A Glimpse Into This Writer’s Life

It’s been a pretty exciting week for this semi-pro writer. Yesterday came an email from the submissions editor of a well-respected speculative fiction market (one I’ve been trying to break into for years) saying she was passing my current submission up to the editor-in-chief. It’s further than I’ve ever gotten with this market, so even if the EIC passes, I’ve still got that going for me, which is nice.

Today I finally queried another market, who’s had a story of mine for just over a year and a half (not unusual for them, for what it’s worth), to see if my story was still under consideration. I’ve been putting this off for a long time, afraid I might trigger a rejection or, worse, that the silence would continue. But they got right back to me and said yes, the story is still under consideration. Which is cool, and totally freaks me out, because I definitely feel like I’m punching above my weight class with this one.

Currently only have one other sub out, which I don’t expect to hear back from for at least another month. Given the timeframe, it’s one of those situations where the longer it takes to hear back from them, the better.

I’ve got two more stories that are almost ready for submission, one a novelette I wrote a couple of months ago that I’m nearly done tinkering with, the other a story I wrote two years ago in South America, revised, sent to most of the usual suspects, market-wise, and then thought of a way better ending for. If I can get one or both of those ready and out the door, I’ll feel pretty good about my number of active submissions. 

After that, I’ve got at least a dozen more stories in various states of completion lying around my tinkerer’s workshop, many of which I’m excited about. There are so many choices that I’m at kind of a loss as to what to work on next. On top of that, I’m starting to question the energy and focus I’ve been putting into short fiction. From everything I’ve read and been told, novels are where the money’s at, insofar as there is any, and I’ve got three or four I could work on, also in various states of completion. Only one is a complete draft, which needs to be broken apart and completely restructured in addition to the usual revision process. Two are somewhere in the neighborhood of half done: one of them I started last fall, and is fresher in my head; the other I’m thinking of breaking up into 5-10k word episodes, like a modern TV season, so I’ll probably think about that more before I go back to it, if I do.

The last one is a behemoth I slaved away at for several years before I went to the Clarion Workshop,  which I’ll return to one day when I’ve got a bit more experience under my belt. It’s either a trilogy or a door-stop, and big enough that I want to tackle some less ambitious projects first. Or maybe I’m just frightened to get back into it. Six of one, if you ask me.

So yeah, very cusp-ish feeling to things at the moment. I’m elated and freaked out in equal measure, and haven’t been able to focus on writing or really much of anything. I’m writing this, in fact, to make myself write something, and maybe also to help make things clear for myself, in terms of which projects to work on next. It probably is time to transition to novel-writing, but I do want to have enough short fiction submissions to generate some attention if one of them gets picked up, which seems not unlikely to happen at some point sooner than later, maybe. Then again, it’s felt this way for a couple of years, so there’s that. I try not to think about it too much, to stay focused on the work, but try and succeed are two different things, and, as with the work itself, I can only keep trying.


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