I don’t know why it hasn’t occurred to me before but, recently, I stumbled upon a couple of things that – as a writer – I probably should have been keeping track of, but haven’t
The first, I’m still on the fence about and that’s keeping a running Story Idea list.
Some of you might already be doing this. You might have notebooks full of story ideas and that’s cool. When I heard of the idea of keeping an electronic story list, I put my ideas down on paper (it’s what I had at the time) to later type into Excel.
(A small note about Excel: I don’t use it for any of that icky math stuff, but it makes a hell of a list – all of those columnsss, preciouss )
What I discovered when I was near to the end of jotting down my story idea list was that I was putting it down completely from memory. And some of those ideas are a few years old.
So I started wondering whether or not I needed an electronic story list. I’m not above sharing that I’ve already got a hell of a lot of lists (Both electronic and old-school) and maybe, just maybe, this one list was a list too far.
The way I see it, if the story doesn’t have enough legs to hang around in my memory, maybe it hasn’t developed yet. Maybe it needs to stay in the “Mental Stew” and cook…or ferment…
Or maybe I need some dinner and a beer.
Anyway, the jury is still out on the story idea list. I can see the practical application, but I don’t know if it applies to my brain-thing.
Now, there no question about the second thing I need to be keeping track of:
Now I’m not talking about queries to agents or editors (You *are* keeping track of those, aren’t you?).
I’m talking about stories that have already been submitted and accepted.
What, you thought that once the story got accepted and published, the work was done?
That’s where it all begins, but that’s another post.
What I’m talking about is keeping track of short stories that went into anthologies, Novels that have been published.
So, I’ll be heading off to create a spreadsheet (naturally) to keep track of:
- The story title
- Where it went
- What kind of advance I got for it
- When I get the rights back
There are a lot of other details in the contract you’ve signed that you need to keep in your head – what you can and can’t do with the story and for how long, but that doesn’t need to go into the spreadsheet (You should keep your contracts in an easy to find place so that they’ll be there if you need them).
I recommend that you do something similar. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, but it should be there for you to reference.
What I’m working on:
The Price of Power: No news on that yet.
Brimstone: I sent the story out for consideration in the Lawless Lands anthology. If you’d cross what you’ve got for me on this, I’d take it as a kindness.
Partners: I’ve incorporated all of the feedback I received and I’m shaving the final 475 and-some-change words off the story for the Hath No Fury anthology submission window. Said Window closes on Oct 15th.
Chasing the Kestrel: There are still active queries, including a request for more pages. My focus has been on the short story submissions, but that’ll end (for the most part) about the middle of October.
Time: 7:58 pm-ish
Music: Blind Guardian – And Then There Was Silence