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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 In Review, 2014 To Kick Ass

Ah, so the big 2013 is now over and we usher in the New Year with 2014.

Where are my flying cars? Hell, screw flying. Where are the cars that drive themselves so I can take a nap on my commute to the Day Job? Seriously, I needs ma' beauty sleep people. Make it so, Captain.

So, in the writing scheme of things, 2013 was an excellent year for me getting my writing shtick together and taking it seriously. Like an unpaid second job. Like a mutha'effin' boss. Now that I've been in RL doing Day Job type stuff for a while, it's taught me how to view submitting my stories in a professional, organized manner, treating it the way I do in handling clients. Also at the Day Job I got to write a mass rejection letter for applicants to a job we were hiring for, so it was really weird being on the giving rather than receiving end. However, like all rejection letters it started with 'Thank you for--'

In fact, my emails through my tablet give me the first few words of the email, and I can always tell when I've received a rejection. It starts: Thank you for submitting. If I see that I know it's a bust. Secretly, the little devil on my shoulder hates seeing the words 'Thank you for.'

At least it's not like the SubPop Records rejection letter, which is famous for starting as: Dear Loser.

So here's a rundown of stuff that happened writing wise:

·        Partial re-write and edits of 2012's NaNo steampunk novel, Blood and Brass. I put this project on hold to work on 2013's NaNo, but will continue after I finish the first draft of the below project.
·        Half the first draft of NaNo 2013's SF novel, No Working Title ('cause I suck at titles, but I've been calling it Burn Notice in Space). Still working on this one as we speak.
·        With the two novels plus rewrites the word count for the year is: 320,000.
·        Submitted short story Othervoice on the Rails: submitted 4 times, received 3 personal rejections, and 1 form rejection. I revised this one in a DayQuil induced haze, and sent it out to another place this morning. I still think it's good, and it was one of the stories I truly allowed myself to write weird.
·        Submitted short story Into His Brass Heart to Steampunk Romance anthology, editor held on for a looong time before I received this personal rejection on New Year's Eve: "You can probably tell by the amount of time we've held the story that we think it is a strong one, but ultimately we felt it did not fit the balance of the anthology. Best of luck for your current projects, and I hope we see more of your writing in the future." I'll admit I was super-duper bummed about this one, and I have no idea where to sub this to next. This one was a learning experience because I've never written something purely romance before (sure I use small romance subplots, which I'm still not great at, but this was different).
·        Submitted short story The Star-Tailed Fox to top-o'-the-line magazine, received a form rejection. This one was a stretch and I knew it. I plan on revising lightly and sending out to a couple of places in 2014.
·        Submitted short story The Honored Daughter to an insect-themed anthology, received a form rejection. Again, I knew this one was a bit of a stretch. Not sure if I'll send it out again.

Daytime Telly Afterschool Special what-I-learned:

          Oh, kids. I learned a lot. Cue rainbow-and-star The More You Know whoosh. In previous years, let's say the last six, I've only written one completely edited novel (with critique), one first draft novel, and submitted one humor short story.
          Since then I've been determined to expand my prolific-ness, and to stretch my skills by taking risks.

·        I now write every day. Even if it's only for 15 minutes, and in fact, 15 minutes is my bare minimum regimen. Writers write, and like exercising for a 5K, you have to exercise every day. No excuses (barring physical illness of this stupid mortal body). In fact, if I don't write at all in anyway shape or form, I feel completely lost. Like I've left the kettle on and the gas back at home.
·        Novel writing is my first love and where my strengths lie (lay? lying? Obviously it's not grammar). But writing short stories has expanded on a different part of the craft. It's been fun. I believe my short story writing skills at this point, based on all of the personal rejection letters, are at the good but not quite there point. Not sure how to step it up to the next level other than to keep on keepin' on.
·        Submitting is a whole 'nuther ball of wax, and a hard learning experience. Finding the best places to submit short stories to is like doing a Day Job research project. Hey at least I get paid for it at the Day Job. Right now I'm only submitting to paying markets, as I find even the best for-the-love markets a little potentially dodgy.
·        Try something new. I know, sounds obvious. But I think I'd boxed myself into a safe little corner. I had shied away from letting the brain roam to wild-weird places. By not completely restraining my impulses, I came up with some extremely freeing pieces of work. Dark pieces, bizzaro pieces, sweetly romantic pieces, not-so-sweet romantic bits, gritty bits, slipstream pieces, a lot of genre bending, and yeah, I'm still working on the whole humor angle.

Things to do in 2014:
·        Polish novel(s).
·        Get novel(s) critiqued.
·        Get ready to submit novel(s) to lit agents in 2015. Which will mean writing queries, and synopses for the first time.
·        In March, do the whole "Give me a song, and I'll write a story" thing that worked out so well last year. Make this a yearly March thing.
·        Sub out more shorts.
·        Try flash fiction, even though it gives me headaches to write that short.
·        Find a way to make this blog more entertaining, both to me and to readers.
·        Leave more comments on other people's blogs. Because I read them a lot, oh yes I do, but I rarely comment. Which is stupid.
·        Stop cursing so much fuck that.
·        Use more bullet points, and write shorter posts.

Hope 2013 was awesome for you, and a tip of the hat to 2014.


At January 1, 2014 at 10:37 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would totally read a book titled "Burn Notice in Space", but Bruce Campbell would cut you in half with a chainsaw for using that title.

Everybody gets rejections, but it's very awesome you made those submissions. And writing every day... that adds up over the year. You'll soon have more stories than you'll know what to do with :)

At January 2, 2014 at 9:39 PM , Blogger B.C. Matthews said...

Thanks. I think Bruce "The Chin" Campbell would at least take an axe to me. As Sam Axe? Hehe.

About the rejections, they really don't bother me much, despite me bitching about them in the post. I make sure that the same day I get the rejection, I send it out to a new place. What does bother me is the length of time it takes. But that just gives us more time to write!

Here's to 2014! *clinks glasses*


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