sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
So it's been three weeks, more or less, since my last update on this topic.

On January 2, I began the year with a score of 18 points. As of January 5, after getting a number of stories back into circulation, my Race to Publication score stood at 25 points. As of tonight, when I added a third self-published story to the others on Smashwords, Amazon and PubIt, my score is as follows:

Short stories available for sale online: 10 (1 point each)*
Short stories currently in submission to a market: 9, including one new story (1 point each)
Novel submission packages out: 2 (5 points each)

For a total of 29 points. I have five more short stories in the queue for self-publication, as well. That will bring me up to 34 points before including any additional stories finished and submitted or published.

*I'm getting sales, too. Not a lot, but some. Given the size of the marketplace, and the fact that I have, essentially, no name recognition, that's not so bad. The more stories I get up, the better. This is a long term project. Every additional story written and submitted (or published) is additional practice at writing and another chance to make a bit more money.
sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
I continue to struggle with getting my linux box to communicate with the wireless router. For the moment I've moved the cable connecting my computer to the router so it runs around the edges of the room and is less obtrusive, but it's a stopgap. I still want to get the damned wireless adapter to work, but so far no dice. I've been communicating with people on the OpenSuse forums as well as the Portland Linux Users Group (PLUG) mailing list. I've made some progress, I think; I now have the right drivers and firmware for my chosen adapter on my system...but I can't get my computer to see the USB adapter.

I know the USB port works. I can plug other USB items into it (like my Nook ereader) and they work just fine. I don't know if there's something wrong in my operating system or hardware or whether perhaps the adapter itself is borked. I'm waiting to see if anyone can tell me definitively which--or even how to test to find out. It's really frustrating me--I know it should work. Other people running linux use this very software and hardware. I don't know why mine won't work.

In other news, we discarded (sold, donated, gave away or simply junked) a lot of furniture during the prep for moving out of our house and into the apartment. Some of it was just stuff we didn't use anymore. Some of it was stuff we'd never really liked anyhow. Some of it was furniture we didn't want to bring with because it's fabric covered and could (and no does does) harbor dust mites, to which my lovely and talented wife is allergic. So we took this move as an opportunity to make changes.

We're replacing a number of things. Dressers, computer desks, lamps, side tables, chairs and a sofa. We've bought a couple of recliners and a sofa loveseat from Ikea. They all have leather upholstery instead of fabric, to minimize the mite problem. The loveseat is smaller than our original couch so Snippy and I can sit close even when occupying opposite ends of it. The recliners are incredibly comfortable. We like very much.

I spent all day today assembling furniture. A large new dresser for me to replace the one I've been using, which Snippy will take over (she likes it). I adding shelving to a bathroom cabinet. I also assembled her new standing computer desk. There's more to do tomorrow, but I'm done for tonight.

I got a rejection today on a short story from Sniplits. I haven't checked my spreadsheet yet, but I have the sense that it was out for quite a long while. But then, I haven't done anything on the writing front in a long while. That's going to change. Now that the prep for and the move are behind us, and we're settling into the new place, I can focus on my writing again. I'm looking forward to it.

I think I'm going to track my progress with Dean Wesley Smith's "race" approach in 2011. You give yourself points for everything you have out in circulation, and you can compare your score with other writers who are doing likewise. You get 1 point for each short story, 3 points for every novel submission package (chapters and an outline) and 8 points for every full novel manuscript you have circulating. As things sell, you take them off the list. If you're losing points faster than you can add them, well, that's a problem you want to have.

He posted about it just today, and discussed the differences in scoring between traditional publications and epublishing (specifically, self-publishing via Kindle, SmashWords and other venues). The scoring for epublication is a bit different: 1 point per short story, 3 points per collection, and 5 points for novels. Novels get fewer points because they don't have to be nearly as long in this venue as in traditional publishing; "the pulps" are making a comeback, now that short novels can be produced and sold again. Also, you don't take things off the list when they sell. Epublication can be forever; it costs you nothing to leave a publication up for sale indefinitely. So the goal is simply to rack up as many points as humanly possible.

Anyhow, I intend to start writing short stories again, as well as longer works. Last year I focused on writing a couple of full-length novels and abandoned short stories. I don't want to do that again. I've been studying up on story structure and plotting, which are my weakness as a seat-of-my-pants writer, and I think I can learn more by practicing with short stories. I will, however, also keep working on novels (viewing anything of 15,000 words or more as at least a short novel).

sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
Twoson and I just got back from our morning run. It was a short one today, only twenty minutes. He's having a bit of slump, and I was pretty unmotivated when we started. Nonetheless, we ran.

Yesterday we spent a couple of hours trimming the rhododendrons and the camillia plants in front of the house. I started with the electric hedge trimmer, but quickly had to resort to the long-handled loppers. The branches were mostly too thick for the trimmer; it could trim only the thinnest and lightest branches. Since we wanted to hack the bushes down far enough that they were below window level...that meant some serious pruning.

I filled the yard debris bin with trimmings from the first plant. After we'd finished trimming we spent a while carrying the resulting debris into the back yard to throw on the large, out-of-control yard debris pile. Which will also have to be dealt with eventually. But the bushes in front a lot better. On the gripping hand, now we can see just how unruly the undergrowth beneath them has gotten, and we'll have to clean that up too.

In writing news, as I mentioned before, I ditched the Iron Maiden novel. Maybe I'll resurrect it at some point, maybe not. I began work on another novel. I already had 10,000 words written on it. Monday I added 3,000 and yesterday another 2,000. I'm aiming for anywhere between 45-60,000 words for this puppy. Not long enough for a NYC publisher, but more than adequate for a number of epublishers. I should, if all goes according to plan, have it done before the end of October. Which will leave me in a position to write another novel in November, for NaNoWriMo--and accomplish my goal of writing four novels this year.

I also got a rejection on Repossessor from Penguin yesterday. Just a form rejection, but at least I know someone looked at it. It's the first response I've gotten since I mailed out the submission packages quite a while ago.

I think today may be a "go write at the mall foodcourt" day. I want to get out of the house.

Stories in Circulation: 11
Rejections: 58
Stories Accepted: SEVEN
Stories to Resubmit: 2

Novel Queries
Strange Attractors (urban fantasy): 4 queries out, 9 rejections
Repossessor (science fiction): 4 queries out, 1 rejection

Misgivings

Sep. 21st, 2010 09:47 pm
sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
I can haz them? Yes I can! I woke up this morning with the knowledge that I needed to write on the novel--and a sinking feeling. Not a good combination. That ole debbil Self-Doubt was jabbing me plenty with his pitchfork, and frankly my ass is sore 'cause he's been doing it consistently for a while now. I know that I need to just ignore those doubts*, sit my butt down in front of the computer (or stand, if I like) and write--but some days it's harder than others.

So (on my lovely and talented wife's suggestion), I grabbed the laptop and scampered to the mall, where I spent the afternoon in the food court, drinking a cold drink and typing away. Just getting away from my PC, where the ever-present urge to distract myself with emails, the internet, and so forth, was a help (i'd turned off the wireless reception on the laptop).

It also helped that I realized I was worried about the wrong audience. There are people who will not like what I'm writing, people whose opinions I value, but who simply aren't the target market for this project. I've been wondering how I could make this something they'd like. And the answer is: I can't. There are genres and sub-genres that I simply don't care about, and no matter how well they're written, I'm never going to care about them. Or read them, if I have anything to say about it.

Ditto for what I'm writing now. I shouldn't worry about what the people who don't like this sort of thing would think of it. I should be thinking about the people who would love a story like this. Which is hardly news, of course. But when that ole debbil Self-Doubt is winding your entrails around his pitchfork like spaghetti...it can hard to keep in mind.

Plus, as usual, lurking the vast aisles of all-new fiction in the Barnes & Noble outlet--the shelves and shelves and shelves of science fiction and fantasy, the mysteries, the romances,... That always helps too. Someone sold every one of those books to an editor. I can do that too. Even if the book I'm writing now never sells, the practice I get from writing it will get me that much closer to writing the one that does sell.

*Which is why I pimp Heinlein's Rules For Writers so often in so many different forums. They're a prescription for short-circuiting all the most common (and effective) ways to sabotage yourself.

Project: Iron Maiden
Deadline:  October 31, 2010
New Words Written Today:  3,100
Total Words Written:  35,000 and change.

Things Accomplished in Fiction: Leah receives an interesting proposal. Or is that, proposition? She also meets three new co-workers, one of whom possesses some serious Power Perversion Potential.

Stories in Circulation: 11
Rejections: 58
Stories Accepted: SEVEN
Stories to Resubmit: 2

Novel Queries
Strange Attractors (urban fantasy): 4 queries out, 9 rejections
Repossessor (science fiction): 5 queries out, no responses

sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
Or...how to manage 22,000 words on a novel in one day. Yesterday I mentioned that I had about 40,000 words of random scenes attached to a project. Today I wrote about 3,000 words of new material, and winnowed another 21,000 words out of that original 40,000 word mass of raw dough. I might be able to salvage more--it depends on whether a large subplot stays in.

So, the final result (stealing from Cherie Priest's livejournal updates):
Project: Iron Maiden
Deadline:  October 31, 2010
New Words Written:  3,000
Total Words Written:  22,705

Things Accomplished in Fiction: There's a lot more to start with than will be the case on a daily basis (assuming I continue doing this). We meet Leah Wright, who tries to stop a crime in progress and discovers that being really strong isn't enough; Leah meets an old boyfriend to ask for self-defense instruction, and is refused, though he recommends someone else; the FBI comes calling regarding her (unintentional) violation of the Metahuman Registration Act; Leah hires a lawyer.

Stories in Circulation: 12
Rejections: 57
Stories Accepted: SEVEN
Stories to Resubmit: 1

Novel Queries
Strange Attractors (urban fantasy): 4 queries out, 9 rejections
Repossessor (science fiction): 5 queries out, no responses

sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
Screw the cyberpunk story.

I wrote 3,000 words on it today and was bored to tears. Whatever seed of an idea I had clearly wasn't enough to keep me interested, and if I'm not interested, nobody else will be either. Maybe I'll go back to it one day, but then again, probably not. This is one of the drawbacks of being a "seat of my pants" writer; trying to write to a call for submissions just doesn't work worth a damn. Twice now I've seen calls for Halloween and Christmas-themed stories from online publishers--and twice now I've never written anything for them because my process just doesn't work that way. There's no telling where the original concept will take me--if it takes me anywhere. Sometimes it does, though the final result is nothing like the original idea. Sometimes--as in this case--I take a run at the idea and discover that there's no there there.

On the other hand, I've had a half-formed novel in mind for a long while. I've cobbled together 40,000 words of bits and pieces around the idea. A lot of it isn't usable (a lot of the bits and pieces are contradictory; I wrote scenes independently, as I worked out the background and backstory, so things changed from one section to another). But that's okay. I can redraft from scratch, and that's what I intend to do.

It's one of those ideas I keep thinking nobody else would be interested in. So I have to keep reminding myself that I'm interested in it, and I should write what angers, or excites, or fascinates me and to hell with everything else. When it's done, then I can see if anyone else cares. So there!

Stories in Circulation: 12
Rejections: 57
Stories Accepted: SEVEN
Stories to Resubmit: 1

Novel Queries
Strange Attractors (urban fantasy): 4 queries out, 9 rejections
Repossessor (science fiction): 5 queries out, no responses

sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
It's been a while since I posted. (My lovely and talented wife prodded me about that; I communicate better in writing than verbally, so she likes it when I post about what I'm doing and thinking.) So here goes:

I have a Nook now. I bought Snippy one as an early birthday present in June. She's enjoyed it immensely. She uses it all the time, and has loaded it with lots of books, some purchased, some free, some fanfic she snagged from teh internetz. I am most impressed by the eInk display. When we could read it under the bright summer sun at the beach as easily as any paperback book (try THAT with a laptop!), I was sold. (Yes, I know it isn't only the Nook that has eInk--shut up!)

So last weekend, we bought ME a Nook as an early birthday present. (Very early--my birthday's in January.) I immediately went out and downloaded a bunch of free fiction from Barnes & Nobles' website, and from the Baen Free Library. I also found a piece of software named Calibre, which will convert a wide variety of electronic formats into another wide variety of electronic formats, which means I can turn html docs (like fanfic on webpages) into epub documents my Nook can read. It can also turn .lit format documents into epub format--so I have all my Cobblestone stories on my Nook now too. (I'm also using the cover art from those stories as screensavers, so we can tell which Nook is mine.) I will no doubt be buying books for my Nook eventually, but I'm trying not to spend any money on that just now.

You see, we're going to sell the house. We've toyed with the idea for years, sometimes seriously, sometimes as a "what if" game. But just recently we flipped from "we could sell the house" to "we are selling the house." It seems like the thing to do. Because we (and by "we" I mean my lovely and talented wife, since it's her house) were smart, we never overmortgaged the house during the real estate bubble. Which means that we can easily get considerably more for it than we owe; how much more depends on how much work we want to put into buffing it up for resale. We'll be talking to our realtor about how to get the best bang for our buck on that score. We already had a stager look at the property and give us a long list of suggestions; the realtor will know better which ones will make the biggest difference in what we can reasonably ask for the house.

So we've spent the last week (Snippy's vacation from work) drifting through the house trying to decide what we'll keep and use when we move (into an apartment, most likely), what we'll keep and store (for an eventual new house purchase down the road), what we can sell or donate, and what we can trash. Also? Packing. TWENTY-FIVE banker boxes of books are already stacked in a corner of the dining room and we haven't packed up all the books yet! (Another reason for the Nook--we won't go into complete reading withdrawal while we stage the house for sale--which means no or only a handful of books in sight.)

We've both bounced between excitement and terror. Usually not at the same time, so we could encourage one another. But it's going to be a stressful few months as we work to pack, clean, store or dispose of stuff, get the house whipped into shape, and then live like guests while we keep it in shape to show off until we can sell it. We'll manage, though. Despite occasional doubts, we thought long and hard (and discussed it repeatedly), before deciding this was a good decision.

My vacation from writing has extended through this week. I haven't written a damn thing. So this coming week, it's back on the horse, dammit! I have two novels yet to finish. If I start feeling like nobody would ever buy what I want to write, I need to go look a the "recent deals" listings on Publisher's Marketplace. There are premises for novels that I find bizarrely unlikely and yet someone bought it! No idea too outrageous. I just need to write it well.

So, in the spirit of throwing myself back into the game, I hereby announce my intent to write a cyberpunk tale. (I saw a call for cyberpunk novellas from one of the big epublishers; I may not actually send it to them, though. They want a very narrow word count: 25-30K. No more, no less. Another market won't have so many genre stories flooding their in-box, and won't care about the word count since they all publsh in numerous lengths. But I do intend to write it. Cue Yul Brynner from The Ten Commandments:

"So let it be written, SO LET IT BE WRITTEN!"

...okay, that's not exactly how the quote goes. Close enough, though.

In other writing news, I got a rejection on a story I sent to a new market. I discovered the market via Duotrope's Digest, where it was flagged as a "fledgling" market, meaning it had been in existence for less than six months. Today I got the weekly email from Duotrope that lists new markets, open anthologies, markets which have temporarily closed (or reopened), and dead markets. Guess who was among the newly dead? Yep. The same folks who rejected me.

Just as well they rejected me, I suppose. It would have been a major bummer to have gotten an acceptance--only to discover that the market had immediately folded.

There's been no movement on a couple of recent short story submissions. They're both to markets which have given me personal rejections, so I'm getting closer to success there. I like to think that that (no response yet) is a good sign; it means they haven't immediately rejected them. On the other hand, I'm told that the NYC publishing world more or less shuts down in August when everyone takes their vacations...so maybe the manuscripts have simply sat unread all last month. We'll see.

Also, no movement on my two novel manuscripts in a while either. We'll see how it goes.

Stories in Circulation: 12
Rejections: 57
Stories Accepted: SEVEN
Stories to Resubmit: 1

Novel Queries
Strange Attractors (urban fantasy): 4 queries out, 9 rejections
Repossessor (science fiction): 5 queries out, no responses


sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
I haven't posted in a while, as my lovely and talented wife pointed out to me today on the phone. So, here's a post.

I haven't posted in a while because I haven't written anything of consequence in a while. What with illness in June, and then editing my novel and getting it out the door, I haven't done much writing. But today I jumped back on the horse, working on what I hope will be the first of two stories I hope to write and get into the mail this week.

I got about 3,000 words written today. Not all of them usable--it required a little pump-priming before I started producing, but hey. It's still in the right ball park.

I received a rejection the other day (for "In Adversity"), so I need to get that story back in the mail. I've already picked out the next market, I just need to print it out, assemble the submission (story, cover letter, SASE) and take it to the post office. I also need to resubmit a story I'd sent to the Writers of the Future contest; the new quarterly contest has started, so that story is available again.

No word on my new novel submissions yet, but I don't expect any news for a while.

In other words, my lovely and talented wife had a lovely birthday. We (and Twoson) went out to lunch, then out to a movie (Inception), then out to dinner, then out to a second movie (Eclipse). She also received some nice presents, including a Nook e-reader. I actually bought that for her last month as an early birthday present, and she's been enjoying it quite a lot.

My thumbnail review of Inception: for a movie all about going into peoples' dream worlds and monkeying around, there's nowhere near enough reality-bending to suit me. In that respect, The Matrix was more my cup of tea. This was "Mission: Impossible" played out in dreamscapes. It wasn't a bad movie, by any means. It was very well crafted. But it wasn't what I'd been led to expect, and so I was disappointed. Your mileage may vary.


Stories in Circulation: 10
Rejections: 46
Stories Accepted: SEVEN
Stories to Resubmit: 2

Novel Queries: 2 Novels in circulation, 8 queries out
Novel Rejections: 7
sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
I finally got my second novel shoved out the door today. I'd planned to have it in circulation by the end of June, but what with fighting a recurring cold throughout the month of June, I lost quite a few days to brain-fog. Still, I did finally get it finished, had my lovely and talented wife read it, took most if not all of her suggestions to heart, revised it somewhat, and hammered it into final form.

As of tonight, it's either in the hands of two publishers (submitted by email or webform) or winging its weigh to three others (snailmail). Getting it to one publisher (Baen Books) was a chore because they want manuscripts uploaded in RTF format*. Which wouldn't normally be such a big deal except that OpenOffice sucks at converting any other format into RTF. It's a known problem of some years duration, apparently. (I know other users of OO who claim not to have this issue, but it's not just my imagination--there are help forums out there where this is discussed, sometimes hotly.)

I ended up having to save the document in .doc format, then opening it on my laptop (running Word under WIndows XP) and saving that copy in RTF format. Then I could send it to Baen. What a pain in the butt. I also had to resort to doing edits on my Cobblestone Press sales on the laptop as well, because OpenOffice doesn't work and play well with Word's comments feature. I think when I eventually upgrade to a new PC I'm gonna have to bite the bullet and get a Windows machine. I love me my linux, but the rest of the world is mostly using Windows and Word, and I may have to go along to get along.

I also need to figure out what my next novel is going to be. Pop quiz, hotshot!** I can't do a real poll, so just pretend:

POLL: WHAT SHOULD SINANJU'S NEXT NOVEL BE?
1. Romance
2. Science Fiction
3. Urban Fantasy
4. Young Adult
5. Some combination of the above.
6. Cake!
7. I wish to register a complaint about this poll.

Stories in Circulation: 11
Rejections: 45
Stories Accepted: SEVEN
Stories to Resubmit: 0

Novel Queries: 2 Novels in circulation, 8 queries out
Novel Rejections: 7

*Yeah, yeah. I know I'm writing "rich text format format". Shut up.
**If you instantly replied, "I shoot the hostage!" you win a cookie for being an 80s Keanu Reeves/Patrick Swayse movie geek.
sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
This cold (or colds, perhaps) has been kicking my ass all month. I came down with it at the beginning of June, just after finishing the first draft of my (second) novel. It's been a bear. I feel puny for a while, then I improve...and then I feel puny again. Lather, rinse, repeat. I keep thinking I've finally kicked it for good, only to find myself sitting on the sofa with no energy and a gummy brain incapable of doing much of anything creative. I'll rally and get energetic, only to then find sitting through a movie (we say "Knight and Day on Saturday) exhausting, and sit around like a vegetable all evening. It's annoying as hell.

My lovely and talented wife has caught it (from me, I fear) too. She spent three days home from work (plus the weekend in between), fighting it. And we're commiserating with one another. Yup, yup--I know exactly how you feel. Exhaustion. Foggy brain. Clogged sinuses or sinus drainage and a persistent, annoying cough. The symptoms vary, and they come and go, but they won't go AWAY.
It's gotta pass sooner or later, right?

Anyhow.

I've got about 100 pages left to edit on the novel, then I'll be ready to let my lovely and talented First Reader take a look. Assuming she finds no serious faults with it, I'll send it out. I've already picked out five publishers (five specific editors, really) to send it to. This via Publisher's Marketplace (publishersmarketplace.com), where they send out daily emails about who bought what novel from whom (and via what agent/agency), and maintain a database available to paying users like me, so I can for instance see who has bought space-faring science fiction novels in the last year or so, and then see what other novels that editor/imprint has bought lately.

I'd hoped to get several short stories written this month while my novel lay fallow for a while. I only managed to get one done. I sent it out, and got a rejection on it (both via snailmail at that) from the editor in about ten days. In line with the ancient art of Rejectomancy, I choose to take that as a good sign. Some of my earlier submissions took considerably longer to come back (with form rejections). This one was read (and rejected, admittedly) much faster. I like to think it's because she recognizes my name by now and is waiting for a story she's willing to buy. I haven't written it yet, but I will.

As for the novel--it's going about the way my rational self expected, despite the doomsaying of my emotional self. I put it aside, glad to be done with it at last, and wondering if it was really as awful as I feared. Two weeks later, as I'm going through it to clean it up a bit, and expand or trim scenes here and there for clarity, I find--just as I found with my first novel--that it's not as bad as I feared. It holds up better than I thought it would--quite well, in fact.

That's getting to be a familiar pattern, and one I suspect will always be the case. But I know that, and know that eventual success (publication, money, groupies--all that stuff) requires only that I Trust My Process. Ignore the nagging voice of doubt and just keep writing. I've finished two novels by doing just that. And I'll finish more the same way.

Speaking of which, I need to figure out what my next novel is going to be. July is almost here--and is the start of the third quarter of 2010. If I'm going to write two more novels this year, I'm gonna need to start the third-quarter novel pretty soon. Which kinda gets my heart racing as my ego starts running in circles, screaming and shouting. "Oh god! What am I gonna write now? What if I can't come up with an idea? What if it sucks!? What if I never have a good idea for a novel again? Oh god!"

Trust. The. Process. Easy to say, harder to do. But it works. I have two novels written now to prove it, when before I wrote my first one last November, I didn't really think I could do. But I have. And I will again.

Stories in Circulation: 11
Rejections: 41
Stories Accepted: SEVEN
Stories to Resubmit: 2

Novel Queries: 1 Novel, 4 queries out
Novel Rejections: 6
sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
I've got one story printed up and sealed in a manila envelope with a cover letter and SASE, ready to be dropped in the mail tomorrow morning. That's good--one more story in the mail. What's not so good is that I'd hoped to have several ready to go this week, and that didn't happen.

I also suspected it wouldn't happen. While I'd hoped to write and/or finish three or four stories this week, I also knew that wasn't really very likely. It may be that Ray Bradbury can write a story in a day, but I can't--not yet, anyhow, and not consistently even if I do succeed occasionally. So it was always a long shot. But I intend to keep trying; the only way to develop a muscle is to exercise it, so trying to write a complete story quickly and make it salable at the same time is to try.

One story, which had been rejected by the market I wrote it for, will need rewriting before I can submit it elsewhere. It's too short for most of the other markets I might submit it to, so I'll need to lengthen it. Given other changes I would like to make to it, I think a complete redrafting--throwing away the existing manuscript and writing the story anew from scratch--is probably the best approach.

Another story is in limbo at the moment. I have doubt about it--and not just my usual doubts. Real, professional doubts. I'm not sure there's really a story there. It's more of a (to use fanfic terms) PWP ("Plot? What plot?") fic. It was fun to write, but I don't think it really constitutes a salable story. Which is not to say I won't send it out in the end, but it's not a priority.

I've also been reading some useful advice on writing of late, and I want to practice some of what I've learned. So this week I intend to try to write (finish and mail off) two stories. I plan to engage in what Dean Wesley Smith has called '"focused practice"--where you make a point of trying to master a particular skill or technique in a given story. Writing cliffhangers, say. Or learning to write vivid descriptions. So I'm going to use the two stories I work on this week to practice some specific advice.

We'll see how it goes. Next week I'll start banging my Starship Repo Man manuscript into shape for My Lovely And Talented Wife (and first reader) to look at. Once she's had a chance to tell me what she thinks, and I've had time to fix any problems she points out to me, I'll be ready to send it out.

Stories in Circulation: 12 <---another one just went out.
Rejections: 40
Stories Accepted: SEVEN
Stories to Resubmit: 0

Novel Queries: 1 Novel, 4 queries out
Novel Rejections: 6

I'm done!

Jun. 2nd, 2010 04:17 pm
sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
I hit 98,010 words on the novel today--and that's the end. Technically I was shooting for 100,000 but I hit the end of the story and that's it. If I wrote any more I'd be adding words just to pad the count. Besides, when I'm done with the revisions, I expect to cut the word count down to about 90,000 (maybe even a little lower) anyhow. So I'm calling it done.

At least the first draft.
Then there's the clean-up.
Then I let my lovely and talented wife read and critique it.
Then I make any changes I think advisable...and then out the door it goes.


Stories in Circulation: 11
Rejections: 40
Stories Accepted: SEVEN
Stories to Resubmit: 0

Novel Queries: 1 Novel, 4 queries out
Novel Rejections: 6

Project 1: Starship Repo Man (Tentative Title: Nine Tenths of the Law)
Words Written: 98,010 aaaaand Finished!




sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
And I'm still on track to finish this novel by the end of the month. Just under 6,000 words to go. Today I feel like the novel just doesn't have what it takes to be a worthwhile read. But then I remind myself that I thought the first one was utterly worthless when I finished it; in fact, I filed it away for a couple of months intending never to unearth it again. Eventually my lovely and talented wife convinced me to take a look at it and lo, it was a lot better than I remembered it being.

I fully expect this one to go the same way, so I try not to let my day-to-day worries/fears/insecurities about it prevent me from working on it. Sometimes it's tough. But it gets easier with practice.

In other news, yesterday I got a rejection letter on "Drowned" from Alfred Hitchcock. So I promptly sent it off to their sister magazine, Ellery Queen. And if it doesn't sell there, I'll send it somewhere else again. Never give up, never surrender!

In other other news, my plans for this long weekend include yard work. The grass really needs cutting. But listening to the steady fall of rain outside tonight, which follows a couple of weeks of frequent rain...I'm not sure it'll happen. The forecast called for sunny weather this weekend, but the weather man's been known to get it wrong occasionally. I guess we'll see.

Stories in Circulation: 11
Rejections: 40
Stories Accepted: SEVEN
Stories to Resubmit: 0

Novel Queries: 1 Novel, 4 queries out
Novel Rejections: 6

Project 1: Starship Repo Man (Tentative Title: Nine Tenths of the Law)
Words Written: 94,253



sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
Thirty-one hundred words. It required a little extra writing time this evening, but I made my quota of 3,000 words. More is always better, but it was more difficult to write today despite my satisfaction with what I wrote yesterday. My feelings, they are a yo-yo. Up. Down. Up down up down up down. I found that I really, really didn't want to start writing today, but I forced myself to do it.

And it went slowly at first. But I persevered, and late in the afternoon the log jam finally broke and I managed to get to about 2700 words--and only stopped because I had to go pick up my lovely and talented wife at work, as I do every day. But now I've topped the 3K point for today. Three more such days and I'll have 100,000 words on this puppy.

Then, as I've mentioned, I'll let it sit for a couple of weeks and turn my attention to other projects--some short stories that have been simmering on the back burner for a while.

It's funny. When I set out to write a second novel at the beginning of March, I intended to have a second, backup project on deck just in case I needed to shift gears. That scheme fell by the wayside. I found that I wasn't prepared to actually do that. I think I was afraid that if I stopped working on this novel, that I wouldn't get back to it. I still think a backup project is a good idea, but it may be that until I have another novel or two under my belt, and I'm convinced--convinced way, way deep down in my soul--that I can finish them, it may be better to slog straight through rather than jump back and forth between projects.


Stories in Circulation: 11
Rejections: 39
Stories Accepted: SEVEN
Stories to Resubmit: 0

Novel Queries: 1 Novel, 4 queries out
Novel Rejections: 6

Project 1: Starship Repo Man (Tentative Title: Nine Tenths of the Law)
Words Written: 91,214



sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
And I wrote 3100 words today. Not as many as I'd hoped, but more than I feared about midday. Twelve thousand words to go on the first draft of the novel. That's four 3K days, or 3 4K days if I can do them. Woohoo!

Issues of quality aside*, I remember when the idea of writing an entire novel struck me as impossible. I didn't believe I could ever eat that elephant, not all in one go. And of course, I can't. Nobody can. But I can eat it a bite at a time. It will have taken me about two months to produce this many words. It took me two months to produce the first novel. Eight more of these (that's sixteen months, or just under another year and a half at my current rate of production), and I'll have written a million words, just in novels. That's the legendary "million words of crap" They say you have to produce before you can start writing anything worthwhile.

And that doesn't count the short stories I've produced in the last year, or all the other fiction writing I've done over the years. Of which I like to think that at least some of which counts against my million words. So I'm very pleased to be so close to the end of this novel.

*As for quality...about halfway through my day today my mood changed. I had been slogging through the writing feeling decidedly uninspired...when suddenly I saw a way to tie the final section of the novel back into one of the earlier scenes. I can bring back a couple of minor characters to help with the resolution of the final conflict. And as I write about that just this moment, it occurs to me that that is a perfect example of something I've read about the nature of "inspiration". Which is, that inspiration didn't come to me like a bolt out of the blue while I was daydreaming, or doing chores, or watching television. It came to me while I was standing at my desk, writing. If I hadn't been actively working on the story, and actively trying to improve it, that idea never would have occurred to me.

So I'm happier with the novel again. (But, as usual, that's ultimately irrelevant. It's the process--stand and write (or sit and write) consistently, whether I feel inspired or not--that is what makes it possible to finish the story. I'll let my inner critic out of his cage in a couple of weeks, when the first draft is done. But not yet.)

Stories in Circulation: 11
Rejections: 39
Stories Accepted: SEVEN
Stories to Resubmit: 0

Novel Queries: 1 Novel, 4 queries out
Novel Rejections: 6

Project 1: Starship Repo Man (Tentative Title: Nine Tenths of the Law)
Words Written: 88,098



sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
I wrote about 1600 words today (the first writing I've done since Wednesday), what with all the chores I did today. Ordinarily those chores get done on the weekend when I'm not writing anyhow, but this weekend my lovely and talented wife and I had a mini-vacation. I spent a good chunk of Thursday running around getting our ducks in a row. Friday I packed in the morning, picked up Snippy from work at noon, we ate lunch, packed the car, and hit the road to the coast. We got a later start than intended, then got lost on the west side when a detour to avoid the I-5 traffic went poorly.

We stopped at the Spirit Wind Casino, as planned, where we killed time by eating dinner and doing a little business with the one-armed bandits. (Or she did. I just watched. I'm not much for gambling.) Then we saw Penn & Teller, whose show was the impetus for the whole trip. We had the cheap seats--we bought "best available" and that's what there was left by the time we learned of the show. But the show was in an event room, like a big hotel conference room with a stage. Bleachers in the back, and rows of chairs on the floor. We were in the back row on the floor--and it wasn't that bad. Maybe a couple thousand people all together.

Penn & Teller were fabulous. Some of their gags we'd seen before in various television appearances, but a lot of it was new to us, and all of it was wonderfully entertaining. They really run the gamut of magic. Sleight of hand, prop magic, levitation, mentalism, and of course, lots of comedy. If I ever get the chance to see them again, I definitely will. After the show, we hit the road to Lincoln City, where we checked into a cabin at the KOA camp ground.

Saturday was a glorious day at the coast (for values of glorious that included occasional rain storms). Snippy rose with the sun, went out for breakfast and a walk on the beach, then returned. We went out to lunch, then spent a couple or three hours at one of the small beach access points watching the sky and the surf and enjoying the sun and the sound of the ocean. Afterward we repaired to the cabin again, where napping and sex occurred. Later on, we discovered that we were both satisfied with our beach experience and ready to go home.

Ten minutes later we had the car packed. We checked out, had dinner at Moe's on the way out of town, and headed home. Another stop at Spirit Mountain, where Snippy played Roulette for the first time--just to check it off of her list of things to do, and she won a little money. Bonus! Then we drove home, where we enjoyed having the house to ourselves for the rest of the weekend. There was much lounging about, snuggling, and more marital arts action.

This morning, alas, it was back to business as usual. I did all the usual weekend chores a day late, as well as a few other chores, and wrote a little around the edges. I received a personal rejection letter for "First Impressions", a story I'd sent to a romance magazine. They'd decided that the story wasn't quite what they were looking for, but they liked my writing and urged me to send them other stories--so yay! (A sale would've been better, but an encouraging rejection isn't bad.) There aren't a lot of markets for that sort of story, so I'll probably rework it it a little and submit it to Cobblestone or some similar publisher.

Today was an "I'm not sure about this novel" day. Nonetheless, I kept writing. I'm within 15,000 words of my goal now--that's one good week's worth of writing. With a little perseverance, I can have it finished (first pass, anyhow) by the end of the month. Then I'll probably let it sit for a week or two before going back to clean it up and let my lovely and talented first reader have it. That'll also give me a couple of weeks to work on short stories.

Stories in Circulation: 11
Rejections: 39
Stories Accepted: SEVEN
Stories to Resubmit: 0

Novel Queries: 1 Novel, 4 queries out
Novel Rejections: 6

Project 1: Starship Repo Man (Tentative Title: Nine Tenths of the Law)
Words Written: 84,950



sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
I wrote about 3,000 words of fiction today--all on my novel. I have a couple of short stories I'm mulling over. One needs about a thousand words more to make it long enough to suit me (right in the sweet spot for the market in question). The other needs to be written, as in zero words on it currently. It's just an idea.

Mood swings! We've got yer red hot mood swings! Feeling better about the novel again. It's moving again, which--surprise, surprise--always makes me feel better about it. Or, you know, because I feel better about it, maybe I write more freely. Go figure. The important thing is that I just keep plugging away at it whether I'm happy with it or not.

I'm closing in on 90,000 words, which...yay! Never mind that I reset the goal to 100,000 words. I'll reach that shortly after I hit the 90K mark. That'll make two novels in six months, which means I'll still be on track to complete four novels this year. Which means once I actually start selling them, I'll be doing good! But I'm getting ahead of myself just a bit, so...

Tomorrow: another 3,000 words on the novel.



Stories in Circulation: 12
Rejections: 38
Stories Accepted: SEVEN
Stories to Resubmit: 0

Novel Queries: 1 Novel, 4 queries out
Novel Rejections: 6

Project 1: Starship Repo Man (Tentative Title: Nine Tenths of the Law)
Words Written: 83,328



Things Done In The Novel Today: Reworked a scene to introduce a character earlier in the story. Continued to deal with reactions (by various and sundry) to the nuclear annihilation of Elizabethtown (capital city of planet du jour)*. Our Hero was stopped while driving a stolen bus full of passengers and promptly kidnapped arrested and brought to the local airport, where he's about to be drafted to fly a shipload of refugees from the ongoing civil war to safety, always assuming the Humperdinck** airport doesn't suffer the same fate that struck Elizabethtown.

*Which I didn't mention before because, well, I haven't been describing what's happening in the novel until now, partly because I've been jumping around in the novel, adding scenes as the spirit moved me. But Elizabethtown blowed up real good.

**Yes, Humperdinck. When I need a name for a person, place, or thing, I throw out whatever first comes to mind. When I'm cleaning it up afterward, I can search & replace any that don't make the cut.

sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
Persistence, baby. And a reinforcement of yesterday's lesson. To wit: that my feelings about the novel have nothing to do with the objective quality of the work. Yesterday I was feeling pretty good about it. Today? Not so much. And I got bogged down, and only managed to produce about 2,000 words.

Until just now. I planted my butt in front of my computer and kept writing until I reached 3,000 words for the day. Go me!

Heinlein's Rule # 1 at work: You must write! I have writ! And I am pleased by that.

Another 20,000 words or so and I'll have this baby ready to give a good going-over before letting my lovely and talented wife read it and tell me what she thinks.

Stories in Circulation: 12
Rejections: 38
Stories Accepted: SEVEN
Stories to Resubmit: 0

Novel Queries: 1 Novel, 4 queries out
Novel Rejections: 6

Project 1: Starship Repo Man (Title TBD)
Words Written: 80,267

sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
A pretty good day on the novel writing front. I produced about 4,000 words and had a couple of brainstorms (which, note to self, I need to write down in the notes files for the novel so I don't forget them. And...done.). I didn't add all that much to the novel last week; I need to do better this week, and today was a good step in that direction.

I'm also feeling better about the novel in general, which is just more evidence that my day-to-day opinion of the value of any given project while I'm working on it is meaningless. It's the same work, with all the same virtues and flaws it had last week; the only thing that's changed is my attitude. Which is why Robert Heinlein's Rules 1 (You must write.) and 2 (You must finish what you write.) are so effective. If you follow them slavishly, you will not be deterred from completing a story or novel by your fears. Rules 3 (You must not rewrite except to editorial order.), 4 (You must send your story to someone who will buy it.), and 5 (You must keep it in the mail until it sells.) will come into play once I've finished the novel, and given it a shave, a haircut, and a nice suit.

I'm having some pain in my left thumb--the tendon running from the wrist to about the first knuckle is is bothering me. Lots of Advil and occasional icing may be helping, but not all that much. Also helping? Not using the web between thumb and forefinger to cradle my cheekbone while sleeping on my stomach. Alas, that's a habit decades in the making and it's going to take some time to break myself of it.

book rated 4.5 by wc arial copy[1] (2) In other news, I received an email the other day alerting me that I'd gotten a good review of Three On A Rooftop from Whipped Cream Erotic Romance Reviews. It was in the running for a poll to choose the site users' favorite for the week (which garners you a place on the site front page for a week), which I sadly did not win. Still, a good review never hurts.

Wanna see it? It's right here.

And that's the news. Good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow.

Stories in Circulation: 12
Rejections: 38
Stories Accepted: SEVEN
Stories to Resubmit: 0

Novel Queries: 1 Novel, 4 queries out
Novel Rejections: 6

Project 1: Starship Repo Man (Title TBD)
Words Written: 77,243


sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
I'm up to 73,000 words on the novel. I've added almost 8,000 words this week, and it's only Wednesday. On the other hand, I didn't write word one yesterday, and if I had it would be more. I had 60,000 words done as of the end of April, so this month my pace is almost exactly half of what it was last month. Boo! On the gripping hand, despite having a bad day yesterday and a slow start today, I'm still 8,000 words closer to the finish line at the moment, and that's something to be happy about.

Of course, I also moved the finish line. Regular readers may note that I've upped the word count for the novel from 90K to 100K. Mostly that's because I suspect I'm going to have to cut some of what I've written, so a higher goal means that when I've pared it down to something closer to the right words, it'll still be plenty long enough.

This week I've received two rejections, one on my first novel (Strange Attractors), and one on the short story, "In Adversity". I'll get them both back out soon, but I haven't done so yet.

I'm experimenting with a new mindset when I write. I'm trying to find the zone I wrote in when I was participating in some online games. I wrote many, many tens of thousands of words over the years in those games (which were closer to collaborative writing than gaming per se). And most of that I wrote on the fly. I wrote fast, I wrote without editing for the most part, and I didn't worry overmuch about anything but whether what I was writing was fun to write (and, I hoped, to read). I didn't think overmuch about the nuts and bolts of writing, I just trusted my process.

And I still like to go back and look at a lot of that stuff. I find a lot of stuff that's really fun to re-read. Could it be improved upon? Of course. But that attitude--writing the story I want to read without paying too much conscious attention to technique or salability or "what my mother will think"...that's something it's too easy to lose, and which I think is valuable.

I'm still using the 60-minute timer approach too. Start the timer. Write til it chirps. Take a few minutes away from the keyboard. Lather, rinse, repeat. It helps--especially on days like today, when I had a hard time starting. Start the timer and just WRITE. It helps to drown out the critical voice, 'cause I've got a goal to meet. Words to accumulate and only an hour to do it.

And I still find that nothing promotes creativity like wanting to abandon a project. My mind lights up with ideas for OTHER things I could be writing. So I take note of those ideas...and then I work on the current project. Those ideas will still be there later, when I'm ready to actually start something new. Take THAT, treacherous subconscious!

Stories in Circulation: 12
Rejections: 37
Stories Accepted: SEVEN
Stories to Resubmit: 0

Novel Queries: 1 Novel, 4 queries out
Novel Rejections: 6

Project 1: Starship Repo Man (Title TBD)
Words Written: 73,238




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August 2017

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