Not always ready for primetime (writing update)

Got my edits back and I could publish as-is, but it would be best long-term to go ahead and do rewrites.  What I wanted to publish suffered from staring at it too long myself and starting to not-see basic continuity issues.  There is a slice of life short story I will send out to magazines in the New Year, but I also have a lot more work to do to set up the pen name so it’s easy to use.  This is why self-editing is not the best approach for the vast majority of writers.  You can figure out basic spelling errors yourself, but since it’s your story, sometimes you just stop being able to step outside of it and approach the plot, form, structure and characters cold-eyed.  Pro edits aren’t expensive, even for novel-length and they’re worth it regardless of whether you pull it back or push it out.  Many self-published writers I personally buy the books of do 2 or even 3 editing passes before publishing.

Honestly, if it was a novel-length manuscript, I’d perhaps take my chances in the marketplace, because people are more forgiving with novel-length work being corrected here and there on the fly, but it was a novella and those are higher-risk and low-medium reward.

Working on arranging our household so we can all do more physical activity is going to be the main project this year.  Sounds unrelated, but having more energy and muscle mass helps with cognitively demanding tasks like writing and with the organizational aspects of finding the time in a household where a bunch of other cognitively demanding things are going on.

So the revised plan is to find time for rewrites and some other work and to submit the other story to Asimov’s (might as well start at the top!) January or Feb, unless they don’t have open submissions then in which case I’ll submit to some other “top” market with open submissions.

So I think updating every couple months is probably the best way to keep me on track.  So another update in February!

 

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October writing and publishing update

I have to find a cover artist and get a blurb done (real terror there) and I should have something out this year or early in Jan.  The cover art turnarounds are sometimes long.

Goal setting, publishing edition

Life is full of moving parts these days and little/no opportunities to write much fiction or get it publish-ready,  but this is being posted to set expectations for the year after this calendar one ends.

The plan for what’s left of the year is to submit one short story to conventional magazines, publish a novelette (40-60 pages) by December and the “reach goal” is to also publish a short story collection of 3 or 4 stories in their own shared world by December.  I have received good contact information for cover artists, proofreading/editing and formatting for ebook and print.

Contingent on getting scheduled, the publishing has a good chance of happening by December.

I’ll post further progress in October, unless I get the joy of being able to update sooner.

 

Saturday is not so all right for writing.

I agree with this guy a little.  But mostly because research is all I’ve had any time or physical ability to do the last couple of weeks.  The research has been very useful for world-building, but I just haven’t had the energy to carry it into the world of the stories.  I built the firewood pile, but I’m too depleted to carry in some logs for the evening’s fire.

I never did get around to posting on Sundays, so I’ll put up a wealth post Monday.  I’d like to figure out some fiction writing system, but with the current upheavals, it looks like I’ll just have to wait until the big yellow ball in the sky is visible more than half an hour twice a week.  Because then the kids can run around under the sunshine and I can write in the shade.  We have a grove, although not as nice as the one we left behind in the deepwoods.   So at least for me, all accountability on writing fiction did was reveal that I need to restart in summer and hope the progress I make is enough to get me into a routine that can go toe to toe with the brutalizing winter and spring.

 

 

Saturday update #2

Haven’t written any fiction for the day, but if I manage it today or tomorrow I will post a Monday update.  This week was full of family emergencies that weren’t compatible with writing what I wanted to.  A poll about posting excerpts is below.  It’s worth considering.

Saturday writing update #1

Going to try something new to get more fiction done and “out in the world”.  And that is the one thing I haven’t tried: stating what I’ve done at regular intervals.

I usually work on two projects at a time out of a project pool of 10-12 ideas.  Currently I’m working on a “hard sf” novella and a post-apocalyptic or far-future short story.  The novella is complete as a story in its current form, but I have some backstory and details of the local setting I want to add in that will probably double the length.  The short story is perhaps 5-7 days in a row of writing to complete and yes I have performance/success anxiety over taking that last little step.  The other little catch with the short story is that it’s part of what I think will be 3-8 interlinked stories set in a common world.  Something like “The World Inside” by Robert Silverberg without all the pervotron parts.   So my brain doesn’t think of finishing one story as completing the mission, and maybe simply writing that out will help me over the hurdle and do the other stories too.

Anyway, long story short, this week I watched a documentary for backstory details on the novella and got some great ones to work in and I made no progress on the short story.  The plan for next week (I start weeks on Sundays) is to finish the short story and do an outline of the revisions to the novella.  I don’t think I need to see more than two or three more documentaries to get the kinds of details I want in the novella (food, social customs, male and female roles, clothing, how the houses and buildings look).

I have a lot on my plate this calendar year and the biggest obstacle to getting back to writing fiction regularly (3x/week or more) is that my days are filled up with kid-related logistics until next school year or another child is potty-trained, whichever comes first.  I used to find it strange how people would go off somewhere and binge-write for a few weeks a year and then nothing the rest of the year.  It’s usually a man thing, but it might end up being a mom thing in my case.  We’ll see how these updates help with avoiding that.

Fiction writing vs. blogging.

I have the usual obstacles of a mother of young children regarding writing at length, but I also have the difficulty of deciding whether to focus on fiction or continue poking around with nonfiction blog posts.

It’s a tough one, because I can’t put up the fiction as I go, nor can I really discuss it, since I may be working under pen names beyond the current one.  But I write fiction a lot faster than a blog post.  In the time I’m writing this, I could have just about done 500 words of fiction.  (About 10 minutes, btw.)

But on the other other hand, I’ve learned so many interesting things about modern American history and education, and some of them are helpful with the fiction.  It’s a dilemma.