A Week of Writing: 5/10/21 to 5/16/21

Another week in the books. Here’s how I did.

Words to Write By

This week’s quote is one I’ve used before, but it’s a fun one, so I’m going to use it again.

“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.”

— Mark Twain

You’d be surprised at how effective this is. Here are some examples pulled from one of my works in progress where I’ve done the very/damn swap.

  1. The expertise to operate a ship of that kind must have been damn difficult to come by.
  2. An image appeared behind him, a damn modern org chart for an incredibly old idea.
  3. They were giving the unvarnished truth about the damn real dangers they would all face.

I chose these sentences because they represent three issues this exercise reveals. In the first example, very could simply be removed and the sentence would work fine, but I think a stronger word might be better. In this case, damn is actually a good replacement that fits the character’s voice. I’m also a sucker for alliteration. The second example is more what Twain is getting at in his quote, I think. The very can just go because it’s not doing anything except cluttering up the sentence. Now, in the third example, I’d leave the very. It’s doing real work, and I dig the way it sounds when combined with real. Very is often a weak word that is unneeded or should be replaced with a better word, except, you know, when it isn’t. 🙂

Short Story Submissions

Just one submission last week.

  • Submissions Sent: 1
  • Rejections: 2
  • Acceptances: 0
  • Publications: 0
  • Shortlist: 0
  • Pending: 9
  • 2021 Total Subs: 37

Pretty quiet on the submission front last week, though I did manage to get one new story finished and subbed. I received two rejections, and one was a personal rejection from a new market. Personal rejections can tell you a lot, and this one told me my work is likely not a good fit for this publisher. This is not to say the rejection was rude or scathing. In fact, it was polite and even encouraging, but it was also clear my particular style in the genre they publish is going to be a hard sell. The second rejection was the formiest of form letters, so not much to report there.

Media Tie-In

I continue to work on short stories for Privateer Press in their new Warcaster: Neo-Mechanika setting. Last week, I finished revisions on the third story and began writing the fourth. I’ll finish the first draft of the fourth story early this week and get to work on the fifth. What’s fun about this particular project is each short story is based on specific group or faction within the game world. Each of these factions have vastly different personalities and motivations, and some of them are not human or, well, inhuman. In other words, I’m getting the chance to explore a wide range of styles and voices with each piece. That’s both a challenge and a lot of fun.

Night Walk

My flash fiction anthology Night Walk & Other Dark Paths has been out for nearly a month now and it’s starting to get some nice reviews. You can pick up a copy of your very own in print or eBook by clicking on the link below.

For an inside peek into the anthology and its stories, check out the Night Walk Wednesday feature right here on the blog. I’ll give you all the juicy rejectomancy stats on individual stories from the collection.


More submissions and keep going on my commission work for Privateer Press.

That was my week. How was yours?

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