Stephanie Burgis
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I just found out that my flash-fiction story "Giant" (which was originally published online in Lone Star Stories) is being purchased by PodCastle to be re-published as a podcast! I'm really happy about this. I've had universally good experiences with podcast reprints so far, and I can't wait to hear "Giant" read out loud.

It's a funny experience, hearing your own stories read out loud by someone else. It's the closest I've ever managed to come to experiencing the pieces as if someone else had written them. (Patrick always laughs at me because every single time I've listened to the podcast of "Some Girlfriends Can", I've ended up giggling out loud at the heroine's snarky jokes. At least it's incontrovertible proof that they hit someone's sense of humor square on the head - mine! Oh, well...we all write for ourselves in the end, don't we?) Sometimes - rarely - podcast readers (like the one for SGC) use exactly the inflections I heard in my head while I was writing the story, and it feels like magic. Other times - for instance, in the podcast of "Stitching Time" - the reader uses totally different inflections than I'd ever imagined for the story, so hearing it feels like a shock to my system for the first few minutes - but then I end up loving it, and getting a totally different perspective on my own story because of it.

It was great news to get. And lovely timing for it, too, because I'd just gotten through a scary phone call. (Scary in concept, not in actuality - the person I talked to was actually really nice, friendly, and easy to talk to.) It was the first time I'd ever had to talk on the phone to make a "pitch" for a project before submission, and I found the whole idea of it terrifying. When I called Patrick beforehand to vent, he asked me to tell him what I was going to say in the phone call. I started, but after just a few lines, he interrupted me. "Why are you sounding so apologetic?" Umm... "You love this story. So why are you talking it down?"

He was right. I was. It's an automatic defense mechanism, I think. Does it come from being Midwestern? Or just from being shy about my writing? Either way, it's a technique that I know for a fact to be a bad idea - yet it always comes out automatically if I'm not careful. (For instance, in one of the most embarrassing moments in my life, at the Glasgow WorldCon, Alan Lee from LoTR asked me about my novel-in-progress...I can't even bear to repeat here what I said to him. It's too humiliating!)

But I can listen, sometimes, when I'm given good advice. So when I sat down to make the phone call, I took a deep breath and injected not just confidence but, more importantly, my own real excitement about the story, and my love for the characters, into my voice. And I was invited to submit. Whew!

So it's been a really good afternoon. Now Maya's curled up against my legs (and her shoulder is better now than it was on Saturday, thank goodness - it'll never be in great shape, but she's starting to use it more again), and I'm in the middle of Nancy Mitford's biography of Madame de Pompadour, which is witty, delicious fun. If I were doing scholarly research, I wouldn't trust it an inch - but as a writer, this kind of biography is like a feast. So many great personalities! Such perfect fodder for ideas!

A good start to the week, all in all. :)


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