zanzjan: (manuscript)
This is the obligatory stuff-I-wrote-in-2014-you-might-like post. I spend most of 2014 either dealing with a broken leg or writing a novel, so I also don't have much to show, but I'm pretty happy with the stuff I did get out. I really hate self-promo, so if you do too, I promise not to do this again until next year :)

I had two science fiction novelettes:
Fly Away Home, Interzone #251, March. Darker than my usual stuff. Deep space mining colony, indentured servitude, corporations as government, stuff blowing up. Quite possibly triggery.

Shatterdown, Asimov's, June. Diving into a gas giant in search of living diamonds... There's also a podcast of this story at Starship Sofa (#346)

I also had a dark fiction/horror short story:
House Party Blues, Black Static #39, March. Ancient evil horror takes over a house, and discovers the neighborhood isn't the quiet refuge it had hoped for.
zanzjan: (iggy)
Day 36 of never-ending headache, but my ability to focus is a little better. Back to working on the flesh-eating bacteria revision again, got 42k of it behind me now. Going to be slow going, though. I'd really like my head to stop hurting now.
zanzjan: (orange)
Tangerine, Nectarine, Clementine, Apocalypse is finished and off to my front-line beta-readers, who will surely, when they get out of bed and find it waiting for them in their email, crawl back under the covers and pretend they're still asleep for as long as they can.

I like it a fair bit and don't see any significant problems with it, so it's probably utter trash. We'll see.
zanzjan: (orange)
3000 words so far on Tangerine, Nectarine, Clementine, Apocalypse. Moving into the story climax, so by gosh, this might actually be a *real* short story for once!

I'm really liking the voice, once I found it. Also, researching fruit is kinda fun. Might have to do some hands-on work, there (-:
zanzjan: (oryx)
With the mild concussion still making my brain all mushy and the revision work on the Flesh-Eating Bacteria Novel requiring some fairly careful thought and concentration that I'm just not quite capable of at the moment, I am contemplating a brief return to the Short Story with No Plot.

It being the end of the quarter, so to speak, here's a writing status )
zanzjan: (Default)
This is how I outline:



Simple.
zanzjan: (meme me!)
Because all the cool kids are doing it. (And yeah, hoping this helps put a few more things in motion.)

First lines of works currently in progress:

Ancou (flesh-eating bacteria novel, on second draft):
Cairnes called the weekly meeting a day early, mandatory for all hands, no excuses, not even if you were, quote, "bleeding out both ears with an axe stuck in the top of your head", unquote.

Fifth Sun (the Aztec novella, 1/3 way through first draft, stalled in research):
The airship La Malinche slid gracefully over the ocean, stable at twenty feet above wavepeak and racing towards the dawn.

Untitled Mars story (short story, 1/2 way through draft with no discernible plot):
The man came across the red sands alone and on foot, the storm whipping at his back.

Mandrake's Folly (short story, 1/2 way through first draft):
The game had begun four years earlier when Onni's cousin Orph got him a job as a hauler on the Mandrake's Folly, one of the old skips doing the six-week Tanduou-Beenjai run.

Tucker's Fall ("the mountain thing". Novella? started years ago and set aside, not ready to abandon yet):
The rain was a thing of high August fury, hurling water down with such vehemence that even at double speed the windshield wipers fought a losing battle.

Some of these things have been on the list for a while. But hey, I think I finished up several things that were on the list last time I did this meme, so there's hope. Right now I'm working pretty much exclusively on Ancou, though my brain is trying to sneak a few cycles thinking about the two after it on the list above. I'd really like to finish all of these, maybe even this year, but that's crazy talk (-:

Sale

Mar. 3rd, 2011 10:38 am
zanzjan: (toaster hamsters)
"The Ceiling Is Sky", 9000 words, to Interzone. No publication info yet. Yay!
zanzjan: (oryx)
+1000 (3100 total) words to the new story tonight.

Excerpt for [livejournal.com profile] rolandgsl and [livejournal.com profile] varianor behind the cut )
zanzjan: (oryx)
1800 words of completely random short story now. I like it a lot and I'm having fun with it, mostly because I'm completely making it up as I go along. It's clearly not fast-paced enough as it currently stands, but hey, that's what first drafts are for. Once I figure out where the heck it's going, it should be easier to push the pacing up a notch.

Also, it has a reappearance of a previous character that I'm rather fond of. Maybe even two. (-:

Only got about two and a half hours of sleep last night, so calling it quits earlier than usual.
zanzjan: (Default)
Things Written:
Zombie Cabana Boy, horror short story.
Surf, science fiction novelette
Ancou, science fiction novel (the flesh-eating bacteria one) first draft

Things Published:
Zombie Cabana Boy in Black Static 17. One review (that recommended it) referred to it as "toe-cringingly tacky", which is *exactly* what I was going for and pleased me greatly.

Submission Stats:
11 things submitted total this year:
- 1 sale
- 7 rejections
- 3 still pending
121 submissions total since I started writing:
- 10 sales (9% of overall, full list here)
- 101 rejections
- 6 withdrawals
- 4 total pending

Of the pending:
Tor: 1765
Tor.com: 239
Analog: 26
Other Market: 3

Conventions attended:
None.

---

That was my year in writing. Not bad with a full-time IT job and being a single parent to a moody teenager and two toddlers. (-: I think it's unlikely I'll make it to any conventions this year, though I'm sort of thinking about Balticon (which I've never been to before) or Wiscon if I can work out the travel logistics. Chances are good I won't be at too many cons until the sprogs hit an age where they can participate in kid programming, which is still another couple of years away.

Projects for 2011:
revise, finish, and submit novel Ancou
finish unnamed short story (currently ~1k) started this week
finish the Aztec story
finish the mountain story
continue to seek an agent
attempt to find new in-person writing group
zanzjan: (smoking mailbox)
After a couple of queries have gone unanswered to an anthology I subbed a piece to near the beginning of the year, I did some googling and found an official ToC for it, and I'm not on it. So I'm assuming that means they've rejected me (would've been nice to hear it directly.)

Anyway, that makes rejection #100.

This would be cause for a party, being a nice round number an' all, except that with the holidays looming a party just isn't in my immediate future of things I can pull off. So I defer my rejection party to sometime in January. Y'all have been warned (-:

--
There ought to be some sort of official 100-rejections badge to display as a proud monument to my stubborn tenacity in the face of everyone trying to tell me I suck. But it's after midnight, so maybe tomorrow.
zanzjan: (Default)
When I hit the end of NaNoWriMo, my first draft of the Flesh-Eating Bacteria novel was just a smidgeon short of the end -- maybe a chapter, if that, left to go. Part of me feels lame for not having pushed through that last bit, despite the past week's extraordinary distractions, but tonight I was staring at it (I've opened the file and stared at it nearly daily since November) and realized it's not just a post-NaNo funk, I'm *stuck*. And I've been writing just long enough to have started to figure out that when I get stuck like this and can't move forward at all, it's because I broke something significant in the story.

You know in cartoons when a character is running by and someone reaches out and hooks a big rubber bungee thing onto the back of them without them knowing, and the farther they run the more the bungee stretches and slows them down, until they're pretty much running in place against the tension of the band? Eventually they get snapped backwards and slapstickilicious hilarity ensues. For me, this is what getting stuck feels *exactly* like. The farther I've gotten from the break point the bigger the snap-back, but it doesn't come until I realize I'm stuck and stop trying to run forward (which can sometimes take a really stupidly long time, because I'm kinda dim.)

There's a great thread on Making Light right now about how to get published, with a lot of really good basic advice, much of which matches sort of my own experience in what works for me, with occasional bits that really don't. Somewhere in the comments, Jim Macdonald describes how, when he realizes something is broken, he keeps writing forward from that point as if he'd already fixed what was broken, and then goes back and takes care of it on the next pass. Jim is also a very excellent chess player. Me, my brain doesn't work that way: I can't write the next part until I've fixed what proceeds it, at least in part because until I've fixed it I can't see *how* I'm going to fix it, much less what then actually will come next. This is probably also why I'm terrible at chess.

Odds are I'm going to let the FEBn rattle around in my brain again for the remainder of the work-week (too much on my plate at the day-job for anything more than casual tinkering during lunch, which I need more than for this) and this weekend take a stab at figuring out where I got snagged with the big rubber-band-of-story-doom. I don't think it's too far back, but I won't know until I actually land on my ass and manage to stand upright again, and then sometimes several additional steps backwards are necessary to get enough slack to unhook that hook. How all this plays out will also determine how/where/when I jump into the second draft.

So that's where I am.

I hope all your writing, and other projects and dreams, are moving forward for you (-:
zanzjan: (space squid)
At long last I've finished my space-squid story Surf to my satisfaction, and it went out on its maiden postal voyage this morning. It's been quite a while since I've sent a paper copy of anything out, and honestly, as much as it's mildly inconvenient and costs money, there's also something more tangible to the act and to the accomplishment, and I think I needed that right now.

One hopes that this is a positive turning point for an otherwise spectacularly crappy week which has included, among a much longer list of woes big and small, my youngest child sustaining second-degree burns in a daycare accident, me breaking my toe*, the complete and utter destruction of my living room carpet via an improperly secured-from-toddlers megabox of chicken broth, ongoing Comcast internet fuckage, and far, far too little sleep.

But hey, forget all that. I sent a story out. Maybe it'll sell. That'd be cool.

--
*probably
zanzjan: (iggy)
One of the things I absolutely love about writing is, when I'm reaching the end of a first draft[1], that rare moment when I realize that my subconscious has been totally setting up all these little bits and pieces for some *fantastic* bit of plot-twist that my conscious writer-mind has been entirely unaware of. And, ooooh, have I surprised myself with a doosie this time, enough that I've been doing the excited happy-dance around the house all evening ever since it first struck me where I was inevitably going. It does further my willingness to believe in a supernatural muse, because I know for a fact I'm really just not that clever myself.

Meanwhile: 77k of the FEB novel first draft now done[2]. Social obligations tomorrow, but we'll see. Definitely have some serious forward momentum right now.

--
[1] I write entirely sequentially from beginning to end, no scene placeholders or skipping around, and I often have only a vague idea of the larger plot bits and just wing everything as I go. It makes for occasional lengthy stalls (like the still-incomplete Aztec story I've been working on for forever) and also complicated and sometimes frustrating second-drafts, but it's how I work.

[2] bringing my NaNoCheaMo total so far to an insufficient 37k.

day 21

Nov. 22nd, 2010 12:47 am
zanzjan: (nanocheamo)
Revised and sent out a 1700 word short story. (Yes, by me. What, you doubt I can write a story that short? Well, I did! Once. So there!)

Revised Surf, novelette, and sent it to my Most Trusty Beta Reader.

Added 1000+ words to the novel for NaNoCheaMo, bringing my total to 30,077 words for the month (about 5,000 words behind now.)

Also: CHAOS.
zanzjan: (iggy)
33,200 words of the FEBN now scooped up off the scree and set back upright on the tracks, and it's even still facing in the right direction. Another 5,000 words or so and I'll be back at the unfinished end of the first draft, ready to get rolling again. The goal is to have this chunk of the ms. fixed so that I can then jump with both feet into NaNoWriMo (where I am "cicada", if anyone cares) and try to crank out the second half of the novel by the end of November.

Hahaha. Riiight.

As my character Roger just said, "...we're a quarter million miles from the nearest sunset, backyard grill, or toilet that isn't vacuum-assist. And if that last fact alone don't make you need a drink, it should."
zanzjan: (iggy)
I have given up and declared the Flesh-Eating Bacteria story a novel. Sigh. When I figured I was about half-way through the story and was already over 38,000 words, it was getting too hard to stay in denial.

After a brief break from it to write another story (Surf, which needs some fixin' itself) I'm back to working on the FEBN, starting back at the beginning so I could both fix some of the problems I'd identified while letting it sit and roll around in my brain, and also so I could make some necessary adjustments to make it actually work as a novel-length piece. I've now worked my way through about 18.5k of it, and am pretty happy with the way it's now unfolding.

I'd like to get Surf out into the world before the end of the year, so probably I'll be stepping away from the FEBN again sometime not too long from now. (Need some more feedback on it in its current state, and need some backbrain time to process my own concerns about it first.) I'm sort of thinking I'd like to have my revision of the FEBN at a point where I can spend NaNoCheaMo cranking out the second half of the full draft, but honestly I don't know how that'll actually fall out w/ my life as insanely overwhelming as it is. Certainly, if I can have a submission-ready version of Surf and a complete first draft of the FEBN by the end of December, I'll feel pretty good about my progress with writing this year.

On the agenda for 2011: find a new in-person writer's group. It's just too hard trying to herd writers online, and I desperately need the back-and-forth dialogue part of critique. Also, it wouldn't hurt to feel a part of the wider writing world again.
zanzjan: (Default)
Sometimes you get a story where the characters name themselves. And sometimes those names are things like Tangelo-boy, Assface, and Beersmooches.

And then you know it's going to be a mad, fun ride to write.

Aha!

Aug. 6th, 2010 02:07 pm
zanzjan: (iggy)
On the way into work this morning I was thinking about writing (of course) and I was thinking first of all about the flesh-eating bacteria story, which isn't stalled so much as hit one of those "stop and think about it some more" stretches, which led me to think about some other stories I'd started but stalled on and which now might be a good chance to revisit while the flesh-eating bacteria story rests up in the backbrain.

Anyhow, there were two stories in particular that came to mind. Both had decent concepts behind them that I'm unwilling to abandon as unworkable, but both had some nebulous "missing thing" that just hadn't clicked into focus yet enough to take them anywhere. And as I was driving along up and down hills and through corn fields and past cows (which tends to place one in an introspective, content, zen frame of mind) it suddenly struck me that if I removed two minor characters from Story A and replaced them with the main character from Story B, all of a sudden both stories work, and not just as a pair of connected tales but as fully independent stories as well.

w00t, said I!

Then: damnit, now I have to go to work for nine hours first. But hey, at least I get to play with arrays today. And it's Friday, so in addition to some house-cleaning, maybe some good solid writing will get done too.

Given that the f-e-b story does seem determined to be a novel, it'd be nice to get another short or two knocked out so I can have some fresh stuff on submission in the meantime.

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