Welcome to 2018, dreamers. 2017 was a productive year, but the work of an aspiring writer is never done, and I have big plans for 2018. Thus, I begin with my first Writer’s Desk of the new year. Here’s what’s in store for this week:
At this juncture, I feel I’ve done all I can with my debut novel. While I may ask my editor to give the manuscript a final once-over just to be sure I’ve sufficiently addressed all major problems, at this point I’m calling it complete. Now, the real work begins. This week I’ll be crafting a query letter and compiling a list of target agents, all in preparation to begin sending letters out as early as next week.
This will be no small task. I’ve read exhaustively on the subject of query letters, and I’ve found the widely-varied and mixed advice available to be distressing. In the end, it all comes down to who to trust, and with that in mind I think I know how best to go about this. The query letter could be likened to the cover letter of a resume, though that hardly does it justice: while a sufficiently impressive resume speaks for itself, potential agents will be judging me on the cover letter alone, and won’t even want to see the resume unless the letter is sufficiently enticing. I have to be passionate, persuasive, and I need to sell myself without appearing too arrogant or desperate.
I’m not worried about appearing arrogant; anyone who knows me will point out that I’m often my own worst critic. But not seeming desperate might be a bit more difficult. Wish me luck.
With Wide Horizon being sent out for publication, I will once again turn my attention to my current work in progress.
Pathfinder needs work. In attempting to recapture what I managed with Wide Horizon, I feel I only succeeded in making Pathfinder clunky and verbose. I need to get back to my core ideas, back to my original vision for the story, and go at it aggressively. Keeping that in mind, I’ll likely begin by setting aside (not trashing) most of what I’ve written thus far, and starting over. With Wide Horizon, I found that when a section just doesn’t seem to work, it’s often best to try writing from scratch; attempting to amend what’s already been done tends to be self-defeating, as I just end up feeling like I’ve already done the best I can. With a blank page in front of me, and nothing else to reference, I’m free to come at the story from a completely different angle.
I’ve already written out what may become a new introduction, one that really lays down the core concepts of the story. That, I feel, will prove an excellent place to start.
Either today or tomorrow, I’ll be posting an announcement on my newest project: a collection of short stories entitled Astonishing Tales!
I’ve toyed on and off with self-publishing for a few years now. Today, self-publishing is a fairly common practice, and a brief perusal of articles on the subject yields no shortage of passionate opinions, both for and against. Still, I’ve found the process of seeking publication to be frustrating (experience writers would no doubt find this laughable, as I’ve made only a dozen or so attempts with all of six manuscripts). It would be nice to see my work in print, and if I make a couple bucks off it in the process, so much the better.
Ultimately, what really sealed it for me was my recent research on finding an agent, some of which suggests that having anything in print, even a self-published collection, can help my cause. Seeing as I’ll need all the help I can get, now looks to be as good a time as any to make this happen.
Astonishing Tales! is intended as a homage to the pulp sci-fi magazines of the 1950s and ’60s: publications that caught the public imagination with sensational stories of robots and rocket ships, accompanied by colorful illustrations. While I don’t intend to include any illustrations in my book (though it’s a possibility), it will nonetheless be a diverse collection of short stories I’ve written from every end of the science fiction spectrum, from space missions gone awry to tales bordering on the paranormal.
I’ve yet to determine exactly how many stories I’ll include (I have some research to do on acceptable length of such publications). But so far I’ve selected several I believe to be among my best works. Some of these I’ve already posted here on my webpage, while others will be totally new.
I still have a lot of work to do: I need to finish several stories (including the eponymous story that will lead everything off), I’ll need to bring in my editor, and of course I’ll have to find a cover artist (one of my Wide Horizon beta readers has already offered his services). As such, it’s unlikely that the collection will be finished prior to my query letters going out. But I’m excited to have a major side project in the works, one that will yield tangible results, and place my work on kindles across the world.
Over the coming week, I intend to continue cleaning up this website. In particular, I’ll be looking back across my previous posts, trimming down my archive by removing posts containing errors or outdated information, all in hopes of providing my readers with a more streamlined experience.
There’s a lot to do this year, but right now I feel equal to the task. Keep reading, keep commenting, and I’ll keep writing. And as always, dare to dream.