Monday, December 26, 2011

Mel's Year in Review: 2011

2011 has come to an end.  Looking over my writing goals for 2011, I see that I made great strides in some areas and fell short in others.  I'm still unpublished, but yet it was a productive year.
  • Novel Writing
    • I revised the first three chapters of Escape From the Planet Justice, and submitted to an agent.  I was rejected instantly.  Then I realized the book could use a different angle.  First person and more back story may make the book more exciting.  (Though I'm told by some the book is fine as-is.)
    • I extracted a short story from the first chapter of The Silver Lining.
    • In general, I came to realize that I need to build up some short story credits, so I began setting aside novel writing temporarily in order to devote more time into short stories.
  • Short Stories - I worked on several stories, submitted 10 entries and received 9 rejections.
    • "A Turn-screw tlhImqaH": I submitted this more before realizing it is probably considered to be already published, as I had entered it into the Actuarial Speculative Fiction Contest in 2009.  If you search on the title, you can find a pdf file with the story included.  I submitted it again to a publisher that does reprints, but only got a semi-warm rejection.
    • "When Time Flows West": I finished and submitted this story and got two rejections.
    • "Actuarial Weeding": I completed the final version in January and submitted to the Actuarial Speculative Fiction Contest in 2011.  It placed 4th out of 23 in the contest.  I submitted it three times to magazines before realizing it's probably "already published."  Since the story was well received in the contest, I'm considering expanding it to a 20,000-word novella.
    • "Depths of Inner Space": After several revisions and condensing, this story is ready to go.  I've submitted it once and it's been rejected.
    • "Cat Scratch": This new story about a cat gone wrong is in its second draft.
    • "Gamma Base: Mars": My first horror story set on the planet Mars is in its first draft.
    • "The Long Hall" is an excerpt from the middle of Escape From the Planet Justice.  It's in its third draft.  I'm trying to do this in first person.  If well received, I may rewrite the whole novel in first person.
    • Silver Lining - Chapter 1: I submitted this extract back in March, but have yet to hear back.  I'm concerned the 13,000 word length may be too large, so I may end up condensing and submitting to another Mormon publication.
    • Mighty Kid - Episode 1: After revising and condensing the first chapter of this superhero genesis story, I submitted and was rejected.  I'm learning that there aren't very many paying markets for superhero stories.
    • Time Sleuths - Recruit: Another Chapter 1 extract from my upcoming novel Time Sleuths is in its fourth draft.  I'm still struggling to find the right voice in that story, but I feel like I'm close.
  • I joined my first writing group: the Press 53 Center for Creative Writing.  I attended several monthly meetings, attended book author events, took a class, and joined a critique group.  It was fun and useful until Press 53 closed down the Center in October due to the economy and other issues.  More details of my milestones:
    • It was my first time attending monthly meetings where writers talked about anything and everything on the subject of getting published.  It was very enlightening.
    • My first author reading event was Marjorie Hudson at Barnhill's.
    • I also attended the Press 53 Author Dinner event in August.
    • I took my first writing class.  (Review yet to be written...)  It helped me realize the direction I need to go next.
    • I joined my first in-person critique group.  But it died out shortly after the Center closed.
  • I joined my first writer's forum: AbsoluteWrite.  On these messages boards, I submitted three short works for critique, and I critiqued four works of others.
  • I attended my second writer's conference, and met Ed Schubert, the editor of Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show.
  • I created my Facebook fan page.  Be sure to visit and "Like" the page.  I need 12 more Likes to reach 50.
  • I continued posting in this blog.  I...
    • Wrote some 105+ blog entries, averaging about 2 a week.  I learned that my incoming views are proportional to the frequency of my posts.  I hit my biggest fame with 720 views in July when I wrote 23 posts.
    • Reviewed 7 books, 25 movies, several TV shows, and a couple of restaurants, and a few other things.
    • Created a new blog: The Econo-Mel and I repeated two blog posts from this blog.  (So many ideas and not enough time!)
    • Made several improvements to this blog, including a new title (The Word of Mel), a new look, a new Site Map and a page for News & Reviews.
    • My personal favorite posts of the year:
And that's about it.  What did you accomplish in 2011?  I hope you also had an enjoyable writing year.

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