Thursday, May 23, 2013

Devil in the details

When you check out writing blogs, there's one subject that never seems to come up. Organization.

Story tracking
And if you're getting serious about your writing, organization becomes key. Short stories, for example, the industry standard is that you can not do simultaneous or multiple submissions. I.E., you can only send one unique short story to a magazine.

No shopping it around to three magazines at the same time and you can't throw three different stories up against the wall (three different stories to the same magazine at the same time) hoping  something sticks to the wall.

Now toss in the fact that it takes months for a magazine (print or online) to get back to you for a rejection, and you come to two conclusions:

  1. You need to write a lot of short stories to get anywhere. (And that you can't live off short stories alone.)
  2. You need a spreadsheet to track what you sent where and how long you should wait before you contact them.
A similar spreadsheet could be used for your novel submissions as well. If you're an epub writer, you'll need a system to track sales individual stories across several platforms. And unless you're raking in the Hollywood money, every writer has to juggle their own royalties, payments and taxes.

Merciless Rewrites
"Kill your darlings" also means "patching up the huge gaping holes they left behind." Setting up actions scenes sooner or discovering that you have merge two character together means that chapters are shuffled and renumbered.

They sell writing software that helps take the sting out of that, but it's still a pain. So far, I've stuck to chopping up my 1st draft into chunks to help mitigate that problem, but it still can be confusing and time consuming if you don't pay attention.

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