Sunday, December 5, 2010

My Year with Ray

You've read the cogent and sane plans Simon and Milo have developed for their Write1Sub1 journey. Now is your chance to read something much less likely: my plan. I intend to challenge myself at every turn, maybe not quite to the point of torture, but close enough for some mild hallucination to set in.

Here's how Ramey rolls for 2011:

Saturday: Target a specific market for the upcoming week. Read sample stories if possible. I don't normally write to market like this, but it will be a good opportunity to learn more about available markets while providing a concrete goal for the week's work. I don't actually expect to be inspired week in and week out so I will need some definable goals to get me started.

Sunday: Idea/outline generation for the coming week. I plan to raid my cabinet of unfinished stories as well. Each time, however, I will begin with a blank page and write the story fresh. The idea here is to write new stories, so my use of prior stories will be mainly to gain ideas and provide scene structure.

Monday-Thursday: Write that story!

Friday: Polish and submit. Quick polish usually doesn't gloss up a story to its full sheen, but I'll do my best. If a story gets rejected without comment, I'll most likely set it aside for a more thorough polish/revision after the challenge. If it seems to be close, I'll brush it some more and send it right back out there into the cruel marketplace.

Rinse and repeat.

Now, according to Einstein ("Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.") this could be a recipe for disaster, thus my second brilliant idea. I'll rotate the types of stories I write week to week, as follows:

Week 1: Golden Heart of the World serial (steam punk)

Week 2: Fantasy or Science Fiction short story

Week 3: Horror or Mystery short story

Week 4: Literary or Creative Nonfiction story

For months with five weeks, I'll do something bizarre or random.

How's that for challenging? If I survive the year, I should at least get a medal, no? Shall I shoot for, say, twenty publications? That leaves room for plenty of misfires; hopefully most of them will be glorious failures.

The whole idea, for me, is to overextend to the point I cannot go back to who I am now. Because, between you and me, being a middle tier writer of "adequate" short stories isn't cutting it. Stay tuned. This should be interesting.


  1. I'm liking the genre variety -- and your rinse cycle. Might have to borrow some of your strategery...

  2. Inspring stuff. I'm definitely gonna sign up!

  3. Interesting how we all have our individual approaches. :) I definitely like the genre planning. Good luck.

    Someone I mentioned this to brougoht up the issue of having stories out to pro markets and running out of those markets because your stories are keeping those editors busy. ;) Any thoughts on this?

  4. I'm convinced you're all mad, but I'm going to be stalking your progress.

  5. Wow, a lot of work there. I hope you can keep up the pace, it sounds interesting.


  6. Good luck!

    @Cate Gardner: Yup, we're all mad. We have to be to do this to ourselves.

  7. Madness is in the eye of the beholder. :)

  8. Methinks the beholder is eying us fiercely. I mean to make it blink.

    Dawn - Yes, I'll certainly run out of pro-paying markets to send stories to. For me, it's not an issue as I intend to send my stories to a wide variety of markets, paying and non-paying and in between. I'll talk this over with my amigos and see what we can come up with for folks who have an issue with this approach.

  9. I think the editors of the pro markets will be busy regardless of what we do here. Some will respond quickly and some won't, just as now.

  10. Magazines like FANTASY and CLARKESWORLD usually reject my subs in less than a week; APEX and STRANGE HORIZONS take a couple months, and IGMS takes close to three sometimes. But I'm planning to submit to plenty of anthologies and semi-pro/token-paying mags as well, so I'm not too worried.

  11. Well, what I was thinking is that maybe we could "allow" participants to queue submissions if they like (i.e. commit to submitting a story to a particular market when their current sub is decided). Since we're operating on trust anyway, it wouldn't take too much for participants to include in their status - finished 3000 word fantasy (queued for Fantasy Magazine). How's that sound?

  12. Write1Queue1? What about Write1Resubmit1? Simon's going to hate us -- too many badges! (Badges? Badges? We don't need no stinkin' badges!)

    Seriously though, Write1Sub1 was made for the writer -- not the writer for Write1Sub1. So whatever/however we go about being successful next year, more power to us.

  13. Thanks for dropping by the site. I love Bradbury, and I like your goals - especially the genre switch-ups. Best of luck!

  14. Thanks Ro. I appreciate the encouragement.

    It will not be easy. I'll keep a picture of Ray by the PC to inspire me. I greatly admire him and his body of work.

    Milo, you Shirley crack me up.

  15. Wow, that does indeed sound challenging. I'm impressed with how you can go between genres like that!

  16. Thanks Talli.

    "Can" and "Will" may have very different meanings in this case :-) I'll give it my best effort. In actuality, I've been writing in that gray area between genre and literary for a while now. The cool thing for this exercise will be for me to plant my feet firmly on side or the other of that line each week. I think I understand the expectations of various genres. We'll find out together.

  17. Milo,

    I don't hate you. Really. :-)

    I do agree that Write1Sub1 is there to help the writer. So, yes, if someone wants to construe "submitting" as "queueing up to submit" then more power to them. Whatever works.

  18. I like the plan.
    I've signed up for the challenge, but at the moment I'm just feeling overwhelmed by Xmas, so I'm not going to vex myself with how I'm going to achieve it until later when my Phoenix will rise from the ashes and I will be reborn again :O)

  19. Thanks Madeleine.

    That's the spirit. I'm trying to keep from doing too much intense writing stuff right now too. It doesn't do us good to burn out before the challenge begins. I did want a general plan in place so that I could put the right "research" books on my Xmas list :-)

    Looking forward to joining you on this journey. There will be mountains, there will be valleys, but most of all there will be us Write1Sub1ers, pulling together.

  20. Steve I like that idea! Made me chuckle. I hadn't thought about how it would affect my Xmas list! :O)

  21. Wow - what an interesting idea! I'm impressed with the genres, especially love the idea of the odd bizarre or random choice on the months with five weeks - what will it be?! Good luck with it all, how fab it will be to get 20 publications (if not more!)