This week I have written about 2,500 words on a new short story. This doesn’t look like a whole lot for one week (considering that on good days I can write this much in an hour) but I’m still slogging through writer’s block. In good news, I wrote every day, which is a thing I’m proud of at this point.
I haven’t managed to get any work done on my third manuscript this week. Every time I open Scrivener, I stare at it and it stares back at me, making me feel like a failure (which makes me not want to write on it even more). I’m not sure that trying to work on the middle of a long-form work that was in progress is the best way to ease myself back into writing after a period of depression-related writer’s block.
I started with a short story. I wrote the first draft of The Girl Who Cried Lion this week, and in all it’s about 1,800 words. That isn’t a lot of writing for one week, but it’s some writing, and I’m proud of it.
In related news, I have an announcement. I’ve been toying with the idea of publishing some of my short stories here on my website for a while now. As much as I’m anti-art-for-free activist, at this point at least one of my short stories has been rejected by every professional market I can find to submit it to, and a couple of semi-professional ones as well. I won’t bore you with the monetary aspects, but I will say that getting paid for it is not going to be worth the time I’ve put in, as much as I’d really love some publication credits.
So I’ve decided to release Soul Eater. I wrote the first draft of Soul Eater in 2013 as part of an ArmageddonMUD-related writing group (shout outs to Jacob, my first and most loyal beta reader, and Olivia, who released her first book almost a week ago!) (another random, fun fact: current SWFA president Cat Rambo used to play Armageddon). This was the first short story I really attempted to market around, and at around 3,500 words, it’s one of my longer short stories.
Anyway, if you’re one of the people who constantly asks what I write, if you’re one of the people who asks to read my writing, now you know. If you would like to read it, click here.
I had a fairly depressed weekend and didn’t end up getting in as much weekend writing as I usually do. What energy I did have, I devoted to re-writing and cleaning up a guest blog post for Queer Girl Cafe. That should go up on Monday. I haven’t ever done much in the way of creative nonfiction, and it was surprisingly hard to write about myself and my experiences in a narrative format. Hopefully it ends up making sense without being extremely boring. The editor will tell me if it’s boring, right? I sure hope so.
I mostly recovered from my depressed swing by Tuesday. Much of my writing time this week went into researching my second setting for the Touchdown novel, the planetary setting. I buried myself up to my eyebrows in research and then finished the basic workup while I was at my monthly NaNoWriMo group’s meeting last night.
Today, I moved on to starting my plot outline. This is the part where I work off of my plot/conflict bullets, with the characters and settings I’ve written up, to basically get the entire narrative down from start to finish, broken down by scenes. I hope to have this part finished up by next week or the week after so that I can send it off to a couple of my critique partners to get their impressions of whether the story seems interesting and whether it’s too predictable while I go back and research to fill in the gaps of things I didn’t even know I needed to know.
The goal is to start writing on the Touchdown novel for Camp NaNoWriMo. We all organized ourselves into a “cabin” at last night’s monthly meeting, and hopefully the peer pressure will get me through like it does for normal NaNoWriMo. I’m not sure I intend to go quiet as crazy as I do in November, but the sooner I get the Touchdown novel drafted, the sooner I can go back to the Flight novel and start the revision process. My excitement for both just keeps on growing, so I think I’m on the right track.
Meanwhile, I’m still in the query phase with the Plague novel. The entire traditional publishing process is very hurry up and wait and I’m not seriously concerned about the fact I haven’t heard back from the two agents who requested full manuscripts yet. I do still have more queries to send out, as well, but I just haven’t had the mental fortitude for it. Maybe now that we’re in March, I’ll be able to pull out my spreadsheet and my preparation materials and dig back into it. If nothing else, it’ll give me something to do when my creative energy just isn’t there.
The querying process and book preparation process are both less numbers-intense than the editing process. I can’t say that I got X pages done, which is Y % of where I want to be. Instead, I have to treat you to a laundry-list of things that I did for you to get a feel for the kind of motion I’m seeing on my end.
Plague Novel–I received a second full manuscript request and another rejection. This puts me at two full manuscript requests and two form rejections. I chalk this up as an overall success. I intend to do agent research and then tweak and sent out my query letter to my second set of possible agents on Monday. I want to try to emphasize my writing-relevant skills a little more, but I also don’t want to come off as braggy.
I keep getting little tiny ideas on the possible sequels. I’ll have to do an entire other blog post on why I decided to write other things when I have three books semi-outlined out for the Plague Novel.
Flight Novel–this one is burning a hole in my brain. Every now and then, things pop out at me that I want to do on revision. I just keep noting them down in the Scrivener file so that I don’t lose them. At some point, the desire to revise it will reach a critical mass and my attachment to the story as it exists will wane, and then and only then will it be time to pull out the proverbial red pen.
Book 3–I’m trying to come up with a working title for this. Right now, it has two different titles in my head: that generation ship story, and “Touchdown,” which is the name of the Scrivener file on my computer. The second one makes it look kind if like a sports story, though, so I’m not sure if it’ll stick around.
I’m eyebrows-deep in research on exoplanets, space travel, and Russian culture. The characters have started forming in my head. I went back and read Characters and Viewpoint, but I still have no idea if the right voice for this book is third-person limited or first-person. I do only have one main-character. That tends to push me toward a first-person voice, but I’m not really sure if the trade-off in immediacy is going to be worth the more intimate emotional connection to the character. Writer problems.
Other projects–I’ve received one short story rejection. I need to make this a pair before I send them out again, since the short story submission process is so draining for me. I’m thinking about opening up a Patreon and putting my short stories there instead. It’s extremely difficult to break into the short fiction market because space is extremely limited and lots of established authors also write short fiction. I haven’t made a decision on this yet. It’s something I’ll need to give some serious thought to before I decide whether to make a move, and in the mean time, I’m going to keep going with submissions.
I’m also going to be a contributor for Queer Girl Cafe. My internal editor is screaming at me not to fill this space up with empty words, but… I’m very, very, very, excited about this project. There are some amazing queer writers lined up to contribute. I have a tiny bit of impostor syndrome even thinking about having an article in the same space as some of these women.
Not much to report this week. I’ve received two rejections from agents (I do appreciate quick responses) and one short story rejection. The decision to start working on book three was the right choice. I’m only in the research phase right now, but having something creative to do keeps me focused on why I enjoy writing. Hint: it isn’t the constant rejections.
Edit to add: I don’t know why this disappeared. I thought it went up as scheduled, but maybe not, because it was still sitting in my queue this morning.