May 2014 Writing Contest Results
Here're the results of my writing bet with my friend Robert for May 2014:
*For The Atlanta Incursion, the sequel to The Thing in the Woods, 3,740 words. I imagine I wrote somewhat more, since I'd thought the bet had lapsed and wasn't careful during the first week. I ended up accounting for this by putting 2,500 words under "various." I took the prologue to my writing group that meets in Lawrenceville and got some good feedback there, including advice on how to expand the section to make it more action-packed. The expanded prologue gave me some direction on the military technology of the antagonists, so that was very helpful. I'm bringing the first chapter before the Lawrenceville group today
*For The Thing in the Woods, 3,357 words at least. The goal is to get it as close to 60,000 words as possible, since many publishers will only put out a print edition if it's that long at minimum. My friend Nick suggested that if Thing and The Atlanta Incursion were both short, they could be combined into a single print edition. There's precedent for this--the Warhammer 40,000 Space Wolf and Chaos Marine omnibuses consist of several short novels glued together into one larger one, and of course there's The Lord of the Rings. Still, if each can be a standalone print novel (albeit a shorter one), that'd be even better than two short e-books and one long print book. My plan is to have it ready for sending to agents before I start taking summer classes at Georgia State and since these classes don't start until the second week of June, that's still doable. The plan is to write three new scenes--all of which have useful character-development purposes--early this week and then send it to the first four prospective agents I've picked out.
*Nick also put together a summer writing bet with the goal of writing a short story per week. Between work on my novels and graduate school participating every single week is going to be tricky, but I used the bet to light a fire under myself to write the first new short story in months if not over a year. I was inspired by this anthology call to write a dieselpunk story, in particular one set outside the Western world. And so in around five days I wrote a 3,230-word story entitled "Man of Iron, Rising Sun" set in the aftermath of the Battle of Nanking involving diesel-fueled powered armor. Nick might want to do something with the different stories at the end of the summer and the anthology won't send out acceptances and rejections until after the August deadline. In the meantime I'll cycle the story through my writing groups and send it to The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (noted for its weeklong response time).
*For The War of 2512, 1,372 words. In an earlier blog post I referenced consolidating a short story into the novel and ending up with a new POV character, so now I've got more things for him to do. I have long-run plans for the character (a very long-lived genetically-engineered starship pilot), so I've gotten him involved in a bit of political intrigue.
*The rest of the word count comprises various other projects, including one I'm rewriting from the ground up. Life lesson: Don't delete an entire project unless you're absolutely certain you won't go back to it--and then think carefully, because even if you're absolutely certain, you can change your mind. The current version has a somewhat different emphasis that makes for a better work, but I had to rewrite many scenes I'd have been better off keeping in the first place. I also made a bunch of edits to Battle for the Wastelands before sending it out to several agents over the last month, which accounted for just under 500 words.