I'm working on a knot of old stories. And by "working," I mean that all of last week and today and maybe for a little while longer, my professional life revolves around untangling 50,000 plus words and the characters wrapped inside.
"Raven Dream" was published quite a few years ago. I had found this pleasant mind-game: A near-future world and a secret tribe of Native Americans living on a remote ranch. The first novelette was surprisingly successful. Four more followed in fairly quick succession. My daughter was young and in daycare, which is never cheap, and I was under some self-imposed pressure to produce words and get paid for those words. Which might be one of the reasons why going back through these five stories has been such an eye-prying experience.
I'm polishing the old stuff, preparing them to be published. Probably on Kindle, and I don't know when. But I'm finding that the language needs an embarrassing amount of work. I don't change the stories themselves, but I rework dialogue and do a little more with standardizing names and my logic. The original "Dream" was the best written of the bunch. This might be because I wasn't convinced anyone would want it, so I went over it and over it. And then out of caution, I set the manuscript aside. That would have been a physical manuscript, and it was brought out of the drawer months later and reworked again. A good slow way to write. But success is a hazard to writers and to human beings. Success means that you think you understand something well enough. Instead of running as hard as you can, you trot. Instead of sweating the phrases and the logic, you let your fat mind drift.
I'm also polishing these five stories in preparation to writing a sixth, and a seventh. Maybe an eighth. Because if I don't do this today, this minute, it might never get done. And there's a small tribe of people scattered across the world who want to have this story done.
The fine people at The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, for instance.
Anyway, today's focus is a Lakota teaching rich people to build fire, and meanwhile, the entire world is about to turn to flame.