April was a good month for writing. I finally managed to buckle down and finish a third draft of Ghost of a Friend, and I did it with enough time left to submit to Fireside during their open period. I worked on the newest draft in small chunks throughout April, writing 100 or 200 words here and there until I finished it in a rush of more than 1200 words at the end of the month.
I've wanted to submit to Fireside ever since the magazine first launched a few years ago, so I'm glad the timing worked out. My submission was one of 2,393 stories they received during the month of April, so the probability of my story getting accepted is pretty low (Duotrope says they currently have a .51% acceptance rate!), but at least I made the effort.
If my story is rejected, my plan is to submit it to all of the pro-level markets on Duotrope one by one starting with the quickest to respond. I've resolved to keep submitting Ghost of a Friend until it finds a home.
I may tweak it a bit before I send it to another market, however. I had to cut a few words to come in under 5000 for Fireside, and I think the final conversation scene came out a little rushed as a result. That said, I don't think the story should be much longer than it currently is, so it might be best if I cut from scenes earlier in the story to make more room for that conversation.
Now that I've submitted the story, I need to decide what I want to write next. Ideally I should have more than one piece ready for submission at all times, but I also want to work on my screenplay before I lose any more steam on that idea. As soon as I started focusing on other projects, the screenplay just sort of fell by the wayside.
Right now the story idea that appeals to me the most is called Drones: A Love Story. I wrote a draft of Drones a few years ago when Amazon first announced their drone delivery program. I finished it in a very short amount of time and then ultimately abandoned the story when I was unhappy with the results.
I recently came up with a new approach to Drones that I think will fix a lot of the issues I had with the original draft. It'll be a page one rewrite, but the story feels fairly complete in my head, so it's just a matter of sitting down and knocking it out.
I think the main thing I need to do in May is prioritize my time. It's likely I'll have to split my writing time between projects for myself and projects for others, so I'll have limited bandwidth for something completely new. Knowing that, I should probably try to get started on something soon so that I can have a few irons in the fire.
I could technically still submit to the Austin Film Festival if I get something ready by May 20th, but I think the only category I could pull off at this point is the Scripted Digital Series. That category allows for "1-3 scripted episodes, totaling no more than 30 pages in length", which is totally a doable amount of writing if I break out the stories really well. All I'd need to do is decide on a series concept.
My final counts for April 2016 were:
- 13 hours of related work
- 0 script pages
- 3712 words of fiction
- 4146 words of non-fiction
- 7858 total words
This is what I would consider a pretty good balance for an average month. My total word count was higher than last month, and the work was spread pretty evenly between categories. The only category that continues to get short shrift is script pages, but May might change that.
These were my goals for April:
- Finish my final rewrite of Ghost of a Friend and submit it to at least one market by the end of the month.
- Create my outline board (i.e. draw lines on the board and lay out the sections) and outline at least one sequence of my screenplay.
- Find more ways to get concrete wins that make me feel like I'm progressing as a writer.
Here's how those goals played out:
- I waited until pretty close to the last minute, but I ultimately nailed this goal. I finished my story and submitted it to Fireside on April 30th with half a day to spare.
- I didn't touch anything related to my screenplay during the month of April, so I'll have to revisit this goal in May.
- In retrospect, this goal was pretty vague. I think for my purposes, finishing my story counts. It also counts that I spent more days working on fiction in April.
Here are my goals for May:
- Start something new, whether it's a short story or a script for a new web series.
- Spend some time working on the outline for my screenplay. Don't let it lay fallow for too long.
- Don't leave writing until the end of the day. Write more before work or during my lunch break. Take time to write at the library or a coffee shop.