My gaslamp fantasy short story “Mechanicis Solis” has been accepted by Fictionvale Magazine! I got the good news earlier today, and couldn’t be happier about it. It will be published in the free-for-all Episode 4 of the magazine, which will come out on August 15th of this year.
If you haven’t read any of Fictionvale, I recommend it! Episodes 1 and 2 are already out and available on their website. Episode 1 is another genre free-for-all, and Episode 2 is a mash-up of science fiction and westerns (Think Star Trek on one end of the subtlety spectrum and Firefly on the other).
No, you are not reading the title wrong. This is the first entry in the Writing in Public Challenge, Month 2. I wasn’t feeling the best over the weekend, so I spent much of it resting up, brainstorming ideas without committing anything to paper, and getting some of my goals for the month organized. Today was the official start to the month.
Starting this month I’m breaking up fiction writing into two subcategories: short story writing and novel writing, which will be combined into the total amount for the month and year.
With all that said, today was pretty awful for actual fiction written. I outlined the revision for “Sublease,” but that was about it. I also spent quite a bit of time reading articles on writing by Rachel Aaron (Of “The Legend of Eli Monpress” fame) and watching a great interview of sci-fi/fantasy author Cat Rambo that . All of that is no excuse for the lack of words today. The only thing I can blame – other than general laziness – is my lack of writing over the weekend. It’s always a mistake when I go cold turkey for even a day or two. If writing is an addiction it’s about the easiest one to break. The day job can interfere with writing, but that’s still no excuse. The time is there. It just needs to be utilized.
Writing Goals (Any titles listed are working titles and – thankfully – subject to change):
Outline/Rewrite of “Sublease”, a science fiction tale set in the not-too-distant future where all of humanity is tied into a network that makes use of everyone’s unused physical and mental abilities in exchange for paying off the enormous debt a collapsed global economy has placed on everyone. Think of it as a coal-mining town where the company owns everything, and charges more than you get paid for the necessities. The hero is someone who wants to break free of that system. I’m expecting this tale to be around 10,000 words. This is the story I want to send to the Writers of the Future contest. The revision for this one story should take the bulk of the week, I’m guessing.
Brainstorm/Outline/Rough Draft of “Metamorph,” a short story for Resurrection House‘s XIII Anthology (6,000 words or less).
Brainstorm/Outline/Rough Draft of “UnCivil Engineering,” a humorous short story featuring civil engineers in the aftermath of an apocalypse (6,000 words or less). Aiming this as one of my submissions for the “Unidentified Funny Objects” anthology.
Brainstorm/Outline/Rough Draft two or three flash fiction pieces (1,000 words or less each). I have some ideas jotted down in my brainstorming notebook by the bed.
Write outline for the second draft of “Into the Wastes”, a fantasy novel about a company of crusaders sent into their kingdom’s northern hinterlands to deal with one threat, only to discover multiple threats.
Read Rhapsody, the first of the “Symphony of Ages” series by Elizabeth Haydon.
Re-read the prologues and opening chapters for several epic fantasy novels, including King’s Dragon (Kate Elliott), The Green Rider (Kristen Britain), and The Eye of the World (Robert Jordan), amongst others. I’m doing this as an exercise to see if there is anything common in each book’s opening chapters and how that could benefit the opening chapters to “Into the Wastes.”
The rough draft of “Harmonious Bedlam” was finished after an additional 4,800 words. It is much better structured than past rough drafts I’ve come up with, so I think the outlining strategy I followed from the people at How To Write A Novel Now. Now, while that outlining strategy is designed primarily for novels, it was a big help to me for a longer short story of around 6,000 words or so. I’m looking forward to putting it to “Sublease” and “You Are My Brothers” to see what elements I’m missing and where I can improve the story flow.
I have to say the last two months have been a journey for me. A lot has been written, but even more has been learned. I’ll go into that in a post at the end of the month, but I’m very satisfied with the way the time has gone. There are definitely areas where I need to improve on multiple fronts (Technique, plotting, language, and theming for the writing itself, but also efficiency and stamina). But, the forward momentum is there, and it is building.
It took a whole weekend to get rolling on it, but I finally finished with “Listening Post”. It clocked in at roughly 3,333 words. I’m going to let it sit until either tomorrow or Wednesday before re-reading it and making the final changes, but it won’t be much more or less than that. I just need to check grammar, make sure I’m not being redundant in the story-telling, and see if there’s any way I can tighten up the plot and action.
The final draft of “Fallout Ariel” (Renamed to “Blue Pearls”) is finished. It’s currently at 806 words, and hopefully will not fluctuate too much.
Lastly, the final draft of “Alien Concept” is finished. Its final word count is 735.
Yet another bad day for actually getting stuff written. I was at the keyboard for a number of hours, struggling to get “Listening Post” rewritten. I’m not sure what the problem was, but the words did not want to come. It was one of those days that makes a writer think he’s not a writer at all. It’s not a very complex tale either, which had me both puzzled and frustrated.
Further, it ate into my rough draft time and yet another day passed with little more done on “You Are My Brothers.” Tomorrow is the start of a new week, and a new set of goals. And part of those goals will be finishing the rewrites of “Listening Post” and “Fallout Ariel” very early in the week, possibly as early as tomorrow.
I spent more time this week writing rough drafts than I did getting salable material out the door. That’s not necessarily a problem, but it will become one if that’s all I do is draft.
On the resubmission side of things, only one story was resubmitted. That was “Starting From Zeroth.” It was originally submitted to the Asimov-themed issue by Penumbra. It made it to the final round of selections (Which I was pleased with) before ultimately being rejected (Which I was not pleased with). Still, it says good things about the story that it made it so far into the selection process, so I fired it off immediately to somewhere else, and then somewhere else (More below).
One new story was finished and sent out this week. That was the previously named “Ninja Mama” story that has now become known as “Amidst the Swirling Sakura Petals.” I admit it sounds a lot more pretentious than “Ninja Mama” did, especially considering that the origin of the story idea came from a quote by Chief Arino of Game Center CX (Specifically when he was playing a game and said “Papa did this with a Ninja once”). What started out as a lighthearted tale became a very serious one that explores revenge, salvation, and motherhood. And Ninjas.
I’m still trying to strike a good balance between planning, rough draft writing, and revisions. Today is a good example of the difficulty of that. The day began with plans for getting more of the “You Are My Brothers” rough draft finished along with revisions for “Listening Post” and possibly one of the flash fiction pieces. None of that happened. With so many rough drafts that need to enter the revision/rewriting stage I got caught up in doing research on different outlining techniques and wasted much of the day jumping from article to article.
There was some success, though. Of the five stories that need to be revised/rewritten I was able to get outlines written for four of them, and I began work on the “Listening Post” rewrite. For some reason this story has become a challenge to me, and I’m not sure why. Hopefully tomorrow’s work on it will yield some answers. It could be there’s just too much in the plot to contain in a 3,500 word or less story.
Anyway, here are the rather lackluster numbers for the day:
Today was less productive than I was hoping it would be, and a lot of it had to do with my being scatter-brained through a good portion off the day. Did not really get to serious writing until the evening, but managed to put in another ten pages of “You Are My Brothers.” This story is as rough as “Sublease” was, but the overall plot is beginning to come together. And with every scene I write I get a better handle on the pacing and what I can and can’t accomplish with the word limitations given to me. 12,000 – 17,000 words seems like a lot, but it’s amazing how quickly it can get eaten up.
Now you know why flash fiction is a challenge for me! A fun challenge, but a challenge all the same.
Speaking of flash fiction, I came up with two ideas that I need to flesh out more, but one will be a tale about applying for position of the prince that wakes the sleeping princess with a kiss, and the other will occur in the minutes and hours following the sun going out not with a bang, but with a whimper. Will the world follow suit?
Anyway, tomorrow my plan is to get another ten or so pages of “You Are My Brothers” written and finish with that rough draft on Sunday. I would like to revise “Listening Post” as well, and get to work on the reading research for “Song of Battle.” I’ve never tried writing anything with music in it, so it’ll be a great challenge.