July 1st, 2010


A not so simple reminder to my generic reader

I haven't mentioned this recently, but in this well-connected (or perhaps over connected!) world it bears repeating: I'm probably not ignoring you on purpose --or at all-- if I fail to reply to something you've posted online, or mailed to me. In part it's that I'm stretched thin, and in part it is that, given the number of places people can send me notes, letters, emails, and comments, I may simply not have had time to read what you wrote -- or time to understand that this wasn't simply a *comment* you had for me, but something you expected an answer to, right now or RSN.

The thing is, over time, I've met a lot of people online and offline, as a fan and as a writer and sometimes as reviewer . Alas, people tend to think that since we've met once, or corresponded once, I have as clear a memory of them as they do of me. I wish this could be  true -- and in many cases it is. But in lots of cases (say you asked me a question from the audience while I was on a panel at ArtKane or TorCon or one of the several hundred other conventions I've been to) it isn't true.  Yes, we've interacted, and possibly I'll recall your face, but forgive me, my mind is far from infinite.  Harder, just because you've read my words or story it doesn't mean you've met me -- you've experienced the voice of the story and not necessarily my own voice or ideas. Miri pulls the trigger easier than I do.

Also, there are some kinds of things I tend not to reply to, out of policy.  If you *tell me* what story or novel I must write next, or what detail I must fit in, forgive me, but I won't likely reply.  There's a chance that scene, idea, or what have you is already incorporated into what we're working on, just as there's a chance we've already rejected it. if you insist on telling me these things I *must do* multiple times -- or if you already have -- chances are I won't see your note. Yes, I have filtering software and I'm not afraid to use it!

Now, you can tell me you'd like to see a story about such-and-so, or including more of whoever.  That's cool, and we take that into consideration when time permits.  But to say you need us to produce a particular story at a particular time? No. Only editors and agents (and co-authors, of course!) get to do this.  Additionally, over the years I and we  --the Lee and Miller we -- have been constrained at time by contracts and by copyright. So, no, we cannot just zip off the second book in the Beneath Strange Skies series as much as Jerel may deserve it, just as we may have an editorial direction to let Jethri sit on his pile of old-tech awhile longer, or prior contracts that mean something else gets written first.

Please note: really, this is serious special stuff, pay attention here! If you write to to tell me you know, in detail, what the plot of our next book should be, I'll urge you to please hold that letter and take your keyboard in hand and write your own story, create your own universe, answer that need yourself -- and not in a hazy fanfic, but in the full-fledged realization of your inner plotmonster. Now, I've been living with my plotmonster since 1962 or so (that'd be about when I *finished* my first self-generated, non-school driven story on paper) and it must play. If you have a plotmonster, let it play in a fresh space, and not where some line in a story you've never read (I've had a few million words published  for pay since 1968 -- have you read them all?) means it can't be done without trashing something.

So, yep, I get busy with life, and with stories, and with having a dozen or more venues where my attention is demanded. If I don't reply today, it most likely isn't on purpose. The world is too much with us.