Just write, man

It has been almost a year since I’ve last posted anything. The reasons are numerous, yet ultimately not important. What is important is that I am once again ready to get serious about my writing.

In the coming days, weeks, and months, I plan on making steady progress on my fantasy fiction. There are also plenty of topics I want to write about. One good thing about my extended hiatus is that I have plenty of ideas swirling around. Now I just need to get them out.

 

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Short story rejections in 2015: One

The story I submitted to SFF mag Strange Horizons was rejected a while back. It was my first rejection of the year (and first ever, really). It was not surprising; I like the premise but the story was simply not ready and I feel I rushed things. I’m going to work on it and then submit it elsewhere.

I also submitted a poem to Guernica. I’m proud of the way it turned out, but I know the odds it of getting accepted are slim.

And while I’m on the subject of fiction submissions, I have to say: I wish it didn’t take so long to have your work accepted or rejected. I understand this is selfish, and I understand that lit mags are drowning in submissions and are doing the best they can. It’s just…having to wait weeks (or often, months!) to learn of your story’s fate is a huge pain. For that reason, I’m planning on only submitting my stories to places with relatively quick response times.

<Insert comment about impatient millennials wanting everything right away>

How should I go about self-publishing my books?

I’ve spent a lot of thought about how I’m going to publish my books, which might seem odd since I haven’t actually started writing one yet. But I like to think ahead (often at the expense of the present), so onwards.

I know I’m going to self-publish. This is for ideological reasons, mostly. Self-publishing satisfies my lefty side. I am glad that at last, writers are no longer at the mercy of gatekeepers. They can tell their stories however and whenever they want. Sure, much of that creative output is nonsense; Sturgeon’s law, and all that. But to be in control of your writing career is a great thing.

This is especially true for writers whose work falls outside the mainstream, or who themselves fall out of the mainstream. Persons of color, gender non-conforming people, political radicals, etc. Before, such people had to depend on a largely white establishment to give them their big break. Now, they can take matters into their own hands. Who knows how many amazing writers¬† we missed out on because publishers were not interested in telling their stories. This is why I have no patience for the “gatekeepers” argument some use to defend traditional publishing. I would much rather go through self-published story after self-published story looking for a diamond in the rough than go back to the old days, when the amount of outsider voices we were exposed to was miniscule.

Anyway, my plan is to have my books available for free and give people the option to pay what they’d like to. Perhaps I’ll set up a Patreon account to connect with any future fans (damn, this sounds presumptuous) and release chapters on a bi-weekly or monthly basis. I’m not interested in Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the like. I just want to have my work available on the web. It’s the simplest method I can think of, and a good choice for someone whose anxiety would make heavy-duty self-promotion unlikely.

I haven’t completely ruled out Amazon and other large venues, though. This is especially the case if I end up going the POD route. Physical books are not a priority for me, but if I end up with some folks who want them, I might change my mind.

Above everything else, I want to tell and publish my stories my way, whatever that ends up being.

Writing and the flu

I’ve missed the past two workdays because of the flu. Worse, it has been bad enough that I’ve mostly laid in bed drooping and coughing and haven’t been able to write anything. I’m feeling a bit better, though, so it’s time to get back to business.

I have some ideas that I’d like to turn into short stories. I think I can have them ready by the end of the weekend.

Then, it’s back to work on Monday, where I’ll get written up because I don’t have a doctor’s note (I don’t have insurance).¬† Oh, the joys of being a wage laborer in America.

Anyway, I’d like to share this article from Brevity’s blog. It’s about how you need to write, write, and write, as opposed to just thinking about doing so. I spend so much time thinking about my stories that I end up tying myself in knots and never know where to start. It’s one of my worst habits, but one than can be overcome with diligence!

Michael Moorcock and three-day novels

Michael Moorcock, famed fantasy author best knows for his Elric novels (which have been on my to-read list for a while now. It’s annoying how little of the fantasy “canon” I’ve actually read so far), had an interesting writing method that he used early in his career to churn out books rapidly – in some cases in as little as three days. It’s a straightforward formula and it worked well for him.

I’ve wanted to attempt this ever since I first heard about it. Writing a novel in three days is not for everybody, nor is it my ultimate goal. But I do think that it could be a way for me to learn and master the tenets of structure and plot. It would a writing exercise, basically.

I wanted to get started this past month during NaNoWriMo, but life got in the way (doesn’t it always?). I got a three-day weekend coming up, though, so I’m going to try and start something. In the meantime, I’m going to be thinking of potential plots, characters, scenery, etc.

The goal in doing this is not to write the next Great American Novel, but to begin and finish a novel. Writing is a craft, and I’m still learning how to properly use all the tools of the trade. I’ll make sure to report on my progress, if there is any. You can read all about Moorcock’s method in the link below.

How to Write a Novel in Three Days: Lessons from Michael Moorcock

 

 

Enjoy your Friday with some Chavela

Though any day is a good day to listen to the indescribable and iconic ranchera singer Chavela Vargas. She passed away in 2012 but left a lifetime’s worth of great music for us to remember her by.

Also, a reminder: I’ll be a posting a short story next Sunday. I’m announcing it now because I hope that having a firm deadline will make me actually start and finish something. Right now, I’m not sure what the story will be about. Fortunately, I’m not short on ideas, so it’s just a matter of picking one and getting started. No more excuses!