Posts Tagged ‘fiction writing’

04
Sep

Day 4 of the September Flash Blast

And what have I learned? Mostly that writing this way isn’t for me. Or more accurately, writing this way and then showing it to someone isn’t for me.

I can write a first draft very quickly. That’s how I normally do it. But then I don’t show it to people in the state it’s in 75 minutes after I started it. I put it aside for a bit and then I revise it. The last 4 days have not changed my mind away from that being a great idea.

My better stories are written quickly, but they’re not called done in an hour and fifteen. Considering the first two stories I sent were called, by the same person, incomprehensible (both stories after three reads, no less), and the third I sent with one character named James who later became Lawrence, I should not send anything out that quickly. Bad mistake the name thing, yes, but he’s referred to as James once in the first paragraph and then Lawrence/Larry the rest of the time. Confusing, sure, but not impossibly so. Calling him Larry added extra confusion because apparently it comes as a shock to some that Larry is short for Lawrence? I have no idea. Given these things, clearly the rush of it and I don’t mix. Good on those that do well with it; that’s just apparently not me.

Still, it’s been fun, and I got some new stories out of the mix, for what they’re worth (which I think isn’t much). I haven’t decided if I’ll continue next week, but I do hate to stop something once I’ve started.

02
Aug

W1S1 July Recap

I decided to drop to the monthly version of W1S1 for July–1 new story, 1 submission. While I will always intend to submit more than that, dropping to a goal of one new story seemed like a good idea given the other demands on my time. I ended up writing 6 new things and making 10 submissions. Perhaps I should lower my goals more often?

I wrote 2 flash fiction pieces, 2 short stories, 1 short non-fiction humor piece and a haibun. I had 3 acceptances in July, and one publication: The Man in the Pipes at Bartleby Snopes. Had 5 rejections in July, including a seriously disappointing one. I re-sent the story, which I still believe is a good story, and have high hopes it’ll get picked up somewhere. I two poems out that are in maybe piles that I’ll hear back about later. I have 5 stories out and 3 other poems, as well.

August will probably be a 1 or 2 story month, unless I get surprisingly inspired by something. Iwant to get more of my older stories fully revised and submitted, as I have many of those still waiting. I have no problem submitting, and I know that I can write as much as want provided I have time. So my goal for this month and probably the next few is to focus on revisions and getting more new stuff out there.

 

13
Jul

My Editor is Constipated

And by my editor, I mean me, or that neurotic, picky me that’s in here somewhere. Lately, I edit for all of 15-20 minutes before I can’t even stand to look at the page anymore. What I do during that time works out pretty well. But damn! I’ve got stuff to do, let’s go! Normally I can do this stuff at quite a stretch. Not lately.

I think part of my resistance to editing is that I’m officially stressed out. Being stressed and nervous about a number of non-writing things doesn’t create the greatest environment in which to work. Kind of sucks all the air out of the room, really. I can sit and think about submitting to several publications I want to, and imagine which stories in revision will be best for which markets. When it’s time to revise, though, nah. Just a funk. Incidentally, while staring at the wall earlier I discovered that if you say funk loud enough and with enough intensity and a really hard ending ‘k,’ it’s almost as satisfying.

If my editor is a bit constipated, then my writer must have been eating her fiber. After deciding to scale back to the monthly Write 1 Sub 1 in which I’ll only commit to writing one story per month instead of one per week, I wrote 4 stories in 2 weeks. Two were just under 1,000 words, but the other two are about 3,500 and 6,500 words. Funny how that burst happened once I decided to take the pressure off. Two of them made up both stories I wrote in June (one on the 29th and one on the 30th, no less). The other two were in July. Technically, I’m done for the month as far as new writing, and had promised myself I’d be editing recent stories. Interestingly, I have a brand new crop of story ideas that won’t leave me alone and I keep thinking how I should be writing, instead.

I only have 8 submissions out right now, 5 stories and 3 poems, but I have heard from 3 editors. They each let me know that my submission was in the “maybe” pile, with varying levels of enthusiasm about the writing and likeliness that it would be accepted. One poem that’s being held started out as super-short, darkly odd flash fiction. I rewrote it as a poem, and took it from darkly odd to darkly odd and funny (I think). I’ll be extra tickled if that one runs, because it’s gone through so many changes and was submitted to one of my favorite places. It’s nice to hear from editors when they know they’re going to hold something for a while. Those editors are much better than mine. (Yes, that was a whinge.)

 

 

 

30
Jun

Success! At Least for Today

Yesterday: I added over 5,000 words to a story that had stalled out at less than 1,500 words. In doing so, I finished the first draft. It’s in pretty good shape, only needs some tweaks and a solid one-pass edit, and I think it’s ready to go. That’s tomorrow.

Today: I wrote a story this morning. This afternoon I edited it. And this evening, I submitted it. I feel accomplished. Jury will be out, of course, about whether that’s justified, until the response comes back.

When the stories have been pinballing around in my skull for a while, and I have bits written, notes, dialogue, snippets, they can come out fast and it feels pretty good. I just wish I would learn to get them out fast before the day before a deadline.

I’ve developed a very unfortunate feedback loop, I think. I ponder the story for a long time, until the 11th hour. Then I write it fast, smack it around a little and pound it into shape, submit it and get this incredible little rush from beating the clock. Fun, satisfying, but tiring as heck.

Those  two stories are the only two I wrote this month, far short of the 5 I had hoped for, so it’s the first month I haven’t hit my W1S1 goals. I knew the month would be crazy, however, and so I’m not surprised. I’m not even bothered. Because those two stories make me happy. 😀

22
Jun

Thinky Thoughts on 6 Months of Write 1 Sub 1

With just over a week left in June, I’m pretty sure I’m coming up on the end of the first month in which I probably won’t meet my W1S1 goals. I’ve made plenty of submissions this month, but haven’t finished a single thing. I still have 2 stories I feel I must finish before the end of the month, and I’m committed to doing so. But that will still leave me 3 short for June.

While I’m disappointed, I’m not upset, if that makes sense. And I’m facing the fact that, while looking at the few months that are coming, I’m probably going to have to dial back to the 1 story a month version, rather than 1 weekly. There may be months where I write more than 1, but I think trying to commit to more than that will unravel the already frayed threads up in here. 

Whatever happens come July 1st, I’m thrilled with what I’ve accomplished. And I’m thinking that committing to just 1 a month while working on getting my backlog polished up and out the door might be a better approach in the last half of the year. I’m really proud of some of those still in-revision stories, and want to send them to some pro markets I haven’t ever tried before, which, to be honest, is all of them but one.

My statistics so far this year (which I mean to jump by 2 stories and 2 submissions before the month is out):

  • 28 new stories (#29 is a novella that’s still in progress)
  • 17 of those submitted
  • 9 of those accepted (including one accepted twice, and a first-place, non-publication contest win)
  • a whopping 11 still “in revision” and not sent anywhere
  • only 3 of those currently under submission somewhere
  • several more ideas for stories that I haven’t had time to write yet, but will!

 

Of the old stories of mine that I pulled out, revised and sent, I find myself even more pleased:

  • 6 submissions
  • 5 acceptances
  • 1 still under submission

 

I even pulled out some old poems, a few of them previously published, some never submitted, and a couple humor pieces that don’t really qualify as fiction:

  • 11 submitted
  • 3 accepted
  • 2 still under submission

 

I’m happy, even if I don’t make the 5 stories this month, believe me. In less than 6 months, I’ve had more acceptances (17) than I had in all the years prior, simply because I made myself submit. I probably wouldn’t have submitted nearly as much without my participation in W1S1, even though I was committed to doing more this year. The challenge gave my goals an automatic number and structure, which I feel helped beyond measure. It’s been fun so far, and I’m looking forward to the last 6 months just as much as the first, even if my goals aren’t quite as ambitious.