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Clarifying Myself, Again

Wow, I didn’t realize that my musings on whether or not to apply to Clarion/Clarion West would stir up the pot so much. Heh.  I guess it’s like writing anything, you never know when something will strike a chord or a nerve.  (Some of this post is also in response to some private conversations, so don’t think I’m necessarily replying here to any one person, I’m not).

So, to clarify, because clearly some misunderstandings about what/why I’m debating applying/going.

First, for the people who’ve just found this blog and haven’t read any of my older posts where I try to explain my process/speed/goals etc… I recommend this post.  And again the caveat, everything I say here applies only to me.  It might resonate with others, but I’m just talking about my experiences, my thoughts, and my writing life as it applies to myself.

My last post was just me wondering about Clarion and if it is what I need right now in my writing life.  That was it.  I asked for experiences/thoughts from those who had gone (or even just applied, I’m always happy to hear other people’s reasons for things) so that I could figure out for myself what I want to do.  I would never apply to Clarion without planning what might happen if I got in, that’s just silly to me.  One, it would be a waste of the application fee if I decided not to go and got in, and two, it would be poor planning in general (it’s six weeks! Even self-employed as I am, taking six weeks off/away from home isn’t simple).  So if I do apply, you’d better believe I’ll have sorted out how to afford it and if I want to go or not.  Hence my wondering aloud about whether it is what I need right now (or really, almost a year from now).

And, frankly, I don’t think that Clarion is for everyone.  It isn’t just a matter of being able to do the work (one story a week? Read the goals/speed post. I’m really not worried about the work load).  I’ve talked to a double handful of people who’ve been through one of the Clarions now and while some rave about it, some don’t.   And I don’t know if it is right for me. That’s all I’m debating.  No value judgments here, just personal musings.

My reservations about applying/going: one, the round-robin critique style.  I’ve done it, lots.  I don’t really enjoy it anymore.  I think, personally, that it is too easy to get hung up on minor things because you are “critiquing” and therefore have to find something wrong, and I think it is easy for a writer (especially a beginning writer) to try to take everyone’s suggestions and possibly re-write their story into mush.  This has been my experience with round-robin style.  Feedback is good (I have a couple groups of first readers, whom I treasure and love (when I don’t want to kill them) and should probably bake cookies for more often).  Too much feedback just for the sake of having to say something, not so good.  I’ve also got my editing cycle down to a science that works for me.  It’s a quick cycle, and while I learn from feedback, I don’t re-write in the traditional sense anymore. Ever.  If a story is so broken that I’d have to do a major edit, I start over.  I’m a learn by doing sort, and doing for me is writing, not rewriting.

Second, six weeks is a huge time commitment.  It’s also something I’d have to plan my writing goals around.  I don’t write nearly as consistently when I’m not in my home space, so I’d have to try to adjust for that.  I’m also an introvert, and social situations drain me, so that is also something for me to consider. While I’d be getting a story a week done at the least, as I said in my last post, I’d be experimenting a lot (after all, isn’t that what workshops are about? Stretching yourself?) and don’t know how much of that writing would be in the “do over” category.  Next year my plan is to write four novels for e-books and four for traditional submission.  Losing six weeks means a bit of a time crunch.  It’s doable, but I’m lazy, remember? So I’d definitely need to plan (and being an introvert, honestly I’d probably lose more like eight weeks- the one before Clarion and the one after on recovery).  Clarion/CW’s focus is on short fiction, and while I’m still writing some short fiction (goal is to keep 40-50 shorts out at a time, writing to replace the ones that sell), I’ve transitioned to novels because my goal is to make a living and novels are good for that (and I like writing them).

So yeah, those are my current thoughts.  I know that I’d learn a lot and meet many interesting people if I applied/went.  I don’t doubt that for many people, Clarion/CW is a great stepping stone in their writer journey and that the experience is amazing.  These are things I’m considering and weighing against my other thoughts.  Basically, it boils down to this:

Do I want to go to Clarion or Clarion West? Yes.  Can I afford to go money-wise? Maybe (I could figure it out).  Can I afford to go time-wise? Maybe (again, I could figure it out).  Do I need to go in order to have a career as a writer? No.  Is Clarion/CW the best use of my time and resources for my writing/career goals right now in my life? I don’t know.  And that final question is all I’m trying to answer here.

Hopefully that clarifies things.

Now, to put down the blog (and Starcraft 2), and go finish this novel.

O Munde, hodie aliquid vincam!

Clarion Musings

So, first… my sale. I have sold “No Spaceships Go” to Daily SF, a brand new magazine that will apparently start publishing later this summer/fall. So go subscribe now, because besides my story, it looks like they have lined up some top authors (including fellow PDX writer and Hugo winner David D. Levine).  I’m pretty excited.  More details whenever I get them.

Also, in other internet news, both Clarion and Clarion West have posted instructor lists for 2011.  And wow, they are impressive (okay, when aren’t they? seriously. Sigh).  Clarion list is here.  Clarion West list is here.

As always, I kinda want to go to Clarion (either Clarion) because writing with both my potential classmates and under the tutelage of professionals such as those listed above would be freaking awesome.  I’ve only applied once to Clarion West, and was form rejected.  Which doesn’t shock me, it was my first submission to anywhere, ever. (Feb 4th 2009, for those of us ie me keeping track).  And frankly, I mostly applied because I really wanted to meet Elizabeth Bear whose work and work ethic I super admire.  Probably good I didn’t get in, since I don’t know how I would have survived.

I almost applied to Clarion last year, but decided I couldn’t afford it and took a couple of Dean Wesley Smith’s workshops instead (which, for the sake of honesty, I almost didn’t get in to.  While there’s no formal audition like for the Clarions, Dean isn’t a guy who pulls his punches and if he thinks someone isn’t ready, he’ll say so.  I’m not sure I was ready, but I am grateful. *grin*).  And between discovering those workshops, reading Dean’s motivation posts (and Kristine Rusch’s posts on freelancing), and deciding to truly follow Heinlein’s Rules for Writers, I pretty much completely revolutionized how I was going about getting to my goal of making a living at writing fiction.

So… Clarions.  Should I apply? On the one hand, I imagine I’d have a blast and learn a ton.  On the other, can I get in? Or afford to go if I did? And, strangely enough, can I afford to take 6 weeks out of my writing schedule to focus on workshop stuffs?  I know they write a story a week at the workshops, but frankly, for me, that’s really not an issue, even with additional work like reading on top of it I’m pretty sure I could keep that pace without blinking.  But could I keep up my novel/novella/shorts schedule during Clarion/CW if I got in?

I don’t know. I don’t actually write nearly as well, especially on longer works, when I don’t have the comfort and stability of my home schedule and daily routines.  I can make myself get some work done, but not with the focus I have at home.  And I’m sure that between hanging out with fellow writers, doing the workshop stuffs, and the various functions and parties etc… I’d be pretty socially drained and low energy, which is not a productive state for me.

So if a) I did get in and b) could afford to go, then the question I’d have to consider would be is it worth losing potentially an entire novel’s worth of writing production?  I realize I’d come out of the workshop with six short stories, though as to publishable state I can’t say.  I hope that if I went I’d be really pushing myself in terms of how I’m writing and what I’m writing about, which might render whatever I write as a do-over, but workshops should be about risk in my opinion.  No point going to learn something and not really pushing yourself to stretch out of comfort zones.

So yeah, that’s basically what’s going on in my head now.  The line-ups for teachers looks very awesome, but between money and time lost, I just don’t know if the workshop would be worth it at this point.

Things to think about.  Fortunately, I have time.  I probably won’t make final decision until Feb 2011.  By then, if I’m remotely on target, I’ll have five novels being shopped to trad. publishers, book one of my e-book series out, and at least 40 shorts circulating (unless editors buy more/all of them..nudge nudge universe).  So I’ll see where I’m at.

Anyone else thinking about applying? Anyone who reads this been to one of the Clarions? What were your experiences?

(And, of course, there is always Odyssey as well, which I’ve heard lovely things about from both the woman who runs it and writers who have attended.  So much to consider. Meep.)

Feet, Meet… Wet

So after a lot of thinking about it and some very good discussions with people at the workshop this last weekend, I’ve decided to get my feet wet with the whole electronic publishing thing. I already had plans for an experiment with longer fiction, which I’m going to talk about closer to the things happening date (not for months… stay tuned!). But I hadn’t really thought about putting up short fiction yet.

However, I do have a few literary stories that have made some submission rounds (you think spec fic mags are slow to respond? Try the lit fic world, whew). A couple even got nice rejections from what I think are prestigious literary magazines (and certainly ones that pay fairly well). Two of my stories got me into graduate school (MFA program which I then dropped out of…). So I know the stories aren’t horrible, they are just hard to place.

And now they are available online. I bundled two surreal shorts together, and then put up the longer ones separately. Will I sell any copies? Who knows? But I haven’t resubmitted them in a bit (even though it would have increased my race score I guess) and so they weren’t doing me much good sitting on the computer. If you want to read them, they are cheap (inexpensive?) and found here for Kindle and here for other formats (the sidebar there has the other two stories).

So I’ve decided to change my submission habits a little.  I still intend to submit every story I write to every pro-paying magazine and to the handful of good semi-pro zines that I love.  If a story then doesn’t sell to those magazines, I’ll put it up online.  It’ll take a while for each story to make those rounds (looks like about a year to two years so far), but at least there will be no trunk.  I’ll also probably (depending on if/how well anything sells online) put up stories of mine that I have sold and then gotten the rights back from.  This ebook stuff is a brave new world and interesting changes are coming for everyone, and damn but I want to be a part of that.  I think it’s good to stay on top of the changes and for me to get my feet wet learning how to put things online.  There are readers out there and they’ll vote with their dollars on the quality of things.  Plus it is good practice for writing blurbs, right? *grin*

Anyway, as other stories finish the submission rounds, I’ll be slowly putting them online.  I have a great friend doing my covers and I spent quite a few painful hours learning to format for Kindle.  It’s a fun new thing to try at the very least.  And as I said, I have a crazy/awesome idea for an experiment starting up in a few months, so eventually I’ll post a nice long thing about that.

Meanwhile, I am running into my own writing deadlines full speed.  I signed up for another novel workshop in October and haven’t even started the book I want to workshop.  So I guess I’d better stop blogging and go (have my characters) kill a few people and wrap up the current novel.  Lots of work ahead, but I feel good about.  I’m so busy between writing and Starcraft 2 that I’m (mostly) not even stressing about WotF results.  Crazy 🙂

Hope Has a Flavor

Last week was filled with disappointment and rejections. No news for me on the second quarter of the WotF contest yet, which means I’m HM or worse for the fourth time (looks like the finalists have been notified). Got a form letter rejection from one place that had held a story for final consideration, heard back about another (rejected as well, though very nicely). Oh well, back into the mail they go. For now.

And yet, I feel good. I went to a workshop on how to pitch ideas and write blurbs this weekend and got my mental ass kicked… and I still feel good. Hopeful even. Happy. Why? Because I sat and listened to a bunch of professional writers discussing this interesting new publishing world (and the interesting old publishing world) and I have to say, these are damn exciting times to be starting a writing business in. I came home with new skills, new ideas, and the germs of exciting plans that will be revealed soon (and more on that sekrit project I keep mentioning).

I’m thrilled to be a part of this stuff. There is so much for me to learn, and things are changing all the time. It’s awesome to attend Dean’s workshops and be surrounded by pros living and doing the things I’m working on doing. I feel more like a professional myself these days, growing all the time.

So yeah, I’m exhausted and excited and my brain’s full of stuff I need to sit down and really process. I’ll work on that and hopefully get some more comprehensive posts out about my plans and my latest writing adventures.

It’s a good time to be a writer.

Exoskeleton Fail

I am back from vacation. I made the mistake of thinking 85 strength sunblock applied twice over (a few hours apart) would do the trick. Managed to burn myself so badly on the first day (snorkeling twice, swimming in pool, then a 2+ hour walk in the afternoon) that I spent the rest of the trip wishing I could levitate so my burn body wouldn’t touch anything. Yeah. Not fun.

I spent most of last week on painkillers swathed in aloe and hiding from the sun (though I probably made the burn worse by venturing out multiple times… it was too lovely there to be able to hide indoors. Which should mean lots of writing done, right? Not so much. See, the worst burn is my shoulders, arms, and… hands! Also, I scraped up a few knuckles on some rocks (but I got to touch a sea turtle, so it worked out).

I got a couple chapters done and an entire other novel outlined. That second bit was an accident, but I was so inspired by the landscape and the ideas hitting me that I had to at least get the gist down in outline form.

I can still finish the current novel by the end of the month. If I put my head down and go. (Burn is healing, the blisters have split, the skin is starting to fall off like crazy… TMI yet? *grin*). So that’s the plan. Write like the wind and get this novel done so I can start the next one.

Oh, and I averaged one rejection a day while I was gone. Gave me lots of admin work to do today. Got all but one story back out, it is in an envelope waiting on the mail tomorrow, so it is basically done and out. Nothing like a stack of “thanks but no thanks” waiting for you to return. Fun day I had today, heh. I’m really missing short story writing though. Haven’t gotten a new one out in a few weeks and it feels weird. I did get notice that yet another story is under “final consideration” somewhere, so that’s 4 now I get to live in suspense with. Strangely, I feel fairly calm about it. I guess I’m so focused on getting the writing done that once something is out the door, I don’t worry about it too much. It’ll either sell or it won’t. Meanwhile I’m learning some neat new tricks from some of the books I’ve been reading and (hopefully) implementing that stuff in my own writing.

So that’s the story of my vacation. Time to get back to work…

Working on Vacation

My novel isn’t done yet, and I leave in two days to go on vacation for a week. So I’m bringing my netbook and intend to represent the iconic image of the fiction writer drinking an umbrella drink on a hot beach with the laptop open, working in the sunlight. Only, I’m Irish and don’t want to be a crackling lobster, so I’ll be in the shade instead. Covered in Zinc. Glamorous, I know.

I’m hoping I can focus and get at least 30,000 words done, which will leave about a week’s worth of work for the week after I get home before I head out to another workshop with Dean Wesley Smith. This next one is on pitches and blurbs, which will be perfect timing for finishing a novel. I intend to get the first three chapters cleaned up, a synopsis, and query letter done at the same time I finish the novel so I can use what I learn at the workshop to get this novel sent off. That will be novel number three.

Got two nice rejections, one on the fantasy novel, one on the sci/fi novel. So I switched which editor had which and will see if maybe the new stuff is more to their tastes. So far I’ve only gotten one form rejection on my novels, which said they were returning the material unread due to not being agented. Oh well. I sent it back out (and actually doubt that no one read it, since the packet wasn’t mailed back in the order I sent it and it was missing the top paperclip, so something happened to it on its journey between envelopes). The hunt for publication continues. This part is boring. Thank god for writing/working on new stuff. If I had all my hopes on the stuff I’ve already done, I think I’d be going crazy by now. The rejection on my full stung a little more than I’d expected, but I made myself get the query back out. Keep it automated and done, that’s how I manage to move on.

Besides, I get to go drink fruity girly drinks on a beach in the sun shade while writing about serial killers and thieves. There are definitely worse jobs 🙂

Oh, and my grandmother is apparently passing on her super-old awesome typewriter to me. I think I’ll have to type up a story and send it out that way just for old time’s sake. (I wrote my first stories on an old typewriter my parents had in a closet. They were two page epics with no punctuation). I wonder if you can still buy carbon paper and such. I’ll have to check. Maybe I’ll write a short story ode to the pulps with a crazy title. Sounds like fun.

“The Pain Period”

I recently read an article on persistence and the value/necessity of it in success over at tynan.net.  The article is here.

I’ll quote my favorite part from Tynan here:

Here’s the progression of success as best I understand it:

1. Get an idea
2. Start working
3. PAIN PERIOD
4. Success

1. Getting an idea is easy. Everyone has ideas and thinks they’re so smart for coming up with them (myself included, of course). The thing is, the IDEA is probably the least important part. Why is Jay-Z a great drug dealer and a great rapper and a great clothing line creator? Is it because these are great ideas? NO. It’s because he’s a hustler (baby).

2. Start working. This is the fun part where you have 99 parts of your project, 50 of which are fun and easy. You work on those and feel great.

3. Pain Period. This is where I ALWAYS used to give up. Things stop going perfectly and it’s time to batten the hatches and start rocking. It’s time to put your WANTS aside and focus on the NEEDS of your project. THIS IS THE KEY PART! If you get past here, you succeed. If you don’t, you don’t succeed. Period.

I could write about 10 posts about this alone. Arnold Schwarzenegger talks about how his one skill is pushing through the pain period. And look! He’s a successful body builder, actor, and politician. Good ideas? Natural talents? NOPE. Just pushing through.

4. Success. This is the holy grail. People think that what you’ve done is easy once you get here. “50 cent is a crappy rapper. If I got to work with Eminem and Dr. Dre I’d be as good as him.” Yeah, but you know what? He PUSHED through the pain period of getting there and now enjoys success, which is a lot easier. You see the result, not the process.

It’s weeks like the one I’ve just had where I need to remember the whole “persist” thing.  Multiple rejections, half of them form letters, have come in.  My shoulder is still hurt, dulling my mind and making me cranky as well as making it tough for me to spend significant time typing.  I cracked a tooth as well playing DnD (don’t ask).  Generally it hasn’t been the best week ever.  And there’s the bigger picture, too.  Some days it feels as though I’m not getting any better, not ever going to sell anything ever again, etc…  It’s easy sitting alone in my office, drugged and tired and cranky, to despair and wonder if I’ve jumped off the high-dive without checking for water in the pool.

I think this is what is called the pain period, at least for me.  Not just the physical pain, but the constant doubts as well.  Tynan’s post is timely, as were Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s two posts on giving up on yourself, found here (Part 1) and here (Part 2).  I especially like Rusch’s point about giving up on yourself by degrees, a little at a time so that it is tough to notice the change of direction.  I think in the “pain period” that Tynan talks about, it is easy to do this, to lose sight of what you really want to achieve because success seems too hard to attain, too far away, with too many unknowns standing in the path.

These articles hit the spot for me exactly.  Keep writing, keep submitting, keep improving and learning and trying.  I just need to remember to hold these things in my mind.  This last week of disappointment and teeth-gritting has been a blessing in disguise in some ways.  It’s helped me think about what I want and where I’m going, helped me make those tiny adjustments to my goals and progress that Rusch talks about being so vital.  Every time I defeat the voice in my head that says I’ll never be good enough, that everything I write is worse than everything I’ve written, every time I press on beyond the doubts and rejections, I find a kind of success.  I don’t know that the “pain period” ever really ends, as each level of goal achieving will likely bring new challenges and ways to fall apart, but I believe with persistence it will get easier;  each success lining up, giving me more ammunition against the doubts.

It never ends.

My Goals… And Speed.

I feel I should clarify my goals and my writing speed.  Dean’s already warned me to keep my mouth shut in public about how much or how fast I write, and while I’ll probably take his advice and be more vague at Cons and such, this is my blog and I’m not a prevaricating kind of girl *grin*.

First, my goals are just that.  Mine.  They certainly don’t reflect anything but how I want to go about pursuing writing as my career.  I’ve never been a “kinda” person.  I learned to win at poker by playing 2 cent/4 cent limit online 15-20 hours a day, everyday for weeks while reading every source on poker that I could get my hands on (And I still graduated college, a miracle!).  I did this because I liked poker, I was broke, and I hate being crappy at things (and broke).  I took that same mentality to my jobs over the years, too, and it got me stressed-out with 70 work weeks.  I’m not saying it is always a good mindset, this all or nothing.  But it’s mine, and that’s how I am, so I deal with it.

Writing is the same way for me.  I spent 20 years writing stories, showing very few to anyone because I was certain they sucked (and they did, they really did) and very very frustrated that I couldn’t improve.  I was trapped in the “real writers are re-writers” myth and going nowhere.

Then I basically said “fuck it”, applied to an MFA program, started writing more, realized the MFA program was not at all for me (but I learned some tricks and made a couple friends in one of the workshops at the least, so it wasn’t a total waste).  Then I discovered Heinlein’s Rules, had a writer friend point me to Dean Wesley Smith’s website, and suddenly (or so it seemed), I started improving.  Because I was writing. I was writing a lot (well, a lot more anyway).  New stuff. Not picking over draft after draft, but just taking what I thought worked and trying it again. And again. And again.

Writing all this new stuff has opened methods of practicing things I’d never gotten to really try before.  Picking over the same old story again and again didn’t let me try out the techniques I found in the books I love.  But writing a new story did.  I could take that story and write it with Donald E. Westlake’s surprising way of describing things in mind.  Or with Terry Brook’s way of making you love a character and then twisting the knife.  Or Elizabeth Moon’s way of making kick-ass seem normal and flawed and still cool.  Or Michael Connelly’s way of making each victory both awesome and Pyrrhic. Or George RR Martin’s epic feel. I could go on and on.  Writing new stuff lets me practice these things over and over, and if I fail it isn’t a teeth-grinding ordeal anymore because I know that I can just try to fail differently (fail better?) next time instead of knowing I now have to spend the next six months of my life editing and rewriting the failed story.

So, how this relates to speed is two-fold.  One, I want to be the best damn writer I’m capable of being at any given point in time.  The more practice I get in, the better I’ll get (hopefully).  Second, I have a crazy brain full of a million things all the time and writing is the best way I’ve found to let off the pressure.  The faster I write, the sooner I’ll finish any one thing and be able to start another, and the more quiet I might gain inside my head.  So between the two, and for my goals, I want to get faster and more consistent.  For me, because that’s the way I work.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to work up to full eight-hour days writing (which would get me 7,500 to 10,000 words done) because I am also crazy about other things like reading and gaming (rpgs and videogames).  But I do hope to be able to consistently write multiple books a year as well as keep a goodly number of shorts circulating.  And I want to keep my level of practice up, because every time I open a book it seems I find some new thing or idea or technique I want to try in my own work.

So basically to sum up:  I want to get faster with my writing because writing lots is how I practice and I want to practice as much as I can (and hopefully someday sell as much as I can, cause hey, this *is* my career, after all).  That’s it, I’m just long-winded at 4am I guess.

Getting Over Lazy

I’ve been writing a fair amount in the last month, but when I looked at the results in terms of finishing projects, it doesn’t look so good.  I’ve finished two things in the last month. Two.  Not exactly on target with where I want to be by the end of the year.  It’s time to quit being lazy and work on the second of Heinlein’s Rules: finish what you write.

It’s easy for me to finish short stories generally.  Once I’m writing one, I tend to just get it done (usually within one or two sittings).  Novels are tougher to finish, though the endings so far of them are a lot easier than the beginnings and middles.  I’ve been tinkering between two novels lately, getting some done on each but not really making huge progress with either.  Part of this is fear.  Once I’m done, I have to send it out.  I’ve worked out a way to overcome that fear by putting together the package for each novel before I finish, so at least that part of the work will be done so I can just focus on getting the book done.

The other part of this is just sheer laziness.  I like to work in bursts, when stuff “comes” to me because I’m lazy and making my brain focus and compose is annoying if I’m not in the mood.  Yep, just lazy.  I know it is laziness because if I have deadlines (real or imagined), I have no problem dumping the “must be in the mood” and getting the work done.  I think I can combat my current lazy with some good old habit-forming.  I like to take days off writing, but for the next while, I’m not going to.  I think I need to build up a nice streak, get in the habit of not letting myself take days off (usually I justify days off because I know I *can* write 10k words in a day to catch up if I have to).  So starting today, I’m going to get in at least 3,900 words of fiction a day at least 6 days a week, with the seventh day goal being 1,250 words.  At that pace I should be able to finish everything I want to finish by the end of the year.  It really doesn’t help that I keep adding things I’d like to finish to my project list.

When I started out this year, I was thinking I’d write four novels and get to 30 or so short stories out to markets.  Then I kept having novel ideas, so it turned into five novels.  Then because of a conversation at one of the workshops, I decided I was going to aim for 80 short stories on top of that.  I’ve since revised that down to 40 or so shorts, not because I don’t think I could write 80, but because at 27 I’m already a little sick of the admin work of keeping track of them so I don’t accidentally sim-sub or something that I think 40-50 will be the max I want to track at a time (and it’ll be a level that, god forbid, if I start selling some, I can replace them).  And on top of that, the novel ideas just keep pouring in.  I’ve shunted four over to next year already.  I’m aiming at seven this year (two of which are shorter, one 50k, one 65-75k).  Frankly, I’d love to slow down, but my brain won’t let me.  See why I can’t afford to continue being fearful and lazy?  I don’t have time!  At the least I’ll be getting a lot of practice in and hopefully improving.

Current projects and current word count:

MG novel- ~12k

Suspense/Crime novel- ~8k

Sci/fi novel- ~7k

Sekrit Experiment project- ~1k

Paranormal Mystery, Horror Western, Irish Historical, and Regency Romance- no words yet

Also have one novella that stands at ~1300 words and another that had nearly 5k on it (which I haven’t touched in a year since I really need to redraft the whole beginning, grr).

So… plenty to finish.  I should get on that.

Random Thoughts #209

That thing I said last week about starting long stuff? I guess I meant medium stuff.  I finished a novella, which will be my WotF Q3 entry.  It kept trying to become a novel.  I won though, the story stayed under 17,000 words.   Now, to actually finish a novel. Seriously.  As soon as I finish just one last short story. (I’m like an addict, one more hit, just one more, ooh, wait, okay, one more).

First up on the plate is my middle grade novel.  I’m practicing not doing any research.  I realize this is a strange thing for a writer to practice, but I think sometimes I clog my brain with needing to find “true” details to stick in and don’t let the imagination run where it might.  The story is a fantasy with entirely made up everything, so it seemed like a good time to just, well, make shit up.  I’ve always believed that internal consistency matters a hell of a lot more for storytelling (especially in any story with magic or a made-up world) than having things be “realistic”.  I decided to make this novel my practice for making shit up after I was brainstorming about it and realized the princess in my head had bright pink hair.  My first thought after that was “oh, she can’t have pink hair, that’s totally unrealistic.”  Yeah, this is doubly funny if you know me, since I rarely have ‘hair’ colored hair (it’s blue and purple at the moment).  That was when it clicked that maybe my critical side was interfering in the fun of writing.  So I’m rolling with my imagination, whatever it wants, it gets this time around.  Pink hair it is!

I’m attending two more workshops this year, and hopefully Orycon as well (I’m thinking of seeing if I can’t get on a panel or two).

4 more rejections until I throw a 100 rejection party.  The more stuff goes out, the faster the responses stack up.  I figure once I hit 100 I’m going to go back to not keeping track anymore until I think I might be getting close to 200, when I plan to throw another party (100,200,500, 1000, 10000 etc).

Oh, and in cool news, an artist friend of mine is doing up a graphic novel version of one of my favorite stories (story hasn’t sold yet, sigh, but I’m hopeful).  Even if I never sell the story, I originally envisioned it as a script for her, so that is pretty sweet.  She and I used to do a webcomic together years and years ago, and I miss comics as a medium.  It’ll be cool to see what she does with the story visually.