Kage Baker had an enormous confidence in my ability to take up her pen and continue her stories. I have wavered between bounding enthusiastic determination, and the soul-sinking certainty that there was no chance in hell. Somewhere between these two extremes, I actually managed to finish the sequel to The Ladies of Nell Gwynne.
Now it turns out there was a contract for, and considerable publisher’s interest in, a book of Martian stories. Kage only did three or four … but she left two plots and titles (with attendant notes) for further tales. I had them down as “someday, when I have proven myself a little more …”. But one thing I have learned that when a publisher is interested, you had damn well better find something to show him. Fast.
My agent would like to have one of these in hand, at a 10,000 or so word length, like, last month. I can easily write a story of that length in 10 days to 2 weeks – but the question is, are we talking Shakespeare and the monkeys here?
I did 2,200 words on “Marswife” today. I like it, but cannot for the life of me tell if it is any good; and, if it is, is it sufficiently Kage-esque? Kagelike? Kage-i-form? The two patient ladies to whom I usually bring my whining plaints – Kimberly and Neassa – are as willing as ever to advise me. But not only do I feel a dim guilt-like feeling at so constantly abusing their generosity (which will not, however, stop me from doing it), there is also the fact that this is a further reach from completing one of Kage’s Victorian romps.
So I am going to take advantage of a few of you. Who wants to be drafted into an impromptu reading group? You, Dear Readers, have come with this far because you loved Kage and her work: you know her in that special way that only dedicated and intelligent audiences know a writer. Would any of you be willing to have a look at the first draft of the first fifth of a story I am trying to complete at light speed?
And tell me if I wasting all our time? I’d rather waste a little of yours, good friends that you have been, than foist something nasty off on a larger audience. So if you are willing, to potentially take one for Team Kage – tell me where to send it and I shall inflict my insecurities and palpitations on you.