Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Oct 10-16, 2021

This week’s batch of informal writerly learnings is loaded with writerly goodness 🙂

Stephanie Bwa Bwa shows you how to grow your email list (and your influence). Later in the week, Helena Hunting is finding work-life balance as a full-time author. Then, Brian Leung shares five tips for finding the kind genius writer in your mad genius writer. DIY MFA

Tim Hickson reveals the true ending of Lord of the Rings. Hello, Future Me

Janice Hardy explains how narrative distance affects telling: how far is too far? Then, Dario Ciriello waxes on the importance of commas, meter, and reading aloud for the fiction writer (with help from Cordia Pearson). Fiction University

Jill Bearup takes issue with The Guardian’s list of the top 20 duels.

Tiffany Yates Martin explains why you can’t stop thinking about “Bad Art Friend.” Then, Jim Dempsey is telling the truth in fiction. Kathleen McCleary: when you’re the passive protagonist of your own writing life. Then, Kathryn Craft wants you to make your big issue work through story (part 1). Anne Brown: spiders, snakes, public speaking, and querying agents. Later in the week, Kelsey Allagood explains why you should tackle that ambitious dream project now. Writer Unboxed

Shaelin tells you everything you need to know about publishing your short fiction. Reedsy

K.M. Weiland introduces us to the archetypal antagonists of the mage arc: evil and the weakness of humankind. Helping Writers Become Authors

Sarah Tinsley shares seven ways to create an empathetic antagonist. Live, Write, Thrive

Lori Freeland helps you figure out whether to comma, or not to comma (part 1). Then Piper Bayard lets us peek through a window into the top four organizations (writing spies). Lynette M. Burrows wants you to discover your writing strengths (and weaknesses). Writers in the Storm

On her own channel, Shaelin helps you handle rejection. Shaelin Writes

Angela Ackerman asks: who’s standing in your character’s way? Jane Friedman

Nathan explains how to make your novel un-put-down-able. Then, Christine Pride shares what she learned about writing from being an editor. Nathan Bransford

Piper Bayard shows you how to write the good fight. Then, she provides a writer’s guide to knowing your weapon. Kristen Lamb

The anti-Disney messaging of … Disney movies. The Take

Chris Winkle explains how to create a mysterious atmosphere. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes six magic powers that writers had to ignore. Mythcreants

Kristin Nelson makes the case that content creators deserve a larger slice of the earnings pie. Pub Rants

Maria Tatar discusses her new book Heroine with a 1,001 Faces with Moira Weigel. Harvard Book Store

Wab Kinew reflects on Canada Reads and the meaning of reconciliation. CBC Books

Three northern Ontario writers in the running for the Governor General’s Awards. CBC

Thank you for taking the time to stop by, and I hope you found something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, April 18-24, 2021

Your weekly batch of informal writerly learnings has arrived. Get them while they’re hot!

Jan O’Hara shares a display hack for your story’s outline. Dave King: the non-writing part of writing. Then, Barbara Linn Probst wonders, why was my protagonist so prickly? Juliana Baggott explains when to reject rejection. Yuvi Zalkow wants you to make something terrible (and make it again). Writer Unboxed

Janice Hardy says infighting is a lousy way to create conflict in your novel. Then, Bonnie Randall deconstructs Deadly Illusions to explain what not to do with your manuscript. Fiction University

K.M. Weiland explores the queen’s shadow archetypes in part 11 of her archetypal character arcs series. Helping Writers Become Authors

Shaelin Bishop shares her top 12 writing tips. Shaelin Writes

Becca Puglisi shares tips for landing a guest posting gig. Then Barbara Linn Probst shares ten different writing tricks to make your point. Later in the week, Laurie Schnebly Campbell explains when, why and how to show emotion. Writers in the Storm

Jane Friedman explains how the pandemic is affecting book publishing. Jane Friedman

Princess Weekes wonders, what’s in a (pen) name? It’s Lit | PBS Storied

Adam W. Burgess touts the magic of queer fiction. Gabriela Pereira interviews C.L. Clark about character, conflict, and world building in fantasy. Janelle Hardy wants you to shift creative resistance using your body. Then, LA Bougeois shares five creativity exercises to fire up your writing muse. DIY MFA

Lisa Hall-Wilson offers four tips for writing your characters PTSD and trauma memories. Writers Helping Writers

The actress trope. The Take

Chris Winkle offers five tips for using an arbitrary magic system. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five novels with bizarre tangents. Mythcreants

Zoraida Córdova explains what it’s like writing Gamora in ‘Women of Marvel’ #1. Marvel

Camonghne Felix interviews Barry Jenkins about bringing The Underground Railroad to TV. Vanity Fair

Thank you for taking the time to visit, and I hope you found something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe, my writerly friends.

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Aug 30-Sept 5, 2020

Starting a short week with a Tuesday-that-feels-like-a-Monday is tough. Fortify yourselves with some informal writerly learnings.

First: Black lives matter. Indigenous lives matter. All lives cannot matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter.

#pandemiclife is entering its sixth month and there’s no end in sight even though everyone has covid brain and is exhausted by the restraint and safety restrictions.

Today marked the return to schools for most children in Ontario. I wish them well, but I still worry. We’ve been told to expect a bump in infections, like it’s acceptable to sacrifice children’s and teachers’ and their families’ health.

Please wear your masks, respect social distancing, wash your hands, and stay safe.

Nancy Johnson explains what it’s like writing while Black in times like these. Kristan Hoffman hopes you’ll try these ideas to stay active in your writing life. Donald Maass wonders what—and how much—belongs in your novel? Erika Liodice explains how to give an out-of-print book new life through self-publishing. Liza Nash Taylor says she’s late to the party: on being a debut novelist at 60. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland shares seven considerations for your antagonist’s motivations (which will save you so much trouble). Helping Writers Become Authors

Orly Konig: suspenders for pantsers. Fiction University

James Scott Bell describes hanging upside down and other creative moves. Writers Helping Writers

The feminist trope explained. The Take

Jenn Walton: sweet writing is made of dreams. Then, Brenda Joyce Patterson explains how to establish a literary mentorship. Later in the week, Neha Mediratta wonders, are you giving yourself a chance? Then, A.R. Taylor offers five tips for creating your villain. DIY MFA

What is a motif? How is it different from theme and symbol? And how can you use motif in your writing? Reedsy

Joe Ponepinto advises that if you want to avoid rejection, take the writer out of the story. Jane Friedman

Angie Hodapp says, your protagonist must fail. Pub Rants

Jami Gold considers the black moment: understanding our options.

Shaelin explains how to raise your story’s stakes. Reedsy

Chris Winkle lists nine options for high stakes conflict without violence. Oren Ashkenazi: The Umbrella Academy shows us why it’s important to plan your powers. Mythcreants

Kristen Lamb explains how story forges and refines character.

Rahil Sheikh introduces us to Kuli Kohli: “They wanted to drown me a birth—now, I’m a poet.” BBC

Thank you for visiting and I hope that you found something that will support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe, my writerly friends.

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, July 26-Aug 1, 2020

Black lives matter. Indigenous lives matter. All lives cannot matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter. This is not a political statement. It’s a fundamental truth.

22 new confirmed cases of covid-19 have occurred in Sudbury over the last week or so, most of them in people under 30. Just because we’ve entered phase 3 of reopening doesn’t mean we’re back to normal. Wear your masks people. Maintain physical distance.

And now, onto the informal writerly learnings!

The Take traces the development of the interracial relationship onscreen.

K.M. Weiland shares seven misconceptions about being a writer. Helping Writers Become Authors

Bonnie Randall explains how to weave setting into a deep point of view. Later in the week, Bethany Henry shares seven ways to deal with burnout. Fiction University

Sacha Black: what “read more to improve your writing” really means. Writers Helping Writers

Abigail K. Perry offers another Story Grid scene analysis: Something Borrowed. Later in the week, Indiana Lee shares five ways to protect your privacy while promoting your writing online. DIY MFA

Shaelin offers some tips about working with critique partners. Reedsy

Then, she helps you deal with rejection. Key takeaway: NEVER give up. Reedsy

Nathan Bransford shares his thoughts on how to spice up relationships in novels.

Laurie Schnebly Campbell reveals the most important reader question. Then, Kris Maze lists five steps to better writer self-care. Writers in the Storm

Jael R. Bakari visits Jami Gold’s blog to discuss writing process: developing a coherent story.

Aiki Flinthart is creating unique voices for multiple point of view characters—and how to show their emotions. Lisa Hall-Wilson

The universal beauty of LGBT+ love stories. Like Stories of Old

Kim Bullock wants you to use uncertainty to enhance your story. Writer Unboxed

Chris Winkle helps you create a magical atmosphere with this description makeover. Then, Oren Ashkenazi considers five cool storylines that went nowhere.  Mythcreants

John Foxwell explains why many writers say they can hear the voices of their characters. The Conversation

Matt Blake lists the greatest literary groups in history. Penguin

Thanks for visiting. I hope you found something to support your current work in progress (whatever state it’s in).

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe, my writerly friends.

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Aug 11-17, 2019

It’s time to dig into another week’s worth of informal writerly learnings 🙂

Elizabeth A. Harvey is remembering Toni Morrison. Then, Nancy Johnson shows us how Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye offers a masterclass in craft. Porter Anderson: murders she didn’t write, a provocation on writers in the context of real world gun violence. Rheea Mukherjee: negotiating social privilege as a writer. Jim Dempsey wants you to explore the wonders of your character’s world view. Sarah Callender forgets to remember that writing is an act of faith. Writer Unboxed

Jenna Moreci helps you get back into the writing habit after a break.

C.S. Lakin visits Helping Writers Become Authors: how to evoke reader emotions with “surprisingness.” Then, she heads over to Larry Brook’s Storyfix to explain how to effectively “tell” emotions in fiction.

Emily Wenstrom offers three tips for creating your author newsletter before you’re published. And here’s my latest column: find storytelling inspiration with the women of the Kalevala. Constance Emmett shares five tips for surviving rejection. DIY MFA

Lisa Hall-Wilson shares four ways to go deeper with point of view. Then, Laura Drake starts with character first. Writers in the Storm

Michelle Barker wants you to remember that the wand chooses the wizard. Writers Helping Writers

Janice Hardy explains why you want nitpicky critiquers. Fiction University

Robert Lee Brewer explains the difference between slight of hand and sleight of hand. Writer’s Digest

Some reassuring advice from Chris Winkle: why you shouldn’t worry about someone stealing your manuscript. Then, Oren Ashkenazi offers advice on choosing naval tactics for your pre-gunpowder world. Mythcreants

Sam Bleicher offers some unusual writing tips on dealing with facts in science fiction. The Creative Penn

Ferris Jabr: the story of storytelling. Harper’s

Thanks for visiting. Come back on Thursday for some thoughty.

Until then, be well!

Tipsday2019

The next chapter: August 2016 update

Let me tell you a story 🙂

Dark season

Over the last couple of years, August has been a bad month for me, emotionally speaking.

I’ve been down. Living with depression, if you do it consciously, means that you can see the signs and take action, or not, whatever is most appropriate for your mental health at the time. Trying to barge through rarely works. For me, anyway.

Last year, I was away from home, delivering training, for two and a half weeks in August. I thought London was a lovely city, and I did enjoy myself to the extent I could—I even went shopping (!) and if you know me, you know I hate shopping of any kind with a passion—but it was too far away for me to go home on the weekends, and I had discovered earlier in the year how much more difficult it was for me to write or blog while travelling. So except for curation, I gave over.

Writing on the road isn’t undoable, and I have put on my big girl panties and done it since (I started NaNoWriMo while travelling last year), but, at the time, I was at a low ebb, and sometimes you have to be kind to yourself.

This year, I went to Kansas City for WorldCon and stayed an extra day or so to visit with a friend who’d moved down there several years ago. More on WorldCon in a bit. The bottom line is that health issues and my introvert nature (exacerbated by my emotional low) conspired to rob the trip of some of its joy.

Remembering what had happened last year, I had even planned for the dog-day doldrums. I figured I’d have the first run-through of all my drafted novels done by August (and I did) and that I would need a little break (and I did).

My plan to turn to other projects, though, didn’t work out as well as I’d thought. I worked on some short fiction, made a few submissions (a rejection from one of which was returned within a week), but I never touched the poetry collection or the non-speculative short fiction collection. I just didn’t have the heart.

I journalled, trying to work out what my plan for the rest of the year would look like and trying to find my way back to what is, for me, normal. I also participated in a Nelson Literary Agency workshop on first pages with Angie Hodapp.

Though the initial review of my first five pages wasn’t horrible, I wanted to try something completely different for the revision, see if the advice of the readers would work. It was a spectacular failure, but I learned a lot from the experience.

You really do have to fail to learn, even if it’s painful 🙂

I’m now delving back into Initiate of Stone, working long hand in a notebook. Sometimes you just have to write it out. I find that writing long hand helps give me the time to examine the words and sentences, and get a fresh perspective.

I can now also disclose that I did not succeed with my application to #PitchWars. Reality Bomb was the project I chose for that experience. I didn’t expect to get in this first year of applying, but one pair of mentors, Michael Mammay and Dan Koboldt, was very supportive. They asked for additional materials, a synopsis and first 50 pages.

Our email exchanges in that first week or so were productive and illuminating for me. I now have some great ideas to return to that manuscript with. So, ultimately, #PitchWars was a win.

This brings me to another realization of why this year has been a difficult one for me.

Last year was the year of almost. I got on several long and short lists in contests, had my work set aside for second readings for anthologies, and while it didn’t result in any publications, the nature of the responses was reassuring. I also had a couple of stories accepted into the Sudbury Writers’ Guild anthology, which should be coming out this fall.

This year, with the exception of #PitchWars, has been the year of no. Form rejections all around, whether from querying or from short fiction submissions. Though I have, to some extent, found a way to turn rejection into a positive, when so many pile up, it becomes disheartening.

You begin to question your worth and skill as a writer, to doubt the kind things that have been said about your work (because there are so few of them, relatively speaking, that they must be the flukes, you reason). You begin to look for those opportunities to confirm your negative bias, blow small faux pas into huge incidents. Reasonable lapses in communication become the occasion for self-blame and recrimination.

Fortunately, since my return from Kansas City, I’ve been coming across the most wonderful articles and posts that have given me the encouragement I’ve needed, some of which you’ll see in this week’s curation. Between that, and the long hand work I’ve been doing on IoS, I’m making my way back to the page.

WorldCon

I’d left with the best of intentions and wanted to practice Gabriela Pereira’s method of networking with a number of authors I’d only ever seen online. In the moment, though, I was so nervous, I basically blathered.

I did get to meet and have a couple of nice, brief chats with Mary Robinette Kowal, met Cat Cambo and Foz Meadows at their Literary Beer sessions (informal chats), but otherwise, I just did my usual and took notes in panel discussions.

I was within three feet of George R.R. Martin, but as he was just coming out of the second of two autographing sessions in which fans lined up for the better part of an hour to see him, I just couldn’t bring myself to be that fan. Instead, I smiled, nodded, and moved on without harassing the poor man.

I had gone to the Tor Party with the intention of meeting John Scalzi, but several people seemed to be running interference and by the time I was able to politely make my excuses, Mr. Scalzi was monopolized by other Tor authors and friends. After that, he turned his attention to his beautiful wife and, again, I could not bring myself to interrupt just to say “hi, and thank you for writing wonderful books.”

Maybe it’s because I’m Canadian, or an introvert, or both, but I just couldn’t.

I’m also a total newb and have no clue with regard to what’s appropriate and what’s not in which context.

The Hugo Awards Ceremonies were wonderful, though, and the sad puppies were soundly trounced.

N.K. Jemesin won best novel for The Fifth Season, Nnedi Okorafor won best novella for Binti, Hao Jingfang and Ken Liu (translator) won best novelette for Folding Beijing, and Neil Gaiman (who wasn’t there in person) had a special message for the sad puppies when he won best graphic story for The Sandman: Overture.

Really, you can just go to the Hugo Awards site and check out all the winners. Diversity was the word of the evening.

It was a great event, but at the end, I felt like I needed a vacation to get over my vacation 🙂

I returned home with a whopping case of imposter’s syndrome, though. I’d met and seen and learned from all of these authors, many of whom I read and respect. Who am I, with my two publications in what the Science Fiction Writers Association (SFWA) considers “token” markets, to think that I can get a traditional deal in a market that’s more competitive than ever?

When I confided my doubts to Phil, his response was that print publishing was on its way to extinction and why would I want that, anyway? So not what I needed to hear, but I forgave him instantly. Though he is very supportive of me and my creative calling, he, like most non-writers, will never understand what it’s like to be in my neurotic wee skull.

But, as I said, I’m surfacing now. I have no further conventions I’ve committed to (having used up my budget for such things) and the only challenge I’ve set for myself is to get through another revision of IoS and Apprentice of Wind before I tackle the third novel in the series for NaNoWriMo.

I still want to get back to the poetry collection and the non-speculative short fiction collection, but neither is a big priority for me at the moment.

I’m taking my time with the short fiction. Some of my stories are actually the seeds of novels. I have to set those aside in their own project folders for the future, and then get on with revising and submitting what I have. Who knows? I may even surprise myself and write some more new stories. It has been known to happen.

In the meantime, I’ve applied for my winter leave at work and am crossing my fingers.

Persistent payroll issues may affect my application for another leave with income averaging. Until things are sorted out, the powers that be may recommend against such special considerations. I may have to defer again until next year.

It won’t be the worst thing that’s ever happened, but Phil and I are ready to look for another furry dependent. I need the five weeks for acclimatization and training. We’d rather it be sooner than later, but we’ll be patient if we must.

Having a new puppy in the spring would probably be more convenient (she says, mentally willing leave approval).

And then there are the renovations to consider, but that’s another post. Probably several 😉

The month in writing

August was sparse as far as writing goes. Aside from the blog, from which I took a vacation for WorldCon, the only writing I did was to finish off the one short story I was working on.

AugustProgress

6,451 words on the blog and 901 words on the short story. 7,362 altogether. That’s literally all she wrote.

I didn’t revise a thing. Fortunately, because I met or exceeded my revision goals in every other month so far this year, I’m not that far behind.

I didn’t count the minor revisions I did to the stories I submitted, or any of the journalling or long hand writing I did.

Besides, I wasn’t anticipating (until part way through the year) that I’d return to IoS, so I don’t have a column for that on my spreadsheet. I could make one. I have the skill, but I don’t want to take the time to do it now. Yes. I know. Lazy Mellie.

I’m getting my mojo back. The writing’s the thing.

Science fiction is the literature of ideas. It is the great “what if?” that leads us into the future. Fantasy is the literature of (im)possibility. It longingly wonders “If only . . .” and whispers in our dreams. I write both and I think I’m pretty damned lucky.

And that’s it until next month.

I hope you’re all experiencing great creative breakthroughs and are satisfied with what you’ve done. In the end, that’s all that matters.

Be well!

The Next Chapter

Ad Astra 2016, day 2: A guide to submitting your short stories

Disclaimer: I am not perfect and neither are my notes. If you notice anything that needs correction or clarification, please email me at melanie (dot) marttila (at) gmail (dot) com

Panellists: Bob Boyczuk, Gregory A. Wilson, Nicole Levigne, Kate Heartfield

NL: Read the submissions guidelines of the publications. Read the publication to get a feel for the kind of story they publish.

GAW: Don’t undersell or oversell your story. Don’t lie. What’s really important is the excellence of the work. Would you overlook stories just because they haven’t followed guidelines?

NL: We read everything. We give feedback, even if it’s just one sentence. One query that got to me used parenthetical snark. After noting that he’d conformed to the guidelines, he went on, in parentheses, to say that he didn’t understand why his story had to formatted in any particular way given today’s technology.

GAW: Someone who goes on and on about their experience may be an asshat. If you receive any feedback, it’s a win. You don’t have to follow the advice unless you see a pattern forming, though.

NL: Rejection often speaks more to fit versus quality of the story or the writing.

GAW: Don’t argue with the editor.

KH: You don’t have to respond to the rejection, even if it’s a nice one.

BB: You can use it if you meet in person, though. “You gave me some encouraging advice. Thank you.”

KH: If you talk to other writers, you learn that rejection is the default. Fantasy and Science Fiction (F&SF) gets over 1,000 submissions a month.

GAW: Don’t overlook anthology calls. Most of my publications have been in anthologies. The idea that anthologies don’t make a lot of money isn’t accurate. It depends on how it’s launched and the audience.

NL: For Second Contacts, the theme was 50 years after first contact. That’s not a theme you’d see in a magazine.

GAW: Athena’s Daughters was an all-female effort. Authors and editors were all women. Apollo’s Daughters was pro-feminist and had women editors, but the writers were men.

Q: How do you find anthologies?

GAW: Duotrope, Ralan, and Submission Grinder are your main resources.

NL: Duotrope is a for-pay service, but they tweet, so follow them on Twitter.

Q: Do you always get a response?

KH: Yes.

NL: If they don’t, it will be stated in the guidelines.

KH: Some editors will let you know you’ve made it to a second round. This is awesome news.

NL: For magazines and anthologies that use Submittable, you can track your submissions, which is useful. If you submit to Lightspeed, just watch your email. They respond at light speed, too.

GAW: It depends on the magazine’s internal process.

NL: Simultaneous submissions are fine for most publications. Read the guidelines, though. They may specify otherwise. Never send multiple submissions (that’s more than one story at once to one publication). Don’t resubmit, or submit another story unless you are asked to do so.

GAW: If you get a request to revise and resend, take advantage of it.

NL: There’s no guarantee they’ll accept it, even if you do, though.

KH: We should talk a bit about contracts, at least in the high level sense. A contract follows acceptance. They’ll usually ask for first North American rights for print or online, whatever format the publication is in. There will be a reversion clause to specify when rights will revert to the author. Payment conditions will also be specified. Check to see how long the publication has exclusivity.

NL: Have a writer friend read it over.

GAW: Check out the Writer Beware web site for fraudulent publishers.

And that was time.

There’s only one more Ad Astra session for me to report on and then I’m moving on to sessions from the Canadian Writer’s Summit 🙂

See y’all on Tipsday!

Have a fabulous weekend!

The next chapter: September 2015 update

What can I say about September? First, I’m back on track. Second, I finished drafting Marushka and am well on my way to having a finished draft of Gerod and the Lions.

Marushka ended up at a tidy 73,961 words altogether, or 97% of my 75k goal. As it’s a YA fantasy, I’m quite happy with that.

I’m going to set my sights a little lower with GatL than my original 50k goal. I think 40k should be enough. With revision and editing, It will likely settle somewhere around 45k, which is pretty perfect for a middle grade (MG) novel.

I did some more work on my query letter and am now preparing my next batch. To make up for missing August and September, I’m going to send out in batches of 10 queries for the next two months. I might do this in batches of five every couple of weeks. We’ll see.

I’m also making good progress on my outline for Reality Bomb (working title), which should be complete in time for its drafting in NaNoWriMo 2015. I’m on chapter 21 of 36, so I think I’m in a good place. I should note that as I’m writing this outline in a notebook, by hand, in my own, rather chaotic, cursive, that I’m not counting these words on my spreadsheet.

As far as the short fiction is concerned, I continue to revise and submit, but I haven’t had any positive response recently.

September's progress

Here’s how things broke down in September:

  • The blog has once again taken over as my most productive medium with 6,466 words;
  • In second place is GatL with 5,691 words;
  • Marushka clocked in at 1,776 words;
  • My query rewrites totalled 116 words; and
  • I revised 79 words of short fiction.

Total words generated in September: 14,128.

September's summary

There were only four days where I didn’t record any word count, but those days, I was likely working on my outline.

I’m settling into the writing life again after all my trials and tribulations this year. It feels good. It feels freaking fantastic.

And now, I’m going to try to get a few words in for October 3rd before Doctor Who 🙂

Have a wonderful weekend, all!

And we’ll see you again on Tuesday for more Writerly Goodness.

The Next Chapter

The next chapter: August 2015 update

Ok. Let’s just get this out of the way. August sucked for writing.

I had every intention of writing when I was down in London, but I should have kept in mind the lesson I learned back in the spring. Mel + travel to deliver training = no writing.

Well, it wasn’t absolutely zero writing. I revised a short story and submitted it, and I revised my query letter based on feedback from Kristen Nelson (more on this in a bit), but that amounted to very few words.

As I’ve mentioned in other posts, delivering training, though I’m good at it, drains introvert me something fierce. Add that to travel, not feeling well for most of my time away, not being around home to help Mom with her first cataract surgery, and not being around my support system, and you have the perfect storm of non-productivity.

Plus, it was two and a half weeks away. That was a fair chunk of the month. I shouldn’t have been surprised.

Here’s how the month broke down (pun intended):

August progress

I drafted another 2,206 words on Marushka, but am still not quite at the end. I hope this month will see the end of the draft (at last). I am 95% toward my 75k word total goal for the draft, so that’s something.

I revised 62 words on short stories, only 8 of those while I was down in London. I sent two stories out and received two rejections.

I blogged 3,801 words, and I decided not to blog on the weekends while I was away. Ostensibly, this was to make it easier to write, but I’ve already mentioned how that went.

Total words for the month: 6,069. That’s my lowest monthly total all year.

August Summary

Other stuff I did in August:

When Roz Morris shared HodderScape’s open submission period, I had to submit Initiate of Stone. I’ve had no word, but I’ll definitely fill you in on the results.

Last year, I missed out on Kristin Nelson’s query letter intensive. It was that whole work thing, again. So, this year, I signed up, hoping against hope that my manager would find someone else to go to London in my place. It was not to be.

So I emailed NLA and advised that I would not be able to join the webinar. And Kristin offered to meet with me one-on-one when I got home.

That meeting took place this past Thursday and Kristin gave me some excellent direction.

Kristin was great, and though I think I was still a little fan girlish, I tried to make the most of the opportunity.

Yeah, I get star struck by agents. That’s the kind of geek I am.

So that’s it for my very unproductive month.

Rest assured, I’m back on track and aiming high.

The Next Chapter

The next chapter: July 2015 update

July was a weird month.

I got off to a decent start, determined to finish off Marushka. I revised and submitted a short story to an anthology call. I received a rejection for another story a few days later.

Then, Nuala’s kidneys shut down and we had to make that anguished, final visit to the vet.

While I kept up the blogging, mostly because I had my curation posts already composed, I couldn’t face the page for a few days.

I got back to Marushka slowly on the 14th, and that weekend, I set out my second round of queries for Initiate of Stone. I also revised another story and sent it off.

Since then, I’ve received a rejection on the story and two more rejections—polite though they may have been—from agents regarding Initiate of Stone.

I’ve just today revised my query, signed up for a query workshop with Kristin Nelson, and booked my hotel for Can-Con in October.

So it’s been a busy month, and a productive one, considering, but I’m just on the cusp of my pre-revision tracking best.

July's writing progress

Here’s how the numbers break down

Short fiction: 92 words

Marushka: 7,217 words (And no, I’m not quite done with the draft, yet. I’m at 87% of goal right now. I might make my 40k word goal. This is, of course, in addition to the 30k I generated during NaNoWriMo last year.)

Blog: 9,116 words

Total: 16,425 words

July's Summary

Moving forward, I will continue to revise and submit my short stories wherever I can place them, but, as I mentioned last month, I haven’t been bitten by the short fiction bug recently and will not be drafting new stories for the foreseeable.

Several of my shorts may actually be novels in disguise, so, once I exhaust the available venues, I might see about expanding one and see how that works, but I’ve a way to go before I get there with some of my lovelies.

I’m going to finish Marushka this month (damn it!). I’m only about 5k words from ‘the end’ on this one, and it’s been so long in coming that I really want to put it to bed.

Then, it’s back to Gerod and the Lions. Once that draft is finished, I’ll turn to revision again, but NaNo will probably pop up in the middle of those efforts.

I’m starting to outline this year’s NaNo project. It’s a tasty one.

The blogging will probably simmer down for a while without the convention reportage, so we may see a reduction in word count there, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Work-wise, I’m heading out of town for the day job from August 10-26 and then I’ll be taking on another acting Consultant position. This one promises to be less stressful than the last couple I’ve had, but we’ll see.

Other than that, there’s not much else to report.

I’m keeping on, keeping on.

You do the same.

Until next month!

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