I’ve been working on my latest installment in the Jack & Patrick franchise, a Christmas story which at the moment I am calling, The Fat Man in the Red Suit.
It’s just so damn easy to write. I don’t mean that the art of writing itself is simple – because it most certainly is not – but that my familiarity with these two characters after so many words together makes the process of building a story for them a joy, even when I don’t know the ultimate goal. I’m just having fun getting there.
At this rate, I should be finished the eighth episode in my Jack & Patrick Universe in the not too distant future.
Sure, it doesn’t have the box office appeal of the MCU, but there may be some legs in the JPU yet.
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I had been brainstorming ideas for some new Jack & Patrick adventures. Seasonally inaccurate, I know, but one of those ideas is a Christmas story.
I started putting it together this week and got into it a little deeper than I had expected, so I now have a good chunk of the dialogue to work with. Although I do have other Jack & Patrick pieces in development, this will likely end up being the next – the eighth one – in the series.
I plan to send my novel Slipwater off to a few more agencies this week, because I’ve had a couple come back lately with a negative. Disheartening, sure, but writers are more familiar with rejection than most, and there’s always a contingency plan.
Besides, it’s their loss, because that story is money for the editor who is able to spot its potential.
I finally managed to finish a story! Granted, it’s not a new one, but it is the first thing I have completed in 2019.
Jigsaw is an old piece of fantasy fiction. I wrote the first version of it in 2000, left it for almost the entire decade, then redrafted it in 2009. That iteration was much shorter, but a lot cleaner and tighter as a result.
I didn’t really think I would ever go back to it, but I had an unfinished attempt sitting on my laptop that I decided to throw myself into… and so, almost twenty years after the story was written the first time, I have fine-tuned it again.
Although it still comes in shorter than the original text, I have added a sizeable chunk of words, bringing it in longer than the last time I looked at it.
It’s a good story: maybe this version will make the editors smile.
Although I haven’t officially committed to completing one particular story yet, it looks like Flowers for Mother is the one that is gaining the most traction – it’s certainly the one that I have spent the most time with over the last few days.
I have put together a beginning that I am happy with, and the tone is coming along nicely, so I’m over last week’s initial hump where I really wasn’t sure what I was doing. If I reach 1000 words with a short story I’m writing, it usually ends up going somewhere. When it ends up going somewhere is a different matter, but I feel very comfortable with this one at the moment.
The attitude of the central character actually reminds me a lot of what I did with a short story many years ago called Check-Out, so you could say that what I’m doing here is a spiritual successor of sorts to that piece.
All right, this is going to be the last time that I write about starting or continuing yet another story… at least for a while. I am generally fairly comfortable spinning several plates at once – and I’m certainly happy to at least be writing something this year – but I’d like to get some stuff out of the way before I become overwhelmed. It’s been a while since I’ve ran, so let’s try walking first.
I have had this pseudo-stalker idea for a while – one of those things that I have allowed to percolate for months, or perhaps even years. I’ve never done anything with it. In fact, until this week I had never even written anything down for it. It was just all rattling around in my head. And then as Mother’s Day approached, I was looking for an idea to hit, and I found myself thinking about this one again.
It’s tentatively titled, Flowers for Mother, and is currently being told in second person – a viewpoint I don’t have too much experienced with, but one that feels correct and appropriate for the story I’m trying to tell. I haven’t written much of it, and I think the tone still needs to be massaged a little to get the most out of the situation, but I’m getting there, and when I do there’s going to be a good story at the end of it.
I delved a little deeper this week into the dialogue of Talking in the Fourth. I’m looking forward to grabbing some time and getting through it because I already have a good springboard for the plot and how it ends, and about half of my projected word count committed. It’s (hopefully) a clever twist on a familiar set-up.
I’m also going to make a concerted effort to fire off a bunch of stories in the next few days. I’ve sat on a lot of good pieces for a long time, and I miss those days when I’d have upwards of fifty active submissions… where I genuinely did look forward to the response, even though nine times out of ten it was a rejection.
Do you know what the collective noun for rejection letters is? No? Battlefield. Lately I have received a battlefield of rejections. All right, that’s a lie: there is no collective word for rejections. But there should be.
This last week or so I have seen a number of them fly into my inbox, so much so that I started to wonder if all these publishers had gone for a coffee together and agreed to reject me at the same time. Whether it is my novel or the various short stories I have got out there to be judged, none of my words seem to be immune to a shake of the head and the proverbial red pen.
Sure, it can be disheartening when you see something that you’ve put a lot of work into, be cast aside with the same simple stock rejection note that has probably been sent to dozens of poor writers before me, but that’s infinitely better than not hearing anything at all, and that happens far too often.
Years ago, before submitting a piece became (mostly) an electronic affair, you would hear tales of paranoid writers sending out their novel and delicately sticking a single hair in between a couple of pages. That way, when it was returned they would know if their work had even been read, let alone reviewed. Nowadays, that kind of insurance measure is impossible, and we just have to take an editor’s word when they pass on our literary gold for something else.
But you have to have a thick skin in this industry, and mine is beginning to feel like leather.