I’m actually doing it. (And I’m not sure I like this.)
I wrote up a synopsis, took my first forty pages, wrote a cover letter (that sucks, just because I’m a nobody but oh well) and addressed an envelope to myself. All of these things got put into a pretty envelope and is just steps away from being sealed forever. Well, at least until some editor in New York opens it and reads the story I have to offer.
That’s right. I actually am going to send out a manuscript to a real life publisher. This is bigger than submitting a short story. This is huge.
I’m somewhat a combination of this:
and some of this.
But mainly, I’m just a lot of this.
Nor do I even get to find out until this summer, which is probably going to be at best that they want to see my full manuscript, and even then, they probably won’t even take it.
After all, one of my goals this year was to get a rejection letter. Now I’m going to get two. Hopefully, I’ll get more. If I look at them as one step closer to getting actually published, then it’s a good thing. After all, have you ever heard of a published writer who didn’t get a few rejection letters first? (Though, honestly, I’m offering to be the first one there! Not a problem with that.)
Anyway, seeing how it’s currently Sunday night, and I need packing tape to actually seal the package, It won’t get sent out until tomorrow. Until then, I have a chapter thirty-six to plot through and a paper on my math history to write.
I wrote a story for my creative writing class. No surprise there. I liked my story a lot too and I’ll probably post it here within the next couple of days. It’s really good actually (At least. I think so.).
Here’s the problem. This story revolves around the idea that a girl, Marie, basically hates her life, finds Johnny Cash as an artist and begins to really listen to him. Through his songs, she ends up saving herself. (It sounds morbid. Maybe it is a bit. I’m not sure.) Anyway, part of what I did here is integrate lyrics of Johnny Cash music into the story.
Did you know there is serious problems with that? I didn’t.
Apparently, you can’t just cite the songs as a source like a research paper and all is fine. People apparently want money from the lyrics, even if the person has been dead for 69 years.
This involves writing letters for each song, asking to use the lyrics (even if there is just two lines used). On top of that all, just because they were all recorded by Johnny Cash doesn’t mean that they all need to be written to whoever owns the Johnny Cash music. I looked at two songs, Flesh and Blood and Hurt, and both of them are owned by different people.
So basically… this means that the story I wrote either a) needs to get them completely edited out or b) is just another story that I can use to build my skill and not do anything else besides post it here.
Well, I’ll actually correct myself. After reading everything in this thread, well, most everything, it basically comes down to that you might or might not get help and you might or might not get permission. If you really, really, really need the lyrics in there, then you should include them. If not, then don’t. (Someone went as far as to say avoid poetry of all kind, which I typically agree with.)
There is the chance that having two copies work out well, because then if permission cannot be obtained, then the story can be submitted through the backup
Unfortunately, that doesn’t help me, because my story relies on my lyrics. She almost has a conversation with them.
So, I’m back down to one short story. That makes me sad. I really need to get better at writing.
Here’s another article about reprinting lyrics if you’re highly curious.
Learning to cut–again
One thing I wanted to do while at my new school was write for the student newspaper. Problem is that I’m squeezed so tight schedule wise, taking the extra class will not be beneficial. As such, I can’t take journalism, so I really struggled last year when I wrote.
My solution: I’ll write a story.
Why not? I want them to be enjoyed.
So I picked Time of the Dragon Slayers. I like that story and it has good tension throughout. At least, I think so. I figured it’d be easy, I’d copy each section, e-mail them to the newspaper, and tada! Life is easy.
I need each section to be 500-750 words. Do you realize how hard that is? Hard. Think less than two pages per section (single spaced).
Last week’s section was 1000 words that I needed to cut to 750. (I think I ended with 748.) This week I have 1600 words I need to cut to 750 again. However, on my first cut, I’m already down to 787, so it might not be so bad.
You think you can do it? Probably not, but it really helps you think about how to say things in as few words as possible, and to carefully pick your words. Maybe you should give it a try, because I’m actually thinking it’s making this story better on the whole.
So there you have it.
I didn’t change a lot. The biggest thing I would like to point out is that I have uploaded all of my stories as PDFs so you can download them at your connivence, read, and leave comments.
I’m also trying very, very hard to get ahead in my homework, so I’m not panicking the day before to get it all done. Unfortunately, at this moment I am currently writing this post instead of taking some quizzes but writing posts is more fun. :)
I also took on a challenge. I didn’t realize it was going to be a challenge when I said I could do it though. See, i volunteered to write for the school newspaper. NO big deal. Except I volunteered to write as a creative writer. I figured I’d just take Time of the Dragon Slayers, cut it up into the sections I already have, and turn that in.
I get an e-mail. Abigail, try to keep it to 500 to 750 words. Take out the first section and run a word count. 2000 words. O.o.
I end up deciding to chop the first section into two sections. Not sure how that will work in the long run. Then, I proceeded to cut out another 300 words.
There is the chance, the very slight chance, that this might end up actually being a better version. I’m cutting out a lot of description though so I don’t know. if it is better, I’ll obviously post it.
Here’s another challenge with that. I need to have some kind of tension every 500 to 750 words. Moreover, I need to make it interesting to both guys and girls. For some dumb reason, the guy part of my brain isn’t working. The guy part that says explosions are cool and love stories are stupid. I want to write a love story. (Yes, I still did swear them off.) I also want to write a sad story (since I can’t spell the real word I want) . No one is going to like me if I write a sad story for the newspaper. No one where the guy’s wife turns out to be a spy and then kills their baby.
So, I can’t write something either. Not too sure what to do about that when I start short stories at the end of October. And the short story I wrote this summer isn’t coming along well because the real story doesn’t start until six pages in. The horror.
Anyway, the real topic, that I actually updated my blog, has been long lost. As such, I will leave you with one final question, since it is question Sunday: What was the hardest writing project you tackled?
For myself, it’s a toss up between these poems, though I seem to be doing not that bad on them, since they confuse me like nothing else. Or it is when I actually wrote articles for the newspaper at DWU. That made my brain somewhat explode. Anyway, what about you?
Life is happy.
I just realized I haven’t written here all week. Bad, bad Abigail. (Nor have I found a job.) MOving on however…
Facebook status last night:
Today is a happy day. My characters FINALLY started talking to me. Only took them until Chapter 35. I so did not want to start my first draft without them talking though, so we are good now. :D Thank you, Sagi, Ber and Avi! Now Nessa… about you….
Now, besides the fact that all my friends now know I’m crazy, this is really good news.
See, I’ve been having a problem connecting with characters in the way that I need to connect in order to write a good book. The last story this really happened with initially was Shad, and I think that had to do with the fact I thought about writing it for over a year before I actually wrote it.
Instead of trying to force my characters to talk to me, I turned back to how I learned to listen to characters and began writing in a modified role playing format. I call it my pre-first draft and you know how bad first drafts are suppose to be? This is worse. :)
In short, I only add the details I know. I put in dialogue as I feel it works, some emotions, indications that the character speaks, but nothing extra. I’ve been doing this since March and just now I’m figuring out how the houses look.
The problem with this is that if the characters don’t start talking to me by the end of this, it’s really hard for me to edit and typically I toss the story before I finish it, putting a good two months of work to waste.
However, since this is the first time I’ve done it with a novel, I can say I do believe that this is going to work. Three of my main characters are finally clicking with me, and really giving me a clue about themselves. The only problem I have is actually my main character, Nessa, but she’s a little more complicated than my other characters so I think it’ll be fine.
As for weekly word count, I’ll post that tonight because I’m hoping to finish my current chapter before tonight. (I don’t write from Friday night to Saturday night, since someday this’ll be work, but that’s another post.)
Oh, and right now I’m toying with the idea of naming mermaids “For Keren.” It’s not a very strong title I don’t think, but it’s a common theme that a lot of the characters say. Just a thought. Maybe “Avicherfa” would be better though, since she is the real motivating factor behind a lot of things.
Mermaids last week: 30,470
Mermaids this week: 37,584
Total this week: 7,114
However, I did not finish my chapter. I perhaps wrote… 100 words today. Bad Abigail.
Another productive week.
Word count for last week: 24,985
Word count for this week: 30,470
Total for the week: 5485
The only problem is that I discovered I’m on Chapter Twenty-Eight. That, in itself, isn’t bad. However, I estimate only forty chapters total. Which means I am basically 3/4 of the way done.
Well, technically, because looking what I have coming up, I know I’m missing things, and I also know these chapters will be on the larger size. I’m also writing a very rough draft, to the point that if I don’t know something, I just skip it. The idea is to get the story on paper and come back to it. So maybe, just maybe, I can get it up to 120,000 by the end of my first draft. (This is a pre-first draft as i call it. So bad that no one should see it ever.) From there, I can then drop it to 100,000. Either way, I’m not going to worry about it yet. This story should be solid enough as it is.
The productive week.
I said I would start posting my word counts, to encourage me. :) Well, so much for that. I did, however, write this week so I might as well admit it.
Last time I posted, I had 19,009 words competed in mermaids. Since i didn’t write for almost two weeks, we can assume that is the same number. This week I have 24,985, which means that I wrote 5976 words.
Not only that, but I also imputed the paper edits of Shad’s synopsis, all 7 pages.
Oh, and I think I came up with a good enough title for Shad, at least until someone can really give me ideas: The Sweeper Pilot. Preferably it’d be fun of it showed up on the book as The
Sweeper Pilot, but I think that works well enough. What do you think?
This was a productive week.
I read a book.
I know; that isn’t a good thing to say as a writer. But with college and my own writing, my fear of not having a good book, and the sad lack of books we have available at the library in South Dakota, I haven’t picked up one in possibly a year.
Wow! I forgot how good it is to just read a good book.
I read Imager, by Modesitt. It sounded pretty good, so I asked to borrow it from a friend. I didn’t start it for almost a week. Once I did though, and I actually got passed page 60, I started finding it incredibly interesting. I almost literally couldn’t put it down and would bribe myself to clean a section of the house, read a chapter, clean, read, clean, read. (I had to clean; I wanted to read.)
Now, don’t mistake this for a review of the book. I actually think it was a little slow and a little confusing, and I wished I had a map. But I’m more focusing on the fact that I read a book and leave my reviews for amazon.
I actually did it based on someone’s advice. I didn’t want to write and all I could think about was reading. I just wanted to be swept away into a story.
And suddenly, I want to write again. It’s like after seeing a beautiful world created and put to right, with fun characters, plots and intrigue, I wanted to put that kind of magic on paper. For really, in many ways, it is magic. Think about it in that we as writers get to sweep someone up in a world of our own creating, and hide them in it for a while.
I’m now ready to write again. In fact, since Saturday night, I wrote 5000 words, which tallies out to about three or four chapters. Yes, I’m writing small chapters. I like doing it better that way.
So now I’m looking for more books to read, and I want to soon modify this website and include a page on my recommended books in sci-fi and fantasy. I don’t have a lot right now, but hopefully they’ll grow.
I wrote this story last year called Miles’ Love. It came out to 34 pages, poor writing and too much dragging. I didn’t like it and left it on the shelf for some later date.
That later date happened to be yesterday. See, I figured out how to cut out a good 10 pages from the story, and that’s just the beginning. It also made it ten times more interesting I think. The reason for this change is the story started much too slowly, because it had too much background.
Now, this does mean I have to change the story from third person to first person, but I kinda like it like that actually. We’ll see where it goes at least. I thought about doing this before type of introduction before but this is the first time I actually tried it.
So here’s the very beginning of Miles’ Love.
“Your father and I believe that the time has come for you to be married.”
“We have been told that you can help us with a bomb issue with are having, involving the SFFC.”
“Rachel is a nice girl. You will do well for each other.”
“I’m just here for therapy. Nothing more.”
“You weren’t really on guard duty, were you?”
“Three years is more than enough to be running around the world with the military. It’s about time you settled down.”
“I know I’m the eldest, Luke, and that my tradition my marriage is arranged. But I don’t want to be married, let alone to a girl I don’t know.”
“I can’t tell you anything. It’s classified. Mother can’t know either. If she knew….”
“You take care of Rachel, you hear?”
“Thank your for your help, Major Jospehson. We are indebted to you.”
“Don’t go to the mall–not until Wednesday at least. It’s not safe.”
“You should take her on a picnic. She would like that.”
“How much were you hurt when the bomb exploded?”
“What did you hear?”
“Stop playing games with us, Jospehson.”
“You used the bomb to lure me out.”
“We have our sources.”
“Don’t you dare hurt her.”
I was ten when I first heard about the Changers. These people would voluntarily removed parts of their body to have new, improved bodies, generally speaking for criminal purposes. The prosthetics had become so advanced by now that a person could sometimes move faster, quickly and more. Changers were the future of the criminal race, for they used these skills to exploit and steal.
accurately with one. By the time I was fifteen, everyone believed that any amputee was probably a Changer. Not that they could be easily recognized, since most artificial limbs looked normal. Still, people would see, or think they would see, the small metal band and know. As such, most everyone would do anything to keep a limb, no matter how maimed they were.
Except me. Never, in my wildest dreams, did I imagine I would become a Changer.
I didn’t mean for it to happen. I should have seen the bomb, realized the location, not miscalculated the time–anything to keep myself from being caught in the explosion. But it did explode. Before I could get out. When the pain cleared enough for the doctor to give me a choice, I told him to use his best judgment.
But I never thought he’d chose to remove my arm. And even then, I never thought I’d be pressure to opt for a millitary-issued arm. Nor did I expect that injury would encourage the military to select me to go to Bordino, a third world country who current sold telepathy to anyone willing to buy.
With an advanced arm and a telepathic ability to sense other’s emotions, I might as well be a Changer. I couldn’t tell my parents though. A lord’s son–without an arm? Even if that would be found out soon enough, no one could know about the telepathy. That was against the contract. Nor could they know that my expertise lay in bombs, both decoding Intel and defusing. I made too many enemies in the war zone to allow that to be known here.
And where did all this end me? My specialized skill set and training? A basement cell, kidnapped by the SFFC because I prevented a bomb explosion earlier this week. And my betrothed pretending to sleep against the wall, her dark hair falling into her face. Luke, my brother, told me to keep her safe before we left for the picnic, but I couldn’t have imagined this would happen. I couldn’t have known they would know about me, let alone go after me.
I took a deep breath. No matter. First, I would get free. Then, we’d deal with how they found out. But about Rachel… I had been in worse situations.
I shifted and stretched my legs. “I’m thinking it’s about eight.”
Rachel pushed herself up. She didn’t really sleep. Only pretended to. “I don’t know. Why does it matter?”
“It just does.” The sun set within the last hour, so we would have enough twilight to run and enough darkness to hid. I fumbled with the handcuffs behind my back. Rachel just stared at me, her large brown eyes not even bothering to hide her fear.
“Did–they say something? When they questioned you earlier?”
So, what do you think? Did it work maybe? What do you know about Miles (the person who is telling the story)?
Have you done any kind of unique beginnings like this for your writing? How did it work out for you?
So like I said, I want to give a word count every week. So anyway, last week I had 17, 820 words in Mermaids. Unfortunately I did not get my goal accomplished. I only got halfway through the second half (dumb school got in the way). However, I am now up to 19,009 words in Mermaids. So perhaps only a 1000 of so words this week, but not too bad if I do say so myself.
As for my goal next week, I want to get to chapter 19 by next week.