Tuesday, February 15, 2011

WIP Before Wednesday - a new Tuesday feature

While most of my writing here on My Comfy Chair is focused on the wonderful, amazing and fabulous books written by other authors, I decided to spend one day a week focusing on my own adventures in writing.

While I wrote stories as a young boy, I didn't really pick up writing again until 2008, when I joined the writing community at Writing.com. I started writing poetry and flash fiction, with occasional longer stories, and for almost two years, I was satisfied with writing within and for that community.

In October 2009, I heard about a private group within Writing.com called Let's Publish!, and decided to take the plunge. It was and is a great group of critique and support partners, focused on getting stories and poems published. With the helpful, and sometimes scathing, advice of that group, I started submitting poems, and then stories.

I admit it. I went wild. I submitted like crazy, and eventually got the hang of finding more prestigious places and places that paid and so forth. One full year of maniacal submissions, rejections and acceptances.

317 submissions. 222 rejections. 56 acceptances (25 poems and 31 stories). A note from Orson Scott Card's assistant that he loved my writing. A slew of contributor copies on my bookshelf.

In October, 2010, I stopped submitting cold turkey. I had already written a couple of novellas which were badly in need of rewrites (and still are), but I decided to focus on a middle grade troll novel that was nagging at me.

I started writing about Bernie, a forgetful and easily distracted 11 year-old troll, his friend Tish, and her Granny Mac. Once I started writing, I kept going and going, writing about their adventures with giants and dragons. When I finished one book, I hadn't written enough, so I wrote a second book about their adventures.

I am currently in revisions on that first book, which is shorthand for staring at 25,000 words and trying to figure out how to fully realize these characters I have in my head. I can visualize Bernie, but will the middle grade reader relate?

And so, to draw this rather long post to a close, that is where you find me in my adventure. With any luck, each Tuesday I will post a status update. Most will be much shorter than this, I imagine. Thank you for accompanying me on my journey.


  1. At least you are writing! Supportive ((hug)) Thats amazing how much you have accomplished all the acceptance and rejections.

  2. I've got to tell that that is quite impressive. I doubt I'll produce enough work in a lifetime for 56 submissions, let alone that many acceptances. My hat is off to you sir.

    And offer you a hello as a fellow crusador

  3. Summer - Thanks! Much appreciated.

    Rusty - Obsession is a double-edged sword, I'm afraid. It's good to meet you.

  4. So first I have to ask how often someone comes in here squealing "Not the comfy chair!"

    Congrats on your amazing progress on your process! It sounds like you are doing everything right. Rewriting is I think the hardest thing to get through our head... I swear it took 2 years after finishing book #1 before I GOT that it wasn't just word tweaking. I think the best advice I've seen is to write a synopsis of what you HAVE, and rearrange THAT so it's a better story, and then map how your book needs to change to go with it. Sounds like maybe you also want to shop for an illustrator. I know publishers have in-house or contract people, but it may be easier to sell if you come in with the images, too. Good luck!

  5. Wow, Ben,

    That is an impressive story. Sorry it took me so look to hop over here. You visited my blog last week. I've been crazed with revisions and helping a friend forma for his e-book. Phew. Now the crusaders!

    I really like the premise of your m/g troll book. I'm sure the kids will get the picture. Middle graders are very astute.


  6. Ben, Thanks for stopping by my blog (Life of Lois), and for condolences. Sounds like you are very persistent. As writers, that should be our number one trait.

  7. Hello, fellow crusader stopping by to say HI. I'm a new follower. Nice to meet you.

  8. Wow...you've been super busy! Congratulations on your publications and your books. They sound delightful.

    So glad I came across you on the crusade list. Following and can't wait to see what happens with your forgetful troll. =)

  9. Very impressive! Best of luck in the revision process. I'm sure you're going to be able to make the characters leap right off the page!

  10. Thank you, lovely visitors, for stopping by, and for such warm words of encouragement.

  11. Nice to meet you, Ben. This Crusade is my first, and I'm excited to be a part of it.

  12. Hey there, fellow crusader! Great to hear that you're still writing - it's always exciting when stories won't stop coming.

  13. Hello Ben,

    Your 2009/10 year sounds like great fun. A note from OSC -- wow.