February 2022 Writing Update

Time is rollin’, rollin’, rollin’!

When we last chatted, I’d just started edits on Spider’s Hub (using a new process) and had 2 other projects on the go (an outline for the next novel, and a Jazz Healy short story). Oh yeah, and I’d just created a brand new spreadsheet of wondrous wonder to track all my writing and editing down to the exact word.

Now, almost a month on, I’m still editing Spider’s Hub (more on that soon), and have 5 (!!) other projects in various stages. I hope you’re all holding onto your hats because we’re about to break things down, yo!

First, Spider’s Hub. I’m 75% of the way through the first step of my new editing process, the initial softcopy edit. And so far I’ve trimmed the thing down by 12.5K. A sub-80K manuscript is a distinct possibility. While most of this editing pass has been trimming excess fat (and as you can see, there’s been a lot of that), I’ve also streamlined the story, fixed a few plot issues, and so on. This should mean when I print the hardcopy out there won’t be nearly as much circling of entire pages with a note to ‘strengthen/condense,’ and/or a note (and this seems to be my term when editing) that this is ‘clunky.’ Once I finish this softcopy edit I’ll let the manuscript sit for a week before printing it. For two reasons: to give a tiny bit of distance, and so I can focus on getting my short-story collection ready.

Really, I should have 7 total projects open in my spreadsheet but I haven’t added the short-story collection. I’ve done plenty on it, though. I have a table of contents and, because I r compulsive editor, I’ve been methodically reading through the stories to make sure there’s no glaring issues like missing scenes, etc.

Actually, in so doing I’ve noticed something quite interesting. And this relates to the 6th project I have going, so we’ll talk about that one before the others. Perhaps due to me deciding which stories to include in this collection I got to thinking about a story I trunked 8-9 years ago, and because I wasn’t doing enough writing stuff already decided to pull it out and give it a good going-over. And let me tell you, the perspective 9 years gives on a story! Immediately upon reading through it I saw a lot of areas for improvement. A lot. Funnily enough, when it was out doing the rounds so long ago, it got close at one venue, the rejection I received from them after they held onto it for 6 months telling me that it was a wonderful story and the right publisher would be eager to buy it. The last rejection I got for it was at the other end of the spectrum, however, the comments included from the slush readers quite scathing. While I can’t say exactly, that rejection might’ve been the reason I trunked the story. At that time, writing had already taken a backseat to Other Important Things and I think that while I could see the flaws the readers pointed out I didn’t have the time or energy to put the work in to correct them. Still, I didn’t think it was a terrible tale, which is why I decided to get it back out now.

So, where was I going with this? Oh, that’s right, an interesting thing I’ve noticed while reading through the stories I’ve sold versus this one. The vast majority of the stories in this collection have been previously sold (I say sold rather than published because a couple were sold but never got published, all rights now long reverted back to me). Most of these stories are older, too, than the trunk story. And reading through them, while I’ve picked up on an odd error or possible better word choice, they’ve all flowed along pretty well. None of the editors who bought them required extensive edits on them, either. However, this trunk story, which I at one time thought was good enough to sell, well, it obviously wasn’t.

Anyway, I found that discernable difference between ‘sellable’ and ‘not ready’ interesting. Though it seems like I need lots of years to see it 🤣🤣

Oh, here’s the TOC for the short story collection:

“Dry Ice”
“Pistols at Dawn Amongst the Evergreens”
“Goldar the Unwieldy”
“The Sentigo River Expedition”
“The Coffee Moon Bounty”
“The Sun Sets No Different at the Edge of the Universe”
“A Touch of Heresy”
“Night Terrors”
“Just Add Water”
“Fire Season”
“Orion’s Belt”
“The Lor Majority”

18 stories all up. 2 of the 3 previously unsold stories are Jazz Healy tales written especially for the collection. They are: “The Sentigo River Expedition,” and “The Coffee Moon Bounty.” The remaining unsold story is a sequel to “Orion’s Belt,” titled “The Lor Majority.”

And that brings us back around to the other projects I have going.

The draft of “The Sentigo River Expedition” was completed in January, and currently weighs in at 9.3K. I’ll be starting proper edits on the story soon, and expect it to finish up around 6K. “The Coffee Moon Bounty” draft is 3.4K, and was finished at the very beginning of Feb. I’ll be editing that one immediately after “Sentigo River”. “Sentigo River” is set 5 years before the events of the Reunion Series, while “Coffee Moon” is set in the 6 months between the events of Chak’r’Das and Garbadon Major.

Another story idea bit me in January, and over the course of 5 days “Entangled” was born. It’s 2.8K and I’ll get to editing that after I finish doing the story collection stuff.

I’ve kinda glossed over those short stories pretty quick, haven’t I? But it’s actually been a really long time since I’ve been working on so many at once. And this last 4-week period may have been my most productive yet.

The project that I’ve progressed the least has been the outline for the next novel (plus associated worldbuilding). Because this novel is going to be multi-POV, I’m writing separate outlines for each of the POVs. Which is new for me. At this stage I’m not sure if I’ll write each POV separately and then fit them together or if I’ll write both at once. I tend to be very linear in my drafting style but I’m not sure that will be the best approach here. Anyway, I should just concentrate on finishing the outlines, right?

Oh, I forgot, that trunk story I’m working on. I’ll be putting it up free to read at Simily and on my Buy Me a Coffee page once I feel it’s ready. No timeframe on that, though. And I’ll send it out to my newsletter subscribers, too 😄

That’s where I’m at, I guess. I need to commission some cover art for my story collection. I want to have that done, along with the internal formatting, by month end so I can make it available for ARC (advance review copy) reading by the beginning of March. Yes, that’s right, I’m putting together an ARC team over on Booksprout. If you’re interested in being on that team, then get their app, search up S.C. Mae, and follow! As per above, I’ll be making the ARC for Dry Ice: A Short Story Collection available early March.

As always, thanks for stopping by and we’ll chat again soon!
S.C. Mae