Wednesday, December 2, 2015

IWSG - All The Doubts! T.B Markinson Releases A Clueless Woman. And Links!

It's the first Wednesday of December, which means it's time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, created by the ever supportive Alex J. Cavanaugh.


Anyone can participate. Simply click HERE and sign up! Feel free to share your insecurities, fears, and inspirations having to do with the writing world. Then hop around to visit and support fellow insecure writers.

Also, be sure to hop around and visit our wonderful co-hosts:  Sandra Hoover, Mark Koopmans, Doreen McGettigan,Megan Morgan, and Melodie Campbell

I was wallowing in self doubt when I realized it was IWSG time. I [thought I had] finished revisions on a story that's been floated through two different critique groups, so I started submitting it. I got a rejection for it today. It was a "good" rejection, in that it was a personal rejection with great feedback on why it was not accepted. It also included an invitation to submit something else, but as I've mentioned before, somehow that always makes me freeze up. I analyze the feedback I got and look for the flaws mentioned in every other story I have available that might fit that publication. If there's a character issue, I start ripping apart my characters, and looking at all the ways they're lacking. If it started too slow or got slow at a certain part, I start freaking out about the other stories, tearing up the pacing in my head. Whatever issue is brought up, I project it onto the other stories.

The timing could have been better, as I was already over-analyzing my writing because of a story I experimented with this month. It's unfinished, despite being 8700 words, so far, which has me wondering if it's right for trying out my first novelette/novella. Or have I just royally screwed it up, and I need to shorten it into a short story? Should I have taken the left at Albuquerque?



Then I started doubting characterization. Do I get deep enough into my characters in short stories, or am I too plot driven? I keep my emotions close to the vest in real life...am I doing that in my stories? Keeping those emotions strapped down and not setting my characters loose to examine them?

Maybe this doubt is inevitable after a two month hiatus from writing. Last month was the first I wrote anything new in months. The last two stories I put through critique group were old stories I pulled out and revised.

When you take a break from writing, purposeful or accidental, do you go through a period of self doubt and questioning your writing? I was flying high when I was getting the writing done. Now I've set it aside for several days, afraid to look at it again, because I think it will take a lot of work to get it to where I want it. It does show promise. Hopefully getting it there won't be as tricky as I fear.

I should say, though, I don't regret trying this experiment. And I will see it to the end. It's just a matter of convincing myself to jump back in and shut that inner editor up.

Time for my stats for the month of November. I do this each IWSG day to keep myself accountable.

Pieces Submitted in November: 12
Pieces Accepted in November: 0
Pieces Rejected in November: 7
Total Pieces Currently on Submission: 12
Publications Pending: 5
Other: 1 publication shut down while I had a submission there; 2 decided to stop accepting submissions, and posted that we should submit elsewhere in the meantime; 1 publication says it will get back to everyone, though it has closed down submissions, but it has been since August since anything was updated on their website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc., and Duotrope is showing no action since that same time as far as rejections and acceptances, so I am assuming they're actually shut down entirely for now.


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Before we get to links today, I want to welcome T.B. Markinson here for her blog tour promoting A Clueless Woman.


Graduate student Lizzie Petrie feels more comfortable around books than people. Although an expert in the Hitler Youth, she’s a novice in love. Her former lesbian lover is blackmailing her, and not even those closest to Lizzie know the full story of their abusive relationship.

When visiting high school English teacher Sarah crosses Lizzie’s path at the campus, their attraction is instant, but not without complications. As they start to spend more time together, suspicions arise from both women in this sexy piece of LGBT fiction.

Plenty of good-natured teasing takes place between lovers as well as between PhD students in this lesbian contemporary romance. No relationship path ever runs smoothly, and oftentimes, those who can’t keep their mouth shut hasten necessary confrontation.

Lizzie finds herself buried in a mess of lies in this romantic comedy. The harder she tries to keep Sarah and the rest of her friends from finding out the truth about her first girlfriend, the more endearingly clueless she becomes.

About the Author:

T. B. Markinson is an American writer, living in England. When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs, or taking the dog for a walk. Not necessarily in that order.

Purchase Links:



Mailing List:

Get the first book in the series, A Woman Lost, for FREE by signing up to TB’s Readers’ Group here.

Links:

Twitter        Facebook        Blog        Goodreads     Amazon Author Page

“Well, well, well. What do we have here?” If Meg hadn’t been standing right in front of me, I would have recognized her snide tone, even despite the fact that she’d dyed her once-blonde hair a rich, fiery red. “Getting drunk on a school night. Shame on you, Lizzie. What would Dr. Marcel say?” Meg’s companion helped her slip into a coat. Hopefully, that meant they were leaving and pronto.

Approximately 150,000 people lived in Fort Collins, and the one person I didn’t want to bump into ever, let alone with Sarah, was peering down at us.

“Hello,” was all I could force out.

Meg’s gaze wandered over Sarah’s face and upper body before settling on me. “What happened to only drinking at home?” She crossed her arms.

“I’m afraid I’m a bad influence.” Sarah came to my defense.

“I see.” An older man tugged on Meg’s arm. She wore a tight dress—not her usual jeans and J. Crew sweater. And she was with a man—very unusual. “Have a good night, Lizzie.” She turned each Z in my name into a weapon. “Oh, I’ll be calling you to discuss that financial situation you brought up last time.” She gave Sarah a final glare and rolled her eyes. Red-hot anger raged through my mind and body as I clamped my lips together to keep everything bottled inside. How dare she treat Sarah so flippantly?

I counted to ten before I said, “I’m so sorry.”

Sarah’s eyes darted across the room to where Meg and her companion were exiting into the darkness. “Is she a friend?”

I snorted. “Former ...” I’d been about to say girlfriend, but instead added, “acquaintance.”

“I’d use another word for her.”

I let out a rush of air. “Really? What would that be?”

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Now for links! Please bear in mind that I am not endorsing any of these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting to a publication or contest.

Accepting Submissions: 

Authors Publish is accepting submissions of essays with the topic of "How I Got My Book Published." Up to 1500 words. Pays $.10/word, up to $65. Deadline December 14. 

Harper Perennial is accepting submissions of essays for their anthology "Not That Bad" about rape culture. This is not just a publication for women. 2500-7500 words. Pay is not specified, but it is a paid publication. Deadline December 15. 

Book Smugglers Publishing is accepting short stories with the theme of Superheroes. Open to all genres (even romance and horror) and age ranges from middle grade up. 1500-17,500 words. Pays $.06/word up to $500. Deadline December 31. 

Fox Spirit is accepting short stories for Respectable Horror. 4000-8000 words. Pays £10, plus contributor copies. Deadline December 31. 

Carte Blanche is accepting submissions of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and photo essays. Up to 3500 words. Pays an honorarium, though exact amount is not mentioned. Deadline December 31. 

Ember: A Journal of Luminous Things is seeking one story with the theme "The Carrot is Mightier Than the Sword" to match the cover of their spring issue. Doesn't specifically mention payment, but I'm in this issue, and it is a paying market. Deadline December 31. 

Apex is accepting submissions for their Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling anthology. Turn speculative fiction on its head. Up to 5000 words. Pays $.06/word. Deadline December 31. 

Contests:

Columbia Journalism School is offering the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award. $30,000 will be awarded to someone who is already contracted on with an editor for a non-fiction book with a topic of social or political concern. Must show financial need. Deadline December 11.

Shoreline of Infinity is holding the Story Writing Competition for Readers. Write a science fiction story inspired by artwork they have posted. Up to 4000 words. Prize is publication, an author interview, a print of the artist's artwork, a digital subscription, and £80. Deadline December 21. 

Blue Mountain Arts is holding their Twenty-Seventh Biannual Poetry Card Contest. Cash prizes. Deadline December 31. 


What are your insecurities? Do you get insecure when you've been away from writing for awhile? What are your biggest writing doubts? How do you like T.B.'s cover? Have you purchased your copy yet? Any of these links of interest? Anything to share? How do you keep yourself accountable?

May you find your Muse.

42 comments:

  1. Congratulations to TB!
    Sounds like you've placed yourself in a spiral of insecurities. Time to step out of the circle!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely. It got a little worse last night, but I'm going to force myself out of it.

      Delete
  2. Good for you for taking a risk on that longer story and good luck keeping at it. You can do it!

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  3. I am the same way - I haven't been writing so the self-doubt is getting louder every day. Here's hoping we can both break out of that trap!
    Congratulations to TB!! She writes great books.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I know what you mean. When I get feedback, I take that feedback and start applying it to everything I've written, which can be good and bad.

    I think it's great you're taking a risk. It's a wonderful way to learn.

    Thanks so much for showcasing A Clueless Woman today!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yay for T.B.!

    Shannon, I say go with it on the story. See where it goes. This day and age, there's a market for anything. Besides, you never know where you can go until you try.

    Short stories are hard on characterization. The only way I can find to get adequate character development is to keep the cast small and show who they are by how they react more than internal dialog. I'm sure you're doing better than you think.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good point, Crystal. I definitely keep the cast small and focus on what they're doing. I did try a piece with a group of people and got myself stuck on that. Then I realized I just plain had too many people.

      Delete
  6. Weight resistance builds muscle; doubt resistance builds authors. Every great artist fought self-doubt. As I tell myself: fret and do it anyway. May you soon sell one of your submissions. And why not self-publish that novella? They are doing well on Amazon.

    ReplyDelete
  7. My post today is on the many benefits of exercising your writing muscle daily. I always struggle after a writing hiatus. I need to the daily writing routine to keep the words flowing. The self-doubts are perfectly normal but don't let them stop you from keeping on doing what you do. There are so many publishing options out there for writers nowadays.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do so much better when I'm able to write daily. I've had trouble adjusting with a new job, but I'm going to get there.

      Delete
  8. You always give such good info on possibilities for writers, Thank you.

    Yes I have been away from my writing in a sense out of a "fear of unknown and what next I think" I have let it paralyses me, but I am working on kicking my butt out of it, So yeah the longer it goes on the bigger the doubts. I have consider just saying I'm done, yet I cannot quit do that lol, I hope I don't. Great post,

    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely don't be done! We can get it going again.

      Delete
  9. Doubt can inspire you to work harder or trip you up and step on your back to keep you down. It's hard to know which is which until you're already face first in the mud, sometimes.

    They say when that happens, you're supposed to roll and punch doubt in the face or the knee or something, but it's harder than it sounds.

    Keep I guess the moral is to keep trying.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know, I think I have an order it goes in. It steps on me, and then I turn a corner and get inspired and want to beat it down. Here's hoping that corner comes up soon.

      Delete
  10. It always takes time for me to get into the writing groove. I'm a freelance journalist as well as a fiction writer, and every time I have to write an article, it takes me a few days to get back to my fiction. Can't just flip back and forth. I guess it's normal. And the doubts are always there too, every article and every story. Before I write anything I invariably think I'm a fluke. I don't know how to start or how to end. Than I look back at my stats, and it helps.
    What about your stats? Not for November but for the last 5 years. How many stories published? How many thousands words written? I bet that statistics will cheer you up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My stats aren't bad. Good way to look at things. I've had trouble going back and forth between fiction and articles before, but it's been awhile since I did anything outside of fiction.

      Delete
  11. Oh no! Don't freeze up. Everyone has an opinion. Sometimes it's helpful and sometimes not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Quite true. And I appreciate the editor giving me feedback. Usually I'd roll with it.

      Delete
  12. Well, you know me: never doubt.
    There's never A thing wrong with your writing. You get it to be the way YOU like it and don't worry about the rest.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I like that. And that IS how I typically write. But sometimes I need that reminder.

      Delete
  13. I always find my doubts multiply when I take a long time off writing. Editing always slows me down, too, because I start overanalysing everything. Hope you get back into the swing of things soon!

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    Replies
    1. Good point. I've been mostly doing revision lately. Maybe that helped get me into this weird place.

      Delete
  14. I just want to say how much I admire you.

    For a while (a few months at the least) I've felt like I wasn't doing enough. Like simply writing everyday just wasn't enough. I'd read one of your IWSG posts with all your links and I remember thinking wow, now she wants it. And I want to be someone that other people say "she wants it."

    Keep up all your hard work!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you're still writing every day! I do want it. Thank you for this.

      Delete
  15. When you get down, remind yourself of The Little Engine That Could. "I think I can. I think I can."

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  16. I received good feedback from one of the biggies in the horror market. It made me freeze up and turn a 180 degrees away to fantasy. I'm only now beginning to get lured back to that genre. I was afraid I couldn't measure up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh no! Glad you're coming back to it. It's funny how that works, isn't it?

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  17. I get stuck in that over-analyzing rut. I hope you get over it and just submit something else. Could be the one ya know?

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    Replies
    1. That would be excellent. But yes, I need to move forward.

      Delete
  18. Already have TB's book!
    Thanks for the links, and remember doubts are part of the territory. Write your stories, and keep submitting. One person says one thing, and another, another thing. It's all subjective.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True, all is subjective. I've left the story for one week, and will hit it this week with that little bit of distance.

      Delete
  19. There are a few pro markets that will buy 8700-word stories, so depending on how many words you have to add to finish it, you should be fine. Let your beta readers decide whether it's solid after you finish!

    And I'm working on a flash for Inverted Tropes right now! Thanks for the links, it's a great round-up.

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    Replies
    1. Good luck with the flash piece! True, there are a few that will take that length for sure. I've spent the week considering what I want to do with it, and I'm ready to go back.

      Delete
  20. Yeah for TMB! :) Awesome links!

    It is interesting how we feel about our writing when we take a little step back.
    ~Jess

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    Replies
    1. Yes, and the question is whether it's good or bad to do that.

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  21. We can be our own worst enemies. Sometimes best not to think too much haha

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