Work In Progress: August 28, 2019

I spent most of last weekend outlining the novella trilogy. This may be the most intricate plot I’ve written. Lots of cause and effect.

I have spent this week revising short stories for submission. Three have to get out to markets this week because submission windows close at the end of the month. The same is true for five poems. Busy week.

I’ve decided to write in an additional genre. Some of my trunked ideas may work better in another genre, and I have the time to produce words in multiple genres. I need to read more to see if my ideas are workable and to understand the genre’s tropes and expectations. Multiple income streams are a must if I’m to continue as a working writer.

Work in Progress: August 16, 2019

My six story anthology is off to the editor. Depending on how much work needs to be done, I’ll share more about it soon. If it’s a mess and there’s too much work, I won’t saying anything about it. I should do a post on when to seek an editor and of which type.

I reworked a story that received a personal rejection and critique. After a final read-through that should be off to a different market next week. Submissions need to keep circulating until they find a home.

I sketched a new short story in which a war has lasted a decade but is in its final stages and a new empire is emerging. It’s about the warriors who fight to resist and remember those they have lost. It has a bit of interesting magic too.

This is the first new story that wasn’t part of last year’s NaNoWriMo 50k worth of stories. I’m debating whether to do that again this year. It was a great way to build up material. But if I do it, I can’t neglect other projects for a month. That means writing twice the daily word count.

Work in Progress July 2, 2019

While reading through a few short stories I’ve been working on I realized the voice and style were not mine. I may have been infected by the reading I did in certain markets, or subconsciously trying to emulate the stories in those markets, but either way, I lost track of the way I tell stories and in a couple cases, how those stories need to be told.

I’m glad I caught the issue before sending the stories out. No one would buy them because they don’t sound authentic. They were dressed in someone else’s clothes. I’m only starting to realize what my voice is, but I do know what it isn’t.

So I’m rewriting again.

Also, I caught this, or it became evident, when I was trying to read the stories aloud. My brain kept inserting words that weren’t there. I wasn’t stumbling over what was written; I stumbled over what wasn’t on the page.

Work in Progress: June 5, 2019

I tried to revise a story I like a great deal, but it just seems to sputter and lacks the fire I envision for it. I guess I just keep plugging away until it catches. It felt better after spending a few hours with it.

I recently set myself a goal of developing one new short story idea per week (and ideally writing a draft each week) so I pieced together the rough sketch for this week’s story. I don’t outline short stories but I note each event and scene and try to get it into order. The first draft includes setting and dialog, so right now this story is a sketch, not a draft.

I also realized, while I have several poems here on the site, I don’t have any stories up. I’ll try to rectify that this week.

Work in Progress: May 18

Lot’s of deep editing today. I only worked on short stories and concentrated on ensuring my central idea of the story, theme, if you will, was present and focused throughout the story. As Jeanne Cavelos recently pointed out, theme usually comes after a few drafts. To help me find a story’s theme I’ve started writing a ‘why this story’ paragraph and put it on a separate page at the end. This does a few things. One, it forces me to state the theme in a sentence or two so I can go back and make sure I’m representing it and that it’s unifying the story. Second, it’s a note to my future self about where the story came from and why I thought it was important enough to write. Third, sometimes a market will ask why you wrote a story, and this is a head start on that answer.