Sunday, June 29, 2008

Good news for a change

I realize my last post was a bit depressing. Well all my post of late have been a bit depressing. So here’s a post filled with nothing but goodness.

The first news is that I wrote a short story. Well, a very short story. Flash fiction. I think I mentioned the idea before. It’s kind of a Romeo and Juliet of one-night stands. That’s mostly why I kept it very short, and didn’t give any of the characters names. I wanted it to be short and anonymous, just like a one-night stand. I think it worked well.

And so did the people in my writing group. Yeah, that’s right, I said writing group. It’s not a new one. It’s the old one. I took a chance once the school year was over, and assumed that maybe my writing group members might be less busy now that they weren’t teaching for the summer. And they weren’t. We met last Monday and we all had work.
It felt very productive and I was excited to show my new story.
I think I’m going to edit my holiday story, Christmas Bells, for our next meeting, or at least part of it.
We’re trying to meet every other week. Hopefully, all goes well.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Not again...

Okay, I have a really good excuse for not having posted. My computer is down and out. It’s not recognizing its software. I don’t know when I’ll ever have money to get it fixed so it could be a while.
Isn’t it funny how I always seem to have major computer problems in the summer? Of course, maybe it’s better this way. I always notice that less people visit my blog in the summer and people seem to post less often during the summer. Probably because they’re out in the nice weather, where as in the winter there’s nothing but cold outside so what better to waste away time than being on the Internet.
My computer being down is just as well. I don’t usually get much typed in the summer months when I’m not in air condition. And my house is not air conditioned.
Besides I actually seem to get more written when I don’t have the Internet to get caught up on. Sure, I have to write by hand and type it in later but I actually prefer that. I feel more connected to my work when writing by hand. Plus, typing it in later is a chance to edit.
And aside from getting more written, I’ve actually spent time walking Kreeg, cleaning, organizing, riding my bike, working out and other kinds of productive stuff. I will make it. I think.
On the bright side, there is always the library and I can use the computer at work when I get a few spare minutes. So I will try to keep posting and checking everyone’s blogs. How often I’ll get to it, I’m not sure. Just know I miss you.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sunday night, someone I really cared about said somethings that hurt me more than I ever thought possible. In the middle of the night, while I couldn't sleep, I wrote the best piece I think I will ever write.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Another book about a writer writing

My friend, Ray, just lent me a book. She thought of it when I was on my search for books about authors writing for my Going It Alone query letter.
The book is called The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. It was #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list. And it has a wicked cool cover of old books piled up, which is actual what interested Ray about. Yes, she judged a book by it's cover but she says it's because she's an artist, thus she judges everything visually to some extent, and therefore is excused. Or something like that.
Anyway, I'm only a few chapters in but I'm intruiged already. I'm excited that it's not only about stories an author wrote but it's main character helps run a used/antique book store. There's lots of talk about selling old books, which definitely interest me since owning a successful book store is right up there with becoming a successful writer.
I'm curious to see if this book will be something to mention in my query letter. I'm not sure that the Golden Notebook is the right thing, seeing as how it's older and gives very high standards to live up to since it was written by a Nobel Prize winner. So maybe this book will be a better reference.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

'Hey, did you know your work was in a magazine?'

I was hanging out with my RC Car painting friend today. I feel I've mentioned him enough that he needs a better blogname so from here on I'll call him Slipstream, since that's the name of his airbrushing business. The term has something to do with RC cars but I don't really remember what.
So I'm hanging out with him today and he hands me a national RC magazine and turns it to a full page photo of a car. I stare at it trying to figure out what the heck I'm suppose to be looking at. Perhaps some sweet paint job that he wants to attempt or something he thinks looks like crap and can't believe it got into a magazine. I'm not an artist so sometimes I don't exactly notice the little technical things that really make a difference, one way or the other.
Then I realize 'hey, that's your logo!' How totally awesome for him that he got a full page picture of his work in a national magazine! The issue was from April and he didn't even know the picture was in there until one of his customers mentioned it to him. He didn't send it in for consideration, someone just took a picture of a car he painted for a pro RC racer and it was a sweet enough paint job to end up in a magazine. Needless to say, I'm super happy for Slipstream and he was pretty excited. Now I'm trying to find a back issue of it because I totally want one.

It got me thinking how cool it would be to have someone just walk up and say 'oh I read your story,' and have it be a total surprise. Of course, that doesn't exactly happen in writing because it has to be submitted, it's not something that just gets stumbled upon. Although, it always seems that way in the movies doesn't it. The incredibly talented person, who thinks they're not talented at all, somehow or another finds out they really are talented when their work happens to fall into the right hands. They make it look so easy.

Anyway, I just wanted to write about how awesome it is for Slipstream to have such a cool thing happen, because he's super talented and really deserved it.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Simultaneous submissions. Go for it. There's nothing to lose and lots to gain.

My absence was too long. Don't worry I have excuses. I'm busy. And I'm having computer issues. I think. I'm not really sure what's going on with me anymore.

Now onto a subject I've been meaning to write about for a while. Submissions. A few weeks ago someone came to this blog searching for advice on whether or not to obey the rule when certain publishers say "no simultaneous submissions". And it was just a few days ago that I got a submission back in the mail that got me really motivated to finally write about it.
Just to clear things up for anyone who has no clue as to what I'm talking about, with magazines, agents and book publishers, some will look at work only if it's been sent to them exclusively, others don't care.
Obviously, most writers prefer places that accept simultaneous submissions. Rejection rates are high and it takes most publishers/agents a while to respond. On average a few months but sometimes up to a year. So if a piece of work is not sent out to more than one potential at a time, it could take years before it finds the right place to be published.
Part of me thinks that it seems unreal that publishers would actually expect a writer to not send submissions simultaneously. Of course, I can understand their point-of-view. They spend LOTS of time going through LOTS of submissions. So no simultaneous submissions would cut down on that pile. Also, how frustrating would it be to spend so much time reading subs, finally find that perfect story, then find out it had been sold to another publisher while it had been lost in the pile. I can see how that would be annoying.
Some publishers get around this problem by requesting that a writer tell them in a query letter if the work has been sent to more than one publisher and to let them know if the piece they submitted is accepted elsewhere. Fair enough, I think.
So the question comes down to, does a writer listen to the publishers who say "no simultaneous submissions"? Honestly, how would they ever know that you had sent it elsewhere? Besides, in a subjective world full of rejection, what are the odds that two publishers would both accept the same story? And what could they do to a writer if they did send a simultaneous one to a publisher that didn't accept them?

My thoughts on the whole thing is that I have been respectful and always mentioned in my cover letters that my submissions are sent out simultaneously. And I don't send them to magazines that request not to get simultaneous subs. However, I do get frustrated with publishers that don't list their policy either way, then when you send them a submission that you labeled simultaneous, they send it back without a glance because they don't accept simultaneous submissions.
Postage, supplies and time wasted for the writer for being honest and the company would have looked at it if the writer had just failed to mention it had been sent elsewhere.
So my new policy has become that I will send simultaneous subs to anyone that accepts them. If they don't accept them, I guess I'll continue to respect that. But if they don't say one way or the other, I'm sending them anyway, but not telling them so because life is too short to wait for your dreams to come true.