June 14, 2009

Fox in the Penhouse

I have myself a solid first draft finished for my Shadows of the Emerald City short story. I wasn't sure if the initial concept for the story had legs when I first came up with it. But, as I started hammering out a rough synopsis, I liked it's potential. I still do. Revisions are needed, though. So far, so good on the second draft.

Whether the final product will be something suitable to the editor's tastes, that's another thing entirely, but I can't worry myself over such things. Writing is the key, and sitting around wondering if it will get published isn't productive.

Then there's the Esquire Fiction Short Story Contest. The deadline for that comes up around the same time as the Oz anthology, and I only have a vague synopsis so far. I've decided to go with the "An Insurrection" title for my story. I had an idea for "Twenty-Ten," but it didn't hold up when I tried a rough draft. The one thing I still don't particularly care for is the idea of turning over all rights to the story by simply submitting it. Maybe that's how it's done with some writing contests, but I would think that they'd only hold the rights to the stories that win. If it's not good enough for them to publish, why own it? Maybe I'm misreading the rules.

"Entries become the property of the Sponsor and will not be returned." - Esquire Fiction Contest Official Rules

I don't like the way that's worded. All submissions are electronic—looking at the contest rules—so why would I worry about whether it's returned or not?

Sounds a tad fishy to me, since I would like the option to submit the story elsewhere should it not win. I mean, just because it's not good enough to win the grand prize, I don't see why it couldn't be submitted for consideration elsewhere. Ah well, I'll simply have to be sure the story I submit is one I won't mind having my rights forfeited.

As for my attempts at a "second" novel—I feel self-conscious referring to it as that when the first hasn't even been submitted yet—the current story I have in mind will likely be put on the back burner. I don't know. I like the idea and all, and it's a story I would enjoy writing, but something about its potential appeal vexes me. Bah, I just like torturing myself. That, and the fact I have an abundance of ideas for novels I'd like to delve into. Maybe it's the fact that it's a stand-alone story, and I've been reading a whole lot of series books this year.

In any event, I have a chapter summary for it. I have the beginning in my head worked out like a movie, practically, but it's the ending where things get a little shaky. It's nothing a couple of brainstorming sessions can't work out. I've simply mapped out the story in a clumsy fashion, I think. I'm working from the beginning of the story, and going forward, but I also have the ending clearly envisioned, so I'm working my way back from that too. The trouble is making those two threads of story meet in the middle .. and make sense. Building a tunnel that way can work out if you plan ahead well enough, but there's always that chance at least one of the tunnels will veer off course and the two ends will never meet.

See, I told you I like torturing myself.

I'm dusting off my first novel too, to give it a re-read and prepare for the final touches on it. It'd be nice to get some feedback from my uncle, who has the hard copy, but he's a busy guy with a lot of work lately. Besides, anything he has to say on it that I can use, I can always incorporate later on. I just want to be able to have that thing in fighting shape this summer when I start querying—that will be a new experience in the writing process.

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