Monday, November 19, 2012

What to do After a Story Goes Bust

Expecting one of those 'Keep Calm' images?

Stay productive.

After being out of the loop for a good long while, I am researching short fiction markets, places where my completed stories can find a home. Before, this meant marking favorites on Duotrope. (You more seasoned authors are now looking upon me with incredulity.) This time, I'm keeping an Excel doc with all the relevant details and notes on my impressions of the publication plus which of my stories might fit in there.

Running a search on Duotrope can only tell you so much about a publication. To get a better feel, I, of course, must read the stories published there. Sometimes I’ll get through 2 and know it’s not right for me. Other times I’ll recline in my seat at my computer and realize I’ve just gone through 6 in one sitting—even if the magazine still isn’t right for my story. I did find some potential homes for my current manuscript, but I found many more great stories.

And that's the upside to this tedious task: I am reading more short fiction and rediscovering what I love so much about genre. So, before I go back to being productive, I'll leave you with three stories that appealed to me on different levels—psychological and emotional, enigmatic and probing, fun and adventurous.

Clarkesworld Magazine
(To See the Other) Whole Against the Sky by E. Catherine Tobler (I listened to the podcast version.)
Aquatica by Maggie Clark

Apex Magazine
Weaving Dreams by Mary Robinette Kowal

Thursday, November 15, 2012

RaNoWriFo Update

At just over 8500 words, it's a bust. I have no idea where the past two weeks went, but they certainly did not go into my writing. I never got into the story I wanted to write. It all felt very unnatural. Not necessarily the process, mind you. I wrote my last RaNoWriFo novelette in 6 days! But this time around, I loved the idea but wasn't feeling the characters or the plot, and one needs to care about those things to write about them successfully.

Next time, I'll choose more wisely. For now, I'm shelving this story to revisit it in future. Back to my regularly scheduled writerly things.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


It's the second biennial Random Novelette Writing Fortnight(!), in which I write a 20-25k novelette in two weeks.

Why a fortnight? Because it's half a month. Why a novelette? Because it's half a novel. Why biennial? Because I was too lazy to do one last year.

And now that I've announced it, there's no wussing out. See you in two weeks.

Update: For chuckles, here's proof an unedited excerpt from the novelette I wrote two years ago:

The king made good on his threat and called off the official search. Not one Eleamite soldier, guard, or knight was to look for Gwendolyn. This, he thought, would work to discourage Giovanni and his only help, Armand. But true to his word, Giovanni did not return. The three moons passed, then four and five. The heat of summer waned in September, and the cool of fall swept through in October. The leaves faded and shriveled, and the king seemed to do the same under the inquiring masses. His anxious subjects, and ally nations, wanted to know why there had been no wedding, why there was no word of a future heir, why the events of the prophesies had suddenly come to a halt. Had they misinterpreted the texts? Worse, had they been misled? The rumors spread, and the king, once such a visible force in the kingdom, retreated, for he had no answers. Scarcely did he leave the palace grounds. Scarcer did he leave his chambers until he was bed-ridden with stress, broken under the strain.

Image: Copyright 2012 Gina Fairchild