Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Wet and Cold am I

For those of you that don't know (good GOD, how many blog posts have I started with that?), the pacific northwest is cold, wet, and snowy...finally! It took until almost the end of winter, but here we are, finally in the midst of winter, and it doesn't look to be letting up any time soon.

What does that mean for me? It means I don't have a lot of options--I have to do work. Of course, I would have been doing the work anyway, but I'm hoping if I make it sound terrible you'll all take pity on me and bring chocolate to my door...I'll also accept Kahlua, if chocolate is unavailable.

Really, though, I'm getting an awful lot done on my end. My first book is almost through with edits (after a year, I might note...I won't be waiting that long anymore...it's miserable...), I've written and submitted to a new anthology, and I think I may have gotten minor caffeine poisoning...apparently five cups of coffee is too much for a six hour period...go figure, huh?

Well, I'm back to work, after one more parting shot (after all, I won't get to my 160th page edited just sitting around here, as much as I love talking to y'all.): over at Speculative Friction, there's a bit of celebration about a new book release or something...sounds pretty cool, if you ask me.

Happy living and such,
Voss

Monday, January 16, 2012

Glorious Spreadsheet, Hallowed be Thy Cells

Recently, I realized I was having a hell of a time keeping track of my submissions, and that can get dangerous--at that point, I wasn't entirely sure whether a story just sat there, or if it was just in a really long submission process. So, I made a spreadsheet (It's also proving helpful for Write 1 Sub 1.), and I discovered something.

Spreadsheets are bitchin'.

Rejections don't tend to upset me nearly as much as they did before the spreadsheet's glory came into my life (Wow, talk about religious fanaticism...). I have a theory about this, too. I think that, when you're just flailing with a rejection, it suddenly stands alone, the only piece in your mind. But, when you go in and look at the spreadsheet, and see all of those other stories aside from your recent reject, it all seems much less evil and nasty. That leads to faster turnaround on your part, which leads to more submissions, which leads (eventually) to more acceptances.

And really, who doesn't want that.

Voss

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Dreaded Evil THING

Your friends don't hate you, I promise. If you're in that boat, however, you probably just received a beta-read (Of course, I suppose if your friend tried to run you down with a Sherman tank, cackling and cussing, I might seriously suggest blocking them from your Facebook account. Just a suggestion.). I repeat: your friends don't hate you.

No, I promise. No matter how nasty and shitty you feel after reading their comments, it passes, normally by the time you wake up the next morning, and easily by the next time you see them.

I've received more than a few beta-reads in my time, and I do have a tiny bit of insight to give, although I'm sure you tire of my preaching by now.



  1. You aren't mad at the beta-reader. If that's all you remember from this, I'll be happy. 99% of the time, you aren't really mad at the beta-reader (Not to say it never happens, because I know it does, but only rarely.). You're mad at you. It's something you're either pissed that you didn't notice, or pissed that they noticed. Those are by far the worst. You find yourself cussing them out because they had the audacity to notice your mistake. Be pissy now, but get over it.

  2. You were always going to receive negative feedback. I know, it seems like a stupid thing to point out, but admit it--you, like every writer, has at least a small part of him/her that wants to hear that it's the single most brilliant piece of literature ever written, all praise, all hail. Of course, that doesn't happen. Even in the most amazing of published works, unchallenged in their complete brilliance, can be overhauled. Why should a pre-publishing manuscript be any different? The problem is that we have that little, unrealistic ideal in us, and it makes it considerably harder to take critique.

  3. You're considerably better than you were when you wrote that drivel. Unless you're using Bart Allen as a beta-reader (i.e. The Flash), you've spent at least a little time since you sent it to the beta-reader, and you've kept writing, and you've gotten better (we're talking a novel, not just a short story--although sometimes...). Remember that. It might seem like they're harping on the same old, same old, or that they're being vile and truly nasty, but you're better. It's not as bad as it might seem, from the comments--it stuff you probably would have caught on your own anyway, a lot of the time.

All right. Feel better? I didn't think so--but you will. I swear you will. Go eat some chocolate, sleep, and come back to those beta-reads ready to go.


Tomorrow.


Not now.


Peace, love, and chicken grease,


Voss

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Resolutions



I hate New Year's resolutions. They're evil and, when not met (which is quite often, as most of us know), will depress you quite severely, sending you falling out of writing grace and in with the denizens of teenage fast-food drones and old people that knit cat sweaters in tiny cottages in their own backyards.


Or maybe that's just me.

However, there are some lovely people more than willing to set goals for you:




The general idea started with Ray Bradbury (on an aside: can you believe that rascal's still kicking? 91 years old. Bloody hell.), who submitted a story once every week--and it worked. Think about it: you write 52 stories, what are the odds that they'll all be brainless drivel? It's almost impossible, really. At least one story of the fifty-two is going to be good enough for publication, and probably more.


The great part is that it can be any length to qualify--from 1 word all the way up to 15,000, which is pretty much the highest that most markets go for short stories (I've seen them go up to 25,000 words, but really, let's face it--that's a novella.).


Now, you might already write that much, but that's not all there is to it--you have to submit one every week as well. It works to not only get your name out, but also to familiarize you with the markets and the submission processes and to help desensitize you to rejections. Not completely, but eventually you have to kind of shrug it off if you're writing and submitting one story a week (more if you're up to it).


On the site, they also have market listings and (if you get published and paid) a place to list your published work (great publicity, considering that they have 200 plus members and counting to date).


Plus, they have a sort of Write 1 Sub 1 Lite, if you will: 1 story written and submitted every month. Much more doable for most of the busy people in the world. Plus, you can pretty easily aim in-between those. Two a month or three a month: the point is to write and submit massive amounts of work throughout the year so that you get more work out into the world and into the public eye.


Sound like my much-beloved NaNoWriMo? It is, but this is not so much about fun and writing useless crap you'll never sell. Some things about NaNoWriMo are good and should be taken away (don't be afraid to write crap, for instance) when you leave, but a lot of it should be left at the door.


So just pop on over here and write to submit, to sell, for quality, and still have some fun, I'm sure, along with your selling satisfaction. Plus, being only the second year, you'll be getting in on pretty much the ground level.


Besides, how guilty are you really going to feel? I bet you're going to write more than you usually do no matter what, and it's not like you're chiseling your name on a stone contract here--it's just an undertaking.


So, for my New Year's resolution, I'll be taking the plunge into Write 1 Sub 1. Note I said taking the plunge--I'm tricky that way. No real obligation, you know?


Happy New Year (I'll probably be posting another Happy New Year thing on the 23rd--Year of the Dragon, baby!),

Voss