Friday, January 15, 2016

Outta Site

I took a little break from Beware the Hairy Mango for about a week and a half to get a couple of other things done. One is my new home site  http://www.matthewsanbornsmith.com/ which ties together everything else I do online, including this site and the Mango. Go take a look if you want easy access to the other stuff I do.

I resumed work on the first episode of Beware the Donated Mango, the shows I owe to folks who donated seventy five dollars or more to the Mango fundraiser last spring.

Once that first show is done, I'll be producing the next Fiction Crawler spot for StarShipSofa.

Then lots more Mangoes. I really need more time off from my jobs.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015

2015 was a tough year, though not as bad as 2009. My Kickstarter failed. I changed jobs, moved twice, and put in way too many hours working for other people for not enough money. Things have started to pick up, though.

My creative work was consumed by the podcast. Outside of that, I did a couple of major rewrites on short stories and that was it. I did sell my first pro story in years and sold a couple of reprints. I did my first reading, sat on my first panel, did my first Drabblecast narration, and wrote my first introduction.

I'm happy that I took more chances than usual this year and expanded my too-close horizons a bit. I learned a lot of new things, met some awesome people, and scored a win with last spring's Mango fundraiser.

Because of that fundraiser, I still have five months of Mangoes with which to contend. After that, I look forward to getting back to short stories and novels. 2016 will probably be a year of regrouping, but I'll keep my eye out for new opportunities.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Giraffe Cyborg Cleans House!

Hey, Gang!

I'm tired and useless-wobbly right now as is not unusual on Mondays these days. I work very long days on the weekend, then have to be back at work at 5 a.m. Monday morning. It's amazing I'm good for anything once I slog through that.

But fuck all that noise. The real reason I'm here is to point you toward my latest story, Giraffe Cyborg Cleans House! which you can find over at Diabolical Plots through this here linkage:

http://www.diabolicalplots.com/dp-fiction-9-giraffe-cyborg-cleans-house-by-matthew-sanborn-smith/

Giraffe is number 144 of The One-Thousand and marks the time I was crawling back to fiction writing after thinking I had left it behind for good in that long-forgotten year of 2013. I actually didn't think I had what it took to finish this one, and asked some good friends to slap me across the face (metaphorically speaking), which they did. I finished the thing and was quite happy with it. I hope you will be too.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

MangoWriMo

I haven't done NaNoWriMo in years. Haven't even paid much attention to it in a while, but I decided today to give it a shot, in my own matty way. The average Mango script runs about 1,250 words. 50,000 words means about forty Mango scripts. I only have about 45 left to write in total to finish this year, do the promised personalized episodes for super-donors, and do 2016's MuchoMangoMayo.

The thought of all those shows has been dogging me, especially because I've only been able to get one Mango done a week lately. I'm going to push myself now. If I can do MangoWriMo and it doesn't destroy me, it will make life much better after November.

Here we go!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

When Avoiding The Rewrite

As I mentioned last post, I've been doing a lot of rewrites lately.

There are some writers who can't help but write. As frequently as possible, for hours on end, with passion and obsession. Then there are most writers who aren't like that at all. We often have to cajole and trick ourselves into getting the work done. Some people say we're not real writers if we have to struggle with it. We tell those people to go fuck themselves and we squeeze a little more work out of our keyboards.

Rewriting is normal, but there are times when one doesn't want to tackle it. It may be due to the fear that the rewrite will make it worse. Whatever the writer adds or subtracts will ruin that gentle balance of mess that originally sat there and that's like taking a step backwards. We don't want to take a step backwards. We're far enough behind as it is. Paralysis is easier and can often be rationalized as something else.

Here's a thing that helps me get over that feeling. I copy the entire text into another file, call that file "Story Title" Rewrite, and tell myself I can fuck up the story beyond recognition there and the original will remain pristine back in that other place. In fact, it might help to insist to myself that I fuck it up and come up with the most ridiculous shit that occurs to me every step of the way. I just need to push forward. Many times that ridiculous shit is brilliant.

If you're still having trouble, start slowly. Change a word here or there. Do a search for a name and replace it with another name. Add a sentence that you feel is too gorgeous not to exist right in the middle of that mess. Sooner or later you'll find you've pulled out of the driveway and home is in the rearview mirror. That means you're rolling.


Sunday, August 09, 2015

Some Things Old Are New Again

Quick update.

I haven't been working a lot on new fiction the last couple of months. What I have been doing in the non-Mango fiction world is rewriting old stories so as to give them a better chance in the cold cruel editorial world. I don't know if I've made these stories great, but I do know I've made them a hell of a lot better than they were.

I still haven't finished MuchoMangoMayo! I'm trying to squeeze out an episode once every couple of weeks around the episodes I normally produce. I still have four May shows to go.

I have piles of ideas and I'm trying to find the time, the discipline, and in one case the money to make things happen.

Jonathan Brown - Murder Ballads

If you're not subscribed to the Indie Feed podcast, fix that.
http://traffic.libsyn.com/indiefeedpp/indiefeed_jonathanbrown_murderballads.mp3

Elizabeth Bishop - The Fish

This fish has had a tough life. From Indie Feed:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/indiefeedpp/indiefeed_elizabethbishop_thefish.mp3

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

My Genius Isn't Drippy Enough

I decided to start listening to one of the voices in my head. I'm going to start mowing the roof.

No, not actually. 

When I finish a story I'm hot to get it out into the world. I see flaws in it, and think, "Yeah, but look at all the genius in there. That'll drip down and fill in all the flaw cracks. Art isn't finished, it's abandoned. I need to move on to the next story." 

Then I wonder why nobody buys my stuff. ("Nobody" is a bit of an exaggeration, yes.) 

So the voice previously mentioned is that pointing-out-the-flaws voice, not the other one. It struck me a day or two ago, that I should pay more attention to that one, because the other way hasn't been working. I've finally admitted to myself that my genius isn't drippy enough.

It's hard as hell for me to not send a story out when it seems done-ish. I want the glory, I want the fame, I want the money, now now now, and finishing fiction is infrequent enough it deserves a red date on the calendar. Then again, selling a story later would snag more glory than getting a rejection sooner. 

I've never been good at sacrificing now for something better later. If you know me well, you know that explains my entire life (which, for those of you who don't know me well, is shitty). As they say, the first step is acknowledgement.

The next is fixing those unfillable flaws and if I can't, sitting on those finishes for a couple of weeks, then finishing them again. And then maybe you can read something from me that isn't a blog post.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

As The Ripe Wheat Lies After The Reaping

Here's a new thing I'll do once in a while. I'm going to post a passage of writing that I love. I've been told that such a thing is covered by Fair Use, but to cover my ass, I'm linking to the books, so it might be considered a review. Also, why don't I pick up 4% of the sale, if you buy it? But money isn't the goal.

Here's a bit I love from The Cairn on the Headland by Robert E. Howard. To the best of my knowledge, this work is in the public domain:

"Aye, it had been a feasting of ravens, a red flood of slaughter, and I knew that no more would the dragonprowed fleets sweep from the blue North with torch and destruction. Far and wide the Vikings lay in their glittering mail, as the ripe wheat lies after the reaping. Among them lay thousands of bodies clad in the wolf hides of the tribes, but the dead of the Northern people far outnumbered the dead of Erin. I was weary and sick of the stench of raw blood. I had glutted my soul with slaughter; now I sought plunder. And I found it--on the corpse of a richly-clad Norse chief which lay close to the seashore. I tore off the silver-scaled corselet, the horned helmet. They fitted as if made for me, and I swaggered among the dead, calling on my wild comrades to admire my appearance, though the harness felt strange to me, for the Gaels scorned armour and fought half-naked."

How 'bout that, huh? If you dug this and want to read more, you can buy the collection through the link below


Monday, June 15, 2015

Drabblin' Guy

I drabbled all over myself and others when I did the narration for Katherine West's story Trimming the Fat on episode 360 of the Drabblecast. Guest producer Adam Pracht felt I fit the story, and he pointed out there was mention of a mango. You can soak it in here: http://www.drabblecast.org/2015/05/31/drabblecast-360-trifecta-locked-boxes/

Sunday, June 14, 2015

"Oh Right," He Remembered. "I Have A Blog."

Oops.

The Mango Coast Guard came out in partial force over the last two and a half weeks and gave me a pile of money so that I might cause MuchoMangoMayo 2016 to happen. So that's something.

I haven't even finished this year's MuchoMangoMayo and it's the middle of June. Well, as this neglected blog will affirm, I've been busy. the last three and a half months have been crazy, with life warping in unpleasant bends. Whatever. Go listen to some of the Mangoes I shot up there in the last month or so and enjoy yourself for a few minutes. >>>> http://bewarethehairymango.com/

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

155

Just finished and shipped off story 155 of The One-Thousand! If I had any hair, I'd be able to feel the wind in it! This one was a shortie that I conceived of yesterday and finished today. It's a story that would be perfectly at home at Beware the Hairy Mango (though it's twice as long as most of those) and I'm sending it to a very non-Mango magazine. Actually, every magazine is a very non-Mango magazine.

In the last five days, I've written or finished three stories and submitted seven. Golly!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

154

Finished and sent out story 154 of The One-Thousand today! This one is a sort of war story that was mostly finished last year. I pulled it out, tweaked and modified it a bit, and shipped it out into the world.

Godspeed, little doodle!