Sunday, January 17, 2010

So Far, So Good

I had an inspiration and renamed my science fiction western from "Petroleum Sunset" to "Once Upon a Gas Tank". I think it is a much greater indication of the mood of the story! I just submitted it to another pro market, one I've never submitted to before.

I went through the whole thing and read it allowed while speaking with the kind of dialect that I was hoping to emulate in the story. I hope it helped. If I can't sell this one, I'm just going to post it on my website. It might be almost impossible to find someone to buy a story that is written in dialect. But I have a lot of markets to go before I give up.

A third story, "Riven", is being beta-read. I like this one very much and it's a fantasy, which is different for me. For some reason when I write short stories, I tend to write science fiction. And when I write novels, they're anything but.

My progress on everything is slow but sure. I can only expect to be able to write so fast because of demands on my time at home. But I'm happy with a little bit of progress. If I ever do manage to sell a novel, I'll have to re-prioritize a bunch of stuff, including Debuts & Reviews. In the meantime, once I get all these short stories polished as well as I'd like them, then I'll have nothing to do with them but submit them here and there. So far, two stories have graduated from my short story file on my iPod touch. Riven will be the third. Then I'll be playing with those stories that I never quite finished, but with concepts that I still think are promising.

Here's a question for you. When you are writing a scene that proves to be difficult, do you:
  • a) scratch the scene. Obviously my muse is telling me something.
  • b) work with it. Difficult scenes are worth the angst.
  • c) something else?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Dangers of Excessive Wordsmithing

When is a polished novel really polished? When you reach the point where you are wordsmithing your wordsmiths. Stuff you know you keep tweaking this way and then back to that way. I just got done doing this.

I was guilty of excessive wordsmithing.

This is a crime in so many ways. One, I have wasted valuable time. I could have been working on one of my other novels! Two, I run the risk of ruining some perfectly good sentences. Mark Twain once said, "Choose the right word, not it's second cousin" (paraphrasing here), but sometimes you argue with your muse as to what that right word is. And three, I could have gotten so much else done! Which brings us back to number one. But this was probably a lesson I had to learn.

I also realized that STARCASTER/A SPY AND A LADY was in much better shape than FORGING A LEGEND was during that recent rewrite. I guess that is the difference between novel number 2 (Forging) and novel number 3 (Spy).

Oh, and I DID send "Under Observation" to another market -- a pro magazine. Yay me!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Short Fiction Progress

I've made a lot of progress with my various short stories. They are all in one file that I keep synchronized between my Ipod Touch and my computer. The Ipod has turned out to be a good place to edit and revise, but it's not such a good way to draft. Not when you have to touch the shift key to get basic punctuation. So my Neo continues to be my preferred drafting tool.

I've polished up a story called "Riven" and I just asked one of my beta readers if she wants to read it. I've also worked a lot on The Sevenfold Spell, trying to get it polished up for epublishers. Plus, I've plucked out the old opening to Starcaster (the embassy mission scene, for those of you who have read it) and I'm going to try to make a short story out of it. One day. I don't have any ideas for it at this time. I'm a blank. So onward.

What I haven't made progress with is Forging a Legend

According to my goal, I'm supposed to submit to a market this weekend. So I'll try to find one of the semipro zines to send "Under Observation" to. My beta readers gave me very positive feedback for it, but I'm wondering if it ends too bleakly. I'll take another look at it and see if I can't shoot some hope in there at the end.

And I'm sorry I've been so BORING lately! I'd say I have the winter doldrums, but I've been in a great mood. Will try to find a way to liven things up around here.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Still Here! Still Writing!

So I write a post on maintaining momentum, then I vanish for three weeks. Sorry! I've been sick, but I'm all better now. I started out the new year with cleaning off my desk.

My writing new years resolution: to sell a story. Any story. A novel or a short story -- I'm good with either. I need to sell something to the more respectable semipros so I can build up a bit of a bio. Currently, I try with the top four or five magazines and then I tend to fizzle. Gotta stop that.

To get ready, I'm going to pick out my most viable short stories and put them all in one file. I'm going to slap a table of contents on it and zap it to my nifty new Ipod touch. This way, I'll always have them with me and I'll be able to work on them anytime.

I'm also going to get my novella, The Sevenfold Spell, in front of the eyes of the ebook publishers. Currently Sanheim has an anthology going for fairy tales, but unfortunately, they are only for super-hot fairy tales. Spell has sex in it, but I woudn't call it anything close to erotica. I'm just not going to go there. I'm not sure if they want to look at fairy tales stories that aren't hot, but I'll try anyway. Corina Press is a new e-publisher imprint of Harlequin, and they are my first choice. Spell is ripe for a final polish, and then off it goes.

Forging a Legend also will be ready to submit in the next week or so. I have a few agents to try, who have not seen it before, plus one agent whose asked for it twice (never hurts to ask if she wants to see it again, especially since it's been almost two years since she's seen the last version).

Once it is submitted, I'll be working on East of Yesterday and my short stories. My goal? To submit a short story to a market once a weekend until I run out of markets. That will be the absolute minimum.

What are your goals this year?