“Cut a good story anywhere, and it will bleed.”
Anton Chekhov

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

Cover art incorporates original photography by the author, who finally found a use for that crumpled up arts-n-crafts tissue paper in her bottom desk drawer.
fall down in surprise, get up again and move forward on the right track
Fri 2016-09-02 23:59:59 (single post)

Ah-ha! Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha! And other varieties of triumphant laughter. The Friday Fictionette for September 2 is out, published, posted, uploaded, on Friday, September 2! The month is off to a great start. Also, turns out I can do the whole thing, from "Which freewriting session was going to be the basis for this week's Fictionette again?" to "DONE! Mwahahahahaaaa!" in a single day, so there. It would not be a day in which I got much of anything else done, writing-wise, but it's clearly possible.

Anyway, it's "By Moonlight, a Dream of Vengeance," which started out farcical but wound up sort of tragic and sweet. And, um, it kinda made me cry while narrating the audiobook edition. I cry easily at fiction in general, so it's not that much of a surprise and certainly not a brag. When it's my own stuff, I generally take it as a sign that I'm done, this is the final draft, stop messing with it and let it go out into the world. When it's someone else's stuff and I'm reading aloud to John, I don't worry about it; he understands this sort of thing. But when I'm trying to record an audiobook, it's a nuisance. I am sure that somewhere out there, as part of a larger guide to recording audiobooks, someone has written tips on how to reclaim control of your voice when that happens. (Without Googling, I'm almost willing to bet real money that if this exists, it's written by Mary Robinette Kowal. OK, maybe not as part of that linked guide, but I just about bet she's written something about it somewhere.)

Best I can figure: Hit PAUSE, take a few deep breaths into the diaphragm, take a few deep but narrow breaths that you can feel going up and down the windpipe, then take one more deep diaphragm breath, UNPAUSE, and, as you read the next sentence on the exhale of that breath, gently tighten your core. Also, be willing to take your time. If you have to say the sentence over and over until it has no meaning for you anymore and thus stops triggering the crying process, that's fine too.

OK, enough about that. I've also released the Fictionette Freebie for August 2016. As has become habit lately, I settled on the one with the largest word count. It's "Dr. Green Ascends to the Nether World," which may be freely and fully accessed by all in audio, ebook, and HTML formats. I hope you enjoy it!

Cover art incorporates photo by katsrcool/flickr via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)
this fictionette registered late for grad school
Mon 2016-08-15 22:16:04 (single post)

OK, so, I'm not sending "Late Registration" anywhere tonight. It needs more than a quick once-over in order for me to feel happy with it out there bearing my by-line. But! I did finally post the Friday Ficitonette for August 12. Revel in it! It's called "Dr. Green Ascends to the Nether World" and that is not a typo. It's about BEING A SCIENTIST even when that means breaking through barbed wire fences and climbing sheer cliffsides to FIGURE SHIT OUT.

Here's the thing I never count on when I say "I'll be able to get so much done Saturday afternoon!" Getting sick. It starts with post nasal drip and that itchy, raw spot high up at the back of the throat, and next think I know I'm in bed, sniffling and miserable, and then I'm in the bathroom pawing through the medicine supplies and saying things like "I don't care if the doctor says it'll raise my blood pressure--pseudoephedrine is necessary for me to function. What do you mean I only have five more of the 4-hour tablets left? And how did we wind up with an odd number? We better not have dropped one on the floor. This stuff is gold." Sudafed is a modern day miracle. It makes the difference between 1. flat in bed wishing for unconsciousness, and 2. upright at the desk getting things done.

But the things I get done are still only getting done slowly. And not with a heck of a lot of concentration. So after I got the Fictionette up today--which took most of the day because I couldn't wrangle enough concentration to work straight through it (and also because I took a brief walk to the drug store to get more pseudoephedrine, the 12-hour kind this time)--I kept getting distracted by stuff rather than moving on to the short story. Besides, I really doubt I'd have any better chance of getting it ready had I started at 6 PM as opposed to 10 PM.

My initial thought was, "It's an anthology that pays only token rates. I can send it something from the college file. I mean, I'll need to polish off the obvious infelicities and maybe update some references, give the main character a cell phone, that kind of thing..." Then I settled down to work on it, and I had a second thought. "I don't care how little the market pays. It's going to have my name on it! It had better be perfect." And, well, maybe perfect is the wrong word, but... I have standards. And it was going to take more than just a handful of hours to bring this old story up to those standards.

On the other hand, hearing about the anthology did get me to dig this story up and reread it. And, having read it, I've decided I really do want to rehabilitate it and get it into the submissions cycle. It's a good little story. It's got characters I'd like to reacquaint myself with. I mean, hell, back in the day I had the idea of doing a series of related stories starring these characters. It's good to be reminded of these old goals that once fell by the wayside. I can pick them back up, brush the dust off, and breathe a little life back into them.

So even though I didn't end up submitting to the anthology I had in mind, a great deal of good came out of considering submitting to it. Neat.

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