I finished revising my new story – Bottled Lightning – today and sent it out into the big wide world. I’m pretty happy with it, especially since I really didn’t like the first draft. I read it through for the last time today and I think I managed to whittle it into something I can be proud of – as someone on Twitter pointed out to me over the weekend, you’ll always think you can make something better. Whether or not it’s good enough for publication remains to be seen. I also finished Justin Cronin’s The Passage yesterday. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a vampire apocalypse novel – think zombie apocalypse but with vampires. I enjoyed it and I’ll read the sequel but despite a few unresolved threads I wasn’t so enamored with it that I felt I had to rush out and buy the next one. Instead, I started Caitlin R Kiernan’s latest book, Blood Oranges. I’m a couple of chapters in and enjoying it so far. So much, in fact, that a large portion of this evening will be spent reading. But first, more submissions.
Apparently this is my one hundredth post – in just under eleven months. Well I never. You may be wondering what happened to my rewrite of The Ghost Smuggler. Well…it kind of <cough> stalled. It turns out that training for a marathon takes up a lot of time and what free time remains is spent wondering how much longer before it’s okay to go to bed. You’d have thought I’d learned my lesson the first time but apparently not. We also had my parents over for a couple of weeks at the beginning of September which was fun but not conducive to the crafting of fiction. So, The Ghost Smuggler has been languishing on my hard drive. I have been thinking about it, so it’s not all bad. I did submit a story (Only Friends) last night and was rewarded with what has to be the fastest response I’ve ever had – six hours according to GMail. It was a rejection unfortunately, but still, that’s pretty impressive. Now I have to resist the urge to bombard the editor with every other story I’ve got in a desperate attempt to find one they like. That would be rude. I have a day off today … Read More
This is the latest in a series of Meaty Monday posts – longer posts where I ramble on about writing related topics. You can find the first Meaty Monday post here. Authors are almost legally required to hate ebooks. After all, those cold, soulless packages of bits and bytes can’t compare with the tactile and olfactory delights a real book provides. In a lot of ways that’s true and as my heavily overloaded shelves will attest, I’ve always had great difficultly resisting the lure of the bookshop. In fact, until a couple of years ago ebooks held no interest for me at all but then I bought my wife a Kobo reader for her birthday and then I borrowed it to read William Gibson’s Zero History. I was hooked. Sure, the first generation Kobo reader is slow and doesn’t have wireless or any other bells and whistles but it was so convenient and – for some unknown reason – fun. I quickly bought myself a Kindle and I’ve never looked back. I do still buy physical books, usually Subterranean Press or Cemetery Dance limited editions, or books by my favourite authors (Caitlin R Kiernan, Haruki Murakami etc.) but generally I choose the digital version if I can. The biggest advantage … Read More
My last post ended with a bit of a cliffhanger. I was 17,720 words into the rewrite of The Ghost Smuggler and had just convinced myself it was all a waste of time. This week, I’m 20,702 words into the rewrite (just over a quarter of the way through) and I’m still not completely happy with it but I’m pushing on. Most of those words came on Saturday afternoon which was a bit of a surprise as we spent the morning on a jetski tour which was very exciting, but also very tiring. Great fun though, highly recommended. Last week was also the second week of the Clarion Write-a-Thon and I’m on track for hitting my 15,000 word target. No writing so far this week but I have been sending out a few submissions – thirty eight so far this year (that’s already the most I’ve sent out in a single year).
Not a big writing day yesterday, unfortunately. I did manage to scrape together another 404 words on The Ghost Smuggler but that took me to the end of a chapter and I didn’t want to start another one. I’m going to struggle to find time to do any writing today – I have an early dentist appointment and the first night of our Marathon clinic this evening. I’m still on track for a a 2,500 word week though, thanks to the good start I got on Sunday. I did make my 200th submission last night – This Is Not the Apocalypse You’re Looking For to Clarkesworld – plus a couple more bringing this year’s total submissions to 27. It looks like I’ll easily break last year’s submission tally of 36. Yes, I track all that stuff. The increase in submissions is partly due to me sticking to Heinlein’s Fifth Rule but also because there’s a decent number of good quality markets that measure their response times in weeks or even days rather than months. It’s a lot easier to send a lot of stories out if it doesn’t take long for the rejections to come back. One day I’ll post some stats on … Read More
James Beamon posted a link to an old, but very interesting article on rejection by Marion Zimmer Bradley – Why Did My Story Get Rejected?. Well worth a read if your feeling the pain of rejection. Coincidentally, I got my first rejection of the year today – for Backwards Boy. Not terribly surprising, I think it’s going to be a tricky story to sell.
It’s another very wet and grey day in Vancouver. I guess no snow is a good thing but still, I’ve had enough of the rain. So, what’s being going on. Ah yes, Tuesday was tying-up-loose-ends day. I finished the final drafts of a couple of stories – the horticultural science fiction tale, F Bomb, and a piece of flash fiction that could be a poem instead called On the Finding of the Body. Body as I like to call it, was actually written at some point last year and was inspired by Amanda Palmer’s Who Killed Amanda Palmer album. I think originally I was going to submit it to one of her websites but I never got round to it. Anyway, I tweaked it a little bit and moved it to the glorious Finished folder. Tuesday was also the day that the critique of The Ghost Smuggler arrived from Jeff VanderMeer. He’s provided lots of great feedback and some very insightful comments and suggestions. Now I just need to work out what to do with it all. In the evening submitted I four more stories including Body. F Bomb will go out later this week. Wednesday morning was mostly filled with writing but it was for my … Read More
Okay, so I guess technically we’re still in the afterglow of Christmas and the twelve days have only just started but I’m already back in the office, working at the day job so, for me, Christmas is done. It was an odd Christmas this year, my wife is back in England so I spent Christmas Day on my own. For a lot of people that’s a big deal but I actually enjoyed it. I did some writing, read The Lake and then watched a traditional Christmas movie – The Evil Dead. An odd choice maybe, but I’ve been sorting through my movies and realised I hadn’t watched it in a long time. Obviously the low budget effects are very dated now and in today’s world of Saw and Hostel, it’s strange to think that for a while The Evil Dead was banned in England but I enjoyed seeing it again – it’s violent and bloody but the gruesome humour that became a trademark of the series is still there. On the writing side of things, I finished the first draft of Origami Man and Paperboy although it’s now just called Origami Man which was actually the story’s name when I first started it. It ended up surprising me with an unexpected … Read More
Not a good day today – hence the late post. I decided to go running this morning but picked a route that was longer and tougher than I should have so the rest of the day has been a bit of a disaster. The only good point so far has been re-reading three stories from Cate Gardner‘s Strange Men in Pinstripe Suits. I was planning on posting a review, but that will have to wait until later in the week. Luckily, yesterday was a productive day. I finished editing Backwards Boy and submitted it to a website. It came in at 1117 words and I’m pretty happy with it. Unfortunately, the speculative fiction element is very subtle so I think it will be a hard sell. I have another story with the same problem – Hidden and it’s difficult to find anywhere to submit it to. I also wrote the first of a series of longer blogs I’m calling Meaty Mondays. It’s about my attitude towards self-publishing and will go live tomorrow morning. And because that wasn’t enough writing, I also wrote the first 643 words of a new story. Its working title is Origami Man and Paperboy but that may well change.
No zombies, but I did manage to get back to writing yesterday and I started a new story – F Bomb. An hour and a half of writing resulted 966 words which I think puts me about halfway through. It’s an interesting little story and I’m not entirely sure what genre you’d pigeonhole it into but I like it so far. There’s a (hopefully) humorous edge to it that appeals to me. I was also planning on editing Rainshine but I decided to postpone that for another few days and come back to it once F Bomb is finished. I also wrote an entry for my other blog – something I’ve neglected to do for far too long and submitted a story to the One Buck Horror anthology series – fingers crossed on that one, it would be good to end the year with another acceptance. With all the talk about music and running, I neglected to mention the new book I’m reading – Cate Gardner’s short story collection Strange Men in Pinstripe Suits and other curious things. I read the first couple of stories on Friday night and already I’ve got a good feeling about it. Finally, I’ve created a Free Fiction page and posted links to the first two stories … Read More
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