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Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Whew

Even with insomnia, this last week I got a story up off the ground from rough draft through two edits (thanks OWW people!) and off to the Shine Anthology before their deadline of July 31st.   I’m not sure it’s optimistic enough and who knows what they’ll think of the contents/theme, but I figure it’s the first near-future story I’ve written and I think it’s a fairly sweet tale, so maybe they’ll like it.  If not, oh well, on to somewhere else.

So far the story a week is happening.  I just started the next one, though I need to do more research before I get more than a few opening sentences down (I want the turn of the century Ukraine feel to come across properly).  I think I’m getting sick, however, so this story might happen more slowly.  Just as long as I get three more written before I go on vacation, I think I’ll be satisfied.  Then they can go up on OWW and collect some reviews while I’m gone.  Once I get back I can edit, submit, and then buckle down and get the damn novel finished.  It’s on like Donkey Kong after I return from Worldcon.  That damn novel is taking too long and my wonderful novel edit exchange partner has been doing a great job of sending me critiqued chapters.  I need to get the final third written so I can do the edits I so conveniently have piling up.

Then… tackling Casimir Hypogean.  It’s almost time.  Once these next three shorts are done I’ll have 12 stories in the submission cycle and hopefully the edited Chwedl as well making the agent rounds.  After that there’s no excuse not to finish the rewrite of my bane novel.  I have the suggestions I got at NorWesCon, I’m armed with the plot, and damn it if I’ll let this stupid project die without giving it a shot.  Besides, I really do want to write the sequels.  Kinda have to write the first one… you know, first.

All right. Drugs and then sleep. I will not be sick. I will not be sick.  I’ve got too much to do!

WotF and Sadness

Well, I took the plunge and submitted a story to the Writer’s of the Future contest.  Wish me luck.  I have no idea if they’ll like it, but it’s on the longer side and good old science fiction, so maybe it’s to their taste.  It’s my first time. Meep.

In other news, I got yet another rejection in the flavor of “we liked X about this, but it’s not right for us/we can’t use it at this time, submit more”.  I feel so near the top, yet in the end it’s functionally the same as being at the bottom.  No sales. Grr. Argh.  Oh well, head down and sending that story out again.

I’ve been on a very strange sleeping every other day sort of schedule lately for no good reason, so writing has been really sporadic.  I think I might abandon writing cohesive whole chapters for the next couple weeks (we’re packing and moving) and work on editing and writing some more short stories.  I’ve been reading lots of award winning stories lately trying to pick out what makes them tick/win.  I think I’m going to try to get out of my comfort zone and write a few stories using elements I don’t tend to gravitate to, like specifically happy endings and linear, clear plots.  I don’t know. I have some ideas.

Meanwhile I’m trying to avoid reading Clarion West blogs because man, that’s depressing.  I’ve got over half a year to get some stories to the point that I’ll have a chance.  Of course, the story I submitted last year is still one of my all time favorites, so clearly I’m no kind of judge of my own work.  That story has since garnered a near-sale and a few nice comments on rejections, so it can’t be totally bad.  Once it gets back from the latest submission place I might post it in the JBU slush and let the grinder that are those commenters take a stab at it.  Or maybe it’ll get bought, finally.  We’ll see.  So yeah, NOT thinking about Clarion West 4 hours to the north for the next few weeks. Nope. Not at all.

Days Like These

Finally started a new short story, one of three I intend to write this month.  It’s going to be a bit of a challenge because I’m trying to keep it under 4k words and write about two star-crossed lovers on a dying Earth who happen to be teenaged boys.  It’s different, but I feel like writing a love story.  It will get me back in the mood to work on Chwedl, or something.

To write the beginning I ended up watching rocket take-offs on youtube.  For research. Really.

And people wonder why I choose to write science fiction and fantasy? Heh.

Now to find that awesome article in one of my Analogs’ about lunar bases and space stations.  And figure out how I want this story to end.

Getting Down to Business

I’m quitting my MFA program.  Though money was partially an issue, in the end it came down to me not enjoying the program and my classes not helping me as a writer.  I think that I’ll be more productive on my own for now.  I have the Online Writing Workshop for my critiquing fix.  So the plan is for me to work on the current novel projects this year and come next year apply to a couple of other MFA programs.  I’m thinking Stone Coast and Seton Hill, since they offer Popular Fiction tracks.

In the good news from all this, however, a girl in my workshop who writes pretty delightful regency romance has agreed to do chapter exchanges with me.  So I’ll be emailing her chapters of Chwedl and she’ll give me chapters of her current novel project.  Editing novels is tough partially because they’re so damn long that getting people to read all of it takes some doing.  It’s been my experience so far with the OWW that novel chapters don’t get as many critiques as short stories, plus there’s often no one to look for continuity errors or flow since people might only read a few chapters and not the whole book.  I’m thrilled that this girl and I will be exchanging chapters.  We’ll both get eyes on the whole of our novels.  Not to mention that I’ve read the first couple chapters of her novel and am totally hooked.  Hopefully she’ll feel the same about mine once she sees the first chapters (she’s pretty brave to want to exchange without seeing the novel first, but she has seen two short stories of mine, so I guess that’s something).

I aim to have Chwedl finished by the beginning of July with an edited version ready by the end of August.  At that point I plan to write up a query letter and start the fun and exciting agent hunting part of the writing life.  I have a short list of agents I want to query and it’s my hope that I’ll maybe get to meet and chat with a few at Worldcon, though I intend to keep that informal.  It would be nice to talk to some of the agents I’m considering, however, so I can get a feel for it this project is right for them.  And of course, I have to find a real title for the book since “Welsh word no one can pronounce” probably isn’t going to fly.

Hmm… “Aine and the Hounds”? Nah. “The Hounds of Clun Cadair”? Too Holmes-ripoff.  Grr. I’m not good with titles.  If only I could bribe Elizabeth Bear into thinking up titles for me, hers always rock.

Another Tiny Update

Rejection number 10 (form letter) came in yesterday.  Time to send that story out somewhere else.

On the “dancing, not quite from rooftops” level of awesome, I queried about another story that had been in the ether fora  couple months and found that they’re holding it for consideration/second opinions.  I’m going to interpret this is a win, even if they don’t take the story.  It means I’m getting past the first glance, which is a mark of improvement.  Go me.

I have an edit of that story also, so I responded thanking them for letting me know where I stood and offered up the edit if they’d like to see it.  I like both versions (one is cleaner since more eyes went over it) but who knows what they’ll want? Anyway, I’m psyched that I’m at least being considered.

Meanwhile, I’m working on the novella which will never sell.  Seriously, who buys fantasy novellas?  I’m going to try to keep it under 17k words so I can at least enter it in the ‘Writers of the Future’ contest.  I just finished Ken Rand’s (may he RIP) “Ten Percent Solution” and intend to put his ideas into practice to reduce the draft of the novella to as short as I can get it without hurting the story.

Then I need to type up Sparks and finish it.  I know where the story is going now, and the logistics of the fort.  All that I need to do is add some kick ass fighting and I’ll have story.  I really like the concept, but I’m not too sure I can write good fights.  I think I’ll enlist my husband to help me keep things realistic while still awesome.  There’s always a balance in fight scenes between cinematic kick-ass and “he did what with that sword?”

After Sparks and A Prince Called Courage are finished, I swear I’m going back to Chwedl.  I haven’t added a single new word to the novel in months (though I did do a bit of editing of the first 60k words).  Time to finish that baby so I can move on to finishing my Albetross (ie Casimir Hypogean).

All right.  Back to work on Novella that Won’t Sell.

In Life, There is no Partial Credit

I *almost* sold a story.  Sometimes I wonder if there isn’t a nice balance between rejections with comments and form letters.

On the one hand, I’m glad to know what kept the mag from buying my story.  On the other hand, it’s tough to know that one small thing (ok, a central premise of the tale which I’m not sure will ever be to that reader’s taste…) kept my story from selling.

With a little help from my friends, however, I should be able to edit and clear that up at least a bit (already started on that part, so we’ll see).

But darnit. Almost. There.

Edit to add:  I wrote and asked if they’d look at a rewrite, and they will!  So there might be hope yet.  Go go go little story.

Meanwhile, back to edits on things and stuff.  And maybe some fricken writing.  I really want to be done with this novel draft already.

But first, back to ‘research’.  Also known as reading 17 Drizzt books.  Every one of those books made the NY best seller’s list, so I’m picking them apart to see what worked.  (Or you know, devouring the silly DnD heroics like candy, which is almost the same thing).

I think my stories need more kick-ass heroes.

So, To Sum Up My Rejection Woe

Clarion West: Rejected.

Space Bones: Rejected (by CW and the place it was out for submission)

Total rejections counting CW now: 5  (four form letter, 1 personal)

It’s almost enough to make a girl start drinking again.

On the plus side, I’ve come up with a cool story to write this week and solved a problem that I was having when thinking about the world of my Giant Novel of Doom that I’m still a decade away from writing.  So at least my stupid brain goes on despite my heart trying to tell it I have no chance and will never ever amount to anything.

495 rejections left.

Tired of Editing

I think the subject says it all.   I’m sick of editing things.  I haven’t actually written anything wholly new for a few weeks now, though I think being sick/in hospital combined with trying to keep up with submissions and school work is partially a good excuse.

Edited Delilah today, so whenever it gets rejected I’ll at least have a new better faster stronger draft to send out.  I actually kind of hope it does get rejected, because I like this version better.  I figure best case senario though, they buy the story and I can offer them this draft as a “hey! this is like totally way better, want this version?”  since the draft isn’t that different from the original.  I removed a couple scenes and added a couple, so the length is about the same and I think the character development/motivation is hopefully more clear now as well.

I really should edit Blade Bearer, but I think I’ll wait on that until the peeps at NorWesCon tear into it.   I’m being workshopped by such awesome pros as Cat Rambo, Lizzy Shannon, Brenda Cooper, and Jeff Carlson.  It’s pretty darn cool they’re giving time out to do critiques, as much as I’m super nervous that I’ll get the nice version of “don’t quit your day job” (and then have to explain I already quit my day job…).

This week though I think I’ll start writing again, new stuff.  I’d like to have a rough draft of Chwedl by April.  Spring break is coming up (I think I’m done with class in about a week from Wed) and that should give me plenty of time to finish up whatever I don’t get to in the next two weeks.  15k words a week should do it.  I’m not sure how Aine is going to solve the problem in front of her, but I’m sure something will come out while I’m writing (and if my solution sucks, it would be a fairly easy rewrite given the structure).

They’ve started calling people about Clarion West.  No word yet either way for me.  I’m trying to just keep my head down and work and not stress over whether or not I got in, but damn it’s hard.  I really like the story I submitted, but I can see where it might get a mixed reception, so we’ll see.  Hopefully they’ll think I have promise and give me a shot.  I think it would be an amazing experience, at the least, and a step I’m ready for.  I’m keeping my game face (mostly) on and thinking “next year!” if I don’t make it this one.  But I really want to make it this year.  The line up this year looks amazing. (Ok, it pretty much always does every year, but still…)

No word on Space Bones or Delilah either.  I hate wait.

The Deep End

I jumped with both feet, so to speak.

Space Bones has been submitted to a pro market,  Rusalka (poem) as well.

Now, I wait.

Oh, right, I hate wait.

Meanwhile, time to see what my workshop class thinks of the first three chapters of Casimir Hypogean.

Let Me Explain

No wait, there is too much.  Let me sum up…

So far my workshop class this term is going far better though I’ve discovered sort of alarmingly that I really don’t like workshopping other people’s work (selfish as that sounds).  It often devolves to arguing semantics, which is fun for a while, but week after week?  Also, there was one story turned in by a published author that I didn’t actually do a critique response on because I found the writing and story impossibly boring.  Not bad, just completely uninteresting in pretty much all ways.  I couldn’t think of a nice way to say this, so I didn’t say anything.

And I just finished up my Clarion West application and sent it in.  I formatted the two stories I wanted to send and realized that in the different font they were pages longer than they had been.  So I had to choose between the two.  I finally settled on Space Bones since I think the character interaction and dialogue is probably sharper than in Delilah.  Also, the plot is more ambiguous and less biblically inevitable (as one friend put it).  So there’s that.  This is going to be the longest month ever, isn’t it?  I’m not sure I dig the whole submitting thing.

So, to sum up:

I hate wait.  Also, Nobu, finish the damn novel.

That’s all.