Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Once Bitten

It took me longer than I figured on, but I finally got my WIP finished and sent it out into the world. We’ll see what happens to it now. Meanwhile, I’ll be moving on to the next thing on my to-do list, which I’ve decided will be the Carina Challenge. That’s write and sub five stories to five different anthologies coming out from Carina Press, as detailed in a previous post. I’d better get a move on, too. Deadline for the first one is August 1. What’s today’s date? Let me look at the calendar. Yikes!

I hope I’m not setting myself up for failure here. I know my limitations. I write slow. It takes me forever to get stories done. That one that just went out should have been done and on its way back in March. And now I want to write five stories in a two to three month period? What the hell am I thinking?

Let me show you what I’ve put myself up against. The anthologies call for novellas, defined by this publisher as 25,000-40,000 words. The one I just finished came out to 28,000 words, or 50+ single-spaced typed pages. That’s what I have to look forward to, times five. There are writers out there who can pull that off. I don’t count myself among them. There’s biting off more than you can chew, and then there’s stuffing your face to the point you can’t breathe and have to barf up something. Then you risk looking like a loser in front of everybody, and feeling like one to boot.

On the other hand, what’s life without a little challenge? Or a big one, for that matter?

So what the hell. Maybe I am taking too big of a bite for my writing speed. In fact, strike the “maybe” off that last sentence. I’m still going for it. I can’t run a marathon either, but I can sure as hell start one. Any amount I get done I’ll consider a victory. Just writing something every day is considered a victory by some. That group I can call myself a part of.

Theoretically, it can be done. Mathematically, it’s possible to write a 30,000-word novella in a month, if you write 1000 words per day. That’s the part where I tend to trip up. I’ll just have to put an hour aside and write a thousand words, then double up on the weekends. That’s just for verbiage. What about plots? Well, I had one of my contenders already started, with my eye on a different publisher, when I heard about the Carina anthologies, so I’m a couple thousand words ahead on that one already. I have bits of something in the closet that, if cleaned up and completed, might do for another. An idea I was toying with will work for a third. I came up blank on the fourth and fifth, but now that my subconscious has had time to chew on the problem, I think I can come up with something.

Will any of these be long enough? Won’t know until I write ’em. Plus I’ve got a break. According to Carina’s submission specs, if you’ve written for other publishers or self-pubbed with regularity (in short, proven you can write to deadline on a regular basis), they will take proposals in place of a finished work. That gives me an extra six weeks after the stated deadline. I should still have at least a first draft done or close to done before I send anything in. Then if they don’t ask for it, I don’t have to finish it. If they do ask for it … well, I’m always at my best with a specific project and a short deadline. I think I’m addicted to the adrenaline rush.

Hey, if I can write a 1000-word blog in an hour, I can write a 1000-word scene. Piece of cake. Times five. That’s a damn big cake, but even sheet cakes can be devoured if you attack them one moderate bite at a time. Just chew carefully. On to the challenge!

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