6.22.2005

Into the Wilds
Finally turned in the manuscript for "Into the Wilds." At 31.5k, it came out just over the goal of 30,000 words. It’s not a terrible infraction, but it stings a little since the usual modules are 24,000 words. I asked for the extension when I took the job and still went over count. Frustrating.

Fortunately, the publisher has been good about finding room for me. Certainly not a habit I want to cultivate, though.

And, again, a deep heartfelt thanks to the McCoy family for all their help. It's only a matter of time before they'll too busy selling their own stories to playtest mine, so I appreciate them taking time out on my behalf.

Embarrassment of Riches
I’ve always done my best to never turn down a writing contract. That changed yesterday.

The contract was for 20-25k words of d20 source book fluff. I would have loved to take the job but I just couldn’t promise that I’d have it done in time. Between the d20 World project and the potential for a Vampire novel, I just didn’t have the time.

Like a lot of you, I’m in that nebulous gray zone between full-time freelance writer and starving unknown author. I work days, write nights, and my schedule can only accommodate so much freelance work. You find yourself trapped in this very narrow space where you can’t make the jump to full-time freelance because your part-time gigs aren’t bringing in enough money, BUT you can’t take more gigs, because you are only writing part-time.

And … I don’t even have kids yet! (Applauds Kam, Elaine and Marce.)

As frustrating as the situation may be, it also has its benefits:

First and most important: Discipline. In between work, cooking, and sleeping you MAKE yourself write. During college I wrote when I felt moved. Nowadays I don’t have time to wait for my muse to show up, so I write before work, after dinner, on the bus, and whenever else I have a spare fifteen minutes.

The best part is, your muse learn to start showing up, latte in hand, for even those brief flashes. That little fairy is trainable.

Secondly, you learn Clarity. My writing used to meander like a drunken boxer. And, for better or worse, it still does. But I’m getting better. Promise.

Thirdly, Discernment. This one is a bit tricky. Some publishers pay better than others, and when you’re trying to decide between taking a 5k project for a reputable publisher or a 40k project for a publisher that has trouble paying its writers on time, chances are you’ll go with the smaller, but reliable, project.

That last one is tough for us wee-folk. After all, we need to be hungry --- and thankful --- for every single publishing house that is willing to give us some space on the marquee. At the same time, you need to know what you’re worth, and expect nothing less.

Sorta like being in love.

A Big Deathy Shout-Out...
To Mike and Chris. After years of hard work, the Frontier Fantasy Project will finally be published. For those of you who don't spend your free tiime hanging out on the Wizards boards, I can tell you that Mike began the Frontier project right about the same time as the Maiden of Pain contest. (You still might be able to find early drafts of the work on the Wiz boards.)

Their sucess is a joy to witness, since I've been lurking around the project since its inception. From humble beginnings, to a d20 triumph, and they've earned every bit.

Congrats, Mike and Chris!

9 Comments:

At 9:18 AM, Blogger ec said...

Congrats on the finished module, Harley!

I understand all too well the pain and uncertainty that comes from turning down work, but sometimes it's the best decision. And it's a good habit to get into--you'll always have to pick your projects carefully, whether you're writing full time or part time. Time, especially writing time, is limited and precious.

 
At 11:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like a high quality kind of problem to have Grims.

Congrats.

Justin

 
At 3:26 PM, Anonymous Laurie said...

Congrats! Despite the time-dilemma, it's a great dilemma to have, no? :)

 
At 3:43 PM, Blogger Grimbones said...

Absolutely! Let me repeat that for emphasis:

Absolutely!

Please forgive any trace of complaining. I'm thankful, thankful, thankful to be writing for anyone.

No caveats, whatsoever.

 
At 4:12 PM, Blogger Marcy said...

Is there anyway the deadline on the fluff can be moved back, so you can do it? If I were a publisher, I'd be willing to push back the dates just to have you on board! :)

 
At 9:08 PM, Blogger SnakeOil Sage said...

Thanks for the congrats, Harvey. And don't forget, you've make your contributions to the project, yourself, including an introductary adventure that I haven't let go of. In a new book built by fresh faces, how could I forget such a rising star?

I have, and always shall, do my best.

 
At 9:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heh. I still say the corrupted dryad should be in there. :)

//H

 
At 9:36 PM, Blogger SnakeOil Sage said...

You might very well get your wish, the way the Badlands are turning out...

 
At 10:38 PM, Blogger Silverfyre said...

Badlands is turning out to be pretty awesome...

Thanks for the congrats. It will be nice once the fruits of our labor have been put into print and sitting on my shelf.

 

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