A Week of Writing: 6/8/20 to 6/14/20

Way late, but here’s another quick look at the writing week that was.

Words to Write By

This week’s quote comes from author Anne Lamott.

“Get it all down. Let it pour out of you and onto the page. Write an incredibly shitty, self-indulgent, whiny, mewling first draft. Then take out as many of the excesses as you can.”

— Anne Lamott

As you may have guessed, and as you’ll certainly learn as you read more of this post, I’m still in the middle of a first draft of a novel. I think Anne Lamott’s adjectives above pretty much describe what I’ve got. Shitty: Yep, there is some clunky-ass prose in this thing as well the usual repetition, plot holes, and other ugliness. Self-indulgent: Absolutely. Way too much dialogue in places because I love dialogue and find it easier to write. Whiny: The emotional core of the story is coming along, but the characters might be a little too introspective in spots, and that can (and does) sound a little whiny. Mewling: See, whiny. Now, I ‘m also doing the rest of the things in the quote. I’m getting it all down, letting the writing just fall onto the page unfiltered and raw, and making careful note of the excesses so I can address them in the next draft(s). I think the point is that’s it’s okay to have a shitty, self-indulgent, whiny, mewling first draft. It’s okay to be honest about the imperfection of that initial attempt, cognizant of its flaws, and resolute about making it better.

The Novel

I made progress on Hell to Play, but last week was not my most productive. I managed just under 4,100 words for a manuscript total of around 55,000. Even though my production was a little lacking, I did write a pivotal scene that breaks us into the third act. It’s a huge moment in the book, and I’m actually pretty happy with how it came out. I’m starting to get that “downhill” feeling as I move into the third act and the characters move (or are maybe shoved) toward the climax. My goal is to be done in the next four weeks with a first draft that should be in the 90,000-word range.

Short Story Submissions

Not a great week for submission (with one shining exception).

  • Submissions Sent: 0
  • Rejections: 1
  • Acceptances: 1
  • Publications: 0
  • Shortlist: 0

Yep, I didn’t send a single submission. I mean, what the fuck was I even doing last week, right? I did get one form rejection, but what made last week not a total loss was an acceptance from Dark Matter Magazine for my sci-fi thriller story “The Past, History.” The Dark Matter acceptance is my 9th of the year, which keep me on pace for somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 acceptances for 2020. What’s even better is six of the nine acceptances were paid at pro rates. That’s a much better ratio than I’ve managed in years prior.

Market Spotlight

This is a new feature on the Week of Writing posts, but I figure it’s maybe more useful to folks than more of my microfiction. 🙂

This week, I want to highlight NIGHTLIGHT, a fantastic audio podcast featuring horror written by Black authors and performed by Black actors.

Here are some of the highlights from their submission guidelines.

  • Stories up to 10,000 words.
  • Simsubs okay.
  • Reprints okay if they have not been published in audio format previously.
  • Payment is $75.00 for original stories over 3,000 words and $35.00 for stories under 3,000 words and reprints.
  • They’re also looking for narrators (check the guidelines for details).

Also, please consider supporting NIGHTLIGHT through their Patreon account and help them with their goal of uplifting Black creators.


The usual broken-record statement here. Keep working on the novel–I’d like to get 10,000 words this week–and send out more submissions. I need to send out at least five more subs in June to stay on track for 100 submissions for the year.

That was my writing week. How was yours?

4 Comments on “A Week of Writing: 6/8/20 to 6/14/20

  1. Congratulations on the acceptance.

    A question for you, if I may: what do you ask of a critique partner? I am one for another author and would like to give better feedback. Currently I concentrate on the basics: spelling, grammar, terminology, continuity, plot holes, stupidity, forgotten abilities, and the like. Probably my most complex feedback was suggesting that the episode worked better if reversed.

    But what feedback would you want? And no, I’m not volunteering!

    • Excellent question. For me, what I want out of a critique partner is big picture stuff. I want them to focus on the plot, character voice and motivations, continuity, that kind of thing. I’m less interested in the nuts and bolts stuff at that stage–grammar, typos, sentence structure, etc.–unless it’s a pervasive issue.

      Of course, this can vary from author to author, but this is what I ask of MY critique partners.

      • Let’s just say that ‘my’ author still has issues with grammar and still has the occasional typo. I should have mentioned that I’m only critiquing a page or two at a time and the publication time is short – a week or two..

      • I do go through and clean up the draft as much as possible before I send it to my critique partners, but there’s still gonna be typos and whatnot. Essentially, there’s no point to fixing a lot of that stuff because there’ll be heavy revisions once I get notes back. So fixing typos and grammatical errors on sections of the novel that are going to be revised or even outright deleted isn’t a great use of their time. Again, if they notice something pervasive, like I’m overusing a certain sentence structure, I do want that called out in a general note so I can address it in later drafts.

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