On This Business of Organization – January 22, 2005

On this business of organization…
Well, I’ve renewed my HWA dues.

That, in itself, is a large statement, these days. I’ve read a lot about how anti-writer the HWA has become, on a lot of message boards. Folks kicking up about this and that. You can generate a whole lot of hits on a thread by titling it “Why I hate HWA”.

So why’d I join? Because this organization is made up of over 1,000 horror-minded individuals. That’s a lot of possible contacts. A lot of possible connections. Too many to just throw away because of bruised feelings. Sixty-five bucks is a lot of dues, fatter than I like, and I don’t know if I get “sixty-five bucks worth” in trade. But I get enough that I can generate at least sixty five bucks in future sales. Whether you are talking royalties, advances, future contracts, and the like. The odds are, if you want to meet someone, or hear from them, or learn what they’re up to the HWA is the place to catch the scuttlebutt.

Their message board is slowly revitalizing. It became fairly comatose over the last year, following the big shift in membership requirements, and the guidelines of what can be posted on the message board.

The real bang for the buck comes from all of the hidden perks, like the contract details you can get access to, the list of reviewers, and the chance to hear about future markets. The scuttlebutt you get on who to avoid and who to hump up to.

It’s probably not very trendy to become a conformist, but I’m going to hang with the group one more year. I’ve enjoyed meeting a lot of new folks, and bagged at least one solid sale, (details to be revealed later in the year), from it that will more than cover the membership dues.

Enough on that. There’s other exciting developments on the “organization” front.

I spent the first part of yesterday morning completing the retyping of an old novel. Going to let it cool and begin a complete revision in a few weeks. The story is tight and dark and I’m very pleased, but my golly I was a long-winded bastard fifteen years ago. Long, convoluted, sentences, with needless commas, and equally redundant “and”s, and wonderful spinning metaphors that went up like skyrockets and came down like cartoon anvils, and stuff like that – (are you getting the point). Ha. If nothing, the retyping was a wonderful exercise in humility.

I spent the rest of the morning creating a glorified “To Do” list for the next couple of weeks. I’ve got promised articles, blurbs, a quick-fix edit for a colleague on two of his stories, books that need to be read, an interview I need to organize, and a story that needs a home. I opted for the simple route, a large sheet of bristol board, some thumbtacks, a sharpie black marker, and some highlighters. I’ve begun getting organized, something I’ve been trying to do for about 46 years or so.

On the reviewing front. I’ve recieved some wonderful books. Also a few turkeys. Hmm. The winnowing begins.

I left work early on Thursday because the buses were shut down by weather conditions. Took a two hour hike through deep blowing snow. Fun, fun, fun.

We’ve had two snowfalls this week, (see prior entries), and have a storm warning for Sunday. Will stay in and write.

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