A Week of Writing: 9/7/20 to 9/13/20

One more week of writerly doings.

Words to Write By

This week’s quote once again comes from Stephen King.

“Writers are often the worst judges of what they have written.

—Stephen King

I know, I know. I use Stephen King a lot. In my defense, the dude is a writerly quote machine. Anyway, again he clearly and concisely sums up my thoughts on an important aspect of writing. Yep, writers generally suck at judging their own work. This, uh, suckage, cuts both ways, though. Sure, we can get down on ourselves and become convinced what we’ve written is total garbage when it’s actually pretty good. Worse than that, though, is when you believe you’ve written something that’s pure gold and it’s spray-painted lead at best. For me, this is where my darlings in need of killing are often found. All of this is why you need eyes other than your own on your work, especially long-form fiction. As the author, you have blinders on (for a lot of reasons), and folks who can tell you what’s good and what needs work are invaluable.

The Novel

Another critique partner has finished with Hell to Play, and his notes are different from the first reader. This is a good thing, and I’ve chosen critique partners who will come at the story from different angles and perspectives. One might focus more on character motivation and backstory and another might drill down on the plot and world building. There’s always overlap, of course, and since they’re reading the novel in Google docs, they can respond to each other’s comments. That’s great because when they agree, I’m pretty confident whatever it is needs to be addressed. When they don’t agree and explain why, I can make an informed decision on which bit of feedback fits my vision for the story and revise (or not) accordingly. Anyway, I’ve got a number of things to work on that range from fixing trivial details that just need to be consistent throughout the novel to overhauling chapters that illustrate a character’s central motivation.

In other novel news, I’m continuing to outline the new version of my last novel Late Risers. I’ve slowed some, but I like where it’s going so far.

Short Story Submissions

Better but not great.

  • Submissions Sent: 2
  • Rejections: 3
  • Acceptances: 0
  • Publications: 0
  • Shortlist: 0

Two subs last week, which puts me at 62 for the year. I need 38 more to hit my goal of 100, which might be difficult at this point, but it’s all about the attempt. If I land somewhere in the 90s with an acceptance percentage around twenty percent, I’m not gonna complain. The rejections were all standard form rejections, and the only noteworthy thing about them is they all arrived on the same day. 🙂

Market Spotlight

This week, I want to highlight Nightmare Magazine, a great market for horror and dark fantasy that is accepting submissions of short stories, flash fiction, and even poetry for the next week. Here’s some of the relevant details from their submissions guidelines.

  • SFWA- and HWA-certified professional market.
  • Short stories up to 7,500 words, flash and creative nonfiction up to 1,000 words.
  • No reprints.
  • No sim-subs.
  • Payment is .08/word.
  • “Most rejections will be sent out within a few business days, while stories being seriously considered may be held for up to a few weeks.”*
  • Accepting submissions until 9/20/20.

*This has been my experience with the publisher with the submissions I’ve sent.


Here are my writing goals for this week.

  • Continue to outline the new version of Late Risers.
  • Start working on the third revision of Hell to Play
  • Send. More. Submissions.

And that was my week. How was yours?

2 Comments on “A Week of Writing: 9/7/20 to 9/13/20

  1. Having followed your posts about writing Late Risers, I’m wondering if you’d be willing to write a post describing how you felt about it possibly becoming a trunk novel after having put so much work into it. It sounds like you’ve changed course on that, but earlier this year it was sounding like you had resigned it to that fate. Maybe it’s more about when do you give up and stop submitting either the novel or a short story.

    • You read my mind. 🙂 I’m planning a blog post on how I ended up deciding that Late Risers, in its current form, is a trunk novel.

      A small point of clarification. What I’m working on now is a complete rewrite, essentially a brand new novel with the same premise and some of the characters from the trunk version of Late Risers.

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