Tag Archives: scoreboard

Scoreboard Update & Party!

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wikimedia commons image, artist unknown

I suppose it’s no secret that I’d like to have a fabulous writing career. I haven’t figured out exactly what that means. I’ll probably flesh it out as I go along, kind of like an outline. Here’s what I do know: I want to write things that people are interested in reading and I’d like to be paid for doing so. I hope that will lead to more people discovering it, and enjoying it. Upshot: I’d like to be published in the traditional way, by folks who have been at it for a while and know what they’re doing.

There’s a whole discussion on the interwebs about traditional publishing vs. self-publishing (aka independent publishing). I don’t know what my entire writing career will look like by the time it’s all over. Independent publishing might figure in, but not until I’ve learned a hell of a lot more about it.

My plan for now is to submit my fiction to magazines when it’s short and agents/publishers when it’s long.

However. I don’t have total control over how soon anyone will be interested in publishing my fiction. One thing I can do is to improve my writing, and thus my odds. There are multiple ways to do that, and I’m trying a few, but the underlying tenet is this: I need to keep writing. That’s why I post ad nauseum about writing daily, with a heavy emphasis on 750words.com.

The other thing I can do is to submit stories. It does me no good to sit on a story, stew over it, or endlessly show it to various groups for critique. I’m still working on when to let a story go. I may blog about that some other day. For now, I’m trying to aim for sooner rather than later. I have one story that’s as ready as it’s going to be, and which has, in fact, been submitted to several markets. I have another story that’s close, I hope. It’s the one I submitted to The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction a while back, and which I’m revising next week. I will be looking for new readers for it soon. It’s already been through alpha readers and beta readers. What’s next, gamma readers? Omega readers, since I hope this will be the last pass? Anyway, if you’d be willing to read a 6000-word story for me, please leave a comment below, or facebook message/tweet/email me to let me know, and we’ll work out how to get it to you.

Ahem. I promised scoreboards today, didn’t I? Here’s my progress report.

Updated Scoreboard 1: Submissions

March 7, 2014
Submissions: 3   Acceptances: 0   Rejections: 2

I win!

If that’s not immediately clear, let me explain. As I said above, I have limited control over how soon my writing will be published. Two things I do have control over are:

  1. my writing process (practice makes perfect) and
  2. my attempts to get it out there (it does me no good sitting on my hard drive)

As long as I keep writing daily, with an eye to reducing suckitude, I’m doing what I can for the first part of the puzzle. As far as the second part goes, here’s my goal:
#Submissions + #Acceptances > #Rejections.

Since 3 + 0 > 2, I win!

As long as #Submissions + #Acceptances > #Rejections, I’ve done what I can on my end.

Updated Scoreboard 2: Words Written

March 6, 2014
-885,494 words- from a 478 day streak (out of 907 total) on 750 words.com

That word count puts me within 115,000 words of the million words Ray Bradbury says you need for mastery.

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Bradbury Image by Rev. Terry Canttel*

If I can manage to write an average of 800 words a day going forward, I can have my million-word party in about 143 days. As of this writing, that makes it July 25th, or thereabouts. I’ll firm up the date later.

So here’s the plan. If you want to come to my million-word party, leave a comment below, or message me via email, Twitter, Facebook, or Google+  to let me know. I’ll make sure you receive all the relevant information.

I don’t know what all will happen at this party, but there will definitely be singing and alcohol. And seriously, I’d love to see you there.

* Bradbury Picture Creative Commons License
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Rejection

sad dragon
Bummer, dude

I heard back from C.C. Finlay, who’s guest editing an issue of the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (or F&SF, for short). Regular readers of this blog may remember when I posted about submitting a story for this issue. Charlie doesn’t plan to use my story this July/August. He liked it, but he didn’t love it. Actually, here’s his email, verbatim:

Thanks for submitting “Gathering for the Feast.” I enjoyed reading it — I like the setting, the history, the magic, and characters. But in the end it didn’t quite win me over — part of that was it felt just a bit too long to me for the amount of story in it. So I’m afraid I’m going to pass on it. Best of luck with finding another home for it, and thanks again for giving me a chance to read it. If I do this again I hope to see another story from you.

A friend of mine also submitted a story, and received a rejection. In the interests of ferreting out exactly how personal my rejection letter was, and how much it was  form letter, I can report that both our rejections began and ended pretty much the same way. “Thank you for submitting [title].” appeared in both letters. So did the ending part: “Best of luck to you placing this one elsewhere, and thanks again for giving me a chance to read it. If I do this again I hope to see more stories from you.

The part where I know he actually read my story, and my friend’s—or at least, he got decent evaluations of them from a careful reader—comes in between the form sections. My friend’s center section was different from mine. Not exactly a form letter, right? Anyway, I’ve decided to take it as encouragement. Why? Because I can!

So now I need to decide what to do next. There are two options I can see. The first would be to go back in and see if I can figure out where and how the story is too long. The second would be to just go ahead and submit it elsewhere.

Here’s the thing: if I didn’t have any other projects vying for my attention, I would probably go back in there. I might find something to improve, something that’s escaped me up to this point. However, I have at least two other works in need of revision. Also there’s the whole, “what if while I’m trying to fix it, I just make it worse?” question. You know how, when you’re having the beginnings of a bad hair day, and you keep futzing around with your hair, and by the time you’re done, it looks even worse than when you started? That’s my dilemma.

Here’s the way I’m leaning: decide in a day or two.

My plan for today is to revise a different short story. I marked it up yesterday. I want to get it in shape to put up on Critique Circle. Once they’ve had a go at it, I was going to run it by my other critique group. Then I was going to push the little darling out the door.

In the meantime, I have a hot mess of a novel which requires surgery and other doctoring. I plan to get back to work on that tomorrow.

Next week is Capricon. I can see doing a first draft of something, or even marking up a draft, while also attending a con. But to do revisions I really need to spread out. Unvisited marked-up pages go on the left, finished pages go on the right, my computer is in the middle, and my pulled-out hair is in the wastebasket. I’d rather deal with all that at home, thank you. So I won’t bring my novel along. I might take my rejected F&SF short story with me for markup, if I decide to have another look at it before sending it out again.

Anyone out there on the interwebs have an opinion? Do I just submit the story elsewhere, or do I try to fix it? I’d love to see your comments below. If it’s easier for you to respond using Twitter, Google+ or Facebook, feel free to comment that way instead.

Updated Scoreboard:
Year: 2014
Submissions: 2   Acceptances: 0   Rejections: 1