Aphelion Issue 295, Volume 28
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Aphelion Editorial 094

July 2005

by Dan L. Hollifield

The Usual Rant from the Aphelion Senior Editor

It's that time again, friends. I guess I've just been so busy writing these last few months that I simply hadn't noticed too much that would flip me over into rant mode. The only thing that bothers me this summer is that my off-time and the rain seem to have worked up a secret treaty or something. In June, I only got two chances to mow my little yard. And the first one, I got rained out 15 minutes after I started. The storm blew in after I started mowing. The second time, I got 85% of the yard mown. What boggles my mind is that I still want to push the kudzu back another 10 or 12 feet on all sides- Thus making the yard even bigger, LOL!

So what have I been doing with all that free time I have? Writing. Drawing. Making lists and reading research papers... Reading critiques sent by friends who were reading over my shoulder. Churning all that around in my mind and channeling it into the story I was working on. "Was" is the operative term. I finished that Nightwatch story, then after a week and a half of forced inaction- I started working on another project. I had a great deal of trouble just making myself sit and watch TV, or even to sit and read a book. I had been sitting and typing almost every day for the last eight months- Or more, considering that the story itself took over a year to write. I felt guilty about not writing. LOL!

You, dear Readers, will get to examine the finished work in the August and September issues of Aphelion. And you should be happy to find out that the one I'm presently working on -- [Heavy Sigh] -- is going to be shopped around for sale. Some of my friends have convinced me that I'm ready to stop avoiding rejection slips again. LOL! We'll see. Finish the manuscript first, then I can talk about something besides what I plan to do.

The heavy sigh was because this is a very important story. I've gone back to my long-unfinished very first attempt at a novel. I've already put in 4 days work on finishing the story. Don't be too impressed. All I've done so far is to take the decade-old TRS-80 printout of the finished rough draft (101 pages, in a very tiny font) and start transcribing the final two thirds of the story that had never been typed into a modern computer before. Roughly 65 pages of printout needed to be transcribed when I started. I've still got 19 pages left. So far, the wordcount has been averaging 2000 words for each 5 pages of printout. The finished rough draft ought to run close to 40k words. Once that's done, the real work will begin. Rewrites, merciless edits, illos, maps... I owe it to this story to finish it. After all, this one story is the single reason Aphelion exists. Everything I've done for the last twenty seven years of my life has been because of this story. The original outline was handwritten into three small notepads. I used a typewriter to create the first readable version of this story. Then typed that into a TRS-80 when those were new. Years later, I typed the first 35 or so pages of the TRS-80 printout into a 386 (and later still into a Pentium 1) as web pages for Dragon's Lair and Aphelion. But I stopped working on it when I realized that I wasn't a good enough writer yet to do it justice. I started trying to write short stories in order to learn more, faster. The Mare Inebrium was created. Several writers used Aphelion as a stepping stone to eventually selling their work. In the background, I kept learning. And now, I've finally got the nerve to finish writing it.

It doesn't even matter any more if I manage to sell it. Not really. The only thing that really matters to me right now is that I finally can finish it the way I always wanted. Then move on to the next unfinished bit of work I've been letting grow mold. And the next new project, whatever it might turn out to be. Finishing my second Nightwatch story two weeks ago felt like a graduation. Time to get to work! LOL!


I now return you to your regularly scheduled reading...


2005 Dan L. Hollifield

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