Writer in Training

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Writer in Training

State of Affairs No. 1

Last week, I posted about my plan for this blog, my intention to write about my journey from aspiring to (hopefully) professional writer. It seems only fair that I start by giving you a look at the current state of my efforts so I thought I would list all of the pieces that I have available for publication, tell you a bit about them and then tell you where they are in the process.

Short Fiction

Pyramid (800 words) a speculative flash piece that I really like. I wrote it in experimental (for me) style and I really like how it came out. Accepted for publication in an online journal after placing in a competition. At this point it has been four months since it placed and three months since I had any update from the journal. I'm starting to wonder if they've folded. Should I withdraw my story? Could I place it elsewhere? The elation that I felt at placing in the competition has lapsed into frustration and worry.

Barmbrack (2000 words) short ghost story that I love. Probably my favourite short piece. Received very favourable reviews from my critique group. Currently out on submission. So far, it has been rejected four times.

The Day the Kyragua Came (2500 words) fantasy short story, involving one of the characters from my novel. This is his backstory, how comes to be in the position he's in at the start of the novel. Currently out on submission. It has been rejected four times. If it is rejected again by the current journal, I may publish it here, rather than submit it again.

The Invasion (2500 words) sci-fi short story that I'm not actually that keen on. This one has only been rejected once but since I've decided that it's not very good, I'm not planning on submitting it again. Unless, somewhere down the line, I come up with a way to improve it. But for now, its a trunk story.

 

Novels

So far there is one novel with a working title of Ashael Rising. It is the first in a planned trilogy, an epic fantasy with a female protagonist. I have completed the first draft, had feedback from my critique group and am about 12,000 words into the second draft. Mostly new material at this point. After a twitter pitch last week, my first draft has been submitted to a small publisher directly. I'm swinging wildly between wanting them to like it and wishing I hadn't pitched them because I'm so not ready for this. I think my second draft is much stronger and I might have sold myself short.

 

So that's it for current works. I have several other short story ideas as well as a couple that could be novels but they exist only as notes at the moment. I'm pretty much focussing on getting the second draft of the novel finished just now. My plan is to finish by mid-April, run it through a beta read and then leave it along for a little while, write some more shorts, and then come back to it for another draft. Then I'll do the polishing passes and hopefully be querying by early summer.

What else have I been doing this week? I joined the indie review team for the British Fantasy Society and began reading the first book I will be reviewing for them. I started work on creating my query package and running it through a critique group. I wrote critiques for three other submissions packages as well as chapters of novels for my regular group. I hung out on Twitter. I'm still trying to figure out how best to use it. I want to have some actual engagement with people, rather than just tweeting things nobody cares about. And of course, even when I'm not writing or doing any of these other, writing-related, tasks, I'm working through stories in my head, reading about techniques and craft, listening to Writing Excuses. (Can you be addicted to a podcast, do you think?)

This journey all started on a bit of a whim. When I was approved for a career break following the birth of my youngest child, my husband suggested that I use the time to write a book - something I have always dreamed of doing. When I started, I never imagined that I would finish. I tend to flit from one project to another, always captured by the next interesting idea. In spending some time writing, I discovered that I am, in fact, a writer. Whether I ever get published or not, I will always write.

I've given you a glimpse into my journey so far. A couple of minor successes and many rejections. To date my record is 1 acceptance: 9 rejections. My plan at the moment is to write an update post like this one, around once a month with other posts in between.

Do you keep a record like this of your work? Do you have a file of all of your rejections? Is there anything you would particularly like to see on this blog?