A year in review vacation to vacation

A year ago we were in Fairmont, British Columbia. I was between projects having just finished Courtship, Middle Hill book three and was rewriting Rabbit, book two of Middle Hill. Ironically, we are back in Fairmont and I finished rewriting Rabbit for the second time yesterday.

Since October 2013, I wrote about sixty thousand words of book four of Middle Hill, for my nanowrimo I wrote and sold The Care and Feeding of Sex Demons, then I wrote the first (bad) draft of No Mortal Business, the sequel to Coral Were His Bones, and wrote the first draft of the final book to the trilogy, Something Rich and Strange.

In 2014, I had three books that came out. In January, The Care and Feeding of Sex Demons, in May, Coral Were His Bones and in July, Middle Hill book one, Changeling. If that seems like a crazy amount of work, it was. Changeling came out on the fourteenth of July. After losing Trout at the end of May, I really needed to keep busy.

After two weeks of cutting out and rewriting from the ground up sixty thousand words from No Mortal Business which went from a rewrite request to an acceptance but whining that I hadn’t done anything new the whole year, Elisabeth found me eight anthology calls. Two were a short stories, six were novella lengths. I finished everything but one of the short stories. Between July 27th and October first, I wrote “Red Lettering,” which sold to MLR Press for Halloween, its sequel “Black Shades” which is coming out for Christmas, and Middle Hill book 1.5, “Some Assembly Required.”

I got one rejection back from the short story saying it was good but didn’t fit the anthology. Considering I had to cut a subplot out to make it fit under the six thousand word limit, “The Scent of Water” will be refurbished as a novella and ready to send out again. I really loved the world and the language.

I have three novellas still out there. My favorite is Adult Worries, a submission to Samhain’s childhood fears anthology, about an alcoholic artist who has family issues to say the least, but I also love my novella sent to Lovely, Dark and Deep, a themed collection about the woods for Less Than Three called Before the Snow Falls (The Dead Walk) combining a starvation cult with wendigo legends and, finally, “Checking into Sodom,” a contemporary western with no speculative for an anthology call about random acts of kindness for Dreamspinner.

Since October 1st, I got “Red Lettering” through the editing process, “Black Shades” through the first round of edits and a good solid rewrite of Rabbit, in which I cut about thirty thousand words from the total.

It’s been a wild and crazy year and I can see all that work reflected in how much Rabbit has changed. It was never bad and at the time it was the best thing I had ever done, but that bar kept getting bumped up. Each novella I wrote was my most favorite story yet.

We spend so much time beginning stories and yet have so little practice middling and ending stories. The opening scene can only pique the reader’s attention. The middling and ending of the story is what sells the idea. Every single thing you write makes you a better writer. The difference between draft two and three of Rabbit are a million miles apart and the best part is, no one will ever know. Except you, right now, because I just told you. Who ever told you books aren’t written, they are rewritten was handing you the secret of how to write.

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