Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I Love It When a Plot Comes Together

A few months ago, I wrote down some notes on a story about a chaplain who gets gets an unusual assignment on another planet. I really thought the story was coming together, but it hung up, mainly because I just couldn't come up with a good title.
Yesterday, on the way home from work, the title finally came to me. It struck me as so appropriate I actually stopped the car and scribbled it down on a svarp of paper.
I began writing out a first draft last night on a legal pad, and I finished it tonight, 18 pages long.
I had thought the most economical way to tell the story would be a monologue (it worked for "A Rocket for the Republic") and that's the way I did it. The protagonist comes back from a Joseph Campbellian-like adventure, and he suspects because of unusual conditions he will forget everything that happened, so he blathers out a utube email to a friend, and that's how the story's told,
I like it and you know - I don't want to sound snotty - but really that's all that counts, because in my opinion, every good writer really only writes for his or her self. Sometimes they may want the money. In my case, I want a good story.
OK, as a bonus (since I mentioned YouTube, here's one of my favorite videos I found there.



They don't make videos like that any more!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Hmmm... a good rejection

I don't know whether you call it a rejection, but I recently heard from Writers of the Future. "The Silver Dollar Saucer" wasn't a finalist for the last quarter of 2006, but I got the "good" rejection letter, inviting me to submit again, and in fact the contest administrator wrote in, by hand, "send more soon".

I learned this week I've been accepted as a panelist at Archon, which will be the first weekend in August. Because WorldCon this year is overseas (in Japan) this will also be the NASFiC. This will be a good chance to rub elbows with some people I don't see regularly.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Back again

Since my last post I spent some of my free time on a volunteer project, typsetting the quarterly newsletter of the local Boy Scout Council. I was a Scout - and enjoyed it very much - but I've never been an adult leader - mainly probably because I never had any kids. But I recently had the oppportunity to help them with this project. It was a little work, but very satisfying.

Unfortunately, the deadline for the newsletter landed at the same time as the dealine for the Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest. I had started a story for the Baen contest, but couldn't finish it on time (by April 9). Oh well, I'm complete it and send it off somewhere else.

"Avatar" has been published at Darker Matter since April 1. Darker Matter has a readers' poll for each story, and it's garnered an average rating of eight out of ten.

"The Amerikaan Way" is also still at Atomjack.

I need to fill out forms and email bios for both Constoga and Fencon right about now.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Back to Aggiecon

OK, let me get back to my recollections from Aggiecon. My third panel on Saturday was on the subject of Literary Collaboration. Beverly Hale was on this one, also, and a graphic artist named Tony Salvaggio, whom I had never met before. Teresa Patterson was the moderator. She showed up a little late, so I began as a pinch hitter and turned it over Teresa.

Maureen McHugh was there, too. I had never met her before - in person. She said she was happy to meet me, and knew me from the internet - specifically the Asimov's discussion forum. She said I had been a "voice of sanity" there (I'm honored).

Each of us had different experiences, so everyone in the audience could apply whatever applied to them. My collaborations with Edward Morris have been very even-handed and reciprocal. Maureen, Teresa and Beverly have all ghost-written or collaborated in shared worlds. Tony's work in graphics is different from all our experiences.

The panel started at 5:15. I was probably back at the hotel by 7:00 p.m. At this point, I was so tired - proably from the lomg drive the night before, plus running around all day - that I was too tired to go to dinner. I actually made a meal from three snacks out the vending machine on the first floor, and was asleep by 8.

Tony's work has been

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Pulp Years of Lou Antonelli

There was a thread on the Asimov's discussion board this week devoted to yours truly. I've copied and pasted it here. I really am kinda honored:
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Asimov's Message Board: General Discussion: The Pulp Years of Lou Antonelli
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By Okie on Friday, March 30, 2007 - 08:24 pm:

I have enjoyed everything I've read by Lou Antonelli. You can kind of picture him, hunched over an old typewriter, just toiling away.

Then, I just ran across something he wrote in this forum a little over five months ago, in which he mentioned he had written 56 stories in the past four years.

But, what was interesting to me was when he wrote: "I probably would have loved the old pulp magazine days."

Now, we are enjoying the pulp years of Lou Antonelli. May there be many more to come!

Okie

By Lou Antonelli on Saturday, March 31, 2007 - 07:04 am:


The blog "No Fear of the Future" a few weeks ago, under the entry "Bring On the Cool Nerds" by Chris Nakashima-Brown, discussed some of the people who were eligible for the Campbell nomination this year, and called me "The heir to the penny a word pulps".

I guess I like that style because I grew up long enough ago that some of those pulp magazines were still around and being thumbed through (I was 12 in 1969). By the time I was reading s-f, the old Ace doubles from the 1950s were being discarded or donated. When I was in sixth grade my classroom had a bunch of old Ace doubles in its library. I thought they were cool!

I don't know what a good definition of "pulp writer" is, but my personal take is that it's someone who's prolific and who values entertainment above morals or message. By that definition, I guess I qualify.

I'm hardly unique in writing often and fast. Joe Lansdale has written 200 short stories in 30 years. Like Joe did when he was young, I don't mind having stories printed in small mags. It helps develop a fan base, and now that Joe's a big writer, he can assemble collections on any topic at the drop of a hat. If I have as much money as Joe does at the same point in my career, I'll be VERY happy.

I's 7 a.m. in East Texas and the rain is COMING DOWN. I live in the northeast corner of the state, bordering Arkansas. Oklahoma is only 20 miles away. BTW, Okie, where are you at???

Lou Antonelli, his own self

By James A. Ritchie on Saturday, March 31, 2007 - 10:24 am:


I've enjoyed everything Lou Antonelli has written, too. And I'm envious as hell of his writing speed, and his writing quality.

By Okie on Saturday, March 31, 2007 - 10:29 am:


Lou,

Everything I said was intended to be complimentary. I also agree with the things in your reply concerning pulp writing.

I turned 21 in 1969, so I grew up in the late 50s and early 60s where I was reading all the sf mags, indeed just about all American sf coming out at that time.

I'm a huge fan of the old pulp style.

As far as where I am, my smart-ass answer is ... sitting in front of the computer.

For a better answer (maybe only a little better) refer to a thread I started yesterday titled: Where Do You Live? (approximately).

I may e-mail you when CON-estoga gets a little closer. I've never attended but I may take the opportunity to go meet you this year.

I'm going to close by giving you my first total endorsement I've given anyone. I confer upon you the Okie-dokie.

Okie

By Lou Antonelli on Saturday, March 31, 2007 - 01:20 pm:


Okie -

I knew everything you said was complimetary - although on the internet, sometimes one say stuff that, without the usual visual cues or tones, can be misintepreted.

Thanks for the Okie-Dokie. I am unworthy of such an honor - but I will acept it. Glad you like my stuff.

Thanks, too, to James. You once said as much in a personal e-mail.

Last weekend I was on a panel at Aggiecon at Texas A&M University in College Station. The subject was "How to Write Short Stories".

I said that I got the writing down by working as a journalist for 30 years. My problems are plot, characters and ideas - just the minor stuff. I've never had an editor tell me a story was badly written.

But there's a drawback - I'm not used to people having an opinion about what I write. If you're a journalist, a story is either accurate or it's not.

Still, thanks for the kind comments. And the webzine Darker Matter has posted its April issue, which includes my story "Avatar".

http://www.darkermatter.com/issue2/avatar.php

It's a weird little tale that combines alternate history with secret history. And no, I wasn't smoking any strange green weeds when I wrote it.
Hope you like it. And "The Amerikaan Way" is still on Atomjack.

Latest reviews

In a spare, swift, convincing narrative style, conveying in a deadpan voice a wide array of sometimes Paranoid suppositions about the world, Antonelli juxtaposes realities with very considerable skill, creating a variety of Alternate Worlds, some of them somewhat resembling the constructions of Howard Waldrop, and making some sharp points about American history, race relations, dreams, and occasional nightmares in which the twentieth century goes wrong. [JC]

---From the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

A better path develops for a distraught man in “Double Exposure” by Lou Antonelli (debut 6/11 and reviewed by Frank D). Jake is about to end it all. He has been trying to keep his high maintenance wife happy for decades and has needed to embezzle to satisfy her spending habits. Now, on the verge of indictment and abandoned by his spouse, he buys a gun. Before he pulls the trigger, he spies a Kodak one-day photo hut. Curious, he pulls up to the window. They are holding pictures of him and his last girlfriend from 30 years before. The package is a lot thicker than it should be.

Double Exposure” is listed as an Alternative History story but I would classify it as a Magical Realism tale. It is set as a second chance tale, a look into a life that should have been. The author is inspired by his memories of the old photo huts (I remember them) and of their disappearance. A cool idea (photos of another life), one that I could imagine would make for a great anthology.

- Frank Dutkiewicz, Diabolical Plots

Great White Ship”: A traveler stuck waiting for a flight strikes up a conversation with an old airline employee. The Old Timer tells him a story of a Great White Airship that arrives from a most unusual destination. The story of a craft from an alternate reality and how it got there is only the precursor to the final act.

This is one of my favorite stories from this site. I have a great passion for lighter-than-air craft and their potential as a future means of transport, which opens the story. The author uses this speculation to launch into an engaging tale. As fascinating as the main story line is, the alternate history premise that accompanies it is just as worthwhile. This story was well written and very well thought out. It is well worth the read.

Recommended.

- James Hanzelka, Diabolical Plots

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