Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Little Kicks

From the Speakers: WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH by A Loss For Words
Just Read: THE APOCALYPSE WATCH by Robert Ludlum--A bit goofy at points. Still fun action, but I prefer his more serious books.
Just Read: THE HAMMER OF GOD  by Arthur C. Clarke--An interesting take on one possible future. It was kind of all over the place at first, but once I got used to it, it was easy to follow. Pretty cool book.

Editing an 18,600-word story this afternoon after writing a flash piece this morning. It's a day of opposites, I guess.

Trying to cut this monster down to 17,000 words for a specific submission. Might have a bit of a hard time doing it, since the people who read it and gave me feedback wanted more--more description, more tension, etc. Goes against the rule Final Draft = First Draft - 10%. Oh well.

The story's about a wandering warrior on a quest. When I started, that was pretty much all I had. This idea blossomed that I would write a series of novellas and compile them all into a novel, kind of like "THE GUNSLINGER" by Stephen King. (You should read that, and the rest of the series, if you haven't already.) I had put it on the back-burner, but then the other day I was running and had mad ideas for the next few novellas, so here I am getting back down to business.

Every now and then, your subconscious gives you a little kick in the rear end. I appreciate it for that. Helps me get a lot more done.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Bright Future

From the Speakers: WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW IS LOVE by Dionne Warwick

My favorite Stephen King book is actually his nonfiction piece "On Writing." It was the first of his I ever read--I might have been fourteen, but I knew I was a writer--and it's been a road map for me throughout my early career.

In it, he describes the phenomenon of receiving rejections as part of a writer's course, and often they come in  progressive, sequential steps: First, a form rejection. A certain amount of time goes by, and you get better, and the rejections change form. They become "good but not great" comments, occasionally suggesting that you try them again in the future. Next, you get "this is good, but not for us" letters. And finally, after poking your head into some smaller magazines (and continuing to get better), you might get some professional acceptances.

Well, looking back on my career and this year so far, I can see the steps. I did a project in high school that involved collecting my rejection letters and writing journal entries on them, and man were those stories bad! Well, not BAD, but they read like a fourteen-year-old wrote them and submitted them to Fantasy and Science Fiction. It makes me laugh now a bit, with pride, perhaps a bit like a father thinking back to his toddler trying to field a ground ball ten, fifteen years ago.

Those were the form rejections. Then I got better and submitted to smaller venues, and got some "good but not great" rejections. This was the norm for years, and maybe the W1S1 challenge has me getting better at short stories faster. I got a few acceptances (14 to be exact) at some small venues, but I kept submitting to the pros, and I can clearly see a step up in the rejections.

I've gotten "this is good but not for us" rejection letters from Leading Edge (about the story from my last blog post, which also receiving a personal note from F&SF), Penumbra Magazine (twice), Allegory, and Flash Fiction Online.

Next step in the sequence is acceptance!

PS--I had to blog about this to put the positive spin on getting two crushing rejections this week. It's been a disappointing two weeks! All part of the journey, right? Years from now, I'll look back like a dad remembering his clumsy toddler, and I'll laugh.