Tuesday, January 17, 2006

An Extremely Productive Day

Time Spent: 4 hours, 30 minutes

Ok, so it's been awhile since I've updated. I really wanted to get more done before the semester started, but real life happened. I had the time to let it happen this time, but I'll have to ignore it if it happens again the rest of the semester. In order to make up for it though, I had a REALLY productive day today while my son napped.

I did several different things today, which was nice. I did quite a bit of writing - finished "Heavenly Peace" up and read through it a couple of times. Now I just need to let it sit for awhile, and I'll come back to it on a slow day and make some changes. Since this is one of the stories I wrote fresh for this project, I don't need to have it up to submission standards right now, but this is one I'll be submitting somewhere in the future for sure.

I also did a lot of research, specifically on print journals in Illinois that I could submit some stories to. One of them, the Crab Orchard Review, is one I'd like to visit as part of this project later in the semester. COR is part of the English Department at SIU Carbondale. A couple of nice things about COR: 1) They accept simultaneous submissions (there are some online journals that will actually ban you from future submissions if you submitted simultaneously and they find out about it - urgh!) and 2) they pay for accepted work.

Another possibility is Down State Story out of Peoria, which also pays for published stories. They look to be a little less conservative than I would have expected, but all I have to worry about is submitting. The other notable journal is Boulevard, which accepts simultaneous AND multiple submissions (so I could send everything to them and get it all out of the way at once! Kidding, Joanna, kidding!), and they pay for accepted work. What I need to do now is go buy some of these print journals and read through them to get a feel for what each different one accepts. I would be really embarrassed to send something to a journal that printed mostly science fiction when I've never written a paragraph of sci-fi in my life. This is all part of the learning process as well.

The other "big" thing I did today was to start going through some of the stories I've written for the three previous creative writing classes I've taken. I started with my creative writing 1 stories and noted some changes I could make in the revisions for just about all of them. There are a couple of them that, in my opinion, just need to be polished up, but they're flash fiction (short stories of 500 words or less), so they won't need much anyway. No, that's not true. One of them is ALL marked up, ha. The most important thing I've learned about flash fiction is stick to the point. There isn't a lot of room for embellishment in that short a story - that's not to say that the whole "show, don't tell" thing gets thrown out the door, but you have to be short and sweet about it. The piece that is all marked up is my first piece of flash. It's a really good story, and it's really going to get edited down - I think the story has about 400 words right now, I think I'm going to end up taking out 100 of them when it's all done. There are two others that are good stories, but they definitely need some major changes. The great thing about rereading some of the longer stories is to see how much I've learned as an author. If I were writing these stories from scratch now, what would they look like? And I think that might be the whole point of revisions (would someone please tell me if I'm wrong?). I still have two more semesters worth of stories to go through, and I think each story I reread is going to get reread three or four times, but that's still OK - it's part of really getting a feel for my work and knowing where I truly need to make changes in it.

That's all for tonight. The semester officially started today, yeah! No really, I'm excited about it. I'm ahead in two of my classes already, and this is my last semester of school. I'm excited to be getting nearer to graduation, but it's also sad because I really enjoy school. At any rate, this means that I'll be updating this journal several times a week. My hope is that by the time I post the last journal entry, I will be well on my way to not only being published again, but getting paid for it.

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