Works in Progress

Future Memories: Prelude Novel  Finished and finally past the second round of self-editing/second eyes stage. Click the link under Learn More About… on the sidebar for more info.

Once Upon a Time Possible Novel? The rough draft was completed as blog entries and that phase is now over. I’ll be working on the editing towards what will likely be two flavors of a final draft.  Basic plot: A would-be magician finds herself on a mission to (perhaps) save the world, teamed with two vegetarian vampires and a zombie whose flesh-eating vices are solely devoted to live fish. Together, they deal with a fair bit of danger, escape certain death a couple times, meet royalty they rather wish they hadn’t, and make other friends (and foes) along the way. For the final draft, I’m planning one version that retains all the goofy, campy wonderfulness of the description above and one that is a bit more dark humor/serious. Basically there will be a watered-down bedtime story version like you have with Little Red Riding Hood and then a version that’s a bit more Brothers Grimm style.

POST AT YOUR OWN RISK? A bit of warning and wisdom learned: I suspect the blogging world is as attractive to other aspiring writers as myself (and folks who make it their bread and butter as well). Both I and others who’s blogs I’ve enjoyed reading have often posted not just the typical post of opinion but our stories and works in progress. Such is the case with my Once and I actually do intend to finish the work as blog entries. But before making the decision to do so, I also determined that it is not a story/novel that I plan to ever publish through the traditional route. After revisions are finished, I may self-publish Once, but that is the only road this story can travel. Future Memories on the other hand, I do plan seeking a publisher for and so nothing but the book jacket version of the synopsis for that novel will appear on this blog.

Why do I mention all this? Because there is a danger in sharing your work online that may seem common sense but which I know takes some writers by surprise. If you write a poem or short story and later put said poem or story on the Internet (whether on your personal blog or another website), many publishers consider it to be previously published the moment your post goes live. This means you may have trouble getting that work published for payment later. I learned this the hard way when trying to submit a short story I wrote to a speculative fiction magazine. I did not hear from the editor for quite some time and eventually posted the story online, assuming it just had not made the cut for the magazine’s needs. Then later, that same publication expressed interest again. I explained to the editor that the story had been since posted online and asked if this made a difference in their decision to accept it; the unfortunate answer is that it did. A $50.00 lesson learned.

Of course, if the creative work you post is not something you’re hoping to later see in the hands of an agent or be paid for publication, then it makes no difference if you share part of the story or the whole enchilada. And if it’s a larger piece, such as a novel, a few excerpts is fine. But just keep the final goal of your work in mind. Having an immediate online audience can be enticing but if you have your eyes on more than that for the future of the piece, it’s probably best to be very choosy about how much of it you post.

9 responses to “Works in Progress

  1. Khadija

    This is really helpful, I’ve just started writing a load of stuff and now I know to be careful not to post it all on here. Thankyou!

  2. jmhauserjason

    the editor turned down a story because it was on your PERSONAL blog? That’s weird. I would just lie about it from now on 🙂

  3. Ha – that was one of my friend’s suggestions! Not sure I could bring myself to do that though (even if an editor didn’t know, the neurotically moral angel sitting on my shoulder would). Definitely not expected but it’s also not uncommon from what I’ve seen while looking into writer’s guidelines for other publications. It makes sense I suppose – why would you pay someone for a story that readers can get somewhere else? It’s the same reason simultaneous submissions are often frowned upon. On a plus note, it seems to only matter for folks willing to pay for stories. When I asked a non-paying lit mag about submissions, they wrote back and said stories appearing first on personal blogs doesn’t matter to them.

  4. Well, the editor missed out! Perhaps it wasn’t the right format for you at this time. Plenty of other places to submit 😉

  5. True true! Though it’s amazing how much of a “live and learn” thing writing/publishing can be. At least mistakes can be learned from (after a little personal consolation involving dark chocolate and red wine). 🙂

  6. Ok this might seem stupid, so I apologize in advance for my stupidity! But is there a link on your site to go back to the beginning of your Once Upon a Time story? I always really enjoy the bits I read, but would love to start from the beginning!

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