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Focus! (No really)

Looking Out to Sea
Greetings and salutations!

Thanks for sticking around crew.  Even though I haven’t been here a lot in the last week I’ve been busy.

I looked at my goals and what I’ve been working on and realized that I needed to dig down deep and get some done.  The “stuff” in this case was getting published.

When I strip away all of the BS, it comes down to a couple of basic steps:

  1. Come up with a killer idea – Sound difficult?  No really, ideas are all around us all the time.  When I come up with something that I think is unique, I jot it down so that I can work on it later.   Sort of… It turns out that one of the big challenges that I’ve been fomenting is starting on all my ideas, but not really finishing any.  Sure, the next big thing is always exciting, but does it really count if you never get it out of the gate?  Not so much, in my opinion.
  2. Develop it – I didn’t say test it out verbally on others and I don’t me sit around and think about it.  Development means different things to different people.  For me, it means I need to get to writing.  If I’m working on a short story it means laying it all down as quickly as possible.  For longer works, it means outline and character development.
  3. Fact checking – If I had a nickel for every one that I’ve talked to that said they just needed to do some research before jumping into a piece, well, I’d have a pocketful of nickels.  If you’re a writer, you should be reading, both within your market, as well as those non-fiction topics that are related.  I haven’t caught myself getting bogged down with extraneous research in a while, as I’ve been more concerned with character work.  Your mileage may vary.
  4. Revise – If you’ve read some of my previous posts, you know that I have a love-hate relationship with editing.  Right now I’ve come to accept  that I need to do it, so I should just shut my pie hole and get to it.  How many drafts do I take on average?  As many as it takes.  No more, no less.  Right now I’m averaging about four revisions per short story, but it’s been as low as tow and as high as there are stars in the sky.  The only thing that I know here is the more I write, the less time that it seems I’m editing (unless you count rewrites, then this stage is still an awful lot of my time.)
  5. Put it out there – There is something that I forgot to mention back in Step 1.  That killer idea of yours?  It should be tied to a particular market that you’re looking to break into.  If you didn’t start with this end in mind, start reading markets that you want to get into and see if your work fits there.  For novels, search on Amazon.com for recent work that they’ve published.  Short stories and poetry are easier, as they usually post samples on line.

So am I eating my own dog food?
You could say that.  I’ve been reading like a fiend, revamping my stable of short stories, and marketing them where I think they fit best.

In the last month I’ve got four stories submitted and several more that I’m working on editing (One at a time… really.)

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Creative Commons License photo credit: edenpictures

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Blog theme updated

Let me know what you think of the new blog theme: Carrington.


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Tracking your writing career

You can’t manage what you can’t measure, is one of those business idioms that you’ll hear quoted a million times in your career, if you work in a corporation.

My tool of choice for tracking my progress is Duotrope’s Digest, a genre market tracking website.  At first I just used the site to get feedback on short story market response times.  The difference between Duotrope and similar sites is that they give users the ability to see their submissions up along side the market trends.

Before Duotrope, I used spreadsheets and slagged together information from a variety of websites and put it in a spreadsheet.  I had slightly more flexibility in creating my own reports in that format, but I’m not looking to be a market research for a living.  Do I need the information.  sure.  Did I need to play Sherlock Holmes?  Not so much.

Another tool that I used with similar results to the spreadsheet was Spacejock Software’s Sonar, which is a fine tool with a much better interface than Excel, and a number of useful built-in reports.

There are those who would rather not have their submission information online.  It’s a valid point, but as there is not a lot of risk of the information that they story being detrimental.  That’s just my opinion.

The point to this whole thing?  There are many different solutions out there to track your submissions and if you’re looking to make a living at it, you should get organized.

Duotrope's Digest

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Distraction Update: Victory over the Archdemon

All in a day's work

Yeah, that's me starting down evil cultists

It’s been about a month since I had DragonAge up on the big screen, but I’m happy to report that I’ve completed it some 100+ hours over the course of two months.  I’m a swords & sorcery wonk, but this was easily the most engaging computer game that I’ve played in forever.  As a writer, the plots, subplots, and dialog were impressive.

The replayability is HUGE, given that so much of the game focuses on your own origin story.

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Spammers love traffic

3 Types of SPAMIt’s been a little while since I’ve posted in a regular basis, but it’s apparent that the spammers out there like an active site.  I think I would have expected that they were more interested in populating sites that were less frequently maintained, but I stand corrected.

Happily the spam software that I’m using protects me from seeing 99% of the spam postings, and even those that I do see are just to review.

Creative Commons License photo credit:theimpulsivebuy

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