October wrap up and what comes next

I put off this week’s blog for a few days so it would be an end-of-month (not just end-of-week) post. (Procrastinating? Very possibly!)

So! To review my plans for October:

To finish and submit the novella I was working on.

I did that in the first week of the month!

Complete two stories and submit two stories (not necessarily the same two!).

So, in addition to the novella, I submitted one very short piece and one very long piece (another novella I finished last spring).

I didn’t complete two stories, though I did get one finished (that I did then submit).

Specific stories:
  • Incorporate comments from workshop along with general notes from class
  • Finish by end of month

It’s not finished, but I am very happy with how it is progressing, so it not being done isn’t a problem or any kind of fail. It will only be better for the further work.

A large part of the reason why it is taking longer than I anticipated is that, once I incorporated the comments from workshop, the story got a lot longer (like 5000 words to just over 9000). 

That very large jump was a bit of a surprise, as I wasn’t paying attention to the word count as I added items (sensory details, a few scenes to provide better context). Oops.

And a longer story means it takes longer to get through each edit of the full thing and it also, in this case certainly, means that I need to think about how to get it back down. A short story is up to 7500 words and I really want this to get there (ideally, I’d prefer around 6000 words, but that doesn’t seem very likely).

I do have a bit more research to do (another oops), so I will be adding a bit more to two scenes near the end, but once I have that done, I’ll work on tightening the whole thing up.

There’s still laundry/Mondays are for laundry
  • Tidy up and submit for critique week

I worked on this, submitted it for critique week, renamed it (Mondays are for laundry), worked on the comments and suggestions from the critique session (which were, as always, incredibly helpful) and managed to send it out by the end of this week.

This is the opposite situation from Dispersed. It is such a short story (~1300 words) that going through it in its entirety took very little time. I made changes, thought about them, changed some more things, read it out loud several times, etc. And it still only took a few days to polish.

I need to write more stories with this sort of word count 🙂

If you give a clock an enchantment

There was the opportunity to submit a second story for workshopping, so I did. The comments and suggestions I received on this were very helpful. I like this story a lot, but I really needed other eyes on it to give me suggestions (I had previously submitted this to critique week in spring and used those suggestions, too, so it was better, but still bothering me in a few ways).

The more I work on this, and based on some of the feedback I received, I think this might be part of a longer piece, rather than the short story I was aiming for. I’ll return to this once Dispersed is done. 

Generation Pothos
  • Finish by end of month

With what I’ve been working on, I didn’t have the time to devote to this. I have some fragments written and some ideas, but I still am largely in the thinking about stage.

November and Nanowrimo

My plan for November is to prioritize the Nanowrimo stories I’m working on and supplement that with work on Dispersed (when I have larger chunks of time). If Dispersed gets finished, I’ll move on to If you give a clock an enchantment. 

And I wrote a blog post a week, as planned! I want to continue with the regular posts, so for November I’ll post weekly on my Nanowrimo (and any other) progress. Since the month starts on a Monday, I’ll post on Mondays, beginning on the 8th


I finished the class I was taking. It was really helpful and I’m going to be going over my notes, as there is a lot to think about, particularly regarding my process.

The slush reading I’ve been doing is winding down for this submission period, but I have a couple of other writing-adjacent volunteer things right now (checking transcripts from a con for accuracy and formatting a newsletter), both of which are nicely technical.

That’s all for now. Take care.

This week’s work

I’ve given up on Thursdays as a good day to write and post to the blog. It doesn’t work with other things I have going on at all. The weekend is better, so I’m going to shift to Saturdays (earlier if I can manage).

This week I had a couple of stories to tidy up before letting other people read them, one for a critique group through Story A Day and one for the short story class (that is almost finished). Both these stories are a little different from what I usually write, so we’ll see what people think.

Of course, that also meant I had stories from other people to look at and comment on, which is such a useful exercise. I know it’s a bit clichéd, but you really do see your own problems reflected so much more clearly in other people’s work.

It has also been interesting to do the critiquing/workshoping at the same time as doing slush reading, because they are so similar yet utterly different. 

The critique process is all about providing constructive suggestions to a work that is still *in process* so that the writer can make their work stronger *as they finish it*, whereas slush reading is looking at the finished product and deciding on whether it works (for the market, etc). Of course, it is all subjective, but doing the slush reading has made me think about my own work differently. Are my initial paragraphs super compelling? Do they telegraph what is to come in the story? Am I establishing a world and characters quickly? First impressions really colour how you read the rest of the story.

I also did more work on my not-very-short story “Dispersed” this week, which is really coming along. Last week, I resolved all the current comments I had on it and started to incorporate further sensory details and fussed with language usage and stuff like that. In other words, it’s almost finished. Hopefully, I’ll get it done and submitted by the end of the month.

It does take time, and more so with longer work, but that’s probably not a bad thing.

I’ve been re-watching Babylon 5 (currently half-way through season 3) and I want to write about it (since I have some thoughts), but I haven’t sorted out in my own mind yet how I want to frame it. I don’t know how many times I’ve watched it (although I remember an awful lot of actual, verbatim dialogue), but it’s been a while.

Regardless, it holds up remarkably well for a series from the mid-90s (although the very noticeable lipstick on the female characters is somewhat distracting). I’ve long been interested in what science fiction says about the time period in which it is written and SF television shows offer such a rich opportunity for  considering that. What we can imagine for the future is both confined and defined by our current circumstances and experiences (not to mention the budget of a weekly series) in ways that we can only really appreciate in retrospect.

Anyway, that’s all for this week. Take care.

Today is not Thursday

So. This is not Thursday. This is not a good beginning for a weekly blog post, to be a day late in the second week.

However! I do have a writing-related reason. I needed to post a story for critique today and I was working on it yesterday. (Yes, I could have done that earlier…)

What I’ve been working on

As mentioned last week, I am currently working on three different stories, of very different lengths and subject matter.


Over the long weekend (Monday was Thanksgiving in Canada), I worked on this, incorporating the comments I received in workshop.

I think it’s improving (a lot). It is also getting much longer, having gained over 2000 words in the last couple of weeks. It’s close to 7500 words now, so just on the edge of short story length.

The length is fine, it is what it is. The larger issue is that it takes that much longer to do each editing pass. And I will need to slightly adjust where I submit it. But I have a list for that already, so I have no reason to procrastinate on that when the story is ready.

Ideally, I’ll have this finished by the end of the month. Most of the developmental work is done. There are a few elements I want to tweak, but they are backstory and explanatory things, nothing central to the story or characters. Most of the remaining work is polishing.

There’s still laundry

This Story a Day story from last month is the one I submitted today for critique. It’s short (around 1300 words) and about ghosts adjusting to life after death. 

I really like it (although I went through my predictable ‘this story is absolutely awful’ stage yesterday). Anyway, I’m looking forward to the comments I get on this and moving forward with it after.

The other story I’ve been working on is called (for now) Generation Pothos, about a generation ship and with a heavy plant theme. I didn’t get around to it this week. I’ll return to this once I’m done with Dispersed (and probably after November). I’m eager to get it to it, but I don’t think it will suffer from further back of mind thinking. The only strong thing about it right now is the premise, so more thinking about it will probably benefit the story in the long run.

What’s coming next

Instead, I’m going to develop the (very) short stories set in my novella universe that I wrote in September into a collection. I have 15 stories and I have arranged them in chronological order. They’re all around 800 words and I plan on expanding them (2000 words on average) and then editing them (although not necessarily to completion).

Ideally, the stories will stand alone enough to be submitted to various places individually, but I am also aiming for a novella-length story collection that has its own internal logic.

That’s all for this week. Take care.