Friday, December 4, 2009

The Writing Life

I wrote a novel in November. Not a great novel, but a novel nonetheless. From now on I can speak of the next novel, because now I've written one. It was a interesting (and sometimes uncomfortable) experience. While I knew, intellectually, that writing a novel is simply a matter of eating the elephant one bite at a time, emotionally it was a much bigger deal. I was anxious before and during the Nanowrimo project, at least for the first few days. At some point it really sank in that, yes, if I simply sit down and write on it every day, I can and will eventually reach the finish line.

And I did, on the eighteenth of November, a little over halfway through the month--an average of 2,777 words a day. Not that I wrote every day. Some days I didn't write at all, most days I did 3,000 words or more. At that pace, a full month's work would net me roughly 83,000 words--and that's in the ballpark for an actual, publishable novel. Fifty thousand words isn't really long enough for a novel. But 80,000 words? Now we're talking.

On the flip side, I haven't done any writing to speak of since the week of Thanksgiving. Little or none prior to Thanksgiving, then none during Orycon, and none this week while I've been dealing with con crud. (Although, in retrospect, I suspect I picked up this bug from the grandbaby on Thanksgiving rather than at the convention. I started feeling puny on Sunday, which would have been fast work for a bug I picked up Friday or Saturday.)

I got an email last night from Cobblestone Press. They've accepted a fourth story--Three On A Rooftop. That's the working title, which I'm not entirely happy with, but unless I come up with one I like better, and soon, it's probably what we'll stick with. I just signed and emailed back the contract for that one.

I also learned that "Queen Bee", which I figured would come out in late December at best, or more likely in January, will be published in December 16th as part of their Twelve Days of Christmas--a story a day for twelve days leading up to Christmas. Go me!

But lest I get too full of myself, I got an emailed rejection for "Ink" from Shock Totem today. But I've already turned it around and sent it out to the next market on the marketing list. A hint from the workshop I attended in September with Kris Rush & Dean Wesley Smith in Lincoln City, Oregon has been very useful.

To wit: when a story is ready to mail, sit down and make a list of the top ten markets you want to send it to. Send it to the first one. When and if it gets rejected, just send it to the next one on the list. Lather, rinse, repeat. If necessary, when you get thru that list, list the next ten markets and keep going.

It's not quite that simple, in practice. I always check to make sure the market in question is a) still active, b) accepting submissions (a lot of electronic publications, in particular, have "windows" when they're accepting and when they're not), and c) hasn't changed their focus so they're no longer an appropriate market for the story. But once that's done, I send the story out. And it really does make it easier than researching potential markets for each story every time it comes back.

And speaking of stories in circulation, I've taken one story ("Unconventional") out of circulation. I've exhausted the markets for it in its current form, but I think with a little reworking, it would likely find a home elsewhere. So that's on my to-do list, along with getting back to writing every day. I have several story ideas I need to write (or finish) and get out there, several for Cobblestone Press, who seem to like my stuff.

Oh! And I got a review for each of my first two stories at the Got Erotic Romance website. Four and a half diamonds for Flying High, four for Bound by Convention. You can see the reviews for Flying High and Bound by Convention at these links.

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