Weeks of Writing: 8/23/21 to 9/5/21

A couple of fairly productive weeks. Here’s the score.

Words to Write By

This week’s quote comes from Michael Crichton.

“Books aren’t written- they’re rewritten. Including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn’t quite done it.”

–Michael Crichton

I feel this in my soul. Revision is the hardest part of the process for me. As Michael Crichton said, it can be a hard thing to accept–that you’ve worked your ass off on the first draft (and those that come after) and it’s not good enough. Can’t be good enough. For me, revision often feels overwhelming in the sense of making a bad situation worse. This is just fear and doubt and all the other writerly bullshit we all deal with, but it’s my specific bugbear. Thing is, like anything else in this business that scares you, you have to grit your teeth and get it done, and I will. I’ve done it before. I can do it again. Right? Right.

Short Story Submissions

Solid submission numbers for the past few weeks.

  • Submissions Sent: 5
  • Rejections: 9
  • Acceptances: 0
  • Publications: 0
  • Shortlist: 0
  • Pending: 15
  • 2021 Total Subs: 73 (75)

I sent out 5 more submissions in the last couple of weeks, and I sent two more yesterday (that’s the 75 in parentheses). My volume of submissions for the year continues to be quite good, while my results continue to be, uh, not. Case in point, I got another shortlist, close-but-no-cigar rejection last week. The word almost seems to be the theme of the year. The rejection was a good one, encouraging, and with a few bits of useful feedback. I think I’ll crack this particular pro market eventually, but seeing how this year has been a bit of a kick in the junk, I wanted that acceptance just a little more this time. I revised the story (using some of the feedback in the rejection) and sent it out again. That’s all you can do. Keep writing, keep submitting, and trust that your luck will turn around. It always does.

I did finish a new short story I’m quote proud of, and that went out the door yesterday. Hoping it’ll lead the charge that turns my acceptance luck around.

The Novella

Effectively Wild was among the 9 rejections mentioned earlier. A 23,000-word supernatural baseball story is a tough sell to any market, but I had to try the one prominent magazine that would actually consider it. That done, I’ve shifted to small book publishers that also publish standalone novellas. There are a fair number of good publishers in this group (I should really do a blog post about them). I’ll need to add some words to the novella and get it up to 30,000, as that’s the minimum for many of the publishers I’ll be targeting. That shouldn’t be difficult; there’s at least one subplot that could use a little more development.

The Novel

The time has come, friends. I can no longer let my latest novel, Hell to Play, sit idle. I have copious notes from my critique partners, all of whom pronounce the book good, better than my last, and a perfect vehicle for querying. I have put off revising the book for too long, and I need to get it done. So, starting today, that work begins. I figure it’s gonna take me a bit longer than a month to do it right, and I need to do it right. So, you’ll see me whining about the revision process in these little updates for the next five or six weeks I gather. 🙂


The big goal going forward id revise hell to Play, but, as usual, I want to keep my submission volume up too.

Those were my last couple of weeks. How were yours?

3 Comments on “Weeks of Writing: 8/23/21 to 9/5/21

  1. Great work with the submissions! I’m curious how many individual pieces that is. My way of working seems to have become write a batch of stories then do submissions, but I’m struggling to keep submitting a piece after it’s had a few rejections. How do you know when to set a piece aside?

    Also love the quote. My personal policy for stories over about 2k is to rewrite them from scratch, then revise. It’s because I’m a pantser, so I don’t have all the info at the start.

    • Hi, there, thanks for the comment and follow.

      The 75 submissions I have so far comprises 34 unique pieces, mostly flash fiction.

      As for when to set a piece aside, I don’t have a hard and fast process there. I’ve had stories accepted after 15 rejections, and I’ve rewritten stories after one rejection. I’d say you need to give a story a fighting chance, though, and that, for me, FEELS like 5 to 6 submissions.

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