Got home from my trip to find two rejections waiting for me. The one in my mailbox was a nice fat envelope from Analog, but alas, it faked me out. It was fat because they’d folded up a couple pages of my story to send back, along with the longest form letter rejection I’ve ever seen. Two single-spaced pages outlining guidelines and with check boxes next to things (none of which were checked…). Oh well. That story has space squid and FTL travel, so I figured it was a long shot story for that market anyway. But in the name of not making decisions for editors, I sent it anyway.
Both stories are back out, one to a brand new market I’d never heard of (they aren’t that new, just my knowing about them). I also managed to get two more stories out, one is new, one is the story I sold that has reverted to me, so I figured why not try to sell it again? This brings me up to 22 stories out to markets. Not quite up to 80 yet, am I? Oh well, there’s plenty of time left in the year to get there.
I’ve been doing a bunch of targeted reading lately as well. If I’m going to get 80 stories out, they can’t all be spec fic. I have 4 “literary” stories out at the moment and an idea for another one. I went to the bookstore and got some mystery and thriller short story collections to pick through and dissect. So far I’m really enjoying reading the stories, so hopefully that means I’ll enjoy writing some as well. Meanwhile I’m trying to decide which novels of the ones I’ve read lately I want to reverse outline. I’ve read about 15 books in the last couple weeks, hence the needing to decide which to focus on picking apart to see how they work. The best part about this stretching and trying new genres is that I’m discovering authors and stories I’d never even heard of before (though I’m reading and re-reading some best-sellers, too). I’ve been trying to focus on books by authors who have a long track record, since I figure if they’ve sold 10 or 30 or more books that something in all those books has to be working.
Once again, Dean Wesley Smith has a great post up about writers and practicing. His comment about knowing what you are focusing on and working on with each piece of writing really hit home for me. Sometimes I remember to figure that out, but lately I’ve been working on so many things I hadn’t really given it a ton of thought. So I sat down and looked at my various projects and decided what I was going to work on for each. So, because lists are so much fun, here they are:
Menagerie– not researching, ie just making shit up. It’s fantasy and supposed to be fun and weird.
Hunting Delilah– pacing.
The City is Still Hungry– setting and noir pacing/feel.
To Honor and Obey– sex scenes, writing to a particular historical feel and tone.
The Weapons Master– sex scenes, not censoring myself.
And that’s just the novels. Each short story I’m working on has its own practice goal as well. I’ve got about five lined up that need to get done in the next few weeks, one of which is about an hour from done… still. Sigh. Need to stop poking at it and just get it done. I think my practice failed with this one because man is it being stubborn about getting written, but oh well, I’ll keep the idea and re-do it at some point if I want. Meanwhile, the story can go out into the wide world and get off my desk, so to speak.
Well, back to work. Between family obligations, trips, and car issues, I’m feeling quite broke. Need to write more, because no one can pay me for work I don’t do.