Jennifer Powell (jnfr) Tue 8 Dec 98 14:40
I've heard other fiction writers respond much as (pnh) describes. And what is telling for me is that most WELL journalists and tech writers aren't exactly getting rich (near as I can tell). They may be actually pulling in a more middle-class yearly wage though. I think the pull of writing fiction (and publishing it) is strong and mysterious. There is a certain joy in creating a world or a person or a situation from little but your own imagination.
Smouldering Lust And Motorcycle Mechanics (jmara) Tue 8 Dec 98 15:55
Yeah, I've done that in several of my relationships, actually.
Jennifer Powell (jnfr) Tue 8 Dec 98 17:54
Martha Soukup (soukup) Tue 8 Dec 98 18:07
It is a canard that I used to work in bookstores. I never have. As a teenager I worked in my father's hardware store. I think that may be a requirement for publishing in Analog (which, surprisingly, I did, once). My relationship with mrw has variously been described as "best friend", "wacky neighbor", and "Significant Um". #52 makes a lot of sense in answer to the question, actually: my fictional characters have made worse mistakes than I have, and that takes some doing!
Habile Cat for Humanities (silly) Tue 8 Dec 98 19:16
Re: <47> Could you possibly put any of those stories on the web? If your answer is yes, please don't hesitate to ask for help. You'll find plenty of volunteer assistance at The WELL.
Martha Soukup (soukup) Tue 8 Dec 98 19:24
I don't care to make my fiction electronically available, thanks. If I ever have a Web site, I may put things I don't hope to make a couple cents a word on reprints for up. ("For up"?)
Jennifer Powell (jnfr) Tue 8 Dec 98 21:25
In the meantime, everyone should go buy your book.
Martha Soukup (soukup) Tue 8 Dec 98 21:31
Yes! That's true!
Wagner James Au (wjamesau) Wed 9 Dec 98 00:34
So SF paying what it does, Martha, what kind of stuff do you do to Pay The Bills? Also, have you thought of writing an SF screenplay?
Cynthia Heimel (plum) Wed 9 Dec 98 10:03
I want to hear more about your influences, please.
insignificant (um) Wed 9 Dec 98 10:59
Martha Soukup (soukup) Wed 9 Dec 98 12:08
When I talked above about writing for Moebius Theatre, the small theatre troupe in Chicago I had the pleasure of playing with for many years, and how I eventually came to the point where, even though the collaboration was fun, I wrote a story I simply wanted control of-- That applies how many more orders of magnitude to screenwriting. I know various screenwriters. Obviously they like their work or they wouldn't be doing it, obviously it pays actual money. But I don't think I have the stomach lining they have. What they write only stands some minimal chance of appearing on the screen. In the first place, most screenwriting _doesn't_ get to the screen, at least in films: people make good living writing scripts that aren't filmed, or are completely rewritten. And then, of course, if what you write is filmed, you have no control over how it is filmed. Rare is the script not written by a director that more or less makes it to the screen, eh? Since I write for little reason except to try to say little things, to make little characters or observations or feelings to communicate to the reader, Hollywood and I are clearly not cut out for each other. Films are not about bringing the _screenwriter's_ vision to an audience, but the collaborative vision of some group of people of whom the screenwriter is a minor partner. The theater's more interesting. Tough gig, though. But collaborative as it is, the writer does have some more say. Influences. Well, I'm behind behind behind, not least because yesterday we lost all power in San Francisco--and my block was among the last 10% or so to get power back, of course--and then I had software problems because enough is not enough. So I didn't get to the Habitat building site yesterday at all!--and I'm rushing to get there this afternoon. I'll be back tonight, and I'll think about influences.
Cynthia Heimel (plum) Wed 9 Dec 98 18:34
don't get me started on screen writing.
Jennifer Powell (jnfr) Wed 9 Dec 98 19:44
Martha, you do write non-fiction sometimes, don't you? What kind of things do you like to write, non-fictionally speaking?
Habile Cat for Humanities (silly) Wed 9 Dec 98 20:23
Re: <48> Anyone who has seen the movie Amadeus knows that Mozart was buried in a pauper's grave. James Joyce lived in poverty. Henry Miller once begged his publisher for a thermos. And was turned down. A television commercial for Glen Ellen wines boasts that someone bought the Fifth Symphony from Beethoven for less than $20. We see a fellow dressed in the garb of early 19th century Europe depositing a few coppers on Ludwig's piano, then making off with the sheet music, a ratlike gleam in his eye. Cut to the present day. We see the same fellow, wearing casual contemporary clothes, opening a bottle of wine and smugly celebrating with his girlfriend. Btw, Glen Ellen Chardonnay tastes like flat champagne. Very dry. They wouldn't dare do a similarly smug ad about the purchase of Manhattan from an Indian tribe, boasting that the transaction cost only a few boxfuls of trinkets. I'm off to rent A Clockwork Orange at the local video store. And maybe Little Big Man, too.
Patrick Nielsen Hayden (pnh) Wed 9 Dec 98 20:27
Of course, sometimes talented people become fabulously successful and rich, too. Perhaps if they made a wine commercial about it, <silly> would include this fact in his string of non sequiters.
Harry Claude Cat (silly) Wed 9 Dec 98 20:34
Harry Claude Cat (silly) Wed 9 Dec 98 20:36
Jennifer Powell (jnfr) Wed 9 Dec 98 21:28
Ill-paid artists greatly outnumber the well-paid ones, so I suspect (silly) could make up the difference by including about 1% of an anecdote there.
Martha Soukup (soukup) Wed 9 Dec 98 21:28
Influences. That's an easier question to answer early on. Stuff keeps going into the hopper over the years until it's hard to sort out. I can work out how I got to short sf as a metier, anyway, for a start, as an autobiographical excavation. Kid who reads a lot of everything. Family has most of the Oz books (Frank Baum and Ruth Plumley Thompson). They didn't last long. Read everything in the school library until I got to mythology. Then I looked for all the mythology I could get: Greek/Roman, Norse, and whatever African and Native American and anything else, too. E. Nesbit, Edward Eager. Most other fantasy wasn't quite as fun as they were: beautifully written, and with an intellectual playfulness that had a rigor to it that made it more fun. By junior high I'd discovered science fiction. I read sf for a couple of years, but it wasn't until high school, when I became best friends with a Trek fan (a disrespectful sport of Trek fan) and re-checked out _Again, Dangerous Visions_ that I got excited. (I'd tried reading it in seventh grade, intrigued by the whole "dangerous" thing, and had to return it because it was full of stuff about sex. Yikes!) This time I kept reading, and read the _Universe_ and _Orbit_ and _New Dimensions_ books. So among my strongest influences were editors: Terry Carr, Damon Knight, and the others. And the people writing the short stories included Samuel R. Delany, Kate Wilhelm, Ursula K. Le Guin, Harlan Ellison, Robert Silverberg, Gene Wolfe, Michael Bishop, Joanna Russ, Avram Davidson, Carol Emshwiller. A lot of them have kept impressing me. Maybe particularly Carol Emshwiller. Of course I read everything, not just science fiction and not just short stories, so lots of stuff creeps in. But I'd have to ponder even longer to make that any kind of a short list.
Lenny Bailes (jroe) Thu 10 Dec 98 20:43
Martha has been known to write fascinating commentary on films, concerts, and records. Multitudes have encouraged her to submit things like this to professional publications, but so far as I know, she hasn't, yet.
Martha Soukup (soukup) Fri 11 Dec 98 02:54
I don't have the journalism knack. Mostly I don't have a clue how you sell it, or for that matter how you sell anything you haven't actually _written_ yet so how do you know if it'll be any good?
Gail Williams (gail) Fri 11 Dec 98 09:51
How did you make your first sale? Oh, and do you see any of your stories as future screenplays or other transformations into different media?
Martha Soukup (soukup) Fri 11 Dec 98 12:05
I made my first sale the way sales are made: I wrote a story, and then I sent it to the best-paying plausible market (at that time, Omni), and I got it back, and I sent it to another one, and I got it back, and I sent it to another one.... That was the story I sent to Clarion, that got me admitted to that six-week writing workshop; it was the story Algis Budrys, whom I knew from living in Chicago, said didn't work because it didn't fit the Seven-Point Plot Structure; it was the story everyone told me had too many adjectives and adverbs so I took them out; and it's a story Kate Wilhelm and Damon Knight, when I had my private conferences with them, thought should have sold already. They spent about a week trying to think what markets I could still try. "Esquire!" said Damon. "No," said Kate. Of course they told me I had to take out all the excess adjectives and adverbs (there were so very many: I'd been nervous, writing it, and trying so very hard). They didn't really come up with anyplace I hadn't sent it to. I decided to send it to a magazine Terry Carr was supposed to be editing, called "To the Stars", published by the fraught Bridge Publications, even though the magazine was supposed to for sort of adventure-based fiction and mine wasn't. I sent it to him because he'd edited the "Universe" series, and (having already discovered to my delight that the editor of the "Orbit" series, Damon Knight, would surely have bought it if that series were still going), I wanted him to see it. Eleven days later (and everyone knew the often-ill Carr was very slow in responding to submissions), I had an envelope from him. How odd, I thought, that he'd send me a rejection in his own stationary envelope instead of my SASE: maybe he was acknowledging receipt of the ms.? Because I couldn't process the idea it was anything other than it was a rejection or receipt of some sort, the way when I was robbed I couldn't process why someone had left the chain inside the apartment up when I'd left the apartment, obviously unchained, an hour ago, and thought "The building janitor must have been here." Anyway, the story being utterly inappropriate for the adventure magazine (which was never published), Terry Carr wanted to let me know he was using it to fill out what would be the penultimate volume of "Universe". So I fell over dead.
Gail Williams (gail) Fri 11 Dec 98 12:31
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