J.D. Moyer

sci-fi writer, beat maker, self-experimenter

Month: May 2016

First Published Story! (“The Beef”)

The auroch-like Heck cattle breed.

The auroch-like Heck cattle breed.

Popped a champagne cork tonight after seeing that my short story “The Beef” had gone live on Strange Horizons. It was accepted a couple months ago but I didn’t want to announce anything until I could actually give people a way to read it. Strange Horizons produced a podcast as well, and I really enjoyed Anaea Lay’s reading (and short interpretation afterwards).

The story touches on a few topics I’ve written about before on this blog, such as scenarios around human depopulation, and the moral and power dynamics of conscious-aware animals eating other conscious-aware animals. But the main theme is the migration impulse, or lack thereof (human and animal).

Heinlein’s Rules for Writing

  1. You must write.
  2. You must finish what you write.
  3. You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order.
  4. You must put the work on the market.
  5. You must keep the work on the market until it is sold.

I currently have nine stories out for submission. I’ve been using Heinlein’s Rules, more or less, except that whenever a story is rejected, I reread it and change anything that jumps out as needing changing (and I don’t send anything out in the first place until after at least two revisions, sometimes many more). Strange Horizons read a better story than the first two magazines that rejected The Beef. I always try to send out a finished, polished story in the first place, but if I reread it and notice something can be improved, I’ll try to improve it. Technically this is a violation of Heinlein’s Rule#3, but according to this io9 article, even Heinlein sometimes revised his work.

I like to think that Heinlein simply meant that you shouldn’t obsessively rewrite and revise when your story isn’t broken in the first place. But maybe he meant it literally — just send out the first draft. Big difference: when Heinlein was submitting short stories, it was a seller’s market. Editors might look for a gem in the rough. Editors today expect to read a polished story, and if that’s not what you send them they have a 1000 more in the slush pile to try.

I hope you read and enjoy The BeefPlease leave a comment at strangehorizons.com if you have some thoughts. And thank you for the many words of encouragement I’ve received from readers, in terms of taking up a new artistic endeavor and keeping at it.

What Does It Take To Create? (Four Aspects of Getting It Done)

Space-man/guitarist Chris Hatfield, photo courtesy of NASA

Space-man/guitarist Chris Hatfield in his orbital creative process, courtesy of NASA

I’ve been thinking about the day-in, day-out process of creating stuff and trying to make it good. Not just a piece of work in particular, but the lifestyle of creating. What’s required?

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No Car Month 3 – The Honeymoon Is Over

Our family just completed month #3 of living without owning or leasing a car. We still use cars occasionally (via CityCarShare, standard rentals, Lyft, and Uber), but there’s no hunk of metal in our driveway that we own, maintain, or are otherwise responsible for.

It’s still going pretty well, but this was the month that the thrill of not owning wore off, some of the hassles became more evident.

At first I was enthusiastic about all the exercise I was getting, and I got significantly leaner during the first month with all the extra walking and biking. But then I started eating more — especially more desserts (I’d earned it, with all the exercise) — and I gained the weight back. Overall I’m still lean, but my hope that not owning a car would be an easy ticket to getting shredded proved overly optimistic.

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