Working Myself to Death

Banner Saga HorsebornMy need to finish this novel exploded this weekend due to a certain announcement. Truth be told, I had been slowly tinkering my way at a 1,000 words a day on the ninth chapter when news source began to report on it. The result has been a kind of personal kick in the arse.

And by late Sunday night, the total word count in the last five days stands at 12,840 words that make up three chapters. Chapters are roughly 2.5k to 4k in length apiece. I try to keep it even, but I think it’s more important to end on a high note that keeps the pages turning.

With the previous quarter of the book done and two chapters on top of that, I’m at 50% complete.

I want, almost need, to get this novel finished by early January. I have to start clearing the writing schedule since my projects are expanding in not only value but importance and time considerations. A pitch window is coming up for another book I have in mind, whom both my other writing friends and my beta readers think is very promising.

Which… brings me to another issue.

It has been a very, very, long time since the Black Library has been open to story submissions. But as of today and until just after Christmas,they are accepting pitches. The timing is quite disruptive to my schedule. Yet I feel some tug to try, given my garnered experience and publications over the last three years.

Unless the Black Library’s next submission window happens to be themed around another short story I have in the pipe (in which case, why not send it?), this could very well be the last year I ever submit to them. Oh, I’ve got ideas a plenty and I would love to spin a yarn about Space Marines. But there is just so much going on, so many other projects which are beginning to see fruition. It’s getting harder and harder to justify hours spent in the pursuit of developing Warhammer 40,000 fiction.

Tonight, I may chug coffee and attempt a double chapter. And figure out who will get my efforts later.

“Marching Time” Release and More!

Wait! Wait! I have an excuse for my absence! Because we’re finally about to release this!


After months of work, we’re finally about to release the new anthology from the Bolthole, Marching Time. A collection of stories involving the various aspects of war and time traveling, Marching Time is the second anthology we’re to publish.

Marching Time should be available on Amazon later this week. I should also note that we’ve started work on a third anthology and the call for submissions will be going out shortly. If you’re new to writing and want to get a tale in or an old hand who wants to try, keep an eye out and expect the submission flyer real soon. But you may want to check out and read the anthology to make sure it’s your cup of tea.


Unfulfilled Needs

My friend Hilary once told me about wanting a handsome guy with dark hair, who was taller than her. Being around the six foot range herself, that was no small order.

Then one day, we go to a food truck rally. A friend of one of our companions shows up. He’s real tall, easily some 6’5″. Dark features, and reasonably attractive.  I grinned and thought, well you got your wish.

But to our mutual surprise, Hilary whispered to me that she wasn’t interested in him after all. She was kind of shocked herself, because although he hit all her qualifications, he just wasn’t doing it for her. He was outgoing with the girls, that wasn’t the issue. But his personality was boring.

Thinking back, I realize that this man was somewhat cliché. Maybe it was because his physical features hit everything many girls want in a man that he thought he didn’t have to evolve and engage people’s taste more. Good looking but socially lazy, coasting on his genetic fortune.

The point of this story comes from a mental debate I’ve been having with myself for a while. Some publishers will tell you what themes and ideas they’re seeking in an anthology. Others don’t tell you what they need and leave the door open for an awesome story… that just so happens to fit their unmentioned requirements.

I suppose that if publishers told you the themes they wanted more often, they’d end up in a similar situation as Hilary did. They’d get the same, clichéd tale, again and again, that totally fails to satisfy the never mentioned requirement that a story has to be good.

Or, in Hilary’s case, they have to have a personality. Guys? Seriously. Personality is the unspoken requirement all girls need. They almost never say it, but the need is there. No one wants to date a mannequin.

So when you see an anthology or submission window, start by asking yourself what has already been done. Many publishers have huge lists of what they don’t want. The same crap that keeps getting rammed into their mailboxes. If you’re not innovating, you’re stagnating. If you’re not evolving, you’re dying.

So find a way to stay sharp. Try something new. Go to another country, study something unorthodox. Learn, research, create. If you’re creating without being creativity, then you’re doing it wrong.

Rejection and Victory

Well at least you succeeded in SOMETHING during your miserable life!

Well at least you succeeded at SOMETHING in your miserable life!

So I received another rejection letter, although this one was from Every Day Fiction.

To my surprise however, they gave the story I submitted three full reviews by three editors. The reviews were extensive enough for a 700 word flash fiction story involving a game at the office.

The reviews arrived at relatively similar conclusions. They all seemed to enjoy the beginning, the overall idea and the humor. But at least two out of three editors took issue with the overall reaction of this one character against the setting. As I read their reactions, I came to realize that the rejection letter is far, far more valuable than the story itself.

You see, a story that is successfully published is like a hypothesis confirmed. It’s ideal, but doesn’t really teach anything or lead to any new discovery, like a writer’s weaknesses. Many publishers do not bother with full reviews like this one, which often leaves large numbers of befuddled and anxious writers.

As I read the review, I understood what they were getting at. The idea itself is gold, but the execution needs work. Based on what I gathered, I suspect that my third story, a spiritual/religious pagan piece, will probably be rejected on grounds of being confusion. However, the second story about a guy on a date probably still has a chance to succeed.

For now, I’ll put this one on the back burner and try to re-cultivate the idea into something that better fits the setting. It shouldn’t take long, but once finished it’ll have to be resubmitted and go through another two and a half months of occupying the slush pile.

On the flip side, the internet meme above relates to a victory I took from a friend in a game of table top Warhammer 40k, using only 17 words. How, you ask? Well, to understand you’ll have to read the following dialogue.

He2etic: “And someday soon, I will kill you all at the BLL and Gamesday with my Black Legionnaires.”

Shadowhawk:  “I don’t have any army anymore so that might be a bit difficult. :D”

He2etic: “I WIN BY DEFAULT!”
Chaos. We take victory anyway we can.

Annnnnd submitted.

Dance with me! Dance the dance of life! ... oh, right.

Dance with me! Dance the dance of life! ... oh, right.

Another piece has been sent. This time, it is going to Dark Moon Digest, a quarterly magazine of short stories.

The piece is old, but has never been submitted. I have to admit, I was surprised at my own writing. The idea and story were good, but the writing was somewhat difficult to decipher. I took my sweet time breaking up sentences, making it more readable and easier to understand.

But editing one’s own work is going to be the name of the game for a long, long time it seems. As I am taking a long route to getting published. Simply put, I’m started very small and working my way up. Three stories are in processing over at Everyday Fiction, a site for flash fiction submissions of 1,000 words or less. I have to admit that there is some temptation to rush to sites like Amazon’s self publishing, but I feel it would be better to turn to proven editors and experts before I take the do-it-yourself approach. I will probably do so in time, once I fully understand what I need to improve upon and have gotten my name out there.

In other news, I am busy studying a bit of engineering on the side. For now, I’m only looking on the details of reading blueprints. My friend, Jacob, dropped discs for studying German off. Gods, I could go for a new language. Work finally slowed down for me enough to take up some scholarly pursuits, and that’s exactly what I intend to do to keep myself from being bored.

Hope everyone has cool Veteran’s Day plans.