Occasionally, I write fiction. On that basis, I call myself a “writer” . . . and then quickly qualify the statement by saying I like to write.
And, write I do. A lot.
But, in 2017, not much of it was fiction. I’ll get to what little I wrote, but first, let me give you a quick summary of the past few weeks . . .
To be sure, Grammarly is not all that reliable because whenever you open a document you’re working on, it counts the words already written and previously checked as new words. But, since I’ve not written any fiction in the past few weeks and since I’ve not edited any previously written stuff, the only double-counting comes from a few re-edits of my Christmas/New Year letter and the multiple calendar posts I’ve been doing. I estimate the 48K words is high by about 8-15K words. Call it 18K and that still leaves 30,000 words written in two weeks.
Believe it or not, that’s probably a pretty good estimate. Those 30K words include all the unique blog posts in the last few weeks, my interactions with people who comment on my blog posts, and my commenting on blogs I read. Sometimes, those comments get into discussions. Oh, yes, I’ve also been known to write e-mail responses, some quite long. Well, long for other people; to me, they barely scratch the surface of proper communication.
One quick word about accuracy; I like ellipses and Grammarly doesn’t. We also occasionally disagree on comma usage and, lately, it’s been flagging words I want to use and asking me if I meant something else. But, yes, I make errors. I’m a pretty fast typer but not a touch typer. I look at the keyboard and use two (and occasionally, up to four) fingers to type. One of the problems I’m having with my current keyboard is the transposing of the letters. That’s a recent problem and I think some of the keys are hit near-simultaneously and the key response is off. Or, I’m losing digital dexterity. Take your pick. Another problem is some of the keystrokes don’t register unless I make a deliberate and pronounced stroke on the key, something I don’t always do as my fingers glide over said keys like speed demons on crack.
Anyway, despite all them words on digital paper, I’ve only had something like eighteen posts about writing. Of those, there are only three pieces of fiction, although I’m quite proud of one of them.
. . . er . . . scratch that; one of them has grown on me to the point that I think it’s pretty good. BUT . . . it could also be like tapioca; it doesn’t really taste good, but if that’s the only thing you got to eat, you might eventually grow fond of it.
So, why so little fiction writing, you ask? I won’t lie . . . Trump.
Look, I’m not really for one party or another. Heck, I think they are all crooks. But — briefly — I like this country. I like the ideals it strives for. I’ve watched those ideals get kicked around and battered during the past five administrations but this is a step beyond. I honestly don’t think we can walk this one back. Especially since — despite all their vociferous complaining — Democrats are chomping at the bit for their turn at running the country without the facade of caring for the people. As bad as Trump is, the next administration will only build on what he sowed. It’s what every administration does, and if you doubt me, look back at Obama promising transparency, protection for whistle-blowers, limiting lobbyists, etc. etc. . . . how did that turn out?
Say what you will about Trump, and there’s a lot to say, but he wears his contempt for the rule of law and for the people on his sleeve for all to see. Heck, occasionally, just to make sure we see it, he hoists it up on a pole and waves it around on Twitter. Watching one’s country go to heck can be difficult . . . is difficult.
And that’s all I’m going to say about this. It’s been a tough year for writing and current affairs contribute to the load but most of the criticism is on me. Were I a “real” writer (one who had to write to put food on the table), I would have written.
That’s not to say I didn’t submit stuff. I have 46 rejections to date. The average turnaround time was 33 days with the longest being 441 days and the shortest 1 day. That’s since 2015. This year I submitted 13 stories and those — on average — were rejected within 25 days of being submitted. Most were rejected in two to five days.
If I include fiction and post about writing, the number of blog posts about writing is . . . drumroll . . . 18, or about one out of every ten blog posts. Of those, only four were new fiction.
In fact, I didn’t even mention writing until the beginning of March and then it was the end of March when I wrote about some ideas I was (and still am) pondering. That post had a quick and difficult-to-read flash piece that I meant to clean up and expand but never did.
In April, I answered a writing prompt and wrote Coming Home. I like the piece but the ending is not as clean as I would like and probably a little sappy. What can I say; I’m a sappy kind of guy.
But, you know what? I do like that story. I like the emotional punch even when I know it’s coming.
The next post was in support of a writer, Paige Adams, and her self-published book, Tales of Ejoma (Dual Realms Book 1). If you like paranormal romance (magic and romance), it’s a pretty good read.
Self-publishing is an option I hold on reserve for when I exhaust other options. Why? Well, mostly because it’s a lot of work. THIS post covers a bit of what’s involved. By the way, that post is also a pretty good reference for my previous writings about writing. Brilliant stuff, if I say so myself. And, I have to — say so myself — because no one else will.
Keep in mind that that was written in April of this year and the plans I mentioned in the post have not been implemented. Why not, you ask? Well, I tell you . . . say, look over there! Isn’t that a speckled yellow beak cyclopean heron? Sorry, my mistake.
Anyway, as I was saying, THIS other post covers some of the monetary hurdles associated with self-publishing, and they are not inconsequential. Hey, if becoming a published author was easy, everybody would be doing it.
I rounded out the self-publishing series with a post (HERE) that holds what I — if I ever get traditionally published — will strongly suggest be my author’s bio. In my opinion, it’s the kind of bio that people want to read about authors they like. Also, even if they don’t like the author, they will perhaps admire the style and humor of it.
My next contribution to the would-be writer/author is a post titled A Tiny Glimmer of Talent. Once again, I pull no punches in trying to dissuade competition . . . er . . . I mean, in trying to inform would-be authors of the difficult road to publication and a potential of being moderately successful. Hint . . . lots of work, a willingness to learn, and some lucky breaks.
In early August, I posted (HERE, password-protected) my second Michelle Maul, P. I., short story. I admit that at first, I found it a tad skimpy but that it has since grown on me for its subtle layering of drama, action, mystery, and suspense. In case anyone is interested, the first Michelle Maul Murder Mystery story is HERE. No password on that one.
Oh, OK . . . it was easier letting it grow on me than going back and editing it. Still, I do like it. As soon as I find places that publish those kinds of stories, I’m sending it in.
I have a lot of new subscribers (mid-1,200s) and even though most are people trying to sell stuff, there may be some who want to read this future classic of the P.I. genre. I think most people who wanted to read it have already done so, but if not, leave a comment below and I’ll send you the password. Don’t leave your e-mail address; it comes through with the comment.
The next post was my own critique of the story along with a nifty effort at a cover.
August saw me pen a short (1,500 words) piece I also consider submitting. Heck, you know what? I’m going to polish that up a bit and send it out before the end of the year. A last minute push to get published in 2017, as it were. Anyway, “I Should Have Left Well Enough Alone” is also password protected. If you want to read it, comment below.
Also in August, I penned an opinion piece about reading (and, by association, writing). Things don’t look good, if you ask me. But, don’t ask me . . . read THIS.
Late August provided a blow to what I thought was a new-found enthusiasm about writing . . .
September was a travel month and it’s not until October that I penned an opinion about dark and light writing.
At the end of October, I pushed myself to write a sequel to last year’s Halloween story. Not a Super-Solid effort, but it wasn’t a total suck-fest. You can read it HERE, but I would recommending reading last year’s story before reading this year’s Halloween offering.
And that, dear readers, is the sum total of my efforts relating to writing for 2017. Not much, really, but I hope to do better in 2018 . . . starting with now editing that August story and sending it out.
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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