Getting Over Self-Doubt

I think every writer hits this point every once in a while. The point where rejections hurt a little more than they should. All of that positivity you tell yourself like, “Writers get lots of rejections,” and “I just need to keep sending it out,” go on the back burner and you start contemplating a dreaded question: what if I really, truly, suck?

It’s a pity party, I know. I’m completely aware that persistence and practice are the only two ways to be successful in this industry. I know┬áthat. But sometimes it’s hard to believe when all you see is rejection after rejection after…

I started writing this post Sunday night. I’d received about six rejections in the past week, on stories I really liked, and was feeling like a big old pile of crap about it. I sent my stories back out because that’s what you do. But I told myself I was said pile of crap and wallowed in some more pity. Because, you know, that’s productive.

But on Monday morning, an acceptance came in. I had to laugh. For all of my crummy mood moments in the prior week, this one acceptance turned it around. I’m a writer, dammit. And no rejection is going to stop me from telling the stories I have to tell.

The moral of the story? Keep writing. Keep submitting. If you give up, that next submission very well could have been an acceptance. And if you give up, you’ll never know.

Weird Tales and the Fiction of the Future

I don’t usually write posts about the publishing industry because I have next to no knowledge of it. I’m a writer, yes, but my publishing credits are few. I have not dealt with the politics of publishing firsthand. But when I heard the news today that Weird Tales was purchased and the entire staff will be fired, I had to pause.

I’ve read Weird Tales for quite some time. I enjoy it. I like the direction Ann VanderMeer took the magazine. That’s why I’m upset to learn she will no longer be editing it. She, a cultivator of the weird, has rejected me numerous times and I know it was for good reason. But I always had hope that one day, I’d break through. One of my very first submissions began with, “Dear. Ms. VanderMeer.” Sad.

As if that weren’t enough, the debut issue under the new editor will be Cthulhu-themed. I’m all for themed issues, but this seems strange. Weird Tales, a long time ago, was one of the original places to publish H.P. Lovecraft. Like, for real. When he was alive and stuff. Making the issue “all Cthulhu, all the time” is a bit too self-referential for my taste.

I guess my point is this: wouldn’t the best way to honor Lovecraft and all the mythical monster makers of the past require setting aside a space for the authors of today to create the next generation’s monsters and weird, fear-worthy things? Wouldn’t that be the best way to encompass what is “weird” and let the magazine live on in the tradition of Lovecraft, rather than in his image?

I know I’m basing this just on the theme of the first issue, but still. I can’t help but think this is a bad decision.

A Mid-August W1S1 Update

I haven’t done a W1S1 (Write 1, Sub 1 for the uninitiated) in a while, so I thought what better time than the present?

I had to drop back to W1S1 Monthly due to a combination of factors. The day job has become more demanding in the last month. Likewise, I’m working on a novel and that eats a significant amount of my writing time and creativity. The good news is after tearing apart my novel in the last few weeks, it’s back on track and going smoothly. The draft stands at about 48k words right now. Onward! And Socorro the Mysterious has found himself in quite the predicament. But isn’t that what happens to haphazard magicians that don’t know the power of the devices they wield?

As for short fiction, I finished a short story and submitted it yesterday. It wound up at 3,100 words. This is one that I started last month. It took some time to get “right,” but after a run through beta readers and some polishing, I’m fairly satisfied with the outcome.

Tonight, after completing day job work, I hope to write a draft of a story for an anthology and write the next chapter of Dr. Fantastic. Though I may be asking a bit too much of myself. We’ll see.

A Haiku Inspired by the Farmer’s Market

A man without shirt;
Belly so shiny, it blinds
even summer sun.

I Dismembered My Novel

It’s a graphic truth, but I just ripped apart my novel. Not that little pruning one does when trying to save that golden prose or avoid the hard truth about scenes that don’t work. No, I’m talking about cutting off its arms and legs, slitting its belly and letting the guts drop out.

The draft was at about 60k and I just cut it back to 37k. Ouch. Big time, ouch.

Why on earth did I do this? Well, I discovered having just one POV character throughout a whole book was limiting. There were all sorts of scenes I wanted the reader to see that the main character just couldn’t be there to witness. So now, one of the supporting character is a POV character, the action is split between them, and I’m finding all new opportunities to slip in fun scenes that would have never made it in the book in its original incarnation. Like a moment where a woman ponders the finer art of burning down a building. And another where my main character witnesses a bizarre ritual complete with glow-y symbols, made-up chants, and puppetmastery.

Now, I’m just wondering how you query a book with two main characters? Pick one? Eek! I have research to do eventually. But for now, I must write and flesh out this story that I’ve been working on entirely too long.

Hey, maybe I can finish it, revise it, and start querying before the end of the year? Is that asking too much?