Okay, I'll admit, my vacation wasn't that long. Therapeutic, yes, but over. I finished three different video games (Resident Evil 4, Resident Evil 1, Shadow of the Colossus) and started a fourth (Galerians). I ate Buffalo Chicken sandwiches, entire pizzas, McDonald's, Subway, and finished a giant bottle of red wine. There's nothing more indulgent than taking a big glass of wine down to the computer and drinking and playing Resident Evil.
But no writing happened. But that's good - it's good to clear your mind for a while. Especially when you're in idea generation mode. It can get frustrating when you try to think of how you're going to get from point A to B and have it make sense or flow well, because it's too close to scene C or negates scene D.
But I've been... concentrating. While I'm waiting for my wife to finish reading Black Hole Son (she's on page 40! ... of 239), I've been forming the outline for Mermaid Story. Parts of it are going well, parts of it are not, and I'm wondering how the hell I ever got Black Hole Son together, because this seems like a mish-mash with bigger gaps and holes than a Minnesota road after winter. The easiest part has been the beginning. The hardest part is the ending. And by ending, I mean the last 40% of the story. I've often caught myself staring off into space, trying to fine-tune, work backward, or just wait for divine light to shoot out of my head. Some days I get nowhere. Some days I get one good idea, and even from that I'm pleased. But it's not like I'm on a deadline.
My biggest fear is that this won't be as "fun" as Black Hole Son. I'm not sure the characters are likable or people you'd want to be with. But I haven't given them tangible traits yet, so I shouldn't worry. The story is still as malleable as Jell-o.
No, I'm not working on short stories for a while. For one thing, I'm waiting on some to pass through the Critters sphincter. Also, I've been doing some beta-reading for others, in exchange for my own novel. So it's not like I'm letting my skills atrophy. All the ones I have submitted are still in limbo, but it's been a while since I got a rejection.