Apr 30

Revision Redux

I recently had another story rejected. The editor forwarded the reviewer’s comments to me. I found a couple of valid concerns in them, but also some other types of concerns.

The biggest problem here is that the two reviewers found different reasons for rejecting the story. One loved the magic as portrayed, the other focused on that as his/her main reason for recommending rejection. The basic flaw they found in that regard is that they did not understand exactly how the magic works. My contention is that magic is, in fact, magic. It is somewhat mysterious by nature. In a short story, there is not enough time to be explicit about the inner mechanisms at work here. I am disappointed that a slush reader for a fantasy magazine does not realize this.

The other reviewer thought that a couple of transitions were too sudden. One in particular has the protagonist suddenly struck down. The suddenness of this episode is an essential part of the plot, in my estimation.

Thus, the quandary continues. To revise or not to revise. On these two points, I have to decide not to revise. I do think they are essential to the story. Other points raised will be incorporated into some changes in the wording in a couple of places to address them.

All in all, I think that this illustrates the dangers inherent in submitting stories. Slush readers have many other concerns than picking out subtle points in the story. They just don’t have time to deal with that. Their tastes also differ from one to another. Contradictory opinions are just part of the process that we have to accept.

I like to include a certain amount of subtlety in my stories. I think it enriches them. Making everything explicit and explained in great detail just damages the story. I do not like stories that do that. Leave something to my imagination, for Heaven’s sake.

I guess I will just keep submitting the story, with some revision, until I find an editor or slush reader that appreciates it.

Jan 09

Quick Update

Spring Semester started on Monday, and things have been in their usual state of higgledy-piggledy. Not much work getting done on the writing front.

I have pulled out a story I started working on back a couple of years ago before my latest crash called “What Does it Profit a Man?” All kinds of things happening in this story. I am currently hung up on one scene that makes me VERY uncomfortable. It involves a somewhat deviant sexual act that leads to a death. It is the crucial scene in the story, so I have to get through it. From past experience, I realize that a scene like this will turn out to be powerful, if I can just gather my courage and be honest with it.

Another work in progress is a story for The First Line. If you are not familiar with this magazine, they supply the first line of a story, which must be used exactly as they supply it. You have to write the rest of the story. A pretty good writing prompt, if you see one that interests you. I have chosen to write to the prompt that is due on November 1, 2013: “I came of age in a time of no heroes”. Right up my alley–potentially dark and angsty.

More later as time permits.

P.S. I turned around and submitted “That Others May Live” to Cemetery Dance after Nightmare rejected it. Shoot for the stars. You never know.

Dec 23

Whew!

All of my finished stories (12 of them) are now submitted. See my Pubs and Subs page for details. Hoping for good news on them. Work on rewrites on several more is ongoing.

I am also working on getting my Vision index (Authors, Titles, Tables of Contents) update. The Subjects index is currently somewhat broken. Repairs are underway.

If you are a writer and don’t know about Vision, I encourage you to check it out. It’s free and full of wonderful information for writers of all kinds.

I am now entering data to update the index through Issue 60. Issues 61-69 will have to wait a little while until I have some more time. Almost time to get back to the paying job. It’s been nice while it lasted.

In other news. I have lost all of my categories during the upgrade to Noise in the Attic. I do not really have time or inclination to rebuild those for over 650 posts at this time. I will try to put them back in over time. It will probably take a long time. Oh well.

Happy Holidays!

Oct 12

Feels Just Like Starting Over

Thank you all for the well-wishes. It helps to know there are so many caring people out there.

My depression is proving somewhat resistant to treatment this time. The bad news is it’s not getting better. The good news is it’s not getting worse. I am just stuck on struggling through each day. With the dark of the year coming on, I can look forward to more of the same for a while, I suspect.

Maybe Spring will bring a new hope. I have to hope. It’s about all I have right now.

I have today off from work (Columbus Day), which also helps. I took advantage of the three-day weekend to tend to some unfinished writing business. I withdrew three stories which had been in submission for a very long time with no response, which cleared my decks. It was weird not having anything submitted for a couple of days.

Today, I submitted two stories: “What Dreams May Come” to Chzine, and “Worse Than Death” to Shock Totem. I don’t expect to have much luck with these, as these are professional markets, and I probably don’t yet have enough of a reputation to break into them, but then hope is all I have.

I spent a long time in despair over my writing. I had come to the conclusion that everything was shit, and that I was wasting my time and energy to no good purpose. It’s a good thing I know by now that these times are not the best for making unalterable decisions, so I did not delete everything.

My belief in my writing is still not strong, yet, but it is coming back. Some re-reading and a little polishing have gone a long way toward re-affirming my faith in that area. Now, if I could just have another story idea… That may be asking too much. Maybe later.

Here’s hoping everyone else is well. I will be back upon occasion, though probably infrequently for now.

Mar 08

The Business End

I have spent most of the weekend taking care of business. The way I see it, writing is made up of three parts: composing, revision, and submitting. Composing and revision are the creative parts, submitting is the business part.

Submitting my work is hard on me. It takes a lot of courage for me to put myself out there in front of the world that way. I would much rather keep revising and revising and revising and try to get things perfect. The problem is that that way lies no publication. I can’t get puclished if I don’t submit my stories to editors for their consideration. If I imagine I hear hysterical laughter from them, that’s just part of the dues I have to pay.

Market research is a real pain. Ralan’s Webstravaganza and duotrope make life a lot easier in that regard by gathering marketing information into one place, but it still takes a lot of time to evaluate the various markets and to try to find a good fit for a story. I tend to put that off and not submit anything for weeks or months at a time. That’s not good.

I have to keep telling myself: I can’t win if I don’t try.

P.S. We had snow last Tuesday. Today, I’m wearing shorts and a T-shirt and sweating. That’s life in the Deep South.

Jan 15

Where Am I?

Thank you everybody for the expressions of concern. I think I am OK. I think.

I find myself in an odd state of mind these days. Though my mood is generally good, my energy and motivation suck. If it is possible for them to be in the negative range, they are. This kind of mental state is new to me, and it is taking me time to adjust.

I can blame part of it on Seasonal Affective Disorder. More blame lies in the various (and very personal) reasons why I so dislike this time of year. Anyway, I hope to see things turn around as we get into winter and spring, and the sun has more face time.

On the writing front, things are pretty stagnant. My current WIP (the re-submission) is at a point of frustration right now. I know what I want the climax to be, but I can’t figure out how to get there from here. Transitions can be such a major pain sometimes. As my mind clears (which it already has, at least a little bit), I will be able to get that finished and out the door.

I am also backlogged on submissions. The rejections keep coming, but I have not been able to gather the energy to do the necessary research and get these stories back out into circulation. I currently have 5 or 6 lying around that really need to find a home. Again, that will be resolved in the coming weeks.

I hope everybody else is doing OK. I haven’t been able to do the blog-rounds lately, but I will get back to that Real Soon Now.

Sep 29

Progress

It’s been a busy few days but just as much fun as I expected. “What Dreams May Come”, “That Others May Live”, and “The Dying of the Light” are now loose in the wild. “The Gravedigger’s Tale” is at that point where I know it’s not right, but I can’t tell what’s wrong. It will go back into therapy with four others that are in equal states of disequilibrium. Time to start exploring new territory, I think.

I am heading into hypomanic phase right now. I have enough energy to get a lot done and feel the creative juices bubbling. I just have to watch out for myself. In this state, I am prone to feeling invincible and taking on more than I can handle.

Counting down to Fall Quarter starting on Wednesday. It’s always fun to jump into the busiest time of the year shorthanded. I’m glad I’m manic and not depressed. LOL!

Apr 28

Se Acaba el “Lobo Solitario”

“Lone Wolf” is done and submitted. It topped out at right around 2500 words. Now comes the hardest part of all: waiting.

Now come the questions, the worries:

Did I miss something really stupid?
Maybe this would sound better like this?
Maybe that won’t make any sense to anybody but me.

I know, I know. Work on something else. But I have to get this anxiety out of my system first, so I can concentrate. That, plus deciding what else to pick up now.

Just some things to think about early (Good God, so early!) on a Monday morning.

Jan 21

Subs Galore

I currently have 12 short stories in submission. To the best of my knowledge and belief, this is the most I have ever had out at one time. Here’s hoping some (or all!) of them can find a home.

Work on Washed in the Blood v.2 continues. I have finished revising through Chapter 2 and am beginning Chapter 3 today. You may notice the progress meter jump significantly from time to time. That’s when I copy and paste from v. 1 to v. 2. It will also go retrograde occassionally as I rearrange and delete as necessary to make things fit.

Revision is a lot more like real work than composing was. So many details to keep up with. Consistency flaws to set right. Subplots to weave in. It’s really hard for me. I would much rather be concentrating on creativity than the nuts and bolts, and it’s hard sometimes to keep from jumping over to work on another project.

What is keeping me going is the opportunity to exercise creativity in adding scenes and editing the existing scenes to make them stronger. That part is really fun.

I’m starting to dread the second revision, though. That’s where things get down to strictly nuts and bolts. The story has to be complete by then and pretty much set in stone. I foresee major battles as my Muse decides that this or that has to be done to enhance or improve things. I’ll have to fight to keep out of the endless revision cycle.

Maybe I can promise myself work on a new project as a reward for getting this one done and out the door. I have several in the idea stage that I can get excited about very easily.

Enough chatter. Work calls. Mayhem must ensue.