Sunday, July 31, 2016

July 2016 goals roundup

Well, July was more productive than I'd intended.

See, I'd set out to write a 25k word novella, a female-cast cyberpunk diamond heist. I thought it would be fun, I thought I'd have just a tight story arc about that one thing, kind of like how I wrote a novella on purpose in April. But no, I really liked the characters, I really liked the setting I was trying to pull off, and the story grew. Arguably, it's because sometimes I lack focus. Other times, though, the story length I intend when I get started isn't the one the story needs. I've done this before with two short stories I made into novels (The Last Song and the still unfinished biker exorcism novel). I'm doing it right now, I think, with a novel I'm making into a short story.

So my July project, instead of being 25k, reached The End at 44,400 words. I need to add about 20k more words of international hijinks in there (for whatever reason, everything just stayed in the same city until the epilogue, which doesn't really make sense for my larger vision of the scope, but works for a first draft. You can't fix what isn't written.

I've had great feedback on my short story "Sugar and Spice", published in the Summer issue of The Sockdolager. It was a story I really enjoyed, which has gone through a few iterations, though all very similar to the original, and I'm really pleased that it found a home.

I've also had good feedback on "The Lion and the Dragonslayer", in the Mosaics 2 anthology (of course I read the reviews. How could I not?) Several of the reviews on Amazon and on Goodreads mention my story specifically, and one of the reviewers say they really want more of The Lion! I do have other Lion stories written, but no others have been accepted yet. I should probably do a new one of those this year, edit it, and start it on the submission circuit.

In story submission news, I have 11 stories currently submitted. One of those is still an October Submission, and I'm interested to see if it will reach its submission birthday. How does one celebrate such a thing? By considering it a "no reply means no"? By drinking a miniature bottle of Kraken or Crystal Skull Vodka? I'm not sure it's a cake occasion, but maybe it is. Suggestions welcome!

Monday, July 4, 2016

June 2016 goals roundup

First off, if interested, you can read the story I mentioned in my May roundup in the summer issue of The Sockdolager! My story is entitled "Sugar and Spice" which, by the way, is a title I'm happy with for once. The rest of the issue is good too, so I do invite you to peruse. It was a pleasure working with the Sockdolager folks, and it's a pleasure to be in that issue. If reading online isn't your thing, you can purchase a physical copy of the issue here for $7.

In May, I got no story acceptances, but did receive several helpful rejections. I discovered that the New Yorker's form rejection is very nice and mild (or I got the nice and mild one). I have 11 stories on submission right now; it should be 12, just have to send that other one off somewhere. It's funny, for me, the "odd stories out" are the ones with no speculative elements. They still have their oddness, though, which I think makes them difficult to place.

In May, I didn't write a new short story from scratch. See, briefly opened a submission window for novellas, so I edited and revised an older novella I'd written. And, because the minimum required word count was 20,000 and I was at 17,000, I added about 3,000 words to the story. That's about short story length, and I feel it strengthened and updated the overall work, so I'm going to count it, for the purposes of my "write a story every month" goal. I did a bunch of writing that I'm happy with . Good enough! Really, this novella is something I've consistently been happy with and, as always, I very much hope the answer is yes.

Though that's kind of my approach to submissions in general. I always hope the answer is yes. I submit to markets I'd be happy to see my stories in. I aim high for my submissions, and I keep trying.

Keep trying!