What Chains Bind Us (Black Gate) The Man Who Was Never Afraid (Things Are Not What They Seem) Atacama (Flash Fiction Online) This Corruption (ChiZine) The Burning Touch Of Water, The Soothing Balm Of Flame (WOTF) Il Mystera Del Tempo (Flash Fiction Online) The Man His Father Was (Glimmer Train) The Price Of Passage (IGMS) The Heart Of The Dragon (Darwin's Evolutions) A Certain Future (Fictitious Force) For The Sake Of The Kingdom (Abyss And Apex) Before Twilight (Coyote Wild) The George Solution (Horror d'Oeuvres) The First League Out From Land (Serpentarius) The Demands Of Duty (Andromeda Spaceways) Weaving Fancies For The Children (Every Day Fiction) Forget Me (Weird Tales) When The Men Returned (Fantasy Magazine)
I have the advantage of having written well over fifty short stories in the past three years (and sold over twenty). My basic aim in joining the Race is to try and keep my average up - my target for this year was to keep between 15 and 20 (which apart from one dip in May I have done), and next year I'm hoping to be able to run it at about the 20 mark while I stop writing so many short stories and start working on a novel or two instead.
I began with one half-finished short piece, which I couldn't really figure out what to do with, having stalled out in the middle.
By Wednesday I'd started another piece which was going better, but which I realized might balloon into something bigger and that might take more time to complete than I knew I had left.
So I spent two hours going back into my short story archive and looking at one of my very first stories from 1995. Something I'd not laid eyes on in ten years.
Oh wow, that was a fascinating exercise. I'd forgotten what the story was about almost entirely, and was able to read it like it was new. Lots of problems. Especially beginner mistakes. But I liked the core story, and was bummed I didn't keep it out on the markets back in the day. So I cleaned it up, slashed a thousand words off it, re-formatted, and mailed it out again.
This seemed consonant with Heinlein's Fifth Rule.
I might try to do that with a few others. Not everything from that bygone era is worth refurbishment. But it can't hurt to nose around on the dusty shelves and see if anything looks worthwhile. Who knows? Maybe one of them sells this time.
So, that leaves Thursday and Today to come up with a new work for the markets. I felt the panic coming on, because I spent all day Thursday dinking on non-story stuff! Worthwhile, but still non-story.
So this morning as I am toweling off and getting ready for work, I went back to an idea I'd had bouncing in my head for a couple weeks. All it was was a single title. Two words. Could I build a SF or F story around them?
Well, in the space of about fifteen minutes, it slid together. The basics anyway. Driving back up Sardine Canyon to visit one of my clinics I support, I was able to think about it and flesh it out some more.
Life at the clinic was slow, as I'd hoped, so I parked myself to the side and started firing on the story. From 11 AM to 4 PM. Not steady writing all the way through, I had to work still. But enough to get 4,700 words in the can and reach a satisfactory conclusion.
Whoo! I've not been "lit up" by a story like that in awhile. Reminded me of how fun this whole game can be when you just shut the Inner Critic in the closet, and let Voice take over and tell the story.
I had to do very little cleanup and I think it's one of my tightest stories ever. Unexpected.
I'm a little annoyed it's over my self-imposed 3K word limit, but I can live with 4,700 because it's still short (for me) and if I hadn't mentally cut a LOT of passages I really wanted to put in, it would have been much longer.
I end the week with two half-finished stories for next time, one brand new tale out to market, one old tale spruced up and back out to market, and one other tale submitted to WOTF for their Q4 deadline.
Rejected this week: The Burning Touch Of Water, The Soothing Balm Of Flame (WOTF) The First League Out From Land (Serpentarius - de facto rejection, market closed) When The Men Returned (Fantasy Magazine)
Submitted this week: Where The Dacouvri Died (Clarkesworld) The Burning Touch Of Water... (Doorways) The First League Out From Land (Alternative Coordinates) When The Men Returned (Ideomancer) The Purpose Of The Art (Fantasy Magazine) Getting To Know You (Every Day Fiction) The Gallery Of Illusions (Every Day Fiction)
No, it's for anything you have out in the mail that you haven't heard back from. Basically, each sub adds 1, each rejection (or sale) subtracts 1. Hence I had 18, got three rejections, sent out seven submissions, and went to 22.
Posts: 1469 | Registered: Jun 2005
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"A Time for Peace" - Solander "The Talon's Bane" - Realms of Fantasy "Atlantic in Shadow" - Strange Horizens "Blogs and Bones" - Dark Fire "Cleansing" - Midnight Times "---------" - Flash Fiction Online "He'll Come for Me" - Doorways "Holes over the Skyline" - The New Yorker "Main Street" - Dappled Things "Pestilence" - Coyote Wild "Rosebuds" - Fantasy Magazine "SPANK" - From the Asylum "Transcend" - Atomjack "Underneath" - Murky Depths "Methods of Determining Specimens for Abduction" - Postcards from Hell "Tears" - Intergalactic Medicine Show "Scarechild" - Cemetery Dance
That makes 17. Sorry about saying 18 before. I didn't think the others applied to the contest and thus just guesstimated.
[This message has been edited by TheOnceandFutureMe (edited September 22, 2008).]
Thanks for clarifying. I've got to get cracking as my WOTF entry is going to come smacking me in the face shortly. Best address the envelope now...hmm...where should a story about wacky hijinx on the moon go? Hmm...
Not wanting to repeat last week's zero-new-words-in-the-mail fiasco, I got off to a good start on Monday, punching up 3,400 words on a revamp of the story which had so badly frustrated me the week before.
But then I got busy, and three days passed, and suddenly it was Thursday night and I had not even TOUCHED the story; which by now I new was going to go pretty long, because I'd broadened it quite a bit in my mind over those three days, and suddenly I was faced with missing my deadline AGAIN.
So I sat down and started an entirely NEW story. Based on a single four-word title I'd had float up into my head while riding the transit to work Thursday morning. I almost always wait for titles to suggest themelves, based on a completed text.
This time, the text was suggested by a completed title.
So I banged away on the way home from work last night, then again from 12 AM to 5 AM, then some more during lunch, and WHEW, finally, it's proofed, printed, and wrapped, ready to be sent off to TMoF&SF.
6,200 words. Waaaaaaaay longer than I thought it would be. But by the halfway point my characters and their situation had taken on a life of their own; and when the writing flows that easily, I don't wanna stop it!
Overall, it could have been even longer. But I edited the ending down and cut to the chase. Overall, I like it.
Now I have THREE unfinished shorts in my WORKING folder.
I oughta be able to wrap at least one of those for next week?
Well I've submitted again to WOTF but I still haven't received last quarter's bong, so I'm up to 4 but I expect that number to drop at any minute.
However, it's just a matter of a few minutes with the USB key and the printer (with my sparkly new paper) and I will be printing a few other stories to send out. I've held onto them for no particular reason, just haven't wanted to get them out. Well, with one pub pending and a non-fiction credit I now actually have something to say in my cover letter, so I might as well just get them out! Wish me luck. Or strength. Or is it fortitude? Something - just wish it to me, OK?
I've spent most of this week revising three different stories. One of them is technically at the request of an editor but the other two were not and I need to get them out. They'll ship on Monday. Until then, I remain at 6pts.
You might not be hearing from me for a short while. I have pulled off the race track and am swapping out engines.
All my short stories that I feel are my best works are already in the hands of editors. With that done, I'm turning the majority of my creative force and/or research skills and/or dyslexic/ADHD-riddled attention span towards my SF novel (which has a basic completion date of December...of this year). As a result, all those short stories I've been fighting with for so long are being shelved for the time being.
Actually...considering that I've got four other novel ideas in the works (not including a possible sequel for my YA novel, pending the success of the original), those short stories might be sitting for a while.