Tag Archives: Old Friend

The day my favorite book became my favorite movie.

I first read ENDER’S GAME at age 14. It was introduced to my family by aunt Bronya, one of the sweetest ladies you’d ever meet, and has great taste in fiction. (She’s also a stellar baker and hostess; if you’re ever in rural Missouri, I recommend stopping by.)

After devouring this quick read, I was stunned by its much deeper sequel and the philosophical volumes that followed.  When CHILDREN OF THE MIND came out, dad bought four copies: One for himself, me, my brother, and my then-girlfriend; none of us had to wait. That’s one of my favorite memories of dad: spontaneously generous, thoughtful, and sharing our excitement.From high school onward, I read science fiction because of Card. Oh, I’ve since read Asimov and Heinlein and Clarke, but that came later.

I majored in Philosophy because of science fiction, which was difficult to explain to my professors.THE WORTHING SAGA — which even most Card fans have never read — remains one of the most thorough and convincing treatments of theodicy I’ve ever read. (“Theodicy” is the problem of evil and suffering in a world governed by benevolent and omnipotent being[s].)

When an old friend finds me on Facebook, they’re liable to mention Card. As in, “I still read Card because you got me into him.” So Card has not only influenced my reading and my education, but the warp and woof of my social life, and of course my career as a writer. There are a dozen autographed OSC novels in my home. ENDER’S GAME and SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD sit on the top shelf in my office, facing out so you can see their covers. I will buy anyone who wants a copy of either book, no questions asked. Read More →

Holy unexpected encouragement, batman!

I received the following email this morning:

Hey!  One of my students used one of your articles as a resource in an assignment.  I looked at the reference and was like Jason R. Peters…I know that name!  You know you’ve made it big when people use your work in school assignments 🙂

This is a major milestone in my writing career. Never before have I (knowingly) been cited as a reference. Even if major publishers don’t know it yet, this indicates that I am becoming (if slowly) a player on the literary stage.

Which article was it? Don’t know yet.

What was the paper about? Don’t know.

Did the author of the email recommend you as a reference to her student? No; she was as surprised to see my name listed as I now am.

Just when I think work is about to bury me and my writing career has stalled, I get something like this, which not only gives me fuel to persist, but also puts me back in touch with an old friend. Pure win.

…now back to the day job…

1. A new challenge. 2. As if this weren’t hard enough?

editingdemotivatorfeb07_nIf you monitor the progress bars to the right (they were my primary reason for creating the whole website, if you’re wondering why I keep harping on them so), you might have already noticed I’ve got the first few scenes of Perfect Justice underway.


I was ambivalent whether to start from scratch and write the whole story over, or to simply go through and edit as I read, the way I do for drafts of completed works.

I chose something in-between.

I keep the original version up on my 2nd monitor, and write a new version based completely on the old one. Some words, lines, whole paragraphs get completely skipped. Others are reproduced word-for-word if I can’t think of a cleaner/better way to communicate the same thought.

This is a style of editing/revision I have never tried (or even considered) before, so it’s all very experimental. It has advantages, though, so I may try this again, even for projects I’m more-or-less satisfied with. It seems ruthlessly effective by freeing me emotionally from the original work in two ways:

1. The original version stays untouched, so it’s not as though I’m hacking away at an old friend.
2. The original version feels more like someone else’s work as the new version gradually takes shape, replacing the former in my heart and mind.

However, I don’t know if the new version is actually any better. The content is largely the same. But I can honestly say the new version is a lot crisper. Hopefully that means better chances of publication.


As if getting published weren’t hard enough

You may wonder where I get the images from; I just search images.google.com for the kind of image I’m looking for (hoping that they’re licensed for limited use and in cases where they are hosted by a site who creates images, I link back to them). You can tell I’m a big fan of demotivators, as they often capture the humorous or ironic angle of things.

I was surprised to find today’s demotivator so directly related to writing, so I checked to see where it was sourced:



Naturally I paid their front page a visit. I don’t have a handle on the whole site yet, but their most recent post caught my eye:

Agents and Publishers are reporting a sharp increase in unpublishable submissions.

Editors and agents interviewed for this story claim that their slushpiles have more than doubled since the 1st of December, a pattern that has been repeating and escalating for the last ten years, and no-one is sure what is causing the increase.

This strikes me two ways:

1. I haven’t been published yet. Could my work considered *gasp* among the unpublishable?

Obviously I hope not. But it seems they’re describing truly unpolished content:

An anonymous literary agent agreed: “Most of the submissions I’ve received this this week are too short to be contemporary novels. Some are only just over 50,000 words, and one I got via email was exactly 50,000, cutting off mid-sentence. Another one had ‘done for the day’ or something about going to bed every 1,600 to 1,700 words or so. It’s a lucky standout that even has an introductory paragraph before the opening.

If I left a note like that in a manuscript I would torture myself in unimaginable ways. This leads from hope to certainty that they’re not describing serious writers like myself. (Right?)

Which brings me to the conclusion:

2. All these other idiots are in my way of being published.

Editors, agents, publishers are overworked and underpaid already. With unemployment on the rise and National Novel Writer’s month last November, more and more people think writing a novel will be their ticket to stardome.

While I have no wish to rain on any else’s parade, I’ve been writing seriously for well over a decade, and from self-evaluation I do not believe my first novel is good enough to publish. I fully expect to earn my day in the sun, but writing is a career like any other, and I’m still lifting myself by proverbial bootstraps from the slums of the starving artist.

I’ll grant there may be some wild talents who score big on their first book attempt, but they’re few and far between.

Now the editor who reads my story is that much more tired, overworked, and annoyed by the time s/he even OPENS my story. Furthermore, there are increased chances that other writer of comparable or lesser talent may just have pitched a story similar enough to mine that the reader thinks, “This again? I just read a story about a dog and woman.” Even if mine was rigorous and well-written, and the other was interspersed with “I’ll finish this scene tomorrow” on the manuscript, chances are the reader will junk them both.

Rejection is hard. Particularly for those of us planning to make a lifetime career out of writing, for no other reason than this is what we are driven to do. Someone hoping to hit it big in one novel may get rejected repeatedly for that work. I’m guaranteed to get rejected for the same work repeatedly and for many different works.

If you’re serious about your writing, please do whatever it takes to get published. I applaud you and salute you on your way to success.

If you’re just filling the hours with a light hobby and hoping to win the “might get published” lottery without having spent years writing and rewriting, studying the work of others, formulating plotlines, asking advice from published writers, and so forth…it’s kind of cruel of you to clog the gears for the rest of us.