Writing–The “Powerless” Saga

Contracts

Last week marked the end of an on-going issue with one of my stories.

I sold “Powerless” to a small magazine that shall remain nameless. When the story was accepted, it was explained that they wanted the story for the March 2013 issue and would I be okay with the wait. I was because even though my pocket would have to wait to receive payment, my ego was more than satisfied.

However, March came and instead of publication and payment, I received an email stating that the original publication had been bought by another publisher and things were a little crazy. New contracts and publishing schedules would be forthcoming.

In May, the new contract request came and I fulfilled it.

And then I waited.

A couple of posts on their Facebook page kept us authors informed, sort of, but other than that…we were all left waiting all summer.

(I’m one of those writers that tires not to ever inquire about a submission or publication status. It makes me feel like an amateur and a nag. I know I’m well-within my rights, but well…that’s another post.)

Last week, I received a final email. According to the former employee writing the email, the new publisher had no timetable for publication and possibly no funds to pay the writers for their work. Kind of a problem since we’d all basically re-upped our contracts for another year.

The email informed us of everything they knew and left it up to us as to whether we wanted to stick it out or not. If we wanted out of our contracts, they advised us how to do it, since they didn’t have the authority to release our rights. The email closed by wishing us all well.

I thought about it for a few hours. Well, first I let my agitation die down and then I thought about it.

I could leave my story with the new publisher with the hope they’d get their shit together and publish my story before the contract expired and actually paid me.

Or I could take my ball and go home.

I decided on the latter.

I don’t want to deal with shady people if I don’t have to. And I consider this bit of roundabout I’ve been through this year to be a bit shady.

Besides, this story will fit nicely into my own anthology.

Silver lining.

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Writing–50 Rejections Update

English: Logo of the band Rejected Español: Lo...

We’re about half-way through the year and my goal of getting 50 rejections. I’d love to say that I’ve already made that goal. I’d love to say I’m even half-way there. Unfortunately, neither is the case.

In fact, I haven’t even broken double digits.

As of right now, I’ve gotten 8 rejections, 2 acceptances (“Soul Sister” which is up at Suburban Fool now and “Powerless” which should come out next year), and I’ve still got 6 short stories out that I’m waiting to hear back on.

I admit it. I haven’t been as productive as I hoped I’d be.

Well, that’s not exactly true. I HAVE been productive, just not so much on the short story front. But when it comes to the short stories, yeah, I haven’t been as much of a go-getter when it comes to sending them out. I’ve got 5 ready to go and a couple of them have been sitting there, waiting, for quite a while.

I’m back to that hang-up of struggling to find an appropriate place to send them. Obviously, I read guidelines and I try to adhere to them as closely as I can. I don’t like to waste people’s time. But I’m not the greatest judge of my own work and I’m sure that there are pieces I could submit to places, but I’m on the fence on whether or not they fit. They could, but then they couldn’t. That indecision is probably costing me in the rejection numbers (and possible acceptances).

It’s something I’ve got to work on, for sure.

I’m not giving up on my goal. Sitting here now, it looks like I don’t even have a shot at it. And that’s kind of a bummer. But I have trouble quitting on things, even if they are long shots. I’ve got to see them through until the end.

And this is one of those goals that even if I fail, I’m still going to be better off than if I’d never tried in the first place.

I’ve just got to keep going.

Writing–February Projects

February is being dedicated to the short story now that I’m finished with the initial (and crappy) rewrites of Spirited in Spite. I’ve got this goal of getting 50 rejections this year (more on that next week) and it’s really spurned my creativity in regards to my short stories.

So here’s my short story To Do List this month:

-Revise/Polish “At 3:36” (I’ve already done initial edits in changing it from 3rd to 1st person)

-Revise/Polish “An Active Sleeper” (I think I’ve figured out how to fix this story)

-Revise/Polish “Everybody’s Time” (I wrote it at the end of last month)

-Review “Powerless” and revise/polish if necessary (It’s my first rejection of the year)

-Write “Notorious” (about the survivor of a serial killer)

-Write “Hear It?” (about a person suffering from auditory hallucinations; title may change)

-Submit any stories that are ready.

I’ve got a couple of other stories (“Anniversaries” and an untitled one) that I could revise if I get the time, but I’ve left them off the list for now simply because I’m not sure what to do to them yet. The stories need tweaking to make them work, but I’m not sure what the tweaks should be. I’m sure it’ll come to me.

Ideally, at the end of the month I’ll have at least four stories that can (and hopefully will be) submitted.

Gotta keep producing and submitting if I want those 50 rejections.

Writing–January Projects

January is going to be one busy, crazy month.

I’m rewriting/revising Spirited in Spite for a contest. The deadline is February 5th, but I’m going to try to have the novel done by January 30th. Yeah, considering most of the book has to be rewritten, there is no way this can end well. If I can get it in somewhat readable shape, I’ll be happy.

The contest is in three stages: pitch, excerpt, novel. I will declare this contest a success if I can get past the pitch stage.

Really, since there’s no entry fee, there’s nothing I’ve got to lose by doing this. The hard deadline, the goal, will help keep me focused. I’ve rewritten/revised one other novel, but I didn’t complete it in the sense that I would feel comfortable with sending it. I can’t imagine I can get this book perfect in about 30 days (okay, to be fair it’s more like 45 days since I actually started working on it in December), but what I will end up with when I submit my entry is going to be better and closer to finished than what I’ve got right now. There’s no reason for me to pass up the opportunity to really work on my novel revising skills in a specific time frame and with a definite goal.

There will be stress and frustration. Let’s just hope that it’s not so severe I end up pulling out my hair.

I’ve also got a few short stories that need to be finished from December. “Another Deadly Weapon” is done and ready to go. “How the Night Haunts” will be up on the blog shortly. The rewrites on “At 3:36” ended up separating the piece into two different stories, “At 3:36” and “Powerless”. “At 3:36” needs more work, but “Powerless” just needs some polishing up, I think. “Anniversaries” and the untitled short story need more work, too.

Aside from “Powerless”, every other story is going to wait in favor of the novel revisions. With “Powerless” done, I’ll have four stories (along with “Soul Sister”, “Playing Chicken” (the anthology it was going to be in was canceled), and “Another Deadly Weapon”) to shop around, which I plan to do in earnest. My goal is to submit a lot more short stories this year.

Let’s see how this all works out with my birthday and me being in Chicago for four days. Let’s just see.