This amazing good news was part of my Friday “good news kept private,” because I hadn’t yet received a contract. Now, contract signed, I can shout this from the rafters–or, in my case, the top of the staircase??–because this is my first pro market sale!
Earlier this year, I took part in Codex’s Weekend Warrior contest, a flash fiction writing “contest” running for 5 weeks. Each weekend, participants had 52 hours to complete a 750-word story from one of 5 prompts. This was my first week’s story. Naturally, it’s had much editing since that initial rush, but that was the genesis, and the story is very much there in the first draft.
I don’t have a date of publication yet, but I’ll let you know as soon as I do. And, of course, I’m assuming you all know about Daily Science Fiction, right? Free short stories every weekday, delivered to your email inbox. In case you don’t have email or don’t like signing up, you can read those same stories, delayed by one week, on their website–also free.
Wow, it’s coming down all white and crazy here! The temperatures are dropping, the wind is whipping, and the snow is a shifting veil that now flirts and twists, then flings itself in a suicide attempt at the ground. What a great day to stay inside and edit. With tea. Definitely with hot tea.
It’s been too long since I’ve updated here. (Sorry–but life, ya know?) So I’ve got lots to update you on.
First of all, let me shout the news about Women Destroy SF. Yes, it’s true. I love putting my girl-cooties all over science fiction. Many of us women do, and we’re celebrating that fact thanks to a special edition of Lightspeed Magazine, guest edited by Christie Yant. Head over to the Lightspeed/Women Destroy Science Fiction Kickstarter (well over fully funded–huzzah!) to order your copy and support the cause of great science fiction!
Next, I recently discovered Coursera. Here you can take a huge variety of online college-level classes in all kinds of amazing subject areas for free. I’ll be taking a course titled “Imagining Other Earths” by Princeton University. Looks like I’ll be destroying me some other earths soon, eh what? And I don’t even have to leave home. Wee.
Back in the land of Kickstarters, Alex Shvartzman’s UFO Publishing is gearing up for Unidentified Funny Object 3. The Kickstarter has launched. If you appreciate humorous spec fic, you’ll want to head over to this site and read up on who’s included, and if you’re a writer, you may want to consider sending your humorous submissions there.
Finally, bit of personal news: thanks to the Codex Weekend Warriors contest and Write 1/Sub 1, I am kicking some butt on writing (and subbing) new stories. Woo-hoo!
That’s about it. If you’re in the cold and snow, stay warm. If you’re somewhere warm, think some warmth to the rest of us (pulls on those darned fingerless writing gloves). And happy writing.
Well, here it is, mid-August, and I’m just now realizing I’m due for a mid-year review of my goals. Well, what were my goals, then? Umm, wait a minute. They’re around here, somewhere… Oh yeah. To recap (for the full post, click here):
Set up a workable writing environment in my new home.
Find a writer’s group and community near me in New Jersey.
Participate in Write 1/Sub 1, creating 2 new stories and 2 submissions each month.
Continue reading slush for (a) magazine(s), and learning from it.
Attend a new-for-me convention in the NJ area.
Broaden my online presence (without overwhelming myself with updates, etc), and make more connections with other writers, both online and in person.
So, how am I doing?
The writing environment has been done for some time. It’s sometimes hard to keep “other life” from intruding upon this small desk by the window, but I try my darnedest, and usually succeed. Check.
A writer’s group. Well, I’ve joined up with Writers of the Weird, and while I can’t attend every month (as I’d like to), they’re a great group. Also, I joined the OWW for an online group, and am giving a “new” group (members of my MRK writing class) a go this weekend. Whew, that’s a lot of writing groups! Can I get a double-check for this one?
W1/S1 at 2 stories written and 2 submissions per month. Here’s the tricky part. Let’s check those stats. OK, I have 16 stories completed to date this year, and we’re on week 35/month 8. So, that’s roughly one story every 2 weeks. Hurray! This is kinda surprising to me, because it really didn’t seem like I was keeping up (some weeks I finished 2 stories, while others I finished none. I’m keeping to the spirit, not the letter, of the law).
In the submissions department, Duotrope reports 37 submissions. I know I’ve made at least 3 to markets not covered in Duotrope, so let’s call it 40. Again, that’s a win. Weee-hoo! But this leads to the sad realization that I’ve gotten only 3 acceptances so far. I was hoping for a few more by this time, but so it goes. I’m sending stories to better markets, and many are taking the full length of the “replies by” time. And I’m getting good rejections, too. So, while that last bit might seem gloomy, I am keeping to my goals. A check on W1/S1.
Reading slush. Well, submissions aren’t open on Blue Shift yet, so I haven’t done any slush reading. This is really making me sad. I loved doing this, and I learned much from it. I thought about applying to another market, but considering my move and my upcoming VP workshop, I decided to just hold off on that for now. February is coming soon enough. (In true Game of Thrones parlance, Winter is coming!) No check.
A new-for-me convention? Well, I had to duck out of attending Readercon, so I haven’t done this yet. But I have high hopes for Philcon. No check.
Finally, connecting with other writers both online and in person. Well, this is a double-edged sword. I’m connecting with new writers thanks to my upcoming VP attendance, and because of the WotW membership, and because of the online classes I’ve taken. But my blog suffered a bit of a hit this summer. Still, I’ve added a few new online bits here and there, so I don’t feel I’m being too wimpy in giving myself a check here.
Wow. That feels pretty good. I’ll admit, I was worried about my finished stories and submissions not being up to par. But once my finished stories ended up on the “right” side, I was clear. All but three of those have been submitted, and early on I submitted for the first time a few stories written late last year (not sure they count in the letter of the law, but I’m going for the spirit here, remember?). So I’m safe and set.
I’ve not posted on schedule for a while. It seems I’m still in “splatter mode,” where I squirt bits of effort here, there, and everywhere, but don’t see much progress in any one area, including this blog. So, here’s an update.
I have six submissions out right now, meaning I’m on track with that. For a long while, I could only keep five going at once. I’ve had six since last week, and have a few more stories nearing completion. By the end of the month, I may actually exceed my “submissions at any given moment” goal! (However, I’ll not be the one to complain if this is foiled by an acceptance or three 😉 ) Also, last week was a “Submit” week, so that submission is working double-duty for me.
I’ve also been running full-tilt with critiquing others’ works lately. A crit group met last week, so there were four stories to critique. I wanted to post another story at OWW, so that meant I needed to have 4 points to do that (1 pt = 1 story crit), and I’m taking an online class, which had a story by another classmate up for crit last week! Whew! No wonder my fresh word count was down.
Think you never have time to write? Think again. Mary Robinette Kowal wrote her first Hugo-nominated short story “Evil Robot Monkey” in ninety minutes. If you have ninety minutes, you can have a story — all it takes is understanding how to make every word work double-time. In this workshop, learn the same techniques she uses to create new fiction. Through exercises focusing on viewpoint, dialogue, and plot, you’ll learn how to let nothing go to waste. By the end of this three day workshop, participants will be given a writing prompt and complete their own short story.
And finally, I’m waiting with bated breath for a month from now, when I’ll know if I’ve been accepted or not into Viable Paradise (not, as hubby thought I was saying, Bible Paradise!). After lately discovering that they are more than able to cope with my dietary restrictions (no glutens! no gluten contamination!), I sent in my application piece, fee, and short bio. Now I hope, and lurk their boards . . .
This is a “Write” week. I hope to finish a story I started earlier, and also to edit another story in light of critiques received. Yes, there I go again, confusing “writing” and “editing.” But when I burn out on one, I can often hop to the other and not feel so wrung out. Which brings me right back to splatter. Ugh. But no! Really, this week, it’s all about the writing, first and foremost. The editing comes after. I am focused. I really, really am!
Help! Somehow I’ve lost an entire day this week. I’ve spent the entire day believing it was Wednesday, and now I find it’s actually Thursday! I had the date right, but I lost the day. This means I have one less day for writing.
I’ve spent lots of time this week critiquing others’ work and editing my stories instead of doing new writing. This is good, since in my version of Write 1/Sub 1, this is a “Sub” week, and I can’t submit without editing. (Trust me, no one wants to see that!) But I’d told myself I would have time at the end of the week for some new, fresh writing, a little reward for good behavior … and now I find that my week has nearly run out. I have less time for that new writing than I’d hoped to have (boo-hoo!).
For me, it’s often a case of “the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.” Whatever I should be doing, the opposite seems more attractive. I should be editing, so new words and stories seem so lush, green, and yummy. And on writing weeks, well, that editing over there is just so appealing; I mean, look at those cool ideas that just need a little tweaking … You get the idea. Things get done (usually), just not in the order I mean them to.
So I make deals with myself. If you get those three stories edited, any extra time you have is yours to write in. For me, this works wonders. It really lights a fire in me to get the “work” done so I can “play.” Until someone steals a day out of my week like this, of course.
Wait, it’s still Thursday. That means I still have Friday for writing. I can finish writing that story tomorrow, I’m sure of it. My submission for this week is in, and my other two stories are edited …
Okay, gotta run. I’ve got writing to do! (But if you’ve got any other ideas for staying the course when you’d rather play with other ideas, feel free to share.)
Let’s start with the Good. I have links to two different reviews of Sidekicks!Find ’em here, and here. I don’t know either of these people, but I’m happy to see their good reviews. If you’ve read the book, will you review it? Pretty please? (I’m batting my eyelashes.)
Next, even though I can’t report it, I’ve been keeping up with my bi-monthly W1/S1 challenge. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pushed myself through an “I’m feeling lazy” emotion just because of this little venture, and gone on to finish a story and then submit it. While I can’t report any sold stories due to W1/S1 yet, I’m sure they’re on their way. In light of this, I’m considering pushing myself to to full Weekly schedule of one new story and one new submission a week. I hesitate only because I don’t want to set myself up for failure…. What do you think? Comments, anyone?
On the Bad side, it appears that Blogger only wants to work with the Chrome browser, and with 3rd-party cookies enabled. Due to that, I won’t be able to comment on the Write1/Sub1 Blogger site anymore, which is very depressing. It just stopped working with my browser, and I can’t bring myself to pander to some ‘world-domination’ theory on Google’s part (Blogger being a part of the Google universe). Part of my initial enthusiasm with W1/S1 was with being a part of something larger than just me, someplace where I could share my excitement at finishing a story, or submitting one with others doing the same. Now, while my goals are the same, I can’t join in anymore and that takes a bit of the luster off, you know?
In order to simulate that joy, here’s my accounting of last week:
New stories finished: 1
New stories subbed: 1
note: this is not the same story!
And this week (so far):
New stories finished: 0
New stories subbed: 1
Stories rejected: 1
Stories re-subbed: 1
Weee! I feel better now. Don’t you? Hmm, well, maybe not. Feel free to comment on your submissions/writing goals, if it will bring you some joy. We all need the joy!
Finally, the Ugly. Well, this time around that would be me. I don’t know what I did, but my neck/shoulder area is killing me. I’m wearing a heating pad on it for the second day running. Ugh. I really need to schedule a chiropractic appointment, but new chiropractors are always a bit scary to me, so I hesitate…until I have to do it. Like now. Well, no time like the present.
I’ve been lying low, keeping up my energy and spirits by reading, listening to audio books, and quilting. I love audio books, both for travel and when I’m sick. I can turn on one, close my eyes and slip into another world, forgetting my blahs and bleahs. When I feel a touch better, I pick up my hand quilting (or my appliqué or piecing), and keep my hands busy while I listen. This is my favorite version of “multi-tasking.” How do you feel about audio for fiction?
Meanwhile, I’ve discovered that I still can’t post on Write 1/Sub 1. Sigh. And I just found out that the post office back in Ohio never put in the change of address for hubby or me, so all our mail has either been sent back or piled up, until I called the other day. It was my second call, since the first time I was assured all would be well and I should just be patient and wait some ten days for the yellow-stickered items to show up. Yesterday the bulk-forwarded pile showed up, so now I merely need to wait another week for my change-of-address to be processed and in place. (Sure. I’m really betting on that happening this time, aren’t I?) Is it any wonder that I get sick every time we move?
Despite that, I have been writing and keeping to the W1/S1 schedule. I subbed a story yesterday, and finished a first draft today. It’s a flash-fiction piece that’s still untitled. Flash fiction is not my usual haunt, and I would probably have never looked at this market without W1/S1 urging me on. But, well, why not? I asked myself. After all, learning is learning. See what you can do with the theme, I said. I’m pretty pleased that I did.
Well, writing is done for the day here. Time to curl up with a good audio book. Good health and good writing to you!
What a week! From NYC’s Central Park to back here in Ohio and Ohio’s Emerald Necklace. From talking about writing and preparing for writing, to finishing a short story in 3 days!
Write 1/Sub 1 is definitely working as a motivator for me. I really want to log onto the site at the end of each week and report my success–not a miss–to the community there. Without W1S1, I’m sure I’d have given myself a break this week, saying “Oh, with all that traveling of course you’re too tired to finish now. Just finish it next week. What’s the rush?” Instead, I sat myself down again and again, when I wanted to walk away on Friday, and I finished that story!
How strange is it that this self-imposed deadline and goal, which is entirely arbitrary and that I could easily lie about, is working?!? How wonderful that because of it, I’ve already finished two new stories this year, and submitted one of them? It seems I have to play silly tricks on my own mind to get my stories finished as quickly as I should, but I’m okay with that. The end result is more stories, more progress in the quality of my writing, more submissions, and perhaps, more acceptances at year’s end. For these things I’ll gladly give my brain a mental goosing.
Let me tell you, the absolute glow I feel once I finish is divine. It’s better than the run-of-the-mill “I finished a story” warm-fuzzy. It’s that good feeling combined with the “Can you believe you made that awesome deadline (again!)” ego-stroking joy. Out comes the good chocolate for a celebratory yum! The desk chair does a little circle of delight (more or less–gotta avoid the cords). Here’s a little secret. Lean in close, now: it makes me feel more like a “real writer!” After all, I just met another deadline, like real writers must do!
I’ve seen a bald eagle flying over the river below our apartment a couple times over the summer and fall. Each time it’s a shock and a delight, since I never expect to see them here. Unfortunately, they’ve always come when hubby wasn’t around, so he’d never seen it. This year, though, it’s different. Now when he’s in Cleveland, he’s working from home. That means that when the eagle cruises through in the early afternoon, hubby can see it.
And he has. Twice now this year we’ve been eating lunch and I’ve cried “The eagle!” (feeling rather hobbit-like, I must say) and pointed out the window. Just yesterday it soared slowly, arching its tail wide as the sun played off the whiteness of the head and neck’s white feathers, and the brownness of the body-feathers, like it was posing (or showing off) for us. Pretty impressive. Even the red-tailed hawk who lives nearby must think so, for once the eagle shows up, the hawk is missing for the remainder of the afternoon. I wish I could get a photo of it, but I always stand entranced watching the bird soar, and don’t want to miss a moment of it by running for the camera or cellphone.
What message does this eagle bring for me? Well, I think it’s that one of the markets I submitted to went under, poof!, with no sign or warning. So there is no rejection, but all the same my story is languishing in the “to submit” pile once more. The never-ending game of submit-and-submit-again goes on.
Oh, wait. This is a new week, and my “Submit” week for W1/S1. Weee! Cross another one off the list and watch as I spin that chair!