It only seems like I'm posting a lot today, really I'm just cleaning out my draft folder.
Apparently the Merril Collection is not the enemy, contrary to what I wrote somewhere around here before.
I had a one-on-one meeting with the TPL writer-in-residence at the Merril Collection, and it was a surprisingly positive experience. I was left with the feeling that I could actually publish this stuff. We discussed my editing issues extensively. Like how I don't like it and that makes it kind of hard to even get started, and that maybe I don't like it because I don't know when to stop, and it's out of control and I need a strategy for when to quit it and let the market be the judge of the crapness of my work, rather than being that judge myself.
Though I have some lovely form rejections to argue that point.
And I learned the term "fish head" which is where I've got that boring infodump at the start of the story (in the case of this story, the page-and-a-half of exposition before the characters start talking to eachother. Because when you've caught a fish, the first thing you do is chop the fish head off.
I explained the origin of the story, and where I'd stolen the main character from, and he suggested I let the reader know the timeframe and the place, and maybe explain what that platform is doing out in the mouth of the Salween Delta. And that the only real problem is that my main character is very passive. I mentiond that originally, one of the other characters had been the POV character, and he said that could be interesting. But I don't think I'm going back, at this point. Uncle George is an odious character in my mind, and I can't really come up with a "Pat the dog" moment for him (another phrase I learned -- you can make the character as nasty as you want, and then you give him a moment when he does something surprisingly decent, and everything is okay between that character and the reader).