I keep a little tracker that I call my “Out List.” It’s just a simple Excel spreadsheet, and it was originally designed to keep track of which manuscript I have where, when it was sent, who had rejected it in the past, and any notes about the manuscript or magazine I sent it to. Sometime last year I started keeping track of the word count of each of these stories, just for grins. According to my Out List, since October 2010 (when I first though – “hey, I can write!”) I have written just under 800,000 words, and there are almost fifty entries in the list of manuscripts I have, three of which are full-length novels. Sometimes, when I get the idea in my head that I’m not really a writer and I’m just pretending, I like to look at that number. There’s an industry myth that says you have to write one million words before you write your first word that matters. I don’t want to start my next novel, because if that’s true, only the second half of it is going to be any good.
I kid, I kid. Every once in a while I like to take a look at where I’ve gone with my writing and where I go from here, and it always seems to be at the point where I feel like I’m at some sort of crossroads. Here’s what’s going on right now:
– Daily Science Fiction, the magazine to which I made my first professional-rate sale and the first anthology I ever signed, bought another one of my stories. It’s called “The Most Important Man in the Universe”, and is not to be confused with the Dos Equis commercial guy.
– Joshua Bilmes, the agent who currently drives the chariot for Peter Brett and Brandon Sanderson among other successful authors, asked me for the first 50 pages of IN THE SHADOW OF LEGENDS. This mostly induced a panic, during which I nitpicked at the manuscript and probably took most of the soul out of it. But it’s exciting nonetheless, and I’m waiting with bated breath.
– I became an associate member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, a professional organization for geeks who write geek fiction.
– I have seven short stories out at seven different pro markets. My goal is to have a publication in each of them, and I think I’m getting pretty close. The last personal rejection letter I got from Sheila Williams over at Asimov’s said that my story was “shocking and well done”, so I really can’t complain about that. If you’re reading this and you’re from Fantasy and Science Fiction, Asimov’s, Analog, or Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, I’m gunning for you!
That’s pretty much where I am as far as writing. I’m sort of stuck, now. Having finished In the Shadow of Legends, I’m starting to get the urge to write another novel. NaNoWriMo is coming up, so I could spend all of October drafting the outline for it. That’s basically what I did last year, and it worked out really well. But I have a lot of ideas in my head and I’m not sure which one of them wants to come out first. Book one of The Deicide Trilogy, I’m realizing, is really Book One of the Deicide Septology or something ridiculous like that. The plot is too big to be squashed into three books, and I’m not sure if I’m ready for it. In the Shadow of Legends has a sequel in it, but I kind of wanted to do something new. There’s more I could do with my humorous wizard world (the same world that got me an Honorable Mention in the Writers of the Future competition this year), and there are one or two books of young adult or urban fantasy that could be writing, too.
See you on the blank page,