2023 has been great in terms of progress on short stories. I’ve sold two – see my blog for more info. The respected Canadian publication, Pulp Literature is publishing my wer-skunk story, “the Lady M.” this Autumn. Then, the US anthology “MurderBugs” is slated to have my story “The Tomato Liberation Front” in it in 2024.
Workwise, I’m getting a bunch of great critiques from my new writers’ group, “Wordos”. Mostly, it’s remote, via zoom but it is based in Eugene, Oregon. I’m learning a lot about how my work ‘works’ and where it doesn’t! They’re talented writers and have great insights.
In March, I joined a critique group called Wordos based in Portland, Oregon. They allow me to join remotely! This is a new process for me. I’m used to crew commenting on a script once it’s shooting, so getting tips ahead of time is phenomenal.
I’ve received two sets of great critiques, one on Favrile’s story and the other on the Bella ragazza. Both critique sessions were insightful, respectful, and useful!
Not sold, sadly. “Synthetic Reality” had accepted this for publication in mid-2022. UPDATE: No word from the editor since March. He got sick this year and I fear both for him and the magazine. I’m not certain when to move to a new submission round.
Sept- same thing. Am awaiting word, might start sending it round again.
Oct – I withdrew the story .
I’ve finished Maud’s Dragon (which may get a new name) It’s 30,000 words! This is too long for a short story and almost no one publishes 30k novellas, so I don’t know where it will be seen, but at least it’s done! Redrafting will make it it larger or smaller. I will rely on beta reader(s) to give me some notion of whether it is an overblown short story or a half novel.
Also, I’m working on Favrile, my downed Ship’s Heart story, again.
I’m a full SFWA member as of March 2022. I’m hoping the added association will have benefits for my creative work.
My story “New Tudors” has been sold to @Neo-opsis Magazine! I’m very pleased! It’s terrific to be in such an iconic Canadian SFF magazine. They always have amazing covers, too, so I’m looking forward to the print version. To purchase, go to their website and order issue 33! Also, this got a great review in Amazing Stories!
June 26th, 2021
So excited! I’ve moved up a level in Writers of the Future – I won a SILVER Honorable Mention for my story, “Rachel’s Vacation.” More to come when I get the new badge!
April 28, 2021
Really pleased with Writers of the Future for 2021 Q1 – I won another Honorable Mention! #6 for my short stories. It is for the new story “Some Thing”! This is my Prairie comic fantasy referred to below. I have yet to send it to a market, so I’m really excited about short story progress this week! Nice to have a ‘winner’!
I’m still at about 7/8ths done two stories that have turned into novellas: the dragon girl story and the space ship heart story. I really want to get these done and out as well!
The image below is just a fantastic Chinese pagoda in cyberpunk colors for fun. I love Unsplash!
Short story work continues. I got a nice email from an editor – one of my stories might be published this year! I’m not announcing more details until I know it’s happening for sure!
I’m working on rewrites of the Ship story and finishing the first novella I’ve done, the one about a dragon. I wanted the Ship story to go to Writers of the Future for the deadline at the end of March 2021, but I didn’t make it. So, I had a story returned from a market that kept it a long time and submitted that one. Wish me luck!
I’m also actively revising stories that have been returned from magazines. I continue to meet with my short story critiquing friend and I hope his insights are improving my writing!
Also, when time allows, I want to self-publish a few chapbooks with my previously-published poetry and short stories in them.
Progress has been achieved on the stories for year end, one a Ship story for the Zombies Need Brains call, and the other a Prairie comic fantasy. I’d like to send one of them to the WOTF contest for Q1 2021. Haven’t decided which one. The Prairie fantasy is lighter but has a nice environmental twist. The Ship story is more poetic and has a good ending, I think. However, I’m one of those writers who polishes their short prose, sometimes like poetry is polished. So, it takes ages to get a ‘finished’ piece. That’s okay, my sell rate is pretty high so I’m not worried. Even my Viking story, which was much rewritten as a short story turned into an award-winning screenplay “Lights, Camera, Paranormal Action!” But sometimes my speed or lack thereof does irritate me.
Two Writing Awards in 2020
My story “La bella ragazza” won a WOTF Honorable Mention for Quarter 4, 2020!
I’ve done a new short story, which is just percolating in my computer now. Plus, I’m moving onto fix a story that I hope to send to one of the Zombies Need Brains story calls this year. I always worry about writing ‘to’ a particular (and often peculiar) story call. This is because I still have two stories that will remain unsaleable unless I successfully do major re-jigging on them. I love writing ‘to’ a call in one way but it sometimes backfires.
My good news for July 2020 in the short story world is that I received an Honorable Mention for my WOTF (Writers of the Future) entry Qu2 2020, “Tail Creek”. This is a story that one of my friends says is his favorite, but I’ve had little luck selling it. Maybe the win will help!
On Rewriting Previously Published Stories – A Solid “No”
Just this year, I’ve seen some odd behavior by SFF markets. Twice I’ve received critiques of reprint material. This is not ‘cricket’! Readers and editors should understand that if something is already published, and you’ve been sent it as a reprint, there is no point in giving ‘feedback’. No one is going to revise a previously published story. I feel that as the author I want it to ‘stand as published’ and that it’s a knock against the first publication. Plus, for future anthology series, I don’t want to be creating a ‘director’s cut’ of certain stories from certain markets.
Early 2020 WIP
I’ve been very busy on day job, which is typical, but I’m still carving out some time to write. March to August, 2020 I devoted to my screenplay, “Lights, Camera, Paranormal Action!” which was a WOTF #DarkSide winner. I’m proceeding with some short stories. Short stories are great exercises, even when they don’t sell immediately (eventually they do sell, if they are done well.)
Worked on a new story today. I’ve been rattling this idea around most of the month with ink on paper notes and ideas. I’m at 1800 words so far. This is the outline draft, where I get ‘what happens’ down. I put in notes like “need scene for this” to get the feel of the flow. It feels lovely to be doing a new story. I like working on my novel, but the change of pace is great. Also, I did need to get the notes off the papers before I lost one of them 🙂
To find information on story calls and to keep track of your progress, I recommend https://thegrinder.diabolicalplots.com/. This is a great online application due to the fact that’s it’s free AND keeps up with SFF calls very well. It’s replaced most of my Excel spreadsheet on submissions now. I like the analytics available there which allow me to see if my story is in longer or shorter than average submissions, for example. I can see if the market has closed, etc.
Currently I’m creating stories for an SF anthology call. I often take on one of these as a challenge and they are fun to try to create. You have to try not to do the ‘obvious’ story.
Story Calls 2019
Zombies Need Brains LLC is accepting submissions to its three science fiction and fantasy anthologies APOCALYPTIC, GALACTIC STEW, and MY BATTERY IS LOW AND IT IS GETTING DARK.
October 21, 2019 – Sent an existing story in to Apocalyptic, and have a new one drafted for Galactic Stew. Sent that story to my beta reader, Craig and am hoping to get great feedback on it.
Yes, a great beta reader will point out the obvious flaws in your work, so it’s back to the drawing board with my “Galactic Stew” story.
I had hoped to have a story for MY BATTERY IS LOW AND IT IS GETTING DARK but due to making the novel a priority, I probably will not get this one done. It’s an interesting idea and might actually lend itself to a great comic story.
While I am sometimes involved in a larger project, such as a script or novel, I’m always working on short stories. So I decided to create a page for this. Currently, I’m working on a dragon story – which is unusual for me, but it was sparked (pun intended) by a story call from Rhonda Parrish. It’s a great idea to read these story calls as they often inspire a writer. You can find Rhonda’s calls at:
Synopsis of the Dragon / BoilerMaker Story:
A dragon awakes after an enchanted sleep and, with the help of a noisy young girl, becomes more than a scourge on the countryside.