Sunday, 29 July 2001
Hey! I finished a first draft of my story! It's more of a zeroth draft, really. I'll read it over tomorrow and see what I think of it. It came in at 4080 words, which seems a bit long for the idea. I'll have to give the whole thing some serious thought. Still, I'm really pleased. Next I get to revise a Clarion story!
It's seemed like a really long time that I've been working on this story, but I guess it's really just been two weeks. (A bit less, actually--I just checked. I started it Tuesday, the 17th.) That's perfectly reasonable. If I can write a new story every two weeks I'll be delighted.
I need to start giving some serious attention to getting my stories out to magazines. I don't have any out right now at all.
I created two new folders on my hard drive, one for "sold" stories (which had been sitting in my "completed" folder along with ones I was trying to sell) and another for "trunk" stories (which had been there as well). All but two of the completed stories I moved to the trunk folder. A couple of the ones I trunked I still like (or think I do--I didn't re-read them), but they've either been to the likely markets already or aren't representative of my work right now. Once I get everything else circulating I'll reevaluate them.
That makes six stories that are almost ready to go: four Clarion stories (the fifth one needs more than just a revision) and the two pre-Clarion stories I haven't trunked). Over the next day or two I'll rank those according to salability. Then I'll take the top story, revise it, and get it out to a market.
Let's suppose I can actually write a new story every two weeks (that's a little optimistic, but not crazy). And let's further suppose that I can revise a story and get it ready to send out in one week (that seems reasonable, for the stories I'm planning on revising). That means I'll have a story to send out one week from now and another every three weeks thereafter. That would get all the Clarion and pre-Clarion stories circulating in a Thanksgivingish timeframe.
Hmm. It just occurred to me that writing a new story for each story that I revise would result in a permanent backlog of six stories waiting to be revised. Perhaps that's not exactly what Jim Kelly had in mind when he gave us his Ten Tips on relieving Post-Clarion Stress Syndrome. He probably meant to just go ahead and finish the new stories and send them out without putting them into the cycle of Clarion stories being reworked. But I'm kind of inclined to put the new stories into the rotation (having a "cool-down" period for a story between finishing it and revising was another suggestion of Jim's). I think, though, that I'll work down the backlog at least some.
That's still a bit vague to be a plan, but I will start getting things revised and then out to editors. My instructors would all be rather peeved with me if I didn't.
The main reason for creating the new "trunk" and "sold" folders is so that I can make it a policy that stories in the "completed" folder never sit there. If they get rejected they get sent right back out. Stories that I don't want to send out any more get moved to the "trunk" folder. (And I won't trunk them until they've been to every plausible market.)
At some point I need to come up with a marketing plan for the stories that I've sold. But I've only sold two, and one of those won't be available for reprinting for a year. So there's no real rush on that account.
So, Clarion West must be over. Many of the class members will already be home, most of the rest on-route one way or another. They've got a tough few days ahead, adjusting to the real world. It's hard, but, it can be done.
I had a nice day. Jackie and I went to campus for lunch and got in a nice walk as well, along the new walking path on top of Boneyard Creek and around the quad. Jackie fixed us a nice dinner (a potato main dish) and we watched "Buffy."
I found time to read the Kate Wilhelm story in the September F&SF. What a great story! I put it aside so that Jackie could read it.