There is little chance of me adding to my body of work — I’m talking about fiction writing — before the end of the year. I can, therefore, begin the retrospective on my 2016 literary career efforts.
The overall progress is not very encouraging; I’m up to twenty-nine rejections . . . still a long way from my goal of eight hundred and thirty-seven rejection. Eleven of those twenty-nine came from three short stories, eleven other came from short stories that are openly available on this blog, and seven came from flash stories also from this blog. One short story is still under consideration . . . going on 369 days as of today.
Here are a few more details . . .
The three short stories I am shopping around are Nancy, Shift, and Grave Matters (used to be Future Graveyard). All of those links are to password-protected posts. If you are a new subscriber hankering to read them, leave a comment below and I’ll e-mail you a password (do not post your e-mail below; just leave a comment)
The one that’s going on a year+ now is The Shirt, also password protected.
I had also found a few places that accept reprint submissions, and me having posted my fiction on this blog qualifies as having been previously published. I edited and sent in most of the short fiction openly available in previous posts. Those counted for eighteen rejections.
I’ve been shopping my NaNoWriMo 2 novel to various agents. I lost track of the number of rejections, but it’s up there. OK, OK . . . it’s fifteen. I also had submitted it to one slush pile and it was not picked up. I plan to send it out again. By the way, that’s the unedited first cut linked above, and it too is password protected.
The NaNoWriMo 3 is still in the edit stage and I like it . . . but then, I like everything I write. NaNo 3 is an action thriller with no science fiction or fantasy. Might be writing more of those. The above link is the unedited complete first draft.
OK, so that’s the helicopter view of what I’ve been doing as far as trying to get published. Let me now dig a little deeper into this year’s other writing-related activities, as in actual writing I did.
Early January found me still adding to the 2015 NaNoWriMo novel, but a flash challenge had me write the first draft of Future Graveyard. As this was a flash piece, it came in at just a tad over two thousand words. As I was writing it, I realized I really liked it and planned to send it out to various markets after expanding it a bit.
The second flash challenge resulted in The Manor Above, and that is not password protected. I’ll sound like a broken record, but I like the story a lot. I also got to thinking that perhaps I should do mostly romance pieces. Except, it’s difficult weaving lots of shooting and killing into romance stories.
Still in January (it was a good writing month) I read an article at Mythcreants regarding the use of Second Person Point of View in storytelling. I picked up the challenge and wrote THIS piece. I was then challenged to write from a female second person point of view.
My answer was to write the same story from the female protagonist (HERE). I think this is the first time I did the same story from two different points of view. What I took from this exercise is that second person POV is difficult and limited, but it does offer — I think — a more intimate view of the character. Then again, what do I know?
February saw me finish up the NaNoWriMo 2015 novel. I wrote my thoughts on the effort HERE. The complete novel is linked above.
Immediately after, I worked on revising and expanding Future Graveyard (HERE). If you click on the link, you will note I was mixing my writing updates with the continuing Cruisers (classic cars) updates.
My next bit of writing came in the form of a short flash piece (also from a prompt).
Also in March, I was experiencing a bit of frustration with the rejections I was getting. Specifically, they gave no hint of what they thought of the stuff I was submitting. I wear big boys pants, and I’m confident I could take honest criticism of my work. Brutal criticism, even. I might not listen to it, but I will take it and make it mine.
To date, of all the rejections I’ve gotten, only one was a bit more than a form letter. The last rejection for Grave Matters said they liked the story but that it ended a bit too neat and tidy. Also, too quick.
I’m ambivalent about that, but those kinds of rejections are useful; it tells me why they did not buy it. It’s now up to me to decide if I believe in the story as written or if I should try to tweak it. I’m running out of places to submit it, so it would have been nice to hear that in response to my first submission, not my seventh.
The other rejections have me wondering if they are lying when they say “we can’t use this right now.” Perhaps what they really mean is “what a load of crap! you should quit writing!” I mean, I wouldn’t quit writing, but I would quit submitting. At least then I would not be wasting my time and their time by sending in crap they will never buy.
Also in March, I penned a few thoughts on the whole pro fiction market.
By April, I had moved on to another rant, this time about trigger points.
Continuing in April, I dabbled a bit into the process of coming up with ideas. THIS post also includes short fiction pieces.
After April, there was a huge gap — a time gap — before I wrote anything again. I had an excuse. In May we decided to sell everything and move to Hawaii . . . and that’s what we did.
Come September, I got on the (figurative) writing horse and wrote a fun piece that peripherally referenced some of my other writing efforts.
And then, nothing until the middle of October, when I published THIS piece. Really, not a piece per se; just a scene. I also took the opportunity to announce what would be my destined to be doomed 2016 NaNoWriMo . . . little did I know that Trump would win the presidency. That, as it turned out, pretty much sunk my writing efforts.
Continuing my continuing with October — before we knew that Trump (Trump!) would be our president — I penned a short piece based on a writing prompt. I liked it. If you do click on the link, the writing is way at the bottom (titled “Ancestor”).
On Halloween Eve, I managed to write a piece inspired by the beliefs of life after death. If it’s not clear, I do not hold such beliefs.
On November 1, I announced my NaNoWriMo 16 bid, offering a glimpse into what was supposed to be a Michelle Maul, P. I., short story. That story, which reached 10K and is still pending completion, was my last fiction writing for the year.
Wait . . . I missed one. In September I also wrote a very short entry for yet another flash fiction site. They did not like the story, but I do.
Then, in November, the world changed.
I know it sounds like an excuse for not writing, but I felt — and feel — the urge to communicate and promote critical thinking and reason even as I rail against stupidity and superstition. Meaning, I have this deep urge to write about what’s going on knowing full well I will not make a difference and that no one will hear me and that if by chance someone does hear me, it will likely be rabid Trump supporters who will threaten me and try to besmirch my reputation. Well, they would if I had a reputation.
My voice will not be heard, but maybe if we all join together . . . but no. I won’t ask that of anyone else. Life is difficult enough without dealing with the crazies.
And that’s the review of my 2016 writing efforts. I probably missed a post or two here and there, but not for lack of trying to gather everything into one post.
That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.
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. . . my FP ward . . . chieken shit.
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