Thursday, November 10, 2011
Today's Topic Is ...
You got me. I think I’ll just ramble for a couple of hundred words. There’s bound to be something useful in there somewhere.
Last week I e-subbed a novel. Now I’m waiting to hear back. I know I’m supposed to be working on my next book, but this publisher has a quick turnaround and I figure I’ll hear something shortly. This is one of my hang-ups as a writer. Not only can I only work on one story at a time, once I send something out I’m tempted to sit back and see how things turn out. That’s fine when the wait time is only a week or two, but I’ve had stories out at places that held them for close to two years. Am I supposed to stop writing for two years? Tempting thought, but no. Looks like I just went back to work.
The anthology with the horror story I wrote as “Gerald S. Parker” may be back on. They think they've found another publisher. The drawback in this case is the antho was pay on publication. I don’t see a penny unless and until the book actually comes out. That happens a lot with smaller magazines. Moral: aim for the “pay on acceptance” markets first. That way if something like this happens, you still have cash in your wallet. Still want to be a writer?
Assuming the book I sent out is accepted, I’ll then have to deal with the edits. The book clocked in at 86,600 words. Gahhh! What was I thinking? I still feel the last several chapters were rushed because I knew the thing was running long and tried to wrap it up in a hurry. Let’s see what the editor says. I know you’re supposed to let the book run as long as it needs to, and length doesn’t make that much difference in e-publishing, but c’mon. There needs to be a limit. Oh, and that word count was even longer in draft. I found myself cutting lines and whole paragraphs when I did the final type-through. One chapter got eviscerated by at least a third. And it STILL came out to 86K+. That’s it. My next project will be a novella. No more War and Peace.
In fact, I could probably benefit from limitations. Discipline and I have only a nodding acquaintance, which is why it takes me so long to write stuff. I work much better with set deadlines. Not the deadlines I set for myself either, because I just ignore those. It’s not like there are any consequences beyond not earning any money. I should talk with the publisher and have her set specific deadlines for me. Then I know things will get done by such-and-such a date, because if they don’t I won’t get paid. Last month I wrote a story on assignment (different genre) and got it out two days before deadline. I had a month and a half to write 6000 words and I waited until the last minute. I used to write my term papers the night before class, too. The point is, they got done within a specific time frame because I had a deadline. Maybe I should hire somebody to set deadlines for me so I get more writing done in a timely manner. If I miss deadline, I pay that person $100. That ought to speed me up. Any takers?
As for the length problem, I’ve been toying with an idea for Harlequin’s Nocturne Cravings. They have a specific word limit. If they had a deadline, I’d be set.
And lookie here, I wrote a blog, and by deadline, too. Maybe next week I’ll talk about ways to find the discipline to write and not just veg out in front of the TV. Hey, that’s not a bad idea. Why not, I’ve got a week …