Crazy Short Story Plans
Still no word on my WotF third quarter entry.
Which means I really need to distract myself. I’m between novels at the moment, so the best way to keep up my writing habits is to work on short stories. I’ve got 9 out on the market right now. I need more. I want to saturate the market with my work, plus starting in January I’ll be super busy trying to write an entire trilogy in six months while querying about my current novel. And I have three workshops to apply to, all of which want slightly different word counts etc…
Inspired by Jim C. Hines post, I’ve decided to push some stories at more anthologies. Writing to a specific theme isn’t really something I’ve done before. Even with the Shine anthology, which I was very nicely rejected from recently, I wrote a story that I’d been wanting to write and thought it might fit (it didn’t, which once it was written I knew it was a long shot). So I think it would be an interesting challenge to myself as a writer to write for some anthologies.
I went through ralan.com’s anthology calls and made a list of all the ones that interested me and pay at least 1 cent per word. I have a notebook now full of deadlines, requirements, and submission information for each. I’ve picked out about eleven, most with deadlines around early next year, though a couple have deadlines coming up very soon.
I read somewhere, and I honestly can’t recall where though I think it was linked to off of sfsignal.com in a post there, that when writing for anthologies, you don’t want to write the first idea that comes into your head because that will be the one that everyone else thinks of also. I believe the advice said to pick the 17th idea. So I’m currently brainstorming all sorts of ideas, and trying to aim for a good blend of crazy enough that it might not have fifty clones in the slush but still something I’d want to write.
This decision to write for anthologies as well as working on the giant list of ideas I already had is timely. November is coming, traditionally National Novel Writing Month. I’ve done nanowrimo twice and “won” both times. However, I think that my last nano will be my last nano. I learned I could write at length and on deadline. Nano (not that I want to start a war if you disagree with me here…), but you don’t get a novel out of it. Well, maybe if you’re writing middle-grade, because then 50k words might work. But 50k is too short for what I want to be doing. And while I imagine I could write 100k in a month, I think, for myself at least, I’ve learned what I could and it’s time to move and do novels my way (you know, a novel in two to three months instead…).
But don’t think I’m not going to be silly crazy in November. Oh no, I’m going to invent my own tradition. NaShoWriMo. National Short-story Writing Month. My goal is to write a short story a day. Yes, everyday. I’m not limiting the length, though I’d dearly like to write at least a couple decent ones under 4k words to make my life easier come Clarion sub season, but I am holding the minimum to 1,000 words. I figure if I even get six stories worth cleaning up and submitting at the end, I’m ahead for a while. And it will be fun, a chance to experiment and get some random ideas out. I’m planning on using the anthology calls as fodder. I can write the 5th, 14th, and 20th ideas I have for any given theme and then pick the one I want to send. Sounds like crazy fun right? Right?
So, my goals for October are to write up the novella formerly known as Werewolves in Space (which will be my 1st quarter sub for WotF most likely), and finish two themed anthology stories that are due by the end of the month. A fairly light load, all things considered.
November is when the real exciting stuff gets going. A story a day. NaShoWriMo. If anyone wants to join me in my insanity, bring it on. I usually write short stories in a day anyway, just not generally consecutively. And I’m pretty sure my typing limit is around 12-13k words in a day (10k is really more my comfort limit, and 3-5k my cruising speed), so at least my stories won’t be crazy long. We can hope.
That’s my plan. In December I’ll collect the notes from my first-readers and try to make my novel outstanding before the queries go out in January. Until then, time to fill up my short story basket. (Just think, I’ll get to 500 rejections much much more quickly if I have 50 stories out than 9…)