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The Mainspring of His Heart, the Shackles of His Soul

January 12, 2011 at 5:28 am

Well, so far 2011 is off to a nice start.  Even if nothing else happens this year, at least I can say I made one sale.

Late last year I wrote a relatively short piece for a new DAW anthology edited by Jennifer Brozek.  I'm happy to be able to say that "The Mainspring of His Heart, the Shackles of His Soul" has been officially accepted into the forthcoming Human For A Day anthology.

It's a story of tulips and alchemy, clocks and human rights, slavery and unconsummated love.

Vic Milán, who knows a thing or two about clever turns of phrase, calls it a "gears and geas" story. I rather like that.

Once I got past the first couple of pages, the story went pretty quickly.  But I found I had to keep forcing myself back to the story at hand, because I wanted to wander off and explore the world.  That doesn't happen to me very often.  In fact, I don't think it has ever happened to me before.  But in this case, I had the idea for the story before I knew what the setting would be.  And once I figured out the setting, I realized I needed to spend more time there than I could justify in a single story.

So hooray for having a backlog of ideas I want to play with.

And speaking of clocks, I also consider the story a successful experiment in terms of how I organize my writing time.  Usually, during the week, my writing time is set aside immediately after I come home from work, before I eat dinner.  But for work-related reasons I had to push everything back an hour for one week.  Rather than eat dinner at 9pm all week, I decided to see how much I could write if I confined all of my writing time to the morning.  It worked pretty well.  (In terms of feeling productive.  I make no claims about the quality of the story.)

I'm considering permanenly shifting my work schedule.  I think I like writing in the morning more than writing in the evening.


Dan Goodman January 13, 2011 at 4:24 pm
I really like the title of that short story, Ian. It's great that you're trying some new stuff aside from Milkweed- I find that short fiction itself, especially when "long-term" writing doesn't work, can really 'unlock' the brain. I've noticed as well that early hours let writing come more naturally to me as well. Unfortunately, after surgery, nothing comes as easy right now. In closing, maybe this unique food will jog your brain a bit.
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