Since this was my first story after a more than 20 year hiatus, hopefully the stories I continue to write will improve . The next big step is a professional sale, but I suspect that is significantly further in the future looking at the track records of even successful authors.
The 3D program I used is the now defunct trueSpace which I have versions 4-7.6. Of all the 3D programs it was the best value for money for what you got and one of the easiest to learn (though the learning curve for 3D is never shallow). The most recently history was that the company was bought by Microsoft, released for free and then dropped in the same MS cuts that saw the end of Encarta, Flight simulator etc . It stopped being available after a while, but if you visit the surviving trueSpace User group that was established when the company folded. www.united3Dartists.com maybe there is a link there? PS Just checked look into this URL www.united3dartists.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=3
Of the currently available alternatives is its old rival Carrara (now sold by Daz3D) basic version 150 dollars, pro version normally around 600 dollars but on sale for around half that at the moment. There is still one major freeware 3D program out there which is powerful but not user friendly and that is Blender www.blender.org Or watch out for free giveaways on computer graphics magazines (thats how I started with trueSpace with a discounted upgrade) I now use trueSpace to Model, 3D Coat to refine and paint (the developers are a group of Christians) and Vue for rendering landscapes (there's a watermarked free version to try). All of which I got into via special offers.
So the bottom line is trueSpace if you can find the program or Blender if you want free (and good!) or Basic Carrara if you've got 150 dollars-and keep an eye on the magazines!
There was a big giveaway on the Daz3D website of Daz studio, Hexagon (modeller) and Bryce (landscape program) but I am not sure whether it still exists. Jeff Gerke has used a combination of these for images on his Marcher Lord Press website (I believe)
The picture on TC2 13 was done completely in trueSpace (as was my Avatar .
Hope this helps...
PS Blender link doesn't work for me, neither does the link from Wikipedia, maybe they are overhauling their website, worth trying later, perhaps
Thank you, and sorry for taking such an unpardonably long time to respond. I think the Daz software is still free to download. It was last I checked, anyway, about a month ago. I also downloaded Blender.
We watched the Hobbit: An unexpected journey as a family over Christmas and then exposed our girls to the whole LOR film trilogy.
The connection to this thread...And so it begins (from B5) which I believed came from LOR as "so it begins" (and Gandalf) was in fact (according to the film version of the Two Towers), actually spoken by King Théoden, just before the Battle of Helm's Deep. Just goes to show the unreliability of memory. This human frailty is the basis of some very good SF and Fantasy (Here I am thinking about The Book of the New Sun), but there are many other examples.
Fiction news: Sent a new story to Dragonlots "Different Dragons" anthology for consideration.
Tidying up another story for submission to F & SF, complicated by the fact they want a stamped, self-addressed envelope with the hard copy submission and I live in Sweden. I have even gone as far as registering an account with the US postal services which via my credit card, I can print US stamps. The problem: it gives you the current date, and I expect the magazine to take several months to process the story, so I am unsure it will be still valid postage when they decide to accept or reject . Any thoughts from the the US would be welcome --that would be most of you, I guess
(This is an SF magazine! In science online submission has been with us for at least 10 years! go figure??)
It seems they fairly consistently judge within a month rather than the 3 months they give themselves. Or my stories are easy to scan and reject
Next task hit F& SF with another story see if I get a rejection in a week again.
Working on Novelette/Novella. Read useful chapters in Nancy Kress's Beginnings, Middles and Ends which I got recently due to special offer from Readers Digest.
With this length story I am having to re-gear the brain to think more like a novelist, so under Nancy's guidelines have compiled an event list, closely followed by a scene list. Fortunately, I use Scrivener, so I can look at the whole work using scene cards and a virtual "cork board" One of my two indispensable writing tools (the other being Self Editing for Fiction Writers).
This and a couple of other novelette/novellas are my practice runs for working up to writing a book...in a few years time!
The first professional sale still awaits me...Further up and Further in
Went down with a stomach bug, so used the time to submit stories. One each to Asimov's, Beneath Ceaseless Skies and Clarkesworld. The latter respond in 2 days. So I expect to hear back in reverse order...
The problem with the story I submitted to them I suspect was the prose. This is the area I am probably weakest at on my return to fiction writing. It was better 25 years ago, science writing has not been an asset here. (I don't ,mean writing about science, I mean writing scientific papers). With Clarkesworld, they place a big emphasis on the quality of the writing before you get to story. My stories and characters are much better than 25 years ago.....so hopefully with practice, the good prose (which I was previously praised for ) will return to form. Then I will try this mag again.
Awaiting the next two verdicts...breath not baited
The professional market is a hard one to crack, cdeb, but it can be done. Persistence, patience. Constantly improving on the next story (and the next). Submitting, again and again.
Positive comments on any rejection (such as what you got from F&SF) is incredibly valuable. Your story warranted enough attention for the editor to take some time to respond personally. Not as satisfying as an acceptance, but it's no small thing either!
When you consider the numbers of submissions for very few publication slots -- yikes! According to the 2013 Writer's Market, OSCIMS gets 300-400 submissions/month for 7 story slots/issue. Asimov's receives about 800 submissions/month for 10 story slots/issue. Strange Horizons averages about 300 submissions monthly to fill 48-50 story slots annually. And so on with any SFF magazine that (a) is a paying market and especially (b) a SFWA qualifying market.
Such fierce competition can be a bit discouraging, but it can also light a fire in us to strive toward the most excellent writing we can do.
Would it be too nosy to ask what the F&SF editor commented? Maybe not the specific but the general gist of the comment?
Hmmm -- perhaps we need a thread where we can all learn from editor comments on our rejections. Whatcha think?
Bated -- lessened, as in abated I think at one time (many-many years ago), it was also correct to write it as 'bated, the apostrophe indicating the omitted letter the way it does when you write goin' or talkin'.
Christian soldier: Thanks You already did publish one of mine (and took my art for the cover). And I shall surely send you more stories. I was advised by a pro-writer to do the research and then send stories to where they best fit. As Metalikhan suggests I am trying to follow the classic SF / Fantasy career path which measns visibility in the pro magazines.
Metalikhan: Thanks for the editorial input .
From F&SF ...and I paraphrase slightly "but I found the character of the dog very interesting. Not a lot, but better than the previous attempt there where the comment was "the story didn't work for me.
Got a rejection letter from Beneath Ceaseless Skies (a SFWA approved online fantasy magazine)
The good news was I got a whole paragraph of critique. What they liked and why the story didn't work for them (and thus how it could be improved!)
I'll feed this into the Sandbox and see if anybody has ideas.
So I seemed to have reached the next level, where I don't get simple rejection letters but real interaction with editors. Interestingly, seem to be following the path indicated by the Hugo Award winning author, who told me two years ago, to expect 2 years of straight rejections followed by getting comments back by editors along with rejections. According to his time table it'll be another couple of years to a pro-sale, but I remain encouraged.
Joined the local SF group (from the point of view of having somebody I might know when I go to WorldCon in London next summer)...and will go to Swedish annual Con in October.