman Persistence, Vol. VI

“When I finished the first draft, in November ’97, Wired suddenly folded their book division.  I got to keep most of the advance.  But now it was hard to find a publisher for this odd orphan book.  Finally David Hartwell of Tor picked it up early in 1998 and I even got another (smaller) advance.”  (Rudy Rucker, in Broderick, D. (2000). Transrealist fiction: Writing in the slipstream of science. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. P. 169)

Wow, that sounds really hard.  I wish Rucker had shared more about how incredibly super-arduous it was to get a second publisher for his book during that terribly long period from Nov 1997 to early 1998.  This saga reminds me of Dr. Zhivago, really.  And then he had to stoop all the way to have a book published by well-known bottom-of-the-barrel Tor.  Truly, it’s a wonder any human being is capable of bearing up under these tremendous strains.

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Another Thing I Don’t Understand

From a literary agent’s webpage:

Manuscript Wish List:

  • Adult and YA fantasy and science fiction except dystopian. In SFF, prefer upmarket writing and settings/characters that think outside SFF tropes with earthy female-based characters. If submitting urban fantasy, please no demons, vampires, angels, or werewolves.
  • Literary fiction, especially magical realism that highlights particular culture or surreal intellectual humor, please read this post on what is magical realism before querying.
  • Historical, if the voice is strong. Please no WWII narratives.
  • Genre romance
  • Cozy mystery

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History of a Submission

Story submitted 11:32 AM, Saturday, May 21, 2016 (all times have been converted from the present writer’s Mountain Daylight Time to Arizona’s Mountain Standard Time)

Screen shot 2016-05-22 at 11.28.27 AM

At 11:34 AM position in queue: 91 Read more »

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