I’m a finalist for The Roswell Award for Short Science Fiction!
That means I could fly to L.A. to watch a professional actor read my short story, “Cardiopulmonary Arrest” (yes, the title is a pathology joke). And I could win $1000. The catch is, they won’t cover any of my expenses. So if it were you, would you go?
I worry a lot about money. Multiply that by ten if it’s my writing money. In fact, that’s the basis of the following seven things you didn’t know about my writing, thanks to Rob Brunet and Doug Smith
tagging me. Interestingly, they’re all about writing and money. I’ll append the Roswell letter below. But first, seven things!
1. For a long time, my writing was handicapped by my cheapness. I was so afraid of losing money on my writing that I did stupid stuff like use Times New Roman 12 pt to fit the maximum words on a page, even if the editor from Weird Tales sent me back a letter saying, “Your font is too small.”
2. If you do stuff like this, your work is less likely to sell, and it becomes a vicious cycle. Fortunately, Kris Rusch glared at me and said, “It’s too small. I don’t care if it’s 12 points. An editor’s eyes are her livelihood.” I increased my font to 14 points.
3. Another cheap story: when Writers of the Future flew me out to LA for the week-long workshop, I found a used book I really wanted, poemcrazy. I agonized over it. William, my “twin” (writer I was paired with for the week), just looked at me and said, “Would you get six dollars’ worth out of it?” I bought the book. I still love it, especially the part where her son is shaking a lilac bush and instead of screaming at him, she asks him what he’s doing, and he says, “I’m stirring the sky, Mama.” I wanted to have kids who would make me see the world in a different way.
4. Medicine changed my writing because I had to condense a lot of information (history, physical exams, and investigations) into half a page. Jason, one of the nurses, said, “You use a lot of abbreviations.”
5. I did feel stifled for a bit, writing “72 y.o. M, DM, CHF, SOB x 3 d…” until I let it go. I never liked other people telling what to write, absolutely loathed the five paragraph structure in high school, and spent years NEVER explicitly writing medicine into my fiction, even though everyone else told me to write like Michael Crichton.
6. After years of writing in almost every genre, from werewolves to picture books, I like creating the Hope Sze medical thrillers, but it’s the most draining type of work, for me.
7. However, I find it relatively easy and therapeutic to write medical non-fiction about the ER, and some of my essays should appear in the Medical Post in the near future—with a columnist photo! (This entailed a lot of setting up the tripod and running to the wall and getting our dog over-excited.)
And what do you think about L.A. in 2015? The downside: spending money, CO2 footprint. The upside: L.A., fun, and rubbing shoulders with SF and Hollywood peeps. Tell me what you’d do! I might quote you in my SleuthSayers.org column on Monday, where I’ll be mulling over the question in more detail.