Weekly wrap up 

It’s Friday, so that means I’ve got a whole lot of random shit to throw at you. So, buckle up, buckaroo.

Short story released into the wild

I’m really excited to announce I have a short story appearing today in Stupifying Stories Showcase titled, “Without a Leg to Stand On.”

Linkie: http://stupefyingstoriesshowcase.com/?p=1450

Enjoy.

Speaking of writing

My current work-in-progress (WIP), the novel I mention I was writing in Wednesday’s blogpost is coming along nicely. I’m “in the zone,” so to speak and the words are just falling all over the place. Good words. Meaningful words. Words that have me excited for the first time in a very long time.

It’s one of those instances where if I’m not writing the story, I’m thinking about writing the story. Characters and scenes are bombarding my head continuously, probably making me a menace to other human beings as I bump into them because I’m in a creative trance.

So if you see me walking down the street, make way!

Weigh-in Friday

I lost some more weight. Now I’m just ounces — OUNCES — away from breaking the 200 pound barrier! The scale reports in at 200.4!

Huzzah!

New writing instrument

No, I didn’t pick up another fountain pen. Instead, after much research and soul searching and penny pinching, I bought one of those 2-in-1s. Is it a laptop with a detachable keyboard or a tablet with an attachable keyboard? It’s like the old Certs commercials. “It’s a breath mint. It’s a candy mint. It’s two! Two mints in one!”

Anyway, it’s an RCA Cambio 10.1″ 2-in-1. It’s replacing the horrible Samsung Tab 2 tablet I received several years ago when Verizon was having a penny sale on Fathers Day. Hated it almost from the start. No wonder they were giving them away.

I had bought a cheap, half-assed Bluetooth keyboard for the Samsung and that just barely made it tolerable. Just barely. I could write, but not proficiently because the keyboard was a little too small for touch typing and had a few keys, the :/; and “/’ keys for instance, on a different row and I’d hit Enter every time I meant to put in one of those symbols, so I’d have all these random line breaks all over the place.

But this RCA is nice. For one thing, it has a Windows operating system, not an Android, so I can write straight into Word and not have to mess around with apps that just simulate Word.

I’ve done more writing with it in the last two weeks than I’ve done in the months prior on that tablet, which is why I got it in the first place.

I’ve read some reviews that complain the keyboard has a “plastic” feel. Well, duh. It is plastic. What should it feel like? Stone? Leather? To me, it feels solid, sturdy, unlike some others I’ve picked up that seem rather flimsy.

Maybe I’ll review it sometime, except since I only use it for writing in laptop mode, the review would only be useful to someone who also only planned to use it that way as well. I don’t use it for the surfing the web or for email or games or anything else that would distract me from writing.

RCA Cambio 10.1″ 2-on-1

Syria

What the Hell? Trump launched a cruise missile attack? This is why you never elect a bully with small hands and a small dick. In his mind, the use of military force compensates for his feelings of inadequacy.

Can we now invoke Section 4 of the 25th Amendment?

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My Philosophy on Short Story Submissions

Back when I first started out writing and submitting short stories, which we established earlier as sometime during the Dark Ages, there was a philosophy out there that when first starting out it would behoove you to start at the bottom and work your way up.

In other words, start out submitting to the non-paying markets, establish a name for yourself, and then work your way up to the paying markets.

To be honest, I don’t know who espoused this philosophy. Personally, I think it’s called the Loser Philosophy. It’s based on the assumption that you suck, your writing sucks, and no one wants to pay for it.

That might be a little harsh, fine. The philosophy probably is based on the fact that the more you write, the older, more wiser a writer you become, and that your writing evolves over time. It’s the learning curve idea and supposedly you will progressively become better thus earning more respect, a larger fan base, and editors will be more willing to pay you at the higher end of the pay scale.

It’s a philosophy that goes against my nature. By starting at the bottom what do you learn? You learn that someone accepted your story and didn’t pay for it. An acceptance means someone liked the story. If you send it to a non-paying market and it’s accepted, how do you know that someone higher up might not also have liked it? You don’t and unfortunately now you’ll never find out.

So my philosophy is Start at the Top and Work Your Way Down. Dream Big. All they can do is reject you. I personally have always found rejections from the New Yorker and Playboy (back when I was regularly submitting short stories, Playboy was the pinnacle market, they paid, if I remember correctly about $4500 per story–OK, I just checked and now they pay $5000!) much more satisfying then the ones from the Cream City Review (which, by the way, is a wonderful literary magazine put out by the English Department at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee).

In fact, somewhere, if I bothered to look, I have quite the collection of rejection slips from the New Yorker, Playboy, Redbook (also at one time a top fiction market), Esquire, and GQ.

Basically my point is this, if you start at the bottom you end up with bottom rates. If you start at the top who knows what you’ll get? Maybe you’ll still end up selling to a non-paying market, but at least you tried. You gave the story a chance. You reached for the stars and at the very least those editors will become familiar with your name, even if they think you’re a nuisance.

What I find odd about the Start at the Bottom Philosophy for short stories is that it runs counter to the advice beginning novelists get. No one starting out submitting their novel is ever told to go directly to vanity press or (shudder) PublishAmerica (which you’ll avoid like the plague no matter how desperate you are). No. The advice beginning novelists are given is start at the top. Find your Dream Agent and query them. Then go down your list, top to bottom. Query the hell out of every single agent you can. Then query the publishers themselves that still take unsolicited queries. Query from Best on down. Query until even Hell won’t take it.

So why, as a short story writer, would you be willing to do any less? Go to Duotrope or Ralan or some other short fiction market website and research for the top professional paying markets and submit. Keep submitting as you slowly work your way down. Submit until even Hell refuses it.

After all, as much of a thrill as it is to see your story and your name in print, or online, its even better when you can go buy a cup of coffee in celebration because of it.

Dream Big. Crash Gloriously.

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