Saturday, October 5, 2013

Writing Contest Results: September

I use Grammarly for proofreading because every time you publish a typo, the errorists win.

Although my bet with my friend Nick has ended, my friend Lauren extended it until the end of the year and so I kept track of what I wrote this month.

*I started writing a short story starring a half-Welsh half-Japanese (well, the pulp fantasy equivalent) samurai and a novel that serves as an expansion of that short story, but didn't write a whole lot in either. However, Mary Robinette Kowal advised on the podcast Writing Excuses short stories should be 4,000 words or shorter, so the story doesn't necessarily have to be all that long. I've plotted out the novel (and outlined some sequels), but that'll be a bigger undertaking.

*Wrote 1,007 new words for The Thing In The Woods in one evening. Between that and a few extra words I added while editing another part of it, it's around 36,000 words now. I found a horror small press that might be a good market for it, but minimum word count is 60,000. At DragonCon one of the pulp writers said 60,000 is a good length for a pulp novel. If I finish without making it to 60,000 words, I might go back and add some content from another character's POV in order to better show his character arc. I might also give the female lead some POVs of her own, but the problem is, she knows a lot that gets revealed to the reader later on. It'd be like having a Littlefinger POV in A Song of Ice and Fire.

*Wrote around 1,300 words for a pulpy short story set in the alternate timeline I wrote called (at present) "Muslim Europe, Christian Middle East." It's not nearly as ridiculous as it sounds, I promise. Basically it's a pirate tale in which a Coptic Egyptian sea captain signs on with the Roman successor states in Italy and North Africa to fight the huge Muslim fleet emerging from Islamic Constantinople (or "Konstantiniyye" as it'd be in Arabic). The headquarters of the Caliphate was moved there instead of Damascus and Persia was able to hold out in this timeline, so imagine the Byzantine Empire after the Islamic explosion with Arabia and the Holy Land down to the Sinai attached. Egypt is independent with its own Roman-style emperor who has adopted the trappings of an Egyptian pharaoh (I think the phrase "the cobra crown of the Caesars" is going to show up). Not sure where I'm going to send it when it's done.

*My single biggest project this month in terms of word count has been a political project entitled A Republican Party That Can Win California. I basically copied all the chapter titles and what I'd written so far into a Word document, which came out to be 2,250 words long or so. This one doesn't require a lot of creativity (or a storyline), just research and citing books. It probably wouldn't be all that long either, so I could bang it out relatively quickly.

(Of course, that's what I thought with The Thing In The Woods. It'll take me a lot less time to finish that than Battle did, but still.)

8,442 words total for the month of September, even though I only worked on fiction nine days out of 30. Graduate school must come first, after all. Onto October!


  1. Wonderful! If I may clarify though -- What I meant was that it is easiest to break into a market as a new writer with stories that are 4000 words or less. I don't think that short stories, in general, need to be that tight.

  2. Ah. Thank you for the clarification. I have sold short stories of more than 4K, but I figured the odds would be better if I cut the length of my unsold inventory.

    I did manage to bring one sword/sorcery story down to 3.8K without losing any substance. I don't know if I'm considered a "new writer" with the stuff I've sold to traditional markets (and my seven Kindle stories), but better to be safe than sorry.