Archive for February 6, 2010

Spent a lot of time at the post office this week…

February 6, 2010 2 comments

I’ve been going to the post office a lot this week, for two reasons.  One was to mail out books to the very nice people who’ve participated in my ongoing book sale.  The other was to submit my new short stories.  I’ve had three stories in the works for a while — a sequel to “The Hub of the Matter,” a prequel to one of my spec novels (which I discussed here, here, and here), and a steampunk/urban fantasy piece that I discussed here, here, and here.  This week, I dedicated myself to finishing up all three of them and getting them on the market.  For the past few months, I’ve had some older stories back in circulation, figuring I might’ve given up on them too soon, but so far I’ve had no luck.  I still have one of them on the market, but the rest haven’t sold (at least, not so far).  However, of the new works of original short fiction I’ve written and marketed more recently, “The Hub of the Matter” and “No Dominion,” I sold two for two on the first try.  Which is evidence that my newer work is better and more marketable than my older stuff.  So I figured it was high time I got some more new stuff out there.

The spec-novel prequel proved easiest to finish up.  When I completed it last month, I wasn’t sure how well it held up, but when I reread it last week, I found I was quite satisfied with it.  I did a little tweaking here and there, but after that I felt it was ready, and I sent it off Monday.

The fantasy story needed a few refinements; there was one bit where a character gave too long an expository speech at a moment when time was pressing, so I rejiggered it to put more of the background exposition in my narration and assume both characters were already familiar with what was being described.  Also, I decided to add a bit more foreshadowing to punch up the opening paragraphs.  The main character has a secret that I initially began hinting at a few pages in, but I figured it would be a stronger hook if I made a cryptic reference to it on the first page.

The Hub story needed the most work.  I’d taken the crisis of the story in a more dramatic and less comic direction than I’d intended, so I needed to punch up the humor.  More fundamentally, I realized I’d kind of lost track of my original intentions for the story, depicting a situation that was darker and less humorous (and less interesting) than what I envisioned.  I was able to solve all those problems, though it took me a number of passes through the story.  One key exposition scene got almost completely rewritten twice so it was less talky, more quirky, and more in line with the story emphasis I’d lost track of.  With that and some other tweaks, I finally got the balance and approach I’d been going for.

There is one other story I reworked lately that hasn’t gone on the market.  It’s a novelette I mentioned in some of the posts linked above (“Getting a novel back on course,” “Back on course, addendum” and “Reworking old stories”), one that I’d exhausted all but one of the viable markets for (in terms of word count) but figured I’d take a stab at anyway once I had the idea of how to rework it.  But when I took a closer look at that one remaining market, I realized it was more of a “literary” magazine than I’d thought, and really not the right place for this story.  And I’m really not wholly satisfied with how the story turned out anyway.  So it’s on the shelf for now, at least until another potential market manifests itself.  I figure it’s better to focus on new stories than to keep trying to salvage an old one.  It’s too bad, because I really like the aliens and the worldbuilding I did here; but if this story goes nowhere, maybe I can reuse them in a different story.  (In fact, this story is already my second attempt to write about this particular species.)

And hey, I’ve still got four stories on the market, and I’m starting work on a new story for an open-submissions anthology.  The new story is my second one in the steampunk-fantasy universe, featuring totally different characters and situations, although one aspect of it is an outgrowth of events in the first story.  But that connection is very tenuous and implicit.  Since it’s going to a different market, and since I don’t yet know if I’ll even sell the first one, it needs to be able to stand independently.

Of course, all these stories don’t add up to a lot of money even if I sell them all.  But the more of my original work that gets out there, and the more name recognition I get, the better it is for my career in the long run.

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