April Submission Blitz – Reformatting Fun

April 23, 2014 at 2:52 am (writing) (, , , , , , )

There’s sarcasm to that title. I really do prefer venues that request the standard format for submissions. Otherwise, I can sometimes spend a half hour or more completely reorganizing a manuscript to match unusual formatting demands (like I did today and yesterday). I’ll do this with shorter stories but with longer ones, it has to be a very tempting call for submissions for me to bother making the effort. Consistency is a lovely thing.

I’m amazed what some venues will ask for when they are offering little to no compensation. There are demands that really make me scratch my head. One publisher looking for submissions and offering a token payment mentioned in their guidelines that they expected submissions to be polished and print-ready, stressing that if they noted any spelling or grammatical errors, they would not review the submission for inclusion in the anthology. This, when the prior sentence in their guidelines contained a glaring grammatical error. It’s no surprise they want the stories to come in thoroughly edited. Apparently they don’t hold themselves to the same standards as submitting writers.

*Sigh* – I spent all day finishing up my taxes and it has left me cranky. Hopefully, I’ll be in a better mood for tomorrow’s submission.

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Edit Fest – Taking a Break

May 9, 2013 at 2:06 am (fantasy, The Snowy Barrens trilogy, writing) (, , , , , , , )

I needed a pause from editing today, so since I was actually in the mood for formatting, something I dislike more than editing, I figured I had better jump on it. I set up the last novel in my Snowy Barrens Trilogy so that I just need to add illustrations and do my final edits. I still have to work on cover art, but this was a good start. Once I get this one out I’m going to attack marketing for the trilogy with gusto. I wanted to wait until all three books were out before throwing myself in whole-heartedly to any serious promotion.

Today also served as an opportunity for some impromptu research for Sifting the Ashes. I’ve delved deep into the world of crows and discovered they will recognize and distinguish one human from another. They will also label people as “bad” or “good” and actively warn others of their kind about the “bad” humans. I’ve been trying to get on the good side of local crows to get a better first-hand look at them and hopefully shoot some photos for the book cover at a later date. I’ve been feeding them breadcrumbs while out waiting for the bus and one of them, who I nicknamed “Divot” because he has a gap in his wing, was waiting for me at the bus stop this morning.

I don’t know if I’ll get him comfortable enough to get the photos I want, but just getting to watch him this morning I think will add to the book. We’ll see when I get back to it later this month.

Formatting is done now, so back to editing.

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Solutions not Resolutions – Tackling the Plateau

January 8, 2013 at 11:25 pm (Links, writing) (, , , , , , , , , )

As I work on one rewrite with another small one to do and a huge editing/formatting job ahead of me, I have to wonder what else I can do to rise above my current plateau – this while trying to make up my mind what, if any, writing projects I’m going to attempt next. I’ve considered a few things that might be worth a shot. I’ve tried writing things outside my comfort zone and I could attempt to adhere strictly to the norms of a genre for a change but that just isn’t me. It kind of feels like I’d be selling my soul because I’ve made a point not to conform…I don’t even conform with the typical non-conformists. I had a management professor, one who took me aside and told me she really thought I should be majoring in management, who used to openly refer to me as her class non-conformist. I’m not eve

I could also look into studying current accepted stylistic trends, but that’s not me either. Besides, as Brendan Sanderson said during his lecture on story plotting, you can easily find two separate style manuals from two separate established writers giving completely opposite advice. He gave Stephen King and Orson Scott Card as examples. Not to mention you’ll hear popular writer folks complaining about “said-isms” on one hand and talk of editors, especially young adult ones demanding an assortment of dialogue tags as opposed to just “said.” Truth is, style preferences are very much dependent on a particular publisher/editor.

I’ve decided instead to turn to studying classic authors I love, ones who are recognized for their contributions to the literary world, and I will spend a month looking very closely at their work, stripping it down and trying to figure out what made it tick. I figure I can put in a month or two breaking things down for each one until October, when my attention will turn, of course, to Halloween. I’m going to start with Nathaniel Hawthorne, one of my favourites, and go from there – trying to pick some writers that weren’t exclusively genre writers (although I might pick a couple of my favourite ones of those as well). I have so many to choose from: Kurt Vonnegut, Stephen Crane, George Orwell, Ken Kesey, Aldous Huxley, Ray Bradbury, Theodore Sturgeon, Tanith Lee, Isaac Asimov, etc. I may not get to everyone I have in mind.

This means I’ll be spending most of the year concentrating on reading and analyzing which means I won’t be very prolific when it comes to writing. Then again, if I can’t keep improving on my writing, what’s the point, right? I want to produce both quality and quantity at some point, if I can.

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Genre for the Holidays – Procrastination

December 30, 2012 at 1:13 am (writing) (, , , , , , , , , , )

I have to confess, I’ve been using the holidays and housecleaning as excuses to procrastinate, something I don’t normally do. The work involved in the few things I do have to do right now with regards to my writing doesn’t thrill me, so I’ve put all of them off. I figure if I’m going to do them, I better make a list and if I don’t make a note of getting work done on them over the next few days, you all have the right to chastise me, berate me, slap my wrists … I’d even say spank me, but the hubby would object to that one. Anyway, here are the things on my writing to-do list. Maybe if I have them written somewhere public, it will shame me into getting my tushy in gear.

1) Write a story for Ren Garcia’s anthology – why have I been putting this off? Nerves. I don’t typically write this type of speculative fiction and I’ll be writing to Ren’s world, fan-fiction of sorts. I know I can’t come anywhere near matching Ren quality-wise and I honestly don’t have a story idea at this point. I need a little push with this one.

2) Submissions – I have two short story submissions I’ve been putting off. It won’t take long, but it feels so much like work and I haven’t been enthusiastic about submissions lately. I don’t know why – I’ve had some success lately so you’d think I’d be gung-ho, but I’m not.

3) Rewrite – I have a story ending to rewrite at an editor’s request. I’m scared to even start, despite having a few ideas on how I could change it. I guess I’m just worried I won’t be able to improve it and I’m waiting for that “zen” moment when the words just flow like magic.

4) Formatting – I have to format The Blood Runs Deep so I can get this second book in my Snowy Barrens trilogy out there. I was using the lack of cover art as an excuse, but I’m almost done with my attempt. It is nowhere near as good as Dianne’s work on the first cover, but it is a really good piece for my efforts and I think it will be acceptable. I just need a good kick in the pants to get started.

So there you have it, in order of importance based on deadlines, simplicity and necessity. And I’ll get to them, eventually, once I conquer this severe case of procrastination.

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