Saturday, 19 November 2011

Happy to be rejected

Recently I worked up the courage to finally send a story to a paying 'zine rather than to a competition. Sending stories to competitions is not nearly so scary, because your submission will no doubt be one of hundreds, if not thousands, arriving at the same time. Also, you don't get 'rejected' from a competition: you just don't win.

I've been a bit worried about how I would handle rejections when I actually started submitting stories to publishers. I was afraid I would get upset and childish about it. But when I found my first rejection in my inbox a short while ago, I was surprisingly happy.

Why was I happy? Because I got a personalised rejection, with some advice on how the story could be improved, and an invitation to submit more work. I think that's pretty damn good for a first submission. I must be doing something right, after all!

Monday, 14 November 2011

Writing practice: something flowery

The other week I started using a site called to motivate me to write on a regular basis. The idea behind is simple: you have to write 750 words every day; you get points for every day you write; and the longer your streak is, the faster your points accumulate. Because you write your words directly into the website from your browser, you can write from most places. For example, you can write from work in your lunch break. I'm finding it to be a useful tool.

Of course, you have to think of something to write. Every day. Sometimes I draft emails or blog posts (I am writing this very text in my lunch break at work). Usually I work on my main WIP, the Novel. I've recently done a lot of worldbuilding in 750-odd word chunks.

Yesterday I needed a change of pace; I had been writing dry facts for days on end. And then I remembered what my wonderful gentleman caller bought me the other month: Steering the Craft by Ursula K. Le Guin. Steering the Craft is a book about the art of writing. I had read chapter 1 previously and so yesterday I decided to do exercise 1 for my daily 750 words. The exercise was to write a piece intended to be read aloud.

What I wrote is more than a bit rough. It also reads like two separate pieces, because about the time I felt like I was running out of oomph I saw I was only at 300 words, so I changed tactic. The exercise challenged me to write from a different angle to the one I write from on default, and therefore what I ended up with was something quite different to my normal prose. I wrote an emotive, sentimental piece from the point of view of a frequent traveller in the world of my WIP. This traveller is monologuing lyrically about the island nation of Adarentia, where my story is set. Although a bit off-beat, I think this piece will be very useful for me when it comes time to create a sense of place within the story.