Nose to the Grindstone

Well, as the title suggests, I’ve been putting my nose to the grindstone the past couple days. I think I posted on here that I wrote 2,189 words Monday. Well, yesterday was, in its way, even more productive. I wrote 2,169 (yes, only 20 words less) yesterday, bringing my two-day total to 4,358 words. I even set up an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of both daily and running counts for PersoNo.

In other news, although I wrote twenty words less, I also wrote a query letter and sent it off to the Donald Maass Agency. I picked them first because Mr. Maass is Brent Weeks’s agent and that impressed me (if you don’t know who I’m talking about, see my post called “The Way of Shadows”). Their agency requires a query letter, synopsis and five pages of ms, and they promise to reply in four weeks. Since that’ll be outside my window for when my Internet service will die, it might be a little tough to tell you when I know something, but I’ll do my best. In all honesty and pragmatism, I expect rejection. That way I’m not disappointed. It is a practical consideration though, given the math. The average acceptance rate is somewhere between one and three percent, depending on the agency, so in order to keep from being depressed, I am expecting the be rejected. It just boils down to hitting the right agent at the right time.

Off the top of my head, I only know of two people who read this blog who are doing NaNo, but I invite you to post how you’ve done so far on here if you wish. I have no problem with that. If I can help you get noticed by people I know that you don’t, we all win. Add links if you like (and if this blog allows that in comments). It’s tough to get noticed in publishing and if I can help in any way I’m proud to do so. I know it’s not like I have thousands of readers, so maybe posting on here doesn’t mean much, but just remember the old six degrees of separation concept, which says something like only six people separate you from the person you need to know to achieve your goals (if I’ve worded it wrong, forgive me. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard the concept stated).

I wish every NaNo writer lots of luck. It can be tiring churning out that word count every day.

Most of my word count has gone toward my crime novel Pipeline. Despite the research I still need to do for the novel (regarding details like how meth deals actually go down), I’ve decided to go ahead and bull my way through. After all, my own personal writing goal is at least 2,000 words per day, and if I can do that for 30 days, that’s 60,000 words. And it just might get me in the groove of doing that every day of the year, which will churn out a 100,000 word novel in less than two months. So I think I’ll just use my imagination on the first draft and give myself time to do the research on rewrite. I’ve even thought that it might be better that way, rather than be accurate on the details of drug dealing and put it out there for people to read (assuming it gets published, of course). I’ve seen several authors change details to keep them from falling into the wrong hands. Robert Crais does it in his novel Demolition Angel with details about explosives. I can go with that. I don’t particularly want an explosives manual running around out there, especially when it’s a best-selling author like Mr. Crais. What do you think? Should I be accurate, or should I leave details out or change them altogether?

Well, I’m going to keep this one short. I feel like I was pushing it yesterday. When I finished my query letter I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to write or not. It was my first ever query letter, the first time I’ve actually thrown my work out there for complete strangers to see. I don’t even count my writing group there, because I went to probably three or four meetings at least before I brought my own material. It’s a daunting thing to do, I can tell you, and it left me unsure if I could get it together to write. But, I made myself sit down and do it and things went far better than I expected. Nothing wrong with that.




8 thoughts on “Nose to the Grindstone

  1. JesiMarie

    I think, as far as the drug deals, that it wouldn’t hurt to do it the correct way. Really, what are people going to do with that information? Sell drugs? It happens already and it’s not hard to learn how, obviously. An explosives manual on the other hand you’d want to change some details on that cause that’s not as easy to learn. Now if you’re going into detail on how to make meth, then I would change some details on that. Last thing you’d need is people suing you because their kid blew up their house because they followed your direction on how to make it.

    Good luck with the query letter! My fingers are crossed for ya!!

    Speaking of those, I want to do like Stephen King did with his rejection notices: I want to put a nail in the wall and every rejection letter, I’m gunna stick it on the nail. It’ll be awesome, haha.

    1. gilmiller Post author

      Well, here’s the thing about drug dealing: I’ve tried searching it online, and when I put in anything about drug dealing I get newspaper articles about people caught dealing drugs. I’d love to talk to a cop who knows something about it, but how do you go about finding one? I mean, it doesn’t seem to me that just walking up to one and going, “How do you deal drugs?” is the brightest move in the world. I keep wanting to talk to a guy I know who’s a chief of police, but I never manage to get down there where he works. I figure even if he doesn’t know, he can maybe point me in the right direction.

      At this point, I don’t intend to talk much about making meth beyond what I’ve already written (look at my Writing Sample page, if you haven’t already). I can find all kinds of recipes online, but I don’t want to do that. And you’re right: I don’t need some kid blowing up his house and saying he got the recipe from my book. So that ain’t happenin’. I’ll just have to try to talk to my friend and go from there, I guess. I’m betting, though, that most of them go just like we read in The Renegades. I doubt that it happens much like you see in movies and on TV.

      And your rejection notice idea sounds like a good one. I think I may do it, too.

      1. JesiMarie

        You walk up to one and say “Hi, my name is Gilbert Miller and I am an author. I’m working on a book about the meth smuggling into America and I want to be as precise as I can about the whole thing, could you give me a hand with some of the details on drug deals, drug busts, etc? Thank you very much.” Or go to your buddy and say “hey buddy! I need a little information form you!” Either way, it works. Or maybe try watching some episodes of Cops.

        You can thank good ol’ Stephen King for that idea!

  2. qzie

    I tip my hat to you for your bravery. But you should really query lots of agents at once (they’re assuming you are, anyway – that’s what all the blogs say, at least). It’ll save you a lot of time.
    Someone’s gotta say yes, though! So as long as you wrote a strong story and query and everything, your chances are still good. 🙂
    And yeah, Jesi’s got the right idea for research. Tell people you’re writing a book and they’ll tell you anything.

    1. gilmiller Post author

      Thanks for the tip of the hat. I’ve been thinking of doing multiple submissions, but I wanted to do a little research because I couldn’t remember the protocol for that, as in, if it was a good thing to do or not. You’ve saved me some time. Thanks!

  3. Russell

    Why don’t you talk to Bud Hanks? I know he’s been retired from police work for a few years, but he still has finger on the pulse of what’s going on.

    I submitted my short story, Much Nothing about Ado, to the Oxford American today. Still haven’t heard back from them on the first story I submitted, but their guidelines said it 16 weeks when they are busy – and it’s been about 6.

    Linda Apple told me about getting an acceptance letter once almost a year after she had submitted. After that length of time you tend to forget what story submitted. My plan is to wear folks down with persistance. After a while they’re bound to say, “We’re going to have to print one of this guy’s stories just so he’ll leave us alone.”

    1. gilmiller Post author

      If you’ll go to, he has a downloadable program called Sonar that lets you keep track of all your submissions, and it’s free. He’s an Austrailian writer and programmer. He also did the yWriter program, which a lot of people use to outline their stories. Give both a try, if you’re interested.


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