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–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.

Writing–Rejected Motives

It’s time to come clean about Rejected.

While it was true that I self-published those nine stories to gain some experience in self-publishing and marketing myself and that I did want to put those stories to readers on why they thought the stories might have been rejected, I had another motive for publishing those stories.

I spent several years writing, revising, and submitting those stories, wash, rinse, repeat. While working full-time, my commitment to those stories was usurped in favor of a paycheck and the time and energy it took to maintaining it. When I finally decided to make a break for it and try to put together my own income through odd jobs, I came back to those stories and frankly, I didn’t like what I saw.

It’s not that I didn’t like the stories or thought that after several months of ignoring them that they suddenly became horrible. It’s just I was looking to make a new start. I wanted to start this go-round fresh. These stories were not fresh.

So I looked at them, arranged them, packaged them, and published them as much to put them out for people to read and judge them as I did to clear my own writing slate. Fresh start.

Not all of the stories written on that board during that time were wiped from that slate and put into that book. One of them, “Another Deadly Weapon”, was still out, waiting to be judged (it ended up being rejected). “Soul Sister” was finished, but isn’t a horror story, so it didn’t really fit in with the other stories, all of which are horror. “At 3:36” and “An Active Sleeper” were junk and not fit for publishing. So all of those stories ended up carrying over into this new go-round.

The mental effect of publishing those stories has been a great one. Those pressing weight of those stories, needy for homes of their own, aren’t crushing me anymore. They’ve got their home. Now I’ve got room, so to speak, to create new stories to try to house. That mounting pile of rejection has been swept out of my mental house. Now I can get to building a new pile.

I can always publish a sequel.