2013: In which I actually submitted things.

Okay. So I think I’m not alone in saying ‘holy hell 2013 you’re a mean drunk’. After seeing someone summarize their year when it comes to writing on a forum I frequent, I thought it’d be a good way to see where I started and where I am now. Especially since I’ve been struggling a bit in the last couple months (yay Plague!)

The Good

Smiling Shark

Technically I submitted my first story in 2012 to The Hero Comes Home 2. But I also submitted it on Dec 31st, so I’m counting that as 2013 regardless.

Before 2013 I’d never thought I could submit anything and have it considered being close to ‘good’. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a long way to go before I am considered ‘good’, but there was this weird invisible fence that I’d made up that kept me back from trying to get published.

Then this dude came up to me and tried to sell me this lady‘s book, and got all pushy about joining this writing thing called Nanowrimo. So I went and met a whole bunch of lovely people, who told me about markets and I joined the facebook groups and learned about what kind of markets look for what kind of stories.

I’d started writing a horror story about pomegranates when the Hero Comes Home 2 crossed my inbox and so I sat down and wrote, edited and sent off the story in 5 days. #thatshowIroll. Totally expected it to get sent back with a ‘definitely not. never. ever.’ in red text. Instead I got a personal rejection.

The pomegranate story received an offer, which I can tell you was even more surprising.

Call it beginner’s luck, or call it 15 years of writing in my basement and on RP sites finally paying off, but I’ve had a number of personal rejections this year that are crazy elating.

Cons Attended: Ad Astra, WorldCon, CanCon [panelist]
Total Submissions:
23
Form Rejections: 13
Personal Rejections: 6 (including 2 ‘you made it to the final cut’ heartbreakers)
WOTF: Q3 – Honourable Mention, Q4 – SEMI FINALIST
Pending: 2
Sales: 1!!

The Bad

So like I said at the top of the post, 2013 was a mean drunk. I lost a total of 4 family members in the first half of the year alone, including my grandfather and an aunt. To say that I was emotionally exhausted would be a bit of an understatement. While at first I kept writing, I realised that grief was taking a toll on the tone in my stories, so I set it aside for a while.

Sad Cat

I didn’t want to ruin work that had potential by infusing it with a sadness when the story didn’t warrant it. I think that this was the right decision, although it did set off a cascade of missed writing goals in the last quarter of the year. Continue reading

Missive from Plague Island

OH THE CALAMITY. (har har, shut up it’s the best I can do today.*snifflekoff*)

I wound up coming down with the cold from hell last Wednesday and only just got better enough to return to work today. That’s almost a whole week of lying in bed, groaning at the cat and making pawing motions at the computer to try to make my self-imposed word count.

Spoilers: I didn’t.

Sad Word Count

Also please ignore the Cumulative Actual count, it’s not self-updating. I’m behind, but not THAT behind. (Also yes I am insanely organized when it comes to writing and cosplay, don’t judge me! You don’t know me! [except you mom, hi.])

I missed the NaNoWriMo marathon day, I missed a whole heck of a lot of write-ins, and basically lived in my bed for a week, eating paleo-friendly chicken soup while my cat sat on my chest, happy I was home. Well, for the first couple days. Then Cat got bored and started poking me to get up and leave, or move, or anything.

Also Spoilers: I didn’t. Continue reading

Belated Flash Friday – 1 667

For those asking why the 1 667 doesn’t look like this: 1,667 it’s because I went to french immersion and the French hate commas.

Part of Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fridays, theme is the first 1 667 words from Nanovember

The God Device

[working title]

Prologue

Kiana had curled up on the window sill; her feet and back wedging her into place between the two sides of the frame. The window was old, and the cracks in the glass let in cold winter air. The little bundle of a girl shivered, letting a puff of breath fog up the glass, before wiping it away to watch the snow fall. Large soft flakes fell thick and white in the orange light of the streetlamps.

As Kiana watched, the snowflakes lit up bright blue and gold, all shimmery and pretty, the light brightest down the alleyway, just out of view. The little girl craned her cheek over to get a better look.

“Don’t you put your face on the glass, I just cleaned it,” Kiana’s mom said. The glass might have been clean on the inside, but the grime between the panes, and on the outside of the window was still there, making it harder to see what was happening..

“But Mom, there’s something going on down there,” she said, looking up before pointing to where the blue-gold light was already fading. “Maybe it’s Santa!”

Mom walked over, wiping her hands on her apron. The stripes on it had faded, but you could still tell it was from the Pancake Place, where she worked. Kiana liked the pancake place, they let her eat the burnt pancakes on the weekends, and watch the cooks when Grammy couldn’t babysit.

“Sweetie, That’s not Santa,” Mom said, brushing a hand over Kiana’s curls. They were soft and dark, just like Mom’s, but without the grey. “Santa has  red lights, that’s just a policeman.” She kissed Kiana on the forehead. “Now go wash up, the soup’s ready.”

“But Mom! Cops are blue-blue and red, not blue-yellow,” Kiana said as she climbed down from the window, careful to avoid the radiator. The heat never seemed to warm up the apartment, but the radiator itself could still get hot enough to burn.

“Kiana, don’t make me ask twice.”

“It’s true,,” Kiana said, but she threw a last look at the window and walked to the bathroom, dragging her feet with every step. She’d pout too, if she thought that would do anything, but it never did., The apartment was small, though to Kiana it fit just right. It had room for the bed-couch, the old tv that looked like it was snowing, and the kitchen. Grammy had a bigger house, but didn’t live in a tall building like Kiana and Mom did. . But most of all, Kiana liked being able to watch out the window of the apartment, seeing the people walk by all little, seeing the flash of police cars and seeing the blue-gold of tonight.

“I’m totally sure it wasn’t a cop car,” Kiana said, stepping into the chilly bathroom.

Kiana.”

“Washing!”  Kiana turned on the tap, waiting for it to get mostly warm. She’d just shoved her hands under the faucet when someone knocked on the door. No, it wasn’t a knock so much as banged on the door.

Kiana poked her head out the bathroom door, to see her Mom staring the door. When the person banged again, even louder, she saw the way Mom flinched. Was Daddy back?

“Kiana, baby, close the door,” Mom said murmured on the way by, brushing Kiana’s hair back and planting a light kiss on her forehead. “You close the door and lock it. Don’t you open it for anyone but me.”

Kiana nodded.

“FBI. Open the door.” It was a man’s voice, rough and raw. Like Daddy used to get before he went away, but not as angry. Almost scared. Kiana’s Mom walked over to the apartment’s door, and glanced back.

She looked over her shoulder and smiled, but something was wrong about it.

“It’ll be okay baby. Just wait in there.”

Continue reading

Nano-Nuggets

Hello fine people! Who’s participating in Nanowrimo this year? Great! We can be writing buddies. Although I have to warn you, this year I’m going to be a cheater.

A dirty, dirty cheater. Why? Because I’m using Nano to re-write my novel:

The God Artifact

Working title that doesn’t quite fit.  Also, photoshop is AWESOME.

And while this will be a topic for another post: COVERS MATTER GUYS. Not for Nano, but y’know, selling.

Now I’m no pro (see Newbie Guide) but I have managed to win Nanowrimo last year while working full time.

Nano winner

Proof! Also add me plskthnx

But I’ve learned that winning Nano is kind of arbitrary and doesn’t actually help much with writing a novel.  It serves more as the spring thaw to get those creative juices flowing so you can hammer a spigot into your head and pour out all the stuff in there onto a page.

Which is why this year I’m cheating.

How to Nanowrimo for Newbies

Also known as OHGODWHY.

1. Consider it practice

What you write in Nano is in no way, shape, or form, ready to be published. Unless you’re a god of writing, but hey, we’re all humble mortals here right? *squints at you* RIGHT?

Anyways, some people say to consider it Draft 0. The ‘shit’ draft. While the programmer in me appreciates the proper count increment, Draft 0 sounds like it’s utterly worthless. And it’s not, it’s just a mess and full of useless paragraphs describing things that don’t need to be described because HEY WORDCOUNT.
Continue reading