Tag Archives: WIPs

WIP Wednesday Is Rejected, Not Dejected

My first WIP Wednesday of the year and I have a rejection to report.

I sent this same story out five times in 2011 but it didn’t find a home, so I put on the back burner until the new year when I could find a market that I felt it would suit.

During another bout of insomnia the other night, I trolled Duotrope to find it a new home.

I polished up the formatting, dashed off a quick cover letter, and sent it off. Unfortunately, later that afternoon I received a nice rejection with some feedback on the piece (there is such a thing as a nice rejection letter!).

No matter how many stories I send out, I still get that twinge of anxiety before hitting the send button. The same with rejections — each one still smarts a little but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop sending them out.

If anything, you need to look at each rejection as a failed relationship, and take away something that can improve your writing or at least give you some insight into what went wrong.

So, I’m still on the fence as to whether I’ll rework it again before sending it out (it had been edited a few times during those five rejections), or whether I’ll try another market first.

Now, on to the WIPs.

I’m the first to admit that I haven’t done as much writing in the new year as it would’ve like to. Considering my epic list of stories that I want to tackle in 2012, I had hoped that I would’ve made more progress already but I’m allowing my old insecurities get in the way of this one story I’m working on.

So decided to go back to it on my old habits, which is switching off all distractions while trying to write the first draft. This means using Leechblock, and maybe even going back to handwriting the first draft because stories seem to come more organically to me when I do it that way and the last thing I want to do is sit at the computer all day, produce nothing, get dejected and give up without getting any words down.

So there you have it. Down but not out. A minor blip on the radar. Moving onward and upward from here.

Fellow WIP Wednesday posse:

If you’re a writer participating in WIP Wednesday, post a link to your blog in the comments! More info on the WIP Wednesday initiative can be found at Kate Karyus Quinn’s blog.

Scheduled Insanity

So, it looks like I’ve been MIA for a while, huh? Dude. Cut me some slack. I had a book to write.

My NaNoWriMo project currently stands at just over 56,000 words, but the story isn’t done yet. I knew a few days into November that 50,000 words weren’t going to be enough to tell this story, and while I usually collapse into a pile of exhaustion once Dec. 1 rolls around, I’ve decided to keep working on the book instead of putting it on hold until January.

I’ve done that twice before and I have 2 unfinished NaNo WIPs to show for it. Plus, I’m in the groove now of writing every day so why stop a good thing?

It seems to have rubbed off on my other projects too because I have my whole of 2012 mapped out (loosely, mind you).

Normally, I just keep one large master file of story ideas and when I see a call for submissions or get the urge to work on something new, I troll my file for one that sparks my interest. Next year, I am going to try something different.

One night when I needed a NaNo break, I went through my file and earmarked all the stories I was most interested in working on. I’ve also been keeping a list of all the places I want to sub stories to in 2012. Plus there is the question of the above-mentioned NaNo WIPs, a series of shorts I want to self-publish and some odds & ends I have brewing on the backburner.

So, I made a list of all of these ideas, deadlines, and markets, and now I know what I will be working on next year. At my current tally, there are 14 short stories, 3 novels, 2 novellas, 8 stories for a collection, and a non-fiction book. Doable, right?

Blame it on this post which is all common sense and some of it I already do, and couple that with my intention to double my output of stories in 2012, and let’s just say I’ve got one full writing schedule which I am absolutely thrilled about!

So, how am I going to do it all you ask? Is it even possible? Uh…I don’t know. But what fun would it be if the plan wasn’t slightly insane?!

A few of the markets have solid deadlines, but some have open-ended reading periods, so I’ve got a bit of a schedule to keep. Other than that, I’m going to take part in the monthly Write1Sub1 to keep myself on track. That should keep my short stories covered. But the novels? The collection? The novellas? Um…I’m sure I’ll find time to do it all, right? RIGHT?!

Looks like it’s going to be a word-filled 2012! If anyone wants to send me a care package, I like flavored coffee, Reese’s Pieces, Moonstone rings, argyle socks and snazzy journals. :)

So, I know it’s a bit early, but what are your writing goals for the new year? Care to go insane with me and write until all your pens run dry?

P.S. Did I mention I am going to overhaul my website too? That’s an entirely different can of worms…

The Month Where I Hacked & Slashed

Productive Mary wasn't as productive as she set out to be in April.

Blame it on the fact that one of my new WIPs is horror-bordering-on-sci-fi. I’ve never written sci-fi. I feel uneducated about sci-fi. Hence, I think I felt a bit intimidated and let that hold me back.

So the decision now is – do I keep the sci-fi aspect or can the story work with it being only “slightly” futuristic? Near-future, if you will. I'd rather do what I’m good at than take a risk with something that doesn't measure up. Hopefully, I can work out the kinks this month. I’m thinking it will take more karate-chopping than gentle persuasion.

I’m also a bit bummed I haven’t been able to work on my mini collection of self-published shorts. Or my novels. Apparently, I need to clone myself if I want to do it all.

Either way, I've got 2 shorts on the go for May, plus 2 rough outlines for the 1st volume of the mini collection. And that’s paring down my WIP list to what’s doable…

Total Words Written This Month: 11224
Stories Started: 1
Stories Finished: 2 old, 0 new
Acceptances: 0
Rejections: 0
Stories In Submission: 4

Pertaining to the above
: tattoos, ghosts, sacrifice, an asylum, the Grim Reaper, nightmares, mysterious cures, small towns (no surprises there!), 17th century, ritual, scrapbooking, jealousy, a priest.

What I’m reading:

The Month Where I Stayed On Task

Got off to a good start this March and am happy with the progress made on my WIPs.

It’s too bad I had a little trouble with my writing program. It keeps a tally of my daily/monthly/yearly word counts, but I had to reset the count so only have stats for the last 10 days of March.  I would have liked to have seen how many words I came up with (my desk chair certainly looks more worse for the wear, but in a writer’s case this is a good thing).

Either way, here’s a snapshot of how my March went (inspired by the fantastic months-in-review of Miss Cate):

Total Words Written This Month: 3047
(March 21 to 31)

Stories Started: 3
Stories Finished: 2
Acceptances: 0
Rejections: 0
Submission Tracker: 2

Pertaining to the above: ghosts, Day of the Dead, funerary customs, Victorian England, disembodied voices, a machete, Pinot Noir, sunflowers.

I still need to work on showing, not telling

Sneaky Peek:  “You expect me to believe that this bunch of soused up socialites collectively witnessed some sort of haunting? That's rubbish! And if you believe it, well I'd venture to say that you should be locked up here at Holloway with the rest of 'em. No return ticket!”

On the Horizon: working on some pieces that I will self-publish; 3 other stories I hope to finish in April; I suppose I should look at my half-finished NaNo 2010 project 

WIP Wednesday Falls Back Into Line

Photo: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/120408So after a long break, I’m back and ready to take 2011 by storm.

I spent yesterday going through various online sites looking for any upcoming theme deadlines that interest me.

Of course, there is a fine line between what I want to submit to and what I’ll actually physically be able to accomplish – but there’s nothing like a looming deadline to strengthen one’s writing resolve.

Right now, I’ve got about 16 that caught my eye (and that was just after doing a preliminary search).

That also doesn’t take into account any new anthos or opportunities that come up throughout the year, as well as my Muse and any random ideas that pop up (because we all know that just when you've decided to focus on one story, 3 others start vying for your attention).

So, now I’ll look at what I've earmarked and compare it to my list of WIPs to see if any match (while trying to avoid falling into the trap of forcing my story to fit).

It has happened. A theme, an idea that is slightly parallel. Often in the editing process, the idea goes off into some tangent that completely changes the concept (and not in a good way) or the writing simply sounds forced. Definitely one of the pitfalls I'll do my best to avoid.

Now – those are just the shorts. Didn't I mention something about a collection? And a few novel WIPs that need finishing?

Yeah. 2011 is looking busy. Wouldn't have it any other way!

Fellow WIP Wednesday posse:

If you’re a writer participating in WIP Wednesday, post a link to your blog in the comments! More info on the WIP Wednesday initiative can be found at Kate Karyus Quinn's blog.

WIP Wednesday: Writing Posse

Peeps!No man (or woman, as the case may be) is an island. Surrounding oneself with a pool of writers is one perk of living the writing lifestyle, and seeing how people travel so differently down their own path is a treat that makes all those solitary hours worthwhile.

So, although I know part of the reason you are here is to see how I go about my journey as a writer, there's an extra prize inside the box. 

I'm going to take a break from talking about my insomnia, strange dreams, and ever-growing list of WIPS and shine the light on a few of the many writing superstars that I have the pleasure of knowing.

Here are a few chats that I'll be sharing in the near future with my fellow writers:

  • My buddy Barry Napier is making some serious waves in the writing community. Poetry, shorts, novellas, comic books – Barry has his finger in so many creative pies that I just have to find out how he does it all and still manages to find the time to consistently recommend great music to me. I'll be posting an interview with him soon in my Writing column
  • Another cool writing guy, Ian Rogers, has been kind enough to answer my very open-ended query for his experiences working with small presses, and I'll be putting that up soon, as well. Plus – he dressed up like one of the Dharma Initiative for Halloween. How can you not want to know what makes Ian tick?!

2 of my fellow Creative Alliance members will also be answering some hard-hitting (and hopefully not half-baked or hair-brained) questions soon.

  • I'll be showcasing the – yes, THEJenny Beanses this June as part of her blog tour
  • Plus, I'll be getting a sneak peak at Ro Van Saint's new ebook, Tales From The Abyss, and will be providing you with a double-shot of writerly tidbits, including an interview and review of the story

Phew! Seems like I've finally come out of hibernation! The writing life? It's good, my friends.

Oh yeah…..remember that little giveaway I mentioned? Look for the details to drop in the coming week or two here and on the Like Flies To Honey page. And get ready to put your thinking caps on. Free swag! You know you want it!

Fellow WIP Wednesday participants:

If you’re a writer participating in WIP Wednesday, post a link to your blog in the comments! More info on the WIP Wednesday initiative can be found at Kate Karyus Quinn's blog.

Fellow members of The Creative Alliance:

Photo: sanja gjenero

Moving Rocks

Have you ever realized how writing a story can be similar to a game of Jenga?

After putting together a bunch of building blocks (including an intriguing premise, snazzy characters and some twists and turns to keep the reader occupied), you hope your story is solid enough to stand on its own.

Sometimes, though, you must pick and pull at various parts of it to make things right. And if you aren't careful, it can all come tumbling down into a big ol' mess.

How does this apply to me? I've been having some trouble with one of my WIPs. The story just doesn't seem to be going anywhere, and I've already invested almost 1000 words into it.

When one of my fellow writers, Jamie, got talking about moving rocks and the resulting shift in water patterns, it rang true – and reminded me of Jenga. Because the moment I pulled out the bad parts, changed my main character, and added some new pieces back into the mix the story seemed to unstick itself again.

Granted, I had to do a little more tweaking to make my minor character into someone more worthy of carrying the story, but luckily I had my trusty worksheets to brainstorm with. (Seriously – I am a worksheet fiend.)

So, just as it happened in Jamie's yard, I moved around some stones and the water is flowing again. Woot! If you need some worksheets to add detail to the backgrounds and motivations of your characters, I actually just did an article about it today. Serendipity!

Photo: Samantha Villagran


WIP Wednesday: Note To Self…

MoleskinesNote to self:

- try to write all story ideas in ONE NOTEBOOK! it sucks frantically leafing through multiple books in fear of having lost that story gem you thought up last week

– you don't need to watch that episode of Three's Company again. Seriously. Turn off the television. Those eps of Supernatural, on the other hand…

LeechBlock really works…as long as you don't cheat and unblock for an hour…or two…or use Seesmic to bypass Firefox and get on Twitter…

- more coffee at 7pm may seem like a good idea…but your dark under-eye circles are also on their way to becoming an abyss. That extra jolt or more cover-up? You decide.

Photo: Stig Andersen

My Current Works-in-Progress

– currently flitting between 2 of the 4 stories I wanted to finish in march. Yup. It was 3. Now it's 4. Can't stop myself.

– getting the urge to pick up my NaNo '08 project again. Would love to finish it and then go back and weave in tones of dank & stifling dread

– my fire-building skills are getting better but i still find myself getting distracted far too easily these days. Maybe it's the summer-like weather we've been having. That's a habit I've got to kick – and fast. Spring arrives next week!

- on the non-writing-but-still-relevant front, I've rehauled my website and hope to launch it next week. It looks sweeeet!

If you’re a writer participating in WIP Wednesday, post a link to your blog in the comments!

Fellow WIP Wednesday participants:

Music: Svarte Greiner: Last Light from Kappe

click below to listen!

Svarte Greiner_04_Last Light.mp3