The Writing Life: An Update

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Image Source: Really Deep Stuff

Before I start this blog entry, I’d like to say thanks to the bloggers who read (& liked) yesterday’s post).  It was really gratifying see that people really responded to it so much!

And now, on with today’s blog.  So, after last semester, I managed to have four stories out to markets that I was proud of and didn’t think needed major work (in terms of revision).    In other words, I had them in a state where I thought they were strong stories and marketable to markets that deal in Science Fiction and Fantasy.  I’ve got some news on them, so I thought I update you how where they stand currently.

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Image Source: Haiku Deck

HAWKEMOON: Just heard from this market today.  It is currently on the “maybe” list.  If it holds up well against the other stories that come in during the reading period, then it has a chance to be published.  This is actually very good news.  It’s sort of like going to a job with two Interview components and passing the first Interview.  If HawkeMoon passes the second “interview,” then it gets the” job” (to extend the metaphor).  It is also a lesson in persistence; this is the 10th story that I’ve submitted to them (they’ve actually seen my entire catalog except for Silence Will Fall & Citizen X), but this is the first time that I’ve gotten onto the “maybe” list!  Wahoo for small victories!  (I won’t name the market until they actually accept the piece, but fingers crossed that the “maybe” turns into a “yes!”)

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Image Source: Seriable.com

SILENCE WILL FALL: On this one, I actually wanted to revise it and did so last semester with the help of the MTSU Writing Center (where I also worked as a Consultant, in addition to teaching a Freshman English Class).  I knew that I wanted the ending to more closely match the ending of the dream that had originally inspired to the story, so I rewrote it and made sure (via the Writing Center) that it made sense and have started to submit it again.  It received a rejection letter (again just this morning), but I’m happy with the way the story ends, so I will continue to send it out until I find a market that likes it (see above about persistence).   Will be sending it to a new market this weekend.

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Image Source: Pinterest

I, MAGI: So this one went out to the market in January and I still haven’t heard about its fate.  According to Duotrope, it has been out for about 150 days.  The market is still replying to submissions, but I’m probably going to have to request an update for the story over the weekend.  Now, I’m patient (I’ve waited over 9 months for a response for one market before), but they do say to query if they’ve taken over 45 days to respond and  I would like to send I, Magi back out if they aren’t going to use it.  If they don’t respond, I’ll probably give them another 30 days and then move onto the next market.

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Image Source: Pinterest

HERE BE MONSTERS: The market for this one unexpectedly went on hiatus this week with my story still under consideration.  I’m usually pretty good about sensing a market’s imminent change in status (this is actually only the 2nd time this has happened to me in over a 132 total submissions tracked by Duotrope).  However, this one caught me off-guard.  There was nothing to indicate there was anything out of the ordinary happening, until I checked the listing on Duotrope and saw that the website was no longer functioning.  Alarm bells began ringing at that point and I hoped that it was just a temporary hiccup, but no, it looks like the market just didn’t have the resources to continue.  So, I’ll pick a new market and resubmit this story over the weekend.

So there you have it–a (mostly) complete update on the status of the four stories that I currently have out at the moment.  Lesson to take away = persistence, persistence, and more persistence.

Acceptances: WarLight and Childe Roland

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Source: adoubleshotofrecovery.com (via Google Images)

This week has had its ups and downs for me.  While “real” life has been very difficult in terms of my school work/teaching workload, my “writing” life has been very productive.  Two of my stories were accepted for publication!  I am ecstatic and it makes me thankful of all of the encouragement that I received from my blog post on rejections (about a month ago).  Coming up with a system of submitting to a reasonable number of markets also helped as I wasn’t so stressed out about submission process now that I have a reasonable submission goal.  The two stories that were accepted were WarLight and Childe Roland, both of which I’ve talked about previously here on the blog and both have Author’s Notes available here on the blog if you’re interested in the genesis/development of the stories.

WARLIGHT

WarLight was selected for publication by Carrol Fix as part of her Visions anthology series.  It should appear in Visions VI: Galaxies.  Regular readers of the blog will remember that Carrol also printed my story, Ship of Shadows in Visions IV: Space Between Stars in April of this year.  I really appreciate Carrol’s publication of the story and I am hopeful that I can contribute to more of her anthologies.  Visions VI: Galaxies can currently be pre-ordered from the publisher’s website, Lillicat Publishers, but the book should also be available via Amazon/Kindle (as all of the previous entries in the series have been as well).

CHILDE ROLAND

Childe Roland was selected for the November issue of Electric Spec online speculative fiction magazine (electricspec.com).  It should be available at the end of November and I will update the blog with a blog entry once the story is up and available.  Best of all, for readers, the issue is FREE!  You won’t have to subscribe or anything like that once the story is available.  They DO accept donations, so if you have some extra money, you might consider throwing some their way, but that is entirely optional.  They do PAY their writers (YAY! You go Electricspec editors!), and as a teacher who is now a poor graduate student, any amount of money that I make from my writing, no matter how small, is greatly appreciated, so please consider donating if you can afford it at all.

DR STRANGE

I also saw Dr. Strange this weekend and I really enjoyed it.  In the interest of time, I’m going to save the Mini-Review of it until next week, but if you like magic, cool special effects, and martial arts, then this movie will be right up your alley.  I should note that it is a lot like what I was trying for with I, Magi, (especially the integration of Magic with Martial Arts), but my story and it have strong enough conceptual differences that (hopefully) will keep my story from looking like an “also-ran” of Dr. Strange now that the movie has been released.

More to come next week!  ‘Till then, have a great one!

 

 

One is Not Enough, But Five is Too Many

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Found listed on Quotesgram.com

TWO MARKETS–JUST THE RIGHT AMOUNT

So, I received a rejection this week on Here Be Monsters.  It stung particularly hard–not because it was a rejection or what was said in the rejection letter.  I was able to compartmentalize and objectively take the rejection in the spirit it was given: to help improve my writing for that specific market.  No, what stung was that I wanted to send it right back out, but I didn’t have a market ready for it to go to at the time it was rejected.  I had to wait (the WORST thing for me when I get a rejection) in order to send it out again.  That’s when I discovered a flaw with my submission process.  One market isn’t enough (& leads to the situation I just found myself in with HBM) and five (5) markets is too many.  Trying to decide where the story should go next, what market is open, how long it takes, do I have another market ready if this comes back too quickly, will this be out too long to keep if from going to this new anthology?  Questions like that make it too difficult to try to have a reserve of markets available to submit to after a rejection.  So, I’m going with just two (2) markets per story.  I submit to one and then have a backup market ready to go if the story is rejected.  Once I move on to the second market, I’ll then find two (2) more markets to submit to if it is rejected that second time.  This way, I will (mostly) have a market ready to send a story to immediately and I won’t feel so stung by a rejection–kinda’ hard to obsess about a rejection when you’re already hopeful that the next market will see the potential in your story.  As the quote above indicates–“adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, add what is specifically your own.”  I know obsessing about rejections doesn’t do me any good, so now I need to adapt a system that works for me and minimizes the time spent obsessing about a specific rejection when I should be getting the story back on the market.

WARLIGHT ACCEPTANCE (TENTATIVE)

This week hasn’t been all bad–I just found out that Carrol Fix, the editor behind the Visions series at Lillicat Publishers, has just ACCEPTED my short story entitled, WarLight!  It should be published in Visions VI: Galaxies!  It will be published fairly soon, the middle of November.  I’ll keep everyone posted on this exciting development and will blog about it again when the anthology is released.

CHILDE ROLAND ON SHORTLIST

Also, received an email letting me know that Childe Roland has been “shortlisted” for a market (that I will not name just yet).  Shortlisting means that it survived the first round of rejections and made it to the “short list” of potential stories.  This particular market will have a 2nd round of “voting” for stories and if it survives this test, it will be accepted for publication.  This is the 2nd story this year that has managed to make it to the shortlist (I, Magi made it earlier this year for a different market, but didn’t ultimately make the cut.)

So, I’m really concentrating hard on both the creative side of writing–I’ve finished two stories since summer, and on the business side of writing–refining my submission process and managing two publications (so far) this year!

Destined for Greatness: Destiny and Deadlines

So, now I understand why characters are so compelling in fiction.

They are your conduit into a new world.  If you create the right character and imbue that character with traits that are irresistible and then put that character into a compelling world, then you can LOSE yourself into the story.

That is essentially what has happened to me for the past 2 months.  Bungie’s Destiny has taken hold of me in a way that few games have done.  My character is mostly a cipher, but does talk in a couple instances.  Yet, mostly I ascribe a history, backstory, and to some extent, a narrative around my character’s actions in the greater world.  Yet, there is something that is SO compelling about Destiny and the way its mythos has snuck its tendrils into me.  I have thought about writing in this blog for weeks, but each time I pulled out the computer, I realized that what I really wanted to do was to go and play Destiny.

I daresay that it was an addiction of sorts.  There was nothing more for me than Destiny.  I played it every evening after coming in for work and I played it on the weekends when I probably should have been writing.  I could lie and say that I’m not sure why Destiny grabbed me the way it did, but I do know the reason: Levels.

My strength is starting at Level 1 and progressing (however tediously) through the levels until I reach the top level (or close to it).  Give me a level and a number and I will chase it with dogged determination.  I’ve been doing this since 1st Grade (Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, etc.).  I can’t resist.

Destiny was smart–they essentially have 3 levels of levels.  The first set of levels (up to level 20) is the “base game.”  All of the story/narrative content gets your character up to level 20.  After level 20, you have start looking out for armor that has light on it.  This moves the character up to a “soft” level cap of 30 (taking off the armor with “light” drops the character back down to 20).  But once you’ve gotten some “light infused” armor, you’re still not done.  At level 26, you have the option to do a super-hard mission called a Raid.  This raid (known as the The Vault of Glass) is ridiculously hard until you hit level “light” 28/29.  I’ve managed to finish this raid successfully a couple of weeks ago.  So essentially, Bungie set up a three tiered level system and it fed my inner OCD for levels just perfectly.

I might still be caught in Destiny’s web if not for On Spec, the Canadian Sci-Fi/Fantasy magazine.  They had a deadline of Oct. 31st for stories to be submitted to them.  In the time of Destiny’s release, I had finished I, Magi (yay!) and I wanted to submit it to them.  So, on Halloween night, when ALL I wanted to do was play Destiny, I edited my story and sent it out (with 44 minutes to spare before the deadline was up).  I realized that Destiny, while a great game and a great learning experience for creating good characters and a compelling world, was starting to get in the way of my writing, so I’ve consciously worked to mitigate the Destiny effect.  I’ve started writing rough drafts and I’m now back to working on my novel.

I’ll never fully kick the Destiny habit (nor do I want to–this game was MADE for me!), but I do need to find a way MODERATE its effect so that I too can be “Destined for Greatness!”  🙂

WEEKLY WRITING UPDATE – 11/10

Currently Writing: The Great Game (Fantasy Short Story)
Currently Writing: Chapter 3 – Project Skye Novel (Chapter 3: Storm Breaking)
Rough Draft Finished: Project Djinn
Rough Draft Started: Project Roland

Miscellany

Hi All!

This post is going to be a miscellany (hence the title) of various topics that I have been meaning to blog about in the past weeks.  Each will be short (just a paragraph long) so consider this a short burst with a lot of information.  Hopefully, this will tide you over until the next blog post, which leads nicely into the next topic–

Schedule: Now that summer is almost upon us (the unofficial start to summer in the U.S. anyway), I’m going to try to be more regular with the blog.  My goal is every Sunday and Wednesday.  These were my off days at my previous job before I started teaching and I just seem to be more alert and disciplined toward writing on these days (for the most part).  So it seems like a natural fit to start to try a regular schedule using those days.  Even though school technically has one more week to go, I’m going to kick off my “regular” blog schedule today (Sunday) and see how it goes.  One warning: grades will probably be due this week.  My blog schedule depends on me staying current with grading.  If I get behind in grading, then I may miss a day (Wed.) to get grades done and finished for the school year.

Citizen X Update: So, I’m almost finished with the “Working Draft” of Citizen X.  I am on Scene 5 of 5.  I’m hopeful that by the next blog post (or next update, whichever comes first), I’ll be able to let you know that I’ve finished.  I’m just trying to keep my nose to the grindstone, but I do see a light at the end of the tunnel for this story.

I, Magi Update: While working on Citizen X, I actually started the rough draft of another story (fantasy) called I, Magi. It is a short-story, but I haven’t decided if that is the next story I will work on or not.  I don’t usually start a story until I finish one, so this one is a bit of an aberration.  I also don’t decide on which story I’m going to work on until I’ve finished the story I’m writing, so that is why I’m unsure of whether I’ll begin on I, Magi, or work on something else.  Stay tuned–whatever I decide to work on next will get announced here.

First Novel: Okay, deep breath time: I’m going to seriously attempt my first novel this summer.  I had a “Pixar moment” where I came up with three (3!) book ideas at once.  I roughed out the 1st book, and I’m in the middle of roughing out the 2nd one, and will begin the 3rd up hopefully at the end of this week.  I’m planning on deciding which of the three novels to start shortly after school is officially out for the summer.  Two of the projects are Sci-Fi and the third is Fantasy.  As I write this, I’m leaning on going Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Sci-Fi in terms of what to write, but I’ve not really made a decision and I reserve the right to change at any time.

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Fae Cover Reveal: I decided not to participate in the cover reveal for Fae (officially) because of the fact that I couldn’t be sure I’d have time to be online much this week since it is the last week of school.  Better, I thought, to keep my options open.  The cover reveal will happen this week.  Should I have time, I will definitely post here a picture of the image and any other information that I can find.  If I can’t post, then please follow the World Weaver Press link this week to find out the great cover that WWP has for this book.  I’m very excited!

A Dog: In non-writing news, I’m planning on adopting a dog this summer.  I’d planned to adopt one last summer, but before I found one, I started teaching.  I knew teaching would be an adjustment and I did not want to add too much at once, so I held off.  Now, however, I think this would be the perfect time to find a pet to adopt as I will have two full months to train a dog before school starts again.  My last pet was a shelter dog and that’s where I’m starting my search, but I will branch out, if necessary.  I’ll post pics here if I can find a new BFF this summer.

I have more, but I’ll save them for the next time (hopefully, this Wednesday, but will see).  Check back!