Story A Day #5: what I’ve been writing

And already we are at the end of September! It has gone by so quickly. 

I couldn’t be this productive without them. (I am writing this while in a writing spring with three of that group who join me manyThursday nights. It is so fortunate to have such a community.)

On to the stories!

This prompt of Anita’s — two dates on a piece of paper in your own handwriting  — is great. I have said before that my favourite prompts are highly specific, because I love seeing how totally different stories can from the same precise beginning. My story was about a woman with dementia that she has as the result of time travel.

Instead, I wrote a story about theoretical non-existent children, so that’s at least adjacent to the prompt! This was another novella-prequel story, as my all-but-immortal beings do not reproduce (it’s a long story and their inability to reproduce is related to the micro-evolutionary changes that resulted in them being all-but-immortal).

And that’s all for this Story A Day September.

September’s almost over, what comes next

Today I thought I’d write about what I have planned next, writing-wise.

While I’ve been doing a story every day this month, I have confined myself to short first draft with minimal editing so as not to take away too much time from the novella.

So, next!

I have a story I’ve been working on for a while that I recently submitted for workshopping in a class I’m taking. The feedback was very useful and I’m going to work on getting this in shape to submit … somewhere. I guess it’s solarpunk-ish (solarpunk adjacent?), so I’ll try with those sorts of venues.

Also, I need to decide on what to do with the novella-prequel stories I’ve been writing this month. There are at least ten (although some cover the same ground from different angles). Rather than write another novella with them (or, god forbid, a novel), I think I might develop these as a series of interlinked short stories instead. At the moment that feels far more manageable!

I also want to look at the other proto-stories I’ve written this month, as well as other ideas I have kicking around, and decide which I want to work on first.

Pre-novella, I was trying to finish and submit two stories a month (not necessarily submitting the stories I had finished, but two each regardless). I want to return to that for the last three months of the year.

And I really need to take the time to review the finished-but-unpublished stories I have and see which I want to submit elsewhere and which I want to work on a bit more first (although that can be an endless preoccupation).

As well, my short story class continues through October and I am enjoying it a great deal, both the class part and the workshopping part. I feel both are so helpful in a complementary way.

I’m doing some more slush reading, starting on the 7th. I’m looking forward to that, too. It’s a themed submission call, so that will be interesting and different.

And I think that’s it for the coming months, at least for now. I will undoubtedly add more things as time goes on.

At the moment, I’m telling myself I’m not doing Nanowrimo in November, but I know how that goes! If I do it, I want to work more on short stories, although I have struggled with finding a way to ‘count’ that easily. (It works fine if I just write 50 000 words of first drafts, it doesn’t matter if they’re in short story form or a novel. But if I also want to include editing, it starts to get tricky. I need to give this some more thought.)

Oh! And blog posts. I like how this has gone. I can’t manage a post every 3 days most of the time, but I think my goal will be to post every Friday for October with a summary of what I’ve been working on (as much for my own sake as anyone else’s). Or maybe make sure I read something new to talk about each week. We’ll see.

That’s all for now. One more September blog post on the 30th.

Recent publications of mine!

Today I am going to brag about my recent and forthcoming publications! 

(I have mixed feelings about the publicity side of writing. I feel awkward promoting my own work, but I also want other people to read it. So here we are.)

Working backwards, let’s start with the Kickstarter for CATS: Cycling Across Time and Space! A feminist science fiction anthology about cats and bicycles, edited by Elly Blue. It is already fully funded, but you can still back the project and get fun extra stuff with your copy of the book (including a very cool enamel pin). But it ends tomorrow, so you don’t have long!

My story in the anthology, “The Certainty of Danger,” is about a woman dealing with the after effects of a marsquake accompanied by a cat she can communicate with through a neural implant. You can read more about it in the short contributor interview I did.

(I’ve had stories in other volumes of the Bikes in Space series, The Sound of Home, in Dragon Bike (February 2020) and Leaving, in Bikes Not Rockets (December 2018).)

In August, my flash fiction piece “The Present” was published in Ink: Queer Sci Fi’s Eighth Annual Flash Fiction Contest anthology.

The word limit for the Queer Sci Fi contest is 300 words and I enjoy the challenge of writing a complete story within such a small space. I also appreciate that each year’s theme allows for an impressive breadth of story ideas.

(I’ve also had stories in previous anthologies from Queer Sci Fi, What Is Left Behind, in Migration (July 2019) and The Moment of, in Impact (July 2018).)

And in May of this year, my story “The PILGRIM’s Guide to Mars” was published by Diabolical Plots (my first pro sale!). I really love this story, which took a long while to find a way to come together. I started thinking about a Martian pilgrimage route around the time the rover Opportunity stopped working, but I went through a lot of ideas before this one unfolded for me.

So far it has been a nice and productive year. It looks busier than it feels, though. So many stories submitted and rejected, so many abandoned before the submission point because the requisite pieces were not there.

But those are all equally valid parts of the process. Not every idea finds its appropriate expression in a story. Not every story finds a place of publication.

But some do and they are precious.