May 6, 2013 § Leave a Comment
April 22, 2013 § Leave a Comment
When people review Dean Wesley Smith’s Character Voice and Setting Workshop as writing intensive, they’re not joking.
13,747 words in six days was my turn out. By way of contrast, my word count this (normal) week was 2,500.
It’s important to note that I basically did the minimum. There was an assignment due each day plus two short stories due on Tuesday and Friday, respectively. I tended to land at the minimum word count for the assignments, and while we were allotted 3-6K for the stories both of mine came out under 4K.
There were people who went over word count on assignments and stories. At least one person counted over thirty-thousand words for the week. But others wrote multiple stories to turn in for the first short story.
No one turned in two stories on Friday. By that time we were fried. =)
April 18, 2013 § Leave a Comment
I attended the Character Voice and Setting workshop last week. But this post isn’t about that.
This post is about how my rental got a flat tire three thousand miles from home.
I got from the Portland Airport to Lincoln City in one piece, but on Sunday night my rear passenger tire deflated. I called Hertz Monday morning and was told by a very nice customer service rep that it would cost $79 to have them send someone out to change the flat for the spare in the trunk. Hmm. In addition to not wanting to pay $79, I was unlikely to make it back to Portland on the spare (which had a speed limit of 50 MPH, plus the general advice to drive no more than 70 miles on a donut with Portland 85 miles from Lincoln City).
I’d never changed a tire before.
At this point I thanked the customer service rep and took to the Yahoo group for the workshop asking if anyone knew how to change a flat. Several people responded either on list or in person. Once I got to the first class of the day DWS told me that if I could make it down to Les Schwab (which we don’t have on the East Coast) they might be able to repair the tire and might not charge me.
I was about ready to shift into panic mode–3,000 miles from home meant: don’t know the town mechanics, can’t call any friends for a ride, don’t have a second car to use, have to get the rental back in time, can’t miss my flight home, gotta make it back in time for work–but I didn’t have time freak out. Writing assignments due everyday and a short story (that I hadn’t started yet!) due on Tuesday. Plus it was raining.
I’d already gotten set up at the Anchor with groceries and secured a ride, so I decided to put it off. I’d end up riding with a few generous folks over the following days.
By Wednesday I’d turned in the first short story and had a few hours after breakfast. I told everyone at the table that I’d bought cookies and watched YouTube videos on tire changing and if anyone would come out I would give them a cookie. I was basically just looking for one person stronger than me who could step in if the jack proved too difficult or the tire too heavy.
I still haven’t changed a tire.
After the spare was on, I drove down to Les Schwab. It took them about 25 minutes to patch and install the old tire. For Free. I must have looked like a psycho to the woman behind the counter and the mechanic, because when it was all over I damn near cried.
I drove back to Portland on Sunday without issue.
So, yeah. Writers are awesome. (Thank you!)
January 4, 2013 § Leave a Comment
In 2012, I set a goal of 250 words per day which worked out to about 65K per year. I actually accomplished ~58K. That is a lot more than I expected to realistically achieve and beats my previous best year by 24,000 words! (And that was the year I was unemployed for several months with nothing to do but write.) Since I feel like that word goal really pushed me over the edge, I’m ramping up my 2013 goals:
I think my real stumbling block is not a word count issue, but rather a time management issue. In 2013, I hope that time control goals will lead to success in the other goal categories. Like last year, I’m setting a low bar so that I won’t get discouraged, but damn if the numbers don’t accumulate!
- Write for one hour per day minimum, 5 to 6 days per week (new words only, revisions, outlines, and research does not count)
- Read for one hour per day minimum (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, how-to-write books)
If I meet my time goals and can produce 750 to 1K words per hour, my word count should look like:
Word Count Goals:
- 3,750 to 5K per week
- 187K to 250K per year (Yikes!)
If I meet these word count goals, my story completion goals should look like:
Story Completion Goals:
- Complete one novel
- Complete 20 to 34 short stories (That’s insane!)
- Attend an in person writing workshop
- Participate in more writing challenges/community contests (Did 2 in 2012)
- Critique more stories (Did 40-45ish in 2012)
- Go to more writer panels at Dragon*Con (Attended 3)
- Submit every story I finish to pro-paying markets or well-respected semi/token markets until sold or run out of markets
- I can’t control if my stories get published other than to self-publish, so this year I would like to self-publish at least one story to get a feel for it.
August 20, 2012 § 2 Comments
The protagonist is meeting her alien hybrid daughter for the first time in “Sapience and Maternal Instincts” by Krystal Claxton (debut 5/31 and reviewed by Frank D). Twenty years later, she can see a bit of herself in her alien offspring. Gathering the nerve to meet her was difficult but they do share a bloodline, and a bit more she soon discovers.
“Sapience” is a unique twist on the parent/child reunion trope. Like a mother who is meeting the child she gave up for adoption, the protagonist is full of anxiety. Unlike those women, she was forced to carry the daughter who is sitting before her. The story evolves into something sweet and loving. I found myself as surprised at the outcome as the protagonist did.
Screeeeeeeeeee! ::Happy Dance::
*Ahem* I mean, ::Impartial Report::
August 3, 2012 § 3 Comments
Some venues have tiered rejections–basically two or three different form responses to a submission. Your name and story title are filled in the blanks of a generic rejection letter that may indicate how far your story made it in the submission process.
Normally, the lowest tier indicates that you were rejected by the slush reader. Perhaps the second tier means you made it past the slush, but the editor isn’t interested. The third at many venues suggests that you made it past the slush and the editor would like to see more from you, but they’re not buying this story.
Some editors send out personal rejections–a rejection letter with a few comments about why exactly your story didn’t work for them.
The Writers of the Future contest has tiered rejections too, but theirs are set in the guise of placing in the contest. There’s the basic form “You didn’t win or place . . .” which most contest participants see as a rejection. Then there’s Honorable Mention, Silver Honorable Mention, and Semi-Finalist. For either Honorable Mention you have the option of your name posted on the WotF quarterly announcement and a certificate. For Semi you get a brief critique from the coordinating judge.
It’s very generous of the contest to offer this level of encouragement. And there are a great many people who appreciate the tiered rejections at other venues.
I see on a number of forums that amateur and journeyman writers congratulate each other on an HM or an upper tier rejections. Personal rejections (and Semi-Finalist placing) are prized because it means you almost made it. You were this (__) close.
But see, here’s the hitch in all of this: They are not publishing your story. It doesn’t matter what tier you made or if you got a nice note or a certificate–you didn’t win. You don’t get paid. No one reads your story. The end.
The only thing you can do is send the story to the next market. Because unless you got a rewrite request, it doesn’t matter that the editor at that venue liked your story. It doesn’t matter that he wrote you a personal note and thought you needed more scene descriptions–he’s not buying the story.
This of course all stems from being congratulated by the nice, encouraging writing communities that I’m a part of now. I think we need that kind of moral support, but it still frustrates me. Why are you congratulating me for failing well?
A year ago, I’d be excited at an upper tier rejection, but that’s not the case anymore. I don’t want to be rejected nicely, I want to sell. I think that means I’m closer to being a real writer now . . . Which actually does make me feel better about stupid higher tier rejections.
Signed up and paid for one of Dean Westley Smith’s new online workshops.
Word Count: About 7K since last blog post
Dragon*Con Costumes: The reason I’ve only written 7K, though I’m closing in on being done with several of them. I’ve got all my supplies and–wonder of wonders–the boots I ordered fit right on the first try! No returning foot wear this year! (Though I did have to exchange a hoop skirt.)
Exercise Goals: I’ve upped my hand weights, but I still haven’t managed to upgrade to Phase 3-4 of Power 90.
Let’s not talk about my blogging goals. =)