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

sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
Red alert! Flying stinging insects are making their home around MY home!

So, I grew up in Virginia. Where there are lots and lots and lots of flying, stinging insects. Honeybees (neighbors kept beehives), yellowjackets (the little bastards), wasps, and hornets.

I have a phobia about bees and wasps. It's not rational, of course. Duh. It's a phobia. But it's there. And that's despite my never, to the best of my recollection, never having actually been stung. I've seen people stung. I was even around when a couple of kids were stung repeatedly (and badly) at a church picnic (they stumbled onto a yellowjacket nest), though I didn't actually witness it. But I've never been stung.

Doesn't matter. I have a phobia, and have had since before I started school. I remember living in our first house, which had a basement door that opened beneath the concrete stairs that let up to the kitchen--it was a sheltered spot where we could store the lawnmower and other such stuff. There was a wasp nest under there. I remember standing inside the basement, staring up at it through the screen door (absolutely convinced they were all staring back at me with their evil, evil eyes), working up my nerve to bolt through the door and race past the nest like the the hordes of hell were after me.

In Brookneal, where we moved when I was six, we occasionally dealt with wasps--and once or twice my dad had to deal with a hornet nest in a tree. Those damned wasps were everywhere, making nests under eaves, in trees, inside the hollow metal frames of clotheslines. You never knew where they'd pop up. Whenever I had to mow the grass, I did it in a cold sweat, afraid I'd discover a new nest the hard way. (Mom, dad, it wasn't that I didn't want to do the chore--it was abject terror.) I'm kind of amazed, in retrospect, that for all the running around in the woods we did, we never stumbled into trouble.

So, anyway, I spent my life on Yellow Alert for wasps and hornets. I never approached a house but that I checked the eaves for signs of a nest, and if I saw one, I gave it a wide berth. I never left the windows down in my car, no matter how hot the temperature, lest they invade it. I wasn't about to have to scan every inch of the interior every time I got into it.

And then I moved to Portland. Where most people don't even have screens in their windows! I couldn't imagine it. Where they insane? Well...no, as it turned out. There's a lot less insect activity here in general. _I_ still don't open a window without putting a screen in it (removable, folding one-size-fits-all screens are a piss poor substitute for a real screened window, but...you do what you can). And I continued my vigilant surveillance for years.

But slowly I relaxed. I never saw any wasp nests. Ever. They (wasps) were around, I know. I saw them occasionally. But I never saw nests under the eaves of buildings, and especially not around my house. So I relaxed.

Until this week. When I happened to think about it and looked up as I was going in the back door. And there it was. A goddamn wasp nest. Small, but definitely there. And of the hard mud variety, not the paper sort. So after a brief pause to let my heart rate return to something approaching normal, I looked around. And found a second nest in the eaves on the side of the house. Sumbitch!

After working up my nerve (shades of my pre-school self staring up at that nest beneath the stairs), I used a broomhandle to crush the nest by the back door. And then fled inside. You know, just in case. Fortunately, I got 'em.

The other nest, alas, is too high to reach. I'm gonna have to get some wasp/hornet spray to deal with that one. In the mean time, I'm back on Condition Yellow! Check those eaves! Bastards.

In other news, I wrote 4,000 words today. Go me!
In other other news, I got two rejections yesterday via email, so I have to figure out where to send those stories next.

Stories in Circulation: 10
Rejections: 48
Stories Accepted: SEVEN
Stories to Resubmit: 2

Novel Queries: 2 Novels in circulation, 10 queries out (5 each)
Novel Rejections: 8 (all on the first one so far)

sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
Happy Independence Day Weekend to everyone!

I didn't write a damn thing today. I did chores (and wrestled with what project to tackle for my next novel). I ran out to the bank, opened up the house and aired it out a bit, dusted and vacuumed the bedroom, changed the bedsheets, ran the comforters through the dryer, and a few other things. Oh, and went running this morning--in the rain, no less--with Twoson. (We've embarked on the Couch to 5K program together, him for the first time, me for the mumble-tieth time. Just finished our first week.)

I also got a rejection on my story "Reunion". So I sent it out again. (Wow, after not hearing anything on any of my circulating stories, or the novel, for weeks on end, all of a sudden they're all getting responses. Odd.) My lovely and talented wife finished reading my second novel and had some useful observations. I'll be taking them into account as I fine tune it a little before sending it out.

On the non-writing front, I've been watching a new show today. My lovely and talented wife discovered it this morning, and set up a season pass on the Tivo. So we got six episodes today--they were doing a marathon, I guess. Anyhow, she discovered--after watching a couple of episodes this evening that she didn't care for it after all. But I've been enjoying it.

MANTRACKER, it's called. It's a Canadian reality show that's been airing since 2006 (according to the wiki article about it). The MANTRACKER (he has a name, but that's all they ever call him) is, well, a tracker (and a cowboy, but for entertainment purposes, his tracking skill is the real draw).

So the gag is: Each episode we watch as two contestants (generally but not always outdoorsman types) try to elude the MANTRACKER while they travel cross-country on foot to reach their destination within 36 hours while not being caught. It's got the typically overwrought narration and oh-so-dramatic editing common to all reality shows (and frankly, I'd like it better if it was more matter of fact--which is also why my lovely and talented wife lost interest). But it's still entertaining enough for me.

Alas, they don't really tell you much in any given show. They drop bits and pieces in different episodes, but I had to read the wiki to get a lot of this.

The MANTRACKER and his guide (the show is filmed in different areas each week, so he has a local guide) are mounted. The MANTRACKER rides a horse provided for him at each location, not his own. The two "prey" are on foot, navigating with compass and map. The distance they have to cover varies depending on the terrain (and probably their experience level). They get a two kilometer head start; a flare is fired from their starting position to give the MANTRACKER some idea of where to start looking, and they're off! There's no prize involved for the "prey" other than bragging rights if they manage to elude the MANTRACKER and reach the finish line.

Cameramen follow both the "prey" and the MANTRACKER. I thought upon initially seeing the show that the cameramen would be a problem. But apparently not. The cameramen employed are experienced woodsmen, and pretty good at going unseen. Plus, they also send decoy runners and cameramen into the area sometimes so the MANTRACKER can't just look for the camera crew.... And some of the shots on the show are recreations, so what looked initially like shots that would give the game away aren't.

Anyhow, it's been interesting. Avoiding capture boils down to basically two approaches. You try to leave as little sign of your passing as possible, or you simply try to go where the mounted MANTRACKER can't follow, even if he can see you. Aside from very occasionally dismounting to lead the horse or to examine the ground, he apparently must remain mounted while in pursuit of the "prey". Which means: heavy brush, cliffs or steep inclines, anywhere they can't take the horses. Since catching the runners consists basically of maneuvering the horses to cut off their escape, being seen--even being close enough to taunt one another (as sometimes happens)--doesn't count.

I'm no tracker, but I know some of the theory and he seems to be pretty good. He's quite adept at finding and following the tracks, and working out what they're doing. Oh--he doesn't meet the "prey" prior to the hunt, so he has no idea who he's tracking until he gets a glimpse of them. Nor does he know their destination; he can get some idea of the direction they're traveling when he tracks them, but that's it. I've watched three episodes now, and the MANTRACKER has caught four out of six "prey" (which is about average, according to the wiki).

It's not great tv, but I'm finding it entertaining enough.


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

Novel Queries: 1 Novel, 3 queries out
Novel Rejections: 7
sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
In our last exciting episode, I mentioned getting another novel rejection--but a good one (as rejections go). I was waiting to post about it until after I met with my fellow INK (Immaculate Novelists Kult) members tonight, but that meeting fell through. Illness (on someone else's part, this time) has forced us to postpone the meeting. Besides, one of us is trying to get a book out the door tonight, so this frees up the evening for that anyhow.

So. I got a rejection on Strange Attractors from one of the publishers I'd sent it to. It read as follows:

Dear Mark,

Thank you for sending [Editor Name]
Strange Attractors. She forward the proposal on to me. While it has an interesting premise, the writing just didn't come together for me. Therefore, I must pass at this time. I wish you the best of luck in placing it with another house.

Best,
[Second Editor]
Editorial, [Publisher]


So I passed a first reading and the editor had someone else take a look at it. That's good. On the other hand, that's twice now that I've been told that the premise was interesting but the writing just didn't grab the editor. So I know where I need to focus on improving. That's also good--it's nice, clear feedback on what's working (the premise, plot) and what's not (the writing).

In non-writing news, I bought some tools (a hoe, loppers, anti-goo cleaning solution, turf builder, and DUCT TAPE) at Home Despot. Got away for a lot less than we had budgeted (though I didn't buy any mulch, which was on the shopping list as I need to confer with MLATW on exactly what sort to buy). Then I came home and applied the duct tape, but--alas!--it failed me. I think the item in question is beyond salvation.

I also applied the hoe vigorously to the front left corner of our lawn, digging up dandelions, loosening the soil, and generally getting it prepared for...the application of Scott's Turf Builder and water. If it works as advertised, we'll have grass there again instead of an ever-growing mass of dandelions. The Weed-B-Gon we bought and used was highly effective in killing the dandelions, so I'm hopeful that this will be equally effective at reseeding the lawn. We'll see.

Afterward, I stripped off in the kitchen, had Twoson take my clothes down to the basement, and I showered off. My lovely and talented wife is allergic to grass seed (among other things), so I tried to take care not contaminate the house, since I'd just been scattering it about with enthusiasm. It reminded of the long-ago (and unmourned) days when I was a lad in Virginia and came home filthy and stinking after a hard few hours work catching chickens*. My mother would have me (later us, when one of my brothers joined me in this exciting job) strip off on the carport, then shower in the basement bathroom while she laundered our clothes immediately.

*Nastiest job I've ever had, though far from the worst job out there. Hot, sweaty, dusty work in a big (huge, industrial-farm sized) dirt-floored barn. Chasing chickens into the corners (where they cluster in huge groups) before you plunge into the feathered mass and thrust your hands into the pile just above floor level to seize a handful of chicken legs in your fingers and snatch them up. Then you trot over and jam them into racks of cages that get rolled onto trucks headed for the Campbell's Soup factory....
Stories in Circulation: 11
Rejections: 44
Stories Accepted: SEVEN
Stories to Resubmit: 0

Novel Queries: 1 Novel, 3 queries out
Novel Rejections: 7

sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
Well, the first stage is finished. I did the final cutting (and pasting--moving some sections around), as well spell-checking. Then I converted it to a PDF format and emailed it to my lovely and talented wife. She has downloaded it onto her Nook so she can read it. We'll see what she has to say about it.

I also two stories back into the mail (well, the email, to be exact) to new markets: Sniplits and Strange Horizons, to be precise.

Keen observers may note that my first novel is now out at only three publishers instead of four. That's right, I got another rejection. But as rejections go, it's a pretty good one, I think. But I'm going to save the details on that til tomorrow. I'm meeting my fellow pixel-stained technopeasant wretches (the INK writing collaborative) tomorrow night, and I want to see what they say about it first.

And now, to go start reading Kitty Goes To War, the latest Carrie Vaughn novel. Hurrah!

Stories in Circulation: 11
Rejections: 44
Stories Accepted: SEVEN
Stories to Resubmit: 0

Novel Queries: 1 Novel, 3 queries out
Novel Rejections: 7
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)
Or, an update for my lovely and talented wife. No writing Monday. In the immortal words of Holland Manners (and later, Angel), "I just couldn't bring myself to care." And thus endeth the geekery for today.

Only an hour or two after my last post, in which I mentioned an absence of rejection letters...I got a rejection letter. On the other hand, it was a nice rejection. The editor said that the story was well written (yay!) but that it felt like the opening to a much longer story, or a novel. Which I suppose it could become, though that was not my intent. And I sent it out again as is,

Tuesday I produced just over 4,000 words on the novel. Today I hit the wall at a little under 4,000, though I then went on to write a few hundred words on a story opening, for a total of 4,425 words today. This puts me at the halfway mark on my 90,000 word novel, which is a nice milestone.

And right on schedule, according to Kris and Dean, I'm struggling with the fear that it's no good, that it's not working, that maybe it should be set aside in favor of starting something else. Something different. I know not to let these fears stop me. They say that every writer they know has to work through this every time, and I believe it. I'm continuing to plug away at it, but damn--it's hard sometimes.

They also say that when you're done with the book, you won't be able to tell by reading it which parts you felt good about and which parts you were sure were crap. And it's true--I know this from personal experience with the first novel. It was (when I finally dug it out of durance vile and reread it a couple of months after burying it, swearing never to unearth it again) better than I remembered/feared, and pretty much all of a piece. I know it's the same thing this time.

But dammit, I feel like I'm wasting my time. I feel a little depressed. I've been at this writing thing for a while now (about a year!*) and I'm not selling anything.** My lovely and talented wife encourages and supports me, and I appreciate it greatly. But I know she also worries about money, and so far I'm not making much at this gig. Which we knew would be the case when I started, and might be the case for quite a long time. Years, even. The end result, we hope, will be that I can make a living at this. Ideally, a very good living, enough money that my lovely and talented wife can retire from her job and live in the manner to which she would like to become accustomed. But even just making as much as she does now, so that we're doing better than we were when we were both working would be great.

Ah well. Unlike many human institutions, the universe doesn't run on credit. You puts in the work first, and THEN you gets your payday. Right now I'm gonna go read some short stories. Tomorrow I'll get back to work on the novel.

* Yeah, yeah, I know. A whole year. Wow. I should be Stephen King by now. Or Nora Roberts. Or some other household name with ridiculous amounts of money and fame from their overnight success. Except, of course, I know that it wasn't overnight. It took many years of practice and work. I like to think that I've done some of that work already--I've been writing for a long time, but doing it with this kind of consistent, organized effort is new. And on my good days, I'm sure I can succeed eventually. But at times, like right now, in the middle of a book I'm convinced is no good, I wonder if I'm wasting my time and should just give up. I won't. But the thought is there.

** I've got six stories published, and a seventh goes live this month. That's nothing to sneeze at. But they're all royalty-based epublished shorts, with no upfront money. And I'm not making much from them. So I suspect I have a tendency to discount that achievement. I try not to, but...selling something else to another publisher, especially something for which I get paid up front would be really nice. And it will happen eventually, dammit. But not today.



Stories in Circulation: 11
Rejections: 36
Stories Accepted: SEVEN
Stories to Resubmit: 0

Novel Queries: 1 Novel, 5 queries out
Novel Rejections: 5

Project 1: Space Opera (Title TBD)
Words Written: 45,575




Project 2: Urban Fantasy (Title TBD)
Words Written: 0



sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
So I've heard this commercial on the radio several times lately. Kindly doctor voice says that the kid may have a fever and he'll need to take his temperature. Kid complains that he "hates that pointy thing in his ear!" Kindly Doctor says that he need only swipe this newfangled device across the kid's forehead to take his temperature. Mom is dutifully impressed and wishes that she had one for home use. Cue the VoiceOver Guy, who informs the listener that it IS now available for home use.

That commercial makes me feel old. I always think, "Geez, kid! Get a grip. In MY day, if your parents or the doctor wanted to take your temperature, they used a glass thermometer--and they stuck in your mouth. If you were LUCKY."

In other news, I got 3300 words written on one of the novels Friday. Go me! As per usual based on my experience in November, my Inner Critic (aka my Ego) will require constant throttling. I look at what I've written and think, "There's no way I'm going to produce a coherent novel out of that!"

Yeah, well, it's only 3 percent of the total wordage I'm shooting for. AND I can always clean it up later. AND if necessary I can completely scrap what I've written while editing the manuscript. So shut up back there, or I'll tie you up and pitch you into an empty lecture hall in my mind where you can yammer (in a Mickey Mouse voice) to an audience of zero. It doesn't have to be good; good or bad is irrelevant at this stage. Right now I just have to pile on the words so as to have something to improve later.

In still other news, "Man-Ape" came back to me in less than twenty-four hours. It was a nice rejection email, though. The editor told me what she thought worked and didn't work, and had some suggestions for me. And she ended by saying that she looked forward me sending her something else. So that's a pretty good rejection, as rejections go.

Stories in Circulation: 10
Rejections: 34
Stories Accepted: SEVEN
Stories to Resubmit: 1

Novel Queries: 1 Novel, 5 queries out
Novel Rejections: 4

Project 1: Space Opera (Title TBD)
Words Written: 3,323




Project 2: Urban Fantasy (Title TBD)
Words Written: 0


sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
I mean manuscript submissions. Geez. Get yer minds out of the gutter.

I wrote a novel in November. Then spent February expanding and revising it to publishable length. Then I sent it off to five publishers. I did not send it to an agent. Agents don't buy novels. Editors buy novels. Thus, sending a novel to an agent would violate Heinlein's Rule # 4 for writers (You must send your story to someone who will buy it.)

But...what about the requirement that you have agent before a publisher will look at it? Forget it. It's not true. I've been told this repeatedly by writers who ought to know, and now I have first-hand experience.

I got a rejection letter yesterday. It said:

Thank you for your submission to [Publisher]. Though your material sounds quite interesting, at the present time it does not meet our cuirrent editorial needs.

As you're unagented, the best way for you to know which publishing house might be interested in your material is to try to acquire a literary agent. The best way to do this is to go to your local library and look for a reference book called THE LITERARY MARKETPLACE, which lists names and addresses of agents and the types of material they're looking to represent.

Thank you again for considering us. We wish you the best of luck with your writing and in placing your manuscript.

Yes, they suggested I get an agent. But look what they told me first. My manuscript does not meet their current editorial needs. Or, in other words, they're not interested. How do they know this? Because they looked at it. They can't not look at it.

"Get an agent" is just boilerplate. An obstacle put in place to weed out the unmotivated and unknowledgeable. Editors have to look at the manuscripts that come in. Why? Suppose the next Stephen King or Nora Roberts (or Stephanie Meyers) sends them a manuscript, and it gets rejected sight unseen, unread and unconsidered, because of the "no unagented manuscripts" policy. Suppose the novel does eventually find a home and becomes the Next Big Thing. The author becomes a household word, rich and successful beyond the dreams of avarice...and mentions publicly that, "Oh yeah, Publisher X rejected me without looking at my manuscript."

The CEO of Publisher X is not going to be happy. And someone is going to lose his job. If he looked at the manuscript and rejected it (for any number of valid reasons), that's different. But turning away what amounts to a license to print money because you didn't go through an agent? To quote Donald Trump, "You're FIRED!"

So they look. They have to look. If they reject you, they'll tell you to get an agent...but if they'd thought your book was worth buying, don't doubt for a moment that they'd have made you an offer. And the lack of an agent would have been meaningless. They won't care. They'll still want to make money by publishing your novel.

Now, maybe you don't agree with me. Maybe you believe that you must have an agent to submit your novel to publishers. By all means, do what you think is best. But I know what I believe, and that's how I'm pursuing my novel sales. Here's some more evidence:

Jim Himes ([livejournal.com profile] jimhimes ) recently surveyed 246 published novelists. Of those, around 70 sold directly to a publisher without an agent. About twice that number went through an agent. Which might mean an agent increases your chances of selling. Or it might mean nothing except that twice that number used an agent. They might have sold without one. There might be many other salable novels being rejected by agents instead of accepted by editors. we can't know based on this survey. What we can know is that plenty of novels sell without an agent's intervention.


Stories in Circulation: 8
Rejections: 30
Stories Accepted: SEVEN
Stories to Resubmit: 3

Novel Queries: 1 Novel, 5 queries out
Novel Rejections: 3

sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
I've been working on edits to "Bound by Convention" the last couple of days, and it's been a chore. Not the edits themselves--that's gone smoothly. But for some reason the editor and I have had the worst time with bizarre issues when we email one another the text with the "track changes" feature turned on. Lots of text mysteriously transformed into all caps and lined out, comments missing, even several paragraphs vanished into the ether between when he send me a file and I opened it.

We're getting it hammered out nonetheless, but it's been troublesome--and in a way I never had to deal with on the first story. I don't know if it's because OpenOffice and Word don't work and play well together, or what. But as I say, we didn't have this problem with "Flying High" and I worked on that in Open Office too. It's weird.

In other news, I've been submitting stories to markets with faster turn-around times lately. Which means that when they sell, they'll sell pretty fast. It also means that while they're being bounced, I'm getting rejections at a faster clip too. Ah well. It helps build a thicker skin, I suppose.

Just got in from an evening of role-playing. It was fun, but now I'm tired.

Stories in Circulation: 13
Rejections: 18
Stories Accepted: TWO!
sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
My story "Ink", that is. It's been bounced from four markets in the last two weeks. Ah well. Quick responses are no worse than responses that take weeks--and in most ways are much better.

I've got two stories under way this week. The previously mentioned "Chicago Style" and a new one I started last night, tentatively entitled, "Reunion". It's an idea that's been kicking around in my brain for many years, and had its origin in an idea for a role-playing game plot that I never got around to using. So now I'm using it in a story.

Stories in Circulation: 12
Rejections: 14 <---Yes, still ANOTHER new one today
Stories Accepted: ONE!
sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
The big toe joint in my right foot (the ball of the foot) is hurting today. My "bone spurs with degradation consistent with arthritis" are acting up today. I pushed the push mower around the back yard the other day, and washed my car this afternoon wearing my worn out sneakers. Maybe that's the cause. In any case, it was hurting pretty good earlier. I took one of the anti-inflammatory pills the doctor gave me way for this way back when, along with a couple of Tylenol (can't take Advil while I'm taking the anti-inflammatory--they don't play well together). It's somewhat better now.

In other (writing) news, I got a form rejection for "Ink" from Fantasy & Science Fiction yesterday--exactly the same rejection it got from the Way of the Wizard anthology. Not too surprising, since the same editor is reading for both. Oh well. I immediately sent it out again.

Stories in Circulation: 12
Rejections: 12 <---Yes, a new one today
Stories Accepted: ONE!
sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
I sent the story off yesterday evening. By the time I got home tonight from gaming, I had an email rejection waiting in my in-box. Oh well. That just means I can write another wizarding story and submit that for the anthology. They'll be taking submissions until sometime next year....

In the mean time--Rejectomancy! I looked at my market list for this story, then wrote and printed a cover letter, printed out a SASE and packaged up the story for submission to my next market, Fantasy & Science Fiction. Tomorrow morning, after I've driven my lovely and talented wife to work, I'll stop by the USPS and drop it in the mail.

I didn't do much writing today. I thought about possible story ideas and looked over some partials, but didn't get much accomplished, really. Tomorrow I'll have to sit down and write. While technically I have until Sunday to get my second story finished, I'm going to be busy with social engagements for large parts of both Saturday and Sunday, as well as the usual weekend chores, so...I need to get the bulk of the project done Friday.

Stories in Circulation: 11
Rejections: 10
Stories Accepted: ONE! (To be released by Cobblestone-Press.com next Friday, September 25th!)
sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
Didn't post yesterday. Catching up today.

I've buckled down the last three days, writing until I got at least 3,000 words done each day. I've got three storylines in progress. I say storylines because I wouldn't call them stories yet. But I think eventually I'll be able to turn them into stories. Eventually.

I'm anxiously awaiting a response on a second story I submitted to Cobblestone Press. At last report they were at about a 30-day turnaround on submissions--and tomorrow will be 30 days exactly. On the other hand, they're also sifting through submissions for two special projects (a Halloween-themed set of stories and a "Naughty November" set), so that might delay replies to less time-sensitive stuff.

Rejectomancy: I haven't heard from them yet, and I'd gotten a response on the first story after about two weeks (though it was another two weeks before they officially offered a contract). So not having heard anything yet at least means it didn't get bounced. Yet. Ah well, if it does I'll find somewhere else to send it, and send them something else.

Speaking of which, I've been looking in possible markets to write for. Cobblestone has a third themed call for submissions under way--for Christmas stories. If I want to write something for that, I've got until September 1. Another publisher is looking for pirate tales, deadline November 1st. Arrrrr, matey!

So those are slots I'm thinking about. I'm not sure how successful I'll be trying to drum up a story for a specific theme, since most of what I've written has been of the "just start writing and see what I end up with" school (see the aforementioned three storylines I'm working on--how they'll end up is anybody's guess at this point). But it's something to think about.

Speaking of which, I ran across an interesting hybrid approach to writing yesterday on a forum I frequent. Writers there divide themselves into seat-of-the-pants writers (like yours truly) and plotters. One individual commented that she started each story with a seat-of-the-pants approach and continued that way until she hit a wall. THEN she plotted out to resolve the story.

Maybe I'll try that.

But for now, time to go sit in front of the AC and think about story ideas.

Word Written Yesterday: 3,045
Words Written Today: 3,144
Words Written YTD (since May 1): 123,666
Stories in Circulation: 9
Rejections: 9
Stories Accepted: ONE!
sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
Friday was a miserable day on the writing front. A rejection letter from Alfred Hitchcock's didn't help on top of having trouble trying to plot out a story. On the other hand, I got a couple of encouraging comments/emails about that, so that was nice. Still, the plotting & planning didn't go well.

I didn't do a damn thing with regard to writing over the weekend. Instead, I spent a lot of time with my lovely and talented wife. I picked her up early from work on Friday to drive her to an appointment. Afterward we went out dinner at local German restaurant. We ate, we read, we talked. We were serenaded by a man on an accordion who played such traditional German folk music as "How Much Is That Doggie In The Window" and the themes from "Spongebob Squarepants" and the 60s "Batman" series. It was entertaining and oddly surreal.

Saturday we went to lunch at Popeyes, then cruised through IKEA and bought some stuff for the house, came home and puttered around for hours, watched television and generally were homebodies. Sunday we went out to a matinee of "Julie & Julia," which was a nice film. Came home, frolicked together, went out again to get a (very) late lunch at the bakery, then hung out at home for a while. I worked on laundry, she did some sewing. I uncrated a new portable air conditioner we'd bought via Amazon, discovered that it did not in fact possess the "evaporative technology" it was supposed to have* and put it back into it's box--we'll be sending it back for a refund. We watched True Blood on HBO and then adjourned to frolic together a little more.

It was a good weekend.

I got another rejection today, this one via email from Apex. They said my story was insufficiently science fiction-y for their purposes, which I admit is probably true. The SF element is marginal at best. However, having recharged my morale over the weekend with a very enjoyable couple of days with my lovely and talented wife, I am undeterred by this one. I've already resubmitted both rejected stories this morning, and I'll be doing some considerable writing today. I'll work on the plotting a little more today, but I'll be concentrating more on getting back to the "seat of my pants" writing that has worked so far.


Words Written Today: None Yet (it's early yet)
Words Written YTD (since May 1): 107,981
Stories in Circulation: 9
Rejections: 9
Stories Accepted: ONE!


*We have one portable AC already with a removable tank for the condensed water. It has to be emptied periodically--at least once daily, more often if its particularly humid (by Portland standards, anyhow). The new one was supposed to not need emptying--and it doesn't...assuming you attach the included hose to the drain and run it to a drain in the floor! Which might work in a basement, I suppose.

But we don't HAVE a drain in the floor of our bedroom. Which means we'd have to empty the non-removable tank manually--by letting it drain into a container we'd have to place under the tank outlet. That's worse than the fairly convenient remove-to-drain tank in the current AC. So it's going back.
sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
Just got a rejection from Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine in the mail. Not a surprise, really, but disappointing nonetheless. I'll have to see where else I can send this story later today.

I got a story off Monday morning, so I'm still at eight stories in circulation despite this one coming back. So that's good. But Rejectomancy is feeling kinda difficult today. I think I'm a little depressed today. Nothing serious, but it makes focusing on the work harder than usual.

I've been working on the plot for a longer (10-20K probably) story all week and...as usual, at times I feel pretty good about it. Today is not one of those times. I've reached the stage, as I told [personal profile] snippy yesterday, where the plot feels like it's disintegrating. That's always happened when I worked on a plot for any length of time, which is probably why I've tended to be a seat-of-my-pants writer.

I start working out a plot, and it seems pretty good. But as I try to flesh out the details, invariably I start finding things that don't seem to work, so I try to fix them. And that reveals more flaws. Lather, rinse, repeat until the plot seems to collapse like wet newsprint. Now, having read Dean Wesley Smith's comments about the "one third wall" for novels--the point at which you always hate it and think it needs to be scrapped and started over--I wonder if this is the same thing.

Probably. So I'm still working on the story, and will continue to do so. But right now it feels like a waste of time and effort. It doesn't help that while spending my writing time this week on trying to work up the plot and characters for this story I haven't really written much. Not much fiction, though I've written quite a lot of words as I noodled around with the plot and characters.

Ah well. Back to the grindstone.

Words Written Today: None
Words Written YTD (since May 1): 107,981
Stories in Circulation: 8
Rejections: 8
Stories Accepted: ONE!
sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
Yeah. Got two form rejections today. These are from the same market where the editor emailed me with a personal response to my first effort. Bummer.

Must. Practice. Rejectomancy!

Okay...form rejections, but the reason checked was "other" (i.e., not the quality of the writing or the other standard reasons) and there was handwritten explanation of what the other reason was. So I know where I failed with these stories. Which means I can try again with new stories. This isn't as encouraging as the previous rejection, but--well, rejections are just part of freelance writing.

I'll see if I can find some other markets to send these stories to. But later. Right now it's time to go sulk in my cave.

Words Written Today: None yet
Words Written YTD (since May 1): 96,751
Stories in Circulation: 6
Rejections: 7
Stories Accepted: ONE!

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