Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tales of Pending Rejection: 4 poems out, 3 picked up & gettin’ Nasty... again

It’s been a good week submission-wise. My poem "The Sun Shines Down" was accepted two days after I had submitted it. You can find it here at the Black Lantern Publishing website (up already, pretty cool).

Buoyed by that success, I decided to head to the files and see which of my older poems deserved a new look (yeah, yeah, I’m supposed to be writing new stuff, and I have a lot of that scheduled for this holiday weekend, but I was eager to send out more). I found nine poems that weren’t cringe-inducing, and for various reasons never found a home the first time around.

I sent out four additional poems to two new markets, Rose & Thorn Journal and The Lesser Flamingo. While I have to wait at least a few weeks on the ones for Rose & Thorn, I heard back within hours on the ones I sent to The Lesser Flamingo (I love that name): both of them accepted! But not until the January issue. I’ll remind you, no worries.

I'm also giving "Nasty in the Cupboard" another run, in the daily journal Everyday Weirdness. It's a pretty cool publication and I'd be happy to be included. We’ll see what happens there.

None of these are paying markets, of course, but I’m good on that for now. Day Job keeps the bills in line and the internet pulsing. I’ve still got five more poems to dole out, and a couple of markets in mind before I start turning out some newer material. Needless to say it has been a good week thus far, made better by the fact that Day Job only lasts three days for the holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Tales of Pending Rejection: Nasty in the Cupboard & The Sun Shines Down

For over two weeks I've left you hanging. You've probably been wondering, nay pining to know where I stand with my weekly story and poem submissions. I know, I'm sorry.

But here's the good news, I've kept up on the submissions. The first story submitted, "The Six Stages of Grief," is still out and awaiting response. I've since threw out and had tossed back a 100 word flash story called "Nasty in the Cupboard" to a flash horror market called MicroHorror. Nasty was an old story written years ago, but I always liked it ad would like to see it published eventually.

That was week two, this past week I wrote a new poem called "The Sun Shines Down" and submitted it to Black Lantern Publishing. This was the first poem I had written in a while, and I'm a little nervous about it, but I like the imagery I got down on the page and am hopeful.

I'm also going to keep a running tally of these tales of pending rejections on the sidebar, updated as I submit and hear back from various markets. [Edit to add: I'm removing the tally, as it's not really a good motivator for me, and an annoyance to update - 01/12/10]

Next up: I have an idea for a superhero short story, and I have a market in mind for it. We'll see if I can pump it out in time and save the day! (sorry)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

NaNo no more, and an interesting couple of weeks in the meantime

Since the last time I posted a lot has happened in my corner of the world. I decided that 2009 was not the year to do NaNoWriMo. This decision was arrived at in a sensible manner by me stressing out and over-thinking my novel (the opposite of what you are supposed to do, and precisely the habit I signed on to learn to shed)—then scrapping it eight days into NaNo to try another idea that’s been floating around my noggin, only to have the same problem. Add in the Day Job, a couple of home improvement projects we had scheduled for November (that are actually happening in November) and my proclamation of submitting a short story or poem a week for as long as I could keep it up, and, well, you know…

A few drops of paint from the above mentioned home improvement projects sparked a few days of in-house arguments and tension recently that was really not about a few drops of paint. Fortunately, things are better now—or are on the road to being better in some cases—and I think points, counter-points and viewpoints are better understood by all. Plus, the bathroom is shaping up nicely.

One of the more surprising developments was my return to writing for BLAM! Ventures. As I noted here previously I had decided to leave the company. For a variety of reasons my timing was horrible and my exit was not how I had hoped it would be. I had intended to finish out several projects I was working on, but I was for better or worse being shut out during the conversation with my partner and could not make this point (and that is not his fault at all). However, I felt I could not stay any longer as I would just be stringing them along and make things worse down the line.

The happy news is relationships on that front have been patched up as well. I also find myself able to finish off the one project that I had left mid-stream I was personally upset to leave, which is co-writing the first story arc for the SF comic book series The Gilded Life, to be published sometime in the not-overly-distant-future by Archaia. I should have the remaining scripts done by the end of 2009 (three scripts in a little over 40 days is not quite on par with Bill Willingham’s recent announcement of 30 scripts in 30 days, but I’ll take it).

My contributions to the other major project I was working on, the Conspiracy of the Planet of the Apes illustrated novel, will still be there, though I am not writing anything beyond what I have already. Frankly, I’m good with that. I enjoyed delving into the world more than I thought I would, but at this point in my life licensed projects are not what I am interested in writing. I’ve too many worlds crowding the real estate in my mind already, time for them to come out and be seen.

One interesting thing that came from my separation from BLAM! Ventures was the notion that I had somehow sold out in leaving. It had struck me as odd at the time though I didn’t pursue it, but further consideration has brought me to the conclusion that it’s an incorrect thought.

The way it was presented to me—at least what I got from it—was the reason I had sold out was more or less that I chose to pursue a life with my future wife and not make my career as a writer/creator my defining identity.

Here’s how Selling Out is defined on Wikipedia:

"Selling out" refers to the compromising of one's integrity, morality and principles in exchange for money, success or other personal gain. It especially refers to the attempt to increase social appeal or acceptability through this compromising.

The Urban Dictionary also has multiple definitions for Selling Out. The few I read say much the same thing as above, just cite real world examples (and those not always correct in my mind). 

By the above definition, I think the opposite is closer to the truth: staying with BLAM! would have been like selling out. Had I done that, it would have been purely for any payday or notoriety as a writer I might receive. Staying with BLAM! in the long run would have compromised who I am today, and wouldn’t have been very helpful to their cause, either.

This is not to say BLAM! Ventures is an unworthy endeavor. I am proud of the books I was (and for a while yet, still am) involved in. I think the company and the projects they are pursuing are pretty awesome all around and will enjoy reading/watching them when they arrive at my local comic store, bookshop, television set, theater, etc.

Of course, Catherine (the future wife I talked about earlier) is a big part of where I’m at today and headed in the future, but the shift in my direction as a person began long before that. Indeed, those prior changes are what allowed me to be ready for Catherine when she came into my life a few years ago. They’re also what finally prodded me to make the major decision to leave BLAM! Ventures in the first place. Once I would have defined myself solely as a writer, now I’m more interested in defining myself as a person—someone who is complex and at times unfathomable to himself and others (hence some of the household stress sparked by the renovations), and who is learning to live his life in a way he never did before.

As far as I am concerned, I’m not selling out. I’m anteing up.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Story submission

I submitted a flash story I wrote a while back to Every Day Fiction tonight. This was the first time in a long time I tried that. It was actually six 100 word stories that told a larger tale, I just gave it a new title ("The Six Stages of Grief"), did a bit of fancy formatting (not really, just added a few extra words, six of them being "stage"), and there you have it (can you guess what the other six words were?).

I was so happy having done it, I started a story submission tracker spread-sheet thingie on my Google Docs. After I had done that, I realized I didn't really have much else to submit. Certainly nothing recent. I wondered what to do.

That was when the AH-HA! moment happened... write more stories. And a few poems (mostly free form, but maybe a sestina, the format has always fascinated me). But mostly stories.

My new goal is to write one flash story or poem a week, and send it out for however long I can keep it up. I know, it's crazy, especially now with NaNoWriMo going on this month. I can't help it, I'm feeling free and enjoying it, and I want to take advantage while it lasts.

NaNo update tomorrow, bed now.

NaNoWriMo: Days 2-4

Day One started with barely a whimper, 59 words. That's where my total stood until tonight, just after midnight when I ground out an additional 349.

Days Two and Three were zero word days, and when you're supposed to be averaging over 1,600 words a day, that ain't good. November's young yet, and I'm not too worried at the moment. I am a little surprised how the beginning is shaping up, but then, I really don't have much clue how things are going to play out in general so I shouldn't be.

My main character is a mystery still, I knocked him down a bit from my original vision of who he was so he wouldn't turn into a silly Mary Sue character. He's still got some of me in him, but hopefully not so much that it overpowers him and ruins the story.

Total word count as of Day Four: 408

Just remember kids, Day Four isn't over. And like the profile on the side there says: I'm magic...

Good night.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

It has begun!

59 words written since midnight rolled around. It's a small start, a mere fraction of the final goal. But I'll take it.

Time for bed now.