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Deadlines Loom

May 17, 2010

So, we’re now less than a month out from my self-imposed deadline for completing that short story I’ve been working on for the past however many months (you’ll see the deadline listed in my “Short Story Submission Watch” above, and my current revision progress to the right).

Wow.  Would you look at that.  There’s a lot of work left to do!  Certainly, the revised version of the story is looking to be a better story than what I started with.  Especially if you go back to the original draft I wrote a couple years ago, stemming from my initial moment of inspiration.

Considering everything that’s going on (between recent events, and the off-the-books project I’m doing at school more for resumé rights than for a grade) I’m honestly not sure if I can meet that deadline.  I very rarely have enough free time to work on the story.  Sure, I’m just revising, at this point.  But that means going over the story with a fine-tooth comb, finding errors, plot holes, and other inconsistencies and fixing them.

Still, I will do what I can to try to meet that deadline.  It’s my hope that in due course of time, you readers – or those of you who have the wherewithal – will have the opportunity to read this story in a professional presentation (i.e. a pro mag, either in print or online).

Of course, realistically, even as good as I think this story is, I have to couch my enthusiasm with a dose of pessimism.  From a purely statistical perspective, chances are I won’t be able to sell this story.  Of course, it’s not a purely statistical problem, but it is a partially statistical problem, so the sheer volume of existing aspiring authors such as myself poses a certain challenge in the game of catching an editor’s attention.  So, I think it’s turning out to be a good story.  The two readers that I was able to get feedback from liked my story, but neither loved it (though that was not their role: I just wanted them to help me find the weak points so I could fix it).  Still, even if it is a good story, it’s probably not a great story.

Ah well.  Time will tell.  Wish me luck in finishing this (hopefully final) draft, and meeting my deadline.

Happy writing.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. fedwickagency permalink
    May 17, 2010 9:34 am

    Stephen, make your story great.

    Easier said than done, I know, but someone’s gotta say it. 🙂

    Deadlines are imposing, I know, but they sometimes help to get the adrenaline pumping enough for you to get done on time. I imagine that that was your reasoning behind self-imposing a deadline on yourself…?

    Anyhow, best wishes to your story!

    -J. P. Cabit
    Editor-In-Chief, Fedwick Agency

    • May 17, 2010 10:05 am

      You’re exactly right.

      Because I can say I’m a writer, but unless I finish writing something, then I’m really just twisting the word for my own self-edification. By giving msyelf a deadline, and holding myself to it in a public forum, I hope to give myself incentive to actually accomplish the feat. Setting the deadline as “this is the date by which I will have submitted my story” – meaning either that I’ve put the story in an envelope and it’s postmarked, or I’ve clicked “send” on a submission e-mail and the fate of the story is now the in the hands of the editor of some magazine or book anthology – I do one more thing. I ensure that I’m striving toward a professional career (i.e. “getting paid” to write). However unlikely that may be, that’s still my goal. And I think that this story is just good enough that it could be the first stop on crossing that threshold.

      Thanks for your wellwishes!

  2. May 17, 2010 11:20 am

    I need to set deadlines or I’d never finish anything! Good luck with the draft. I’m sure you’ll make your deadline 🙂

    Speaking of statistics, maybe you won’t sell it right away, but you might. Even if you don’t that doesn’t mean you should give up. The first rejection hurts, the rest also sting, but not as much. It’s just all part of the course for any writer.

    • May 17, 2010 3:56 pm

      My main worries are the turn-around time and the length. I’m pretty sure the story I’m currently working on really is decently written – roughly as good as most of what you’d find published in various short story magazines. So, I’m sure at some point I’ll find a market interested in the story. But once I’ve sent the story off to one publisher it’s pretty much out of my hands until I receive an acceptance or rejection. All I can do is wait to hear back (and I hear it can take a long time with some markets) before I can start the cycle again and send it off to another for consideration. I’m not worried by the rejection because I’ve already accepted that all other factors held constant, the chances are still stacked against me based on sheer numbers. So if I get rejected, I don’t intend to take it too hard.

      The length is my only other concern because the story is long enough, now, that I’ve cut down my potential market by half or more simply on the issue of word count.

      • May 17, 2010 5:07 pm

        I’ve heard that the Writers of the Future contest skews towards longer length stories. I’ve also run into a few anthologies soliciting longer lengths. Some markets are very quick (Fantasy mag gets back to you in 2 – 3 days!) while others can take a few months. I like having a few stories out simultaneously so it seems like something’s always happening. 🙂

      • May 17, 2010 6:21 pm

        Well, I’ve already got a story idea queued up, mentally, on what I want to write next. I had been debating between a story based on some stuff that actually happened to me a few years ago (tarted up with some fantasy kewlness) and a story with a strongly political bent that was timely, but I’ve decided that as strong as my political opinions are, and as timely the topic, the other story just has stronger interest for me. I might work on the political story in time, but I think I’m doing the personal-history one next.

        But with as busy as I am right now… I’m guessing it’ll still be a good many, many months, maybe another year or more, before I can send that out…

      • May 17, 2010 6:21 pm

        Also… I hadn’t really considered submitting fantasy to the Writers of the Future… do they do fantasy?

  3. May 17, 2010 6:48 pm

    Yes they do, though the winners are skewed to SF rather than F. Patrick Rothfuss won in a previous year with a Fantasy story.

    • May 18, 2010 9:11 am

      Hmm. I’m going to have to look more closely at this as an option, it seems. I’ll have to keep my ear to the ground (or, rather, put my ear to the ground in the first place) to see if there are other similar opportunities to the Writers of the Future contest.

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