At the start of this month, being a highly organized person, I remembered belatedly that Singapore’s Epigram book prize was due on 1 September, which has a minimum word count of 40,000. Originally, having concluded that Tor’s novella program will most likely reject my Murder of Kings entry, I was just going to extend its word count for Epigram. But as 1 August passed and the novella was still being processed, I settled down to extend one of my short stories instead, because there was clearly not enough stress in my life. 40,000 in 3 weeks. Why not, I thought. You’ve done Nano before, I thought.
Well. That was painful.
I decided on extending Cradle and Grave, a Weird Western short story that had been shortlisted previously at a couple of places but hadn’t yet been accepted anywhere. I love Westerns: they’re one of my favourite film genres; and I was really fond of the characters in that story. The last editor feedback I got for it was that the reader felt it was more like an excerpt of a novel, which was true… I think I still have that bad habit of worldbuilding all over the place even when it’s meant to be a one shot.
Somehow I dug enough words out of me to pass the word count within the month, with enough leeway to print the necessary copies AND have them posted to Singapore. (Whew! Also, if you’re in Melbourne, print last minute stuff with Dinkums, and courier it overseas with Ship2Anywhere. Those guys are great.) The final book’s probably quite unfinished, but I guess I needed that kick on the butt to even write something. I’ll keep developing it over the next few months. As to Murder of Kings, we’ll see. Tor’s feedback is great. I was definitely handling far too many character POVs on my current draft. My next project, I think.
There are a couple more short stories from me due to be published in the works, and my debut novel. Stay tuned…!
Life and the Pursuit of Pokémon
I saw the most boss Pokémon player yet today. He was some skinny kid, being towed from pokestop to stop on a skateboard, pulled along by his excited black and gold corgi. That’s it, Melbourne. Hipster “Notel” trailer park boutique concepts or not, we’ve finally hit another event hipster horizon. Another point in context – the reason why I was even wandering around the Docklands in the freezing cold: Places Victoria, the state government’s property development agency, had decided to put lures on 17 waterfront pokestops in the Docklands during the weekends, from 11am to 5pm, for 4 weeks. Apparently, it’s to lure people over to visit the Docklands.
It certainly worked on my friends. Briefly, the waterfront was alive with frustrated snarls of “GET IN THE BALL!”, the battlecry of many a player wrestling with Pokemon Go’s bugged gameplay, as well as the anguished cry of yet another player whose dratini evolved into a crippled dragonite. The RNG gods are cruel.
PSA: there’s 2 more weeks to go, so if you’re into Pokehunting in Melbourne, come on down. Check out Hortus and the amazing Library at the Docks! And if you get peckish, there’s Pok Pok Thai, open on Saturdays.