Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Short story accepted

(OLD-SCHOOL BREAKING NEWS BEEP) Da-da-duh-duh-da-da-da-da...

This just in to the Flying Trapeezius newsroom.

My short story, "No Errors in Programming" has been accepted for Static Movement's Bounty Hunters anthology. I've heard no timeline on publication for the anthology, but it was a quick turnaround in terms of acceptance. I submitted the story early this morning (or late last night) and woke up to find an acceptance email in my inbox.

A quick summary:

Robot bounty hunter Molitor (Mobile Operation Licensed for Infiltration, Termination, Observation, and Reconnaissance) never compromises in tracking down its quarry. But when the machine accepts a contract to terminate a member of a well-known royal family, certain parameters don't compute, forcing the machine to recalculate the best course of action.

I wrote this one specifically for this particular anthology. I was originally going to do a story about a tough-as-nails female bounty hunter. A remnant of this idea comes from an early line in the story:

The last person who told Molitor that bounty hunting was a man’s profession ended up as an unrecognizable dark splotch on the main concourse of Xenia VII.

However, as soon as I wrote that line, I decided it would be fun to do a story about a mechanized bounty hunter with an identity crisis. Thus, the robotic Molitor was born and I wracked my brain trying to think of a suitable acronym (it ended up being: Mobile Operation Licensed for Infiltration, Termination, Observation, and Reconnaissance). The character, of course, is named after my favorite pro baseball player growing up, Paul Molitor.

The original draft was about 5,200 words. I pared it down to a shade under 5,000 in the final draft.

The most challenging part of editing and rereading the piece was making sure Molitor's gender remained undefined. The robot is a machine, so I didn't want to use any masculine words like "his" or "him" to describe Molitor (even though the machine possesses a booming voice and definite male tendencies). I used "its" in place of "his"; words like "the robot" and "the machine" in place of "he." It's not a huge deal, but I definitely spotted a few times where I broke this rule. I think I'd eliminated them all by the final read-through. I think.

Anyway...no other writing news to report today. I spent last night editing the story about Molitor, so I don't have any progress to share concerning the Reggie Miller Writing Continuum.