August marks a milestone in my writing “career”. Back in 2011 I sent off my first submission to a call for a superhero novella, “Fire & Frost.” My first rejection followed shortly afterward. Looking back at it, there were some big flaws in the prose, narration, content, and other things that make it unsuitable for acceptance. After a change of premise, reworking characters, adding a sub-plot, and an additional 15k words, it's shaped up to be a nice story. I haven't found a home for it yet, but in time someone will want to publish it. Have to keep telling myself that so it doesn't feel like I'm slamming my head against a wall so much. :)
The other milestone is the publication of my first sale, “Madame” in the anthology “Uncommon Assassins.” Not a long or involved story, just the first one and so there's a lot of fondness for the characters. I'd planned on submitting a sequel story for the current assassins anthology call, but Henri and Madame aren't the subtle or insidious types. “Riot” will have to wait until another call to see the light of day. Were I to do it over, there's a few things I'd change about the story and add more to flush out Henri, Uncle Andre, Aunt Giselle, and Madame.
The last three years have been a trip with high and low points. By all rights, I shouldn't be as successful with selling short stories. Not making pro rate yet, but there's some promise that if I keep at it, I just might see a full length novel in print. In the meantime, baby steps. Keep pitching “Fire & Frost” to publishers while I keep on writing short stories and shape one of my projects into a full length novel.
This last week, I hit a wall where I couldn't get anything done, other than stare at a page and wonder where the words had buggered off to. This led to a conversation with a friend about motivation and how to keep the momentum going. My habit is to sit at a coffee shop [Starbucks] and write. The laptop [a freakin' antique 9 year old HP] lacks a functional network card and I carry a low-end tablet [HP] for research & keeping tabs on email. It keeps me from being tempted to surf, chat via IM, and play games. My word count per hour is not all that great compared to some people I know, but it's steady and there's progress.
When I can't go out, for whatever reason, I need to step away from the PC, take the laptop into the dining room, and write. No internet. No games. No chat programs. Me, a word processor, and coffee. This month, I've started tracking my word count. By my current tally, I'm at 15,259 words for the month with a goal 15,500, an average of 500 words a day. Looking at my daily record, I see that 9 days have a giant goose egg in the word count column. Nine. Meh. That's not acceptable. Yes, I know it's an unrealistic expectation, but really, I want to be [more] successful. If I don't write, I don't have that chance to sell. Opportunities are missed. Unacceptable.
Bottom line - Butt in seat and write. Good day. Bad day. Whatever day. Butt in chair and write. These stories aren't going to tell themselves.
Thanks for listening and go buy the anthologies with my stories. Not just for mine, but to read all the other great authors that I have the privilege to share the table of contents. :)