Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Update May 12 PS and Ranting

    Okay, I have 14 stories out right now-could be more I sometimes forget a story or three that I sent out. The number is changeable as soon as one or more comes back in a day or three.  It’s not as many as I used to send out on a regular bases I would have 16 to 22 out at one time. I’ve had more a time or two but I forget what the highest number has been, probably around 25-26. 

         I used to send out stories every week, now it’s when I remember and/or when I get around to it. I’m just not as excited about it as I once was, which might be why I tend to forget. And why I haven’t felt like writing the last few days at home. I  have done some at work but almost out of habit. 

       People are impressed with the numbers--even though I have known people who make my numbers look small--of stories I send out and if stories I write--writing most days gets you a lot of stories. I’ve impressed two editors with my numbers of both.  I’ve also been told by other writers that they are envious of the number of and types of ideas I come up with. One pro editor called my to say I’m a natural born storyteller. 

But all that is practically useless. I get nothing for it. All of that is the easy part of writing in comparison. As I have mentioned before I’m stuck on a plateau half way up the side of a mountain. Nothing I do gets me higher--well, a couple of feet maybe not far enough to get to the next level.  

For a while I tried hard to find the “sliver” rule that would get me selling. There isn’t one. Writing is more a mixture like a recipe. A good or bad technique changes the whole. Like making strawberry shortcake from scratch. 

I can come up with a new recipe: add cinnamon to the shortcake and a touch of lemon to the whipped cream that sounds good. I can find very good strawberries, use a nice butter, but then I use cream that is slightly sour, and use corn meal instead of wheat flour for the shortcake. It probably would look funny and taste bad, as a whole. 

To make it better I find a good butter to use, great fantastic strawberries, figure out that I used soured cream, so I fix that. But still use corn meal and this time I bake the shortcake at a slightly lower temperature. Still not right. Next I try even better butter and a top cream, still use corn meal so still not right.  

Next I try adding craisins because I see that three pro bakers use them and people love it. But no one likes them in mine. Maybe no one wants to tell the pro bakers they don’t like the craisins, I use too many or not the right brand, or the people love the rest of the shortcake so much they don’t mind eating tiny bits of what they don’t like. 

Still using corn meal though and I don’t know it. 

***This is all me, the vast majority of people who work on writing improve so keep working on it: practicing and learning.***

Sometimes I think I’m closer to giving up on publishing, not writing, again. I did give up once but I worked on the story I ended up writing for me still trying to do my best so I ended up sending it in anyway and off I went again. Oh, this feeling of giving up isn’t unusual evidently most if not all writers-including pros go through it sometimes.  It seems natural. 

And all this comes from not just a few rejections.  I sometimes post a story on the Universe Annex section of Bean’s a forum for the publisher Bean Books. The annex is a paying market they have for short stories, They have one assistant editor and other posters crit the stories with the idea that with enough revisions the story will become buyable. It has worked for some--not me. I have probably posted over 25 stories in three or so years. A few have had between 7 and 9 revisions with crits from the writers and editor. Nothing. Well, there was one three years or so ago--they were not buying at the moment though. Before and since I haven’t even come one even says that my story was great with good writing as they have done for other posters.  

I belong to one forum where the forumites have challenges every so often. I’ve tried around ten challenges, First, second and third places and I don’t even come close. In those that I know I was either bottom level or middle at best. I gave up on them. 

Even though I know of writers who get personal comments by some editors I don’t even though those I’ve sent over fifty stories to. Which is suppose to make a difference.   

So I keep using corn meal and don’t realize it which means I keep working on the wrong areas.  

One more thing for those who don’t know me. About six years ago I had a period of time I did good. Used wheat four and everything came out as it should pretty much. No awards but a Master chef said what I produced was good--twice. He even bought one of those. Three stories I wrote during that time received Honorable mentions at WotF. HMs are the first level of three of four on the way up to winner. Obviously my stories still needed work but at the same time they showed improvement. But somehow I forget something and dropped off the cliff. Landed on that plateau I have referenced. Can’t get back up even that far.  


  1. Hope you climb out of this rut soon. Sometimes when I feel that my writing isn't up to par, I reread works by my favorite authors. I don't always read them straight through; I flip to beginnings, memorable scenes, random pages, and endings. All my favorite stories come back to me again, in the styles that I had grown to love. After that, usually, be it a few minutes or weeks, my writing recovers. Maybe you just need to find the trigger that gets you climbing that mountain again. Give it a few deep breaths, patience, and time. And from me, all the best wishes.

  2. Thank you for the advice.

    I go through this every so often and will probably continue to do so until I learn what ingredient or three I am misusing. More on that in another blog.

    I'll add that I don't mean that I need to start selling a lot of stories. One or two with a couple of positive comments from editors and something higher than a HM from WotF would help. Something that shows I am back where I was improving.


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