East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Numbers II – Write Faster

And today I mailed three more stories, early this morning, thus managing to post six submissions in roughly 24 hours. Should all six stories sell (unlikely), at the rate proposed by the respective publishers, it would mean six months of mortgage covered. It would be good.
It will not happen, but it would be good.

And I am writing on – not only my new novel (about which, more in a future post) but a story for another submission. I started it this morning, and hopefully I’ll have the first draft ready before midnight. The target word-count is 4000, of which I have already about 1600.
Then I will let it rest – the call opens officially in two weeks, and it’s good to let the new stories sediment for a while before revising and mailing them off.

Finding out yesterday that I have been slacking in my writing and submitting this year made me feel bad. Not only working for an abusive client has caused me health problems and a devastating amount of stress, but it has really come close to damaging my ability to earn a living.

This, more than anything else, has caused me a sort of frenzy.
Something that was supposed to help me has massively damaged me, and as a result, for a change, the future is bleak.
In such circumstances, all I can do is (like good old Ike Asimov said) write faster.

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Facebook informed me today that one year ago, on the 26th of August, I sold a short story. It was (as I posted at the time) the 15th sale of the year, out of a total 55 submissions.
I was quite happy.

As luck would have it, today I submitted a story to a magazine. It’s the 33rd submission of this year.
Which gave me pause.
This year I have written/submitted roughly 40% stories less than last year.
That’s a lot of words, and a lot of missed opportunities.
The question is – why?

I blame my Client From Hell, that just today asked for a fourth rewrite of the book I am ghostwriting for him – and taking the opportunity to once again point out what a useless git I am.

Three rewrites of a 100.000-words novel (and the associated fatigue, stress and unhappiness) make for 22 stories not written and submitted.
This is the harsh mathematics of the thing.

But on the plus side, of the 33 submission of 2020, I sold 11 so far.
There is a small sign of improvement.

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Stained fingers and ideas backup

My fingers are stained black and red. I have just fitted the new ribbon in my mother’s old Lettera 35 – tomorrow afternoon, together with my friend Fabrizio Borgio, we’ll challenge the heat and the fishbowl-grade humidity doing our Burning Typewriters challenge, and we’ll write a story each, in public, in Nizza Monferrato.
I hope someone will take pictures.

And I’m not kidding about the heat – here’s the forecast…

Screenshot from 2018-08-03 12-27-30

Meanwhile, a story proposal I mailed about four weeks ago got a positive response, so I am re-writing/revising the story.
Which leads to an important suggestions for writers: talk about your plot ideas with your family. Continue reading