Writing Wank

Here are two writing links with a common theme, i.e. the importance of persistence in developing and sustaining a writing career:

Brad Torgersen interviews Jay Lake for the Writers of the Future site and Catherine Schaff-Stump discusses Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers and the importance of practice for artistic and professional success. (Both found via Jay Lake.

I must admit that I have some deficits in the persistence area. Not so much with practice, I make it a point to write every day and average around 1000 to 1200 words per day, though some of that is academic writing (I don’t count blog posts or translations, though). But I really have to send out more work. The current novel isn’t finished (and it’s so far from what I usually write that I’m not sure what to do with it anyway) and one short story is still out on submission. But of my short stories, Ignis Fatuus hasn’t exhausted all applicable markets yet and Whaler only needs a bit more polish until it’s ready for submission. Plus, Whaler is proper SF, so it can go places that the fantasy stories can’t. I also found a print-out of very short never published story recently, the existence of which I had completely forgotten. It will need a rewrite, but it was surprisingly readable and definitely salvageable. I never submitted that one anywhere. I’m not sure why, though I have a very faint memory that the university writing workshop I attended at the time didn’t like it and so I shelved it. But they never got fantasy anyway

Perhaps I should give Cartoony Justice another polish, too, and send it out again, too. I still like it, it has consistently garnered “good rejections” a la “This is really nice, but we don’t know what to do with it, sorry” and a few new markets have opened up since the last time I submitted it. I’d really love to find a home for this one, since it was one of the first stories I wrote that were actually good. The other really good stories from that period have long since sold.

I have two more stories that I still like and really would love to find a home for, because I still think they are good. But the market for those pieces is limited. One is a lesbian western (and that’s your market limitation right there) and the other is a Silencer story. I wrote a couple of 1930s set short stories about a retro-style pulp hero named The Silencer. Two Silencer stories sold and have been published (one was even reprinted), but one never found a home (and it even has zeppelins). I also think I have two unfinished Silencer stories still on my harddrive and may get back to them at some point. I wrote a lot of retro-style stories for a while, mostly with recurring characters. There’s The Silencer and I also had a pair of groovy 1960s spies/adventurers. One of the 1960s stories sold (a really good one, too), the second never did and would probably need a rewrite, before I send it out again. I still like the characters and the retro-stuff, but the problem is that the market for retro-style stories is extremely limited, especially if they’re not explicitly SFF and those aren’t, even though they occasionally touch on the very far outer limits of the genre.

I also should do more with my occasional forays into poetry. I don’t write a lot of poetry, but when I do, most of it goes straight to newleaf. If it’s speculative, I sometimes also send it to one of the speculative poetry markets. But mostly it just clutters up the harddrive, if newleaf doesn’t want it. I really ought to research legitimate poetry markets more, newleaf isn’t the only market out there or even the biggest one after all.

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